New Workflow, Who Dis?

I’m writing this from a very quiet hotel room. I’m on my last work trip of the year, and after some productive alone time, I’m left with a ton of thoughts scrambled in my brain and the tiniest baby hotel notebook to brainstorm it out.

I mentioned earlier that my biggest goal for 2019 was just to time mange. I used Fringe Hours to help set my 40-hour (plus 10% travel) work week around the girls’ schedule. That meant not splitting my focus when I’m exclusively with them, and using the hours that they are sleeping or with the nanny to do the bulk of my work.

This gave me a solid window of time (9:45am-4pm) where I only have to be at work, and as soon as they wake up from afternoon nap, they are my only priority. When Troy’s time is available as well, then we can split tasks until they go to bed. Any sleeping/cleaning/me-time/us-time is reserved for 8pm-8am. I make it a mandatory that I get out of the house at least once for a longer period of time over the weekend to do whatever it is I may need to do, and Troy has the same opportunity as well.

Twelve months later, we have the girls on a very good schedule and I am able focus and be more time-efficient. While this has been great for my postpartum sanity, I also adopted a “Done is better than perfect” mindset. Next year, I want to switch gears, which brings me to The Passion Planner! (Not an ad, just really excited!)

I’ve been looking for a bullet journal/weekly planner hybrid to plan my days, but also to do some goal setting. My current planner (a standard weekly agenda from Staples) was transformed this year with highlighter for the girls schedules, color-coded pens to differentiate work and home tasks, and lots of stickers because I admittedly am a terrible doodler. I also had small Post-its for my #101in1001 goals, big Post-its for my monthly goals, and Post-it lists for seasonal planning.

All of this I want to synthesize into a workflow, a daily schedule where I can build and plan for both the short-term and long-term. Super nerdy, right?

Which brings me back to this hotel room. While I have an talent for planning and lists, consistency and motivation have always fallen by the wayside. One of my authors is a life coach, and she has really been my inspiration to help build and exercise my executive function. In the last couple days, I’ve done a deep dive into productivity podcasts, blog posts, and Pinterest tips. I’ve also been doing follow up on social media tools and webinars that I want to start incorporating into my work skillset.

I imagine the new workflow might look something like this, jk…


The Passion Planner gives me my basic weekly timetables, but leaves additional space for goals/braindumps/squiggles, anything I need to commit to paper. Some people get creative with their planners, in additional to their Passion Roadmaps.

I’m looking forward to this building process and seeing what new toys I can play with.

November: Book Review

One of the things that fell by the wayside postpartum is reading for fun. The girls slept in our room for the first 5 months, so my reading-in-bed habit became a rare occurrence. The list of titles to read became longer and longer.

But then it was like fate…the new Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book was going to come out on my birthday.

I had avoided going into bookstores for the better part of a year, knowing that whatever I bought would just sit in a pile and make my bookshelf look good. But, I love the writing in The Millennium Series and Lisbeth Salander is one of my favorite literary characters of all time. So whatever half-read books were in my eBook queue, I quickly returned or finished just so I could be ready when The Girl Who Lived Twice came out.

Now that I’m (hopefully) back in the habit, these four titles are my standouts this month:

43062982._sy475_The Girl Who Lived Twice (Millennium Series #6), by David Lagercrantz
The marketing of this book was nothing compared to the original three titles. It is a good continuation of the series, but not if it was meant to be a finale. Lisbeth Salander is one of my favorite literary characters and this book got into her vulnerability. There isn’t as much overlap between her plot line and the main “mystery”, but it does get into espionage, racketeering, secret Russian troll factories, and Mount Everest.

43575115._sy475_The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern
This book is brand new, just came out this week. Erin Morgenstern’s first book, The Night Circus, is one of my favorite fantasy titles, and I’ve been excited to get my hands on The Starless Sea for months. I’m about 40 pages into it and it’s already one of the most beautifully written fantasy books I’ve ever read.

41138424._sy475_The Guest Book, by Sarah Blake
I got this advance copy in February, but finally got to deep dive into it at the beginning of October. Whenever a review says “This book is the next great American novel”, I fall for it every time. This is a sizable historical fiction that brings together wealth inequality, racial prejudice, Nazi profiteers, and complicated mother/daughter relationships. Yes, this book is a good candidate for book groups, and although it’s long, it’s not heavy.

38390751The Infinite Game, by Simon Sinek
I’m in the first half of the book now. Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” completely changes your expectations and motivations when it comes to work. Before buying this book, I downloaded every podcast episode he was featured in, and my mind started considering productivity, collaboration, innovation, work-life blend, true connection–everything that makes a job more than just a job. One of my favorite sentiments in this book is that it is impossible to have continuous profit growth year after year, in life and at work. There are ebbs and flows. Strong businesses and true leaders know that taking care of your people is what makes companies thrive beyond the foreseeable future.

It’s worth mentioning that I went and bought three of these books the day they came out. That’s how excited I am about them. At this rate, I could probably do another book review post in two months. Always an avid reader, but never a fast one.

Follow me on Goodreads for more reviews and titles to add to your list.

Just Blog Already…

giphyIn February, I was at a work conference in Vegas and I brought my best girlfriend along. I  work in the Higher Education field and I love being surrounded by people who are doing amazing things on their campuses and beyond. My girlfriend was also feeling the inspiration and one afternoon, we starting mapping out her plan for a new blog.

This past week, she finally put the plan in motion and was daunted/terrified/intimidated by the process of starting up this new venture. I admit, I might have overwhelmed her talking about tagging posts and scheduling and domain names… and content creation and target audience and visual elements… and social media and Introduction vs. Personal Bio…

We have a tentative work day scheduled to get the blogging basics down, but naturally my mind drifted back to this little space. If I’m consulting and helping her build a new online identity, I should probably spend a little time working on my own.

My goal for this first year of working mom-hood was to just time-manage, find a way to get back to single-life productivity while having twin infants and a full household. At the one-year mark, I think I fulfilled that goal with the help of family, a part-time nanny, and my husband’s new job that allows him to work most of the week.

I will be the first to admit that this does feel like cheating. With both parents working from home who can also afford outside help, we didn’t have to compromise as much of our time or our professional lives to make our family function.

I knew that our unique situation would allow me the freedom to create a schedule and work-life blend. It also makes our home a little more egalitarian. I did not have to make sacrifices as the female, my husband does an equal share and spend equal time with the girls, and we are both able to get out of the house as needed for time alone.

So now that I have a new 2020 planner (and have #101in1001 items like “Start a bullet journal/planner hybrid” and “Instate a weekly blog time”), it’s time to put that plan into motion.

Here are my Motivational Prompts to get back to blogging:

  1. Writing comes easier the more you do it.
    I work with authors. They have writing goals. Write often. Make it a habit. Just get the words down.
  2. If you are not excited about what you’re writing, no one else will be. If you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t feel like work.
  3. Ideas have their own lives. 
    If you put your great idea on the backburner for to long, it will find someone else. (As per Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert)
  4. So it is written, so it shall be done.
    I found that the more I write and share my goals, the more I get them done. I posted about every run I had training for my last race. I took photos of my accomplished goals and shared them on Twitter and Instagram. If I want to make a shift and start reaching for higher and higher goals, writing about them makes me accountable and motivated.

This blog doesn’t really have a target audience or a mission. I don’t have a content calendar, and I’m not trying to monetize. It’s about building my home, literally and metaphorically. It’s not inspirational or influential, but if it fills that need in genuine way, then I’m happy.