How to Create a Morning Routine for Productivity

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How to Establish a Productive Morning Routine

Before I started my blog, I never had any semblance of a morning routine. I was easily distracted by things that were time-wasters like social media or even just lying in bed for more time than was needed. Since I’ve started Macarons in the Morning, I’ve seen a need to establish a more concrete routine to maximize my productivity and complete my goals faster. I found that I was more creative and motivated in the early hours, so I set up a morning routine rather than an afternoon or evening one. With my routine I have become a more balanced, centered, and productive person.

WHY YOU NEED A MORNING ROUTINE

  • A morning routine works with the natural tendencies of our bodies and minds. The mind loves structure and pattern. Our brains work best when they know what to expect. When we know what’s coming up, we can prepare appropriately, and make the most of the event. To contrast, when our next action is undetermined, we waste an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what to do, how to carry out the action, and only think about how we could’ve been more efficient after the fact. With a routine, we’ve totally skipped the middle man and can jump right into the efficiency and productivity part.
  • You’ve accomplished something before your day has even started. Don’t you just love crossing things off of a to-do list? A morning routine is like a daily to-do list full of things you actually enjoy doing and that you can cross off before it’s lunch time. Having a sense of accomplishment can help your mood and set a confident, grateful attitude for the rest of the day.
  • You live with purpose. A theme that’s gone viral this year is intentional living. Often coupled with a minimalistic lifestyle, living intentionally means applying purpose behind your actions. When you develop your personal morning routine, each part of the routine has a specific purpose. You will feel more accomplished and fulfilled when you’ve completed goals that have meaning behind them. Into-Mind has a great graphic of how you can have a more full life by living with intention and breaking down bigger and more abstract goals by establishing manageable daily habits.

MYTHS ABOUT ROUTINES

  • They’re too strict and don’t allow for spontaneity. Routines can be as broad or as down to the very second as you want them to be. For the more free-spirited mind, a more general morning routine with looser time slots (or no time slots at all!) might be better fitting. It’s all about completing the things you want in an orderly fashion, and making productivity a habit. Life will always bring its spontaneity. I promise, surprises will never be scarce.
  • They stifle creativity. While this is a highly debated topic, I’d definitely say that my morning routine has increased my creativity. Allotting a time to sit down and create something has been a lot like going to the gym everyday and working out. It’s gotten easier and easier to come up with cool stuff the more I train myself to work that creative muscle. And, of course, if I have ideas throughout the day, I won’t shut my brain off and say “ah ah ah, it’s not creativity time!” I simply jot down the ideas in my notes app or in my Moleskine and work on them when I have time.

How to Establish a Productive Morning Routine

HOW TO CREATE YOUR ROUTINE

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. A few things you should keep in mind when creating a routine:

  1. Have a goal in mind. It can be as abstract or as specific as you want. And you can have multiple. My main goals for the morning are to get as much creative work done for my blog as possible, enrich my body by working out or eating a good breakfast, and enrich my mind by allotting time to read a novel, journal, or catch up on the news.
  2. Keep your priorities straight. Every list of goals has a hierarchy. Prioritize the ones that are most important to you. They don’t necessarily have to come first, but you should spend the most effort and time on them. Blogging is a huge priority in my life and I spend hours on it. I start my blogging duties last because I often go well into the afternoon with it, but getting started in the morning assures that I will get something done.

Now, it’s time to ask yourself some questions. Once you have your goals set, you need to figure out which order they should go in, and where daily chores might fit best into your routine. Your routine should have a natural flow of events.

  1. What is the best time for me to wake up? Does this allow enough time to complete my routine?
  2. Does the first thing I do after I wake up center me and prepare me for the upcoming events of the day?
  3. Have I taken care of chores and daily necessities like eating breakfast and getting dressed that could later become distractions?
  4. Have I allotted time for reflection, self-enrichment, and goal planning? 
  5. Have I broken down the more abstract goals into achievable daily goals?
  6. How and when am I most productive? Am I completing the most important parts of my morning at that time?

The best way to start and stick to a routine is to do a little at a time. And don’t be afraid to mend it as time goes on. Your morning routine should be something that you enjoy and find useful. If it ever becomes a burden or you find that it doesn’t work with how you naturally function, make changes.

PRODUCTIVITY TIPS

  • Delayed Gratification: There is nothing that will make me work faster to finish a task than if I know a box of macarons or a Gilmore Girls marathon is waiting for me at the end of the finish line. Setting up a reward system, whether it be earning a 30 minute break or a yummy snack after a tedious task, can make you more productive because there’s an incentive involved.
  • Work with Yourself: At certain times of the day, I just can’t work up the energy to get a task done. And that’s totally fine. When it comes to creativity or putting out great content, I never want it to be forced or for it to become a chore that I don’t love. Learn how to work your mind. Identify the times you work best, and make the most of it, and don’t punish yourself for the times where you aren’t at your best.
  • A Cluttered Space is a Cluttered Mind: People underestimate the influence that the physical world has on their ability to work. If your work area is a total mess, your brain can easily become overwhelmed and distracted. Make sure your space is organized before you start your work. You’ll be a lot more focused when there isn’t all kinds of displaced items scattered around you.
  • Understand the Why: When working towards a very large goal, there are a lot of laborious steps in between that tire us out and can sometimes cause us to lose sight of the big picture. Once you’ve broken down your big goal into smaller goals, always remember to put purpose behind them. No matter how small, how annoying, or how tedious it can be, keep in mind the why and it will become much easier to complete the task.

Your routine can be adapted for nighttime as well, and I encourage you to develop one for whichever time of day you see fit.


So Tell Me: What’s your favorite part of your morning routine? Answer in the comments below!

-Lots of Love, Lola

July 8, 2016
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How to Overcome Pre-College Anxiety

Nervousness and fear before your first year is common and a very normal occurrence. Unfortunately, there are about 3 months between high school graduation and stepping foot on campus in which all of the fears you never even knew existed get to fully sink in and keep you up at night. These months can be like those treacherous moments right before your first day of high school but stretched out over ~80 days. It’s quite annoying and sometimes a daily struggle to overcome these fears. While I still get a little nervous, the following reminders have helped me lessen the severity of pre-college anxiety.

How to Overcome Pre-College Anxiety

Common Sources of Pre-College Anxiety & Their Solutions

Making Friends

A lot of people worry about finding their “fit” in college. It might be the first time ever that your classmates aren’t the same people you went to kindergarten with. Making new friends out of complete strangers may be a skill you haven’t sharpened in some time. Or maybe you’re like me–switched schools quite a bit and didn’t quite master the skill of long-lasting friendships. Whatever the case, it’s nothing to worry about. While it’s true that college is a different environment than high school, great relationships are more easily established here for two reasons.

  1. Everyone is equal- The second you step on campus as freshmen, you’re all in the same boat. Everyone’s new, everyone’s nervous, and everyone wants friends. Once you understand that your classmates are just like you, reaching out to them should come easily. You also have the ability to start over. Don’t let whatever held you back from making the most of your relationships accompany you to college. Nobody knows your past or your fears, so don’t bring them!
  2. There are more opportunities– You might have had a few clubs or activities in which you could get to know people in high school. In college, there are tons of opportunities to meet new people. From classes to clubs to greek life and everything in between, there is no doubt you’ll find your tribe somewhere on campus. Push yourself to try new things. Explore places you might not have thought of before. The greatest experiences and friendships come from trying something new.

Overcome Your Fear: 

This fear usually comes as college draws closer and closer. Reminding yourself of some of your best traits is a great way to build up some confidence! Write down 5 things that you think makes you a good friend and 2 things you’d like to work on in college. Knowing your abilities and having a goal to accomplish gives you a future you can look forward to instead of fear.

Gentle Reminder: You don’t need to rush friendships because you fear being alone. Friends will absolutely come, but you should get used to the idea that you can have fun by yourself too. Check out my post on embracing alone time and how it can actually improve your relationships!

Deciding a Major

I totally get it! People around you have been making decisions for you your whole life and, suddenly, you’re the one who has to take the wheel and choose the direction of your future. It can be a lot of pressure trying to figure out a major, especially if you’re someone who has a lot of interests. The truth is, you don’t have to have it all figured out the minute you get to campus. To throw some statistics out, around 80% of college students change their major at least once. Colleges design their curriculums to handle these kinds of changes.

Overcome Your Fear:

Start thinking more about what your passions and interests are during the summer. Following these will lead you to the right subjects. Research the majors that are offered in your school and get a feel for what you might be interested in. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and try new things. You never know what class or professor will spark a new fire in you, and what direction it might take you!

Making Good Grades

You’ve probably heard the lecture from everyone and their mother that high school classes are nowhere near the level of difficulty that college is. Even AP or IB classes pale in comparison to the “vigor” that will be employed in your Math 1 class. While there is some truth to this, it’s nothing you should fear. College is supposed to be challenging. It’s the next level of your education. You aren’t paying an unspeakable amount of money to take 4 more years of high school! Your college also won’t just toss you to the lions. They understand the difficult transition and provide so many resources to ensure success.

Overcome Your Fear:

Remind yourself that it’s nearly impossible to fail if you just take advantage of the resources on campus. Your professors, teaching assistants, tutors, libraries, and 24 hour cafés (for those all-nighters) all want to see you do well. Don’t be afraid to get help, thats what these places and people are here for. Before you step foot on campus, make it a goal for academics to be a priority. You may need to go beyond what’s right in front of you and change up your studying habits if necessary.

Getting Along With Roommates

It’s certainly difficult adjusting to a life with a roommate. It can be nerve-wracking during the summer not knowing how things will turn out with your roomie. You’ve probably read all of the roommate horror stories and are sure your roommate will kill your goldfish while you’re out or something. While there’s no guarantee you’ll get the perfect roommate, there are a few ways to encourage a functional and good relationship. 

Overcome Your Fear:

The best way to squash this fear is to face it! If you know who your roommate is, contact them before school starts and get to know them. You may find out they’re completely normal and that you guys could even become friends. If contacting isn’t an option, start thinking of ways you can become comfortable with your roommate once you get to campus. Planning does a lot to cure a fear of the unknown.


I hope these reminders provide some relief this summer! You’re not alone in this and you should never have to deal with pre-college anxiety alone. If you have any other worries, comment below and talk to me about them. I’ll be sure to help.

 

July 2, 2016
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Friends Can Be Your Biggest Assets

It’s easy to underestimate the influence that your friends can have on you. We sometimes forget that our friendships can serve as another rung in the ladder towards achieving our dreams. In a generation of entrepreneurs, hustlers, and professional risk-takers, we should start considering the people we keep close to us as assets to our business and life goals. How Friends Can Be Your Biggest Assets

If you take a good look at who you keep in your circle, what is their general makeup? I recommend having some friends who are as ambitious and inspired as you. Having friends that you can be constantly discussing, dreaming, and bouncing off ideas with will carry you much farther towards self-improvement than you know.
For example, I have a group of friends who all bring some level of excellence to the table. We’re big on academia, some of us are great creative thinkers, others are political buffs, and all of us are social justice participants. Together, we have deeply profound discussions about topics like current events and politics, philosophical and psychological questions, and our next big ideas and goals. Despite the occasional debates that turn into arguments, I always leave feeling more inspired, more educated, and a more enlightened person. I don’t think I would’ve gotten the idea to restart my blog without seeing a new creative spark in my friend at the discovery of writing poetry.
Having people around you who perform on the same wavelength as you, who want to reach the same level of success as you and who will encourage you to do the same are powerful.

A relationship like this takes a good amount of intellectual confidence on your part to get the most out of it. Your friends might excel in areas where you have room for improvement.  If you want to benefit from a friendship like How Friends Can Be Your Biggest Assetthat there is no space to be insecure about yourself. Their expertise and ambition in their skill set should inspire you to reach that same level in your own endeavors. And you will motivate them as well! That is how these friendships will push you towards greatness.

Similarly, I wouldn’t rely too much on friends who lack your same spirit and ambition. It’s easy to be dragged down by these types, and it will be a little bit harder to work for your goals if nobody else around you is doing the same. They might be great for emotional support, comic relief, and all of the great things that come with friendships, but it’s important to keep in mind that they are not on the same path as you.

When meeting new friends or evaluating the ones you currently have, always consider who will help you become a person you can fall in love with. It comes down to having a healthy balance of friends who just make you feel better and friends who actually make you better.

-Lots of Love, Lola

 

June 28, 2016
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How to Prepare for Freshman Year

Ahh…it’s the summer after you’ve graduated high school. It’s time to sit back, relax, and never get out of bed again until August, right? WRONG. It’s good to rest and have fun, but it’s also important that you don’t waste your summer. There are plenty of things you could and should be doing to prepare yourself for the year that’s coming up.

Preparing For College The Summer Before Freshman Year

EARN MONEY

First things first, there’s never a reason not to apply for scholarships. Whether you’re paying for college yourself or your parents are, why not get free money to help relieve some of the financial burden? Try applying for a scholarship once a week and see what you can get! Weekly college expenses can add up too so it’s good to have some extra spending money. Take up a part-time summer job to save up a little.

STOCK UP

Do a little research and get some dorm inspiration online then slowly start accumulating your dorm decor. I’ve found it way easier on the bank to just pick up things here and there than to buy everything in bulk. You won’t find everything you need in one store anyway! Don’t wait until the last minute to do this either, stores start their dorm sales as soon as high school graduations are gearing up, don’t miss out on them!
Related Post: Top 5 Places to Buy Your Dorm Decor

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Have you picked a major? Still undecided? Do a little snooping around your college website and dig into the stuff you’re interested in. I’ve picked Cognitive Science as my major and every now and then I go on its homepage and see what research is going on there and which professors have the closest relationships with my major. On there is also an alumni page that shows where graduates have gone on with this major. It helps me have a better idea of what I could be doing after I graduate and who will be teaching me while I’m in school. It’s also great to plan out your courses ahead of time so you have a solid plan when it’s time to schedule them. You can never be too prepared!

IMPROVE YOURSELF

How can you improve yourself this summer so that you go into college feeling more confident and ready to tackle the year? Things like blogging, working out, reading good books, doing yoga, or listening to podcasts are all little things you can do that will better your quality of life and your mindset. Starting your freshman year on the right foot is all about the kind of person you are going in. This is your future, take charge of it.
Related Post: What They Don’t Tell You to Bring to College

GET A HEAD START

If your college has some sort of system like a Facebook group page where you can connect with others, don’t hesitate to do so! These are your future classmates and it’s quite fun to get to know some of these people during the summer. Doing this will allow you to not only get a feel of your class vibe, but you’ll also have some built-in friends who you can hang with on that first week of school.

STAY ON TOP OF THINGS

You’ve probably gotten a myriad of forms to fill out online and papers to mail up to your college. Stay on top of those due dates! In addition, make sure you’ve gotten your last health check up and that your shots are up to date. Don’t be the kid on the Facebook group saying things like “oh..that was due?” A little bit of honesty here: Inability to get these things done out of laziness or inattentiveness is a projection of how you will fare in your college classes. 

You’ve got your work cut out for you. However, none of these things take forever to do. I still encourage you to have as much fun and as much sleep as possible this summer while you still can! You’re in that transition period where you still have one foot in your old life and the other in college. Make memories with your high school friends, have crazy fun experiences, and go on adventures in your town while preparing yourself for these next 4 years and getting pumped for them!

June 25, 2016
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Why You Should Be Blogging as a Millennial

Posted in Lifestyle, Mind by

Why You Should Be Blogging As A Millennial

I’ve been blogging on and off for about 4 years now. I’ve done everything from fiction writing to lifestyle to fashion, and finally college/lifestyle blogging. No matter how far I stray from blogging, something always draws me back.

If you’re a millennial, which is loosely defined as someone born anywhere from the 1980s to the 2000s, I seriously recommend blogging as a creative outlet. There are truly an infinite amount of positive outcomes that are a direct result of establishing a presence online.

DEVELOP A VOICE

Whether you’re 17 or 47, you have a voice, an extremely important one, too. Opinions originating from our age group are very easily trivialized by those who are older and seemingly “wiser” than us. Writing online and speaking up through blogs and other mediums have allowed millennials to be heard. Once you start blogging, you might have the power to influence thousands! Seize the opportunity to share your perspective on the world. We’re listening.

GAIN CONFIDENCE

It can be a little scary putting yourself out there at first. But, once you do, I promise your confidence will skyrocket. Your blog is a safe space where you can allow yourself to flourish. And yes, you might be a little anxious knowing that it’s a public space, but I strongly believe that if you can overcome this obstacle, you can overcome just about anything that threatens your confidence.

Putting together an entire blog with content that you’re proud of can do miracles for the mind. It’s a great feeling getting positive feedback from your blogging peers, and even greater being able to look at something you created with pride and knowing that it was all you. You’ll learn to trust yourself and your abilities more than most people. This will help you in school, the workforce, and many other areas.

Why You Should Be Blogging as a Millennial

LEARN RELEVANT COMPUTER SKILLS

If you truly invest in your blog, it becomes almost necessary to pick up a few HTML and CSS skills along the way. Additionally, you’ll learn all about typography, a bit about aesthetics, and photography. Needless to say, my school projects were always amazing because of this. And, you won’t be alone! There are tons of blogs out there that are dedicated to helping you figure this stuff out. Station Seven is my go to blog for all of the behind the scenes work that goes on in my blog. In this day and age, these skills are invaluable and you might just become a rare commodity in your workplace or class.

CONNECT WITH OTHERS

When I first started fiction blogging the summer before my Freshman year, I didn’t anticipate meeting my absolute best friends. I met some pretty incredible girls from across the United States. Two were right in my state, Texas, but 2 hours away in Austin (yes, I have visited them a few times). One was also in Las Vegas, another in California, and the last in Virginia. We probably have a world record for most texts sent in a group message. I don’t think I would’ve made it to where I am today at all without the connections I’ve made through blogging. These girls encouraged me, pushed me, and supported me through everything. You’ll find these friendships in the blogosphere, too. It’s full of people ready to meet new people. I think this opportunity is something that will only appear in this environment. You won’t make priceless relationships around the world with a click of a button anywhere else.


Are you sold yet? I hope so! In short, I really really want you to get into blogging if you’ve ever considered it. Take a leap, I promise you’ll make it. If you want to make a blog right now, check out Station Seven’s post on starting your blog(without all of the rookie mistakes).

My best advice: Don’t ever let blogging become a burden. Do it because you want to, and because it’s fun for you. A lifetime worth of memories are in store for you if you follow this rule.

-Lots of Love, Lola

 

June 22, 2016
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