The Art of Decluttering

The Art of Decluttering - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.comI’ve explained that minimalism is a journey, and I am taking baby steps into my new lifestyle. Consequently, I’m still in the long process of decluttering. In my own defense, I’ve lived in my apartment for three years. You can accumulate a lot of stuff in three years. No worries though. I have a plan!! Today I want to share some tips on the art of decluttering in the hopes that it’ll help someone jump start their own process. It’s probably easy to think of your major problem area. If you’re going with my worst first productivity tip for the decluttering process – you are my hero. However, if you need to start smaller, that’s fine too. Below are some places you can start with and build up to the areas you’ll need some extra time on.

Decluttering: Where to Begin

  • Pick a small spot: Sometimes an easy win is the ultimate motivation. I decided to start small. One stool around my table is dedicated to junk. That’s where my mail automatically gets thrown, where the stickers I used in my planner and never put away end up, and where the magazines I want to read reside. Seriously, everything ends up there. So I made it a goal to completely declutter this stool. Seeing the stool clear motivated me to move to the counter and then a side table. What area you can use as your easy win?
  • The junk drawer: Do you really need five Chinese food menus…to the same place? Get rid of any of those random items that really don’t have a purpose. I finally threw away my Team Jacob magnet that no longer stuck to anything. So much for imprinting. 🙂
  • Other people’s stuff: Let go of your ex’s stuff or items that remind you of them. If you’re holding on to a bunch of your relatives things, kindly remind them that you’re not a storage company. Hey Ace, your rainbow table has to go!
  • Pantry and fridge: Go throw away all of the expired items. If there are things that are still good, but you don’t want them anymore feel free to drop them at a homeless shelter.
  • Beauty/Health Items: That lotion bottle that has maybe two more squeezes of lotion. Chuck it!! The dried up mascara – let it go. Go through everything in your medicine cabinet and look for the outdated medicines and things that you can no longer use.
  • Once you’ve moved on to a bigger space experiment with the Four-Box Method. As you set out to declutter an area, bring out four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Every item must go in a box to curb the possibility that you’ll keep more than you need.

The Six-Month Box Method

If you have an emotional attachment to items like me – you may want to try the The Six-Month Box method.  I still have the dresses I wore to my college graduations. I won’t be wearing them again, but even after my awesome closet declutter they still remained. Here’s what you can do. Put anything you haven’t used in a while, but can’t give away in a box. Close the box and put it out of sight for six months. If, in six months, you haven’t retrieved an item from the box, donate the whole box.These things clearly aren’t as important as you thought, if you didn’t need them for half of a year. I’m on month one of my six month box trial. Wish me luck!

Keep or Toss – Declutter Checklist

Something else that may be helpful as you decide what to keep or giveaway is to ask yourself the following questions:

Is this item something I’m currently using?

Is this something I love?

Am I holding onto this for sentimental reasons?

If I were moving to a new home, would I want to pack this item and make the effort to bring it with me?

Do I have multiples of this item?

Could someone else use this more than I do?

Hopefully, one or more of these methods will resonate with you. It’s important to remember that decluttering won’t work if you keep buying more stuff. I’ll leave you with a quote:

Decluttering is not the end result—it is merely the first step. You don’t become instantly happy and content by just getting rid of your stuff—at least not in the long run. Decluttering doesn’t work like that…It is possible to get rid of everything you own and still be utterly miserable. – The Minimalists

Are you an organizational pro? Leave some tips on reducing clutter below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

5 Questions to Ask When You Feel Stuck

5 Questions to Ask When You Feel Stuck -- The Palmetto Peaches

A few weeks ago I headed to Atlanta for a roomie reunion. What most people don’t know is that I also went for a job interview. I was skeptical because it was for a senior position, but wanted to follow through since I made it to the second round. At the end of my interview, the woman something to me that I’ve never heard during an interview before:

You seem like you really enjoy what you do, and you’ve worked on some cool, fun projects. I don’t think this position would be a good fit for you, it might suck the life out of you.

She didn’t tell me this because it’s a bad job or company, but because of my experience and the laughs we shared. The interviewer confessed that I would indeed lose my mind. I agreed. Why? Because I’m not passionate about social media. Story-telling? Yes. Social media? Nah. My freelance social media marketing career started as a hobby–one I thought would allow me to make money in while staying in my pajamas all day.

Although some of my goals are a little blurry, and I don’t have a detailed life plan–but I do know what I’m passionate about: arts education and equal opportunity. Ten years from now I see myself directing an arts school, not analyzing hashtags and ReTweets. My social media and public relations experience can definitely help me get there, but there are other things I need to take on to help me down this road too.

I felt stuck, and not because I wasn’t going to a third round. I need to get focused, but how?

5 Questions to Ask When You Feel Stuck

  1. What is my purpose?

    Might as well start it off with the most complicated question. It’s hard to feel like you’re living your best life when you have little direction. Take some time to figure out what you were put on this earth to do.

  2. What else could I put my energy into to help me reach my goals?

    Take an online class, find a mentor, open a savings account–start focusing on what you can do instead of complaining about what you think you can’t do.

  3. How will I use my free time to work on my goals?

    You may need a binge-watch Netflix session after a stressful day, but don’t get caught slipping. Think about all the things you can check off your to-do list during the 8 hours you spent crying over Grey’s Anatomy. (Check out Donni’s productivity tips if you need a little help making the best of your free time: 10 Productivity Tips for the Young Professional )

  4. Am I only working for money?

    Yes, sometimes money is what you need to help you get where you’re going, and in that case– a job is a job. But eventually, that gets old. Like Tony Gaskins Jr. said, “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs.” 

  5. What, or who, can be eliminated from my life to help me feel less stuck?

    Maybe it’s time to get a job or internship in your desired field. Maybe it’s time to distance yourself from any negative  friends. Are you wasting time jealousy, insta-stalking someone with your “dream life”? Cut. It. Out.

5 Questions to Ask When You Feel Stuck-- The Palmetto Peaches

What do you do when you feel stuck? How did you find your passion or purpose?

Ace Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

10 Productivity Tips for The Young Professional

10 Productivity Tips for the Young Professional - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.comI ran across an article once that promised to deliver the formula to productivity. Yes!! Sign me up!! I want to be more productive! Two-thirds of the way into the article I was sorely disappointed. Here’s the thing, there isn’t one particular way to be productive and the formula they promised wasn’t going to work for me. We all work differently and approach tasks differently. However, there are definitely tips and tricks that can help us use our time more effectively. I’ve pulled together some of my favorite productivity tips below, but remember to adjust them according to what works best for you.

1. 3 For the Day – 3 For the Week

Author Chris Bailey explains in an article about this particular productivity hack that our brain is wired to think in threes. Makes sense, three ring circus; The Three Stooges; Three Blind Mice etc. I’ve even noticed more and more planners like the Day Designer, Purposeful Planner, Get to Work Book and select layouts of the Plum Paper have a section for top three for the day or week. So what is the hack:

  1. At the start of every morning, fast-forward to the end of the day and ask: When the day is done, what three things will I want to have accomplished?
  2. Do the same at the start of every week.

2. Eat Breakfast

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. How many times have you heard that? It’s true though. You can find articles upon articles that point to studies that prove that by starting your day with a healthy meal can enhance memory, attention, the speed of processing information, reasoning, creativity, learning, and verbal abilities.

3. To-Do Lists

I’m a big fan of to-do lists. A University of California study found that when you write things down, you are 42% more likely to remember them. To-do lists also help you focus on the most important tasks at hand and keep you organized. When I cross items off my to-do list, I feel a sense of progress and accomplishment. At the end of the day when all (or most) of my items are crossed off I can’t help to be proud of myself. There are days that I leave a lot on my list and it simply helps me focus on what needs to be prioritized.

4. Do the worst or biggest first

Get into the habit of doing the worst task first. Worst just means the task you’re most likely to procrastinate on. If you complete that task first, the rest of the day can be a breeze. Although, I can’t predict what crisis may arise during the day. 🙂

5. Give Yourself Breaks – productive breaks

I mentioned the Pomodoro technique in my last post, but this time management technique is a great productivity tool.  When faced with any large task or series of tasks, break the work down into short, timed intervals (called “Pomodoros”) that are spaced out by short breaks. This trains your brain to focus for short periods and helps you stay on top of deadlines without burning out. In the next tip, I have some apps linked that help you with the Pomodoro technique.

6. Download some help

Look into some productivity boosting apps like Evernote, Wunderlist, Brain Focus or Clear Focus and Rescue Time.  Evernote and Wunderlist are boss to-do list apps. Evernote is tried and true, but I love that you can integrate Wunderlist with Google Now and Microsoft Outlook. Clear Focus and Brain Focus are apps that can help you with the Pomodoro break method above. Brain Focus also offers some pretty cool stats (if you’re into that sort of thing) regarding how your time was spent. Rescue Time helps users identify where they spend most of their time online (including specific websites). I never realized how much time I wasted scrolling through Etsy.

7. Quick Toss

This one may seem a little odd, but hear me out. Take five minutes out of your day to spend time testing out all of the pens on your desk. If you have to scratch around to get any of them to work toss them out. To me there’s nothing more obnoxious than grabbing a pen to jot something down quickly and the pen doesn’t work. Now I have to listen to that five minute voicemail again just to get the contact’s preferred number. Do this with the dry erase markers or highlighters or whatever tools you use and save yourself some headache with this quick and easy productivity tip.

8. E-Clean

Unsubscribe from any newsletters that aren’t helping you achieve your goals and are cluttering your inbox using unroll.me. The time I wasted deleting subscription emails I didn’t even want is ridiculous. Look through your Downloads folder and file or delete any files you can. Keep that computer running quickly! Also don’t forget the normal tidying up: pick a stack of papers on your desk and throw out, recycle, or file anything you can.

9. Touch-up your resume

When you have a few free minutes take the time to update a few bullets on your resume or your LinkedIn profile. Think about that huge project you just completed- now is the time add it to your resume, while it’s fresh and you can easily recall the details.  Making these updates as they happen, will make updating your resume when you need it so much easier.

10. Color

Yup,  you read that correctly. I keep a coloring book and colored pencils in an extra drawer at my desk. Coloring can help you relax, reduce stress and boost mental clarity and creativity. All of these things help increase productivity. Besides it’s fun! Now, don’t take an hour out of your day to color and tell your boss I told you to, but 5 or 10 minutes filling in a mandala can make a difference in your day. Here’s a site with a list of free coloring pages.

What are some of your tried and true tips for productivity? Share them in the comments below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

What I’ve Learned from Being an Auntie

For 21 years, I’ve been an auntie, and lately, I’ve been noticing the similarities between my nephews and I. Not because we have the same physical features, but because of how much they get on my nerves. They say people closest to you get under your skin the most, but honey, no one knows how to get under my skin like the adorably annoying men in my life.

Everyone is your mirror.
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
Too often we hold others to a standard that we impose on ourselves.

When my cousin Alaina posted this status on Facebook, I immediately thought about what I’ve learned from being an auntie.

What I've Learned from Being an Auntie -- The Palmetto Peaches

Through all the fights, juice spills and Paw Patrol episodes, there are things I’ve learned about myself, and life in general, with help from my boys.

What I’ve Learned from Being an Auntie

Life Lessons

Self-care is very important. Sometimes after I emerge from the darkness (also known as my room), the younger nephews hilariously say, “Well, well, well…what do we have here?” Business related tasks and the 24-hour news cycle can drain my brain and soul, so silence is golden to me. Like, gold Olympic medal golden. Although my mental health sessions can last for weeks, it’s not fair to deprive the little nuggets of my love and attention. It’s important to take care of myself, so I can be in good shape to take care of them.

Drama has no gender. I’ve heard people (mostly women) say they don’t want to have daughters because “girls are too dramatic”. I’m here to tell you: men, boys, males, whatever you may call them, are also dramatic. I comfort my boys when they cry, because news flash men are allowed to cry too, but they have SO MANY emotions and issues.

  • The teenager spends more time on his hair than I do
  • One toddler doesn’t like to get his shoes or clothes dirty
  • The other toddler is a real life Sour Patch Kid
  • And the pre-teen is ALWAYS adding his 2 cents in conversations, which usually never involve him

 

History actually repeats itself. My sisters and I live for embarrassing the boys in front of their friends, especially with our dance moves. My family got a kick out of doing the same thing when I was younger. Another thing I went through as a kid, is hating when folks said, “You’re growing up so fast. I remember when you were born!”, Watching my nephews has confirmed that kids really do grow up so fast, and I clearly the remember the days they were born. *wipes tears*

Personal lessons

I’m selfish.  The joy of Auntie Life is that I can return them when I’ve reached my limit. Being a parent is a job that NEVER ends, and I’m usually at a job for 2 months before I begin to explore other options. Everyday my nephews reiterate how much I’m obsessed with being the only person I’m 100% responsible for–OBSESSED I TELL YOU!

Forgiveness is hard for me. I can hurt my nephews’ feelings at 1:30pm, and by 1:35pm they’re telling me how much they love me again–even without bribing them with candy! Kids don’t hold grudges, at least not ones that last longer than 24 hours. Nope. Not I. Bare with me, I’m a work in progress.

As carefree as I can sometimes be, I still play it safe. Not only do my nephews have no-filters, they’re also stunt doubles. Being on a playground with them is the equivalent of watching Wrestle Mania. (Is Wrestle Mania still a thing?) They think they’re invincible + they rarely take “no” for an answer = carefree. That ain’t me. I’m not about that life. Sometimes I can over-think, over-analyze and over-complicate a situation in a matter of seconds.

What personal or life lessons have the kids in your life taught you? 

Ace Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

7 Organization Tips for College Students

7 Organization Tips for College Students - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.comIt’s back-to-school season and I want to help all of our college-aged readers get organized this semester. Yes, I graduated from undergrad five years ago and graduate school almost four years ago. So there’s reason to argue that I don’t have any relevant advice to give. However, organization is my thing.

7 Organization Tips For College Students

Keep a planner or use some sort of calendar system. Surprise, surprise. I’m recommending a planner. Before I knew who Erin Condren was or discovered her planners, I used a regular old Staples planner to keep track of all my classes, assignments, social plans, Alpha Phi Omega events and work schedule. Figure out what works best for you to keep track of all your classes and events in one central location. Color coding is an effective way to do so so you can track one particular topic at a glace. For example, if all of your journalism class assignments and dates are green and your sorority recruitment events are magenta, they’ll be easy to distinguish.

Save all your syllabi. This is your road map to your semester. Keep a digital copy and print one out and leave it in the front of your binder. If due dates or assignments change, make note of it right away. Transfer all relevant dates into your planner or calendar so that you can see how assignments overlap in your other courses.  I remember one time I didn’t notice that the Thursday location of my Tuesday- Thursday class was different.  Also be sure to highlight the professor’s and TA’s office hours.

Make an assignment list. When I was taking six classes, keeping an assignment list kept me sane. Gather your syllabi together and make one long sheet of every day that an assignment is due. Because I love a printable, I’ve created a free assignment tracker for you all. Excel is your friend and you can make a customized tracker that also fits your needs.

7 Organization Tips for College Students - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

Figure out your most productive time. Figure out what time of the day you are the most productive and schedule your work around that time. If you’re an early riser- arrange your schedule to get most of your work done then.

Organization tools

Set time goal. Back in my University 101 class freshman year, we learned about the Pomodoro Technique, a  productivity method from the 1980s. In this technique you:

  1. Decide what your task is (e.g. write English essay, proof history paper, etc.)
  2. Set the Pomodoro or timer to 25 minutes
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  4. Take a short break anywhere between 3-5 minutes
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break of 15 – 30 minutes

  Use tomato-timer.com or your phone to try the technique.

Limit time spent on websites to procrastine.  SelfControl  or Stay Focused are tools that keep you from accessing websites like Facebook,Twitter, or Buzzfeed when you should be working on that paper that’s due. These are both free and you can customize them to block yourself from whatever website you may want to browse in an effort to procrastinate.

Most importantly…

Don’t forget self-care. SLEEP. Take time out for a yoga or a dance class. Join the Quidditch team or any other intramural sport that might give you a little reprieve. College can be hard, so don’t forget to take time to take care of  yourself.

Do you have any tips to share with college students? Leave them in the comments below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

Friday Faves: Olympics Edition

Friday Faves: Olympics Edition- The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.comThis past weekend your Palmetto Peaches were reunited in ATL. As always shenanigans ensued. From a disastrous attempt to complete Buzzfeed’s Olympics Opening Ceremony Drinking Game to an attempt at Sunday brunch, the weekend was full of adventures.  So in honor of us dancing ing Virginia Highlands like we were trying to win a gold medal, we’re recapping some of our favorite things in this Olympics Edition of Friday Faves.

Fave Cocktail

  • Gold: We give the gold to the Moscow Mule. After an adventure to Target for copper mugs, we made our own version of Moscow Mules. We skipped the limes and just bought lime-flavored vodka, but they were delicious.

Friday Faves: Olympics Edition - The Palmetto Peaches- palmsinatl.com

  • Silver:  Although, one of us was too hungover/weak/dehydrated to fully enjoy them, mimosas at Henry’s deserves second place.
  • Bronze: Water belong on our podium because at our age, we know how essential it is.

Fave Snack

  • Gold: On Sunday, we ventured to the Farmer’s market for a few items so Donni could meal prep and ended up with an assortment of cheeses.  We bought Gorgonzola Dolce, aged goat Gouda, and Asiago Fresco. How classy of us, right? I guess after taking shots
  • Silver: On Friday night we opted for a white pizza, with spinach, chicken and feta. Who says pizza can’t be a snack? 
  • Bronze:  The Parmesan Truffle Fries at Henry’s were so delicious.

Fave Song

  • Gold: Okay, so while not technically a song. All weekend we were jamming to the Sirius XM Fly station that plays hip hop and R&B from the 90s and 2000s. Yasss for all the jams!
  • Silver: So every time the Olympics theme song  played we had to do a waterfall in that Olympics opening ceremony drinking game. The thing is we were never quite clear if we heard it,so we would just do the waterfall anyway. Bad decision.
  • Bronze: “Wipe Me Down” – If only we could have captured the epic dance party that went down in Virginia Highlands. It was definitely a throwback to a night in 5 Points during our undergrad days.

 

Fave Olympic Sport

  • Gold: Women’s gymnastics runs away with the competition. Simone Biles is just amazing to watch. Aly Raisman’s parents are just as entertaining to watch as the gymnast herself, and we simply love Gabby Douglas and the rest of the team.
  • Silver: Three names: Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, and Simone Manuel. They alone make swimming interesting, but add in Ryan Lochte’s hair and swimming easily comes in second.  
  • Bronze: This is hard. You can’t go wrong with basketball. However, how bomb has Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross been dominating beach volleyball? We can’t decide on a winner for this one.

Are you watching the Olympics? Let us know what you’ve loved so far in the comments below!

Ace Siggy--The Palmetto Peachesand Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches