Alicia Grace Co

Learn How To Set Achievable Goals

GoalsAlicia Grace3 Comments
learn-how-to-set-achievable-goals-post.jpg

The key to achieving your goals is making them achievable in the first place - set yourself up for success. I don’t mean setting easy goals. I mean setting goals that are challenging but real. ‘Get 5,000 Instagram followers in 2 months’ is challenging but achievable. ‘Make a viral blog post’ is not, because it’s not measurable, and you can’t create an action plan for it.

But what exactly makes a goal achievable? Read on to learn my best tips and techniques.

Think about whether it is realistic

A realistic goal is something that you can create an action plan for, and have the necessary resources to accomplish them. If these are resources that ones that you don’t have yet but can acquire, then put this into your action plan. This leads me to my next tip:

Get the right resources

This includes the knowledge you need for your goal. Create an action plan of how you’re going to get those resources. If you need money to fund your creative business, how do you plan to raise this? Perhaps you could try to cut back on some spending, or even sell some things. If it’s knowledge that you need, who do you know that you could reach out to for help, or are there resources online that could give you the knowledge that you need?

Set your milestones

Decide on what your milestones are going to be. If you have a number-related goal, like saving £5,000, break them down into smaller £1,000 chunks. This will make your goal seem much less intimidating, and easier to achieve than a big final figure.

Decide on how you’re going to track your progress

Once you’ve decided on what your milestones are, you need to set up a system to track them. This could be as simple as writing down the dates you hit your milestones on a piece of paper, or a full-on progress tracker (like this one from my Goal-Getter Planner!).

Schedule time to work on your goal

Your goal is important, and deserves your time. If this is something you’re short on, then adjust the timeline for achieving your goal accordingly, and give yourself a longer period to achieve it.

Make sure you actually care about your goal

This is the last but most important tip. The only way you’re going to actually achieve your goal is if you care about it, and you’re truly motivated to achieve it. A goal is something that is important to you, and it should make you feel fulfilled to work on it.


Are you ready to set achievable goals? I have put together a wonderful workbook for you that will walk you through discovering and setting goals that you will actually get done. Click here to start your journey now.

Prioritising Your Life, One Task at a Time

Life Hacks, Productivity, Time ManagementOlivia Sánchez8 Comments

My first semester of college was rough. Not because I was missing my family or the level of academic study was difficult. The reason my first semester was so difficult was because I didn’t know how to prioritize my day. I would get up whenever, go to be whenever, and while I was serious about my education and its importance, I did miss a few assignments. You see up until that point, other people had prioritized all of my tasks and activities for me: my parents, my teachers, my coaches all told me what to do, when to do it and gave me plenty of reminders along the way. As a result, my transition into making these decisions on my own was a little bit (read: a lot) more rocky than expected. But the good news is that I learned from it and have passed that knowledge on to others, including first time college students. Here are the Top 5 Lessons I learned and that anyone can utilize to make their Adulting just a tiny bit easier. 

Lesson #1: Write it all down

 Prioritizing your life, one task at a time.  [Blog post.]

This is by far the biggest mistake people make! They rely on their brain to keep all their important items in order and what gets me is that they are surprised when items get forget. Sometimes it’s a simple as forgetting to buy milk and having to go back to the store. Annoying sure, but not really critical. But what happens when you forget an important meeting with your boss, miss your child’s school performance, or worse, forget your spouse’s birthday and don’t have a present for them? Yikes!

Now a lot of people think “I don’t want to have to get a planner to write all these things in. I hate planners. It’s just another thing to carry… Blah blah blah.” Okay then, if you don’t like planners, then don’t get one. Get a little notebook you like and make yourself a daily to do list. Or be like my husband, write one big list, cross things off as you go, and add new items at the bottom. It’s more about getting that To Do list out of your head and in the real world, where you can see it. 

Lesson #2: The Biggies

The Biggies are the really large categories you use to classify things. For example, a student’s Biggies might be School, Family, Work. My Biggies are currently School, Work, Family/Friends, and Home. And essentially everything that I have on my To Do list Falls into one of those 4 categories. By breaking things down into these categories, I can clump things together. Not only does it make it easier to write these items down, I can more easily focus on one area a time. 
So how do you utilize The Biggies to prioritize? Personally, I assign days to each area of my life. Sunday and Wednesday are Home days, so on those days, anything I have in that category gets priority over say the Family/Friends category. By breaking it up this way, I’m able to give my uninterrupted focus to items I need to get done in a single Biggie. I’ve also seen people assign certain Biggies to certain parts of the day, like doing their Home items at certain times of the day. It’s really about what works best for you!

Lesson #3: The 4 Ds

Now that you’ve got your Biggies laid out, how do you know what to do first? The method that I employ, and that I feel is the simplest, is inspired by the Eisenhower Box. Basically, I assign, and write, each of my Biggie Tasks into one of 4 categories; called the 4 Ds: Do, Decide, Delegate, & Delete.

Do items are High Priority because they going to happen that day, and must be completed. 
Decide items are Medium Priority, meaning they are important, but you’ve got some time to complete. Schedule time for these another day.

Delegate items are also Medium Priority. The way to think these items as “I’m waiting for something to happen or someone is going to do it for me. I’ll need to follow up later.”
Delete items are Low Priority. Whether they get done or not, it won’t affect your end goals. 

Here’s what mine looks like for my School Biggies:

Do – High priority items!

  • Read chapter 15 and take quiz (due tonight)
  • Discussion Board Post (due tonight)
  • Homework Assignment (due tonight)

Decide

  • Read chapter 19 (due Friday; Assigned to Thursday)
  • Group Project #1 (due next month; group meeting Friday)

Delegate 

  • Group Project #2 (due next week; completed contribution & waiting on other members)
  • Group Discussion Board (due next week; ask partner to write final copy)

Delete

  • Group email (no response needed)
  • Campus email (glance but no response needed)

You’ll notice that I put some notes to the right of my items. This helps me keep track of where I am on a task. While this is meant to be done everyday, I realize that’s unrealistic; you’ve got to have a life too. Once a week works well for this method as well. 

Lesson #4: Do the Hardest Thing First

This is my favorite lesson, even though it is by far the hardest one and took me the longest to learn. We naturally avoid things we don’t want to do and that is the root of procrastination. By doing the one or two items you’re dreading first each day, you don’t waste energy on the dread. For me, cleaning the bathroom is my most dreaded task, but of course, it can’t be avoided. On Sundays, I get up, clean the bathroom first, and then move on with the rest of my Biggie items for the day.

This works well for items that are Difficult or Time Consuming projects. Even if you don’t dread doing the item, energy is still wasted by putting it off, because you have to put in more energy later to get it done. 

Lesson #5: Flexibility is Key

In a perfect world, you’ll be able to accomplish every item in each and every day. But of course, it’s not a perfect world, and stuff comes up to derail your whole plan for the day. Flexibility is key!

This was another tough lesson for me to learn because I’m a Type A overachiever and perfectionist. It is really, really hard for me to leave a task undone and/or less than perfect; and I’m sure there are many other people out there just like me! But with some practice, you can learn to pivot your day as things change.

Now these lessons won’t solve all your problems and it will take time for you to get accustomed to thinking this way. For me, it took a few weeks to get the hang of it. But it is so worth it and had made my life so much more manageable. We all know that adulting is hard. Sometimes there is so much to do and it feels completely overwhelming! This is understandable and hopefully, these tips will make managing it all a little bit easier.


About the Author
 Olivia Sánchez

Olivia Sánchez lives in DFW, Texas with her husband and their two cats, Serenity and Midnight. Currently, she is an MBA student, works full time for a staffing agency, and assists her husband in managing his business, 8Bit Education. She love learning something new, writing, and education. She is passionate about education and her community.

 

Morning Routines: The Secret to Achieving Your Goals

Goals, ProductivityAlicia Grace1 Comment
 Morning routines are the little big secret to achieving your goals. Learn why.

Mornings set the pace for the whole day, at least for the first part of it, and starting your day right can set you up for success.

Roy F. Baumeister says in his book that our willpower is strongest in the morning, making it the most important time of your day. The first hour of your day determines the rest of it, and you should build a strong foundation for it. The key to this is your morning routine.

Yeah, I know - brushing your teeth and chomping down toast doesn’t seem like a goal-getting technique. It’s not.

But the kind of morning routine that energises you and helps put you in a positive mindset is.

Having an intentional morning routine places control of your life directly in your hands, and by starting this the moment you wake up, you will be empowered to conquer your goals throughout the day.

Why is this?

A morning routine lets your brain breathe

Your brain has been resting for 8 hours, and it needs some time to warm up properly before you can put it to good use. Morning routines create a sense of normalcy and stability, which is very important for your cognitive health. Every decision that you make takes up a little bit of your energy and glucose, and you really don’t want to tire your brain out so early in the morning! Yes, deciding whether you should wear your hair up or down uses precious energy. It’s called decision fatigue, and it’s why people like former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes (the world’s youngest self-made woman billionaire - yes, with a B), and Mark Zuckerberg choose to wear the same thing every day.

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Many things are going to need your mental energy today, and it’s good to let your brain work on autopilot for some things while you are still waking up, so that you can save your energy for the more important stuff.

It prepares you for success

Taking a few minutes in the morning to plan for the day will do wonders. It helps you focus on your goals for the day, and gets your mind ready to achieve your goals. Knowing what you are doing each day is very important as you will have a mission, rather than starting your day not quite sure what you have on your plate.

Remember what Roy Baumeister said? Your willpower is strongest in the morning. Use that.


Convinced that morning routines are important?

Good news, you can create your perfect goal-getting morning today.

To help you get started, I have a few tips:

  1. Incorporate something for your body, like having a healthy breakfast.
  2. Do something that makes you happy. I like browsing Instagram, hehe.
  3. Try not to rush. Waking up 5 minutes earlier can mean enjoying your cup of coffee in the morning, and not rushing out the door while chewing breakfast.

And as for my top tip?

Write down your current routine so you know exactly what you are doing, then plan out your ideal morning routine. You can write this down anywhere you like, but I’m a paper planner-lovin’ girl, and designed a Daily Routine planner in my Productive Life Kit for you.


9 Reasons Why You're Not Achieving Your Goals and How To Overcome Them

GoalsAlicia Grace6 Comments

You set goals, but for some reason, you fail to accomplish them each time. I know how frustrating this can be. In this post, I’ll share with you the exact reasons why, and actionable steps you can take to combat them.

 Learn the 9 reasons why your goals fail, and the actionable steps you can take to overcome them.

Problem #1: You don’t have a specific goal

‘Become my own boss’ or even ‘lose 10 lbs’ are not specific goals. The trouble with such a broad goal is that it’s hard to see it as something real. It becomes an ideal, not a goal per se.

Solution:

Your goals have to be SMART, ie. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Your goal to become your own boss should look something like this:

‘Build a business bringing in £5,000 in income each month within the next two years’.

This goal may not look pretty, but you can see the goal suddenly becoming more real. It’s Specific, Measurable (£5,000), Achievable, Relevant (the life goal being to be your own boss), and Time-Bound (two years).

You can (and should!) also break this down into smaller goals: ‘Brainstorm and come up with 5 business ideas this week’; ‘set up Instagram account, make first 5 posts, and get 100 followers in 2 weeks’.

Problem #2: You aren’t motivated enough

Motivation is a funny thing. Chances are you started your goal with a great deal of motivation, but somewhere along the way, the motivation faded away, as did your goal.

Solution:

Research shows that what successful people have in common is grit. If you want to achieve your goals, you have to stay motivated. This doesn’t come automatically: you have to work at it.

So, how do you keep your motivation high?

Constantly remind yourself of your goal. Write it down where you can see it daily. Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. We all face setbacks at times, and one roadblock is no reason to give up on your goal. Remember to get up and keep going.

Problem #3: You don’t know where you are

Imagine wanting to save £1,000 but never knowing how much you have already saved. At some stage, you’re probably going to forget about your goal simply because you can’t see your progress.

Solution:

Find a way to keep track of your progress. Remember the SMART method? This is the Measurable part. If you’re trying to gain 10,000 Instagram followers, for example, break that down into smaller 1,000 chunks, and write down how many followers you have each day or each week. This will also help you notice trends so that, for example, you know which days you’re most effective.

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Problem #4: You waste free time

This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. Proper time to relax is a good thing, but don’t mistake important relaxation time for extra time you can put towards your goals. Each minute is an opportunity to work towards your goal, and doing this means that you are missing out.

Solution:

Unless your goal is ‘go on a walk at 6am on Tuesday mornings’, you don’t have to keep it to any specific time. Definitely set aside time to specifically work on your goals, but if more opportunities come up during the week, seize them. Dinner cancelled? Maybe you can hit the gym, or brainstorm on new products.

Problem #5: You don’t write your goals down

Failing to write down your goals means that you have just missed out on one of the best and easiest ways to hold yourself accountable to your goals. I can’t say enough how important this is.

Solution:

WRITE IT DOWN. It has to be somewhere you see often, preferably daily.

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Problem #6: You aren’t committed to your goals

This one’s a biggie guys. Remember what we said about motivation earlier? Well, commitment is even more important. It’s what keeps you going on days when you’re running low on motivation, because you’ve committed yourself to it. When you aren’t committed, it’s easy to let your goals slip.

Solution:

Take responsibilities of your goals. If you have failed in the past, own up to them, and think about what went wrong, and how you can overcome those same obstacles if they come up again.

Problem #7: You try to achieve too many goals

It’s good to have goals, but too many of them means that your focus is spread out too much, and you end up struggling to achieve a single one.

Solution:

Take stock of what’s on your plate already before you take on more. Try to focus on one big goal at a time.

Problem #8: You hang out with the wrong people

According to Tim Ferris, you are the sum of the five people you spend most time with. Choosing who you surround with is crucial to achieving your goals. If the people you hang out with discourage you from your dreams, or if they themselves don’t do anything about their own goals, you won’t be motivated to achieve your own either.

Solution:

Spend less time with negative people, and don’t let them get in your head.

Problem #9: You burn yourself out

The trouble with New Year’s Resolutions is that you tend to put all your effort into those first few days and weeks, then get burned out.

Solution:

Pace yourself. It’s just like training to run a marathon: you start out taking short runs, and stretch yourself slowly until eventually you hit that 10km.

There you have it,

the 8 reasons why you find it so hard to achieve your goals, and solutions to every single one of these problems.

Did you find this post useful? Send it to a friend to help them achieve their goals too.


The Science of Creating A New Habit

Habits, ProductivityAlicia GraceComment

Habits affect so much of our lives. A good habit can help you be more productive achieve your goals. There are some habits that many of us want to start, like going to the gym more. My personal habit goal is to drink 8 cups of water each day. But creating a new habit can seem a little tough. I’ve tried it so many times: you start out strong for a few days, then you miss one day, and suddenly you’re back at square one.

Starting a new habit shouldn’t be that difficult. Starting (and sticking to!) a new habit can be boiled down to a science that’s really easy to understand.

 Learn how to create a new habit and actually stick to it! Good habits are so important if you want to achieve your goals.

First, you have to understand that we’re creatures of habit, and everything in your routine now is a habit. That’s why it’s so hard to change your behaviour. When you want to start a new habit, you’re not just introducing something new into your life, but you’re also taking something away. Let’s say you want to go to the gym for an hour twice a week. You have to figure out what you need to reduce from your life to make that possible. Maybe it’s time you would have otherwise spent watching Netflix, or relaxing in the bath. Think about what you’re giving up, and decide whether the new habit that you want to create is worth it. What will you gain from it, and what benefits will you get? Know your WHY, and don’t just do something because you know you should. Go to the gym twice a week because you want to work on your health or lose some weight, not just because it’s a good thing to do.

Once you’ve decided to create a new habit, it’s time to get down to business.

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When you’re starting a new habit, it can seem a little daunting, especially when it’s something completely new. Research shows that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. Commit yourself to your new habit for just 21 days to start with - that will be much less scary, and easier to think about. Once you’ve actually done it for 21 days, you’ll find that the habit has already stuck, and it’s just a matter of continuing.

Building on this theme, I know it’s really tempting to start a few new habits at the same time, but the key is to focus on just one! Starting a new habit requires quite a bit of effort, and it’s really important to get a new habit properly into your life before trying to start a new one. Just like you’d only really focus on one big project at a time, you should only work on creating one new habit at a time.

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If you struggle to keep on track with your new habit, the best thing that you can do is to automate it. Schedule that gym session into your calendar. Set a reminder every few hours to drink that glass of water. Pack a yummy lunch so that you’re not tempted to skip it.

Think about what exactly you need to do in order to create your new habit. If you want to wake up earlier, you have to sleep earlier. Is there something that is stopping you from actually doing your new habit? Make sure you address it first. Similarly, think ahead about what obstacles you may face. What if you need to stay late in the office on gym day, or you need to go to a friend’s birthday party? Things like these can interfere with your habit-forming goal, especially during those early 21 days, but they don’t have to be your pitfall. Try to think of solutions so that you’re not stressed when interferences come up. Could you go to the gym on another day, or work out longer during your next session?

Something else that is so important that people often forget is to track your habits. Make sure you know if you are actually keeping up with it, and on the days that you miss out, try to note down why. That will help you to address it in the future and stay on track. You can do it however you like, but my favourite way is with pen and paper. That’s why I created this Habit Tracker.

Lastly, and importantly, set a reward for yourself so that you have an incentive to go through with your plan. It can be something simple, even colouring in a square on your habit tracker, but your brain will find it so much easier to start something new.


Good Habits: Why Are They So Important?

Productivity, GoalsAlicia Grace4 Comments

You’ve heard of the saying, ‘you are what you eat’. Well, how about ‘you are what you do’?

Up to 40% of what we do each day is out of habit, from our morning routines to the last few things we do each night. Habits are useful because they save energy so we can focus on other things. You don’t think about brushing your teeth or whether you’re going to drink coffee tomorrow - you just do it. Habits, then, make us more productive. But what if your habits are not the most efficient way of doing things? What if you can get ready in the mornings in 30 minutes instead of 40? I know how important 10 minutes of sleep can be, and over the week, it adds up to more than an hour.

 Why exactly are good habits so important, and what do they have to do with achieving your goals?  [Blog post image: Why are good habits so important?]

You create a habit when you do something repeatedly, until eventually you start to do it without giving it a second thought. The thing is that your brain can’t tell a good habit from a bad habit - it’s up to you to break the cycle. Why is it so important to have good habits? Well, there are three simple reasons.

Good habits help you achieve your goals

Good habits will help you accomplish great things. They help you learn more, like when you read a little bit each day, and carve out more time in the day when your habits are productive.

Think about what habits will help you do this, and start implementing them, one by one.

Habits can keep you going

On days when your motivation is lacking, a good habit can be just what you need to keep going. Whether or not you’re feeling like exercising today, for example, a habit of going to the gym after work will see you through. It’s just like having a good work ethic: once you’ve created it, it becomes a part of you!

When I was in university, I kept a habit of studying in the evenings. No matter what mood I was in or how tired I was, I ended up doing just that, simply because I’ve made a habit of it.

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Habits help you unwind

I know I’ve been talking about productive habits, but sometimes, the habit of relaxing can help you in other areas of your life. If you have a habit of curling up on your couch (or, let’s face it, your bed) to watch Netflix on Monday nights, that’s good. It gives you something to look forward to, and you know that you have a dedicated relaxation time at the end of a long day.

Don’t miss my next blog post, because I’m going to tell you how to create a new habit.

How To Plan Your Ideal Week in 5 Steps

Planning, ProductivityAlicia GraceComment
 Your ideal week can become REALITY. Learn how you can make this happen.

We all have fantasies about an ideal week: waking up excited to start the day on Monday morning, accomplishing all of your tasks each day, going to sleep at a decent time each night, and having time to relax and have fun with loved ones. My ideal week includes taking my furry friend for a walk every evening.

Even though life has a way of sending surprises along the way, there’s something you can do to make your ideal week a reality: planning it out. In this post, I’ll share with you exactly how you can do this.

1. Set aside time to plan

Your ideal week deserves some thought and care. Pick a time before it starts to plan it out. Over the weekend is usually best, though if you are planning your work week, you may prefer to do this on Friday at the end of the day.

2. Pick your focus

Having a focus - a few goals, or even a single one - is the best thing you can do when planning out your week.

Set out your goals on a piece of paper. Make sure that at least one of your goals is in line with a larger goal. If you want to go back to school, for example, one of your goals could be to research universities, or speak to people about their experiences.

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3. Think about what is realistic

Ideal does not mean out of reach. You just have to be a bit realistic about it! Reflect on the week that has just ended - what went right, what went totally wrong, and what you want to work on for next week.

4. Time block

Before you start scheduling your tasks, block out the times you’ve already committed yourself to: school, work, appointments.

5. Plan your tasks

Once you have your schedule and tasks in front of you, it’s time to start planning out your tasks. Some things can be done throughout the week - put that in a weekly to do list. Write down things that have to be done at specific times on the individual days. That way, you won’t forget what you have to do.

Again, be realistic. Look at the time you have left after you have time blocked, and decide what you can get done during those periods.


Ready to plan your ideal week? My Time Planning Kit is the perfect tool for you.


12 Habits of Very Productive Women

ProductivityAlicia GraceComment
12-habits-productive-women.jpg

We all have so many things to do in a day, and being productive is now a must. The key to this? Having good habits that will keep you on top of your game, focus on what’s important, and most importantly, stay mentally healthy. Whether you’re a total productivity pro or you’re trying to find your rhythm, we could all use a few tips. Here are some habits of productive women that I have learned along the way.

1. Wake up early

Now, I know we all love our sleep, but this one is crucial. Productive people know that mornings are the best time to get things done, before the rest of the world wakes up. There is a surprising amount of things that can be done if you wake up just 30 minutes earlier. You can make a healthy breakfast, read a chapter of a book, write down your to do list, or even get a quick workout in.

Fun fact: I was super productive when I had jet lag in the UK because I woke up at 5am...

2. Take sleep seriously

Waking up early will only work when you are well rested. The safest thing to do is to get a solid 8 hours of sleep, but if you really want to up the game, check out how much sleep you should get depending on how old you are, or this app that wakes you up gently according to your sleep cycle.

3. Enjoy me-time

You’re a total #boss, and you deserve time to yourself to relax and unwind. There’s nothing worse than powering through and crashing, so try to take time out each day for yourself. It can be anything, from reading a book to taking a nice long bath, or going for a walk. For best results, switch off your phone and just enjoy the moment.

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4. Focus on self-improvement

Learning never stops. There’s a lot that you can do, from reading blogs to enrolling in online courses, or even learning a new language. The most productive people know that the world is changing and that they need to learn to adapt to stay on top.

5. Spend time with others

Human beings need connection. For extroverts, this comes easily, but whether you are outgoing or a homebody, it’s really important to make a conscious effort to reach out to people. Give your sister a call, catch up with that old college friend, and absolutely spent quality time with family at home.

6. Take time to reflect

There are so many times while we are chasing productivity that we feel that we haven’t enough, and if you take the time to reflect, you’ll be surprised at how much you have accomplished. Productive people also use reflection time to evaluate their actions and see if they need to change their approach.

The best way to do this is to keep a journal. I’ve kept one ever since I was little - I just found one from when I was 9-years-old! My handwriting was surprisingly nice - and love not only journaling at the end of the day, but also looking back at old entries. You’ll be surprised at what you find, and the lessons you’ll learn in hindsight. I kept a journal throughout university and was amazed at how many things I did during my time in Cambridge, though I wish I had taken the time to write more!

7. Set daily goals

I can’t emphasise this enough, because I know how easy it is to whittle the day away, especially when you focus on the small things. Decide what you want to accomplish the night before or in the morning, and you’ll soon find that you’re more productive than ever. Better yet, set weekly goals each weekend.

8. Create a plan

Setting a goal is one thing, but what will really kick you into gear is creating a plan. It’s so important to know what steps you have to take.

9. Follow a routine

One of the secrets to productivity is routine. There’s a reason why people like Mark Zuckerberg wear basically the same clothes each day, and it’s that routine prevents decision fatigue and gives you space to be creative in other areas of your life.

10. Be grateful

In the middle of all your busyness, don’t forget to set aside time to take stock of what you are grateful for and write it down.

11. Eat a healthy breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Remember, you haven’t eaten in at least 8 hours! Done right, breakfast will give you energy to power through the day, so don’t skimp on this. Everyone has their own favourite power foods - mine is soft-boiled eggs - but the ultimate go-to is something with lots of protein (like eggs, yay!), and fruits are an all-time favourite. Don’t forget to pair this with plenty of water.

12. Eat frogs

First I say to eat a good breakfast, and now I’m asking you to eat frogs, hmm… But seriously, ‘eating a frog’ means getting difficult tasks out of the way first thing in the morning. I know how draining it can be to keep putting off an annoying or hard task, but attacking them before you do anything else has some serious benefits. Completing them will give you a sense of accomplishment that’s perfect to carry you through a productive day, and will also mean that you don’t have something having over your head all day. So go ahead, eat a frog each morning!

Fun fact: I’ve eaten actual frogs...


Do you have habits you love or that make you more productive? Share in the comments, or let me know on Instagram!

A4 vs US Letter: what's the difference?

How To, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials, Ultimate Planner GuideAlicia GraceComment
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One of the most frequently-asked questions I've seen is what the difference is between A4 and US Letter, so I wanted to clear the air with a cute infographic!

There isn't actually too much difference when it comes to printing, and if you're using my sheets, you'll find that you can print them on both sizes with no problem at all.

 Do you think this is useful? Share it with your friends on Pinterest!

Do you think this is useful? Share it with your friends on Pinterest!


If you're curious about other planner paper sizes, I have a guide just for you! Click here to see an infographic on planner sizes, and find out the differences between A4, A5, personal, pocket, and mini!


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4 Easy Ways to Reach Inbox Zero in 13 Minutes

Productivity, Life Hacks, How To, Tips & TricksAlicia GraceComment
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Inbox: ZERO. It’s an elusive number, but it’s possible to get your unread messages all the way down to 0. I see inbox 0 every other day, and even if I’m really busy, the most I’ll let my unread messages get to is 50. At least once a week, I’ll take a few minutes to cut these down to size.

I’ve read a lot of articles about email productivity, but none really use what I’m about to tell you. The methods in this post are free, practical, and really easy to use. Having a clear mind is so important to being productive and just general well-being, and a clean inbox is a step towards that. I’m here to help you tame the beast because it’s so amazing to declutter your digital life, and get the clean inbox that you deserve!

If this sounds exciting to you, read on for 3 really easy ways to give your inbox a new lease on life!

1. Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters

You’d be surprised at how much these clog up your inbox, so the first thing you want to do is plug the hole and stop more from flooding in!

Head on to Unroll.me - it’s a free service that will pull up all of your subscriptions so you can tick them off and unsubscribe, all in one go.

If you want to do this manually, Gmail has made this easier. Instead of searching for a tiny ‘unsubscribe’ button, there is now one right next to the sender’s email address. If it’s not there, click on the arrow next to your own email address (this should just read ‘me’) in the header of the email, and there will be an ‘unsubscribe’ button. It’s a statutory requirement to have an ‘unsubscribe’ button, so use your right! (And here using the word ‘statutory’ reminds me of that law essay I need to write, hmm.)

2. Delete unwanted emails

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t need an email about a sale that ended last week sitting in my inbox.

Think of it this way: if a shoe brand emails you once a week about a sale, you’ll have 52 emails from them a year. Considering that you probably won’t need to read about sales that have already ended or new releases from last year, that’s at least 52 emails you can get rid of in one fell swoop per newsletter sender.

Find one of these emails, and copy the email address it’s coming from. Paste into the search bar so that all of the past emails from them pop up. Select all, delete, and watch your number of unread emails drop!

It’s such a satisfying feeling and is probably one of my favourite ways to do a quick email declutter!

3. Set up labels

I can’t tell you how much this has changed my life and made my emails so, so much easier to manage. I have 14 filters in my personal email address, and the one I make use of most is my ‘Newsletters’ filter (I think Gmail’s Social and Updates tabs are just really weird… though if you successfully use them, do let me know in the comments!).

To set up a new filter, go to your settings in Gmail, then Labels, and set up a few. I’d recommend starting with Newsletters, as that’s usually the bulk of emails. A few others I use are Personal, Ebay, and Paypal. For my business email, I have Orders, Resources, and Marketing to name a few. Basically, if you’re getting a lot of one type of email that you’d like to be able to sort through together, make a label for it.

Pro tip: you can assign different colours to labels! My favourite colour is pink, so all my Personal emails get a pink label. :)

4. Combine labels with filters

Now, it’s time for the exciting part with filters. By using this, you can set it so that every single email from Brand X gets marked as a Newsletter automatically, and you can even make sure it doesn’t even land in your main inbox or is marked as read immediately.

The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to filter emails as they come, or to select from existing messages. Whenever I get a new newsletter that hasn’t been labelled, I click ‘more’, then ‘filter messages like this’, which means that all emails from this sender will receive the instructions you’re about to give. Go ahead and click ‘create a new filter’.

This next page is where the exciting stuff happens. You can choose to archive all emails from this sender immediately (‘skip the inbox’), but the most important part is to apply a label. Make sure you also apply this filter to all previous emails from this sender with the little tick at the bottom.

Once you’re happy and have sent a nice number of emails into your Newsletter label, your number of unread emails should be on the decline. If you want a completely fresh start, you can always hit select all, and delete all these newsletters. Either way, they will no longer clutter your inbox.

You're all set!

Having a clean inbox is an ongoing process, and if you’ve reached the end of this article, congratulations! You’ve taken a big step. By implementing the methods I use, you can make your inbox automate and clean itself up


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