We all start of the beginning of the year with plenty of goals in mind, most of which we want to achieve as soon as we can – which is awesome! I think that we should all have things we look forward to and things we want to accomplish. But all the dreaming and goal setting is the easy part. Creating a step-by-step plan to begin working towards your goals is ehhh somewhat easy. But, when it comes down to keeping yourself accountable and staying productive and consistent about reaching your goals…now that is the hardest part, in my humble opinion.

Making sure I follow through in doing what I tell myself I want to achieve is hard because, frankly, being your own boss is hard. I find that when you have no one else to be accountable to but yourself you may give yourself a few too many passes to push things off for a lot longer than if you were working on completing something for someone else. Do you agree? Which is why I compiled a list of what helps me stay productive through those moments (and days) when my dreams just seem to big or too cumbersome to achieve.

Make lists

I keep a running list of the things I know I need to do. I do this for my personal life - like doing laundry, blow drying my hair (all of you curly hair girls out there know that this task needs to be planned out!), doing my nails and the list goes on. I also do this for Ninel Studio – I have a list for updates I need to make to the website, a list for candle production (what I need to make, inventory lists), a list for planning my editorial calendar for the blog and a list for bigger projects down the road. Having a place that you can refer to when you need a high-level view of the things you need to get done will give you a little boost of energy to start working.

Use time blocks wisely

This strategy has really done wonders for me. Blocking out time to do specific tasks is a really great way to stay productive. If I know I have an hour in my day to spare I try to put it to good use. For example, as I am writing this blog post, I literally just got home from work and will be picked up in 45 minutes to run a few errands (i.e. shopping) so I got right to it and started writing this blog. Every minute counts. When I get back later tonight I will block out one more hour to edit this post and schedule it for publishing.

Plan your day

This is like the idea of using time blocks wisely in that we need to plan the day out. Yes, sometimes things come up and we cannot stick to a strict schedule but having at least a rough idea of what we want to accomplish the next day will help up stay on track and continue to move things forward. All you need is 10 to 15 minutes to sit down and write down what you want to accomplish the next day. This is a great way to get a head start on your day!

Use the Pomodoro technique

I must admit that I don’t always remember to do this and it is mostly because I am in and out of meetings for the better part of my day and I feel that the Pomodoro technique allows for best results if you have a good chunk of uninterrupted time on your hands (say around 2-3 hours). The basic idea of this technique is to work in 25 minute increments and take a 5-minute break and do this repeatedly for as long as you need to in order to accomplish whatever task you are working through. This technique is AMAZING – the times I can implement it I feel my productivity increase dramatically.

Skip the multi-tasking

Trying to focus on more than one thing at once really does not work for a lot of people. It certainly doesn’t for me, especially, if I am working on something that requires my undivided attention. I know it can be difficult to not reply to that email that just came in, after all, it will only take two seconds, right? Wrong! Breaking your focus to reply to that one email that will only take two seconds means that you are very likely to lose your train of thought and it may take you a while before you get back into the swing of things. This will slow down your productivity, big time. So, my advice here is to focus on your task at hand, the email can wait.

Listen to music

I like to listen to upbeat instrumentals to get me working a little bit faster. One thing I cannot do is listen to music with words while I am trying to write a blog post or draft an email – so music like electronica is pretty much my go to these days. Am I the only one?

2-minute rule

I incorporated this into my personal and professional life a few years ago and have not looked back since. The 2-minute rule means that if you have a task that will only take 2 minutes to do – just do it. But if it will take longer than that you should schedule some time to do it. The only time I do not use this technique is, as mentioned above, if I am already in the middle of something and a quick task comes across my desk. But aside from that, the 2-minute rule is fantastic a getting those little things that come up throughout the day out of sight and out of mind as quickly as possible.

There you have it – those are the ways/methods I use to stay productive and stay on track of my goals in my day to day life. Like I said in the beginning of this post, having dreams and goals is easy – making sure we work towards them one task at a time is hard if we do not feel motivated enough to do so. I hope one or all the techniques I have listed help you stay motivated and productive to reach your goals. Happy 2017!

Now your turn! Do have any other tips and techniques that help you stay productive to reach your goals? Do share below!


It is OHH so easy to rack up expenses that overtime take a toll on your monthly budget but making the decision to cut ties with those expenses can be hard to do.  On a general note, I recommend everyone to be very aware of where their hard earned money goes each month. This means you need to list out every single payment you have, even if it’s just .99 cents a month. Doing that will be a crucial step in having a clear picture and begin making decisions about where you can trim your budget.

Another fundamental thing to note is that you should have a goal you want to achieve, it can be buying a car, paying off debt, saving money for the trip of your dreams or saving up for a down payment of a house. Having a goal to strive towards will absolutely make trimming your expenses so much easier. The one word I can use to describe the feeling of getting rid of those unnecessary expenses is: LIBERATING!

Nix box subscriptions

It is hard to resist the temptation of signing up for unnecessary subscriptions and have then renewed on a monthly basis. I remember signing up for GlossyBox and BirchBox soon after getting hired for my first full time job I started racking up unnecessary expenses. While I do not regret those subscriptions because it introduced me to an array of products that I otherwise would probably not come across. At the same time, I was not using up all of the products and ended up with piles of un-opened and un-used products. I am still to this day testing products I received during my GlossyBox and BirchBox days!

Canceled gym membership

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be a member of a gym to get fit or stay in shape. I went through gym memberships from $10 a month to a whopping $100 a month! Yes. I do not know what possessed me to spend $1,200 a year on a gym membership. But alas, I finally came to my senses and canceled that membership. Instead of the gym I know follow at home workout programs like Tone It up and Blogilates. They have a ton of great (and FREE) resources on their websites and awesome videos on youtube. Another hidden benefit to this is the amount of time and money you’ll save in getting to and from the gym and our house and/or work.

Got rid of cable

I was paying $175 a month for a cable subscription that I never used. I finally got the courage to cut that expense and stick with the streaming services I was already paying for, like Netflix, Hulu and HBO. I also got an antenna with a good range so that I could still have access to local channels - it was secretly just for The Voice :).

Have you trimmed your budget recently? If so, what have you gotten rid of? Do share below!


I love quotes and really who doesn’t?!  But I really love inspiring and motivating quotes that are able to quickly inject positivity and put a smile on your face. Whenever I come across a quote or saying on Instagram or Pinterest I take a screenshot and save it to a photo album on my phone and if I am ever feeling a little down or un-motivated I whip out the album of screenshots and come out feeling totally refreshed and recharged – I know, I know, this can seem a little woo woo but it works for me so I embrace it! A couple of weeks ago I shared my go to podcasts to motivation and inspiration - My Top Five Podcasts for Motivation, Inspiration and Knowledge.  So without further ado here are my favorite quotes :).


“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence” – Vince Lombardi


“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it” – Charles Swindoll


“Even if you are on the right track you’ll get run over if you just sit there” – Will Rogers


“The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of knowledge but rather a lack of will” – Vince Lombardi


“Speak less than you know; have more than you show” – William Shakespeare


“Success is going from failure without losing your enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill


“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have” – Teddy Roosevelt


“Strive not to be a success, but rather be of value”  - Albert Einstein


“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude” – Zig Ziglar


“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out” – Robert Collier


“Opportunities don’t just happen. You create them.” – Chris Grosser


“There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” – Ray Goforth


“Keep on going and chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” – Charles F. Kettering


“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn


“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” – John Maxwell


“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have” – Maya Angelou


“Obsessed if just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated”  - Russell Warren


“Action is the fundational key to all success”  - Pablo Picasso


“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do” – John Wooden


“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey


“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky


“The mind is everything. What you think you become” – Buddha


“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” – Dr. Robert Schuller


“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

Do you have any favorite go to quotes to give you some quick inspiration? If so, what are they?


Every time the beginning of a New Year comes around people make New Year’s resolutions to begin doing things they should already be doing (YEP, I’m guilty of this!). One of the mistakes I have made in past years is setting too many resolutions and this causes too much change for a person to handle all at once. I am going to do things a little differently this year by committing to ONE resolution which is to eat healthier. However, that resolution is too broad and I know I will break that resolution in a matter of a week (if that!). So instead of simply stating that I will eat healthier in 2016 my resolution is to have one green smoothie every day.

In 2014, I went four solid months of drinking a green smoothie every…single…day but then I stopped. And why? Because I grew tired and bored of the same 2-3 recipes I was rotating. But a few weeks I found out of Simple Green Smoothie (through a podcast) who put on a green smoothie challenge every quarter. I went to their website and have been hooked to their recipes and conveniently enough their first challenge begins January 1, 2016! To make a long story short I am confident that I have found a way to make my new year’s resolution stick in 2016 and I’ll share the process I used to plan for a successful resolution.

Make one resolution

Think of something you are constantly telling yourself you are going to do whether it be to make your bed every morning, do at least 20 minutes of exercise very day, drink more water or start meditating – it is important to pick the one that will make the biggest difference in your everyday life.

Focus on what you want

Similar to the above tip, in order to keep your resolution you have to really think about what it important to you right now at this point in your life. Don’t simply pick a trendy resolution because everyone else is - because you and I both know that that resolution will be broken within the first 48 hours.

Keep your goal manageable

Once you decide on a resolution that is meaningful for you it is key that you to plan out how you will incorporate this into your everyday life. For example, say your goal is to read more you now need to make this manageable and to do this you can break it down to reading one book each month. But you have to get even more specific than that so the next step could be to plan on reading 20-30 minutes every day. See how I did that?!

Pros and cons list  

Make a list of the pros and cons of sticking and succeeding to your new year’s resolution. Keep this list handy all year – put it in your planner, on your fridge, keep it in your phone – whatever works best for you. Whenever you feel like skipping a day or if you feel like giving up whip this list out and read it out loud to yourself. I am sure this will light a fire under you again and keep you engaged with your goal.

Stay consistent

It takes 21 days to build a new habit, that’s it three weeks. In the grand scheme of things three weeks fly right by so stay consistent and give it your all for the first three weeks - I promise it will get easier from there on out. You will also feel an immense amount of satisfaction from which you will WANT to keep giving it your all.

Create a support team

No, you do not have to tell all of your friends about you resolution. In fact, I even recommend you do not tell all of your family and friends because chances are that you will find one or two naysayers and you do not need to invite any negativity. What I do recommend is that you pick one or two people in your life who have achieved a goal in the past – these people are more likely to keep you in a positive state of mind and keep you accountable.

Reward yourself

Set certain increments to reward yourself throughout the year whether it be once a month or once a quarter – you can go get a massage, a facial, a mani/pedi – anything that will leave you feeling good about yourself is the way to go.

Have you achieved a new year’s resolution in the past? If yes, how did you keep yourself accountable to it? Do share below!