The New Year, The New You

The arrival of a new year often signifies new beginnings for people- a chance to start over again, to refresh, to feel renewed. I feel the same way, although I’ve never really been into New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I tend to focus on certain areas of my life where I feel unsatisfied and make it my goal to work on that throughout the year. The following list contains areas of focus in my life where I have previously found room for improvement as well as some solutions as how to make those changes happen in your own life.

Make Over Your Closet

First, do yourself a favour by getting rid of all of the clothes that don’t do you any favors, and anything else that’s taking up precious wardrobe space. Next. reevaluate the clothes you still have by thinking about them in terms of outfits rather than pieces.

Make Over Your Schedule

Not a morning person? Start here. A great morning routine is key to setting you up for a productive day (even on Mondays) and can save your life when you’re running late. (While you’re at it, taking control of your errands can help cut down on your running-around time.)

Stop Procrastinating

It takes a long time to change a bad habit, so it makes sense to try and embrace your behavior to try and make it work for you. If that doesn’t work, however, you may want to look at what might be the root cause of why you procrastinate and then figure out how you can avoid it in the future.

Start a New Project

What is a project anyway and what is the best way to tackle it? There’s only two simple steps: break down all of the things that you need to do, and then organize them into to-do lists to keep track of project goals and outcomes.

Find Balance

If you’ve gotten to the point where your batteries need a recharge, then it’s time to consider how you juggle all of the different facets of your life. (And if you’re in a crisis this post, this post or this post may help you.) This year, make a vow to build a better relationship with your doctor, practice self-care, get more sleep and learn how to have some fun.

Impress Your Boss

Any boss is impressed with an employee who takes the initiative to improve themselves professionally. If you do decide to take time off this year, make sure you do these things first and you’ll win even more brownie points.

Do Better in Class

If you’re thinking about going back to school in the next year, you may want to read this. But if you’re just looking to go back to school with a new attitude, check out this post for how to take your studying routine more seriously.

What are some of your New Year’s resolutions? Which areas of your life do you hope to improve? Comment below or let’s keep the conversation between ourselves at

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

At least, for some people it is. (Remember those commercials?) Back-to-school season is a mixed bag of emotions- for students, parents and teachers alike. It also doesn’t help that coincides with the arrival of fall, which officially marks the end of summer fun.

I used to love back-to-school time, not only because I was a stationery nerd, but it always somehow felt like a fresh start. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in school now but the feeling has never really left me, this idea that fall can also be a season of change and opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m already starting to dread the end of summer (and I don’t even go to school, man). But let’s take this time to look at the positive side of going back-to-school and use it as a tool to meet your goals, break bad habits, or even boost yourself self-esteem. Maybe you just want to learn how to survive school. Here are some of the ways I think I can help:

Get Organized:

Pick the perfect planner to manage your tasks.

Use this if you want to manage your whole life.

Work Smarter:

3 rules for a successful study routine.

Never hand in late assignments again.

Take control of your lists.

Manage overwhelming tasks.

Quick and dirty tips to help your productivity all around.

Improve Your Time Management:

Stop being late to class. But if you are running late, read this.

How to play catch up.

When you’re definitely not a morning person.

Squeeze more reading into your routine.

Understand and Conquer Procrastination:

Ways to make procrastination work for you.

The whys behind your procrastination habit.

The procrastination solution (or at least, some of them).

Take Care of Yourself:

We know you’re busy, but you gotta make your health a priority.

Ways to take care of your brain.

Reasons why you need to sleep (as if you needed them, right?)

Burnout is real. Don’t let it happen to you.

Find your motivation to get your groove back.

Get Through Your Day:

For when you’re having a breakdown.

For when you’re barely functional.

For when you’re struggling with your mental health.

We all have blips. Me too. We’ll get through it together.

Do you have any solutions or advice for students going back to school? Maybe you can offer the perspective of a parent or a teacher. Leave a comment below and share with the class, or email me at I may include your tips in a future post!




The Procrastination Solution


A little while back I wrote a piece for my blog about embracing your procrastination habit. Then I wrote a little bit about the reasons why we get into this habit in the first place.

I happen to think you’re halfway there to solving a problem if you can acknowledge that you have one, and the reasons why you do. The other half, of course, is figuring out a solution.

Changing the way we do our work and the environment in which we do it are both helpful ways to combat procrastination because they force us to examine the external realities in our lives and the ways in which they affect our productivity. Learning how to design our workflow to fit our schedules, eliminating distractions and interruptions and breaking down projects into smaller pieces can help to control these outside factors so they’re not controlling us.

But what about those moments where it’s just you: alone in a room at a desk, completely organized and distraction-free, trying to figure out how a whole hour went by and the page before you is still blank?

What if the real problem is you?

Look, some people thrive under pressure and that’s great. Maybe you’re under a lot of pressure too. It’s normal and (in some cases) necessary. But at the root of that pressure is the underlying feeling of fear. Maybe you’re not capable of getting the project done on time. Maybe you’re not capable of completing the project. Maybe you’re not capable of anything at all.

(You are, by the way. You’re awesome)

The fear, unfortunately, might always be there. We’re conditioned from an age to want to meet other people’s expectations, and the expectations we have of ourselves. But there are ways of tricking it so it no longer prevents us from getting things done.

For example, if you just can’t seem to get started on a project you may want to try hammering out a fast and sloppy version, just to get something down on paper. Give yourself a time limit and you’ll be surprised to see how fast the time actually goes.

Giving yourself time limits on difficult tasks as well can help you from feeling overwhelmed by a project’s breadth or scope. Or you may want to try things a little backwards and select a smaller, or easier project-related task to get the ball going.

If you’re procrastinating on finishing a project that’s particularly long and arduous it’s a good idea to give yourself some breathing space to focus on why you’re really working on that project in the first place. It’s easy to feel like the end is nowhere in sight, but reminding yourself of your past successes can give you the confidence you need to complete the task at hand.

And combating procrastination is a task and a half!


I procrastinated on writing this post so don’t make the same mistake that I did when commenting below or writing me at I always love to hear from you, and I’d love to hear more about what’s helped you with your procrastination habit.

If you like what you read, I’m serving up two other pieces of the procrastination pie here and here. Want more ways to get your workflow organized? Feast your eyes on these posts here and here.

Maximum Productivity


Here it is: a quick and dirty list of some of the ways in which I have found that I have achieved “maximum productivity”. It’s a state that some people tease me sounds a lot like “maximum overdrive” and in a way it kind of is- I love the feeling of looking up from my desk and seeing that the time has flown by while I’ve been absorbed by a project. Even better is the feeling you get from looking at a to-do list with all its items completed. At least, that’s my idea of a good time. Here’s how I’ve accomplished it.

I have this natural talent for taking on big, complicated projects so I’ve learned that breaking down these behemoths into smaller tasks has done wonders for my productivity, my self-esteem and my procrastination habit. I’ve got tips on how to do this here.

I tend to get easily distracted, so establishing a quiet time for myself with no phone or internet access was a key factor in helping me control my workflow. Sometimes I love this silence so much that it’s tempting to do nothing at all, but it’s still a great way of forcing myself to stay productive. I borrowed the idea from personal organizing guru Julie Morgenstern, whose books I chat about here.

I mentioned briefly in this post about procrastination about how adapting your workflow to coordinate with your energy cycles throughout the day can help prevent putting things off. It took me a lot of time to figure out when I was at my best and it took longer still to assign which tasks to which times of day, but in the end it was worth it because it made a big difference. Those of you who work from home or in another flexible work environment should definitely give it a try.

Incidentally, this practice has also helped me to have a better handle on what my threshold of concentration is, so I know ahead of time to anticipate breaks or shifts in workflow and schedule them accordingly.

Of course, it can become pretty difficult to complete a task (not to mention inefficient) if you’re constantly ill-prepared, are unable to access supplies, or are forcing yourself to work in an environment that’s counter-productive. I’ve got a list of basic needs for any great office here.

And the simplest, dirtiest trick that I could give you? Time yourself on how long it takes to really complete a task, and schedule yourself that exact amount of time to complete it. There are so many things that we put off or ignore because we overestimate the amount of time it will take us, and if you set aside an hour to do something that would normally take you five minutes, you better believe it’s going to take that full hour.


Ready, set, go! I want to hear about all the things that make you productive and I want to hear them now! Comment below or write to me at

And if you still feel like you’re lacking in productivity smarts, I suggest you visit this page immediately! Even if you’re a super-organized professional like myself (mostly), you may still find some good tips and tricks. Productivity is one of the many things that I love to write about!

More Thoughts on Procrastination

KBB_reading_nookA little while back I wrote about some of the ways in which procrastination is a healthy device that allows us a little more insight as to how we work, why we work the way we do and some of the ways we an embrace procrastination as a natural part of the workflow process. Intrigued? Don’t wait until later to read it. (You can find it here.)

As much as I believe in the potential for procrastination as a useful tool to work smarter instead of harder, there is a fine line between embracing the practice and being overwhelmed by it. When a procrastination habit becomes harmful, it’s probably time to reconsider the reasons behind it and develop new strategies to make sure we meet our deadlines on time, while still on our terms.

There’s no scientific method to my strategy to combat procrastination, but the solutions I’ve found seem to fall into three categories.

Determining the Problem

A doctor can provide relief for certain symptoms; however, he or she cannot treat you until the root cause of the illness has been determined. In a similar fashion, until you determine why it is that you’re procrastinating on a certain task you cannot begin to find a true solution to your bad habit. You’re simply putting a band-aid over the problem. Do some real soul-searching to try and figure out why you’re doing this to yourself.

Are you suffering from a lack of motivation? Set goals, determine rewards and build patterns into your daily life that help you work towards the completion of your project.

Having trouble keeping focus? Shorten the blocks of time you plan to focus on a certain task. More often than not even committing to just ten minutes of performing a certain task can encourage us to focus on it longer. Still not working? Take notes on your energy levels and amount of focus throughout your day and adjust your schedule accordingly. Try saving the more difficult or complicated tasks that require the most of your attention during the times when your alertness is at its peak.

Deleting the Unnecessary

Often our schedules are overflowing with multiple commitments, social engagements and various other personal and professional activities. It’s easy to procrastinate when feeling overwhelmed or stressed so when yourself letting important things slide because of an overcrowded schedule, it may be time to decide what activities and commitments to delete. Can you get by on less shift at your part-time job? Can you get away with dropping an elective? Any commitments, whether they be personal, professional or academic should be dropped if they become toxic, harmful, unreasonably demanding, unnecessarily involved, not enjoyable, or unhelpful towards your goals. If certain tasks are getting out of hand, see how much work you are able to delegate to colleagues, co-workers and friends, even if the arrangement is only temporary. We all need breathing space.

Discipline thyself.

It’s easy to lose focus when there’s no focus to your schedule or work. Blocking off chunks of time and forcing yourself to commit that time to working on certain tasks may be the actual motivation to get things done. If work is ill-defined or poorly organized, it can be off-putting to try and follow a task through to completion, and sometimes even possible to start. Evaluating energy levels, eliminating distractions, and creating environments conducive to our own unique productivity needs are all great ways to enjoy work more, and dare I say make it easier?

If procrastination is a sickness then it’s one we all suffer from, but hopefully by gaining an understanding as to why we do it, we can gain more insight as how to prevent it but for now, hopefully we’ve found our prescription.


Have you been procrastinating on commenting on this blog? Putting it off can be bad for you and your health. Share your strategies on how you got your life back on schedule by commenting below. Still too shy? I’ll keep your thoughts a secret if you send them to be at

The Procrastination Problem

KBB_snail_on_sidewalkAaah, November. I remember back in the day when I was a student, I’d spend the majority of the month acting like a crazy person. I’d skip classes in order to study and took power naps at weird times of the day so I could get up early and start studying some more.

One particular night stands out above all others- I had two essays due the next morning, and I pulled an all-nighter trying to finish them. I will always remember this night fondly because I got both essays done on time and received a pretty good grade on both. However, this was also the night I discovered my body’s caffeine-limit- two pots of coffee and four Red Bulls in a 24-hour period left me puking in the bathroom at 6 in the morning, editing my essays in between retching.

The stuff we do for that piece of paper, right?

The thing is, I probably could have avoided that night altogether had I not procrastinated. Trust me- everyone will do this at some point in time, so you’re not alone. (Even supposedly ultra-organized people like myself.) I have never heard of anyone not procrastinating on a particularly tricky or dull assignment at some point or another, so if you have heard of someone who hasn’t procrastinated ever, this person is probably a) a robot, which means they aren’t human and it doesn’t count, or b) this person has a horrible disease in which they think they are a robot. in which case they should probably seek medical attention.

For all those out there procrastinating right now, take comfort. A professor once told me that procrastination is a good thing. She often encouraged us to embrace the urge to procrastinate rather than to fight it, as studies have often showed studying (or writing essays) in short spurts is actually more productive than hitting the books for ten hours straight at the library. Your brain is sharper and retains more information that way. If you feel the urge to procrastinate, it may be your brain’s (or your body’s) way of telling you that you aren’t mentally prepared to complete the task at hand, therefore creating a sub-par result like a bad grade, or a blog post essay that makes no sense.

Of course, procrastination isn’t always good. For example, if you have one hour until your exam starts, it’s probably not a good idea to start studying right now. The adrenaline coursing through your body is not going to allow your brain to mentally focus on the task at hand until you’re actually sitting there in the exam center, pen at the ready.

But there’s no reason you still can’t take my professor’s advice. Instead, be kinder to yourself and realize that you’re not a machine- you’re a person who needs study breaks and sleep and proper food (eating an entire bag of Sour Patch Kids does not constitute as a meal, and neither is a cup of coffee). Here are some ways I’ve found that you can turn procrastinating into something productive.

1) Make a snack. And make it something healthy, please! Instead of limiting yourself to eating at the computer, which can cause you to overeat, take five minutes and make yourself a snack that has protein to help with the sleep deprivation from which you are suffering, no doubt, and a carb that will take your body longer to process so you are energized longer, such as a piece of fruit.

2) Play around. Give yourself a few minutes to mosey on over to It’s totally addictive, it makes you think, and it helps donate grains of rice to those in need. See how many grains of rice you can stockpile before you answer too many questions wrong, post your results to Facebook, then get back to work!

3) Clean your bathroom. Or your dorm room. Or your kitchen. Or whatever. You get to burn some of those calories you’ve been retaining since you’ve been stationary for so long, and you get to do something productive. I always find I do a better cleaning job when I’m using it as a way to procrastinate. Something about the thought of churning out another homework assignment makes me realize how much I care about the cleanliness of the grout in between my bathroom tiles- of which there are many.

4) Grab a coffee. Agree to meet up a similarly swamped friend and go to the coffee shop down the street. Stand in line. Bitch about all the work you’ve had to do and how little sleep you’ve gotten. Discuss the merits of the different coffee roasts and which one is more caffeinated. Tip your barista (she’s probably in the middle of midterms too!) then walk back to the library, or wherever it is you’re studying. If you’re at home, make yourself another pot of coffee and give yourself five minutes for it to brew. Pause. Enjoy your first sip. There now. Doesn’t it taste that much better?

5) Take a walk. It’s by far the best way to procrastinate. You get exercise and you blow off any steam that’s been building after working through a frustrating calculus problem. There’s something about the fresh air that seems so invigorating, especially at this time of year. Take your hot chocolate, take a friend, take your iPod- whatever works! Allow yourself at least ten minutes and enjoy the crunch of the leaves and that last little bit of fall sunshine. Some say that exercise of any kind can get the blood flowing back to your brain, which allows you to focus and study much more effectively.

Use all of these tactics, or none- whichever works for you. After awhile, you’ll figure out what works for you, your body and your lifestyle. And if all else fails, you can always revert back to my favorite procrastination technique- the crazy, late-night dance party. Stick on some J-Lo and shake it!

Or not. After all, you could always do it later!


Need more excuses to procrastinate? Visit my books page or my baking page to see what I’ve been doing with all of the time that I’ve been wasting. Although let’s be honest with ourselves- can we really call baking a waste of time?!?

What to Do When There is No Problem


Sometimes, there is no problem.

Isn’t that weird? I think most of us spend our day-to-day looking for problems because we’re so used to them coming up. From our email search functions not working properly to that guy who cut you off on the way home from work, it seems like there’s hiccups everywhere, everyday.

So when there aren’t any problems arising in your business and everything seems to be running smoothly, it can be hard to figure out what to do. Where do you go from there?

Most people feel it’s a natural step to hire a consultant for their business when they’re experiencing problems. It’s great to get a fresh perspective on a situation in order to come up with a solution to make it work again.

What a lot of people don’t realize it that hiring a consultant can also be helpful when there isn’t a problem. A consultant may be able to give you an outsider’s perspective on where to take your business next. Some examples of this could be decision on how to expand your business, or take on a new project.

Or why not continue working on what’s already working? A consultant may be able to offer suggestions on expanding your client base, or starting a new advertising campaign, or diversifying a solid advertising base with some exciting new social media adventures.

Consultants aren’t just there for when there are problems that need fixing. After all, there isn’t always a problem to be fixed! Maybe the only problem you should be considering is, what do I do next?


Got some time on your hands? Check out my business section for more inspiration on how to improve your business, or visit my busy section on how to start your next project. Or why not try something completely different to take a break and do some baking? The possibilities of what to do next are endless!