One of the most notorious things that people always ask me or say to me is about my organization. No this is not going to be a post full of items you should order from the ever illusive Container Store, this is a post about just a few practical ways that I learned how to be organized.
Fun fact, I was diagnosed with ADHD in elementary school and to this day have not found a successful medication to aide my tendency to not focus well. Skip to the fun part, and in college I set out to figure out what would work best for ME in staying organized and helping me maintain a productive lifestyle. The following ways are just a few small steps I take to keep myself on track.
Keep a detailed calendar It doesn’t really matter if you prefer an electronic copy or a physical copy (old school girl over this way, who loves an organized physical calendar), but keep it detailed. To be totally honest, I actually use both. I first write down the major events in my physical calendar and then reminders on my phone so that I can receive alerts when I need to get something down. I use colors to help color coordinate what type event it is or what it represents. This can be so much fun! Grab some cool pens, some stickers and make sure you have a really fun planner. Linked below are some cool options that I always enjoy.
List everything Okay so there are the lists people and the non-lists people, but again it doesn’t matter if you keep it on your phone or in your planner or somewhere else, but lists have scientifically been proven to help us remember things. There is a connection in our brain in memory and writing. Aside from that cool fun fact, it makes it easier to remember what we need to do if we have it written down somewhere and it’s soooo satisfying to mark through or check something off. There is no better feeling than check marking something I’ve done (shameless truth, I sometimes write down things I’ve already completed just so I can mark them off).
Get plenty of sleep This one may seem out of left field but just hear me out. One of the best ways for me to waste a day away is when I’m too tired to function and don’t feel like doing anything. I stay productive by keeping my energy up and staying well. This also includes working out, eating well and taking care of yourself in a general sense, but sleep is a cure for many aliments.
Always ask for details One of the biggest lessons I have learned (the hard way), is to always get details on what people expect of you. We live in a world that is increasingly less capable of communication and we struggle at coming across confrontational. We allow ourselves to make assumptions in fear of looking incapable.The truth is it’s not confrontation to simply ask someone when something is due, for more information or how high of a priority something is. This also includes learning how to prioritize things for yourself. You’ve got to learn how YOU function and how you’ll be best able to prioritize things on your list, but having input from others is a pivotal step.
Create a “home base” everywhere you spend time At home, it’s a credenza near my front door, at work it’s a bookshelf near my desk. Places that I tend to put things down or need to leave out to remind myself to grab them, I designate as home base. This way anything that I need to remember I have in one in place and I always know where things are or where I can put them to remind me to do something. We’re creatures of habit according to psychology, so putting things in one place consistently allows us keep tabs on things in our lives. Pinterest has some adorable ways to set up your different types of home base areas!
These are just a few of the tips and tricks I have for keeping myself focused and capable of being known for my ability to organize and stay focused (even though you now know my secret). I would challenge you to try one or all of these if you don’t already do them and keep yourself on track for productivity!
Don’t we all enjoy a good day of self care and relaxation? Pampering ourselves has become one of the most profitable businesses in the country. Nail salons, dry bars, spas, vacations, an epidemic of Pinterest smoothies recipes and the list goes on. We crave all the ways to take care of ourselves but are we truly caring for ourselves or just taking Instagram worthy “Self Care Sunday” pictures? So let me tell you ways that I actually enjoy taking care of myself that also prove to be beneficial!
Hydration Personally I use the fit bit app to monitor my water intake but there are so many ways to do so. If you’re the more creative type, try drawing some cute little water glasses on your planner or in a notebook and coloring it in when you’ve finished 8 glasses for the day. Statistics have shown that we need about half our body weight in oz’s (ex. if you weight 130 you need 65oz of water) for the day just to stay hydrated but more than that to actually do our bodies some good. What benefits do I get? My skin has flourished, I’ve lost weight, my hair is shining, I have less digestion issues. Staying hydrated makes a huge difference in how you’ll feel every day and one of the best ways to care for yourself.
Staying well informed This one probably sounds a little strange but hear me out. There are millions of articles being shared all over Facebook, Yahoo News, WRAL and every other news outlet across our country at any given moment. My practice is to read what catches my eye, but then fact check it myself! I’ll quickly google what people are saying about a hot topic or article and always verify health related articles have been written by a reputable source. Keeping yourself up to date on news, health and wellness or even just the latest trends is a healthy way to not only keep your mind stimulated by learning new things, but also an awesome way to boost your confidence. It always feels horrible when everyone around you is discussing the latest current event and you know nothing of the subject…yuck…even just having a small part in the conversation or your own opinion on it, always feels great, which again is a great way to take care of yourself 🙂
“No Technology” Hours This one is probably a little less strange sounding, but still incredibly difficult for us to follow. To be honest I’m not so great at doing this either but I feel such a benefit when I actually do it. There’s not really a certain way or time but I try to put away the computer and phone when I get home. This allows me more time to get things done on my to-do list or spend more time with Nick. Even if it’s only an hour, I always feel better about what I was able to accomplish, even if that’s just sitting and reading a book or drinking some coffee and relaxing. Not having my phone or laptop in my face every second that I’m home allows my mind to clear and my eyes to relax too! I recommend starting with just 30 minutes. Set a timer on your phone and put it in another area of your house. When the timer goes off, you can get back on the phone or computer. Eventually, I promise you’ll find that you enjoy the time away from technology more and more.
Let’s just keep it simple this time around. Try these three (simple) steps and see how you feel!! Self care doesn’t always have to be about face masks and bubble baths, but practical things as well. I hope these little tips help you tremendously in feeling confident, healthy and happy!
Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer I started using Vital Proteins- Collagen Peptides about two months ago. Collagen improves skin, helps aid in joint pain, helps with potential bone loss, helps boost muscle gain, aids in gut related issues, hair and nail growth and so much more. The Collagen creamers come in a variety of flavors and can replace your usual creamer needs. I have loved the way this had made me feel. My morning coffee tastes delicious and I feel great afterwards. I’ve noticed a slight difference in how I feel when I’m stretching before or after a workout, and a huge difference in my skin, nails and hair. Vital Proteins has a huge line of health products and makes recommendations based on your needs. Their products are also available at a variety of retail locations so getting a hold of them is easy!
None Like Him This book has changed my life. The church we’ve been attending started a sermon series that follows the chapters of this book, but I recommend that you buy this for yourself. At the heart it’s about all the different things we THINK about God, and an explanation of who He truly is. I’ve been a Christian my entire life and each chapter of this book reveals something new to me each time I read it. My perspective has changed on not only who God is, but who I am too. Even if you’re not a follower of Christ, this book will help explain some of the challenging questions that we all have about this all powerful being. Additional plus, each chapter isn’t very long, but exquisitely written, so it’s very enjoyable.
Kiss Nails If you know me at all, you know I’ve got a secret (not so secret) obsession with having painted or done up nails. I’ve been that way since I was a child and started begging my mom to let me get “fake nails” in elementary school. There’s just something that boosts my self confidence when I know my nails look good. Insert, KISS Nails. Most packs come with glue AND sticky pads if you’re not into the gluing. I get about 5 or 6 wears out of each set, depending on how much glue I use and how rough I am on them, and at 8.99 or less a pack, that’s incredibly cheap in comparison to the 50 or more I would spend on anything at the nail salon.
Hydro Boost Sheet Mask I am a sheet mask fanatic. I try to do one at least once a week for whatever I have going on with my skin that week. I’ve tried expensive masks, cheap masks, and everything in-between. These babies are my GO TO! They’re cheaper than your average sheet mask but just as luxurious as a high end facial mask. They leave you with a beautiful glow, and soft, hydrated skin. I use my jade roller right after to push in all that extra moister and I always wake up with beautiful skin. Definitely worth the stock up on this one.
Chi Hair Curler This bad boy has changed my lifeeee. I promise you it has made the most annoying task of curling my hair an actual FUN process. You’ll probably want to watch one or two YouTube video’s before you get going but once you get the hang of how this works it’s all good from there. What use to take 30 minutes, not takes about 10 at the most and each curl comes out perfectly. I promise the money is well worth the outcome.
I hope that you’ll give some of these products a try and that you enjoy each one of them. I pray your year has been off to an incredible start and that we only get better and better from here.
I vividly remember the first time I was asked to pray out loud in front of a group of people. I was about seven years old in a girls church group called “Missionettes” and we started each week off with a prayer. My duty was to listen to all the prayer requests, which for a room full of seven and eight year old girls you can imagine is pretty vast and confusing, then pray over ALL of them. For some context, I grew up pretty introverted and shy and my parents did most of our nightly praying together. My experience in this area was little to none and by the time I got to the second request I panicked and forgot everyone’s request and ended quickly with “in Jesus name Amen” and started to cry.
Not only had I failed to cover the other girls in prayer, I had not used articulate words, I had not even finished the prayer appropriately (according to my own seven year old standards) and I had embarrassed myself to no end. Isn’t that how a lot of us feel about praying? We have this unspoken, unknown reason for having complete anxiety and fear over praying; as well as feeling like we’re somehow fully responsible for others when we pray. If we say a wrong word, or don’t have large enough words, we shut down. Aside from true fears of public speaking (which I know many people have), is there really a reason to fear praying?
Prayer at its core is nothing more than a conversation with God. It’s just as simple as the conversations we have with those in our lives every single day. The truth is, we wouldn’t have very many relationships with others if we didn’t speak to people. God has no higher or lower expectation of your praying than just that. He wants to develop His relationship with you and what that requires is you opening your mouth and speaking to Him. So how do we start to do this in a way that doesn’t make us feel awkward or scared?
5 Ways to Obtain a Healthier Prayer Life Today
Read scripture about prayer. Luke 11:1-4 is the perfect place to start. The men who followed Jesus had some questions about prayer too. Jesus simplified it for them and gave them a place to begin. This scripture can be used as the foundation of where you begin. Start by printing it off or highlighting it and reading it every single day. Once you get good and comfortable, start making it more personal. Slowly add in personal requests for yourself, those you love, your city, state, country, the world or anything else you want. Eventually you can branch out and you’ll find that it gets easier to know what to pray for over time.
Find quite time and space. I’ve mentioned previously that I take time to myself every single day to pray and read the Bible. Sometimes it’s 2 minutes, sometimes it’s hours. Either way I find space to fit in a conversation with the Lord and time to read what He has to say to me. The difference in being able to talk with our friends and family, and talk to God is that we don’t (usually) hear an audible response. God typically speaks to us through His word, friends, dreams, pastor’s messages or other ways. So how do we hear Him? Start with reading the Bible. You pray to Him first, and then just sit and be still and quite or listen to a sermon, anything that allows you to focus on God. God always responds when we talk to Him.
Start a prayer journal. I’m a personal who LOVES a good list. I have about a million journals which all have a different purpose. One of those is a prayer journal. Often it’s easier for me just to sit down and write everything out instead of trying to speak it. My mind gets cluttered and my words start to not make sense when I’m audibly praying sometimes. So having a place that I write things out is extremely helpful and allows me to go back in and write down the day that God answered a prayer. So for example, I use to write down over and over that I needed a new job. The day I got my job offer, I went back and wrote it down and gave God glory for answering my prayer. Writing prayers and then reading them out loud also helps in practicing praying.
Ask others to pray with you. We find in scripture that there is power in agreeing with one another. All that means is that when we pray together, we’re telling God that we ALL want the same thing. Kind of like the notion of one friend asking you to come out with them versus four friends asking you to come out with them. You heard the one friend and entertained the idea but when four people are bringing you the same request you’re much more likely to answer and answer quickly. God works the same way. Heaven listens to us individually, but when many of us are approaching for the same thing we get a lot more attention. Sometimes it’s also more comfortable to be with people you trust. My finance’ and I love to pray together. There’s something comforting about knowing that he’s there and can agree with me in what I’m asking God for. Plus most “scary” things in life are easier with people you trust around.
Practice makes perfect. I want to keep reiterating the importance of just doing it. Even when you have no idea what to say or where to start, just DO IT! I can’t think of one thing I ever accomplished without just starting (duh) but I can think of so many things that took forever because I was too scared to start and later looked back with regret. Think of how many times you wish you’d just started and stuck to going to the gym and how far along you’d be now but aren’t. Or how many times you wish you’d just stuck with learning a new language and you’d probably know several by now. Praying is the same way. If you just start doing it awkward and unsure, you’ll find that in a week, a month, a year or longer…you’re praying big, bold and powerful prayers. My prayers would shock some people if they heard them….sometimes I’m even shocked at what I ask God for, but He has never failed me. Every prayer I’ve sent to Heaven has come back answered, not always how I imagined, but answered nonetheless.
Bonus encouragement *insert praise hands* Be honest. God can handle your angry, hurt, crying, completely destroyed praying. I’ve many times found myself sobbing on the floor begging God for an answer to something and within minutes feel physically transformed by His love and grace. Not all of your praying has to be positive or uplifting. Sometimes we get into arguments with those we love or have questions for them….God is still the same way. He wants you to ask questions, cry and get upset….those prayers are accepted just as much as the happy ones.
I hope that this encourages you to take a chance on giving yourself to God. My closest relationships are with the people that I spend the most time talking to and God is no different. Just because I don’t physically see Him or hear from Him, doesn’t mean that me speaking to Him is developing our relationship any differently. Reach out to me if you need more help getting started or want someone there to pray with you or need more resources about developing your prayer life.
Here is one of my favorite resources to get you started with your prayer journey and I can’t wait to hear how God has transformed you. Leave me a comment below on your favorite places to pray or favorite resources to use! Prayer journal xoxo, Camille
Have you ever found yourself praying and notice yourself asking God to give you a chance to start fresh with something? Or found yourself wishing that you could re-do a conversation, a situation, a moment, a thought…life? I think it’s safe to say that we all have.
Luckily for us, the new year gives us that luxury. We get to sit down and reflect on what went well in a year and what things we’d like to work on. We have an opportunity to set goals or resolutions and decide how we want the next year of lives to look. We get to pretend like those bad moments never happened or learn a new way to cope. The pain we experienced the year before slowly begins to fade away as we put more time between us and what happened. But what are we really intending to learn?
God has always challenged me on the thought of resolutions. I’m flooded with thoughts and ideas of how different life could go for the next year and yet I find myself underwhelmed when I sit down to write down what I have planned. It begs to question, are we really getting a fresh start? Or are we just growing from the experiences we’ve had?
I’m not asking in a pessimistic, you can’t run from your problems, type of way; but in a are we really going to commit to changing anything about our life and ourselves? Twenty nineteen for me was one of the absolute most amazing years of my life and yet I still pained through the hardships of life and learning to improve myself every single day. The Bible teaches us that we WILL go through trials and pains and that we must allow the Lord to make us better than we were the day before. So what does that practically look like?
5 Practical Ways To Start Fresh This Year
Spend time with God DAILY. This one for some of us is incredibly difficult, for some it’s an age old practice and for others it’s brand new. So what does this actually look like? You know the time you spend on the way to work or the movies with friends or the grocery store in your car? Yeah, spend that time with the radio off and just talking to God. You know that time that you watch another episode of Netflix instead of doing anything productive? That’s right….spend that time with God. We’ve been taught for years that spending time with God has to be this long drawn out experience, but the truth is…just like meeting a stranger for the first time…you probably don’t have much desire to spend hours with them. But slowly over time as you build that relationship, one awkward conversation at a time…you’ve built a best friend and someone that you can’t imagine doing life without. Works the same way with the Lord.
Cut out at least ONE bad habit. So this doesn’t mean stop doing everything right away. Psychology shows us that when we cut things off all at once that we’re addicted to, we have a higher chance of relapse if we don’t slowly ween ourselves off. So take an inventory of your life and habits that you have. Prioritize them based on what bad habits you want to quit, and focus on number one. If you absolutely crush it and find yourself done with that one habit sooner than you though, start on the next one until suddenly you’ve gotten through the list. My number one is negative self talk.
Increase at least one GOOD habit. The opposite and more positively reinforcing fresh start, is the take a look at the things you do daily that you love doing and you know are good for you. Then prioritize which ones you love the most or you know are healthiest and work at cultivating that GOOD habit. Next thing you know you’ll be crushing the bad habits quicker while focusing on the positive habits you have. My number one good habit is daily prayer, even if it’s 2 minutes, I pray every single day of my life.
Invest in your hobby. I up and decided to release a Christmas album the last month of 2019 and suddenly I’m working on music almost daily, singing new places, releasing another album later this year, writing this blog and so much more. Taking the time to invest in something that I love lead me to doing even more of it. Love swimming? Join a local swim team. One of those wild people who actually enjoy running? Run a marathon this year. Some people have told me they don’t know if they have a hobby and I always say “Anything that you find yourself drawn to as a source of relaxation or joy (obviously that’s good for you in some way) that’s your hobby!” You can find local clubs, online journals, chat rooms, Facebook groups, Instagram…all kinds of ways to invest in your interests. Statistically, people who have at least one hobby are proven to report more happiness in their life than those who don’t partake of any type of happy. As as our dear friends Elle Woods once said “Happy people don’t kill their husbands”….it may seem out of context…but trust me, it’s true!
Clear your Calendar As a self inflecting, recovering “yes man”, this one is incredibly important and I’m definitely preaching to the choir. My 2019 calendar was booked almost daily with activities that, to be honest, I mostly didn’t want to do. While it sounds counter intuitive, clear your calendar of the things you don’t want to do, by scheduling the things you DO want to do. Then when someone wants you to do something you’re not interested in, you can honestly say that you’re busy. What do I mean? I’ve gone into my 2020 calendar and scheduled times like “writing music”, “reading”, “time with Nick (my finance’), and any type of activity that I actually want to do. I of course still have the option to say yes if something comes up, but have an honest out of the things I don’t want to do.
There you have it; my way of making the best of a fresh start and focusing in on small goals rather than the overwhelming, never ending goals that we all know aren’t going to happen halfway through the year. My belief is that God wants us to be happy beings, full of joy and life. Sometimes that looks like taking more time to focus on US instead of everything around us.