Get Stuff Done

It’s a challenge… staying focused and getting tasks finished in a timely manner. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming when you’re looking at a giant to-do list and wondering how you’re going to get it all done. As the great Tina Fey pointed out, confident women get stuff done folks. Productivity is measured in the efficiency of output. The more efficient you are at tasks the more productive you are. How you manage your space and your time and your confidence directly influences your ability to get things accomplished. I love what Tina Fey says about the confidence to contribute your thoughts and ideas, “Always make sure you’re adding to the discussion.” Don’t be afraid to make your voice heard. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. If you wait until you’ve “perfected” yourself you’ll never make any real contribution.

We’re all works in progress. Believe in your ability to make it happen! Side note: if you have been wishing you could get some help with a dream you want to turn into a reality, look into a small business loan. Companies like Kabbage, based in Atlanta, Georgia, fund businesses that find it difficult to get funding from traditional banks. Forbes listed Kabbage as one of America’s Most Promising Companies. With that said, I wanted to take a minute today to share with you what I feel are 5 essentials for productivity.

  1. First, make sure that you set yourself up for success by being prepared (yes I was a Girl Scout). Do your research, know your job, be the best you can be for the task at hand. For me, this means being sure that I’m up to date on any changes to our system or processing and making sure that my files are in order. I’m constantly bettering myself and I believe this contributes to my efficiency. If you don’t know what you’re doing, how can you possibly do it well? Take time for continuing education and improvement. Be sure that you are “sharpening the saw.”
  2. Second, set up your workstation (wherever that is) for optimum efficiency by having everything clean, sorted, and in its place. My workplace had a consultant come in and evaluate our workstations to help us determine how we should be sitting and where our monitors and keyboard and mouse should be located for optimal ergonomics. I am a shorty so my seat sits closer to the ground, therefore I utilize a keyboard tray to keep my arms and wrists at the correct angle. I know many people who work from home and set up their laptop on their laps. This is terrible for your back and neck. Do your research to see how you should set up your environment to achieve optimum ergonomics and watch your productivity level increase!
  3. Next, utilize background noise to limit distractions. I know this might sound counter-intuitive but it works. Although high levels of noise can impair your creativity, low levels actually help you concentrate. The same way that white noise can help folks sleep, the same can be said for helping you stay focused while awake. For me, I like to play a low level of background noise in the form of music. The key is to be sure the volume is low… not too loud to distract but enough to blend in the background and drown out the random noises that interrupt your concentration. Create a Pandora or Spotify station of relaxing classical music or choose a playlist of singer/songwriters that can just fade into the background. You’ll be amazed at how a little background noise can help you become more efficient.
  4. Then, take frequent breaks! Don’t get so caught up in your work that hours have gone by and you haven’t gotten up from your desk. I’m the worst at this. I know that I perform better when I take breaks to stretch and walk around. Even if you cannot make the time to physically walk away from the task at hand be sure to give yourself a mental break. Take five minutes and cruise Facebook (just don’t get lost and forget to come back to your task). If you have to, set a timer to remind you when the break is over and when you need to get back to work. Frequent mental (and physical when possible) breaks help you to remain better focused and to complete the task in an efficient and timely manner. It may seem counter-productive to take time away from the task but research has shown it’s the best thing you can do.
  5. Finally, reward yourself for a job well done. When you have a clear finish line and a clear reward you’re more likely to stick to the task and see it through completion. Keep track of your to-do list and check off the items as they’re completed. A big line drawn through the task can be reward in itself. If you need more motivation be sure to set yourself up for success by utilizing appropriate rewards such as scheduling a lunch date to celebrate the completion of an important goal. I bring lunch from home each day and try hard not to spend money on lunch during the week, however, when I know that I have a challenging task to complete I’ll schedule a lunch date with a friend so I have that to look forward to when I’m finished. It’s important to celebrate your accomplishments.

So, what about you? What do you do to stay focused and to maximize your productivity? Let me know your thoughts and feel free to share this information if you found it useful. If you need more inspiration, set yourself up for success with this post I wrote a few years ago. Make it a great day!

MissCaron

First Look: HGTV Smart Home 2015

Y’ALL! (I can say that in all caps because…) the HGTV Smart Home is located in Austin, TX this year!

Have any of y’all been to Austin? Elsewhere in Texas? My friend, Shay, lives in Austin and I went out to visit her one year. It was a pretty cool place. I was out there in the springtime and the bluebonnets were in bloom and just gorgeous!

So, HGTV has given us a sneak peak of the construction process and I thought I’d share a few photos with y’all to get your opinions and share a few of my own. First, can we just talk about the front facade!?! What the heck is with the side entry front door? I HATE it. I love a beautiful front entryway and when the front door is hidden from view it makes visitors confused. This is especially the case when the house has a side yard like this one where the living room opens out onto the side of the house and not the back of the house. Anyway, I do love the different sidings used and the casement windows with black frames.

See what I mean about that hidden front door!?! This picture above shows just how awkward it is. Ugh. Also, I do not understand the one-car-garage idea. I mean, this is 2014 people. Everyone could use a little more garage space even if it is for our secret hording lifestyles. Even if the garage has to be tandem because the lot is not large enough, just do it! This is my same complaint with the HGTV Dream Home for this year.

So, from the picture above you can see the temporary front door there on the left that opens into the dining area and living room to the back right of this picture. We can see what looks like a niche for a flat-screen TV and some sliders to the side patio.

Here’s a floor plan to help you get your bearings:

There is a tiny back porch that I’m guessing is screened-in but I wonder what could really fit out there. The only thing I really need to be in a screened-in porch would be a dining area and that space doesn’t look very large. Below is a picture coming from the other direction with the entry at the far right, living room on the left and front of this photo and the kitchen space in the far back of this photo.

Behind the kitchen are the stairs leading to the second floor, guest bedroom and bathroom, as well as the garage space but first, let’s look at this kitchen space.

This looks to be the makings for a kitchen sink area and it has me wondering where the dishwasher is located. I see that the two areas to the right and left look like closets so I’m at a loss for what the plan could be. Maybe a bar sink? This picture below is the stair hallway and I have to say I just LOVE that they made a niche under the stairs. There’s often a lot of wasted space in the interior walls that could be better utilized and I like it when people get creative.

Also, they’re using the spray foam insulation on this house which contributes to its “smart” value.

Upstairs is a nice large loft area that I’m sure will become a play space that they’re currently labeling the “den”. Nearly to the top of the stairs you hang a left to enter the master bedroom space. The picture below shows the upstairs from the opposite direction (love the skylights).

Here is the upstairs floor plan to help you understand the layout:

There is a closet at the top of the stairs and the master space seems quite large and very nice. The only concern I have is that the other upstairs bathroom only has an entrance within the guest bedroom and this means when folks are upstairs in the den they will have to walk through the bedroom to get to the bathroom. I’m not a fan of that at all. If you’re going to have a door into the bedroom, fine, but at least have another off the hallway.

Above is a shot looking into the master bedroom above the garage and I love that they placed windows up high to let in light while still allowing for privacy. Below is a shot looking into the guest bedroom down the hall.

So, what do you think so far? I think they’re making fairly good use of a small space. Personally, I don’t feel the need for an additional formal living and dining space. I like the idea that the kitchen, living room, and dining room are all open to one another. As I said above, the one-car-garage puzzles me and I don’t care for the side entry front door but other than that I’m excited to see the finished product.

Let me know your thoughts and I’ll be back once the home is further along with more details!

It Is Valentines Day Y’all

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Craig and I wish y’all a very happy day and hope that you look beyond the traditional meaning of sharing love between couples and look to share love amongst all you encounter. This month of love reminds us that the world is a bigger place than just our little corner. For those who are in a relationship and are looking for something free to create for your significant other I’m sharing with you an idea I found for this Valentine’s Day… Love Coupons!

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Yes, yes, I know they’re rather overdone. I mean, it seems silly but really it’s the best gift because it forces you to take time out and to serve your partner out of love. It is a selfless gift and one that has much greater rewards than jewelry or gadgets. For my coupons I found an image online and printed them on stock paper, cut around the image to make the coupon shape, and then wrote on the back with the gift redemption.

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As you can see these can take any direction you choose. Some of my coupons were for things like a movie date where Craig gets to pick without my consideration and I will gladly accompany him without complaining. LOL. Some coupons were more “sexy” in nature as you can see below. Whatever direction you choose I’m sure that your partner will be much appreciative. Heck, these would work great for moms/ dads/ kids if you wanted to adapt them for the particular situation such as “free car wash” from a kid to a parent or, “dinner of your choice” from a parent to a kid. Be as creative as you’d like your only limit is your imagination.

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Hooked on … Sugarberry Cottage

habersham-exterior-lCome on in! I’d like to welcome you to my new favorite cottage. Sugarberry is designed by the Moser Design Group and is located in Habersham, SC. You may have remembered me mentioning the cute little community before. Habersham is located just outside Beaufort which is just north of Hilton Head Island and about an hour north of Savannah, GA.

Enough background info. Let’s look around, shall we?

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Walk up the front steps to the porch and you’re greeted by the most awesome front door and gas lamps. Everything on this exterior was built to look historic and that’s one of the things I love. The front door opens directly into the living room with no foyer so you’re immediately invited into the hearth of the home. On the exterior they chose to include shutters which I think gives the house that much more southern character, not to mention they’re functional in cases of inclement weather.

jeld-wen-window-lWalk through the front door and you’re smack dab in the center of the home. Sugarberry Cottage has an open floorplan which means everyone can hang out with the cook which works perfectly for my household.

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Part of this great room is one of the sweetest kitchens. Although it is rather small I believe it packs a good bit into the space without feeling crowded. I love the open shelving, farmhouse sink, butcher block island, and open range with decorative hood. I’m even in love with the pendant lights.

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I love that sink! I hate divided sinks. I need a nice big space to scrape off food and wash my dishes. Craig and I don’t use the dishwasher since it’s just the two of us and sometimes it can be so difficult to wash large pots and pans in our current sink. My desire is to have a nice large farmhouse sink with a tall faucet and pull down sprayer.

delta-faucet-sink-lSpeaking of sinks take a look at this powder room. I LOVE how they’ve mounted the faucet and handles on the wall and have installed a washbasin below. I love how the grain shows in the wood piece below and I love how it is curved which makes it perfect for a small room. In the hallway they used an old shutter to cover up an electrical box. What a great use of material for both function and decoration!

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Next to the powder room is the back hallway entrance and they’ve created a built-in space that I adore. Plenty of space to sit and take off your boots and hang up your coat while still being organized and decorative. Off the back hallway is the master bedroom and bath. I love the dual sinks, plenty of storage drawers, wainscoting on the walls, and the pivot mirrors over the sinks.

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The upstairs has two bedrooms that are tucked into the eaves and that makes for great opportunities to maximize your space. I love how they added the built-in shelving to surround the windows.

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Finally I’ll share with you the last detail that really stood out to me and that was the guest bath. Craig is totally against tubs as he believes they serve no purpose but I think that we definitely need one for the guest bath/ kids space. I loved how they framed out the tub/shower in this bathroom. It really helps to add character and definition without making it feel too closed in. I also love the theme with the hanging fish and crab on the wall. Too cute!

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Don’t forget to check out the Southern Living website for more pictures. I’ll leave you with another exterior shot. Screened porches are of utmost importance in the south as our bugs tend to be more prevalent than elsewhere. I love the white clapboard siding. This house really feels like home to me. What do you think? Do you love it or hate it or just feel eh? Do you have any favorite elements in the home that you feel you could duplicate? I can’t wait for Craig and I to get in our new house so I can start DIY’ing the heck out of it!

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