The Year of Simplify: Quiet Nights

Hey June!

I am halfway through my year of simplifying and still going strong. One of the biggest changes I've made this year is to dedicate most of my weeknights to doing, well, not much!

For most of this time that I've been blogging, being 'out and about' was a big priority for me. Going to events 4-5 nights a week was normal. Nowadays, I'm throwing most of my energy and mind space into my job. Between that and 6:00a.m. workouts every day, I am spent by the time I get home from work. The last thing I want to do is put on my game face & outfit for yet another round of cheese, wine and networking.

Don't get me wrong. My days working at the Chamber of Commerce taught me that networking is invaluable, and I value the connections I make greatly. But what is it worth when you're too exhausted to hold your end of a decent conversation with someone you've never met? I don't want to waste anyone's time. I am constantly learning how to say no in order to take care of myself - and to be able to say 'YES' to the events that really appeal to and inspire me.

New artistic indie boutique openings, for example.

Most nights lately have been spent at home. Taking naps. Cuddling with Spike. Enjoying the process of making dinner. Food prepping for the rest of the week. Stretching. Reading. Trying to stay offline for the most part. Texting my family and admiring pics of my baby nephew. Catching up with my boyfriend at the end of our long days.

The quiet is wonderful.

Unfortunately, the tiredness and desire to be offline at night has made it really difficult to find time to blog. I have so many ideas for this little blog and sometimes it brings me to tears that I can't write as often. Not just because of time, but because I need my head and soul to be in the right frame. I'll find my groove again. I always do.

Follow my year of simplifying here.

How Keeping a Time Journal Keeps Me Productive

Have you ever gone to bed wondering what you got done all day? You remember being busy - maybe even productive. Yet you're not quite sure what you did, and if any of it was stuff you were supposed to get done today.

This year of simplifying has helped me realize that routines are my steez. Not that routine rules my life - not by any means - but having some of it helps keep me productive when I need to be, for as long as I need to be. In order to make time for self-care, reading, writing, dates with my boyfriend and cuddles with my bulldog, I have to use my time in the office or in front of a laptop wisely.

I've been exploring different ways to be more productive, and studying my own habits a lot more closely. We have to find the systems that work best for us, right?

Something that's really helped me lately is so simple yet so effective. I've been keeping a time journal - nothing fancy, just a blank page in my notebook where I track times alongside what I do. I don't make it too complicated so that I'm not hard on myself when I don't stick exactly to the format.

Sometimes a day of meetings go by and I'm recapping at night.

Sometimes I'm tracking what I do down to the minute.

I note when I'm distracted.

I note when I go to the bathroom.

I jot down as much as I can but don't get overly descriptive. What I've seen so far is so eye-opening!

The simple act of writing down what I do during the day absolutely helps me stay on task and productive more than I do when I'm not. I don't want to see hours of wasted time in my time journal, so my conscience puts in more effort to put in work. It brings me back to my to-do list and strategic dashboards more often each day.

I know when I get tired and am more likely to get distracted. I know Mondays will always be more productive than Thursdays, when I've worked out early every day that week and am just spent.

Time journaling has helped me recognize my most and least productive times of the day, and from that I've been able to carve some routines with flexibility that work for me. Sure, meetings come up and life happens, but I now have an anchor of sorts that pulls me back not just to my to-do list, but to my personal and professional goals.

To simplify our lives and make space for what matters, we have to understand what we're allowing to take up our time and focus!

Follow my year of simplifying here.

The Year of Simplify: Put It In My Pocket (App)

When I was a kid, I read voraciously. I would read EVERYTHING. I especially loved my serial reads - Baby Sitters Club, Boxcar Kids Nancy Drew have since been followed by Twilight & Harry Potter. I also had a soft spot in my heart for newspapers big and small.

I learned early on in life that reading was both the connection to the world at large and an escape from it. 

When I got older, most of my reading was for school (as most of us experience), and I actually panicked when I graduated from college.

What would I read now? Would my brain turn to mush now that I didn't have a wealth of books readily available (and sometimes forced) upon me? 

My brief freakout led to a promise I made to myself never to be short of things to read. In this year of simplifying, it's something I've made a priority to do more of. Reading - actual reading, of books and long articles and such - often loses out to the ease of social media in the battle for my attention. For the most part, the endless stream on social media is more mental junk food than reading anything thought-provoking. It's not all bad, but it's definitely a double-edged sword. I get all of my news and information from social media nowadays. Thanks to Pocket, I can read all the things I want to, when I want to!

Pocket is a mobile, web and desktop-friendly app that's changed my life. Much like Unroll.me has done for my email, Pocket lets me save the stuff I want to read in one pretty place I can come to when I have time. Tags and favorites make the organization freak in me happy. It integrates well with my other favorite apps, like Twitter, Buffer and IFTTT - so I can save articles, read them, then share them back out with ease.

I just figured out how to get the number of articles I have saved to show up on my iOS devices, and it was over 3200! I have a lot of work to do - and now that I have a number to work with, I can set daily goals for number of articles to read. Sometimes I save things and later I'm like, "WTF is this?" - so there's been a lot of weeding out too.

For the times when I don't feel like diving into the books I'm reading, or when I want to read online but not social media, Pocket's my game changer for having valuable reads at my disposal.

Follow my year of simplifying here.

The Year of Simplify: My March Email Challenge

In this year of simplifying, I'm focusing in on cutting down on my inputs so I can increase my output. One of those inputs, however, is a necessary evil and though sometimes I wish I could cut email out completely, I can't.

Just like note-taking and to-do lists, I've never been able to stick to an email processing system that works for me. I check it when I don't have the time to properly answer (hey smartphone addiction), and then I let them pile up, making a digital mountain out of a molehill.

In the Spark Notebook is space for a 30-day challenge. Why not make my first monthly challenge to tackle this email issue once and for all?

I set a simple goal: to process all the email that comes in that day.

I wanted to make this happen so that no matter how busy I am on any given day, I have a minimum number of emails to process. And not just look at, either - 'process' meaning reply, delete, delegate or do everything. I also gave myself the stretch goal of going through the rest of the email sitting in my various inboxes. Oh, and this goes for Twitter and Facebook messages too.

How am I doing so far? I've been able to make it happen most days, but not every day. Still, when I do accomplish my daily goal, I'll often chip away at the rest of my email too. I feel so much better about it overall as those unread and un-replied emails go down in number. I've gone through most of it and feel like my response and follow-up time has improved. It's not a polished system yet, but the daily goal is a great mind frame for me.

One service that's been SUPER helpful is Unroll.me. Unroll.me goes through your inbox and pulls all of your newsletter subscriptions into a list, which you can then go through and unsubscribe, leave in your inbox or 'roll up' into one daily email, all in one fell swoop! I keep all of the important subscriptions in my inbox and roll all the shopping/miscellaneous ones into a daily email. To date, I've unsubscribed to over 1500 lists since I signed up for Unroll.me last year. Blogger life will have you signed up for the most ridiculous PR pitches! Unroll.me is such a lifesaver.

Next step to build on this challenge is only checking email a couple of times a day. That's part of a bigger problem...hey smartphone addiction...

Any tips for managing email? I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment below.

Follow my year of simplifying here.

Unplug & Reset at Camp RAHH!

We're all looking for a little more time to unplug and decompress, no? Here in Seattle, a group including some of my favorite creatives has created just the space and time to do that.

Camp RAHH! is a summer camp experience for adults.

Camp RAHH! takes place on 47 acres of forest, grassland, and beach offering the ideal landscape for adventure.

As a camper, you create your days whether that means soaking up the sunrise with a cup of coffee, taking a yoga session on the beach, kayaking around the bay or even just playing board games with new friends. You decide.

As a Pacific Northwesterner who spends way too much of her time staring at a screen when she could be taking in the lush, beautiful nature scenery surrounding her, Camp RAHH! just seems so fucking cool.

It's started as a Kickstarter campaign but recently transitioned to Eventbrite to allow for more time to register. At $395 for three days of camp (June 5 - 7), it's reasonably-priced and all-inclusive - even round-trip transportation!

Sometimes, all we need is that physical space and actual time blocked off on our calendars to do what our bodies and minds are yearning for. 

Ready to unplug? Peep the full list of activities here, and register for Camp RAHH! here.

How I Use My Spark Notebook

On this last day of my Spark Notebook giveaway, I thought I'd give y'all a peek into how I've been using it myself! I wanted to film a video to walk you through my notebook, but I had my wisdom teeth removed on Friday and I'm just not feeling camera-ready :)

The Spark Notebook's the first notebook I've had that has a place for me to capture all of the various little tasks, big ideas and more in formats that make sense for me. I write everything down, and now I don't have to worry about scattered notes across different Post-Its, notebooks and apps.

Like lots of planners, the Spark Notebook has a monthly calendar for you to plug in appointments, reminders and important dates. What's unique to the Spark Notebook is that the monthly calendar view is immediately followed by space for your monthly goals and a 30-day challenge. It's awesome to see your goals broken down in this way!

One of my biggest priorities this year is to have a healthier relationship with my email - so I've made my March 30-day challenge to process all of the email I get in each day. I love that Kate's designed space for declaring your challenge, but also asks why you're doing it and prompts you to write down a cause of action. There's even a place to sign and make the challenge official, and numbers at the bottom to mark off each day you complete the challenge.

My yearly theme of simplifying? It's the first thing I see when I open up my Spark Notebook, along with my ways of being for the 2015. I worked on all of this during the Stratejoy Holiday Council, and now they live in a place I see every day. Easy access (and no excuse not) to revisit my year's intentions.

My 2015 resolutions live in the back of my Spark Notebook, where there's tons of blank & lined pages for random notes, sketches and brainstorming.

The stuff I have written out in the Project Planner section is confidential for the most part, but checklists and target deadlines are my steez. These pages are really helping me move my professional and blogging projects along smoothly, and help bubble up any tasks for my to-do list while keeping the big picture neat and clean.

The weekly time-blocking is my FAVORITE part of the Spark Notebook! Kate and the Popforms team were super generous with productivity tips during their Kickstarter campaign, and I really took to their blog posts / videos on time blocking and the ninja planning session. Now, instead of just saying "I'll organize my week on Sunday night / Monday morning," I actually have a framework with which to do it. It's worked really well the past few weeks in putting me on the straight and narrow for planning my week ahead.

I'm a sucker for quotes and journal prompts! As I reflect on my past week, I take some time to journal, free-write or answer these prompts. It's a nice, quick way to unwind for a few minutes.

Ready for a Spark Notebook of your own? Fill out this quick & easy feedback form for me and you'll enter to win! 

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The Year of Simplify: Making #TimeForMyself

The fab ladies of the SELF Magazine's SELFMade Collective and I have been taking part in SELF's Time Makeover Challenge since the new year, and it's been a huge help on living out my theme - to simplify.

There's a lot of productivity propaganda out there and it can be tempting to get lost in it all. SELF has been shifting its content towards a more holistic look at making time to create your best self, and the Time Makeover tips are something I look forward to reading up on.

A huge reason why we abandon our resolutions soon after the new year starts is because it can be hard to make time for them. When the going gets tough, we're more likely to stick to what we know for the sake of making it through another stressful day.

No more!

I am dead set on sticking to my simplify theme, plus the goals and resolutions I've made for myself this year. Sure, I've already strayed a few times, but I always come back to them.

Here are a few things I've been actively working on simplifying this past couple of months, to create space and make time for the things I want to do:

SELF has a fun quiz with the four personalities to the Time Makeover program. I'm a "time philosopher," and hoping to change that this year!

Take the quiz here

Cutting down on social events

For many years, I was a social butterfly. I love meeting new people, learning from them and seeing if I can help or connect them in some way. All those meetups, blogger events and happy hours take a toll on the schedule and the body. Saying 'no' to the majority of invites that come my way has created more time in my life for focusing on my job, cuddling with my bulldog, reading and getting more sleep. I still love meeting people, but it has been so nice to not have obligations that take me away from 'me' time. I've been struggling with the afternoon slump as I learn to juggle 6:00a.m. workouts and a full day at work. After a couple of years of freelancing, it's a culture shock I'm still trying to get used to!

Less shopping + purging the closet

I'm proud to say that, so far this year, more has come out of my closet thanks to Poshmark and purging than I've put into it! I'm finally acting like a grown woman and putting my finances first. For too long, I've had a fear of taking control over my finances. If I'm not doing it, who will? Saying no to attending events makes time for reading Suze Orman's The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke and on personal finance blogs. All of these reads have put my spending in perspective - a money 'Come to Jesus', if you will. Shopping just doesn't seem as appealing after updating my budget and measuring up against my financial goals. Talk about turning a new leaf!

Email

Email is a necessary evil that I'll be writing a lot about in my year of simplifying. I check my email way too goddamn much, as if I'm just itching for my next stress bomb or some new thing to come and distract me from my goals. I check it when I don't have the time to properly respond, which leads to a lot of forgotten emails. I'm the worst at email, and I'm trying hard to fix that.

Unroll.me has been a HUGE help in consolidating my newsletters, and I'm currently trying to stick to checking it at 3-4 specific times a day. It's definitely a work in progress, but little steps and consistency will eventually make email less of a stressful experience and more of a productive tool in my day.

Digital consumption

Social media, blogs, news articles, that latest viral sensation. There's so much to take in, but that doesn't mean I have to consume it all. I've been working on checking social media less, creating a posting schedule for my blog posts, reading a few articles every day and otherwise cleaning out my Pocket, and keeping my Feedly maintained only with blogs I enjoy reading. More on those two apps later!

"Whatever your resolutions for 2015, you need the time to make them happen!"

Sign up for SELF's transformative Time Makeover program here, and let me know what you've been working on this year in a comment below!

Read all of my posts on  my year of simplify, and on the SELFMade Collective.

Ignite Your Productivity With The Spark Notebook (Giveaway!)

I'm a productivity junkie. I will save all the articles, add all the books to my wish list, and read all the tips I can get my hands on in the name of getting shit done. Still, finding that perfect mix of productivity tools and systems for my current lifestyle has eluded me. I'll find some new tips or processes and stick with them enthusiastically for awhile, but ultimately I always fall back in the cycle of getting overwhelmed by everything I need to do. A million things to do, a million different to-do lists, Post-Its, notebooks, planners, calendars and apps to keep track of them all.

My endless pursuit of the perfect productivity system has brought the Spark Notebook into my life. I'd been following Kate Matsudaira and her productivity-centric startup, PopForms on social media when my friend Sarah Lovrien asked if I'd be part of the video she was filming for Kate's Kickstarter campaign. Fast forward to now, with Kate's wildly successful campaign funded in 24 hours and the Spark Notebook completely sold out in its first edition!

What's the Spark Notebook, you ask?

In short, it's a planner on steroids. All of your notes, goals, big ideas and things to do now have one home, versus many different Post-Its. The Spark Notebook was meticulously designed by Kate and team to take your career and life to the next level. 

Watch the video below - and visit the Kickstarter page for more insight into Kate's vision for the Notebook as well as how others are already using it. Kate also shares some of her other favorite Kickstarter projects in the updates - click through for more really cool ideas coming to life! There's some serious productivity and entrepreneur inspo going on over on the Kickstarter page!

Soooo I've got a Spark Notebook to give away!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED - Congrats Chloe for winning my Spark Notebook, and thanks so much to everyone who participated!

Why Simplify Is My 2015 Theme

I'm tired of being overwhelmed. What about you?

I started my career just over a decade ago, and like any Gen Y'er, I believed multi-tasking and being as busy as possible were the keys to success. I climbed the proverbial career ladder. I started this blog. I got into social media at a really exciting time, when it was the shiny new industry everyone wanted a piece of.

Somewhere along the line, I burned out. I feel like I've been playing 'catch up' ever since. My emails and to-do lists stay piling up. I'm never getting enough sleep. I always have my mind on 8 million things (which can't be good.) I am always susceptible to making bad food choices in the face of stress. Most of all, I never feel like I'm fully being present in the moment.

I am so, so grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way, but eventually the whole of it all became more of a burden than a welcome privilege. It would take years (and it's still a work in progress), but I'm finally putting a mark in the sand and saying enough is enough.

I've made 'simplify' my theme for this year, and last month Melody of CRAVE invited me to come speak about living simple at the monthly CRAVEfuel chat. It was an intimate and inspiring talk, and I owe them this recap. I've also been meaning to write an intro of sorts to my year of simplifying. This is why I'm doing it, and I'll be writing through my journey this year.

It feels like society wants us to be big dreamers, but we're also expected to somehow be multi-taskers; to squeeze every moment out of every day towards 'doing.'

Being busy is a badge of honor, but what for?

Why is it not okay to say 'You know what? I'm going home now. I want to read, make a fabulous dinner and cuddle my dog?'" You know what I mean. People tell you it's okay then look at you funny when you leave the office at a decent hour, skip out on happy hour or a night out, or turn down an event even though "it's the hottest ticket in town."

If there's anything I've learned in the past few years of chasing professional, blogging, health & fitness dreams, it's that your downtime is equally important as the time you're in it. Sometimes, it matters even more. It's not Team #NoTime4Sleep or Team #Busy over here. Not anymore, anyway.

This year isn't about piling more and more onto my plate, but about cutting and cutting and cutting back until the only important people, things, goals and ideas are left.

A few weeks into it, I've already done a ton of things I've let slide or would procrastinate on for way too long. For the first time in my life, I've set a budget for myself that I update all the time. I've put more strategy and reporting work into my blog than I ever have before, and have laid the ground for some things I want to do with it this year. I've read a couple of books already. I've logged in tons of sleeping time and time cuddling with my dog.

I feel more intentional and purposeful with my actions and choices more and more every day. Even though it's a work in progress, I've loved every minute of it so far!

What would you like to simplify in your life? Let me know if there's a topic you'd like me to dive into more this year!

To LIVEsimple & SELF's Time Makeover

A big reason I've made this my year to simplify is to create space in my life for the things that are most important to me. It's crazy how many distractions can get in the way of your priorities! It's ridiculous really, and I'm tired of it. This is not the year for grandiose declarations of a 'new year, new me.' This is the year to finally take a good, hard look at what I'm doing every day and carve out the time to balance the things I need to do with the things I want to do.

As part of the SELF Magazine Collective, I'm taking part in their 21-day Time Makeover, and I encourage all of you to do the same! Just take the quiz on this page, and if you're so inclined, sign up for 21 days of tips, challenges and other offerings to help you improve how you manage your time. I am never one to turn down help when needed, and I'm enjoying the daily prompts and inspiration so far. It's only 21 days into the new year and I've made a lot of strides in clearing up my time and space already!

If you're in Seattle tonight, I'll be chatting more about living simply at CRAVEFuel's January event! Come and join us!

More details here.

I'll be blogging all year about living simply. Hope you'll follow me along on this journey!

Happy New Year! My 2015 Resolutions

Happy new year! Hope you had a fun night full of laughter and loved ones!

Now that my theme is set, goals mapped and vision board made, I thought I'd share some of my own resolutions. Some of these I carry with me from year to year. Others are testaments to my theme of simplifying. Still others speak to my goals of being more organized as well as being more connected - but in the old-school, offline, "Hey, I was thinking of you" kinda way.

Like to hear it? Here it goes:

  • Work out every day
  • Drink 2-3L of water every day
  • Drink a green smoothie every day
  • Write & send one thank you card a week. I've already gotten a head start on this and I know it'll be more like 'at least' one a week!
  • Tell people how I feel about them. If I've been thinking about them. How I'm grateful for them. Being straight up when they ask for honesty.
  • Respond to five emails in all of my inboxes every day. I am awful at getting through emails - for this blog, mostly - but in my quest to be better at saying 'no' to the wrong things and 'yes' to the right, I'm adding this fuel to the fire to answer them quickly rather than letting them stew in my mind. No more mountains out of mole hills!
  • Jot down three things I'm grateful for, daily. My friend Madeline has been doing this for awhile and filled up a jar full of things she's thankful for. I think I'll keep mine in my planner.
  • Read one book a month.
  • Find the perfect black eyeliner.
  • Learn how to do a proper crow pose & handstand. I always chicken out! All in my head, right?
  • Read up on being a better conversationalist. I feel like I've regressed in this since my chamber of commerce days and I want to improve those skills again. We can all learn how to not be so awkward in conversation, right?
  • Follow more positive and uplifting people on social media. Less negative and self-deprecating.

Do you have any new year's resolutions? I'd love to hear them in a comment below!

Happy first day of 2015!

On Blogging & Life: Some Reflections on 2014

During this year's Stratejoy Holiday Council, Molly mentioned five different kinds of years. Five different parts of a cycle, if you will.

2014 was definitely a building year for me. One of growth, discomfort, hard decisions, big life changes and lots of progress. This wasn't one of those years where I caught myself saying "I'm having the best year ever!" - but that's okay. In fact, I'm seeing a meme going around on social media that says something to the effect of, "2013 was learning; 2014 was the build-up/practice; 2015 is game time!"

It's true. I feel a lot of good things are in store in 2015, and I'll be working hard to make sure that good energy manifests as much as possible. With that, here are some of my closing, random reflections on 2014:

Photo by Emily Shearing

Photo by Emily Shearing

On blogging

The state of the blogosphere is sooo different from when I started six years ago. Forgive me for sounding like an old-timer, but there's a lot of resources readily available to new bloggers that we had to work hard to pull together before. Blog design, brand sponsorships, photography best practices, social media, etc. Maybe it's just me, but the heart and soul of blogging is also different. Fashion blogging is so popular now that there are clear trends that take off and if you don't dress like a blogger, you're labeled 'edgy' and 'eccentric.'

Guess which two words have been used to describe me/Fresh Jess?

I don't mind those terms but they've made me very aware of the homogenized evolution of fashion blogging - and how I don't want any part of that. What's always drawn me to blogging and to my favorite bloggers is their personal style. The ones who push boundaries. Who parlay their blogs into something more meaningful in their lives. Whose blogs are absolutely representative of who they are, what they're into and sometimes, what they stand for. I will take one Rumi Neely, perfect in her ethereal, floaty clothes I can't pull off here in the PNW over a million girls trying to show me how to layer a sweater over my skater skirt and pull it together with a sweet floppy hat.

Blogging will have you caught up in 'needing' that latest shoe trend (hi Birkenstocks) or re-doing your blog design to match what's already out there - if you let it. Remember what's important to you, and blog about that. Be choosay (ILoveMakonnen voice) and always be yourself. That's how you stand out from the rest.

On social media

Social media has been the vehicle for building connections and opening so many doors for me. It's also become my worst distraction, and this year I hit a wall. It's way easy to get caught up in the hype of the latest trending topic, or in the energy being put out there by the people I follow (which, by nature of having the safety of hiding behind a computer screen, is negative, defensive and condescending.) This year, I caught myself stepping back often, thinking, "What the fuck is this for?"

When your co-worker is in your face telling you why this BuzzFeed article is funny as shit and your industry colleague is asking for help in spreading the word about their latest campaign, it can be hard to distinguish between a distraction and a good use of your time. While there's a lot of useful, interesting things on the internet, how much of what we are consuming is junk?

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of un-learning my dependence on the digital and re-learning what it's like...otherwise. Moving back to paper calendars and to-do lists, for example, or not bringing my phone with me everywhere I go.

My theme for 2015 is to simplify. A lot of that has to do with cutting back the noise and the clutter I consume, especially in the digital space. There might be an app/article/hashtag for that, but I don't need to use it. I'll be blogging a lot about this over the next year!

Photo by Sarah Lovrien

Photo by Sarah Lovrien

On health/fitness

Navigating my second year full-fledged in my journey of health & fitness was a lot more tumultuous than the first. A new job means a totally new schedule; a new set of responsibilities; a new group of people I spend a lot of time with; and re-familiarizing myself with non-freelancer me. Don't get me wrong; that entrepreneurial side won't die or even be stifled. It's just a new thing for me to get adjusted back to office life.

I was exhausted after work for much of the year, and though I didn't necessarily eat like shit all the time, I just wasn't on top of my nutrition game like I was last year. I guess that was my biggest vice this year; comparing myself to me the year before. I was probably more fit, stronger and ate healthier overall this year, but because my leaps and bounds weren't the first times I'd experienced them, they didn't feel as special. Going into 2015 with a renewed, positive outlook and ready to slay.

Savoring the moment with my new nephew!!!

Savoring the moment with my new nephew!!!

On life

I'll keep this short and say that my decision to make my 2015 "simplify" comes from the overwhelm I felt in social media as well as the rest of my life. I'm tired of feeling perpetually behind on email, or that I'm missing out on something I'm not sure I even want when I say 'no' to an opportunity. I have anxiety like I've never had before. I don't need to do it all, and I don't want to.

I do want to savor the moment. That message keeps resonating in me. Cut back on that clutter. Turn down the noise. Decrease my inputs of information. Carefully edit what I consume so I can stay focused on what's important.

Are you consuming without thought, or creating?

Make time to sit, think, brainstorm, create!

Slow down!

Image via    Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Do you have any reflections you'd care to share about 2014? Let me know!

Cheers to an amazing 2015!

My Vision Board & Theme for 2015

Wow. This year just flew on by. I'm looking at the number of posts I've written this year & I'm on track to have the second lowest since starting Fresh Jess. I know a number's just a number, and I'm proud of all that I've written this year - but I had so much more in the pipeline that I just didn't find the time to do. 

That's been my biggest struggle. Where does blogging fit into my schedule now that I've got this new job? Working out, eating right and savoring time offline are also priorities, so where does that leave Fresh Jess?

More than anything, I know I will continue blogging. This is my haven for sharing me; my life, things that inspire me, people and puppies I'm inspired by. And so here I am, fresh off the 2014 Stratejoy Holiday Council with my theme set and vision board assembled ever so carefully. I still have some goal-setting to work through, but all in all I feel really good heading into 2015 with a clear idea of what I want to do, and a map for how to do it all - including blogging!

This year's theme is 'simplify.' The struggle for 'balance' is nothing new, but this year I experienced a tipping point of sorts on my relationship with social media. I love spending time online and have made so, so many invaluable connections because of it. So many fun & witty people! So many enlightening and hilarious things to look at! So many apps!

It's also taken a toll on my life in many ways, and this year I had several moments of wanting to step away from it all. I couldn't ever do that completely given it's what I do for work, but I've committed at least this next year towards unlearning and re-learning how to live a digital native's life outside of the digital realm.

From the ways in which I organize my life to the intention I put in being present in the moment, 2015 is about simplifying my life. It's about not multi-tasking. It's about getting proper sleep and hydration. It's about savoring the moments cuddling my bulldog or my new nephew.

There'll be a lot of lessons to learn, and I'll be blogging my experiences through it all. I hope you're into it!

This year's vision board is heavy on women and words. Strong women. Affirmations and declarations. DVF, Marion, Kate, Solange, Nicki, J.Lo, Cara, Kristen and Victoria. They're recognizable, and they've shaped their lives (and the public's opinion about them) very much according to the woman each of them wants to be. Re-defining all that's feminine, sexy, powerful and impactful in their own way. I get in my own way far too often, and having this board in my closet to look at every day will remind me to simplify; to stay focused on leaving my own footprint in this world.

I'll be looking at this vision board every day; thinking of my theme every day; and revisiting my goal progress regularly. 

Have you set a theme, goals or resolutions for 2015? Let me know in a comment!

Cheers to your best year yet!

See my 2014, 2013 & 2012 vision boards by clicking on each year!