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6 of my favorite books and why I keep coming back to them.

It’s nothing new (I freaking LOVE to read), but I’ve realized I need to do a better job at sharing books with you.  I’m trying to think of a smart way to do a book club or something similar, but for now, I really wanted to get more of my favorite books in front of you. I generally try and read a book a month on average but occasionally I find myself picking up one of these to re-read.

I might not re-read them again from start to finish, but I do pick them up to read sections or even skim when I want to. I try to keep post-its in my favorite books of areas that really impacted me at one point – basically my own little version of CliffNotes. I even take notes while reading sometimes if I want to get really intense, and then I keep those notes tucked in the book to read again the next time I pick it up.

I’m sure you have those favorite books that you come back to as well and I hope you share them below! For now, though, the 6 books that have had a SERIOUS impact on my life…

reading

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Warning: this book is actually kind of really boring. I can probably only read about 20 pages MAX at a time, but the principles he discusses are just SO good and definitely out stand the test of time. They’re obvious but then again not at the same time. The 7 habits he talks about, to give you a little overview, are the following: the importance of being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking first to understand – then to be understood, synergise, and finally sharpening the saw.

This book has been around for decades yet the principles and lessons of life and efficiency remain true, which is pretty cool. This is definitely one of those books where I have a lot of areas highlighted and that I’ve taken notes on. SO MUCH GOOD INFO!

Prayer by Timothy Keller

If you’ve been hanging with me for a while (like on Stories…), you know I love me some Tim Keller. He can simplify and breakdown complex and often overwhelming topics – like prayer – in such a unique and approachable way. I’ve had so many different experiences with prayer throughout my life and this book always makes me LEARN and THINK, two things I like doing! I love how he gives a summary of what people who have come before him said about prayer. He gives some very helpful background on why prayer is so important but also some very applicable tips that you can immediately apply to your own life. Can’t recommend this one enough!

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Of all the books on simplifying your life, this has been the most impactful for me. As someone who has her hands in 17 buckets at all times, I need the reminder that it’s better to focus on fewer things at once and get those things done rather than exerting my energies in all those different directions.

I have a lot of takeaways from this book but I think the two that stand out to me the most (when compared to other books on this subject) is the way that he explained trade-offs. As someone who does try to do it all and often believes that I can (although that’s a lie), McCowan reminded me that with every decision we make, there is a trade-off. With every YES, there is a NO and that even when we stall on making a decision (because making decisions is hard!), we are making a decision in not making a decision. I also love what he said about the importance of PLAY and recreation and how our brains literally need a break from work or anything really in order to function properly. It is in this time, that we are breaking or playing, that we are able to connect the dots and our thoughts are able to solidify.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

I LOVE the name of this book, but I do like a lot of things Mark Manson has to say; and there are some good lessons in it.  It’s essentially about caring less about things that don’t matter while focusing on things that do. It’s similar to Essentialism in the fact that it clearly awakens certain things in you – and teaches you how to prioritize. Honestly, one of the main reasons it’s a favorite book is because it taught me the ‘Do Something Principle which you can read about here. It’s probably one of the best simple productivity tips I’ve ever learned, and I’m so grateful for that.

What’s Best Next by Matt Perman

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I love learning more about getting things done. And as someone who struggles to pay attention or FOCUS, I’m always looking for tips to help with that and productivity. I love how this book looks at things from a gospel-centered perspective. There are a lot of books out there on time management and setting goals but I appreciate the lengths to which this one goes to show that being productive is a good thing because ultimately when we are able to be more effective, we are able to better serve others. This book is unique and I like that!

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

I haven’t looked back on this one in a good bit, but I remember it being an amazing one for me. The basis of the book is, “you can’t be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature” which I LOVE.

I need to read through it again honestly because I’m sure I could learn more based on where I’m at in life now. But I’ve read it 2x and highlighted so much of it! I think everyone should read it – kind of like the Covey book above.

K that was fun! It definitely made me want to pull out all 6 of these right now. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and if you have questions on them. Is there a book on your shelf you keep coming back to? What is it and why?

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

XOXO.

B.

Real Talk · Uncategorized

4 time management mistakes that cause stress & clutter.

Hello loves!

You all seem to really be loving my motivational posts lately so I want to keep that train rolling. Plus it’s summer, so who doesn’t love a good motivational post while the heat is making us feel heavy and sluggish? The truth is, I actually really like writing posts on this topic because they’re helpful for me, too. Sometimes I need my own advice.

I think the tips I came up with today can be applied to just about anything, so no matter what you’re needing motivation with, they should help! I also didn’t want to get crazy specific because I feel like I could write a blog post on each tip individually. Hopefully you feel like each one is actionable, but not overwhelming.

Anyway, even if that new year motivation or spring fever is still going strong for you, bookmark this post for when you may need it!

black shoes

Think about your goals.

Whenever I’m really struggling to just do something – ANYTHING – to get a project moving, I like to back up and think about the big picture. Because if I’m struggling to find the motivation to do something, it’s usually for one of two reasons. One, I’m just distracted by other things and/or feeling lazy in that moment. Or second, whatever it is I’m trying to get done doesn’t actually ALIGN with my goals.

If it’s the latter, I’ll ask myself how I wound up doing whatever it is to begin with and why I felt I needed to do it. Obviously if it’s a project for work and I’m committed, I’ll get it done, but I think it’s very important to note if you’re spending time and energy on things that you really just don’t care about (especially if they’re not aligned with your goals or priorities).

Look for inspiration.

I freaking love a good self-help book and tend to take away so much motivation when it’s not coming naturally (WHICH HAPPENS OFTEN). If you’re lacking what you need to finish for something (or even get started), seek it out in others! Bookmark this post for when you need an extra push or hop on Pinterest and read all the motivational quotes or even save them as your computer/phone background. Read a book or listen to a podcast. Make an inspiration board! Meet up with someone who always inspires you or ask someone to grab coffee if you find them motivating. Go to a conference. Watch TED Talks on YouTube. There’s no shame in needing to lean on others for a little motivational inspiration and I think it’s smart doing something like this daily.

Celebrate when you’re finished.

I’m not saying you should go to Fiji every time you finish a project or reach a goal, but maybe pour yourself a glass of wine or turn off the computer and go for a walk? Or TACOS. Sometimes to feel motivated we need to know there’s a reward waiting for us at the end and that’s OK! Just make sure your celebration or your reward is in proportion to whatever task you completed.

Put perfection aside.

Ugh, this is one I struggle with ALL THE TIME. If you’ve been around here for a while then you probably know I’m a Type A perfectionist. Working on giving up on the idea that everything has to be perfect has helped me tons in terms of getting more things done. It’s a struggle some days but helps me move through simple tasks much faster.

Think about how you’ll feel once you do whatever you’re putting off.

Whenever something is lingering, whether it’s a workout, a work project or cleaning the house UGH, I hate the feeling of overwhelm that starts to creep in. It’s like my brain knows I’m putting something off and am in dire need of motivation. When this happens, I try to regroup and instead focus on what I’ll feel like once I’m done. One word usually comes to mind – RELIEVED. And that is 10x better than stress.

Break big to-do’s into smaller ones.

Do you ever lump several small tasks into one big one and then put it off all day because it just feels like too much? Same. Like instead of putting “Pay Taxes” on your calendar and then moving it from day to day because you just can’t, break it up into more manageable tasks. Start with getting all your documents in order, then maybe later that day go through the first 6 months of the year. Do another small task the next day and so on.

Tell yourself you’ll only work for 10 minutes.

This is a trick I play on myself all the time. Nine times out of ten it works like a charm. This really works well for working out, too! For some reason, things can start to feel scary if I have to commit for more than 10 minutes, so that’s kinda my “safe zone”. Usually once I’m a few minutes in, I forget about time completely and zip right through whatever I’m working on.

I could probably keep going with these tips, but less can be more when it comes to this stuff if you ask me (trying to avoid the overwhelm). I’d love to hear what you do to get and to stay motivated, so let me know in the comments!

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

XOXO.

B.

Real Talk · Uncategorized

what likable people have in common.

Do you ever wonder what others think about you? Not in the comparison or I need to be perfect kind of way, but more the self-improvement kind of way. Like, you want to make sure you’re being a good friend, but it can be kind of awkward to out of nowhere ask one of your girlfriends, “Hey, am I a good friend?” Plus, if your friend has feedback, all the sudden you’re taking criticism you might not be prepared for and things can just SPIRAL.

Whenever I find myself wondering this kind of thing, I like to do a little self-assessment! Instead of putting it on others to tell me what I might be doing wrong, I ask myself, what characteristics do really likable people have in common and am I exemplifying these qualities? The list below is what I came up with the last time I checked in with myself in this way and I thought you might be interested in it, too.

It’s not about trying to be the perfect friend, perfect fiance, perfect work college, perfect daughter etc, that’s not realistic. But more so just trying to be a good human. And who doesn’t want to be better at that? Plus, being likable (while still being YOURSELF, which is key), can honestly make life easier. From doing better at networking or in interviews to getting along better with others, and so on, being likable is a good thing as long as you’re finding that balance between being YOU and not caring too much about what others think.

Here’s what I came up with when thinking about likable traits. I’m eager to hear what you think about this post – and whether you disagree, agree, or have more to add to the list.

They listen more than they talk.

When I find myself in a conversation with a friend (or even anyone) and I realize I’ve done more talking than listening, I try to course correct pretty quickly. Sometimes it’s appropriate to talk more, like if you’re telling a specific story or maybe in an emotional situation, but I think it’s SO important to simply listen and then respond without talking about yourself.

They have confidence (but not too much).

The people I find super likable always seem to have mastered this perfect balance of being confident but not arrogant. They also don’t talk bad about themselves, which makes them more fun to be around because they’re always focusing on the positive. Bottom line, it feels GOOD hanging out with them. We all know those people who just bring joy and good things, good conversations, into our life.

They look for the positive.

Speaking of focusing on the positive. I don’t think anyone wants to be around a negative Nancy, so this is something I’ve been working on lately (not that I think I’m negative, but I have room to improve). Whenever I’m tempted to complain about something silly or think something negative about myself or a situation, I ask myself, “What is being negative right now going to accomplish?” I’ll tell you one thing, so far, every time I’ve paused to ask myself this, the answer is always NOTHING. No, but really, being positive makes such a difference!

Their body language is on point.

My body language wasn’t really something I was very aware of until my mid to late twenties. Things like eye contact, posture, smiling, facial expression, etc. are all very important when trying to make connections with people. If you’re missing the mark with these things, it can put people off before even talking to you. Even if it feels awkward, look people in the eye when shaking their hand, give a smile and be sure you’re standing up straight. Your first impression points will skyrocket and you’ll make people feel more comfortable. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

They don’t make excuses.

This is one of the most important characteristics of a likable person, in my opinion. Nobody likes it when someone comes at them with all the reasons they couldn’t follow through on something. Don’t overthink it and just be honest here. Don’t bail all the time or always be that person with some random excuse why you didn’t follow through or show up. Instead, commit or don’t (and of course, when life does get in the way, people will understand!). I promise life will be so much easier and your friends and family will appreciate it. Follow though on your plans or expect people to stop making them with you.

They aren’t judgemental.

Remember what I said above about just being a good human? That’s where this one comes in. I always want my friends (or anyone) to be able to come to me without fear that I would judge them. The best people I know always make me feel comfortable and heard whenever I have something to share – never judged.

They don’t take things (or themselves) too seriously.

I think not taking life or yourself too seriously is key to not only being a likable person but to life in general. I learned to laugh at myself a long time ago and I’d say it has served me really well. Probably one of my best personality traits, if I’m being honest. Learning to laugh at the small stuff will save you a TON of stress in the long run, trust me. Now if only I could bring these ease into being a perfectionist…but I’m working on it.

I’d love to hear what you think about this! Do you ever check in with yourself in this way? Are there other things to add to the list? Let me know in the comments.

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

XOXO.

B.