Real Talk · Uncategorized

My life was incredibly unbalanced and I couldn’t figure out why.

I had another blog post scheduled in my calendar for today. It’s titled “Why You Need to Know What Your Priorities Are & How To Figure it Out.” I’m still going to publish it another day, but I wanted to write a less formal, more personal #BeccaBrain type post to walk you through HOW we got here – to me wanting to write a post on priorities.

About two years ago, I hit a major wall. I was in a perpetual FUNK and couldn’t figure out what was wrong to save my life.

I was burnt out, exhausted and apathetic. I was going through the motions, surviving rather than thriving. And I hate when I get like that. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my life was incredibly unbalanced. I worked almost every day and even when I wasn’t working, I was thinking about work. And if I wasn’t thinking about it, there was still this feeling. This icky, heavy feeling weighing me down.

If you had asked me to list my priorities, I probably would have told you my relationship, family, friendships, health, and work. And I actually believed all of those things were priorities (ha!). But my schedule and my day-to-day life did not reflect this at all.

I allowed work to come before just about everything, making sacrifices in other areas of my life in order to get just a little more work done. I’d tell myself I would get to all the other *important things* later. That I’d make up for it the next week. The more I achieved, the faster I ran, believing the lie that my efforts and sacrifices were worth the elusive reward I was chasing.

What was I even chasing though? To be honest, I don’t think I could have told you the answer. But I couldn’t stop.

Work made me feel good. It made me feel important. And there was instant gratification. I was addicted to the feeling of productivity, success, and affirmation. And my life just got so out of balance because of it. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I don’t think I fully realized the effect that the unbalance was having on me emotionally, physically, and even professionally too (like I think my work suffered because I wasn’t living life if that makes sense?)

There were several times that I tried to incorporate balance back into my schedule. I’d sign up for yoga classes or plan coffee dates with friends. OR I’d force myself to take days off and set arbitrary boundaries for when to stop working each night.

But doing these things was not enough. When push came to shove, I could always somehow justify or rationalize choosing work.

I wasn’t getting to the root of the issue. I needed to take a step back and see the way my life actually looked and compare that to what I wanted long-term. And I needed some major perspective.

During one of my breakdowns, I started keeping a jounral. I took a step back from everything and tried to go back to the basics. I wrote these questions down:

  • What kind of person do you want to be?
  • What’s important to you and why?
  • What do you desire most?

I spent TIME writing down the answers and actually THINKING about the answers before writing them. I didn’t just write what came to my head because honestly some of those answers didn’t feel real at first. So I let my thoughts marinate and THEN I answered them.

This was a GAME CHANGER for me.

I was able to see clearly that my life did not align with who I wanted to be, what’s important to me, and my deepest desires. Something about writing it down and seeing the discrepancies really gave me a clear perspective.

And so I started to dig. I asked myself a lot of WHY questions. I started journaling a lot more, spending way more time in self-reflection. I asked myself why I was running so hard and what I was running towards. To be honest, I’m still trying to figure it out. But I will say that writing down WHO I wanted to be and what I believed to be MOST important set the stage for some radical transformation in my life.

Once I put on paper what my priorities were and saw how I wasn’t living them out, I knew I needed to make some changes.

If you don’t know what your priorities are in life, then the world will define them for you. If you don’t define what’s important to you and commit to following through, then the urgent things in your day-to-day will takeover your life. Time will pass, things will pile up and before you know it, you’ll realize you’re not living the life you want to be living.

Because trust me, more money or a more successful career (or whatever) is not what you’re missing in life. And it shouldn’t be the only thing you’re running towards.

So, stay tuned and come back to the blog next week to read my post on why you need to define your priorities and how to do it! And then eventually we’ll talk about how to actually live them out!

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

 

Decor · Fashion · Real Talk · Uncategorized

5 Reasons why I’m inspired by the pursuit of less.

The idea of pursuing less in a more intentional way is a topic that seems to pop up in my life every so often. I first heard about it at a conference years ago, and now it seems to be an idea I’m hearing almost weekly. Whether it be in a book I’m reading, someone I’m talking to, or just how I’m feeling internally.

You likely know by now that I’m a dreamer, a thinker. I can be pretty intense. And it’s not that I’m doing or accomplishing more than others, because that’s not true; I simply have a brain that works on overdrive. My thoughts are all over the place and there are so many ideas that I want to run with. Which can be great at times, but it’s mostly just A LOT. Internally, it’s a lot.

Then on the flip side, externally there’s a lot going on as well. My life is full of clutter and excess. There’s just so much stuff. Everywhere.

It just happens; things pile up. Whether that’s the shoes in my closet or the appointments in my calendar or my running “Adulting” to-do list. Ugh, speaking of, I still need to get an oil change and clean out my car.

And I’ve noticed that a lot of the internal and external clutter overlaps. For example, I will think about all these new beauty products I want to try to show you and accompanying blog posts I want to write (internal clutter), then I’ll go buy twenty things (external clutter), then I’ll go to do my budget and realize I’m spending too much on things (internal clutter), and the cycle goes on.

I doubt I’m the only one that feels like my life is an ongoing clutter cycle both internally and externally; I mean there are entire TV shows and books dedicated to the issue. (Which is kinda ironic because consuming information can also lead to more clutter in our lives, but I’ll leave you with that for today.) Anyways, the point is that I’ve been truly inspired by the idea of pursuing less in life as of late. And this doesn’t feel like a #BeccaBrain idea that will pass in a day. This feels like more than that. It’s something I really, really feel connected to and want to try out for real.

Living with less stuff, more margin. Buying intentionally, thinking intentionally. Removing the clutter from inside and out. Pursuing LESS.

You’ll definitely be seeing more on this topic as I dive into it in different aspects of my life (like cleaning out my shoe closest which I did a couple weeks ago…whoa), but for now, I wanted this post to be more of an intro. I wanted to explain to you what this pursuit of less was, and why I’m fired up about it. If you’re wanting to know why I’m so inspired, keep reading.

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Why I’m inspired by the pursuit of less.

I have about a million reasons here, but in the spirit of doing less (ha!), I’m outlining the 5 that really stand out to me. Or the reasons why this whole idea has sparked me to make legit changes in my life.

Reason No. 1 – More time for things that matter.

We have 24 hours in the day (maybe closer to 16 if you don’t count sleep), and we spend so little of that time doing things that truly matter. Not that everything we do needs to change the world or even pursue our dreams, but how much time do we spend on things that we don’t enjoy? Way too much! Life is short – why are we wasting our precious time on things that we dread or that don’t increase our happiness? I know we have to work. Yes, of course. But is there any flexibility in what you’re doing everyday? Could you be working towards doing more things you love and that make you feel alive? Do you even know what those things are?

So often the clutter, especially internally, weighs us down and we kinda forget about what matters – the things that light us up. We’re so bogged down in the errands and caring what people think and honestly, pretty selfish tasks. Part of it is our busy go go go culture, part of it is keeping up with everyone’s highlight reel on social media, and part of it is that we’re all working our booties off. I get it! But the idea of pursuing less to leave time for the things that actually matter is incredibly appealing to me.

What in your life or on your to-do list doesn’t matter? Maybe that book club is only to keep up with a group that you don’t actually get pleasure from? Is spending an hour a night on social media really making you happy? Are we so confused with the things we think we have to do that we forget about the things we want to do? When in your life do you feel your best? Think about it!

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Reason No. 2 – Less stress.

I mean, right?!

Studies show that people are more stressed out than EVER before and even things like anxiety are creeping up in crazy high numbers.

Like I mentioned above, the clutter cycle is real, and it’s where a lot of the stress in my life comes from. I almost feel embarrassed typing this out, but if I think about my stressors in daily life, it’s things like “Will this X item arrive on time?”.. “ughh I hope there isn’t too much snow tonight when I walk Winston”.. “OMG I need to get another blog post up” .. “I have so many calls today” .. “my voicemail is full…again” .. “Where will I put all these boxes because our recycling is full?” and so on. *Tell me I’m not alone!*

Of course I have more personal stressors and things that go wrong in my life (more than clothes), but honestly, a lot of that is because of STUFF. Because of clutter. Because of unnecessary things I’ve chosen to add to my life.

Clutter is stressful! Physical clutter leads to mental clutter and vice versa, and it can even become a psychological crutch.

Reason No. 3 – Less mental clutter.

This is probably the number one reason why I’m inspired by the pursuit of less. And it’s a lot. My mind is constantly jumping from task to thought to stressor and so on. And even if you don’t suffer from Becca Brain, in general, clutter has a negative impact on psychology. Our brains actually have 50-70K thoughts a day which is insane! But I’m adamant that if life was simpler, we might have less to think about – or at least there wouldn’t be such a wild variety of what our brain is jumping to with all our thoughts.

I’m SO excited by the idea of a simplified life and a simplified brain. Not that I’m nearly there, but this is something that’ll be pushing me to get there.

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Reason No. 4 – Simplified spaces.

For any of you who have read Marie Kondo’s book and have simplified your space, you probably know what a simple home can do for your mind. And this is one area that I really need help with. Getting organized and tidy is incredibly inspiring to me because it’s SO not my strength and it’s even a little out of my comfort zone.

As a blogger, my job is to show you new outfits, how I’m decorating my house, what I’m making for dinner and so on (or at least that’s part of my job and what I’ve been doing for some time now). Mix that with a personality that naturally likes to shop and buy new things, and I live in a house with a lot of STUFF. Not that our house is a total disaster, but as I sit here and look in every corner or at every room, there’s just a lot of stuff. Too much stuff.

My closet is probably the worst as I have way too many clothes, I know that. It’s almost (embarrassingly) impossible to get dressed some days because I literally have too many choices. And I am NOT trying to brag here – I’m trying to do the opposite actually.

Maybe some of  you can relate – at least with all the stuff. Like, why do we feel like we need SO much in order to live a good life? When all that does is bring clutter to our homes and lives, more decisions, more things to deal with, and so on.

I’m so drawn to the idea of a simpler home containing only items that I LOVE. Or even that I NEED. Not items that I’m buying to fill a space or to cope with an internal issue or because that’s what people do.

Plus, on a health-related note, a simple home is actually a lot better for our systems. Less stuff tends to lead to less dust and fewer allergies, and etc.

I want my home to be somewhere that feels serene and peaceful – and I think my mind will have an easier time following suit from there.

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Reason No. 5 – More savings.

I’ve told you that I’m trying to reign in my budget lately – we do have a wedding to pay for now. Well, it goes without saying that acquiring less things definitely helps. It’s actually painful when I look around our house or my closet and think of things I don’t love slash want to get rid of and the money they cost. It’s not a reason to keep things, I’m realizing that.

All I can do is get rid of what I don’t love (maybe sell some), and let it be a lesson. I’m also thinking of it as further motivation to pursue less so that I don’t find myself in a cycle of spending on crap.

I haven’t done it yet, but I can see myself trying to do a no shopping or spending challenge eventually to accompany pursuing less. Either way, if you buy less, you spend less. Simple as that.

Definitely stay tuned for more on this subject, because as you can tell – I’m excited! Hopefully you are too. Let me know your thoughts on this and if there’s any area of your life that you’ve struggled with pursuing less. Or areas that you’ve totally killed it in. I’d love to get your take on diving into this!

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Decor · Real Talk · Uncategorized

Working from home tips for productivity.

For the last few years I have been lucky enough to have the option to work from home here and there. I don’t abuse it but I do take advantage of it. And though the flexibility is freaking’ awesome – and so is not having to commute – working from home has its challenges. Being in your own bubble with beds and chores tempting you all day long, it’s easy to get off task or in home-mode. Especially when I have the cutest little pug boy who just wants to snuggle and be adorable all day long. Since I have really started putting time and effort into decorating our home office space, I’ve done better at making my work from home days more productive – and I’ve really noticed a difference in how much I’ve gotten done.

Working from home tips (that help me get more done)

So if you work from home – and have an office or not – here are a few (hopefully helpful) hacks for improving your “office” days:

Get dressed, comfortably.

I know there are rules (or “studies” or whatever) about putting on real clothes or an actual outfit when working from home, but it’s just not for me. If I don’t have to go anywhere for a few hours, I’m just not going to be in jeans and have my makeup and hair looking good. Instead, I’ll put on my favorite sweats or leggings and a comfy top. The moral is, just change out of your pajamas and feel somewhat pulled together, but you don’t have to be uncomfortable. This gets you ready for the day and in work mode, but still feeling good.

Create a routine and/or daily workflows.

Working from home has tons of perks, but it’s so easy to get off track and spend your day catching up on household chores rather than actually getting career-work done. To help put structure in your day, create a routine for yourself. Decide what time you want to be sitting down checking emails and getting started on your work and stick to it as best as possible. Write a list of to-dos and an allotted amount of time for each task, even use a calendar (I like Google Cal personally but your phone would work also) – all of a sudden your day will be ten times more productive.

Have a dedicated work space.

Having a desk or an office really gets you in the “get stuff done” mindset. Creating a space for working at home can also give you a sense of accountability. If you notice it’s mid-morning and you haven’t made it to your desk or office yet, you know you better get in gear. And even if you don’t have an office, dedicate a special spot to work. Maybe it’s your kitchen island, or a small table you’ve added to the living room to serve as your desk, hack the dinning room table works wonders also. And make it cute – add personal touches that make it inviting and inspiring, even if just a cute computer background or photo! No couches or beds allowed!!

The 2-minute sweeps.

This can be done in any part of your home, but I make it a point to hit my desk at the end of each day. Take 2 minutes (you can find 120 seconds!) and clean up your desk. Take coffee mugs back to the sink, wipe it down, put things away, etc. – set yourself up for an easy, clutter-free morning to follow. You’ll be so much more effective!

Work offsite.

Coffee shops and cafes were invented for a reason, and not just to serve food and drinks. You’ll probably need a change of scenery every now and again so use these opportunities to check out the newest coffee shops around town. Or get outside if you have a task that doesn’t involve a computer (p.s. when will they invent something to make the screen visible outdoors?!).

Learn when to unplug.

One of the downsides of working from home is you never “go home” because…you already are. This can make it suuuuper hard to know when to shut off for the day, close the laptop and stop looking at emails. Being plugged in 24/7 is really hard on a person, so make yourself a schedule where you commit to unplug at a certain time and stick to it – you need to recharge. Phones count too. I need to get better at this, 100%!

Batch errands.

If you work from home, take advantage of a likely more flexible schedule when planning errands and appointments or anything that requires leaving the house. Use a whole afternoon to do these each week so that you’re not coming and going – or getting into different brain zones every day. Same for chores around the house – designate a day for household stuff and forget about it the rest of the week. Fridays would be great to consider for this so you can casually stroll into the weekend.

Network and socialize.

You typically don’t have co-workers when you work from home, at least not in-person, so make it a point to attend networking events for your industry so you don’t forget how to socialize in the professional environment. Not having to deal with office politics or drama is a major plus of working from home, but you don’t want to become a hermit either.

Eat away from your desk.

Eating in front of your desk is extra tempting when you’re at home, but give your day more structure by moving away from your desk for lunch. Eat outside or a different place in your home, but break it up. Try to give yourself space from tech during this time too. If there is someone in your neighborhood or on your street who you know works from home, set up a weekly coffee or lunch date at each other houses, this will help keep your sanity when you haven’t talked to another real life person in a few days!

Do you work from home ever? What works best for you?

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Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.