8 Tips for Managing Anxiety

Alright, this is going to be a very personal post, but I think it is so important to share as we head into a very stressful time of year. I am a high anxiety person, but I am a highly functioning person with anxiety. I thought that I would share with you all steps that I take to prevent or reduce my anxiety.

1) Spend Time Alone

This is the fastest relief for my anxiety, personally. Getting away from a bunch of different noises and so many things going on at once brings me instant peace. I am actually pretty used to chaos being that I am the second youngest of six kids, and there was always so much going on at any given time. I always had my own space that I could escape to, even as a kid, when I would feel overwhelmed or anxious. It is always my first step to alleviating my anxiety.

2) Journal

Once I am alone, I find it very therapeutic to write without a filter. When I am feeling extremely anxious, I write vigorously to the point where I couldn’t read it even if I wanted to. And that is okay because no one would ever has to see it or read it. It just feels good to get all of my thoughts out on paper–even if they are dramatic or unrealistic.

After I get all of that out, I write what I am feeling in that moment. Do I feel more calm? Do I feel less strained? Can I see with a clear perspective now? I like to answer these questions so that I know there is a point to venting on paper… And that point is not to dwell in the anxiety, but to recognize what may have brought it on and work through it.

3) Get Away From Social Media

I know it is so easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole with social media, so I suggest putting your phone away. Switch it to “Do Not Disturb.” But if that can’t keep you off of it, put it in the next room over. Personally, I find peace in seclusion and silence. When you have all of those apps that can pull you in to drama, it can really exacerbate your anxiety.

The only reason I say to get away from social media rather than your phone in general is because sometimes you need your phone. Listening to soothing music or chatting with a friend or loved one are two good uses for your phone when you are trying to reign in your anxiety.

4) Listen to Soothing Music

This is calming in and of itself. I listen to meditation music all the time whether I am meditating, trying to fall asleep, trying to focus on a task at hand, or when I am trying to sooth my anxiety. I absolutely believe in the healing affects of music in general. So when your mind is racing and panic ensues, listening to something soothing can change the pace of all of that. You might slow your breathing to the rhythm of the music. You might be transported in your mind to a rain forest or beach. You might think of the last massage you had. You might begin to meditate. All of these counteract anxiety.

I actually have a specific playlist on my phone that I play in these instances. I’ll set the playlist to play, tuck my phone on the side of my bed (out of arms reach), and focus on my breathing.

5) Talk to a Friend or Family Member Who Gets It

This is something that I do not usually do. I find that when I am in a panic or upset, others tend to either portray the same emotion or exacerbate my anxiety. Obviously, that isn’t their intention, but it is how I respond to their words or actions when I am experiencing high anxiety.

Sometimes you just need a good listener or someone to distract you and lift your spirits. I find it really hard to know what I need from others in these moments, so that is why I don’t usually reach out. Sometimes you want to say, “the sky is falling,” without someone telling you it’s not–you just need to vent. And other times you need someone to show you solutions and help you realize that you might be overthinking. This is why I tend to vent on paper and then start planning so that I know there is a logical solution. I haven’t always been this way, but you learn a time goes on what suits you better.

In high school, I remember going on drives with my dad weekly because I would have get extremely anxious, like clockwork, every Sunday night. Both of my parents are very calm and are great listeners, so my dad and I would chat and by the time we got home, I was calm. As you grow older, the same things don’t always work or are no longer convenient, but I have always taken drives as a part of my solution.

6) Drive (in an area without traffic)

Like I said, I like to take a nice, long drive when I am anxious because nothing clears my head better than long and windy road. It is, also, a way to remove yourself from an anxiety triggering event. Once I get in my car, I will literally say, “Thank God.”

It just gives you that seclusion and gets you focused on something else. Although, I do not recommend to drive if you are having severe anxiety or a panic attack as these could hinder your ability to drive.

7) Lavender

This is one good way to prevent anxiety throughout your day. I wake up and put Lavender essential oils on my wrists and neck like it is perfume (I mean, it kind of is). I honestly feel like it prevents me from really experiencing unwarranted anxiety throughout the day. I would recommend looking into this, and I am sure you all know someone who sells essential oils!

8) Exercise

Hitting the gym can really benefit you in any feeling you may have. I love working out as a preventive way to counteract my anxiety, but, also, as a way to work through it. There is nothing like a run or throwing weights around to process through anything. Plus, the more physical work you do, the lower your anxiety levels will be in general. By getting your body moving, the endorphins that your brain releases will seriously make you happy.

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.

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What might work for me might not work for you, so try a few of these out and see what suits you best.

I would, seriously, recommend using Lavender essential oils and exercise as a way to reduce your overall anxiety.

What other ways do you reduce your anxiety? Let me know in the comments!

What I am Grateful For Today:

I am so grateful to have the support system that I do: my family!

After years of struggles with anxiety, I came up with a list that I would physically grab in order to quickly see what to do to relieve my anxiety. These 8 steps are what I have found to be the most beneficial to me overall.

What are you grateful for today? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

7 Cleaning Tasks To Do Daily

There are a few things you can do to prevent having to spend a whole day cleaning–it just takes daily discipline to do a few simple tasks.

1) Make Your Bed

Everyone says this, but it really is a great way to start the day. Plus, once your bed is made, you are less inclined to get back in it. Make your bed and start your day off with one less thing to do later.

2) Vacuum

If you have pets, allergies, or both, you should absolutely be vacuuming daily. You’ll have less dust, dirt, and dander floating around in the house. Also, those nice vacuum lines make your whole house look cleaner than it actually is. If you can only get one of these done, do this one!

3) Wipe Your Counter Tops

This is a good idea for the bacteria alone, much less it really adds up. If you wipe them with a disinfectant daily, there is less of a mess to clean up later. This, also, gives your home a cleaner look without doing deep cleaning.

4) Throw Empty Things Away

This is just a good clutter rule in general. Don’t put back nearly empty milk cartons in the fridge or leave empty shampoo bottles along the shower. Getting rid of it as it comes along saves you time in the long run. And it’s less clutter! If you can’t get use out of it, get rid of it!

5) Wipe Down Door Knobs

This is so important, especially this time of year. If there is more than one person in your household, this is a must! Since this is a place that everyone touches, it is the number one place that you are likely to spread germs. It’s a simple task, and it could keep those nasty viruses from spreading through your household.

6) Tidy Up/Put Things Away

When you walk in the door, do you have a set place for your jacket, purse, or keys? I do, but I find myself sometimes rushing in and leaving it all on a chair in the kitchen. I’ll go back eventually and put them where they belong so my stuff isn’t just sitting on all of the furniture in the common areas. It would be so much simpler to take that extra five seconds to put my outerwear where it belongs.

This is the same with ingredients you use while cooking, makeup/skincare products, and office supplies you take out as needed. Use them, and then put them back in their designated place! Again, something that takes so little time in the moment and saves you a lot of time in the long run.

7) Keep Up on Dishes

This is one thing that has been ingrained in me from the time I was old enough to do dishes: when the dishes are dirty they go straight in the dish washer, when the dish washer is full start it, and when the dishes are clean put them away. This way, you’ll never have a dirty dish sitting in the sink. You were going to load the dish washer at some point, so why not keep up on it daily?

Cut Down On Your Overall Cleaning

If you do these chores daily, you won’t have to scramble to clean the house before guests come over, and you won’t feel like you have so much cleaning to do at any given time. By doing these tasks daily, you will be living a clutter-free and mess-free life this Winter.

What I am Grateful For Today

I am so grateful for this little cutie and these adorable socks with her face on them!

Today I was so grateful for the fact that a few simple cleaning tasks can do wonders when you stick to them daily! I am happy to share these ideas and everything else that I am grateful for!

What are you grateful for today? Let me know in the comments below!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

How to Save $5000 FAST

I have mentioned before how important planning is for me when it comes to my finances because of the type of job I am in. This especially becomes important in the winter time when business slows down and spending increases (gifts, travel, etc.). I have had a few people reach out to me asking how I make it through the winter, so I thought I would just share this with you here.

1) Know How Much You Are Making

Salaried Workers Need Not Apply (for this one)

I know that many people have a guaranteed amount of money they are making on biweekly checks whether they are making a salary or are working regular hours with hourly pay. This section might not apply to you lucky folks, since you know how much you make! However, if you are paid biweekly rather than twice monthly, it is nice to figure out which months you could take in 3 paychecks. If that happens to be November like many people, that’s a great opportunity to set aside some extra cash before the holidays!

Tip Based Workers

Since I can remember, I have always kept a note in my phone of how much money I made in tips and how many hours I work. At the beginning of this year, I found this app called Tip Tracker that made this so much easier. It allows you to enter in your hourly wage, hours worked, and tips earned each day. It even creates a graph of your hourly wages earned, tips earned, and combination of the two. Also, it shows you your average dollar per hour wage you make on specific days of the week. I am seriously in love!

By tracking what I make, I know which days I make the most money and my monthly income. And, I don’t have to crunch the numbers myself–remember, I am a numbers person! Knowing which days of the week I make the most money per hour helps me decide when I want to plan my vacations and which days I want to work overall. For example, I make all of my short vacations Monday through Wednesday so that I am not missing my highest money-making days. It pays to know how much you make and when you are making it!

2) Know When Your Bills Are Due

Add a Reminder For Each Bill in Your Phone

I get a reminder every morning of the bills that are due each specific day and how much each bill is. The alarm is definitely not the one I wake up to, because how disappointing would that be! I set it for 8 am so I see where money needs to go for that day, but I honestly just glance at it without giving it too much thought. That is why I love my desk calendar that I walk past multiple times a day.

Buy a Desk Calendar

Seriously, another great investment. I got mine for less than $20 and it has helped me stay financially organized. As I mentioned, I have each bill in my calendar on my phone, but it helps to see it all written down. When I walk past this daily, I get to see what I have due tomorrow and the rest of the week and month.

I, also, add how much I need for my total bills due the following week to every Saturday. I love this because I can just make sure I have that money in my account, and I don’t have to think twice about auto-pay bills for the week.

Never Miss a Due Date

By doing both of these, you shouldn’t ever miss a due date unless you are strapped for cash. This helps you avoid paying late fees, which is basically paying money for being forgetful or unorganized. Wasting less money means you’ll have more to save and make your money work for you!

3) Look at Your Monthly Spending

Miscellaneous Spending

Some things have to go! Think about those $20 lunches, $10 trips to the gas station, and $5 Starbucks coffees. If you do at least one of these per day, every day, for the whole month, that is between $150 to $1050. Even to take $150 and put it savings is a huge start. This is why you need to know where your money is going. Saying, “Oh, it’s only $10,” thirty days a month can really add up!

It’s not about never indulging, but just acknowledging the money you are spending and deliberately choosing that the money you are spending is worth it.

What Subscriptions Are You Paying For?

I have this app called Clarity Money that is so helpful because it shows you your monthly subscriptions and gives you the option to cancel them through the app. I realized, when I first got the app, that I was paying Apple $10.00 more that 6 times a month. AND, I had no idea what for!

Although I couldn’t cancel Apple (LOL), I began researching what all I was paying them for monthly and weekly. It was for apps I never used as well as my very useful Apple Music, which I didn’t mind. I am happy to say I was able to get rid of these apps and am putting that money to a better use!

Also, if you are one of those who has every single streaming service, I suggest you choose one or two and get rid of the rest. OR, if you have a friend with Netflix and you have Hulu, you guys could share and not have to pay for both.

These are all apps that I use daily to track my spending, savings, earnings, and investments or reimburse friends and pay bills.

Is There a Better Deal?

Try buying generic at the grocery store when you can. Buy in bulk to save per item. Use a coupon, or buy the item that is on sale. This way, you’ll be able to make your dollars stretch further.

Also, you can review your cable and internet plans, phone bill, and car insurance to see if you are getting the best deal. Sometimes you can even have companies offering the better deal pay to get you out of your contracts. My sister and I did this with our $400+ Verizon phone bill a couple of years ago and are saving $80 a month each. Also, when my cable bill went up, I called and they said it was because the promo that I had originally purchased was only for X amount of months, but I could sign a new contract and get another discounted rate. That saved me about $60 a month. Just by looking for the better deal, I saved myself $140 a month on things I already had.

Finally, look for the Groupon! You can get almost anything on Groupon now. From facials to vacations, they have everything. I know you don’t want to cut out every one of your favorite pastimes, so consider booking your next tee time through Groupon!

4) The Money

Now that you are spending less, let’s get down to putting money away:

The Math

So, “fast” is pretty ambiguous. Let’s say that you want to save $5000 in 3 months. That means you need to save approximately $1667 per month, about $417 per week, or about $56 per day. That seems like a lot, right? But it is going to be so worth it!

Reallocating

Above we talked about possibly cutting out up to $1050 of spending each month. That is 62% of your monthly savings goal. On the low end, we said $150 which is nearly 9% of your monthly savings goal. Just by reallocating your funds, you could put yourself anywhere from 9% to 62% ahead!

I, also, told you above that I saved myself $45 on Apple subscriptions alone. That is 3% of the monthly savings goal. And it was money that I was spending for things I wasn’t using!

Finally, I told you about how I saved $140 each month by switching my services over to the better promotion or better company. This is over 8% of the monthly savings goal. In my scenario, say all of these funds were put into savings, I would be at 20% to 73% of my savings goal without putting away any extra money.

The Other 27% to 80%

Now, where do we come up with the rest? This is the fun part! How in the world are you going to be able to save the remaining $432 to $1332? Don’t worry, I will break it down for you.

You may need to live more frugally for a few months, or work more hours possibly at another job. I actually love when I work more because I have less time available to do things that cost money. For example, you won’t spend money on nights out if you don’t have the availability to participate in them. I, actually, picked up a second job that just needed seasonal help for the end of summer this year and got a huge leap ahead on my savings in doing so.

Another option is to be savvy. Aside from taking on a regular part-time job, you can look for other opportunities to make money. Sign up for Uber or Lyft, walk dogs, babysit, clean, sign on with a temp agency, become a virtual assistant. There are countless side hustles that can monetize your free time; however, I know working more isn’t always the answer for everyone. This is where diligent budgeting and savings come in.

Putting the Money Away

Every Saturday, transfer $417 into your savings. No excuses. Treat it like a bill. Once you make this a habit, you will just be used to putting that money aside weekly. Also, you can set up a recurring transfer into your savings if you want to do so automatically. If you get biweekly paychecks, you can transfer $834 each check instead. The idea is to get used to putting money into a savings account regularly.

I leave work every day with cash and work near my bank, so I try to make daily deposits. When I deposit cash, I always deposit 25% into my savings and 75% into my checking. Then, when I get a paycheck, I put 100% into my savings. This way I am used to making a residual deposit into my savings and when I look at my account, I can add more money into my savings as needed to keep up with the $417 weekly. Every Saturday, I balance the total.

Here is what your savings account should look like after each week:

WeekAmount
1$417
2$834
3$1251
4$1668
5$2085
6$2502
7$2919
8$3336
9$3753
10$4170
11$4587
12$5004

And, look! You have an extra $4 to spare!

If you do it little by little, it really adds up. SO, keep these tips in mind when you are saving for your next vacation, car, wedding, or just rainy day money! Saving doesn’t have to be difficult because there is money in places that you might not think of!

I am grateful every day that I have an opportunity to earn more!

What I am Grateful For Today

I am so grateful for Megan and enjoying a concert with her!

I was actually so inspired to put this post together today for a few of my dear friends. I am so grateful for this idea and so much more today!

What are you grateful for today? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

25 Things Before 25: Week 5 Update

10/25/19-10/31/19

This week was one of my favorites! It was filled with learning a lot about myself and growing in my faith and relationships with my family and friends.

Here’s what happened this week:

Travel Plans

My first category I announced was to travel to 25 states I haven’t been to before. I mentioned last week that I planned some trips. I did book 3 trips for the remainder of the year, and just planned to go by myself for two of them. I had mentioned to some friends and coworkers where I was going, and two of my friends decided to book flights to come with me!

I am so excited and have looked at so many ideas of things to do in these two cities: Nashville, Tennessee and Seattle Washington. So, if any of you are from either of these cities and/or have any good recommendations, please leave them in the comments!

I talked last week about planning, and I am just so pleased that my plans are coming to fruition and are becoming this great adventure. That is what I was looking for at the beginning of this journey anyhow.

This Amazing Read

Another huge part of why I started 25 Things Before 25 was to learn more and improve myself. I am so pleased to have read and gained all of the knowledge I did from Marie Forleo’s book Everything is Figureoutable. I hope to apply all of her teachings to the rest of this challenge and the rest of my life.

In doing so, I am never going to let anything stop me from moving forward: not money, not time constraints, not work, not people, and definitely not any limiting beliefs. I struggle with limiting beliefs when it comes to my career path. I actually realized that for the first time while doing one the first “Insight to Action Challenge.” That being said, I won’t be giving any excuses but will simply figure out how to do what needs to be done. Always.

I would definitely recommend this book! Purchase it by clicking the link below.

What I Have Accomplished

As I mentioned, the weather kept me inside for nearly two days, but I had a lot of fun on those snowy days. I got to catch up with my mom and brother and start and finish a great book. My best friend, also, came over and we made two different vegan and gluten free cookie recipes. To me, there is no better way to spend a snowy few days than with friends and family. Mixed in with all of this, I worked a lot and did a lot of research which is like going down the rabbit hole for me. This brought me to the non-profit I found to make a donation. I am so happy to have completed so much! Here is what I accomplished this week:

  1. Read Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo (Number 2)
  2. Donated to Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (Number 6)
  3. Completed 7 of my routine workouts (Number 8)
  4. Memorized a bible verse (Number 12)
  5. Learned a word in a different Language (Number 13)
  6. Went to a local restaurant for the first time (Number 14)
  7. Tried a new product (Number 18)
  8. Tried two new recipes (Number 21)

My Progress in Perspective

Can I just say that I owned Week 5?! I completed a total of 15 tasks with the struggles of a snow storm and dangerous driving conditions. It feels good to think that I got so much done in the 5 days where I could actually leave the house (although, I did go to workout both days of the snow storm).

I am at a total 57 tasks completed! PLUS, I met the rules of Number 8 with 25 routine workouts in the first month, which sets a good pace for the remaining eleven months! I am closer to my goal average of 17 to 18 tasks per week, as well. Like I said, I am killing it! It may have just taken getting used to it in the first month.

Goals for October

So this is one area where I struggled. I didn’t have as strong of a start as I would have hoped, but I am not letting that diminish what I have done. In fact, I am removing the emotion from it and am going to analyze this topic objectively. My October Goals were:

  1. Have at least one thing in each category completed by the end of the month.
  2. Post 2 or more blogs per week describing these adventures.
  3. Add videos of my experiences to Instagram!

I did not complete one thing in each category by the end of this month. This week, I did add to 3 categories for the first time which makes it a total of 8 open categories. Last week, I mentioned that it wasn’t realistic to meet this goal for a variety of reasons. I might not make it out on a mountain again until next summer because of the snow. And that’s okay. I didn’t meet this goal, but I accomplished so much in an effort to meeting this goal. 17 out of 25 categories ain’t bad, huh?

I did not average out 2 or more blog posts about my adventures each week. I did post 2 blogs each week, but not specific to 25 Things Before 25. During October, though, I have created more blogs than I ever have in one month with a total of 10 blog posts! I think that a lot of these posts are some of my best yet! And I think that is something notable.

I did add videos of my experiences to Instagram, but not as many as I would have liked. I’ll say I met this goal because I have never posted videos to Instagram, so even doing it at all was a feat. I think I actually improved all of my social media interaction and participated in a lot of good conversation.

What I Learned for Next Month

1) Monthly Goals

I learned a lot in the first month of 25 Things Before 25. The first would have to be how to set my goals and achieve them. I think these monthly goals should be more about consistency rather than achievement unless it is trying something new. I have a few good goals in mind for November that I will share with you in the Week 6 Update!

2) Apply My Knowledge

I am really going to take the lessons I learned in the two books I read to heart and apply the lessons I have learned. One book was mostly based on relationships while one was based on facing adversities: both of which have been present in my life overall and had a huge impact on me this month. I learned that I need to pretty much just trust that everything will work out while also working my a$$ off to reach my goals. If I know how to do something, I should, and if I don’t, I will figure it out.

3) Weekly Planning

I learned that, in order to stick to my 17 to 18 tasks a week, I need to intentionally do so. I kind of just waited to see what I would accomplish each week and write about it. I, also, wrote about being disappointed in myself. Looking back, I don’t know how I could have ever thought I would accomplish 900 tasks without diligent planning. Now that I know I will be consistently behind until I implement some plans, I know what it will take to meet this huge challenge!

Treated myself to a glass of wine for a successful first month!

Thank you all for following along on this journey and I am excited to see what next month hold with all of the knowledge I have attained in the first month of 25 Things Before 25!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the first month! Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

4 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

Have any of you seen Mariah Carey’s video where she falls asleep in her Halloween Costume at 11:59 on Halloween, and then she wakes up decked out in Christmas pajamas with “All I Want For Christmas is You” playing at 12 am on November 1st?

I know it’s only November 3rd, but these last two months of the year are going to fly by! So, here are some ideas for you to think about for giving back this holiday season:

1) Volunteer

Think Outside the Box

I know that so many people use this time of the year to volunteer at soup kitchens to serve holiday meals to people. Any type of volunteer work is amazing, and it is that busy time of year so it can be really challenging to work it into your schedule. In this case, I suggest you get creative!

Get a Group Together

Consider going through your church or work to find opportunities. It is a good way to get familiar with the organization you are volunteering for when you go with others who have done it before and are a part of your community. Plus, if you are looking for a volunteer opportunity without a commitment, it is likely a community you belong to will have a residual group volunteer commitment where they can swap out group members.

Do Your Research

I don’t know how common knowledge this is, but most volunteering requires a certain time commitment, so it is good to know as much as you can about the organization you are volunteering for. You want to know exactly what you will be doing and what hours you are needed so you know that you will be able to see it through. Ask questions to employees, go to an orientation, and ask other volunteers what their experience is. This will ensure that you find a good fit before you make a commitment.

2) Winter Cleaning and Donating

Extras

Do you buy a new jacket every year? Or every other year? Do you have extra hats, gloves, or scarves laying around? What about blankets? Or bedding?

If the answer is yes, I would encourage you to donate your used items to a local shelter! These places will ensure that your items are GIVEN to someone in need rather than sold. Every year since I did a blanket drive in high school, either my friends or my mom would go with me to Denver Rescue Mission to donate blankets and cold weather gear that we had collected.

Your Pile of Blankets Could Have a Function

Living in Colorado, it gets so cold during the winter every night. We might get 60+ degree weather in the middle of winter midday, but the temperatures drop drastically at night which is dangerous to the well-being of the homeless population. Because of this, many homeless stock up on donated blankets and will carry them on them at all times in the winter.

My Testimony

Usually, when we go to the Denver Rescue Mission, there is already a line around the block for people needing to stay in the 18th Street Shelter. This actually gives us the opportunity to interact with others and give blankets directly to them. Just to see their appreciation for something that others once just had laying around the house is so inspiring.

I don’t know about you guys, but I always find myself with an excess of blankets. One time I even had 3 comforters in the trunk of my car and I couldn’t tell you why. Maybe it was a divine thing, because I went for dinner and a movie in Denver with my sisters one snowy night and found one man in need of warmth or shelter.

In hindsight, we could have been more safe about it, but it all worked out in the end. We walked over to my car and I opened up my trunk to then give this nice man those comforters. Just to have something that we could give was awesome.

I have seen other people who say to carry old purses with feminine products and other hygiene products to give to homeless women in need. I think that is a great idea, as well!

The point is, something that you no longer need could be something that is detrimental to someone else. PLUS, if you get rid of these things now, you will get a head start on your spring cleaning!

3) Gifting to Families in Your Community

Adopt-A-Family

Many communities will do an outreach program where you and your family, or group, can sponsor another family. In this program, you basically buy gifts for children who may not be getting any presents in their home.

Parker Task Force

In my community, the Parker Task Force has a program called Adopt-A-Family. I remember signing up with the French Honors Society in high school and it was a great experience. What happens is they provide you with a list of likes and interests and the age of each child along with gift ideas. It is then in your hands to purchase the gifts and wrap them. It does get kind of expensive buying for multiple kids, so I suggest signing up with a group of friends, family members, or coworkers. This is just a great way to provide a family with a nice holiday.

4) Spare Change Donations

Grocery Store Give-backs

Growing up, my mom always gave us a dollar or some change to put in the Salvation Army bucket each time we passed the nice, bell-ringing volunteers at the grocery store entryway. This was really instilled in me as a good way to give back during the holiday season, and it is something I still do to this day.

It is the same thing with food drives. There are constantly people collecting donations of nonperishable items outside of the grocery store. This is awesome, too, because all of those items are extremely cost effective and are needed by food banks and task forces all of the time. This holiday season, grab a list and try buying at least one item. It might cost you less than a dollar!

Round-Ups and Extra $$

As I entered adulthood, the round-up donations became huge among retailers and gas stations. It kind of registers as an “unnoticeable” amount, because there are so many times people throw their coins in their purse and just forget about it. That small amount does add up, though! When this became widely practiced, I decided that I would donate anytime I was asked. This isn’t exclusive to the holiday season, either–just more common during this time of year.

I, honestly, just figure this as a part of the cost of going in to the store or part of my purchase, and it still makes a difference!

I hope you find these tips helpful to you as you make your plans to give back this holiday season!

What I am Grateful For Today

My dad teaching Lady how to do “Yoda Ears.” They are both so goofy together.

I lost a dear friend and regular customer of mine on October 23rd, and his funeral was yesterday. Spending that time with his family and close friends really made me appreciate everything in my life and everything that I have learned from him.

With this weighing heavy on my heart, today I am grateful for:

  1. Healthy family members
  2. Quality time with friends
  3. Random late night conversations
  4. Sincere people
  5. Acts of service of others
  6. Faith
  7. Old country music
  8. Dancing with friends
  9. Hymns
  10. Generosity of others
  11. Learning from my peers
  12. Living in and working in a family-like community
  13. My job
  14. Lady–my puppy
  15. The thoughtfulness of my brothers girlfriend
  16. Mercy
  17. Teamwork
  18. Opportunities to learn
  19. Charities and community outreach programs
  20. Inspiring testimonies of others
  21. My mom
  22. How much my little brother loves my puppy
  23. My reliable vehicle
  24. My goofy dad
  25. Sunday mornings with my family
  26. Inspiring entrepreneurs
  27. People who will always strive to help others
  28. Meeting new people everyday
  29. Comforting Scripture
  30. My last conversation with Matt before he passed when he told me how proud he was of me and how I am living my life
This is the back of the program for Matt’s service. It is just one of many beautiful verses that were shared yesterday.

What are you grateful for today? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

Start Today!

I have always read books about self improvement, and I think that this year I have truly made a shift in my mentality by actually internalizing each thing I have learned and applied it to my life. The most common thing and biggest change in my mind that is always reiterated in these books is to take action.

I figured I would take this time to tell you about how taking action has transformed my life over this past year. Here it goes…

No Goal has Been Accomplished Without Action

I know that visualization is important, and I think it is great to actually visualize yourself as the person who has achieved all of your goals and imagine what that life is like. That being said, you need to make the first move. Sitting and hoping to have that big break isn’t benefiting you in the greatest possible way.

I do believe in the law of attraction, but what do you do while you are waiting for your wildest dreams to come true? If it isn’t practicing harder, working out more often, going on more interviews, or whatever variation of MORE that your goal entails, you need to take action.

I used to always say things like, “I want to lose weight,” “I want to travel more,” “I want the perfect relationship,” and “I want to work in my dream career.” It’s great to have the desire, but what did I actually do to reach these goals? The answer used to be nothing.

Once I kind of internalized that I need to actually do something to reach these goals, my whole life changed. I say “internalized”‘because it is common knowledge: goals require effort. Duh! Knew that… Well, as I sat there just waiting for my wildest dreams come true while I made absolutely no changes, I knew that something had to be done.

“I’ll Start Tomorrow”

Okay… BS. Tomorrow is too late to start. Five years of tomorrow’s goes by in the blink of an eye! Believe me, because that is what I said to myself every day for FIVE WHOLE YEARS. I could go on with a bunch of cliches about how the only thing that is guaranteed is this moment and carpe diem and yatta yatta… But, I won’t! You already know that, so take it from someone who put off living my best life for years: it is not worth it!

Sick days, they’ll happen. Too much work or travel plans, that’ll happen, too. It’s okay to miss a day or give yourself a day off or day of rest. What isn’t okay is to think that all of your problems can wait until tomorrow. Stop lying to yourself about starting tomorrow, and just start now! I know I wish I did.

Actually Making the First Move

That decision to change did not come easily. I was being pulled out of bed at early morning hours by my new puppy, Lady, and taking her for walks just to get her to go back to sleep so I could, too. Then, I was sitting outside with her while she entertained herself for hours; however she wouldn’t go outside without me. So, the one thing I would do was read. I bought this book called Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop and, man, did that light a fire under me.

I started running with my dog every morning once she got big enough, and I stayed awake afterward to start writing. Soon, I started going to the gym before Lady even woke up and would come home to take her for a run every morning. My relationship improved and I was making more money at work and working a better schedule. One little change totally rerouted my whole life. And to think that this all happened because of one simple change that wasn’t deliberate!

I do have that personality type where the busier I am, the more productive I am: my house is cleaner, I write faster and with more purpose, and errands are always done. Time management is something that I excel at when I have a lot going on and it affords me some wonderful free time.

Overall, I have seen so much improvement in the quality of life that I have been living!

Nearly a Year Later

I mad a goal poster/vision board with my mom and some of her friends at the beginning of the year. I was very proud of it at first, but it soon was just tucked away. I walk past it every day without pulling it out to look at it, and most of the time don’t even realize it’s there.

Well, I decided to pull it out the other day, and here it is:

My goal poster created in January 2019.

Things I have done this year include living a healthier lifestyle, traveling to places I have never been, improving relationships with family members and friends, hiking in the mountains, growing in my faith, healing from past traumas, planning for my future, and creating the life I want to live. Look at the board. I didn’t think one thing of that poster since I had made it really… And nearly every item has been accomplished.

Could you imagine that feeling if I had never started making changes? That poster would still be a goal poster rather than a symbol of my achievements this year. From disappointed to accomplished. And all it took was one little change to make everything else fall into place!

That One Thing

My life will never be the same. These changes that I have made to work towards a goal have become major lifestyle changes for me. I’ll always be a morning person, I’ll always fit a workout into my day, and I’ll develop better relationships with what I have learned.

The only thing I could say I regret in this journey is that I didn’t start sooner!

Today I am so grateful for the lifestyle changes that I have made!

What are you grateful for today? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

5 Ways to Show Your Gratitude

Happy November, everyone!

As we enter the Holiday season, you’ll get bombarded with ads of the coolest and newest toys, electronics, jewelry, and cars. I know I don’t need to remind you to take a personal inventory for what you already have and be grateful for that first, but I do want to urge you all to find ways to show it.

Here are 5 ways I show my gratitude:

1) Write it Down

Most people in the blogging-verse keep journals. Am I right? It is a very personal experience, and everyone does it their own way. Not many people journal in a “Dear Diary” format, rather a list or brainstorm format.

For me, I write down things I am grateful for now and in the future. It goes on kind of like a list and for pages at a time. In doing so, I really challenge myself to look at all that I have, and it makes me realize that I have all that I need no matter what my circumstances are.

It helps to do this every morning in order to begin the day with a grateful attitude. When I get in my car, I am grateful that I have a reliable vehicle. When I get out on the roads, I am grateful that the plows were out before me and did a great job. When I get to the gym, I am grateful that there is a staff of people willing to wake up and get to work before I get there! So on and so on.

Starting your day with itemizing things you are grateful for shifts your mindset for the day and makes you more appreciative for things we all take advantage of daily.

2) Verbalize It

Journaling is great, and I definitely recommend it because it helps us realize what we take for granted and really appreciate it when we see it on paper.

Think of what you would write down… Do you ever think to tell the subject itself that you are grateful for it? I am not talking about telling your house that you appreciate it, but what about the accountant who does your taxes? The barista who makes your coffee a couple of times a week? The person who let you go ahead of them in a line that was already taking forever?

You might tell your spouse or significant other that you love and appreciate them every day, but how about the custodian at work? Or the concierge at your apartment building? Going out of your way to say thank you can make a huge difference. It can make someone who feels unappreciated feel like they are getting credited for their hard work. It can make someone who is unmotivated or who has lost their drive feel that acknowledgment for their efforts.

Say something! It can make all the difference!

3) Care For Your Things

One way to show your gratitude for material things is to take care of them! There is a fine line here because there are two extremes that people can go to. For example, say you just got your dream car. You might be overly obsessive and not want to drive it too much to put too many miles on it, or you might want to take it everywhere and let all of your friends joy-ride in it with you.

The perfect middle ground might look something like driving it economically and rotating the tires, changing the oil, and washing it regularly. You don’t want to diminish the value all too quickly, but you want to get use out of your big purchase. This is how we show our material things how grateful we are for them: by giving them a little TLC.

4) Nourish Your Relationships

Just like your material things, your relationships deserve some TLC as well. You can show your gratitude for your friends, family, and/or significant other in so many ways other than just saying it. Think about a daily chore you could take off their shoulders, a small gift they would love, an activity that is something they like to do to enjoy with them.

In small ways we can show the people we love that we appreciate them. All it takes is doing something to make their day more enjoyable and at no large cost. Consider learning their love language and aiming towards that. Sometimes you can show your appreciation for someone by, simply, sitting on the couch and watching a game or their favorite tv show with them. Learn more about the love languages in the book attached below.

5) Pay it Forward

Everyday, I write and think about how much I appreciate the generosity of others. After all, my livelihood depends on it. Sometimes I am truly amazed at the way that people give to others. Have you ever watched those viral videos where someone randomly gives out hundreds of dollars? Or any of the Ellen Shows? It just blows me away–talk about life goals!

The only way I could think of showing my gratitude in this aspect is to pay it forward and spread the generosity. Have you ever been on the receiving end of this? Think of a time when someones random act of kindness totally re-routed the way your day was going. You can be that person, too. All you have to do is, simply, pay it forward.

By paying it forward, you are spreading that generosity bug and creating that continuum of people giving to others. It creates a whole chain reaction creating endless amounts of gratitude in others. Learn more about Paying it Forward and what it means to me by clicking here.

What did I do today to show my gratitude?

I was sincerely thinking about all of this today during my workout. I thought, I need to be better about showing people I love how much they mean to me. As a part of my Friday morning ritual, I stop at Starbucks and treat myself to a non-fat, no-water, Chai with 2 shots of espresso. It is my way of rewarding myself for a week well-lived.

The line for the drive-thru was so long, but this kind gentleman let me in before him. While I was in the line, I was really thinking about how much I missed my sister and how hard she has been working with her promotion. I decided it would be a great idea to buy her a nice lunch, so I went on Venmo and sent her some money with a little message telling her that I was grateful for her and how hard of a worker she is.

And in that happy place of gratitude, I decided to buy the order for that kind gentleman behind me and the car behind him. It is so awesome to think that while this guy was (likely) on his way to work, he let me go in front of him in line… and (again, likely) before his morning coffee! I think that courteously letting someone in line before you during a busy morning rush creates that generosity chain reaction. What he gave was his time, and that is more valuable than money or material things.

What I am grateful for today:

Today I am grateful for my family and the strong bonds we all share.

Me and my (not so) little brother!

What are you grateful for today? How will you show it? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

7 Necessities for Flying

I am usually not one to be overly prepared for travel with packing in advance or having a checklist, but I always have what I need to get me through the flight! Here are my travel necessities:

1) Filtered Water Bottle

No, you can’t take water through airport security… You, also, don’t want to spend $6 on a water bottle at stores by your gate. But, you definitely need to ensure you stay hydrated while you spend your day traveling.

I bring an empty filtered water bottle with me to the airport and fill it up at water fountains after I am through security. This way, I save money and I don’t have to wait on someone to wait on me at a restaurant or on the plane to get good, filtered water.

It is so worth the investment, and it is useful in your daily life. I bring my water bottle with me to the gym, in the car while running errands, to work, and to my room when I am sleeping. This way, I have access to filtered water always, and I make sure that I am drinking enough water.

2) Your Favorite Devices and Headphones

I am not the kind of person to be irritated by every little thing that happens on a flight. Yes, there is a simple etiquette people should follow while traveling, but I will never be the person to be angry about crying babies on a plane. That is because I will always have headphones on me with a full charge and a back up plan. I am obsessed with my AirPods, but I always bring a backup pair of headphones just in case.

Also, I bring my iPad with movies already downloaded onto it, and my phone with music that I want to listen to already downloaded. This way, I prevent having to pay for WiFi or downloading entertainment while up in the air.

Make sure to have a full charge on your devices before leaving the house so that you don’t have to worry about your phone, tablet, laptop, or headphones die. If they do…

3) Portable Battery & Chargers

The most annoying thing on a flight while you are watching your favorite movie or playing a game on your tablet is to have your device’s battery die. Also, having to wait to charge your device once you land is the most inconvenient thing, but it must be done. If you get a portable battery pack and bring your USB charging cords, you’ll be prepared to charge multiple devices or one device multiple times!

Again, the portable battery is good to have for so many other things than just flying. Think about how many activities you do where you don’t have access to an outlet… Yeah, this is definitely worth buying. You can get these for $10 at Walmart if you are in a rush, but I shared a higher quality charger that lasts a lot longer. This is one of those things where you get what you pay for–if you want a portable battery that will last longer and charge faster, you might have to pay a higher price.

4) Comfort Items

I know there are some of you who absolutely cannot sleep on a flight, so this may not apply to you specifically. I have my cute, leopard-print neck pillow that I love, but it is so not convenient to pack into a carry-on or personal item. The item featured above is so much more convenient to pack, and it is comfortable. You just wrap it around your neck, secure it with the Velcro tab, and relax or rest your head against it. Simple enough, right?

Another thing that you should always bring on a flight for comfort is layers. No one wants to lug around a big blanket or jacket in the airport. For me, the less I have to carry, the better! Pretty much, if it won’t fit in my back pack, I won’t bring it with. I just bring a nice, over-sized sweater or jacket that I can wear if I get cold, or I can squeeze it easily into my backpack. Which brings me to the next necessity:

5) A Small Backpack with Organizational Compartments

A good backpack that keeps all of your things organized can help take away the stress of traveling. When you go through security, you can remove your devices easier if they have their own space. Also, when you have your backpack shoved under the seat in front of you, you don’t want to be digging through your bag forever trying to find something. If you have a high quality backpack with a laptop or tablet compartment, you’ll be able to access those devices with ease.

6) A Good Book

This is the book I just read, the book I am reading right now, and the book I am reading next. The first two are fast reads that could be finished within a plane ride or two. I don’t even know what book I’ll be reading while I am flying to Nashville next month, but I think it is always a good idea to bring a book with you because you never know when that could be your only form of entertainment!

Click here for more great books!

7) Protein Bars

Yes, you can actually bring snacks through airport security. That being said, you’ll want to bring something with high protein and enough sugar to get you through your travel day. I always keep a few with me when traveling because there isn’t always time to get food, or there isn’t always something that you’ll want by your gate.

Aside from that, it is way cheaper to bring your own food than to buy meals at an airport. Also, protein bars are easily packed away and are a good source of energy. Of course, these may pale in comparison to a good meal, but protein bars do provide you with a good source of energy!

I hope you find these products to be helpful for your next trip!

What else is a necessity for your travels? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

25 Things Before 25: Week 4 Update

10/18/19-10/24/19

I am so excited to announce that this is my 50th blog post on Simply Sonja! I am 4 months back in the blogging world, and I am loving every minute of it!

Aside from reaching this milestone, this was such a great week of work! Sometimes, I get sucked into working longer hours or more days, but it really does pay off!

The Service Industry

So one thing that comes along with being a server/bartender is the unreliable income. Yes, we do get an hourly wage, but most of our income is based on tips. That being said, you want it to be busy because you literally work for the money you make. The more people that come through and the higher sales you have, the more money you make. Well, this week was a busy one and I appreciated every minute of it!

You do have to take the busy days as a make up for the slower days, though. There is actually a busy season, too. Winter weather and holidays have a huge effect on those in the service industry because, like I said, we are dependent on people coming in. Bad weather and road conditions keeps people at home, and the lull after the holidays where people are living their New Years Resolutions keeps people from going out.

Planning

It is so important to plan for the slower season and just save in general. So–one thing I didn’t mention–I have been saving separately from my usual savings plan. I thought it would be fun to add a savings challenge to my 25 Things Before 25 adventure. In an effort to start something new, I researched some other savings/investment opportunities and came across this app called Acorn.

I had actually heard about this app on the Ellen Show when Ashton Kutcher mentioned it. I just never looked into until it kind of fell into my lap and I knew I wanted to start an account right away. Well, like I said, I had a busy work week which provided me with the extra cash to begin an investment account with Acorn. I am just a happy customer now as my investments have already grown and they give you wonderful opportunities to have other companies invest in your accounts when you spend money on their products. I just think it is so awesome that they can make investing and saving money so easy and rewarding!

**I am not affiliated with this app in any way, I am just a very happy customer**

I do have other investment accounts that I have contributed to for years, I am just so pleased at everything you can get through this app! I truly believe that this will help me with my savings goals because it provides so many opportunities to earn what they call “Found Money.” I definitely recommend researching this app, and I will have a blog about this app and the importance of investing coming up this week!

What I Have Accomplished

Okay, so I have finally decided to give myself a break and just be proud of what I am able to accomplish each week, especially when I am working so much. This week I am celebrating accomplishing 12 tasks which brings my running total to 42 completed tasks. I spent a lot of time with my family, I worked so hard in the gym, I made time to get to the nail salon, and I found a great way to make my money grow! I think that is a lot to squeeze into a week with over 60 hours of work added into the mix. Here is what I accomplished this week:

  1. Wore a brand new outfit picked out by my mom (Number 5)
  2. Completed 8 of my routine workouts (Number 8)
  3. Got a new set of nails (Number 9)
  4. Had 2 firsts–created an Acorns investment account and signed up for the 60-Day Challenge at the gym (Number 16)

My Progress in Perspective

As I mentioned, I have a running total of 42 tasks completed in 4 weeks. According to my break down, I am 26 to 30 tasks behind. However, I am picking up the pace again! I am feeling so good about what I have accomplished and planned for myself this week.

I booked two round-trip flights to go to two different states that I have never been to before, and I planned another concert to attend. I, also, have done a bunch of research on things coming up that I really want to go to or participate in! Plus, there will be so many museums, concerts, and things that will be a part of this challenge that will be packed into my two trips!

Also, I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it went being styled by my mom for the first time as an adult! Of course, we have had times shopping together where she’ll have a great find and it’ll be a great outfit, or she’ll gift me some clothes for Christmas that are always fashionable. But, head to toe, I have never let my mom pick out a whole outfit for me since I can remember. And, guys… she nailed it! I may not have had the confidence to choose this outfit on my own, but in the effort of sticking to the rules, I tried it on and it just worked. I did add in the camo fleece, but here is her pick (left) versus my added flare (right).

I loved it both ways, and we had such a wonderful mother-daughter-bonding date doing this. I wore this outfit to work, and I heard multiple compliments on my style from friends and strangers. I gave this one a 5 star rating! Good job, mom! Plus, these black booties are the greatest fall must-have!

Now, I know that, just as much as there are weeks where I have had less than 17 to 18 tasks completed, there will be weeks where I have many more than that! I just need to give myself some grace and trust that I can accomplish all of my goals. I know that I will get there, I am just working on getting into the groove.

Goals for October

Although I did not meet my 17 to 18 completed tasks, I did work my way towards my monthly goals this week! My October Goals are:

  1. Have at least one thing in each category completed by the end of the month.
  2. Post 2 or more blogs per week describing these adventures.
  3. Add videos of my experiences to Instagram!

This week I added to another category, posted 2 blogs, and added videos to my Instagram story! If you haven’t checked out my stories, you are missing out on some pretty funny anecdotes and outtakes of this journey.

I can truly say that I am having the time of my life with this journey. I know I can sound a little down-trodden at times, but the reason I started this whole challenge was to work on self-improvement in an adventurous way. A personal goal of my own is to be able to hold myself accountable without being too hard on myself.

Because of the challenges I faced soon after I got home from my birthday trip with my stingray sting and my virus, I had a little bit of a rocky start with 25 Things Before 25. Realistically, I don’t think I will have one thing in each category completed by the end of the month, but I will absolutely do the most I can.

The open categories I have after this week include States (Number 1), Mountains (Number 3), Donate (Number 6), Hairstyles (Number 10), Languages (Number 13), Shop Local (Number 14), Museums (Number 15), Pay it Forward (Number 19), Recipes (Number 21), Local Events (Number 23), 25 Blogs in One Month (Number 24), and Volunteer (Number 25). That is 12 categories that I haven’t touched… But who knows what this last week of October will bring!

We are down to the wire, and up for some amazing fun! I am not going to take it too hard if I do not complete one thing in each category because I have had to face adversities that kept me from doing a few things. I know there is plenty of time and many opportunities to complete the 900–now 858–tasks in the remaining 338 days of being 24!

I am slightly a numbers person if you couldn’t tell!

Can’t wait to see what Week 5/the last week of October holds!

Would you ever let your mom style you? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Busy Day

Ever wake up in a panic just knowing you have so much to accomplish in one day?

Does it ever seem overwhelming or impossible?

Well, worry not! Because, I got you!

Here is what I do to make my day the most productive:

1) Execute Your Morning Routine

We all have our morning routines… I suggest Hal Elrod’s SAVERS: silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, read, and scribe. Whatever yours is, you need to stick to it even on busy days. Don’t let that anticipation interrupt your morning tranquility. It is so important to start your day on a high note!

If you start your day off rushing through your routine, that sets the tone for your day. Just take a breath, and go through each thing step by step.

When I skip out on one of my morning routine items, I have this feeling that the whole world is happening and I am 5 minutes behind. That is not a good way to feel for a whole day, so I might as well just start the day off right! Plus, I am so much more productive when I stick to my morning routine.

As my mom would say, when you start your day off productive like this, “the rest of the day is gravy.”

2) Get Ready Before Attempting the To-Do List

Aside from executing your perfected morning routine, you need to just make sure you get ready. No time for lounging around in your pajamas all morning–you are just procrastinating! Get in the shower, wash your face, put on fresh clothes, and feel good.

For me, this makes all of the difference! Usually I wake up and almost immediately go work out. When I get home from the gym, I find myself trying to dive right in to my to-do list because there is so much on it and so little time. As much as I need to get things done, at some point in the day I will need to be presentable. SO, might as well get that one out of the way at the beginning of the day, right?

Aside from just feeling good and refreshed, it starts your day off with a win! You didn’t procrastinate, and it’s one less thing to do! How many of you actually write down “get ready” on your to-do list? Or write in “shower” for its own time slot in your day planner? …*crickets* NONE of you? Am I right?

It is because you don’t think of this as a task you need to do, you might put this off until the last possible minute before you have to interact with people. This jeopardizes your timeliness, adds to your stress (because who likes to feel rushed when getting ready?), and is 100% preventable.

Get ready before you pursue you laundry-list of house chores, work tasks, and social interactions. Trust me, it makes the day flow with ease and minimizes stress.

3) Itemize and Prioritize

Think of all of the things you need to get done and write them down. I am talking pen and paper–not the Notes app on your iPhone. There is just something about writing something down on paper that gives you more perspective. This is where you can prioritize.

If you rank your to-do’s by priority from things that absolutely need to be done to things that could wait until tomorrow, you might realize that you don’t actually have that much that NEEDS to be done today. This is, also, helpful to ensure that you are getting the most important things done first.

Say one thing on your to-do list is to pay a credit card bill–or any bill, reallly–that is something that needs to be done in a time-sensitive manor. If this is prioritized on your to-do list, you’ll make sure that those bills are paid on time before you get wrapped up in another activity. Of course, now we can pay those bills at the click of the button, but getting these things done first ensures that you DO get them done.

As long as all of your high priority tasks are completed, the rest can wait until another available time slot.

4) Give Each To-Do Your Full Attention

I have mentioned that multitasking is not conducive to productivity. And I am a hardcore multitasking individual. Yet, I am completely aware of its destruction.

By attempting one activity at a time, you are able to give each task your full attention. For example, had I sat in my room to read today instead of watching/listening to the Broncos game while reading, I could have probably been half way done with my book. That is because multitasking decreases the amount of focus we are able to give each individual task.

I may have only spent 30 minutes actually reading, but a good play or the inflections in the announcers voices may have pulled my attention away for a total of 60 minutes. That makes it seem like it took an hour and a half to read a few chapters when it was a total of 30 productive minutes. Wouldn’t you want to get something done in 30 minutes rather than 90?

You may think that you are getting more done with doing two things at once, but you are actually taking more time to do less effective work.

That being said, I am all about watching a show while folding laundry, reading a magazine with music on in the background, or reading while walking/running on the treadmill. These and a handful of other tasks almost require multitasking, so there are exceptions.

My job is centered around the ability to multitask, so I am all about being able to do a few things at the same time. Like I said, there are a few exceptions and certain jobs/tasks that practically require the ability to multitask; however, most things can be done quicker and more effectively if you are concentrated on one single task.

5) Simplify and De-stress

I’ll put this simply: delete all of the complications. What I mean by that is to get rid of the stress and emotions tied to each task. Ask yourself: “What needs to be done?” and “How do I get this done?”

The answers to these two questions become your task at hand and your way to accomplish it. You don’t need to add stress to each activity by adding the questions, “What will happen if I can’t get this done?” or “What if this takes me too long?” or “What if this can’t be done?”

There doesn’t need to be a story, a reason or an explanation for everything. Sometimes you just have to DO. The action itself will ensure that your task at hand will be completed. Once you start moving, you are immediately closer to completion than you were before you started.

Give yourself a break and just focus on what you need to do and how you are planning to do it–two simple ways to change the connotation of a busy day from stressful to productive! PLUS, you can be so much more productive when you minimize the stress or overwhelming feelings because you will allow yourself to be more focused.

Think of it like going for a run. If you want to run a mile, that is a specific distance. Imagine you have chosen to run one mile and you run half a mile out on a trail. If you become worried that you can’t finish or that you can’t do it, you are equidistant from the start to the finish regardless. The worry or stress won’t help you teleport home. In fact, it will delay you from completing your run. You are already guaranteed to have to finish that one mile, and nothing but moving and remaining focused will get you out of that task. Break away from the emotion and just start running. You’ll be finished quicker than if you had just walked back or sat there agonizing over having to do it.

By applying these 5 steps to your busy day, you will enable yourself to be more productive.

The goal is to answer the question “How was your day?” without a big sigh and story. Instead, your day was productive and you made the absolute most of it by maximizing your productivity.

What do you find essential for your busy days?

Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

Tried these tips? Let me know your results below!

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