Imagine achieving every goal you set yourself each morning and finishing the day with a self-satisfied smile, knowing you have done everything you needed and wanted to. Some people swear by productivity tools, others by to do lists and prioritization. Below we take a look at the best ways to improve your productivity in life and work.
Tips for improving your productivity
In the absence of being able to add an extra hour or two to our days, making the most of our time means either working harder and longer or smarter. Given that lack of sleep is responsible for lost productivity and costs the United States around $411 billion a year, working smarter is the far better option. Working smarter means utilizing productivity tools well and making a few changes to our daily routine.
1. Mono-tasking: First and foremost, ditch the multi-tasking. Although you might feel like you’re getting more done, you’re not. Our brains aren’t designed to focus on more than one thing at a time. Research has shown that so-called multi-tasking is more ‘mental juggling’ and actually decreases productivity. Instead, focus on one thing at a time; you’ll complete it faster and at a higher quality than if you are trying to do more than one thing at a time.
2. Each minute is precious: Make the most of your day by rising early and using your commute time well. Instead of scrolling through your social feed while your train hurtles you toward the office, get ahead on emails, organize your to-do list for the day, or run-through a daily meditation or mindfulness practice. Meditation and mindfulness calms your inner chatter and improves memory which supports better focus and clarity of thought. It also reduces stress and improves emotional control which can aid logical decision making and help us to remain calm.
Having a regular wake and sleep time helps your body to make the most of sleep – when it repairs itself from the day you’ve had and prepares for the day to come – thus boosting productivity in your wakeful hours. Rising early has also been shown to improve people’s productivity. Early rising is linked to higher conscientiousness, greater happiness and being more proactive.
3. Make a list and prioritize tasks: Having a list of things that need accomplishing each day helps you to maintain focus. It will also provide a sense of achievement as you tick things off which can help with motivation levels. For a productivity-boosting to do list, try prioritizing tasks and working on difficult or harder to accomplish tasks at the time of day when you have greater focus.
4. Take care of yourself: To improve productivity and maintain a higher level of efficiency, we need to take care of ourselves. This means taking breaks throughout the day so we can focus on the tasks we need to do, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep each night. Nothing kills productivity faster that a foggy brain from lack of sleep or a sluggish body that is relying on caffeine and sugar boosts to get it through the day! Take care of yourself so that your mind remains sharp and your body can keep up with everything you have planned.
If you feel the need to boost your productivity, refrain from putting in more hours at your desk. Instead, take a step back and analyze the way you spend your time. A few simple adjustments so you’re working smarter may well be the answer you were looking for and yield the productivity boost you yearned for without compromising your work life balance.
Contributed by Amanda Lasater
Lisa Farrar is a fitness nutrition and holistic health coach located in Phoenix, Arizona. I first met Lisa last summer and was incredibly enlightened with her aura and sense of purpose. I felt like she had a lot of really great things that everyone needed to hear and last month we finally took the time to sit down and chat about health and all of the controversies and confusions that go along with the idea of "healthy living".
I explained to Lisa how I am so sick of diet trends and fads, as a normal, average human it seems there is nothing you can do "right" before it's no longer right. "Don't eat fruit, it's all sugar. Don't eat carbs, eat lots of fats. Don't eat meat, you'll die faster." WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO TO BE #Healthy?! Drink water and eat air? HELP PLEASE.
Q: LISA, HOW DO WE WIN AT HEALTH??
"Point blank. any eating plan that isn't sustainable is a waste of time. If you look at all of the different phases that have occurred in the last 50 years, there isn't anything that somebody didn't tout as the end all - and then 99% of them phase out. It makes you really wonder if there is any science to nutrition."
Q: So after studying all of this, what conclusions have you come to?
"The best solution is whole foods. The perimeter of the grocery store is the only place you should technically be shopping."
Q: But how can we be sustainable in this world? Why do we all feel the need to always be smaller?
"Shame on the world for telling us we need to be smaller. Self love is the most important thing we should focus on for our health. If you are not experiencing self love, you are taking steps towards a less than healthy lifestyle. I was so skinny five years ago and yes I loved it, but guess what? Cortisol levels happened. Healthy should be the new body type."
Q: How can we combat this whole skinny = healthy ideal? I'm not "skinny" but I just had a physical which stated I was in the very top percentile of being healthy according to all of my stats and blood work. It's such a frustrating epidemic/mindset!
"If you think about it, a lot of women who are super thin are just skinny fat. They don't have muscle tone. They don't have strong bones. They're thin because they aren't nourishing their bodies. I also think it is impossible to say what the norm needs to be because every single body type is different. What works for me, may not work for you."
Q: So how do you help guide your clients to an optimal level of health?
"For starters, you can't tell anyone what to do. It's not about telling them what to eat or how to exercise, it's about asking questions and listening. This is the first step to helping people become healthy on their own. Everyone has it within them but they have to come to those conclusions themselves."
Q: What if someone asks you exactly what to eat and how to exercise?
"Even if they ask and I give them a framework, it's not their commitment, it's not their decision. They have to be committed for anything to really change. I am simply the support system that helps guide my clients once they have decided what it is that they want."
Q: How do you personally define health??
"Health to me is tiered: primary and secondary.
Primary is your life - spirituality, career, leisure time, friendships, relationships, all of the the things that impact your life that have nothing to do with food/nutrition. If something is out of balance in that primary part of your life, chances are your health isn't going to be optimized. If you have a bad marriage or hate your job, if those things are out of sync, then health will be out of sync. If you think about someone who wants help with feeling better, looking better, sleeping better, it's important to ask questions about everything in their life – to really identify what could be impacting their health.
If someone said I hate my job, etc. my answer cant be you just need a new job – I need them to tell me more about what areas they are struggling with.
I work with the 3 deep questioning model. The first answer never actually gives you an answer but by the third question, you're making progress to towards the root cause."
Q: What is the secondary tier of health?
"Secondary is food. If you are out of sync, good nutrition isn't necessarily going to result in what you are trying to accomplish. Even though you eat great food, you didn't get good results.
My biggest thing is mindset. Mindset is where everything begins. Mindset and focus can have such an amazing result."
Q: What are a few daily habit changes that are sustainable?
A woman of many talents. I first met her when she was the makeup artist I blindly hired to beautify our KATCO Leather Goods commercial model, Laura Madden.
Laura suggested working with Lauren - a phone call later, it was a done deal. Let it be known, I am NOT a beauty guru. I've been using the same products most of my life #minimalist - so when it comes to who is the best in the business for beautifying, I'm not the gal to ask.
I got to know Lauren on set and was instantly captured. She is that straight shooting, insanely talented, cool girl that you just want to hang out with.
Also, check out how amazing Laura (our KATCO model) looked for the commercial.
I knew I wanted to get to know Lauren better so I invited her to be a guest on the blog so we could dig deeper into what makes her so unique.
Scottsdale born and bred
Lauren's mom is a hairdresser and growing up around beauty led her to naturally gravitate towards makeup. From an early age she was styling her friends and pulling together different looks leading her to realize that beauty was her path.
This led her to completing Aesthetician school.
"You don't learn about makeup in school, you learn about skincare. I am passionate about skincare, but I really love doing makeup and that is what led me to Los Angeles. I attended a professional makeup academy there and that's where I learned the most."
What I find so alluring about Lauren's makeup talent is her ability to pull off the natural, Kate Hudson look for my KATCO model and then bam, pull off something INSANE like this.
Makeup school and living in Los Angeles taught Lauren a big lesson, "I learned I want to work with REAL people, not actors. I want to be able to share my collaborative vision. I want to have input."
Lauren's business mantra is simple yet perfect.
"If I can make one person feel better, even just for a day - that is my purpose. That is my niche."
Her no bullshit, fearless authenticity is refreshing. She also has a deep passion for inspiring the millennial generation to realize that what they see online IS NOT REAL.
"I want to change the focus for younger girls who are consumed with instagram and portraying a specific kind of life. It's about finding and being your authentic self and girls should be empowered to do that. People are now associating some type of happiness based on how others will perceive you. Likes and follows lead to emptiness. Money doesn't buy you happiness.
I ask girls all the time, are you happy? Most of the time, they aren't. I don't understand everyones need to judge so much. They are looking for happiness in someone else and in something else but guess what, happiness is an inside job.
I see a lot of false confidence and it leaves me questioning, what is REAL anymore?
My mission and favorite part of what I do is my clients reaction. I can see that I have mentally empowered them to love themselves and knowing I've used my creative talent to gift them that feeling is priceless."
As we wrapped up, I asked Lauren what beauty positivity meant to her.
"Enhancing your individuality, empowering your self confidence and sense of self. We aren't working to cover something up, we are working towards eternal fulfillment vs outward, perceived beauty. It goes deeper than your skin."
I've met a lot of people in the beauty industry and no one have I been more impressed with than Lauren. If you're looking for a style revamp, hair, or makeup - find her with the links below!
As 2019 approaches, it's important to think about the steps you need to take to ensure that you are setting yourself up for a productive, effective, and enjoyable 2019.
At Personalized Solutions, we advise all of our clients to start simple and complete our 7 first steps towards organized living worksheet. You only get 24-hours in each day, let's make sure you are spending each moment where it REALLY counts.
Creating your organization strategy is a personal yet vital part to setting yourself up for success.
Fail to plan, plan to fail.
We are here to help, let's make 2019 AMAZING!
The San Francisco Bay Area...known for so many wonderful things all in one stunning region. Some of the nations top universities (Stanford, Berkeley), best Micheline star restaurants (The French Laundry), elite vineyards (Newton, Castello di Amorosa), incredible hotels (The Palace & The Four Seasons), and so much more!
I arrived Thursday evening and checked in to The Palace Hotel, conveniently located on Market Street. Not so convenient that ALL Marriott properties throughout San Francisco had worker strikes going on 24 hours a day that were incredibly noisy and at times, upsetting. Despite that, the hotel itself was beautiful and had great open spaces. The staff that was working was gracious and overall, the hotel was an enjoyable experience. It's location being my favorite part.
EAT & DRINK:
Thursday evening I enjoyed dinner at a gorgeous Japanese restaurant, Ozumo. The bar scene was vibrant and the views of the Golden Gate Bridge were incredible! My favorite dishes were the: hanabi, gindaro, & hamachi maki.
Friday was spent in Napa enjoying the gorgeous scenery and sipping some exquisite wines. First stop was Castello di Amorosa which is a vineyard and a castle. The wine was decent but the main event was definitely the castle tour and perfect picture ops.
Up next was lunch at Charter Oak. Charter Oak is affiliated with the famous, Michelin star Meadwood restaurant and resort in Napa and the meal did not disappoint. The high ceilings made the environment open and relaxing, and the best part - drinking wine outside by the fire pits after the meal. A definite must try in St. Helena.
After lunch I ventured onto the reservation only, tour and tasting at Newton. Newton specializes in unfiltered wines and is now owned by LVMH. The tour was much shorter than Castello's but the wine and story behind the vineyard was far better.
A few others I've been to previously but didn't visit this trip are... Chandon, Mumm, Rutherford, Mondavi, & V. Sattui.
You really can't go wrong in California wine country. ;)
Saturday evening I dined at the fabulous Mourad. This Moroccan fusion was absolutely my favorite meal of the trip. My favorites were: scallops, short ribs, & beets. It's also right next to the Palace hotel making it a must-do if you're staying in the area.
Saturday morning I did one of my favorites, Flywheel Sports. A quick ten minute walk from the hotel. My instructor was good, the class was packed, and the bikes were new! Afterwards I grabbed a celery juice from Joe & The Juice, my favorite Manhattan juicery/coffee shop. (Waiting for them to pop-up in Phoenix and Dallas!)
Sunday morning I hopped into a Soulcycle class so I could compare/contrast to the Flywheel experience. This was a bit of a let down...the instructor wasn't the best, the class was nearly empty, and I left with much to be desired. However - next door was Pressed Juicery, my favorite SoCal juice spot so I was able to grab a celery juice and continue on with my final day in SF.
Weather: Perfection. Barely needed a jacket (which is rare for breezy SF!)
Dates: October 25-28th 2018
Meals: All incredible and highly recommendable
Hotel: Great location, only downside was the city wide strike
Vineyards: It's wine, you can't lose
Workouts: Stick with Flywheel > Soulcycle
Coffee: Joe & The Juice = 100%!
Any questions about San Francisco trip planning, email us!
We are here to help make your travel stylish, organized, and luxurious.
There is nothing quite like jumping out of your comfort zone in a massive way...
Let me start with point A: I am not a fan of being filmed. Much like most people, I am self conscious about how I look, the way my voice sounds, and of what others will think. I am human and even though I am mostly confident, there are always those scary, shadows of doubt.
2018 has been the year of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and that is what has led us into this new realm...videos!
I hope you will follow along as we provide business and lifestyle tips that are geared to help you lead a more stylish, organized, and productive life. Each video is aimed to come back to the overarching theme of:
Bear with me as I get used to this, nothing is ever close to perfect the first time around but I know that if I stick with it, things can only go up from here.
You can look forward to learning a lot more about what we do at Personalized Solutions, what my struggles as an entrepreneur are, some of my favorite lifestyle tips, travel destinations, and so much more!
As always, I appreciate your support (please subscribe!) and I look forward to connecting with everyone even more!
Lots of Love,
Jessica Leila Adnani
The PS ladies recently went on a weekend getaway to Austin, TX and had an amazing time! If you are looking for a fun, new place to explore look no further. Check out all the fun things we were able to do and see!
Where to Stay:
Sixth Street is definitely a great place to be. You’ll hear a lot about it if you research a vacation to Austin. Also known as “Dirty Sixth Street”, it has all the restaurants, bars and live music you could want. West Sixth is a bit trendier and has a range of ages, while East Sixth has a grungier, younger crowd. If you choose to stay a couple streets away from here you are still able to walk everywhere, but we wanted to be right in the thick of things.
Hotel Recommendations: The W, The Line, Aloft
Where to Eat:
The food was wonderful! There is such a mix of cuisines and atmospheres. No matter what you are in the mood for, you’ll find it in Austin. Here’s a few of our favorite spots:
Eureka – 6th Street
This place had the most amazing, glazed brussels sprouts. (We’re still dreaming about them.) We sat at the bar and ordered a few appetizers and a couple glasses of wine for happy hour. Great price, casual feel, awesome decor, friendly service.
Walton’s Fancy and Staple – 6th Street
This was the cutest breakfast/lunch/coffee spot! We loved it so much the first day we came back the next day. It had a vintage, homey feel to it. The decor is black, white and natural woods with rustic touches everywhere. They sell plants and flowers alongside their chalkboard menu full of fresh entrees, coffee drinks and pastries. The prices were very reasonable too. You order at the counter and can take it to-go or grab a table and wait for them to bring out your food.
Fixe – 5th Street
This is where we went for our romantical date. The atmosphere in here was amazing as well! There were tabletops made from giant, wood slabs, candlelit booths, and bistro lights strung under a pergola. The upscale, Southern food was to die for. We ordered fried chicken, beet salad, crispy catfish and heirloom tomatoes with goat cheese. We were gushing over how fresh everything tasted. We definitely recommend this for a date night or when you’re feeling fancy, dark, romantic vibes.
What to Do:
Morning starter: SoulCycle Austin + Royal Blue Grocery latte
After that, we figured a great way to spend our Saturday afternoon was biking around Barton Springs. We knew we wanted to ride bikes around the city and explore but weren't sure where to start. A local recommended Barton Springs and it did not disappoint. We used the Jump app and paid $4 for an hour of leisurely biking. These bikes are awesome because they are part electric and give you a tiny boost every time you pedal. We rode on a tree-covered path around the water and saw people enjoying tubing, paddle boarding, picnicking and more. We’ve already decided when we go back to Austin we’re going to spend an entire afternoon paddle boarding and lounging here.
Where to Party:
Ah, the best for last. Austin has amazing nightlife and a wide variety of bars. As we mentioned above, Sixth Street has lots of bars and live music, but has a bit of a grunge factor. Still a lot of fun, but we preferred the ever-so-popular Rainey Street. It is the cutest street, lined with old houses turned into bars. Every bar has a front patio dripping in strung, bistro lights. They were all packed with friendly handsome locals and tourists. They all had great music, upbeat atmospheres, but very comfortable and inviting at the same time. Here were some of the best places to grab a drink:
We also went to Soundwave, a pool party that takes place every Sunday at the W Austin. It had a rooftop pool on the 4th floor with an awesome DJ, friendly staff and great people watching. This was the perfect way to wrap up our amazing weekend.
Have you been to Austin? Let me know your favorite spots and we’ll definitely check them out when we go back. (Um, can that be right now??)
Karen Nowicki, the founder of Phoenix Business Radio X and I met in December of 2017 when I was fortunate enough to be a guest on her and JoAnn Holland's show, Ladies Leadership Circle.
After that first meeting, I knew Karen was a Phoenix business leader that I wanted to know more about.
Karen began her career as a teacher for the Kyrene School district. When it came time to do her masters, she decided against an educational leadership program and instead went with a masters in organization management. Her studies led her deeper into business, thus propelling her into an integrative coaching certificate which resulted in a new career as a consultant and coach.
She spent eight years building a coaching practice that was both personal and professional. She was also the co-owner of a social media marketing company, 99 Dollar Social. 1.5 years ago she sold the company which helped her husband fulfill his dreams in opening his own auto shop, Chandler Auto Repair and Service.
Karen then decided to hire her own business coach to determine what her next move was going to be. She had been so successful with the sale of her company, she desired guidance on what was next in fulfilling her journey. Through this coach she was challenged to do a podcast.
"I wanted to find a way to meet new people that I wanted to work with. My coach said, you've got 48 hours and I want you to research podcasting and do your first podcast, even if you don't do another one - at least you'll know if this is a good fit. So I found Business Radio X and I knew right away this was who I wanted to work with. They are all about three things - accelerating relationships, increasing visibility, and creating quality content. For me, it was more than just a podcast, it was opening another opportunity for revenue."
Karen's radio empire began June 5th 2017. (Happy Anniversary!!!) She was licensed to be Business Radio X in the Southwest with the first studio being the Phoenix location.
"The idea is not only for me to be in front of business leaders, but to give that opportunity to other business owners through hosting their own shows at the studio. In less than a year we now have nine sponsors, business owners who host and sponsor their own shows, and as of June 4th we are moving into a new home with MAC6. At 53, this is the most exciting thing that I have done so far. It is a legacy business that I can either sell or give to my children. This is the opportunity to have an exit plan."
Karen is certainly building an empire. Her shows are listened to by thousands every week and her expansion plans throughout Arizona are in the works. She also knows nearly every business leader in Phoenix, proving she is a woman to know and watch.
Karen, thank you for your leadership in Arizona's business community. You are a beautiful human being inside and out and we love collaborating with you.
Follow Karen and Phoenix Business Radio:
Scott Parker is an Arlington, Virginia businessman who has accomplished more by the age of 35 then most do in a lifetime.
I met Scott years ago at a bar in Arlington when out with friends. He was really nice and mentioned he owned our neighborhood hot spot, A-Town and that my friends and I should check it out for brunch. In the years to follow, Parker has gone on to be a part owner in eleven different establishments throughout the DC, MD, VA metro.
Five restaurants: A-Town, Don Tito, Don Taco, Barley Mac, The GOAT
Three VaporFi franchises
Two DogThrive locations
One original concept boxing gym: BASH Boxing
To say this guy is busy is an understatement. Social media has given me the ability to lurk on Scott's day-to-day and that is what led me to asking for this interview. He wakes up every day around 5am, gets a workout in, and begins his daily to-do list. He is also very family oriented which we can all appreciate, I know how hard it is to balance work and family.
So let's dig in!
You started at A-Town and then expanded your reach into all different arenas, let's talk about the timelines and motivations.
"A-Town opened in August of 2012, Don Tito March 2015, Don Taco March 2016, Barley Mac March 2016, and the GOAT November 2017. The DogThrive concept is an original one, created from scratch. We have two locations, one in Annapolis and one in Gambrills, opened in November 2016. Vaporfi is a franchise based out of Miami and I own a part of three locations in the DMV, opened December 2014. BASH boxing is an original concept, we are planning on two Arlington locations - one in Rosslyn set to open in July and one in Ballston, hopefully in December.
I wanted to get into other small business industries and concepts. Each new industry I went into I was operations and marketing guy, I'd then partner with genius level talent, for example, with DogThrive my partner has trained thousands of dogs.
VaporFi was a trend thing, saw a lot of people doing really well in it, overall it's done well.
Bash boxing is an original concept, and I'm unsure if we will franchise it or not."
Tell me more about BASH, I am really into boxing right now so this concept excites me.
"Our first location will have a class max of 36 people, classes are 45 minutes long, and there is 1 instructor. I chose boxing because it's a workout that builds confidence and helps people get aggression out. It's really hot right now and it's different than what is out there."
You've achieved a lot, what are the top three things that you do or things you'd offer as advice to others who want to achieve the same kind of success?
"The intention behind everything I do is to bring light to everyone who steps foot in here. When you come in for this ride, it's challenging, but our intent is to have you become something bigger than yourself. Never coast. Who is a never coaster? Someone who refuses to give up. Refuses to settle for the easy route. Accepts any challenge. Is REAL. We gear our life towards the never coaster."
Meet Kristina Girod.
Head Instructor of Flywheel Scottsdale, and Lululemon Brand Ambassador. Have you seen those abs? Clear to see why! However, Kristina's allure is far deeper than just physique. She is also the most inspiring instructor I've ever met. After my first class, I told her I'd be writing a letter to HQ because she belongs at the master instructor level, she is just THAT good at her job.
As you know, I recently moved to Arizona and when I arrived I made it my mission to try out all of the top rated gyms and of course, visit one of my favorite East Coast studios - Flywheel Sports.
Flywheel is a competitive spin class. They are HQ'd in NYC and I became addicted to them while living in DC. Fortunately for me, a new studio popped up in Scottsdale a few months prior to my arrival and thus led me to Kristina.
There are so many fitness professionals in the world, it can be hard to stand out - so when you find someone who does, you just want to learn more.
How old are you and where are you from?
"33, Flagstaff Arizona."
How'd you wind up in Scottsdale?
"I am one of six siblings, I moved after college, and now my entire family is also here."
Tell us about your path into fitness.
"I was an athlete growing up, I tore my ACL at age 19 playing volleyball and got out of sports. Gained weight and after college, got into working out. I lost 20lbs and got shredded. I started working out at 24hour Fitness lifting and doing turbo kickboxing classes. I then became a turbo kickbox instructor and taught for two years. That was too intense on the knees which is what led me to spin.
I started teaching cycling in 2014 at Lifetime Fitness, then moved to Fit Republic, and then the Madison Improvement Club. Spin was just my side gig. I was working full-time for Yelp in their franchising division."
So how'd you land Flywheel?