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12 OFFICE DESK HACKS TO IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY (Infographic)

Posted by Donna Vail on May 08, 2017  /   Posted in Work Life Balance

12 Office Desk Hacks-blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Successful working moms know, your space has a great influence on you, your energy and how your day goes.

When you’re balancing between taking care of your children, homeschooling, working, family and running a household, you need all systems to support your success. This includes having an inspiring environment from which to work.

It’s amazing how making a few changes, being more organized and what seems like little things can make for big differences in your productivity. Here’s a few of the things I’ve done to set myself up for success.

My desk sits in my bedroom so it’s very important to me that I have everything in order for when I sit, I can focus on my work. This means the bed is made, neat and clean with comfy pillows. Don’t worry, it’s not inviting me back to bed because while I love laying in my bed, I like to work and be active more. The sheer act of making it deters me from getting back in.

With the windows and french doors, there is plenty of lighting in addition to a bright lamp and room lighting. Bright lighting is important and this makes for a great plant area. Now in the city, I find myself really looking for the green after having lived in the forest and research shows that exposure to the color green makes you more productive.

I have five children under roof right now so it makes for a busy household and at times, noisy. Getting my focus on and not letting myself get caught up in the noise, I wear earbuds and play my “working music.” This is a selection of music that’s only used for focused work time. I also have music specifically for writing. That means no listening to it other than when I’m working or writing. I’ve programmed my brain and body when I hear this music, it’s time to work or write. Most distractions are eliminated. Since my children are older they’ve been instructed to take care of each other and only get me if absolutely necessary. If you have younger children, I highly recommend you only do this when another adult can care for your younger children.

If I’m really out of it and need to brighten up, I keep essential oils handy in my drawer. I’ll use peppermint or sweet orange as a natural stimulate for the brain. Just a drop or two on my wrist or forearms does the trick. You can also get fabulous diffusers from Young Living Oils.

For many years I worked in a small cluttered space. Stacks and stacks of books have always been taking up space but I find it makes for greater productivity when I have a clear desk and only what I’m working on. Besides the candles, flowers, lamp and collection of crystals, I keep current books near my desk easy to reach and reference while other books are shelved. All files are put away. Now I only need what I’m currently working on; my organizer and laptop. Once I’m done with work everything is put away. This makes for a clean space since it’s in my home and an easy start for the next work session.

Have you used the Pomodoro technique? There are all kinds of great apps with Pomodoro timers. I set my own by working 50 minutes with a 10-minute break to stretch, refresh on water, walk a bit, check on what’s happening with the children and when the timer goes off, back to work for another 50 minutes. I do 50 minutes because the shorter time frames seemed to stress me more. The most I do is two blocks of timed work, other times are more task oriented and in between homeschooling, meals and being with the children. There are some focus days I add time blocks to during the week or on the weekend. I encourage working moms to set themselves up for their needs and what works best with their family dynamic.

One last tip that I feel is very important and I try to do every day, is gazing into the distance. We are traveling people so part of our wiring is walking long distances out in the open where we can gaze far and wide. I do this by taking walks, looking out my windows on a regular basis and of course driving to other places. With a busy household, you don’t have to wait long until it’s time to leave the house again. While working I make it a practice to look out the windows and look to the sky. Research shows it only needs to be something that is 20 feet away. I also give myself the view of beautiful pictures, many of nature and vistas I would not normally see where I live by putting my television on a Google picture app. It cycles through many beautiful pictures and works of art.

Whether you’re in an office or working from home, it’s very important to set yourself up for productivity. There are more ways to improve your productivity from The Business Backer infographic below as well as referenced research. See the resources and comment below what’s your favorite-makes-all-the-difference hack.

Stay inspired!

Peace and love,

Donnasignature

 

 

Courtesy of: The Business Backer

MUSICAL THEATER

Posted by Donna Vail on January 11, 2017  /   Posted in Academics, Learn More

MUSICAL THEATER

Do your children love theater? Not all children will jump at being in theater right away because it can challenge their personality and character. The best way to introduce it is by going to a local children’s theater production or try a part in your local homeschool cooperative. No need to push. Some children are extroverts who will love being on stage and are ready to try out for the leading part. Other children may be more introverted but okay with a supporting role, supporting cast or be on the stage set/sound/lighting team. No long lines to learn if that’s not what your child wants or if he’s too young. Most productions offer parts of all sizes for various ages.

The benefits, of participating in theater, are worth the time and effort. Theater builds great life skills of empathy and insight into other people’s inner lives, making those involved richer emotionally and more compassionate beings. Students of the arts gain confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, the ability to organize and prioritize, self-reliance as well as work well with a team, be poised, responsible, and skilled in leadership. Research and statistics show students in the arts consistently score higher on exams and are more likely to receive academic notice from schools,

Students of the arts gain confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, the ability to organize and prioritize, self-reliance as well as work well with a team, be poised, responsible, and skilled in leadership. Research and statistics show students in the arts consistently score higher on exams and are more likely to receive academic notice from schools, colleges, and competitions. Not only will students gain knowledge on subjects covered in the production, but also in who they are and what they can do.

I highly recommend you consider adding theater to your homeschool regimen. Look for opportunities within your local homeschool groups and community. If you’re local to the DFW area in Texas we’d love to have you join us at the Living Wisdom Learning Center. Our Theater classes begin February 6th, 2017. For additional details please, click here.

WHAT I WISHED I HAD IN MY HOMESCHOOL

Posted by Donna Vail on December 16, 2016  /   Posted in Academics, Donna Recommends, Learn More

WHAT I WISHED I HAD IN MY HOMESCHOOL

When I had a houseful of littles, homeschooling, and living on a farm; I wished for just one day to myself when I could rest, catch up on housework or pressing projects, read a book or simply enjoy just a little pause in all there was to do.

All through the years, we lived far away from family help and once you have four or more children, finding a babysitter gets real challenging. It was much different in those days, not as many options as we have today but we always had great communities for activities, events, and friendships, we just did what we had to, taking care of the everyday. Actually, I feel like homeschooling helped enrich our living and made it more doable, especially all the years my husband traveled and worked long hours.

Now, my older children help me with youngers and I get out of the house on my own more often, including some solo business trips. Now I can take time to read or knit with more flexibility than the pressing needs of littles. Even though I wasn’t able to find a solution to get a full day off for us years ago, now, in collaboration with the Ananda Yoga Center of Dallas, we’re giving parent’s a day off, just like we wished we had. It’s such an honor to work with a team to provide not only children but the whole family with what they need.

This Winter/Spring 2017 semester, on Mondays, at the Living Wisdom Learning Center at the Ananda Yoga Center of Dallas, we are offering classes for children that allow parents to have a day off.  That all semester on Mondays!

When you enroll your children, we’re giving you an opening in your schedule that allows you time to yourself while knowing your children are well taken care of and thriving. You deserve a reprieve in your schedule, time off, a little break because after all, parenting and homeschooling your children is 24/7.

We know how much you put of yourself into everything you do. Now this is your time, all for you. Imagine having Monday’s to yourself.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Those very things you always mention when you say, “If I had time to myself I would…take a nap all day, read a good book, take a bubble bath uninterrupted, focus on that project that’s been waiting, have lunch with my sweetheart or best friend, or just catch my breath.”

Choose what works best for you; all day, mornings only or afternoon’s only. Finish off your day by joining us for our closing Music Meditation: Tuning Up Brain and Body that’s for the whole family.

Early bird registration ends December 16th. Regular registration open until January 9th. Find out more details and reserve your spot today! [click here]

The Living Wisdom Team looks forward to a fabulous and inspiring semester with you and your family. I can’t wait to see you there!

Love and peace,

 

 

 

Donna

PS. If you’re busy with the holidays, don’t forget, this would be a perfect gift for the whole family; kids learning, mama free time!! All mama’s dream about “just a day off” or “just a weekend away to sleep” or “help covering other subjects.”

BLACK FRIDAY – CYBER MONDAY TO A SMART START

Posted by Donna Vail on November 25, 2016  /   Posted in Academics, Conscious Parenting, Learn More, Live More, Love More, Work Life Balance

BLACK FRIDAY – CYBER MONDAY SMART START SPECIAL!

It’s that time of year again when we wrap up our Thanksgiving and start looking to the holidays then the New Year. I know you’re going to be busy with the holidays coming up but while you’re busy with that, thoughts will be flowing about getting a strong start back into the New Year. Making changes that will give you more power. Switch it up so you’re not so overwhelmed. Glad to have the distractions of the holiday but know you’ll have to face the everyday ordinary struggles and challenges. I think of it as doing surgery on yourself. That’s way too painful. And, so is trying to see just what’s stopping you or letting go of what’s no longer serving you.

How do I know? Because I’ve had to do and continuously do a lot of work with my own share of mentors. In fact, I always have a mentor I am working with to help me build the life I truly want to build. They help me see the pot holes in the road, face what I avoid, navigate what’s stopping me and show me the way that’s simpler and more graceful.

Experiencing an outgrowth, I realize how important it is for moms to have the support they need. We’re doing the toughest and most important job in the world. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the support we need. That’s why I’ve put together New Year – Smart Start Coaching. It’s more than 75% off! I’ve kept you in mind knowing that you’ll be busy during the holidays so I’m setting you up with an audio program to keep you thinking in the direction you want to go and then getting into the coaching sessions first thing in January. Click here all the details where you can learn more.

Hurry! This offer ends Monday, November 28th, midnight CST.

Don’t forget, this makes a great gift for mom! I’m making 2017 about giving moms what I wish I would have had when my children were little. Look forward to sharing the journey and time together.

If you have questions, send me an email at donna@donnavailinternational.com

Here’s to your success and joy!

Peace and love,

Gratitude Expands This Thanksgiving

Posted by Donna Vail on November 23, 2016  /   Posted in Inspiration, Live More, My Life

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you and to give thanks continuously and because all things have contributed to your advancement you should include all things in your gratitude.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude is a continual practice but what happens this week, during Thanksgiving holiday, is an expansion when our families and friends all come together to celebrate.

Sometimes it can be challenging to be grateful when we’re faced with what we don’t feel so grateful, however, we must count it all as on the way and a blessing because it all contributes to our individual and collective advancements.

We can experience what we claim to be pitfalls, stress, “bad things,” or so much that seems to limit us or be in our way but I bid you, take a closer examination. As it turns out, it was all helping you be on your way.

  • When we get delayed and run late stressing, it may be preventing us from something far worse or be in perfect timing because where we’re headed for our appointment, well, they’re running late too. So when you get there, you’re actually in perfect timing. (I love when this synchronicity happens and then I don’t have to sit and wait as long. It feels good, like you’re all magically connected in time.)
  • When you get called out on your work it turns out the challenge helped you learn and be even better than ever before. Now you’re making more progress than you first anticipated. (This happened to me when I went in front of a group of entrepreneurs with my goal plan. They flipped my plan saying it would be more advantageous for me to begin with what I had at the end first. I panicked but then I found how to do it in a much easier way. And I got help as well, double win!)
  • When you schedule out everything yet you still can’t seem to find flow and end up more stressed than ever, it turns out it was a calling for more people to pitch in and help, which now means you’re never doing it alone again. (This is how we keep life moving in a big family on an everyday basis. Teamwork and delegation.)
  • A child who challenges you on all fronts of your parenting helps you become more loving and present to honoring others, now causing you to learn how to have deeper richer relationships. (This is my toughest child who really calls me out but has caused me to grow the most. I am grateful to tears for this child.)
  • A health challenge that has you in more weak spots than you’re comfortable with but then you realize, getting ill gave you the healing you needed to be better, stronger, and sharper than ever. (I’ve been through several health challenges. I know it’s not fun but it raises you up in ways you may have never tried to step up to otherwise.)
  • Having to learn something that you never wanted to but have had to take time away from what you want to do now helps you have more security and understanding so you can be more responsible, experiencing better results. (This can be technology, money, relationships…for me, it’s touched on them all!)

Just as Ralph Waldo Emerson says, all things have contributed to your advancement, so we must practice gratitude for it all. Grateful for it all as on the way instead of in the way. These challenges I’m experiencing are growing me to the greater heights I want to live, so instead of stressing and hating it, I must practice gratitude.

I am here to inspire you to dive deeper in your gratitude this holiday and every day from here on out. See all things as contributing to your advancement, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Count it all love. Count it all joy.

What has been a challenge lately that you haven’t expressed gratitude for? Even if you can’t see how what’s happening in contributing to your advancement, count it a blessing. “Thank you for this delay.” “Thank you for this challenge, it’s growing me.” “Thank you for this lesson, I have learned and am a better person now.”

Let your gratitude expand on this holiday as well as everyday. We are here to love and be loved. We are here to live in joy.

I am grateful for you dear reader. For all of my clients, mentors, friends, family, and supporters whether near or far, from this age or another. You enrich my life by the lessons that come, the calling to share and lead, but most of all the trust you’ve put in me. My prayer is always to be more grateful and to aspire to all that life is calling. Let us enjoy the journey together.

 

 

How to Increase Focus and Let Go of What’s Stopping You

Posted by Donna Vail on September 13, 2016  /   Posted in Conscious Parenting, Entrepreneurship, Live More, Work Life Balance

How to Increase Focus and Let Go of What’s Stopping You

At the end of the day are you feeling stressed, burned out, out of focus or exhausted, barely able to finish out the high demands of the end of the day? Is it hard to wake up in the morning, when you don’t even feel rested, knowing the demands of the day will press you once again? That’s because you’re either/and/or trying to do too much, you’re overbooked, on sensory overload and multi-tasking.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Parents are carrying a heavy load with taking care of the basic necessities, work, parenting, homeschooling, and life. This is something most people are challenged by. Unless we’ve been taught how to manage effectively, the challenges arise so we can navigate better. It’s not about you being good enough or smart enough, a lot of it is about how we’re wired, our environment and navigating in a respectful way. Respectful to others  but first to ourselves.

Our brains can only manage so much however with our great technology and innovations making it easier to be plugged in 24/7. Thus, it becomes easier to get run down, have unreal expectations and feel defeated. Before we even realize it we’re reaching for more. We’ve become addicted to multiple stimuli and the adrenaline rush experienced every time we get stimulated by our devices or multi-tasking or split-attention. Our adrenaline bank is not for day to day over-stimulation, it’s for emergencies, and to keep you safe for a quick response when needed.

The only way to break these cycles and get your life back is Read More

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