organization

5 Freebies for Designing a Life You Love.

Migrating all of my content over to this site gave me an opportunity to go through all of the content I've written over the past few years. It made me realize that some of my favourite posts could use some updating. I wanted to create tools that would allow you to put these ideas into action by using the exact exercises and strategies that I do. And since these are my most popular posts, hopefully give you more of what you want. So I've created these five freebies for designing a life you love. You can download them from the respective posts by clicking on the titles below.

50 More Ways to Have an Adventure Without Leaving Town

Travel is something so many of us crave more of, but time and budget constraints mean that most of us can’t jet off on holiday whenever we want to. ‘Adventure’ is one of my core desired feelings, so I’ve been trying to infuse my life with it, even when I’m stuck within the confines of my 9-5. We get to choose what our life looks and feels like, so instead of letting it get dull or mundane just because there isn’t an epic vacation on your horizon, commit to spicing up your day to day with endless mini adventures Here are 50 more ways you can go on an adventure without even leaving town.

The Daily Writing Planner

There’s no magic formula or course you can take that will make you a writer. Of course reading a lot, learning the tricks of the trade, and getting critical feedback will push you further. But the simple act of writing day in and day out is how you'll finish your projects. It’s what will make you a writer. Creating a daily writing practice is a personal process based on what inspires and motivates you. I've created the Daily Writing Planner to figure out what will work best for you.

Punk Rock Note Taking Worksheets

Note taking is better when it's pretty AND easy to implement what you're learning. Use the punk rock note taking worksheet to up your note taking game so that you can make the most of a book or course and actually apply it to your life.

Cash Budget Calculator

Using a cash budget means that I never get part way through the month and feel absolutely skint. I always know that I have enough money in the bank to live modestly but comfortably. And if I spend too zealously one week, I never have to wait more than a few days for a little top up. But if numbers freak you out, don't worry: you can download the Cash Budget Calculator worksheets for free.

The Daily Practice Tracker

I think that creating a daily practice that’s realistic and nourishes every part of us is important, as long as we allow for a certain amount of fluidity and check in with ourselves regularly to honour how we're feeling and take care of what we need on that particular day. Keeping track of how you're nurturing each of the pillars of your daily practice will help you figure out what works best for you.

I'd love to hear how these tools work for you, and whether there are any other posts you'd like to see updated with worksheets, mini guides, or additional resources.

Happy Monday!


How to Make the Most of a Book or Course & Actually Apply it to Your Life.

When you're committed to your own growth and personal development (or building a business, learning a craft, or anything else for that matter) it's easy to turn into an information junkie. You devour anything you can read, watch, listen to, or participate in on the subject. But at a certain point it all starts to sound a bit samey. You might start saying "Well yeah, I already know that!" even though you haven't actually applied it to your life. And yet you still pick up another book or sign up for a new course. I know I do, anyway. But over the years I've been honing a strategy for fully absorbing the things that I learn and starting to practice it in my own life. Here's what it looks like.

Ask Excellent Questions

An excellent question is any question that helps you gain a deeper understanding of the material or figure out how to apply it to your own life. I love that The Blogcademy ladies made it clear that they were completely at our disposal throughout the two-day workshop. This was our one chance to get our questions answered, so I tried to make the most of it. But you can even ask questions when you're reading a book. Talk about the things you're reading about with a friend. Create a reading group. Reach out to the author through social media. Find a forum where the material is being discussed. Ask yourself how the lessons being taught apply to your own life. Force yourself to go deeper, rather than just passively consuming information.

Take Thorough Notes

Taking notes allows you to pull out the most important information so that you can come back to it again and again. It also allows you to make the content your own. You can scribble down anything you want to look up or write in ideas of how to apply the information . When I'm reading I love to underline passages and scribble in the margins, but I've also made a habit of writing my biggest takeaways into a favourite notebook. This way I've got a mini bible of the lessons I'm working on integrating into my day-to-day-life.

TAKE EFFECTIVE NOTES IN STYLE

Click below to download the Punk Rock Note Taking worksheet, which will lead you through taking effective notes in style.

Schedule Your Action Steps

Information is useless unless you start applying it and integrating it into your own life. You won't be able to do it all at once, so instead make a list of action steps of the things that are most relevant to you right now and actually schedule them into your calendar. It's a simple thing to do and you're a lot more likely to complete them that way.

Review, Review, Review

This is the one tidbit I gleaned onto recently and it's having a massive impact for me. I feel like I harp on and on about the need to create rituals for yourself, but they really do make all the difference in designing a life you love. I've mentioned before that I have a monthly ritual of reviewing my goals, taking stock of my progress over the past month, and setting targets for the month to come. I'm now incorporating into that process a review of my notes from the key courses and books I'm working on applying. Often there's too much information to use it all in one go and as you make progress, you start seeing things in a new way. So by sitting down with my notes once a month I can pull out new action steps and figure out where they fit into my plan for the month. Plus regularly reading the information means that I absorb it more fully. Perhaps this isn't revolutionary to anyone else, but such a simple idea is leading to a lot of progress for me.

So there it is, my four-step process for making the most out of a book or course, and actually applying it to my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm still constantly devouring personal development and business books. But when I am drawn in by a shiny new course, I'm able to ask myself: have I fully integrated the information I already have? Do I even have time to start applying this stuff? Which can offer some great perspective when the information junkie in me just wants more, more, more.

What about you, do you have any tips for taking the information you consume from theory to practice? I'd love to hear!

TAKE EFFECTIVE NOTES IN STYLE

Click below to download the Punk Rock Note Taking worksheet, which will lead you through taking effective notes in style.

How to Get Clear on Your Priorities When You're Struggling to Do it All.

These days I seem to oscillate between two mindsets. On some days I feel like I've got everything under control. Life is fun and everything seems to flow pretty easily. I'm proud of the progress I'm making and of my ability to balance my many competing priorities.

On others, life feels like a never-ending to-do list. I'm hyper-aware that everything I do represents the sacrifice of something else that remains undone. I am never fully in the moment enjoying where I am or pausing to acknowledge what I've accomplished because my mind has already jumped to the next thing, and the next, and the next.

I want to have it all. Do it all. Be it all.

I want to continue building a fun, intimate relationship with my partner. I want to grow my business to serve others while creating prosperity for myself. I want to excel at my day job. I want to spend plenty of time with my girlfriends. I want to feel vibrantly healthy, while also not feeling restricted. I want to go on lots of adventures but also have plenty alone time.

Sometimes my life can feel like a tangled web of competing priorities, but I've realized that by getting really clear on what I want and being intentional with my time, I can have it all. I just need to be realistic about what that looks like. Here are some simple strategies for doing it all while maintaining your sanity.

Narrow in on what it is you really want. It helps to divide your life into categories based on your main priorities. These might be relationships, friendships, family, health, career, and personal development. Or they might not be; that's something you need to figure out for yourself. Once you have, decide what goals or visions you have for each of those priorities. What do you want each area to look and feel like? Are there certain things you want to accomplish?

Create routines that make space for your priorities. If writing a book is on your list, block off 30 minutes per day that's just for writing. If you really want to spend more quality time with your girlfriends, create a weekly ritual of making dinner for one another. By structuring your week around your main priorities, you'll have to schedule everything else around them rather than the other way around. So you won't find days and weeks slipping by without paying attention to them.

Ask yourself: is this contributing to where I want to go and who I want to be? Is it best serving my priorities? There will always be more opportunities than there is time, so be intentional with how you spend your days. Rather than saying yes to every invite that comes your way or endlessly scrolling through Facebook, remember that this is time that could be better spent on the things that really matter to you. These questions can help keep you from getting distracted when it feels like life is rushing past you at a mile a minute.

Savour and celebrate. When you're doing something, fully commit to being there and doing it. If you find your mind wandering to your to-do list, remind yourself that you've decided to do this thing because it's important to you. Be present and really enjoy it. Similarly, when you tick something off your to-do list, allow yourself to acknowledge and celebrate this achievement.Go to bed thinking of everything you've accomplished that day, rather than getting caught up in the seemingly endless list of things left to do.

It's true that we can't be everything for everyone in every moment. Sometimes we need to accept that we need a break or that two things just don't work together. But when we get really clear on what we want our days to look like and take charge as the chief architect of our life, it's completely possible to keep a lot of balls in the air without feeling completely worn out by it - in fact it can even be a lot of fun!

How would you describe your biggest priorities? Do you have any tips for staying focused on all of them?

Love, cat eye sunglasses, & hot air balloon rides,