Sunday, September 29, 2019

How to Be More Productive at Work

Hey everyone!

Whether you work in an office building, outside, at home or somewhere in between, being your most productive self at work can be a challenge. For many of us, we spend the standard 40 hours [if not more] per week working, but not getting nearly enough done

Being more productive at work reduces stress, helps you stay more organized and improves your attitude

Who doesn't want a little more of that?

The idea of getting more done at work without stress or long hours sounds appealing; but how do you get there? Here are a few things you can do now to help you be more productive.

Curate Your Space. 

This is my #1 suggestion to immediately spruce up your desk or area, and make it more comfortable to be in for the whole day. Enhance your workspace with reminders of things you love, personalized accessories, or bring the outside in with plants and greenery (some studies show that more green-like space in the workplace boosts cognition by 26%.¹). Surrounding yourself with familiar things creates an extension of your home, family, and friends. 

Pack Healthy Snacks. 

The 3:00 afternoon slump is SO real and, in many cases, occurs more than once throughout the day. You already know that food gives you a boost of energy but healthy foods will keep you fuller, longer. Also, retrieving your snack from the kitchen will require you to get your body moving. Fueling and moving your body will help keep you more alert. 

Download Helpful Apps.

You may need a little help from technology to stay productive. There is no shame in my game, I use a variety of apps to collaborate with my team (i.e., Slack), help me stay on top of meetings, track my projects (i.e., ToDoist), and sketch out ideas (i.e., Evernote or Bamboo Paper). 

Take Your Lunch Break.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned this past summer is to take an actual legit lunch break. This hour belongs to me—and you—and I have forced myself to eat lunch away from my desk, go downstairs to the gym, or do important errands. I used to work through lunch or eat at my desk but that never works. You think you're getting more work done but what you're actually accomplishing is burnout. 

Eliminate Distractions. 

Gossip at the water cooler, chatty Cathy from accounting, social media notifications are all there pulling our attention and focus and threatening our productivity. Who hasn't gone down the rabbit hole every now and then? Distractions cause us to lose track of time and then work doubly hard to recover and pick up where we left off. Move to a focus room or wear headphones, if permitted. I usually wear headphones as a signal that I am unavailable for shooting the breeze. At the same time, listening to my favorite playlist or audiobook, not only helps me focus on the task(s) at hand, but makes the day go faster.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

How to Stand Out from the Crowd

The State of Black Girls Networking Event

Nowadays, it seems like we are living in a society of people doing and wearing whatever—and being whomever—they want. Despite this group of brave people “doing them”, there is a larger number of people who are under pressure to adopt a predetermined set of social norms to be accepted.

Don’t go against the grain. Go with the flow. Don’t rock the boat. These are just a few phrases I can hear in my head right now.

Have you ever felt like that in life?

Has anyone ever said those words to you?

At the risk of sounding like a high school valedictorian, I say, that your particular presence on this earth cannot be duplicated or replaced. Each one of us is uniquely created and has specific gifts and talents to bring to the table. Your voice matters and it is needed. *drops mic and descends proverbial soapbox*

But, what can you do to stand apart from the crowd of conformity? I’ve put together a “Be” list of behaviors to help you show up and stand out; it looks like making the “Be” list isn’t such a bad thing. See what I did there? lol

How to stand out in a crowd


How many of you knew this would be number one? Being confident is vital to helping you stand out because you set the tone of the interaction or situation before anyone else. When you walk into a room, your confidence tells people I’m resourceful, I’m funny, or I’m smart. But how do you do that exactly? Walk [or sit] upright, lift your head, make eye contact with others, initiate greetings or introductions. These behaviors prove that you’re not afraid to be seen and your excited to share who you are with others.


I love this one because the best thing about being you is that you’re the only one! Even identical twins who mirror features can turn out to be totally different people. Don’t be so willing to dumb yourself down or give away your individuality to fit in. Embrace who you are. Not in pretense, but with a self-awareness that identifies your strengths, your weakness, your quirks, and says I’m different because…and own it!


Positive people are infectious, they are inspiring, they draw others near them, and they can flip the script—turning negatives into…well...positives. Being positive can help lift others out of depression and difficult situations, and can help you stand out as a beacon of light. No one wants to be around negative people, except other negative people! If you are overly critical, only see the bad in situations and people, or can’t smile you might stand out, but not in a good way.


Possibly one of the worst things you can do is go into any situation unprepared—literally or metaphorically. Standing out means putting yourself out there to be noticed, vulnerable, judged and, yes, criticized. Be prepared that not everyone will buy what you sell. Some may be jealous, some may be indifferent, and some may not understand you at all. But even if you experience rejection, don’t internalize it. Don’t turn mutinous and put yourself down by discounting all the things we just agreed will make you stand out.

Finally, BE READY for what happens next. Now that you have everyone’s attention, what are you prepared to do with the opportunity?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Consistency Is Key

Do you struggle with setting goals and carrying them through to the end? If you missed my previous post, click here to read my perspective on limited goal-setting. Consistency is the next figure in the equation for reaching your goals. In my head the diagram looks something like this:

Effective Goal Setting + Consistency = Positive Goal Achievement

I tend to get hung up on the beautiful finished product that first popped into my head. For example, I want to create a t-shirt line and the first thing that pops into my head—as an artist—is, of course, the design. I think, “that would make a dope t-shirt” and “I know people would buy this.” From there, I think about all the steps and actions that need to take place in order to make this happen. I start a little bit of them all, get overwhelmed, and then stop completely. By not following through to realize the initial idea, I become disappointed, frustrated and often, angry with myself for underperforming.


The definition1 of consistency is:

  1. Marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity: free from variation or contradiction
  2. Marked by agreement
  3. Showing steady conformity to character, profession, belief, or custom

Thinking about this definition, I have created three strategies to help me be more consistent in my life and with my goals. I hope they may do the same for you.

Consistency is free from variation or contradiction. 

In other words, “stay the course” as my mom would say. Focusing on one—maybe two—goals at a time minimizes the risk of distraction or deviation from the plan. By veering off course, you contradict the confidence and faith you put in yourself to accomplish. Proverbs 4:25-27 sums up this concept by instructing that we turn not to the right hand nor to the left, but to look straight ahead.

Consistency is marked by agreement. 

Look at your action plan as a binding contract you make with yourself but also as a guide to measure if you are in compliance with the steps necessary to make this thing happen! Measures like:

  • Is your attitude consistent with the type of person who would do what you are doing? 
  • Is your expertise consistent with the kind of trust you’re seeking from customers?
  • Do your results consistently reflect positive outcomes?
The agreement is really about checks and balances. Are you being true to the process and yourself? Do any amendments need to be made?

Consistency is a steady conformity to character or belief. 

This is a big one for me—being the same person no matter what! Life—and all of it curveballs—will happen but remain true to who you are and keep your “why” close. Conform to your character or belief by contouring what you do with why you do it. Remembering why you started in the first place, keeps you connected to your vision and mission.

1 Source: Mirriam-Webster Dictionary

Effective Goal Setting

Hi everyone!

If you’re like me, ideas pop into your head all day every day. What if I did this? or I want to write that or I have to make those! As a creative professional with 15 years of experience in the art, design and marketing world, I can tell you that an artist’s brain NEVER stops working, visualizing, creating. It can get pretty overwhelming at times. In particular, I have a tendency to attach a goal to every idea. What usually ends up happening is, I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it all, stop and then do none of it.

I recently watched a video where the speaker suggested limiting the number of goals we endeavor. I know it seems counterintuitive but setting too many goals, or too many similar goals, or too many goals with the same timeline can overwhelm you and derail your progress. Every goal is not immediate. It’s unrealistic to move on every goal at once and expect each to receive the proper amount of attention.

By curating your goals, you can filter the ones that are a burning desire from those that are important but can wait.

Second, let’s understand how to implement effective goal setting because make no mistake there is a difference between effective goal setting and scribbling down a list of stuff you want to do in life. Effective goal setting is the process of identifying something that you want to accomplish and establishing measurable actions and timeframes. My version of effective goal setting looks something like this, in this order:
1. The inception of the idea (this is the end-result or finished product)
2. Writing out the goal itself
3. Listing each action item required to accomplish the goal
4. Scheduling a timeline for each action item
5. Tracking results to measure goal achievement

Get my goal-setting worksheet for FREE to begin writing your action plan now.

Can you imagine repeating all these steps for more than one or two goals at a time?! I’m sleepy just thinking about it. I don’t mean to insinuate you should not form long-term goals—and perhaps this post should be called effective short-term goal setting—I believe each goal should live in its proper space in time. Don’t consume yourself with long-term goals today. They should not be included in your current action plan. Long-term goals should be written down and kept visible until activated but nothing more than that—unless your current plan is directly in service of that long-term goal.

I now subscribe to the idea that I will limit my goals from one to two at a time and physically write out the effective goal-setting plan above. Intentionally limiting your goals allows you to focus from beginning to end and rewards you with a sense of accomplishment—ultimately motivating you to stay consistent.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Pasta Salad Meal Prep and FREE 5-Day Meal Prep Planner

Hello everyone,

Yesterday, I gave a presentation on meal prep and its benefits. The number one benefit for me is saving time. I’m always happy to share what meal(s) I have put together for the week—hopefully offering some inspiration for your own meal prep. Click the video below to check out my pasta salad lunch prep.

My FREE Meal Prep Planner

I’ve put together a FREE 5-day meal prep worksheet that you can use to track your meal prep, ingredients and macros for the week, I am also giving away a FREE recipe for one of my favorite dinners to prep…that’s a 2-for-1! Click here to download now!

Pasta Salad Meal Prep

Monday, March 11, 2019

Honing Your Craft

Hello everyone!

It feels like entrepreneurship is in the air lately! Everywhere I look I see people going into business for themselves, producing multiple streams of income and watering the rivers to financial freedom. As a full-time and part-time marketing and design professional, my brain is working 24/7. I work full time as a Senior Marketing Specialist for the largest commercial real estate company in the world, and part time I am a marketing and design business owner. This year, I am setting my business goals as a priority and honing my craft as a content creator.

When I look up the word hone (or honing) Merriam-Webster defines it as 1) to sharpen or smooth with a whetstone; 2) to make more acute, intense, or effective. Wow, that’s powerful! You literally take a tool and grind it against a stone to make it sharper, more effective at what it was designed to do. Let’s see how to apply that same principle to ourselves. We each have a skill or talent—a innate gift—that come naturally; whether it be public speaking, drawing, financial aptitude, cooking, caring giving, or teaching. Taking that skill, talent or gift—or tool—and sharpening it so that it becomes effective is paramount to completing the job or task. The question then becomes, what device—or experience—can I use to sharpen this? A pencil sharpener was specifically designed to efficiently sharpen a pencil. All the mechanics and their functions were invented to give a pencil its cylindrical shape culminating a perfect sharp point with which to write. Can you sharpen a pencil with a knife? Sure! But will the point be perfect and sharp? Will the cuts be even? Can you carry it around with you at all times? Your tools need to be sharpened by things, people and experiences conducive to shaping and sharpening the purpose of those instruments.

Honing your craft first starts with identifying your craft. Think about something you do very well; something you don’t even have to think about in order to accomplish or something which you often receive compliments. This is your skill, your talent, your gift, your craft! Now, that you’ve identified it, what situations, experiences or environments are the most conducive to helping you sharpen your craft in order to monetize it? I’ll use myself as an example. As a self-taught graphic designer, I thought I had to offer everything under the sun to be successful: flyers, business cards, banners, logos, product design, illustrations, websites, and the list goes on. While I do offer several of those, creating websites is not my forte. In the beginning, I tried to learn all I could about HTML, coding, programs like Dreamweaver, and FTP uploading—honestly just typing those words gives me a headache. I limited the website projects I accepted, and I stressed about the few I had because I was trying to make it work with my limited knowledge. So, guess what, I got to the point where I realized I had to scale back and really narrow in on what I could execute REALLY well. Cutting those services didn’t mean I was taking a pay cut if anything I could charge more for my expertise in the remaining specialized areas!

Today, I continually immerse myself in order to become a subject-matter expert by taking webinars, staying current on industry trends, joining groups/communities, and studying other successful professionals. Collaboration is something that I have found helps me sharpen my skillset while becoming inspired by fellow subject-matter experts. By honing my craft, I can become a thought leader in my area of expertise where people will seek out my perspective and service.

This is the sweet spot. Creating the solution to a need. You don’t get there by doing a little bit of everything poorly or surrounding yourself with people who are not designed to enhance the effectiveness of who you are and the task you were designed to do. You get there by finding that thing specifically designed to refine you and the thing you were exclusively created to do on this earth. What is that thing for you? Is it finding a mentor, taking an online course to gain credibility in your industry, or perhaps renting a separate work space that fosters quiet and creativity? If you’ve gotten to this point, your work ethic is not in question, you are willing to do what it takes to succeed. Focus your hard work on refining, shaping and putting an edge on what it is you do best!