• creative life

    The Perfection Paradox

    I recently listened to a motivating, inspiring podcast where the guest shared this advice: Be OK with B- work. B MINUS. That stopped me in my tracks. I’m not a B- person. I suspect you’re not either. We strive for that A every time, right? After my initial shock wore off, I thought it through. What does B- work look like? Well, it’s a passing grade. It’s not perfect, but it’s not a failure either. And, I think more importantly to her point, it’s done. Taking that a step further, it’s done in a reasonable amount of time. That’s the thing with striving for that A every single time: Sometimes the…

  • freelance life

    Writer’s Block Is a Myth

    The New York Times obituary of Joseph Mitchell heralded his work writing about average and eccentric folks, which he did well… until he didn’t. According to the obit: If his name is not as widely known as it might have been, that is mostly because for the last three decades of his life, he wrote nary a word that anybody got to see. For years, he would show up at his tiny office at The New Yorker every day and assure his colleagues that he was working on something, but that it was not quite ready…. Whatever it was, nothing of any substance emerged from his typewriter after 1965 and his friends came…

  • work life

    5 Ways to Feel Crazy Productive Every Single Day

    Do note that this piece isn’t called “5 ways to be crazy productive.” This list of five wins will help you feel crazy productive every single day. And who doesn’t want to feel like they’re getting it all done? 5 easy, simple, can’t-miss ways to feel crazy productive: Make your bed as soon as you get up. Seriously. It may seem unnecessary, but if you don’t get anything else done the rest of the day, at least you did that! Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day. Put it on your to-do list, and relish crossing it off! Turn off notifications on your cell phone, tablet, and laptop for two hours every morning. You…

  • work life

    Does a work/life balance really exist?

    Recently, I was combing through the January 2014 issue of Real Simple. I love this magazine. It feeds my obsession with cleanliness and organization. Anyway, there was a piece about balance (I didn’t save the mag, so I’m sorry I can’t cite the author). Several contributors gave their definition of balance. My overwhelming takeaway? Balance means something different to everyone, and the important thing is to figure out your definition and aim for that. And – gasp! – it doesn’t necessarily mean putting in the exact same amount of effort with your kids as you do at work while maintaining a well-stocked, alphabetized pantry and a closet full of perfectly-tailored…

  • freelance life,  work life

    Create a morning routine

    What does your morning routine look like? Do you frantically search for your keys while downing a cup of coffee? Do you bolt out the door a few minutes late every day? Do you practice yoga or meditate? Hit the gym? Hit the snooze button? I have never been a morning person. Ever. But recently I’ve found some serious value in a morning routine. Why? A morning routine sets up your day for success. And you don’t even have to be a “morning person” to take advantage of a routine. Once you adjust to a new way of doing things, it becomes easier to stay on task and on point.…

  • creative life

    10 ways to get out of a creative rut

    It happens. We all get stuck. It doesn’t matter the task, either. You could be painting scenery for your child’s class play, arranging columns and rows in your department’s budget spreadsheet, or writing the next great American novel. It happens to me once a week. I’m plowing through client projects, updating social media campaigns, crossing tasks off my to-do list. Then suddenly I realize I’ve been watching bees buzz around the flowerbed outside my window for the last 20 minutes. How do you know you’re in a rut? It’s hard to maintain focus. It’s easy to get distracted. It’s hard to keep your butt in your chair. It’s easy to…

  • work life

    Planning for the new year

    Did you make any resolutions for 2011? January’s almost over… How are you doing with those? Several years ago, I realized a truth about myself: I can not keep resolutions. Sweeping statements (I will lose weight! I will re-read all the classics! I will clean out my closets!) are the stuff of resolutions. Unfortunately, unspecific ideals aren’t achievable. At least not for me, and I’d wager not for the majority of us. Why? Because we’re human! “I will lose weight” becomes “I’ll work out tomorrow,” which becomes “This weekend I will cook healthy food,” which becomes “Diet starts Monday.” By the time Monday rolls around, you feel like a failure.…

  • work life

    Time management made simple

    When I was 14, I worked at Burger King. It was an awesome job. My friends worked there, I got to eat fast food for dinner two nights each week, and I could drink as much free soda as I wanted. Turns out, it was a great job for another reason: I learned about time management. Each shift started at 4:00 and ended at 8:00. I couldn’t clock in one minute early or out one minute late due to child labor laws. During that four-hour period, I had to take and serve orders, sweep the dining room, restock condiments, take a 30-minute dinner break, and count my drawer. Because I…

  • freelance life

    Giving back as a service provider

    Now that I work for myself, I can arrange my schedule to be flexible. While most days I’m tethered to my desk from 8 am until sometimes very late, I love the ability to work in some time to give back. Writing, editing, proofreading, research… All the tasks I do are services that a lot of nonprofit organizations neglect because they’re so busy running their business! It’s really important to be to find ways to give, though financial giving isn’t always the best – or most needed – form of giving. Instead, I’m taking on a handful of service-related tasks, like writing press releases for my local Habitat for Humanity.…