New Week – New Background (Add some Pep to Your Tech)

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that every Monday I start my week by changing my desktop background at work. These “new week new background” moments are pretty much the only thing getting me to work on a Monday morning – not gunna lie!!

I’ve had a few people ask me where I find all the images that I use for my backgrounds and the answer I usually give is “ummmm, the internet? I can’t remember!!” which is just not very helpful at all! I usually take an hour or so on a weekend and gather a TON of background images and save them in a folder so I can go for a few months choosing from images that I already have saved… so by the time I get to the end of my pictures I’ve genuinely forgotten where they’re all from. So now that it’s time for me to refresh my background picture folder, I thought I’d share some of my favorites and links so you can find and use them, too!

I definitely gravitate toward the brighter images for my desktop background (because let’s be honest I need something to make me happy since I’m staring at a computer all day) but I also like to switch it up and get some more subtle ones in there, too. I’ve definitely used some of these before (like the white with black dots and pink corner and the bright blue with ice cream cones filled with flowers) but they’re just so fun that I wanted to use them again! I can’t wait until the fall (aka December in Texas) so I can use the one that says Sweater Weather!

So here are some of the ones I collected last weekend to use over the next few months! Which one is your favorite? Have I convinced you to join the New Week New Background movement yet?!?!

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10 Things Do on Sunday to Have a Successful Week

Does anybody else get hit with the “Sunday scaries” every single week? Well maybe not every week… but it happens quite a lot! That dread of *oh no I don’t want to go to work tomorrow* or *no I’m not ready for the weekend to be over yet* or *oh no I watched Netflix all day and didn’t get anything productive done and now I’m out of time!* It doesn’t feel great and it honestly doesn’t set you up for a good start to the week. I mean, starting out a brand new week feeling defeated and sad? No, thank you!!

I just hate going to bed on a Sunday thinking of all the things I should have gotten done and stressing about how now I have to do all those things during the week when I don’t really have the time. (Which is hilarious because I’m a single gal with no pets and I’m the least busy person I know but I still feel busy!!) I try my best to do ALL the things I can on Sunday to make sure that I am setting myself up to have the best start to the week as possible! Here’s what I’ve found works for me, and maybe it might work for you!

Plan Out Your Week

This is a good chance to assess what you got done over the weekend, what you didn’t get done, what you need to do during the week ahead, what plans you have coming up, etc. I like to make sure I know what my evening plans are for the week (do I have small group this week or is it a week off?), plan my workouts (if I want to do yoga on Thursday, I’ll need to wake up early and do it before work), and make note of anything I’ll need to pay special attention to (like a friend’s birthday coming up, so I better mail her card at some point this week!)

Brain Dump

Sunday during the day or at night is also a good chance to just get everything out of your head that might be worrying you or keeping you preoccupied as you go into a new week. (Want some more info on how and why to do a brain dump? Check out Brighton’s post here!) Getting all the worries and thoughts and things out of your brain and onto a page can really help calm my brain and help me sleep a lot easier – which is exactly what you want before starting a new week!

Grocery Shop

You know you have to eat, so go and get your groceries when you have the time! I always dread going to the store before I go, I tolerate it while I’m there, but then on Tuesday when I’m using the groceries that I bought, I’m SO glad that I got it out of the way on the weekend and I didn’t have to go to the grocery store after work and shop while starving, because that is the worst. I try and get it done before going to church (if I’m going to the late service) or right after church (if I went to the early service) – really I just love avoiding crowds and try to get it done as early as possible in the day!

Meal Prep

And now that you’ve actually gone and shopped for groceries, you might as well get some meal prep done. This is something that takes up so much time, and so it’s nice to get as much of it done as possible before the week starts. Really I just try to avoid having to make meals at 10pm after I get back from bible study because I’m tired. And doing meal prep at the beginning of the week will help me stick to my budget by not spending money on groceries AND spending money on expensive lunches downtown because I just didn’t make anything!

Look at your Budget

And speaking of budgets… it’s probably a good idea to take a peek at yours on Sunday. Seeing where you went crazy over the past week and where you still have some wiggle room will help keep you in the mindset of sticking to the budget you have set. Knowing that I only have X amount of money left in my “fun money” budget really helps me NOT spend $40 on random junk at Target during the week!

Tidy Your Space

If you didn’t get deep cleaning done over the weekend – that’s ok by me! But I always try to do some tidying on Sunday just so I start out the week uncluttered. Uncluttered space = an uncluttered mind… right? Is that how that works? I think that’s how that works. We’ll just go with that. So tidy up.

Set Out Your Outfits for the Week

This one here is an ultimate time saver! Picking out my clothes for the week and doing any cleaning or ironing that needs to be done on Sunday just has to be done. If I don’t get it done on Sunday, I will tell myself “oh I’ll just wake up early to iron that shirt” but guess what – I WILL NOT WAKE UP EARLY TO IRON THAT SHIRT and then do I have to pick something else or so I show up all wrinkly?!?! We can’t have that!

Move Your Body

Are you somebody that thinks that Sunday is the first day of the week or that Monday is the first day of the week? It’s both for me – I think that’s allowed! So for this one let’s all think that Sunday is the first day of the week… and it’s good to start off the week moving your body to get yourself in an exercise mindset for the rest of the week. This is something I haven’t been super great at, but I’m trying to really make sure I go for a walk or at least do a yoga video before going to bed!

Relax

It’s still the weekend! You should make sure that you take at least a little time for yourself before having to start the work week! Read a little in bed, do a face mask, catch up on the last week’s episode of The Bachelorette, go get an ice cream cone – the options are endless! Just as long as it brings you joy and gets you to relax a little bit!

Go to Sleep Early

This one is really a no-brainer, right? You don’t want to start your week sleep deprived! Go to bed early and get lots of good rest so you can start your week energized and rested!!

All About Calendar Blocking

Like I mentioned in my post last week, something that I do from time to time to make sure I stay productive is calendar blocking. I don’t do it all the time (because it can sometimes seem a bit rigid and stressful, to be honest…) but when I need to buckle down and get things done, it can be really helpful. I’ve done this at work with my Outlook calendar, I’ve done this at home when I’m working from home, but sometimes I even do it at home when I’m NOT working aka for my regular life!

While I love a good to-do list (and y’all know that I do!!) it can still be easy to let some things slip through the cracks because oops you went and did other things or oops you took a long nap instead. And that’s ok. But sometimes you just really want to make sure that you get things done, and that’s where calendar blocking can help.

If you’re thinking “huh – is it just putting things on your calendar and scheduling out your day?” then you are RIGHT! It’s as easy as that! You think of all the things you need to do and all the things you want to do, and you throw them in your calendar. This is where it gets “fun” – you have to think about how long it will take you to do some tasks and what task-adjacent things should also go on your calendar. What would those be?!? Let’s look at mine from this past weekend and find out!

Let’s start with the task-adjacent items that I added to my calendar. On the first day, I went to brunch with some girlfriends. I could have just put the brunch on there, but I wanted to also add in the drive there and the drive home – those were task-adjacent.

As for other things, I just made my best guess as to how long certain tasks would take. Like going outside and walking/jogging for 3 miles – I know that’ll take about 45 minutes. But I go ahead and block off an hour on the calendar for it so I’ll have some wiggle room and will have time to go to the bathroom, drink water and stretch when I get home, etc. Other things like meal prep- based on what I had to make for the day, I figured that it would take me about 90 minutes. If it took less time – no biggie! Extra time to chill or work on something else! If it took more time – also no biggie! I could just move things around in the schedule or move a task to the next day. The great thing about calendar blocking is that you can be pretty free with it and adjust as you go.

I also try and make sure that I’m scheduling time for fun things when calendar blocking – that way it’s not just a rushed weekend where I feel like I didn’t get any rest. I am still working on a baby blanket that I’m crocheting for my newest nephew, so I made sure to schedule lots of crochet/tv time so I could relax and have some fun while still being productive! Other times, I’ve simply scheduled “free time” for an hour and I can just choose what I want to do in the moment – go get coffee, scroll through Instagram, run to Target, etc.

Is this method perfect? No! But is it helpful and worth trying? I think so! What is your favorite method for getting all your to-do list items done? Or do you hate lists all-together and hope for the best?!? Let me know!

How to Stay Productive While Working from Home

 

One of the really nice things about my company is that you can work from home when you need to. Dentist appointment? Work from home! Have a flight in the early evening and need to get to the airport? Work from home! Need to focus on work because the people that sit by you are getting on your nerves and you just need ONE day to work in silence? Work from home!!! Ok maybe that last one isn’t really a legit reason to WFH… but it’s just nice to be able to have that option. I’ve found a pretty good routine when I DO stay at home to work, and I wanted to share how you can stay productive while working from home, too!

Stick to your morning routine…

As exciting it can be to sleep in since you’re not going to have to deal with the usual commute, I try *really* hard to keep to my normal routine. That means still waking up early and getting ready like I would be going in to work. I do this because 1- if I sleep in one day during the week then I will want to sleep in ALL the days and it’s just so much harder to get up at my normal time the next day. Does that mean I’m getting old? I think it does.. and 2- I can get more done in the morning! Or start working earlier! Which means I can either take a long lunch or even stop working a little bit earlier than usual!

Get dressed in “real” clothes…

This is what I *try* to do when I work from home… but does it always happen? Nope! Really, I just try to get changed out of my pajamas. If I get changed into some workout pants and a t-shirt, that’s ok! But I think mentally the act of getting out of my jammies just signals “ok it’s time to be a real working person today!” and helps get me in the mindset that it’s working time! Usually when I work from home tho I’m running to an appointment or running an errand that is more convenient to do during the day, so I’m usually in “real” clothes, anyway.

Calendar block your day…

When I really need to focus, calendar blocking SAVES THE DAY every single time. It’s just a good way to make sure that you’re focusing on one thing (or a group of things) for a certain amount of time and it helps me not get distracted. (If you don’t know about calendar blocking, watch this YouTube video!)

Make a list of top priorities…

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the calendar blocking above. When I’m at home and not in my usual desk/office environment, sometimes my brain shuts off and is like “what is happening? What projects are you working on? Did you even save that file?” so keeping a list of the things I ABSOLUTELY want/need to get done during the day working at home is key. I then take that list, figure out how long each item should take, and schedule out my day to give me the best chance of getting it all done.

Set a cut-off time at the end of the day…

I’m sure most people don’t have this problem, but sometimes when you’re out of your normal routine it can be easy to lose track of time and just keep working WAY longer than you should! This won’t be an issue if you calendar blocked your day, but make sure that you set a boundary and quit when it’s time!

Work elsewhere if you need to…

While having a dedicated workspace at home can help keep you on task, sometimes you just need a change of scenery. (This happens to me at work, too, where I’ll need to go to another floor or room just to work for a few hours.) So pick up and move around if you need to! Work from the kitchen! Go to the library! Hit up a Starbucks! Do what you need to do in order to stay productive and focused!

10 Instagram Accounts You Should Follow ASAP

One thing that I’ve been trying to really crack down on for myself is phone time. And by phone time I clearly mean time spent on social media. I don’t have facebook on my phone (does anyone anymore?!?), and I do go browse on Twitter from time to time, but really the bulk of my phone time is spend mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. It’s just so fun and easy to do! There’s just so much fun stuff to look at! And there’s all the friends and family I know IRL to keep up with! It’s just a lot!

I set up a application timer specifically for Instagram so that once I’ve been on the app for 20 minutes, it reminds me “You’ve spent 20 minutes on Instagram today” and that’s supposed to make me want to leave the app. And sometimes it does… but sometimes I’m in the middle of watching some great stories and I’ve just gotta stay a little bit longer! I always feel oddly proud of myself when I get that notification in the evening instead of like, 9am, which definitely happens more often than I’d care to admit.

So even though I’m trying to spend less time just mindlessly looking at social media, there are quite a few accounts that I’m always happy to see updated posts and stories from! They’ve just got great content that never make me feel like I’m wasting my time (which is the point of social media, right? Even if I AM wasting my time, it’s nice to not feel like that’s the case!) I wanted to share some of MY favorite accounts with you so you can follow along with them, too!

Kirby Jenner

This account is done SO WELL and always makes me crack up. Did you know that the Kardashian family has ANOTHER sibling that often gets forgotten about? That’s right, the totally *NOT* fictional Kirby Jenner is here to show you all his antics with the rest of his family, often with his twin sis Kendall. His Photoshop skills are great – just see for yourself!

Elizabeth Holmes

If you want all the thoughts and opinions about all things Royal (outfits, hair, appearances, babies, instagram accounts, and more) then give this lady a follow! She’s known for her “So Many Thoughts” stories where she’ll take a picture of a royal person/scenario and put ALL HER THOUGHTS on top of them. And homegirl does her research! It’s not just snarky or frivolous, it’s factual! And so fun!

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SO MANY THANKS to everyone who made my inaugural #SoManyThoughts event into *such a special* night. It was a total thrill to see the room packed full of thoughtful people. I cannot believe we were the fasting-selling event this space has seen! Swipe for some of my favorite moments. 🙌🎀🙌 . I’m so grateful to all of the people who gave of their time and resources to make this happen: thank you to @cupofjo for moderating, @made.by.we for hosting, @wolfferwine for the drinks, @scunci for the bows, @sally_hansen for the nail polish, @hatchgal for lending me a jumpsuit, @liz_devine for pics, as well as @kate_childs + @juliekohncohen + @lizasuloti + their teams for some serious hustle and enthusiasm. 💪💓💪 . YAY! Here’s to hoping we can do more! 🙏😊🙏

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Texas Humor

Just funny stuff about the greatest state. If you like Texas then you will like this.

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He’s not wrong. 🤴

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Kelly Larkin

Kelly is the cutest!!! She and her family live in Chicago and they just seem like such a fun couple/family. And bonus- she JUST had her second baby a few days ago! So get ready for all the cute baby pictures – I for one can’t wait! She has a super cute style and just seems like the nicest person around. I started following her through one of my favorite bloggers Carly (@carly) and I love seeing her pop up in my feed!

Jamie B. Golden

Jamie is 1/2 of my absolute favorite podcast duo (they do the amazing The Popcast with Knox and Jamie AND The Bible Binge, both of which are FANTASTIC listens!) and she is hilarious in her stories! But what I really love watching from her is when she talks about skincare. Girl loves her some skincare. And trying all the new things. And I just love hearing her talk about all of those new things. If you’re into face masks and eyeliner and all things Sephora (plus other hilarious things), give her a go.

Inslee Fariss

I’ve been a fan of Inslee’s art for SO long (it’s seriously so beautiful, she is crazy talented) but one thing I LOVE about following her on Instagram is that she is a mom that shows the hilarious and not so glamorous parts of raising a small human. Her son is still little and her stories are… just the best (I mean, she saved “peak toddler” stories and they just seem so relatable lol). Her son is so adorable, has a little plastic shovel that might be his best friend and for a time went around everywhere with him (watch here!), and he really hated hats for a long time. None of this sounds particularly interesting but trust me it’s just fun to see and follow along with all her adventures! They just moved from NYC to NC and I can’t wait to see what they get into in their new home!

Enneagram and Coffee

I think that you all already know that I’m super obsessed with the Enneagram… so of course I’m following a few Enneagram accounts on Instagram! I love this one because they have “serious” posts that go into what each number should work on or what is special about each one, but they also just do fun and silly posts like this one about getting a tattoo based on your number. Which is pretty much spot on.

Lonestar Southern

Cute Dallas girl alert!!! Kate is beyond adorable and just seems like the sweetest person you’ll ever meet! Her outfits are always sweet and cute and she is getting married next month, so you know there will be lots of gorgeous wedding pictures to look at soon! Follow her to make sure you see them – based on some of the things she’s shared on her blog, it will be a GORGEOUS wedding!

Covering the Bases

Another one of my favorite bloggers that is getting married soon is Krista! She is so down to earth and so preppy (in the best East Coast way without being pretentious) and I love following along with her life in NYC! Her go-to color combo is blue and white (yes, please!!!) and she is just a really fun one to follow! She’s also shared a lot of her wedding plans/ideas on her blog and this one too seems like it will be GORGEOUS – you’ll definitely want to follow along for it! (Like they’re doing their own flowers, and how gorgeous are they?!?)

Hilary Rushford

Hilary was one of the very first people that I didn’t actually know IRL that I started following on Instagram. Her energy is contagious, she always has great things to say, and she is just a whole lotta fun while also keeping things super real! She just started a podcast (which I’ve only listened to 2 episodes but am already LOVING) and oh my goodness she and her husband ELOPED and it was THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I’VE EVER SEEN!!!!!!!! I even put it in a Five for Friday post back in the fall because I was so obsessed with their gorgeous wedding photos!

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7 reasons to become an entrepreneur • 1 You have yet to discover all of your abilities. 💋 I had no idea when I first started that I was talented at business, marketing, copywriting, branding, teaching extemporaneously, writing inspiring messages on Instagram. A ton of little talents are waiting for you to uncover just how much potential you really have! • 2 You don’t know all your weakness. 💋 Entrepreneurship will also bring out your sore spots, but staying oblivious to them doesn’t mean you avoid them, it just means they’re crippling your life without you learning how to fix them. There is a better version of you waiting to be revealed! • 3 There are people you could help. 💋 Whether with your product or creating a job for someone. • 4 You have the potential to choose + control your financial peace. • 5 And the freedom to work wherever, whenever. • 6 And to prioritize what matters most whether a child, sick parent, or friend in need. • 7 If you’re a woman you can control that women are paid equal to men, given positions equal to men, + no one is subject to sexual harassment. If you’re a man you can choose the same. • 1 reason to join the free workshop here >>> DeanSt.co/PaidToBeCreative <<< a year from now you’ll wish you’d started today! (Link in bio!) • Which number is YOUR greatest reason? 💋 • PS See IG Stories for how our team responded to a total tech meltdown today. A couple years ago I would have been a mess, but today I just laughed it off. Proof that business has grown me!

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And that’s it for now! What are some of your favorite accounts – and why do YOU love them?!? I’d love to follow along with you!!