My friend Sarah tagged me in a fun questionnaire that she answered on her blog, and I’m so excited to answer these questions. I’ve always been a fan of surveys not because I love talking about myself (quite the opposite – I’m always asking other people questions!), but because these answers allow you to learn a little bit more about me. Plus, they make me think too. I hope you enjoy!

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1. Why do you blog?

I started blogging when I was a senior in college because I was interning at Brides.com, and my program required that I either write a paper or complete a creative project in order to fully earn my credits. What started as something that I thought I would do several times each week for a semester turned into starting a new blog, opening a shop, and having a ton of experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I blog because I love to write, it’s a creative outlet, and sometimes it’s just a release of energy.

2. What’s your favorite pastime? 

Anything creative! I learned how to make floral arrangements several weeks ago while assisting an NYC event designer, and I LOVED it. I just made a few arrangements for my family this weekend to take home after Easter dinner. I also love creating pieces for my shop. And I run. For fun.

3. Do you have any pets? If so, tell me about them!

No, but I’ve always wanted a dog. Golden retrievers are my favorite. One day! But I may or may not be allergic…

4. If you had the option of going to the desert, ocean, or mountains, which would you choose hands down and what time of year?

The ocean during the summer. Kiawah Island is my happy place. I always say I would pitch a tent on the beach and live there if that was an option. The best days start out with a walk on the beach, followed by a full day of reading under an umbrella with breaks to swim in the ocean, capped off with a sunset stroll and a really yummy dinner.

5. Is blogging your full time gig? If not, what is?

No, but I really wish it was! I’m a sales assistant by day for a company that sells furniture to the hospitality industry. The biggest perk is getting to work with my dad. I’m also a freelance writer and a budding event designer.

6. Sweet or savory?

Hmmm…it depends. I love chocolate. All of the chocolate all of the time. But I could also eat pizza for every meal. And I just discovered Chipotle.

7. Where did you grow up?

Outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County, PA. P!nk is from a town 30 minutes away from me, and I played tennis against the high school she graduated from. What? What?! ;)

8. What is or would be number one on your bucket list?

Traveling to London and Paris. I also really want to zip line in Costa Rica (similar to my trip to Puerto Rico last year!), and I would love to ride a horse on the beach.

9. What kind of music do you normally listen to?

I love listening to country. Lady Antebellum is my favorite band. I also listen to Frank Sinatra on Pandora while I work. I love Big Band music. L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole has been one of my favorite songs since I heard it in The Parent Trap when I was little.

10. Bright colors or neutral tones?

Pink and navy! In terms of interior design, I definitely gravitate more toward neutral tones with pops of brighter colors.

11. Tell us one thing about yourself your readers don’t already know.

When I get overly excited about anything, I tend to cry. In other news, I would love to meet Connie Britton.

In order to pass this fun questionnaire on, I’m tagging a few of my favorite bloggers. If you don’t already follow them, be sure to pay each a visit: Making Average Awesome, Morgan Alexandra, Simply Jessica Marie, The College Prepster, and Mackenzie Horan. If you answer these questions on your blog, be sure to leave a link – I would love to read your post. Thank you so much for tagging me, Sarah!

One of my favorite photographers, Caroline Joy, just started a new fashion blog called Un-Fancy. She started living a more minimalist lifestyle, which includes wearing just 37 pieces each season as part of a capsule wardrobe. I sincerely admire her for it. After reading her first post about how to have an Un-Fancy closet filled with pieces you actually love, I felt completely inspired to clear the clutter and clean out my closet…for two hours.

I definitely fall into the trap of thinking that I have nothing to wear. The truth is that I have far too much to wear and only so many days in the week to wear my favorite pieces, so the clothes that I don’t wear start to make me crazy. I don’t carve out enough time at night to choose my outfits for the next day (I never have), so I end up picking things out in the morning…in a rush. Bad news bears. I also love wandering through Target. What happens at Target? I end up finding something that I have to have. The real truth: the pieces that I purchased at Target because I was so set on having something new to wear were tossed as I cleared. Less is definitely more!

Get ready for a fun weekend project! While I did not pair down my closet to 37 pieces (you go, Caroline!), here’s how I cleared the clutter and ended up with a much happier closet:

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Photo via LaurenConrad.com; Graphic by Carly is Inspired

1. Remove: As Caroline suggests, I took all of my clothes out of my closet and placed everything on my bed. The key here is to not think about what you’re doing. Even if you know you love or want to get rid of a blouse, don’t do anything yet! Just take everything out of your closet. Baby steps, friends!

2. Sort: Start going through all of your clothes. I did this by season, and I placed items into different piles: Love, Unsure, Try On, and Donate. My Love pile grew the quickest because I was filling it with pieces that caused a gut reaction. The Unsure pile stayed put until the end. A lot of the pieces in my Try On pile turned out to either be things that I overlooked because I thought they didn’t fit when they actually looked just fine, or they were pieces that I had been secretly wanting to toss for a while. The Donate pile grew overtime, but it started out with the pieces that I knew I had not worn all season (this is definitely a key: if you have not worn it in a season, get rid of it).

3. Replace: Once you sort through everything (please, take your time!), start putting everything back into your closet. I put my Love pieces back into my closet first because it allowed me to see the heart of my style and what I wear time and time again. (If I was following Caroline’s Un-Fancy plan to a T, this is almost where I would have stopped.) I then took another look at my Unsure pile and made my final decisions about what I wanted to keep before I put everything back.  At this point, I actually ended up organizing my closet too. I decided to separate different pieces like patterned and plain tees, sweaters, button downs, jeans, etc. This caused everything to be much easier to see! Who knew?! ;)

4. Plan: Now that you have a “new” closet filled with clothes you know you actually like, plan your outfits out for the week. I was feeling super creative at this point, and I ended up creating new combinations with things I’ve had for the longest time. This caused getting ready in the morning to move along so much quicker because I had already taken the time to put together what I wanted to wear. Looking at the weather before you plan your outfits will help!

5. Donate: Whether you opt to go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill or call a local donation service, don’t forget to complete the process! If you don’t want to donate your clothes, think about hosting a swap party with friends. Have everyone bring a few of the pieces they’re not wearing anymore and swap with each other. Another idea is to contact a local consignment shop to see if they are accepting new pieces, which will also allow you to make some money.

aaaaand then there’s this…

6. Don’t Shop: Your style is always changing, and it’s fun for your closet to do that too! But don’t rush to fill your closet back up right after you’ve cleared it out. Enjoy having the clutter gone for a little while and challenge yourself to keep creating new combinations. Shopping in your own closet can truly be fun. While your closet is clear, you’ll likely be able to continue to define the pieces that you love. As you do that, filter in new pieces that you can layer with your tried and true favorites.

I ended getting rid of about 10% of my closet, and it feels awesome. I fell off of the planning ahead wagon a bit this week (a few terrible, terrible days are to thank – I’ve been thinking so much about this post!), but I’ll be back to planning this weekend. Let me know your tips and tricks for loving your closet in the comments! Happy weekend! :)

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This weekend was one of the best. It was filled with adventures in Washington, DC, nights spent catching up with family, and weather that made me want to stay outside for as long as possible. It’s the first time all season where I finally felt like the warm weather would actually arrive and stay for a while. Hello, happiness.

Warmer weather means bringing my brightest shorts out of winter retirement. After receiving my Whatever is Lovely tee from Lindsay Letters, I knew I had to pair the two together. I added my favorite monogram bracelet, bow ring, and two-toned watch, as well as a braided belt and sandals. With that, you have my Sunday uniform. I can’t complain one bit.

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This is how my tee arrived on Thursday. I think it’s the prettiest and happiest packaging ever.

Carly-is-Inspired-Lindsay-Letters-6Carly-is-Inspired-Lindsay-Letters-5Carly-is-Inspired-Lindsay-Letters-4Carly-is-Inspired-Lindsay-Letters-3Carly-is-Inspired-Lindsay-Letters-7Carly-is-Inspired-Lindsay-Letters-1Tee: Lindsay Letters, Shorts: Gap, Sunglasses: Kohl’s (old; similar), Watch: Kate Spade (old, but on sale here!) Bracelet: Swell Caroline, Ring: Kate Spade, Belt: Target (old; similar), Sandals: American Eagle

I adore Lindsay Letters! Make sure to check out all of her products right here. What’s your favorite spring outfit? I would love to hear!

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I am so excited to formally introduce you to Sarah Reed of Dodeline Design. She’s a graphic designer based in Charleston, and she specializes in creating stationery – personalized monogram note cards, completely customizable wedding suites, and uniquely modern holiday cards – in addition to designing and branding websites. You may recognize her name because she designed my site. I’m a fan. :)

Sarah’s story is one of my favorites because it’s something so brave yet so common among our generation: she started her company only a few years after graduating from college. The height of the recession caused interior design positions to be scarce, so she turned to graphic design instead. She built her company from the ground up, and she’s partially self-taught. Sarah is one driven lady, and she’s also one of my favorite people to work on projects and be friends with. I hope you feel the same way after getting to know Sarah through today’s Inspired By… feature!

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Let’s get to know you! Explain a little bit about your background. How did you get to where you are now?

I am a Southern girl through and through, born and raised in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina and educated in Athens, Georgia.  A very circuitous route lead me to owning a small graphic design studio in my hometown; having graduated from college during the recession in 2009, there were very few career opportunities available.  I took a part-time job at a frame shop, worked at my old interior design firm job part-time, freelanced, and generally just scraped by doing whatever I could do.  Somewhere out of that chaos, a business emerged, and I ended up running with it.

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What are your favorite ways to stay inspired? Who inspires you?

Travel is endlessly inspiring, but when I don’t have that option, I love to read blogs, beautiful books, and people watch.

If you’re having a bad moment, how do you turn your day around?

Walking and running.  Every once in awhile a random downward-facing-dog in the middle of the office helps too.  I find the physical activity to be the best thing to calm the jitters I feel in a moment of stress or anxiety.

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How did you know you had made the right decision to follow your current path? Have you had a favorite moment?

I know I made the right decision because it’s a very rare day that I wake up and am not happy about what I do.  Sure, I’m stressed about to-do lists and the like, but I don’t dislike doing the items on the to-do list, and that’s pretty lucky from what I hear.  I have also met the most amazing network of people (including Carly!) through my work and I never cease to be amazed and inspired by them.

What’s next for you? What are you most excited about right now?

“What’s next” is always a question I have for myself.  I am constantly worried about tomorrow and have trouble sometimes remembering that today is important too.  It’s hard not to pressure myself too much about how I’m going to keep up or do something even better tomorrow.  So I guess that’s my long way of saying, I’m trying to be in the moment right now, and enjoy what I have – family, friends, a wonderful home, and a little business that I treasure.  What’s next – we’ll just have to see I guess!

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All photos courtesy of Sarah Reed

Five Favorites:

1. Song: I’m in a real country phase right now.  “Wagon Wheel” has me feelin’ my Southern roots.

2. Outfit: I love easy comfortable dresses.  I need more of them.

3. Quote: This really resonated with me: Great people do things before they’re ready.  They do things before they know they can do it.  Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone,t aking risks like that — that is what life is.  You might be really good. You might find something out about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself. — Amy Poehler

4. Day of the year: My upcoming birthday! Yay for Aries!

5. Ideal way to spend your day: With my husband, in the lovely home we just purchased, doing whatever we feel like at that moment, even if it’s yard work or touch up paint.  It’s my happy place.

I hope you feel inspired after getting to know more about Sarah’s experiences as she’s grown her graphic design firm. Be sure to keep up with her on her site, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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The morning of your wedding will likely feel one of two ways: stressful or really relaxed, exciting, and fun. I sincerely hope it’s the latter. However, a fun wedding morning (or morning of any event!) typically doesn’t just happen. In order for you to enjoy getting ready for your wedding, I thought I would share my 10 ten ways to do just that! From hiring a coordinator to packing coffee, my top tips are below!

Carly-is-Inspired-Wedding-Morning Photo via Every Last Detail // Graphic by: Carly is Inspired

  1. Hire a wedding coordinator: The most surefire way to enjoy every aspect of your wedding morning is to hire a day of wedding coordinator. If you don’t hire a coordinator (a venue coordinator is completely different), you will become the point of contact for each and every vendor. Friends and wedding industry vendors always have suggestions for coordinators to contact if you’re not sure where to turn.
  2. Confirm all vendors: If you’re not hiring a coordinator, make sure to make a quick phone call or send an email to each of your vendors during the week leading up to your wedding. Slightly self explanatory, but bring their contact information with you to your wedding. Cell phones numbers are great to have to ease your anxiety in case someone is running late!
  3. Ask questions at your rehearsal: Your ceremony is the most important part of your wedding, and it’s typically when you will have the most questions. Make sure to talk everything through with your officiant, so you and your groom understand each and every step. If you have questions, ask them. You’ll feel much more relaxed leading up to your ceremony if you know about each step.
  4. Pack the night before: If you’re not getting ready at your house, either pack up your car the night before or keep everything that you need to take with you in one central place. Also, some venues openly suggest storing everything there overnight. As long as you feel comfortable, take them up on their offer!
  5. Exercise: Start your morning by doing yoga, pilates, or going for a quick run. Being active is one of the best stress relievers, and you will likely feel much more centered, relaxed, and focused.
  6. Create a playlist: Music makes everything better, in my opinion. Create a Spotify playlist, use iTunes, or turn on Pandora!
  7. Wear something fun: Whether all of your bridesmaids get ready in monogrammed shirts, relax in robes, or simply wear their favorite outfit, wear something you all feel comfortable in. Make sure your t-shirt/blouse won’t cause any harm to your updo when you change into your dress. Button down shirts are awesome to wear while getting ready for this exact reason!
  8. Create a hair and makeup order: Definitely get your stylists’ opinions here, but think about creating an order beforehand. Hair type definitely helps to determine how an updo will look throughout the day, so think about having ‘maids with curly hair have their hair done earlier than those with straight hair (I say this because my hair is curly and can look untouched even at the end of the night!). As the bride, you will always have your hair and makeup done last.
  9. Eat & pack coffee (!!): Even though you might feel nervous, definitely make sure everyone (including you!) eats throughout the day. Plan a fun breakfast and/or lunch to enjoy while getting ready. Aside from water, pack soda, coffee, or tea to drink in the afternoon. You all may be excited, but someone is going to hit a wall and need something to start feeling energized again. It’s a long day, y’all!
  10. Build in extra time: Something is bound to happen – you’re having fun and slightly lose track of time, hair and makeup takes a bit longer, or you decide to take extra photos while getting ready – so always build in extra time. This way you know you won’t be late to your ceremony!

Planning aside, how much you enjoy getting ready definitely depends on your attitude. Toss perfection aside, and have a positive one! Do you have any tips to add? Definitely weigh in, in the comments!

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On Saturday night, I made a last minute decision to go through everything in my closet. Literally, everything. I’ve been feeling like I have far too many options, yet I continue to reach for the same pieces over and over again. I now have quite the pile of clothes ready to be donated, plus I planned out all of my outfits for the week complete with new combinations (#weekendwin).  One of the ways I’m pulling together my new looks: statement jewelry.

The BaubleBar x Nordstrom collection was one of my favorite finds last week, and I had such a hard time narrowing down my favorites on Friday. I don’t think there’s a better way to kick off the week than with a roundup of my favorite pieces from the new collection! The bright color palette reminds me of sherbet, and I love that the collection mixes bold statements together with more delicate pieces.

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1. Embellished Collar Necklace // 2. Love Pendent Necklace // 3. Collar Necklace // 4. Stone Stud Earrings // 5. Stone Stud Earrings // 6. Fairytale Duo Necklace // 7. Hinge Bracelet // 8. Love Engraved Cuff // 9. Frontal Necklace

Each and every piece is below $50 with many of my favorites under $30. Affordable statements are the best kind of jewelry! Do you have a favorite? I still love the Frontal Necklace (#9), and the Stone Stud Earrings (#4) remind me of my hydrangea inspired post. :)

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I’ve known that the date was on the horizon, but I didn’t realize that my blog’s birthday was yesterday! Carly is Inspired is officially 1! I’ve been blogging for over three years, but I decided to launch this site a year ago with the hope that it would feel much more personal, much more me than anything I had done before. I also hoped I would be able to inspire someone who might share the same likes and loves as me. I love writing, creating inspiration boards, talking to brands, and “meeting” all of you. Your emails and comments are what make blogging so unique and so fun. Whenever I’m working on something for this site, I can’t help but smile. I hope you have a job or a hobby that you truly love. Thank you for following along. :)

Now for a few links I’ve loved over the past few weeks! It’s an eclectic mix, friends. PS: Get ready to bake. Seriously.

The First Post Ever:

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Photo by Ryan Ray via Lover.ly

In honor of my blog’s first birthday, I have to include the first post I ever wrote! I’m still constantly inspired by Caroline Joy‘s bouquet. And I’m also amazed at how much I’ve been able to do in the past year. So much of it is because of blogging. Start something, you never know where it might take you.

BaubleBar x Nordstrom: 

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BaubleBar Frontal Necklace via Nordstrom

BaubleBar created a collection for Nordstrom. Exciting! I love both companies because they create and promote pieces that are on trend that will not cause you to go over your budget. And the pieces in this collection? They’re so awesome! I love the combination of bright coral, gold, and tortoiseshell in the necklace above (all of the pink always!), and I also love this piece and this one too. Maybe a full post is in order on Monday.

Ann Shoket | The Huffington Post:

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Photo via The Huffington Post

Ann Shoket is one of my favorite editors because she seems so genuine…and because we graduated from the same high school. :) Even though I’m 25, I definitely still pick up a copy of Seventeen now and again. I love the heart the magazine puts forth for teen girls, and Ann echos that message in her career feature with The Huffington Post. One of my favorite quotes from the piece is one that Barbara Walters told her early in her career, “Don’t imagine that your life now is the way it’s always going to be. You have no idea the adventures that are in store for you.” YES.

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake | Style Me Pretty Living:

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Photo via Style Me Pretty Living

Holy coffee cake! My favorite recipes are ones that involve fresh fruit, especially lemon. And I’m a huge fan of blueberry muffins. Combine the two, and it becomes a must try. The recipe seems fairly simple, and the step that seems like it will take the longest is actually baking it. Not bad! I’m pretty sure baking this coffee cake will complete my Sunday. I’ll make sure to post the result on Instagram!

Lion King Australia Cast:

Have you seen this video?! I’ve watched it more than a few times. The cast sounds so awesome, and they’re on a plane! I can’t even imagine being one of the lucky passengers on their flight in Australia. Make sure to take a few minutes and watch the video. I promise it’s worth it!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for reading along!

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I decided to go on an adventure to Target last night because it poured all day, and I felt the need for a drive on a Sunday. My best friend had warned me about the new home arrivals, but I wasn’t prepared enough. Guys, this collection rendered me speechless. In fact, it’s even hard to write about it because it’s so good.

Threshold introduced two new collections – the Coastal Collection and the White and Color Collection. The Coastal Collection looks epic online (all of the anchors, please!), but I happened to see the White and Color Collection in person. The collection includes every single one of my favorite colors, patterns, and florals. How is this even possible? This is the design of my dreams. Plus, every piece is under $100. I’m dying if you can’t tell already. AH! Here are 8 of my favorite pieces:

Carly-is-Inspired-Threshold-White-and-Color-CollectionPhotos: 1. Mirror Accent Table ($69.99) // 2. Floral Lamp Shade ($24.99) // 3. Gold Foil Lamp Base ($54.99) // 4. Patterned Storage Bench ($69.99// 5. Mirrored Tray ($29.99) // 6. Ranunculus Arrangement ($12.99) // 7. Floral Pillow ($24.99) // 8. X-Base Ottoman ($59.99)

How could you not be happy all of the time if these pieces were in your living room all year long? The colors! The patterns! The sweet floral arrangement is my favorite, and then there’s the gold foil lamp and coral bench. The perfect pieces to buy on a budget – each and every one. :) You can find the majority of the Coastal and White and Color collections online, but make sure to stop into your local store too because there are some pieces that I didn’t see online (and vice versa!).

What’s your favorite piece? Do you love Target as much as I do?

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Aside from warmer weather, the number one thing I get so excited about during the spring is…flowers. I love all of the flowers. There’s usually one day each year when it seems like everything has finally sprung to life again after what always feels like the longest winter. That day hasn’t happened just yet (it snowed yesterday morning…), but I’ve been thinking about hydrangeas all week.

I love hydrangeas because they bloom in such a variety of colors, but hydrangea blue is always the most striking to me. I decided to pair hydrangeas and hydrangea blue with navy and ivory for a soft glam palette with a preppy garden party in mind. Oh, and the photo below of hydrangeas in the upper lefthand corner? I took a quick snap on my phone…outside of a gas station. It’s one of my favorites. Beauty is everywhere. :)

A little spring wedding inspiration for your Thursday:

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Photos (clockwise from left): Hydrangeas – Carly is Inspired, Ceremony Chairs – Southern Weddings, Bride & Groom – Style Me Pretty, Seersucker Suit – Heart Love Weddings , Cake – Snippet & Ink, Bridesmaid – Style Me Pretty

A quick tip: less is definitely more when it comes to hydrangeas – it doesn’t take too many blooms to create the prettiest overflowing look for bouquets and centerpieces.

What’s your favorite spring flower? Hopefully someone lives in a much warmer climate with blooming flowers! Consider me jealous.

Workflow is one of the hardest things to determine, especially as your life shifts and changes. In my case, how I work drastically changed once I graduated from college and transitioned into working on actual projects as a freelancer for various publications and clients. I knew I needed (and wanted!) to do my best work, and there were and will always be deadlines attached. But I hadn’t been in the situation before of not having a number of top grades to chase. How hard I worked and the result that was produced relied on my attitude, atmosphere, and complete time management. I remember thinking to myself work like you’re still in school.

Over the past three years, I’ve fine-tuned how I work and think (I no longer remind myself to work like I’m still in school), so I thought I would share seven workflow tips to inspire you whether you work for yourself or for a company. :) 

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Photo via LaurenConrad.com; Graphic by Carly is Inspired

1. Learn how you work best: In my case, this means starting with the most difficult task or the one I would really rather avoid. If I don’t want to do it, I’d rather get it out of the way than have to think about when I’m going to complete (or even just start) it throughout the day. Once that’s out of the way, I continue to work backward from least to most favorite things. If I do this correctly, my day doesn’t end on a bad note even if it starts with something less than desirable.  

2. Block your distractions: I’ve definitely fallen into the hole that is social media. In order to prevent myself from taking unwanted breaks, I’ve been known to sign myself out of any and all social media sites before I start working. That way, I’m not tempted to “see what’s going on” if I have to log in. Whether it’s social media or something else, try to put a roadblock between you and your distractions.

3. Set deadlines: Whether one exists or not, I always set a time when I want to have the task complete. Actually, I set two: one that will challenge me, and one that is completely realistic. Before I start working, I glance at the clock. If a piece normally takes me two hours to complete, I try to get it done well in an hour and a half. This always causes me to think a little more quickly and hustle just a bit more because it’s a slight race against the clock 

4. Walk away: I do exactly as this suggests – I walk away when I can’t decide if I’m happy with a project or not. Taking a break to go for a walk or work on something else allows me to revisit it with a clearer mindset. Most times I’m far less critical when I look at it again in a better mood free of frustration.

5. Schedule yourself: Whether it’s making a realistic list of items you want to accomplish that day or building in time off, set a schedule and stick to it. Lists are awesome because they get everything out of my head and onto paper that I can see and check off. I also work smarter knowing my goal is to create at least two blocks of time each week solely filled with relaxing. I’m also fairly strict with myself about taking that time to simply relax because I know if I don’t I will only end up burned out.

6. Love your environment: Decide on a music station to listen to, purchase a bouquet of flowers, and try to change locations in order to stay inspired (if you can). I love listening to Frank Sinatra on Spotify or Pandora while I work because that genre of music doesn’t distract me. Flowers make me want to sit at my desk because they make me happy. Changing locations when I’m working from home keeps me from getting tired of sitting in the same room for too long.

7. Take a moment to love your work: Don’t only allow yourself to just focus on the end goal of completing your work. Make sure you take a moment, even while you’re working, to really enjoy what you do. Enjoy the journey, not just the result. : )

What are your favorite workflow tips? I’d love to hear!

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