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Work Smarter, Not Harder

Business casual vs Business professional

Business casual vs Business professional

Business casual vs Business professional

Business casual vs Business professional

Business casual vs Business professional

Business casual vs Business professional

Business casual vs Business professional

Business casual vs Business professional

Today’s post was sparked by a question that I asked on my Instagram and that was simply, “What does your day consist of?”. Anytime I ask you all a question, I will answer it as well. But I couldn’t answer it as well as I hoped to because I still have not gotten a grasp on how the heck to manage my time as a “full time blogger”. I’ve said it once before but I was SO much more productive when I had two jobs (working full time and blogging on the side) than now when I just have the one.

I know it can’t be just me that struggles with staying on task and time management because I get asked all the time “how I do it all”. Or at least I did whenever I was working full time and blogging on the side. But to be frank, I am just now in a place that I feel like I can speak to that question. Funny enough, it’s when I don’t have a full time job taking up all of my time. In fact, I have ALL the time in the world.

Maybe it’s because it’s frowned upon to watch an absurd amount of Instagram stories in the workplace or because there isn’t a TV offering to play the newest episode of This Is Us but ever since I started blogging full time, I struggle DAILY to stay on task. Do I have time management issues? Most definitely yes. Although I wake up early, have a planner/notebook glued to me at all times, sit at my computer for 12+ hours a day, and stay up late most nights, the day normally ends with me feeling like I didn’t put a dent in the amount of work I needed to.

The thing is, when it comes to a corporate job, you are normally given a set of responsibilities that you are responsible for each day. You come to work and know exactly what needs to be done. There might not be a start and stopping point but at the end of the day, you know you can pick back up again tomorrow. You don’t go into work with open possibilities and completely free range of your schedule. Most of the time, you also aren’t having to tap into those creative juices.

Having that much “free time” and creative ability is both a blessing and a curse because it can take you in 500 different directions. This is not a great thing when you have a hard time staying on task and completing one thing before your mind jumps to another.  I want to work smarter, not harder. And to do that I’m realizing the important of what my full time job taught me. Why I was SO much more productive when I had 2 jobs instead one just one. So let’s start with the basics.

  1. Write EVERYTHING (yes, everything) down– I always assume “O, I will remember that” when in fact I most definitely will not. Although we literally have several means of doing this at our fingertips (computer, phone, Siri, notebook, etc), it’s easy to assume it’s a small enough task or thought that it does not have the significance to be written down. WRONG. The more you write down, the more accomplished you will feel when you check it off your to do list. It doesn’t matter how insignificant it is, write it down and you will thank yourself later. Taking a shower today? Write it down. Getting dressed today? Write it down. Waking up today? WRITE IT DOWN.
  2. Plan, Plan, Plan– Even if you have to start out small, plan out your time. Get a planner that suits your lifestyle the best and start planning your little heart out. I am a firm believer in planning out each and every day but if that seems like too much, start by planning out your month. The easiest step to start planning is to write down appointments, important dates, meetings, birthdays, etc. Then try to get more specific with your weeks. Monday- answer emails, Tuesday – plan out blog content, Wednesday- meetings, etc. Then take that one step further and plan out each day in hour increments. I am learning that planning out my days to the exact hour is critical, otherwise I wind up with an endless amount of time which inevitably results in wasted time.
  3. Get on a consistent schedule – I thought I hated consistency but what I’m starting to realize is that I thrive on somewhat of a set schedule. I actually need a schedule of sorts or I can’t function properly and if I had to guess you are probably the same. Even if it’s so much as making yourself respond to 20 emails before you have your morning coffee, devoting every Wednesday to focusing on XYZ, or putting a time limit on your phone usage, a schedule (and a consistent schedule at that) WILL make you more productive so that you aren’t left wondering what to do with down time. Play with your schedule until you find what works best for you. I have found that I am most productive on Mondays (maybe it’s because I just had two days off, maybe it’s cause I make my coffee extra strong, who knows!), but knowing this, I will always plan more thought provoking or time intensive tasks on Mondays. On Fridays I am not productive at all so I will plan easy tasks that don’t take much brain power to complete.
  4. Put your phone down– I might as well tattoo this to my own hand. Remember how we used to write things on our hands with cool gel pens in grade school to remember them later? *Insert permanent tattoo here* It is by far my biggest struggle. Some days I will purposely leave it in another room so that I am not tempted to get on my phone. Although my job requires me to be on my phone a lot (and I like to make that excuse for myself), there has to be a heathy balance. If you know that you are not productive when your phone is near you, leave it in another room or give yourself ultimatums. For ex: you have to complete XYZ before you can get on Instagram or you must devote 30 minutes of undivided time to work to get 5 minutes of social media time. I actually just ordered this timer for this reason alone. If you know something is pulling your focus away, learn how to combat it.
  5. Reward yourself– Remember when you were younger and your parents made you eat all of your dinner before you could watch TV? Or told you that if you made an A you could get the newest toy? Well it worked (most of the time) didn’t it? Adulthood is the same exact thing you just don’t have anyone telling you what you have to do. Now you handle your own bribery and rewards. The thing is if you have something to look forward to, most of the time you are going to work harder and faster to get to it. It might seem childish but it works and now that we are the ones making the call and not our parents, the reward can be way better (like wine!). The trick is setting the bar high enough to deserve whatever reward you are matching it with. For example, complete 20 emails and get 5 minutes of down time would be a reasonable reward not complete 20 emails and take the rest of the day off 🙂

I plan on doing an entire post soon with what a normal week looks like for me but since I know there are a lot of different professions out there, I wanted to share a few tips that could apply to everyones lifestyle. If you have any tips on how to work smarter instead of harder I would love love love to hear them even if it sounds like a no brainer!

In other news, both Kylee and I’s work wear are on sale or super affordable. My dress (get your true size) is under $30 and perfect for work, church or winter wedding! Kylee’s joggers are about the best invention to hit the work force and oh so comfy!

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Office Holiday Party

Casual Office Party look

Casual office party look

LOOK 1

Casual office party look

Casual office party look

Casual office party look

Casual office party look

Casual office party look

Sweater: J. Crew | Skirt: Similar | Shoes: Steve Madden | Purse: Goodnight Macaroon

LOOK 2

Casual office party look

Casual office party look

Casual office party look

Casual office party look

Casual office party look

Sweater: Old Navy | Skirt: Similar | Shoes: Steve Madden | Earrings: Bauble Bar

Photography by: Banavenue

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the question I get asked the most is always what is appropriate for holiday work parties. Well, it depends! Some companies go all out in which something along these lines might be more appropriate. My office always was a bit more casual when it came to holiday parties so I wanted to bring you two outfits that could work for a regular day at the office just a bit more festive 🙂

Both of these outfits would be appropriate for a work dinner party or casual party. My favorite way to “dress up” a sweater is to throw some party pants (or skirt) on with it! Easiest, most festive way to bring in some sequins, sparkle or festivity! See some more of my favorite party pants below.

And if you are looking for more options to wear with those party pants, don’t worry I’ve got you covered!

Lastly, if you are looking for gifts to give the boss lady, coworker, or employee in your life. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite items that are a working girl’s necessity.

**CLICK AN IMAGE TO SHOP THE ITEM DIRECTLY**

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DAY 6: Gifts for Coworkers

**CLICK AN IMAGE TO SHOP THE ITEM DIRECTLY**

1. Coffee Mug/Thermos/Tumbler


As cliche as it sounds, no guy or girl can pass up a new coffee mug, especially if they are a coffee lover! My personal favorites are the ones with funny sayings or my initial.

2. Work bag


Most working ladies don’t want to carry a purse and laptop bag so a larger tote is usually a good compromise. Check out some of my favorites below.

3. Desk necessities


From one 8-5er to the next, there are a few desk necessities that after being in the office for a few years I can’t live without. Some of these items include picture frames (let’s make it a little homey in the office!), ceramic tray (for rings and other jewelry that might get in the way of a keyboard), and a docking station (to charge phone/ipad).

4. Wrap


For some insane reason that I will never understand, office buildings are always the equivalent of the North Pole temperature year round. I always keep a few different colored cardigans/wraps at work for this purpose.

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How to Style Corduroy at the Office

How to style a corduroy skirt

How to style a corduroy skirt

How to style a corduroy skirt

How to style a corduroy skirt

How to style a corduroy skirt

How to style a corduroy skirt

Top: Talbots | Sweater: Talbots | Skirt: Talbots | Shoes: Tory Burch | Earrings: Similar

How to style a corduroy skirt

How to style a corduroy skirt

How to style a corduroy skirt

How to style a corduroy skirt

How to style a corduroy skirt

Top: Talbots | Skirt: Talbots | Shoes: Sam Edelman

Photography by: Banavenue

When the weather starts to change so do my favorite pieces in my closet. Instead of gravitating towards my light weight pencil skirts and dress pants for work, it’s usually suede or corduroy for this girl. I picked up this skirt recently and have had so much fun styling it different ways for work.

Depending on how laid back your office is, another way to style this skirt would be with a pair of riding boots and a button down. Honestly the possibilities are endless which is a total selling point when you are purchasing an item. As long as I can think of at least 2-3 outfits that I know that I can make with the item, I can justify buying it.

Speaking of multiple functionality pieces, this sweater that you saw me wearing in my first styled look is the perfect length as it is long enough to wear with leggings and can easily be dressed up or down! My personal favorite way to style sweaters for the office is layered with a button down so that the collar and sleeve detail add in something unexpected. The star detail on this one adds in something special for the holidays that I couldn’t pass up!

While I wanted to share how to style a corduroy skirt, both of these looks could also be paired with corduroy pants as well. I have corduroy pants in grey, olive, burgundy and black. I’ve built quite the collection but I just find them so much more comfortable than slacks! If you are looking to add some corduroy into your work wear, here are a few other options that I am loving!

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Let’s Define Business Casual

What is business casual considered?

What is business casual considered?

What is business casual considered?

What is business casual considered?

What is business casual considered?

What is business casual considered?

Top: Abercrombie ($11) | Pants: Brandy Melville | Shoes: Calvin Klein

Photography by: Ban Avenue

Hi friends! It’s been entirely too long since I’ve posted a Work Wear Wednesday look so I apologize! Since quitting my full time job, traveling the world and having major hip surgery it’s been hard to shoot looks for you but don’t worry there are lots of Fall/Winter looks and office inspiration coming to the blog soon.

A question that comes up a lot is always “what is considered business casual?”. I can guarantee that every person and company will define it a bit different. Handy dandy Google defines it as such: “relating to or denoting a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear, but is still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression”. In my opinion this is still pretty darn vague. The obvious answer is that it is somewhere between business professional (think suits, button downs, the whole shebang) and casual (jeans and a tee shirt).

The great thing about business casual being that it is somewhere in the middle of the two is that you can buy pieces that could either be dressed up or dressed down. For instance, my top that I am wearing in today’s post is just a “fancy” cotton tee that I wear on the reg with jeans or leggings. It actually comes in 5 colors and is only $11 right now so if you are needing a few basic tees I would highly suggest stocking up! Then take these pants for instance. While I did dress them up with a pair of heels, they could easily be worn on the weekend with a pair of slides or even dressed up to a bit more professional with the help of a blazer.

If you are still stuck on ideas for business casual I urge to check out some of my other Work Wear Wednesday posts as almost all of them would be considered business casual. I would also encourage you to always err on the overdressed side if unsure. After all it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. And as a last resort here are a few quick tips if you are still questioning business casual.

  1. No jeans or leggings– While I do know a few companies that allow jeans at the office, technically jeans are not considered business casual. Nope, not even if they are colored. There are so many options out there that are actually more comfortable than jeans anyway if you just search. My hands down favorite pair of work pants are these stretchy ones from Gap.
  2. Cover your shoulders– Wear a top or dress that has sleeves. Showing your shoulders in the office is considered unprofessional. That being said I almost always wear a sleeveless top but throw on a cardigan or blazer on top of it. This way you can ditch some clothing if need be when you escape the office.
  3. Length does matter– If you are questioning if it’s too short, it most definitely is. Even if you think you can get away with it, leave it for another occasion because chances are once you are sitting at your desk or in a meeting, you are going to be even more self conscious and uncomfortable than when you were debating wearing it in the first place.
  4. When in doubt, thrown on a blazer- Time after time blazers have come to every girl’s rescue. If you aren’t feeling your outfit or think it might be just a tad too casual, throw on a blazer. It will instantly bring your outfit up a few professional points. Trust me on this one 🙂

Since work wear is my most requested topic, I would love to hear topic ideas that you are specifically wanting to hear about. Feel free to leave a comment, message or email me with your suggestions.

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