How to Organize Your Desk

How to Organize Your Desk

I had a desk in my bedroom growing up. It was cheap, faux wood with a single cupboard on the right side. It always had a ton of clutter on the top. In fact, I cannot remember a time that I actually sat at the desk and used it. Do you feel this way about your desk sometimes? It’s really easy to get too much stuff on your desk to the point that you can’t really use it. I have a quick and easy guide on how to conquer your desk, so you can use it to aid your productivity.

What Do You Use Your Desk For?

The work you do on your desk shows you how you should organize it. I use mine as a space for my computer, so most of my time at my desk is computer time. Therefore, I can have a lot on my desk, because I rarely need to use physical space for my work. I have a friend who is going to grad school, so she uses her desk for school work. She needs plenty of open space, so she has room for her textbooks and notebooks. Figure out what you use your desk for and make sure that space is favorable for that.

Take Off Everything That Doesn’t Belong

If you are anything like me, you tend to get stuff on your desk that just doesn’t belong. For me, it’s most often notebooks, but for you, it could be paper piles or art project from your kids. For now, take all of the things off your desk that isn’t related to your desk’s purpose. Either put them away where they go or set them aside for the moment. This should leave you with a clear desk. I only have my computer and its accessories (and a cat window seat, but that isn’t actually ON the desk, so it doesn’t count.)

Give Your Clutter A Home

No matter what clutter ends up on your desk there is always a way to give it a home. If you have a lot of pens on your desk, buy a pen holder and put it in a prominent spot (mine is a pot my mom’s friend made.) I struggled with notebook clutter, so I got an inbox for my desk. At the end of the day, I put all of my notebooks and other clutter in it and I clean it out once a week to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.  Whatever your clutter is, there is a way to manage it. Brainstorm a way that fits into your work style.

Set a Reminder

Now that you have your desk a little more organized. Set to-dos for the future to revisit it. Try a week, a month, and two months from now. At the three month mark, reevaluate your process and identify any systems that aren’t working. You know how you need to use your desk space! Make sure that you are keeping your desk in line with that process.

I hope your desk is easy to use now! I know I always feel better after I organize my desk. It makes it a lot easier for me to give my full attention to my work. How do you use your desk? How does organization help you to feel more productive? What tips do you have to keep an organized workspace?

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10 Things That Make Me Happy Right Now

10 Things That Make Me Happy Right Now

Sometimes, things get hard. We get lost in the things we have to do and how much time we have left to do them. It’s tough when things don’t go the way we expect. I invite you to put those things aside and let yourself have a quiet moment to think of ten things that make you happy right now. Here are the ten I came up with.

  1. My Cat Hazel
  2. Birds on my Feeder
  3. Hiking
  4. Crocheting
  5. Axel
  6. Reading Helpful Blogs
  7. Ed Sheeran Pandora Radio
  8. Podcasts (my favorite podcast is My Favorite Murder)
  9. Running
  10. Plants

Even this little activity can help you to remember that everything in life isn’t hard and not everything is life makes you mad either. Some things are just there to make you happy.

What is your list of ten?

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25 Places to Visit in Seattle

25 Places to Visit in Seattle

Despite the rain, Seattle is an awesome place to visit! There are multiple gardens, parks, museums, and so much more, enough that you would have to spend a week here to even scratch the surface! I’ve made you a list of 25 of the best places to visit in Seattle.

The Fremont Troll (and that’s a real VW Bug under his hand)

Space Needle

♦ Fremont Troll

You can see it in movie “10 Things I Hate About You.”

Seattle Great Wheel

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour

Wake by Richard Serra in Olympic Sculpture Park

Kubota Garden

♦ Seacrest Park

Go here at night! You can see the whole skyline lit up.

Alki Beach Park

Seattle Aquarium

♦ Olympic Sculpture Park

Washington Park Arboretum

Seattle Japenese Garden

Gas Works Park

♦ Woodland Park Zoo

♦ Ballard Locks

If you come during the fall, you can see salmon jumping up the fish ladder to spawn.

♦ Discovery Park

West Point Lighthouse in Discovery Park. You can see the Olympic Mountains in the background.

Museum of Flight

Seattle Public Library

Seattle Art Museum

Pacific Science Center

Museum of Pop Culture

Museum of History and Industry

Edith Macefield House

Nighttime view of Seattle from Seacrest Park

♦ Pikes Place Market

First Starbucks

Be prepared for a long line.

Seattle Meowtropolitan Cat Cafe

I have a Google Map that includes places in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue that could be interesting. If you have visited Seattle, please tell me your favorite place! If you haven’t visited yet, tell me which places are the most interesting to you. As always, if you have any questions, just comment below.

Last updated on 10/12/2017

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3 Areas for Easy Orchid Care

3 Areas for Easy Orchid Care

You have probably heard it said that orchids are hard to grow. Maybe you have even had an orchid die while in your care. It can be very frustrating. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be as difficult as everyone says it is! I’ve boiled my orchid care down to three main areas: potting medium, watering, and sunlight. If you can get these three areas on lockdown, then you can care for your orchid!

Potting Medium

The best potting medium for an orchid is bark, since it can hold a little water, but is also loose enough that the roots can breath (which they like.) My first orchid died because it had moss packed too tightly around its roots so it was never able to dry out. The roots literally rotted away. I learned to replant any moss bound orchids as soon as they were done flowering. You can find orchid repotting mix at any home garden center, I’ve included a link to the equivalent I found on Amazon.

Watering

Watering can also be another concerning thing in orchid care. I’ve found a really simple way to do it once the orchid is potted in bark. Once a week, bring your orchid to the sink and run water over the bark. I usually let the water start to fill the pot before I set it aside. Be careful not to let any water sit in the base of the leaves; this will also rot your orchid. Use the corner of a paper towel to mop up any extra water. Then you let orchids drain before putting them back.

If your orchid is still in moss, I would use the ice chip method. Put enough ice cubes to cover the surface of the moss and let them melt. This means less water is being introduced to your orchid, so it has more of a chance of drying out between waterings. I wouldn’t use this for orchids in bark because the water won’t penetrate down to the lowest roots.

The lighter color on this leaf is scarring from sunburn. I’ve learned my lesson!

Sunlight

Orchids are finicky with light. They like a lot of sunlight, but if they spend a ton of time in direct sunlight, they will get sunburns (yes, plants can get sunburnt.) The key is to find a place where it’s bright a lot of the time, but the direct sunlight is low. In my current house, I have the orchids on my desk in a window that gets a lot of light in the morning, but because of trees, doesn’t get much of it directly. Look around your house for a window that gets light for hours a time, if anything, you can put up a sheer curtain to offset the light.

Once I figured these three areas out, I started collecting more orchids. I have five in my care right now that are all happy! Of course, that wasn’t without trial and error (I’ve also killed two orchids to learn these tricks.) If you have any questions about caring for your orchids, please ask them! I have a Pinterest board dedicated to plants if you want to check that out. Happy growing!

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How to Create a Content Calendar

How to Create a Content Calendar

If you are serious about your blog, you need a content calendar. Hands down. Creating a consistent posting schedule is the first step to having a successful blog. It gives you structure and goals to work towards. It also encourages you to post more often. Here is my content calendar and the various tools I use in it.

I use an Excel spreadsheet to track my content for my blog and social media accounts. You could use Google Calendar, too, if you are a visual person. I have my blog’s content calendar in the picture above. The columns are pretty self-explanatory; I like to keep it simple.

I usually plan out for the next month at the beginning of the month previous. The first post for a month is always the thoughts from the previous month. After that, I fill in the rest of the month from my list of ideas. I try to have an equal amount of all the categories in each month, which is easy to see when I have it laid in front of me like this.

The notes column is probably the most important. I use this to track where I am in the course of making a post. As I complete different pieces, I delete them from the list. This way I can quickly look at my list to see what I need to do next. Once a post is completed, I color it green. Until then, it’s orange.

You can use a similar model for posting on social media. I have rough categories for each day of the week to make it easier for me to brainstorm and I write out what the post will say. I schedule all of my content using Buffer.

I got started on my content calendar using a post from Mommy Sanest. Hers is a little more complicated than mine. I’ve made a Google Doc of my content calendar, which I encourage you to save and modify for yourself.

Please tell me about your own content calendars! Has it helped you with your blogging? Do you have any suggestions for someone getting started? Do you have any questions about getting started?

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Thoughts from September 2017

Thoughts from September 2017

Another month has come and gone. It feels like I learn so much about myself and my business with each passing month. October marks two months since I moved to Washington. It’s still the best choice I could have made! I’m learning endurance both in my mind and in my body. My business continues to grow and I’ve been working on learning more and more about how to run it successfully. Overall, it’s been a great month.

Links I Love

Olympic Peninsula and Mowich Lake

I took two awesome trips this month. The first was to the Olympic Peninsula with a friend of mine. We got to see Lake Quinault, Gatton Creek Falls, the Pacific Ocean, Forks, and La Push. Which means I got to check off a few more things on my Olympic Peninsula Bucket List! I also went on a hike later in the month with the aunt and uncle of a friend of mine.  We hiked up from Mowich Lake, saw Mt. Rainier, walked down and around to Spray Falls. My heels got shredded, but it was so awesome!

Two Clients

I finally have a second client! It may seem strange that it’s taking me so long to get clients, but it’s really normal. There are many people I’m talking to about becoming clients, but it can take a while to actually make them clients. Which is understandable, we both need to make sure it’s a good fit and my skills match the task. I’m really excited to get started and continue growing my business.

Babysitting Axel

The final thing happening this month is starting my babysitting job. My friend needs a babysitter for her son, Axel, three days a week and I get to be the one he spends time with. It’s only for a few hours a week, but I’m so excited to have baby time and another form of steady income. Wish me luck!

This month has been very good. I’m looking forward to seeing what October has to offer. I know I’ll be going down to Portland for a day and my goal is to get two clients from the people I’m talking to at the moment. Hopefully, it will be as good as September!

How was your September? What good things happened to you? What does October have in store for you?

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Questions to Ask to Keep Yourself From Buying Things You Don’t Need

Questions to Ask to Keep Yourself From Buying Things You Don’t Need

We all do it. We enter a store looking for one or two items and end up leaving with way more than we intended. This not only hurts our wallets but can lead to owning too many things. I’ve developed four questions that I ask myself whenever I start to divert from my shopping list, so I only go home with things that I actually need and can afford.

1. Do I need this item?

This is pretty simple, is this item something you need or something you want. Toilet paper and lettuce could be things you need. On sale wrapping paper or a cute pencil holder could be things you only want. I use this question to gauge if it’s something I forgot to put on my list or a passing fancy.

2. Have I been wanting to buy this for a while?

Have you been wanting to buy a new bathmat for months and you just found one on sale? Maybe this is the time to finally buy it. But you haven’t been thinking about buying that glassware set, in fact, you don’t really need new glasses. Skip it, even if it’s on sale. This gives you the freedom to take up low prices, but only on items that will actually help you.

3. Do I have the money for this?

This is the big one: can you afford it? Even if it is something you need and it’s on sale, you can still not have enough money at the moment to buy it. This is particularly true for pricier items. However, if you check out the price and realize you have that extra money in the budget, go for it!

4. Will I (or my spouse) be disappointed I bought this in a few days?

Even if you answer yes to the first three questions, you can still say no to this one. Maybe you have been craving a new video game and you just found one you’ve been wanting to play on sale! Then you remember that your spouse has been complaining about needing new work shirts. Sure, there might be yeses to the first three questions, but you know your spouse will be disappointed to wait another paycheck before getting new clothes. So you pass on the offer.

Only you can answer these questions truthfully and use them to help your spending habits. Usually, I only get to the first question and put the item back. Remember, there will be a time when you will have more disposable income, but until then, learn to recognize the difference between what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.

What are some of your tricks to curb your spending? Do these questions help you?

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How to Plan Your Museum Visit

How to Plan Your Museum Visit

Museums are awesome places that are full of interesting history and intriguing exhibits. The only problem with them is they often have too many cool things to see in one day. I have developed a system that only takes a few moments to implement and allows you to see the most important things in the short time you have.

Get A Map

There are only two things you need for this: a map of the museum and a pen. You can get a map at the entrance, often when you get your ticket. Then just pull off to the side to make a few decisions. I’m going to be using the ground floor map of The Field Museum in Chicago as my example since I went there recently.

Find Your Must-Sees

Circle the places that interest you and you would like to see. Then star one or two places that are must-sees for this trip. I usually cross out the places I definitely don’t need to see, too. For this map, my must-sees are the Hall of Birds and the Lions of Tsavo. I’ve crossed out the Special Exhibitions Halls since none of them interested me enough to pay extra to see them.

Make a Path

Then I make a quick assessment of the best way to see the exhibits I want to see. Keep your must-sees near the beginning of the trip, then work your way through the museum trying to see exhibits that are near each other, that way you minimize the time you spend wandering. I’ve numbered the above halls in the order I would see them and showed the path I would make with arrows.

My friend, Gina, and I at The Field Museum

Have Fun

After you have done this two-minute plan, get started on seeing what the museum has to offer. And you don’t have to stick to the plan, either! It’s more of a guide, if you notice an easier path, or decide you don’t want to visit a particular area, then change your plan. It’s all about having fun!

I hope my plan helps you to get the most out of your museum visit. If you are ever in Chicago, please visit The Field Museum, it’s awesome! What are some of the museums you would like to visit? What some tips you have for visiting a museum?

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Blogging Goals: 3 Month Update

Blogging Goals: 3 Month Update

I’ve been hard at work making my blog a more successful endeavor. It’s definitely not easy getting a blog up off of the ground, but I have to say that I love this work! That makes it worth the time and effort. Here are my new and improved goals, which is an update to my post where I discuss my previous goals.

Completed Goals:

  • Build Confidence
    • I want to shout about my blog from the rooftops!
  • Maintain Posting Schedule
  • Complete Needed Admin Work
    • I’ve done a lot behind the scenes, like making pictures easier to edit and actually having a social media presence.

Short Term Goals (3 Months, December)

  • Start Sharing Posts on Pinterest
    • I’ve found a lot of the blogs that I follow on Pinterest, so I need to establish a presence on there.
  • Finish Blogging Books
    • I have several blogging books that I need to finish.

Medium Term Goals (6 Months, March)

  • Add a Newsletter
    • This one requires some research on my part, but I’m starting to build an email database.
  • Connect with Other Bloggers
    • Time to start following and commenting!

Long Term Goals (1 Year, August)

  • Have Preliminary Monetization in Place
    • I want to be making some amount of money by this point. Even if it’s very small.
  • Have Readers I Don’t Know Personally
    • I want to have readers I don’t know in real life; it’s that simple!

If you have started a blog, please tell me how it’s going! I would love to hear the advice of more experienced bloggers. And if you are thinking of starting a blog, please let me know!

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One Small Thing is Better Than Nothing

One Small Thing is Better Than Nothing

Sometimes I let things fall behind. I forget to clean out my email for weeks or I haven’t worked on my online course in months. Sometimes I don’t feel like doing anything, even things I think are fun. It’s so easy to get into a rut and so hard to find a way out. But I’ve found something that helps take the edge off of the times where doing anything is too much.

From Scratch Paper Studio

One small thing is better than nothing. It’s an amazingly simple concept: do something, no matter how small it is, even doing one thing is way better than doing nothing.

When my email gets overwhelming, I tell myself to delete the ones that are obviously spam. I do that one thing, that takes me less than five minutes, and the next time I open my email box it seems that much less daunting.

For my online class, I set a timer for five minutes in the morning and do what work I can in that time. It’s very slow going, but it is preferable to making no progress.

Your small steps might be smaller or larger than mine, but they still count for something. Look around and find your ruts. Do one small thing to make them that much easier.

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