Ways to Increase Productivity

Everyone struggles with productivity from time to time, but it’s important to find ways to increase your productivity when you’re feeling stuck. To help you be more productive in your daily life, we compiled a list of strategies that you can use when completing tasks. 

  1. Find your motivations

Asking yourself why you want to be more productive can be an essential step in starting and completing tasks. If you want to get more tasks done while you’re at work, your motivation might be financial security. Imagining the end results of your work can motivate you to follow through with your productivity goals. 

  1. Prioritize tasks 

Prioritizing your tasks instead of multitasking can assist in reducing burnout, meaning you can get more done throughout the day. Trying to do everything at once often leads to decreased efficiency, while planning out what tasks you need to complete and attacking them one at a time can produce better results. 

  1. Break down tasks 

When you have an intimidating task you need to complete, it can be hard to even start working on it. Viewing a huge task as a set of smaller tasks can be less intimidating and more easily attainable. Based on the amount of time you have to complete this task, you can figure out how many of those smaller tasks you need to finish daily until you’ve completed the overarching task. 

  1. Group similar tasks 

Oftentimes, we don’t consider how switching from polar opposite tasks can effect our productivity. When we’re completing tasks, we often enter into a certain mode of thinking. Once we have to move onto a different task, it can be hard to switch into a new mode of thinking. Grouping similar tasks together can help prevent this. For example, if you have to respond to an email, plan on responding to all of them at once instead of answering them throughout the day. 

  1. Identify your peak hours 

Peak hours are those times in the day when you are the most productive. If you’re a morning person, you might find that your peak hours are earlier in the day. To maximize productivity, you should plan on completing your high-priority tasks during these peak hours. Less urgent tasks that don’t require a lot of strategic thinking are best to save for times outside of your peak hours. 

Meal Prepping Tips

Meal prepping has become a huge trend over the past few years. Although it can help save time throughout the week, many people have difficulties keeping up with their meal prepping efforts. To help avoid this, we compiled a list of meal prepping tips to help you stay motivated and happy when meal prepping.

  1. Allocate time 

Usually when people think about meal prepping, they think about cooking meals for the entire week on a Sunday. This isn’t always an option for some people, not everyone wants to spend their entire day off meal prepping. To avoid this, try meal prepping twice a week instead of allocating all your meal prepping time to one day. Just make sure that the time you’re allocating to meal prepping will work with your schedule!

  1. Vary your meals 

It’s easy to get stuck in a routine with your meals, especially when meal prepping. This can make your meals feel boring, leading to a loss of motivation to continue meal prepping. To avoid this, plan on making a few dishes for the week that you can alternate between or piece together. In addition, make sure to vary what you make on a weekly basis. Use your creativity with this! 

  1. Be versatile with ingredients 

When meal prepping, think about the different meals you can make with the ingredients you prepare. If you plan on making a batch of rice, you can use it for a grain bowl one day and for fried rice another day. If you cook some vegetables for the week, you can put them over that rice or you can add it to a dish of pasta. The options are endless if you find multiple uses for your ingredients!

  1. Pre-chop your vegetables 

Most people are more likely to eat the vegetables they buy if they are already chopped, washed, and prepared ahead of time. Even if you plan on keeping your vegetables raw, you will find it useful to put them in their own storage containers. Once it’s time to start cooking, all you have to do is get them out and begin making your meal. Not to mention that pre-cut vegetables are a great snack to have on hand! Just be aware that some vegetables are best when cut freshly.

  1. Utilize your freezer

Freezing your food is a great asset when meal prepping. It saves time, decreases your food waste, and increases your food’s lifespan! If you plan on having smoothies throughout the week, you can pre-portion your fruits and put them in the freezer. Now all you have to do in the morning is put them in the blender! You can also freeze soups, burritos, vegetables, and many other meals that can easily be heated up.

How to Keep up With Your Resolutions

It can be easy to come up with resolutions for the New Year, but it’s hard to keep up with your resolutions. By February, the majority of people who set resolutions for themselves will end up giving up. To help you become the person you want to be for the New Year, here are some tips on how to follow through with your resolutions. 

  1. Create small goals

It can be hard to stay motivated when the overall goal can’t be achieved overnight. To combat this, it’s important to create small goals that you can reward yourself for achieving. This also helps to mark your progress throughout the year. Seeing that the resolution you set for yourself is actually working will help you keep pushing to achieve the overall goal. 

  1. Use positive affirmations 

When following through with your resolution, there will always be times where you feel like you can’t do it. Using positive affirmations not only helps with motivation, but it also helps you keep a positive mindset. Anytime that you’re working on your resolution, make sure to give yourself a little pep talk. 

  1. Take breaks

It’s important to remember that following through with a resolution isn’t about perfection, it’s about progress. Changing your lifestyle overnight is not easy, so taking a break from time to time can be essential in achieving your goals. Of course taking a break is not appropriate for some resolutions, but if your goal is to lose weight, taking a cheat day can act as a reward and help you realize how much progress you’ve made. 

  1. Adjust as you go 

Setting a plan for yourself is important when achieving your resolution, but that plan might not work out. Many people give up once things don’t go according to plan, but realizing that your resolution can still be achieved through different means can prevent you from giving up. Always check in with your plan and figure out what will work best for yourself going forward. 

  1. Remember the purpose of the resolution

During those times where you want to give up, you’ll want to remember why you decided to set that resolution for yourself in the first place. You set that goal for a reason and you have to ask yourself if you still want to achieve that goal. Most of the time, the answer will be yes. Imagine the person you will be once you achieve your goal and imagine how proud of yourself you will be.

New Year’s Resolutions

In just a few days, 2020 will be over and 2021 will begin! Of course, at the start of any New Year it’s a common tradition to set resolutions for yourself. These resolutions can be life changing if followed through with, so if you’re having trouble thinking of resolutions for 2021, here are a few ideas!

  1. Find your style

There are times when we can get tired of our everyday look, but this New Year you can create a new look for yourself. This might mean changing your hairstyle, experimenting with new makeup looks, or getting some new wardrobe pieces. Finding what style you like the best might not happen overnight, but once you do, you will feel so much more confident. 

  1. Practice yoga 

Many people set the New Year’s resolution of working out more, but intense workouts aren’t for everyone. Yoga is the perfect relaxing workout that can be done from within your home, so no gym membership needed! Not to mention that yoga has many health benefits, some of which we talked about in our blog post linked below. Don’t forget to set goals for yourself with this resolution though, a goal might look like practicing yoga once a day for one hour. 

Health Benefits of Yoga

  1. Start a new hobby 

Hobbies are the perfect way to enjoy yourself, and starting a new hobby can be exciting to explore. Some hobbies can include cooking, reading, art, knitting, and hiking, but the options are endless. Many hobbies have groups that you can join, so if you want to make some new friends, a hobby can be the perfect way to meet some amazing people.

  1. Read more 

If you’re a bookworm that hasn’t had much time to sit down and read a book, then a great New Year’s resolution would be to read more! Setting aside time in your schedule to read will be important, but also consider making a list of books that you want to read every month to set goals for yourself.

  1. Try meal prepping 

For those busy days, we all wish that our food could already be made for us. With meal prepping, the majority of the work is already done! Scheduling your meals and when you’re going to prep for them is the most difficult part of meal prepping, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be so happy you started. A big misconception about meal prepping is that you’ll have to eat the same thing everyday, but there are many different ways to meal prep. Looking around the internet for a meal prepping style that matches what you want in your meals will be important in this New Year’s resolution.

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Last minute holiday shopping is inevitable, but the hardest part is trying to figure out what gifts to get for everyone. To help come up with some ideas, we created a list of 5 gifts you can easily get last minute. These gifts are all found on Amazon prime, but can usually be found in your local store as well. 

  1. Bath Bombs

You can find bath bombs nearly anywhere you go, making this the perfect last minute gift. We suggest getting a box with a variety of bath bombs so they can have a different bath every time they use your present. 

  1. Acupressure mat 

This acupressure mat is perfect for anyone who has back problems or just needs to relax. Along with the acupressure mat, you will also get an acupressure pillow, a head massager, a massage stick, and a bag to carry everything! 

  1. Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser 

Essential oil diffusers make the perfect gift for any special event. If you want to make the present even better, consider buying some essential oils to make this a complete gift!

  1. 2021 Planner 

Similar to bath bombs, you can get a planner anywhere you go. With the new years coming up, this present is especially fitting. 

  1. Tile 

This gift is perfect for the person who loses everything. They can add a tile to any of their commonly lost items and find it through a free app! It also comes in a pack of two, so you can split this up into two gifts if you still have other people who need gifts!

Holiday Events in Lake Geneva

With the Holidays coming up soon, there are some events in Lake Geneva that you’ll want to attend before it’s too late! Today, we’ll be going over a few of these events that you won’t want to miss out on. 

  1. Lights and Heated Igloos at Pier 290

If you were sad to hear that the Santa Cruise wasn’t happening this year, then this will raise your spirits! Pier 290 will be displaying lights from the Santa cruise, and while you enjoy the lights, you can enjoy a meal in an igloo or a heated outdoor canopy! Don’t forget to make a reservation to enjoy this opportunity before it ends! 

  1. Brunch With Santa

At The Abbey Resort, they’ll be having Brunch with Santa on December 20th from 10am-1pm. This is the perfect event for any parents that want their kids to meet Santa this year! You’ll want to call in advance to make a reservation to meet Santa while enjoying a nice brunch. 

  1. Sleigh Rides at Dan Patch Stables

Dan Patch Stables has sleigh rides that can comfortably seat 4 adults. To run their sleigh, they need 6-8” of snow, so make sure to keep an eye on the weather! Since reservations fill up quickly, you’ll want to call ahead of time. 

  1. Gingerbread House Walk 

At the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa, there will be a variety of different Gingerbread houses made by area residents for everyone to see! You can vote on which Gingerbread house is your favorite. This Gingerbread House Walk is open Sunday-Thursday from 8am-8pm until December 29th. Make sure you don’t miss out on this fun opportunity!

  1. Parade of Trees

Similar to the Gingerbread House Walk, The Geneva Lake Museum is inviting residents to view a variety of Holiday trees! Guests of all ages will be given a ballot where you can vote for your favorite tree. This event will be ending on January 6th, so you’ll have plenty of time after the Holidays are over to enjoy this event! 

Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

It’s time to start thinking about what you want to get for those around you this Holiday. Though you can always go with the cliché holiday gifts, this year, we have some unique holiday gift ideas that might catch your attention! 

  1. Bathing Petal Flower Soap

This petal flower soap is the perfect gift for someone with an elegant bathroom décor. This soap can be used in the bath, or just for everyday hand washing purposes! Since this is a smaller gift, we recommend combining it with other bathroom goodies to make a gift basket. For example, you can pair this soap with bath bombs, body scrubs, face masks, hair treatments, perfumes, and anything else you think they might enjoy!

  1. Pinch Me Therapy Dough 

This present is perfect for those who need a little stress relief throughout the day. Anytime they feel irritated, they can take out the therapy dough “gently knead away your nuisances”. Infused within the therapy dough are oils that are for calming purposes. If there weren’t enough reasons to buy this therapy dough, every Pinch Me product purchase funds their support of the Wounded Warrior Project. 

3. Whiskey Chilling Stones

These chilling stones are perfect for all the whiskey loving individuals in your life, though it can also be used for other drinks as well. It might seem like an odd present at first, but once you realize that the flavor of whiskey is diluted by ice cubes, you’ll understand that this present will enhance your loved ones whiskey experiences. Not to mention that these chilling stones keep your drink colder for longer periods of time. One last added element to consider is that this set comes with a wooden tray which you can customize! 

  1. Elegant Bond Necklace 

Though a necklace is a cliché gift, at Dear Ava, they have the perfect elegant yet simple asymmetrical necklace that is meant to portray an inseparable bond. Anyone you want to get this necklace for, there’s probably a specific necklace for them. For example, there’s necklaces for your best friend, grandma, mother, sister, daughter, or even teacher! They are all the same necklace, but they all come with different notes. An added bonus to this gift is that you can also order gift wrapping with your purchase! If necklaces aren’t your thing, we recommend looking at other jewelry selections that Dear Ava has to offer. 

  1. Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie boards have been popular for a while now, and if you have someone that is always talking about charcuterie but doesn’t have a proper board, then you should consider adding a charcuterie board to your shopping list! There are many different styles of charcuterie boards out there and with just a simple google search, you’ll find all of the different options. In this blog post, we linked a swivel charcuterie board that also comes with knives. This style is great for sharing amongst a group of friends and you don’t have to make the extra purchase of getting cheese knives. 

Ornament DIYs

It’s that time of the year again to start decorating your tree for the holidays. Many people already have boxes filled with ornaments for their tree, but who’s ever complained about having too many ornaments! In this list we’ll be going over some ornament DIYs that will be sure to make your tree even merrier!

Photo By: Melissa Fenlon
  1. Indigo Marbled Ornaments 

These indigo marbled ornaments are fun to make and will add a classy look to your tree. The main things you’ll need for this DIY are some plain ornaments and a nail polish of your choice. So if you have a color theme for your tree, you’re able to make these ornaments fit that theme!

Alice & Lois Full Tutorial 

  1. Snowy Pine Cones

This DIY takes the normal pinecone ornament to the next level with some fake snow, berries, and a red bow. The best part about this ornament is that it’s super easy to make! 

A Pumpkin & A Princess Full Tutorial 

  1. Hanging Planter Ornament 

If you’re looking for a more natural ornament, then this hanging planter ornament is perfect for you! With just a small pot, faux plants, and yarn, you’re able to decorate your tree with mini plants. We recommend getting some faux succulents for this project, but you can choose any type of plant you think would be perfect for your tree!

A Beautiful Mess Full Tutorial 

Photo By: Jeff Mindell
  1. Rudolph Ornament

These Rudolph ornaments are so simple yet so cute! You only need five things for this DIY: a hot glue gun, some scissors, an ornament of your choice, foam, and a pom pom. You’ll want to get a few ornaments for this DIY because once you make one, you’ll want to make more!

Studio DIY Full Tutorial

  1. Scrabble Ornament 

If you have an old scrabble game that you don’t use much anymore, then you might want to consider making those scrabble pieces into a christmas ornament! All you have to do is choose a saying of your choice, find the scrabble letters for it, and glue those pieces onto a stable piece of material. 

Crafts by Amanda Full Tutorial 

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

We all know that the essential part of a Thanksgiving meal is the main dish, but the side dishes are what make the meal complete. Everyone has their go-to side dish that they make every Thanksgiving, but this year you can add another dish that might become a fan favorite! The side dishes we’re mentioning here today are not only delicious, but are also easy to make! 

  1. Garlic Smashed Potatoes 

There’s always going to be mashed potatoes at a Thanksgiving dinner, but these garlic smashed potatoes will make you forget that you already have a potato side dish. They have the crispy aspect that you can’t get from mashed potatoes or german potatoes, and you don’t even need a fork to eat them! 

  1. Loaded Cauliflower Bake

This loaded cauliflower bake is the crossover of food categories that no one expected. It has the flavors of a loaded baked potato, the lightness of cauliflower, and the texture of a casserole. What more could you ask for! 

  1. Cast-Iron Skillet Creamed Corn

Now this creamed corn requires one special tool, a cast-iron skillet. This will help to bring out so many flavors in your creamed corn. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet to use for this Thanksgiving, make sure to get one for next year’s Thanksgiving!

  1. Maple Bacon Carrots

Take your carrots to the next level with just two ingredients: bacon and maple. The maple brings out the sweet aspects while the bacon brings out the savory aspects of the carrots. After you try this, you might never make your carrots any other way. 

  1. Honey Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts 

Some people don’t like brussels sprouts, but after you bring these honey balsamic brussels sprouts this Thanksgiving, you’re going to change everyone’s opinion. The balsamic and honey help to bring out the flavors that everyone misses when eating brussels sprouts, and similar to the garlic smashed potatoes, you don’t even need a fork to each them!

Indoor Activities for Snowy Days

It’s only a matter of time before our sunny days start turning into snowy days. On snowy days, you need to get creative with ways to keep yourself entertained. If you find yourself struggling to keep yourself occupied, then this is the list for you! 

  1. DIY’s

DIY’s are an easy way to liven up your house on a day where you can’t go outside. This means adding a little creativity since you won’t want to leave your house to get supplies. The good thing is that most DIY’s require items that you already have laying around your house! Check out our blog post on Thanksgiving DIY’s if you want some ideas! 

  1. Write

Days where you have to stay inside are perfect for self-reflection. Taking the time to write in a journal or type out your thoughts is the perfect way to feel productive on days where you can’t do much else. You can also use this writing time to start planning some changes you want to see in your life. If you want to start working out, make a workout plan for yourself and find times in your schedule where you could dedicate yourself to your goals. 

  1. Movie night

A list of indoor activities would be incomplete without suggesting a movie night. Though you might not be able to invite your friends over, Netflix has a solution to this problem with Netflix Party! Using Netflix Party, you and your friends are able to watch a movie or TV show while chatting from the comfort of your own homes.  

  1. Indoor Picnic 

Having an indoor picnic requires all the same items as an outdoor picnic, just without the travel aspect! Make yourself some sandwiches, salads, or even a charcuterie board and enjoy your meal on a blanket placed on the floor. To make this more aesthetically pleasing and comfortable, add some candles and pillows to your set-up! 

  1. Cook!

On a snowy day indoors, you have the time to break out some recipes that you’ve been waiting for the right time to try. If you don’t have the ingredients needed to make the recipe you wanted to, then get creative with what you do have! There are a variety of apps that show you recipes based on what ingredients you already have in your pantry. Check out the article linked below for some of these apps! 

Top Apps for Finding Recipes for Ingredients you Already Have