Get Organized and More Productive with Apps

So I’ve recently become even more addicted to my iPhone (if that’s even physically possible) and it’s array of apps that just happen to make my life so much easier and more organized! Which is just what this article is going to focus on, getting organized and raising your productivity by using the little gadget that most of us love so much. So so much. I know you’ve been wanting me to publish this one for awhile because of the many times you ask me how I appear to stay on task in the midst of chaos and since I gave you my daily staples for happiness I figured next up should be my staples for productivity and organization. Together we’re going to excel in 2013 like never before! Do you feel me?

Some of the most important applications I need to include in my work days (and weekends as well) are simple and easily locatable in the App Store BUT being an Apple fan I’m going to assume that you, much like myself, prefer the finer things in life. The well designed, well written and most useful of the group no matter the cost. So my basic must haves for any day are: brain wave hacks or meditation music, a journal or scrapbook, a gratitude journal, a mood journal, a calendar, a task list, a notebook, a sketchbook, a daily schedule planner and obviously a camera which comes standard in all iPhones. Enjoy my list of top dogs I’ve carefully selected after using many other sub-par creations.

Audio: BrainHack 2.0 and Spotify
Audio and music are probably not important to everyone but they are must-haves for me. Whether I’m stressed and need to calm myself or get inspired a bit with a brainhack or if I just need some relaxing tunes to meditate to audio is a staple to my every day. Plus if you’re all about increasing productivity even in down time you can learn some new things as you commute by subscribing to some awesome Podcasts and radio programs.

A Journal: Evernote and Evernote Food
Everyone needs their go-to journal that’s easily accessible anytime they need to write what they’re feeling or any number of other things. The good thing about Evernote, the journal application I prefer, is that you can access, create and edit all of your notes on your computer, your iPad, your iPhone and even your Kindle or other android device. Evernote has also created a few other useful apps such as Evernote Food that is useful for organizing recipes, favorite dishes and restaurants you enjoy most and we all know how important food is to productivity and to having an enjoyable day! With Evernote, which happens to also be very clean and nice to look at, you can create as many notebooks as you like, attach photos, visually format your notes and attach locations as well. It’s very simple to use and you’ll only continue to think of new ways to use it. I adore it.

Gratitude Journal: Gratitude Journal by Happy Tapper
Very important to those of us who want to become happier and more aware of the good things we have in our life. In practicing gratitude daily you learn to be more thankful for the gifts you have been given and to overlook the problems you may be going through. With this app you also get a daily inspiring quote, you can rate your days, format your entries and attach a picture. This was one of my first favorite apps and I’ve been enjoying it for a long time!

Mood Journal: iMoodJournal
I originally decided to find a mood journal when my boyfriend asked if I had one. We figured, as any therapist will tell you, by recording your moods you’ll become more aware of bad mood triggers and will be able to track how your moods change throughout the day, week, month and year. This app allows you to rate your day, add as many notes and tags as you like and to attach a picture of your face. It even inspires me cheer up when I’m down and look through my positive mood days and photos of what a happy me looks like.

Calendar
I think it’s best to use Apple’s own calendar for this app as it is also the calendar that is on Apple computers. Plus many apps you’ll download for productivity will be designed to sync with your Calendar for optimal organization.

Notebook: Notes
I also use the default notebook for quick notes as it syncs with my computer and is an official Apple product.

Task List: Any.DO
I decided to look for a more friendly task list manager after I only continued to add tasks to the default Apple task list app, Reminders, and felt very overwhelmed that the tasks were not really organized in any way at a glance which was very overwhelming to me. I often have many tasks per day that I need to do and I really enjoy getting to cross them out on Any.Do which has predictive task writing and can target friends online or by phone per task as well as share tasks with another. It has tons of simple yet useful functions that make it my favorite list manager.

Sketchbook: Skitch
Every artist and designer needs a sketchbook on hand just in case words wont do it and you need a quick visual. Since I got tired of carrying around my lot of tiny notebooks and sketchbooks and even my purse most days I decided to add Evernote’s sketchbook to my list of go-to applications. Very useful for annotating photographs and graphics as well when you’re working on the go!

Daily Schedule Planner: Daily Routine
I most recently found this application and I am already in love. It’s beautiful, extensive and although it’s been said (look at the reviews) to be too tough to figure out I prefer it over every other planner. The visuals, features and options it has top all other daily schedule planners and when you spend a few minutes to figure out how to arrange your daily schedules you’ll love it. It can remind you of each new scheduled event during the day and can set the same schedule for every work day and a separate for weekdays or absolutely any other way you can imagine. Try it! It’s worth the cost.

Fun
I’m often asked what my favorite apps are just for entertainment. A few fun apps I enjoy using when taking a break or the work day is over are usually horoscope and spirituality apps, design apps, social media apps and more. I’ll add another article with my favorite apps for the beginning of 2013 soon! Our past app list is probably a bit outdated so keep your eyes peeled for a new one coming soon!

Phone Cases
Looking for a new, cute and productive phone case to go with your new array of amazing applications? We have them coming to our store very soon so stay tuned. Our custom cases have gotten so much praise that we’re in the midst of developing some really special ones for you. Stay tuned!

What helps you stay organized and more productive on and off work days?

Finding Creativity in a Block

So you’re in a block? You’re staring at the screen, your sketchpad, a canvas, the keyboard with disgust. Why can’t your ideas spill out onto the paper as brilliantly as they did yesterday?

In having a creative job I’ve found quite a few ways of my own as well as received some useful advice which has helped me find my creativity when it seems to be lost.

nap

Take a Nap

Really?? I know this seems a little lazy but taking time out for a 15-30 minute break or nap can sometimes help significantly! If I find I’m stuck and getting no where on a project sometimes I’ll go lay down for a few minutes so I can start a new upon waking.

If you can’t imagine taking a nap, just take a break. Have a cup of tea or coffee and relax. Read a few pages of the current book you’re reading. When you come back you’ll be ready to tackle the project from a new angle.

Brainstorm

An absolute favorite of mine when I’m feeling uninspired. Grab a sketch pad, feel free to include one or more friends, and sit and ramble off new ideas — your great idea might just be waiting to be let out.

Music Session

Listen to music, take a walk, sing your favorite song. Sometimes getting into the rhythm can inspire you to get motivated on your project. Not only that but both music and walks are absolutely inspiring!

Sketch in an Idea Book

Grab a notebook and sketch some ideas out. If you’re a writer just start writing some text and see where it takes you. Often I have absolutely no idea where I’m going but when I start the project just happens. This is especially true when I’m crafting, it works on all levels. Don’t expect this try to be genius, just start.

Sketch any ideas you have and as you have them, paste fabrics and color palettes you find while you’re out. Check this book out later when you need new ideas.

Meditate

Again, sometimes the answer to your question is just waiting inside for you to find it. Clear your mind and think about things from a new perspective. Visualize the project and outcome. If meditation isn’t something you enjoy, try taking a long, hot bath and doing the same thing.

Don’t be too Critical

Many times if we could have worked out each of our ideas we would have learned quite a lot about the process and geared ourselves up for the next project. Don’t be too quick to say no, give it a try and see how it goes.

How Well Do You Know Yourself?

Your relationship with yourself defines so many aspects of your life. So how is it? Do you know what you want and who you are? Do you have a strong sense of self? How do you know?

Think about your morals and values. Where are your limits and boundaries in life? What do you cherish or hold valuable?

What about your personal relationships? Who do you hold close to you and why? What traits do you value in a person? How do you interact in these relationships?

Picture your ideal life. What’s in it? Who’s there with you?

Think about your past, especially focusing on crucial events. How did you react then? How would you react now? How have you evolved as a person? Are you still hung up on something that happened in the past? Why? How will you get past it?

What goals do you have in life? Where do you want them to and what do you hope to learn?

What influences you in your life? The opinions of others or your own? Who inspires you? Why?

Think about your childhood and how you’ve been shaped as a person. How were you influenced as a child?

Where do your passions lie? What do you love doing? How can you do that for the rest of your life?

What should you do if you can’t answer these questions?

It’s time to do some soul searching and self analysis. One thing I find helpful is to make yourself a “Self Exploration Notebook” where you can write down all these questions and start to answer them as you think about them. Think of it as making a map of yourself. You can even go further and start to ask yourself different questions that really make you think. Try to take time to write in it every day and see what you come up with.

Consider yourself as the world views you. Think about what kind of an impact you’re making and how those closest to you view you. Think about how a complete stranger views you. Is it how you view yourself? If not, what’s different?

Take time to evaluate all of your relationships. Think about family ties, romantic relationships, and close friends. Are these healthy relationships? How do they impact your life?

Consider the endless possibilities that you are faced with in your life. You can do anything and with all those options you’ve got to sit down and think about them. Think about your happiness and the path that leads toward it.

Continue to get to know yourself better every day. Think about your actions and the drive behind them. Think about your choices and the reasons you make them. Think about your daily interactions and how they affect you. It’s never time to stop exploring. Your map is constantly changing.

Don’t give up. Even if you’re a stranger to yourself the benefits of finding who you are as a person are endless. It’s one of the most important things you’ll ever do.

Making Mondays More Miseducated

Monday jokes rain out of people’s ears at offices.. I don’t know how it is where you work but I’m sure whatever day the work week begins on someone’s complaining.

Instead of thinking of Mondays as a bummer, think of them as a beginning to your inspiration overload sessions every week — begin to plan fun and personal growth activities *as well as* work, errands, tasks, etc.

.. and if scheduling seems like absolute hell to you and you have no issues with procrastination.. simply pass to Step 2.

Want more mood therapy techniques like this?
Key to Living the Law of Attraction
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated
ALL Business is Show Business

Step 1

Schedule your day per hour — Write what you actually do beside it and next to that make 2 columns for you to rate how much pleasure you experienced during the activity and to what percentage you mastered it.

Again, make sure you allow time throughout the day for activities you look forward to.

taste
Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

Step 2

Incorporate more Miseducated whimsy and special you time into your Mondays.

Instead of taking a shower before you start your work day, take a bubble bath using sensitive Mr. Bubbles or your favorite bubble bath — play some inspiring music that you can hear while in the tub and brew a cup of earl grey tea.

Create your own (lots of recipes here!) or buy a new scented lipgloss to apply throughout the day, not just when lips are chapped! Think of ways to incorporate other new smells into your day such as an aromatherapy candle, nice-smelling lotion, sweet solid perfume, etc.

Master your skills. As you’re working imagine what you might do to keep on task better while still enjoying your day. For me this means the occasional walk-around break, snacks optional and listening to music or inspiring pod casts while I work.

Keep a little notebook in your purse or briefcase especially for inspiring sketches, notes and pieces of inspiring found-items. These little carry-along scrapbooks can be great sources of inspiration and remind you about experiences when you’re sitting down to work and communicate your ideas.

Decide that you’re going to rearrange a room in your home/apartment and surf online for delicious decor in your free time. Find ways to make your environment a little more you, a little more unique and much more inspiring! Sometimes just changing things up is very revitalizing.

My favorite movie since childhood, the delicious 80s glitter rock fest (The Labyrinth) complete with faeries and the rock king himself, always inspired me as everything, even the dirt, was covered in glitter. Sweeping your floor and feeling a little bummed? Sprinkle glitter in with the dust and even dust bunnies become just a little more magical.

It’s off to your local handmade market for you! Purchase some incense that smells great and a little decadent snack. When home, burn the incense as intended and relax near it reading and enjoying the occasional whiff of fragrant smoke. Don’t like incense? Try scented candles!

Write your best friend a good morning letter when you begin your work day. Chances are you’ll brighten her day as she is also at work and it’ll make you smile knowing she’s smiling. You might even get some sweet messages back throughout the day that make you feel wonderful for opening communication.

Grab a pack of post-its in your favorite color and write inspiring and positive messages to everyone signed, Happy Monday. Stick these on electric posts, subway windows, in your lover’s briefcase, on the milk in the fridge, on your coworker’s computer mouse, etc. <3 Don't overdo it, it's more special for those that find the surprises anyway. Kitty Rave! (both my and my best friend’s favorite way to wind down at night!) At night time when you’re relaxing and feeling a little excited that you’ve gotten through another Monday, turn up the dance music and dance around the house in your pajamas with your cat or dog. (my chihuahua gets really excited about this and bounces around the room) You’re getting exercise, they’re getting exercise and it’s really quite fun.. especially if you’re jamming to Kissy Sell Out. Often my husband even plays his electronic music live on kitty rave nights.

Have a great Monday!

Develop Great Mate-dar!

You’re single and want to meet that someone special NOW! Especially since we are on the cusp of the holidays, right? So naturally your Mate-dar (your ability to suss out a great mate) is turned up a notch. Or so you think. Truth is, Mate-dar is only as good as its end user.

So, whatever the reason, you’re on the prowl for a significant other. Maybe you feel you’re ready for a commitment. Maybe you’re looking for companionship. So you feel like your “Mate-dar” (your ability to suss out a great mate) is in full force, turned up top notch. But the truth is – even if you have the purest of intentions for seeking out a relationship – nobody’s Mate-dar is perfect.
The problem—or, should I say, one of the many challenges— with being human is knowing the difference between who we are and who we are not. Making the all-important distinction between our unconscious persona and our authentic, healthy, whole selves. Until we have addressed this process it is likely that our wounded little kid has a hold of an adult tool, waving it around like a toy, and then BANG! somebody gets hurt. Our Mate-dar, when operated by our 5-year-old wound, can get us into a lot of trouble—as would any part of ourselves we have not made peace with, healed or become aware of on some level.

In the case of seeking a great partner, when we are seeing through the eyes of a wound we are less likely to see clearly! This can show up in different ways (boy, can they be tricky, slippery and subtle all at once), most of them falling under the guise of denial or rationalization.

Here’s a great story to illustrate how elusive accessing our very own truth can be.
My husband, David, got on the scale this morning. I could hear the clang and distinct argh. “How can that be? I gained four pounds? I have only been eating lettuce all week, for crying out loud.” I tried to comfort him by saying that muscle weighs more than fat, and then burst out laughing, realizing that’s what I told myself last time I got on the scale. After we lavished one and another with a few more excuses, we decided that the scale was broken and we needed to get a new one. One that told us what we wanted to hear! That we were not fat!

I have learned it’s one thing to sit around and bitch and moan wishing things were different, and another to do something about it. So I went for a run, then later we went to get the scale. Apparently doing a little of both.

pretty in pink

“It’s never a good idea to weigh yourself late in the day, sweetie” I reminded him as he stepped off the fancy glass scale in Bed Bath and Beyond, that seconds before had held such promise. “Yeah, but this one says I weigh even more than the one at home—did I gain four more pounds since we left?” I wasn’t laughing, as I was about to climb on. Mind you, I don’t make it a habit to get on scales—I know all too well they are not my friends, because I almost never feel better about myself as a result! How bad could it be? I thought. I run and eat well and anyway I would know if I… “What the…? A hundred and…? Wow, I don’t know what to say, except …that scale can’t be right!” I leapt off like it was a bed of hot coals.

“Oh, look, here’s one that tells you how much muscle versus fat you have, and it will show us how much water we are retaining! Let’s try it. You go first!” I said. David placed the Ferrari version of a scale on the floor, took his flip-flops off again and stepped on. “Uh oh…uhhhh… Wait, try that one, that’s just a regular old scale,” and quickly pointed to another. He put the Ferrari one back, put the next one on the floor and hopped on. We both waited as it calculated. “Well, this one says the same thing as the one at home does,” he shrugged. ‘Which means—uh…we’re fat, right?” We both laughed, let it sink in for a minute, and then decided that since we were ready to admit the truth, that we weighed more than we wanted to, we might as well buy the really cool one that told us in great detail all about it.

What the heck does this have to do with relationships? That’s a very good question, and if you answered “Everything!” you are definitely smarter than the average bear!

Pay attention, ‘cause this is some heavy. It doesn’t get any more real than this kind of reality. A huge contributor, if not a top ten reason so many of us don’t have a GREAT relationship, is—we don’t tell ourselves (or others) the truth. It’s an exact proportion, as a matter of fact! Think about it. Let’s say I asked you right now to write down your name, how much you weigh, how much you make a year, the color of your eyes, hair, your shoe size, how tall you are, where you live. Nine out of ten of you would lie about at least half. The rest of you would at least exaggerate or minimize. Don’t believe me, go grab the next person you see and tell them how much you really weigh. How tall you are, to the centimeter. What color your hair really is. How old you actually are. Go down the list; if you are honest with yourself, you will see how often we lie about the most mundane things. Why? Because of what we make it mean:

I weigh X = I am fat = no one will want/love me
I am X years old = I am too old = no one will love me
I am five feet X = too short (or tall) = no one wants that = no one will want me
My real hair color is X = I am unattractive = no one will love me
I make X amount of money = I am poor = no one will want to be with me/love me

So we do what my husband and I tried to do. We slip right into the old river called Denial. We begin with some simple rationalizations, adding or taking away a zero here and there. What harm can it do? we think, Who cares? If I don’t care, why should anyone else? Well, that’s the problem. You do care, or you wouldn’t bother lying—especially to yourself!

You can see how easy it is to miss cues, red flags and warnings or signs from another person that they really aren’t interested. Our agenda for love can be so strong, our wound-ology so ingrained, that it actually distorts reality! Here are some recommendations to help develop or adjust our Mate-dar.

One of my favorites is to interview people who have the kind of relationship you want. If you can’t interview, at least pay attention and jot down some features that stand out for you!

Date yourself seriously. Yes, seriously…date yourself. Make a date, get ready for it, pick the place you want yourself to take yourself, the whole nine, and do it. How do you like your own company, what do you notice about yourself?
Interview yourself. Yeah, why not? Who are you? What do you want out of life? What’s your five-year plan, what is your relationship history? Ask yourself all the questions you would ask of another, and see how you react or what comes up for you.

Have a few practice dates with real people to see how well your intuition is working. Yes, a date where you actually try and work on your weakness. Maybe you even ask the person for feedback about you and see how your perceptions compare. Could be very enlightening, if you have the courage!

Look, if you don’t take care to do these things, or things like this, for yourself, why would you expect anyone else to? Awakening to consciousness is not for lightweights—it’s hard work, and you got want the good stuff! Like I always say, great relationships begin within. Don’t kid yourself!

Qualities in a Partner

I heard the most evil thing the other day. My definition of evil is often flexible, lying somewhere in between totally heinous and completely ridiculous. This story falls in there–you decide for yourself.

My gal pal told me she read a book this guy wrote ( If I had one less scruple, I might tell you his name–for now, we’ll call him something friendly, like Penile Supremacist…PS for short. Fine–forget that, let’s just call him Jack. There! Who can argue with that?) So JACK made quite an impression on my not-so-easily-impressionable gal pal recently. She rang me straight away to give me the scoop.

“Maryanne, you’re not going to believe what @#$% says in his book!” She’s known me for 15 years now, knows that in general male/female issues have been in my top 10 list of favorite things to get bunged up about…particularly when they’re coming from downwind, let’s say. Historically, she delivers the message and then runs for cover. As she started recounting “The top10 qualities women are looking for in relationship with men,” my eyes started rolling back in my head. (I get bored easily sometimes.) Here’s all I can remember:love-is

1. Presence

2. Intelligence

3. Sense of humor

However, I perked up a bit when she started on the men’s list, which I remember every detail of, luckily. You have to be so excited–are you? I mean, finally someone is willing to divulge such privileged information–top 10 qualities men are looking for in relationship with YOU! Here they are, in order of importance:

1. Great in the sack

2. Great in the sack

3. Great in the sack

4. Great in the sack

5. Great in the sack…

Sorry.. I know I am going too fast–I do that sometimes–but did you get that so far, ’cause I have 5 to go… but – you already know what the rest of them are. Exactly–great in the sack, great in the sack, great in the sack, great in the sack, great in the sack.

Now then while I am sure JACK has some motivation for telling this story, other than to humiliate men for making them appear as though they have no discretion–which would really be like saying men are stupid (that can’t be true). Perhaps he’s simply lost his way. I must give him credit for the fact that he apparently asked these gentleman to rethink the question, and they did come up with some insightful, significant qualities they are looking for in their relationships with women.

Apparently our friend (who now shall, for his own protection, remain nameless) has not been informed that hormonal litmus testing is medieval, that we live in houses now, we even read and write. (How did he miss that?) We have developed skills beyond pounce and attack. How does someone who is in the position of teaching open, impressionable people get away with spouting ancient stereotypes like he was proud of the “well-known fact” that men often think with their smorgasbords?

The point is–well, one point is: Making love is an art – and it’s not just about the sex. It’s no wonder so many women think being great in the sack is a good investment of their time. How about we all revisit that list, people…take pen and paper and really make a list. Look and see what unconscious ideas you may have about the other sex…’cause when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!