Brought To You By Emily Parks
Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
Helping You Make Every Minute Matter!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Final Friday's Fab Finds for June 2020

While wrapping up the first half of 2020, can you believe all that has occurred? We're in the throes of the COVID-19 global pandemic, protests are ongoing as we call for justice and equality in the Black Lives Matter movement, articles of impeachment were approved, Australian bushfires ran rampant, Kobe Bryant died, the Iowa caucus broke down in chaos, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty in a case that helped fuel the #MeToo movement, the nation is struggling with how to safely educate the next generation amidst a novel coronavirus, there are regular developments in the current election cycle, and over 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment. 

When disruption strikes, small businesses feel the impact faster and harder than anyone else with the effects lasting much longer afterward. With that in mind, I’m continuing my “Final Friday’s Fab Finds” series with options that emphasize both the need to support small businesses via shopping local as well as a desire to amplify Black voices. Hopefully, you'll find these sources of hope, inspiration and greater productivity in cultivating the life you want to live. 

Although American Son started as a play on Broadway, it was made into a Netflix film starring Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan and Eugene Lee that is phenomenal. The story plays out in real time over 90 minutes. As time passes, tension mounts in a Florida police station as an estranged, interracial couple awaits news regarding their missing, teenage son, and the dialogue is amazingly moving. You feel like you're there with the couple, sitting on the edge of your seat. 

As so many of us have experienced big shifts in life amidst the current global pandemic, there are lots of people adopting new routines, realigning priorities and really focusing on who we want to be as well as what lives we truly want to cultivate. The world is not the same as a few months ago, we may go through a few different iterations before we get to a “new normal”, and there is so much in this evolution that impacts our abilities to be productive. In the spirit of evolving, I began digging into the book Becoming by Michelle Obama, and I’m absolutely loving her approach to answering “What’s your journey of becoming?” I’ve been enjoying her reading of the book on Audible, and there’s so much inspiration in the life she’s leading, filled with meaning and accomplishment.

In my efforts to be more active in being anti-racist, I have been working to amplify the voices of those Black experts in our communities, and I stumbled across Berrion Berry, who is a PMS and Period Educator based out of Florida. Y’all, I feel like I’ve found such a kindred spirit! Berri is an Enneagram 8w7 who self describes as someone who will challenge but inspire you; plus, she has 3 brothers and lost her father to lung cancer. So many similarities, and I am learning tons from this amazing rock star. Berri expertly explains how a woman’s menstrual cycle is set-up to help optimize her abilities for ideation, creation, execution and evaluation, helping me utilize my menstrual cycle as a tool for boosting productivity. Brilliant!

Finally, succulents and house plants are having a moment right now, and I’m well aware of the value plants bring to one’s home based off the stories from my dear friend Kelly, who has over 200 plants at her house. I was overjoyed to learn about Megan George, owner of The ZEN Succulent, who is just as bright and joyful as her welcoming garden center. I have absolutely no green thumb, but I wanted to support local by adding a living thing into my space so I ordered two pothos plants from The ZEN Succulent. These appear to be exceptionally resilient, even with my low maintenance requirement, and I really like the Marble Queen Pothos that I purchased. Stay tuned for how long I can keep this plant alive.

I’d love to know what you’re currently using, loving and finding can bring you a little comfort amidst the hectivity of life. Add a comment here or email me, and maybe I’ll give your suggestion a try for an upcoming “Final Friday’s Fab Finds” post. Take care, y’all!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

To Where Do We Go Now?

End Racism Now
Something fantastic happened in Raleigh this weekend as this message was painted by volunteers in front of CAM Raleigh on Martin St.
It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure our young, black or brown girls and boys live long, full lives. I don’t tolerate hate or racism.
I cannot imagine not having a diverse inner circle of friends, a diverse base of clients, diverse committees with whom I volunteer and a diverse neighborhood in which I live.
Decisions made by diverse groups are higher quality, wiser and more apt to have a more positive impact than those made by like-minded groups. When interacting, “I see your color, honor you and value your input” is the goal, not “I see no color.” Y’all, I firmly believe we are better together, and, together, everyone achieves more; those are not just cliche phrases but, instead, are actual mantras.
In today’s world, if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention, and we must take peaceful steps toward living together as equals. It’s never too early to start having these conversations with the next generation as well as our peers. As I heard recently, “Until all of us are somebody, nobody is anything”.
As my friend Jim Scott shared recently, those who are disparaging the character of George Floyd are completely missing the point of the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests; these aren’t about how George Floyd lived, but, instead, they’re about the far too many black and brown individuals who have died way too early in life.
We all must do better. As a white woman, I will be educating myself, listening carefully, proceeding with empathy and always taking action. Know that we are better together.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Final Friday's Fab Finds for May 2020

As we wrap up this month, it feels like we continue an emotional rollercoaster ride: fear, anxiety, excitement, stress, hopefulness, hopelessness and so much more. For each of us, there are daily challenges. Yet, I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re each finding sources of comfort to help us stay safe and sane.

When disruption strikes, small businesses feel the impact faster and harder than anyone else with the effects lasting much longer afterward. With that in mind, I’m kicking off this new “Final Friday’s Fab Finds” series with a few options from small businesses that have been helping me find comfort while trying to maintain my sanity amidst all the efforts to be smart and safe.

Fragrances from candles can be both calming and energizing so I keep finding myself lighting one atop my desk while I’m working from home. My current favorite is Sweet Grace, which is the signature scent for The Flourish Market’s candles. There are numerous candleholder styles from which to choose, making it possible to find something for any space’s needs, and the fragrance lasts well after the candle’s flame is extinguished, meaning the benefits go on longer.

I splurge on my mental well-being by getting a weekly flower delivery, and I love each week’s creation by North Raleigh Florist. They know I’m a huge fan of sunflowers so they incorporate that happy flower whenever possible. Each week’s arrangement is designed to fit on my home office desk, adds something natural to my workspace and puts a smile on my face as I settle into work. Such happiness!

With all that’s happening in the world, my thoughts need an outlet, and I can talk through things to only a certain extent. Research shows that humans are more exposed to critical thinking when writing by hand instead of typing, which is why I find myself being pulled toward journaling on paper. The May Book from May Designs provides an ideal solution, allowing me to choose a fun, colorful cover, pick the size that I prefer, personalize the cover text and customize the inside paper design. It pairs well with a nice, gel pen.

Finally, as many of us are getting overloaded with back-to-back-to-back video conferences, I find myself sending more and more snail mail. The cards made by Emily McDowell seem to say exactly the right thing in a fun, colorful way, and I’m hoping they send a ray of sunshine to each of my friends’ mailboxes. She covers everything from empathy to gratitude to congratulations to a simple “happy birthday” in a witty way with fun artwork, and her creations pair perfectly with this season of unpredictability and contact changes.

I’d love to know what you’re currently using, loving and finding can bring you a little comfort. Add a comment here or email me, and maybe I’ll give your suggestion a try for an upcoming “Final Friday’s Fab Finds” post. Take care, y’all!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Weathering a New Season for Productivity

Now that we are almost 10 full weeks into actively protecting ourselves from COVID-19, I know it’s continually difficult to find peace and happiness, particularly as the world is ever-changing around us.

The anxiety remains high as the future is unclear. Similarly, although “stay at home" initially sounded like it wouldn't be too difficult, it turns out that social distancing can be majorly challenging. As the world starts transitioning into this timeframe where we re-enter elements of our economy that have been slowed by fighting this disease while still trying to minimize the negative effects this dreadful disease for which there is no treatment or vaccine, I realize the emotional rollercoaster will continue, including fear, anxiety, excitement, stress, hopefulness, hopelessness and more. 

This period of uncertainty and fluidity has really brought me back to my core values for boosting productivity:
🌻 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗲. You are doing the best you can in the most extenuating of circumstances. If you’re working remotely, you are not a “work from home” employee; instead, you are at home trying to work amidst serious stress.
🧘🏻‍♀️ 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗴𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗳𝗹𝗲𝘅𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲. The more we roll with all the ups and downs of schedule changes, the better.
👩🏻‍💻 𝗔𝗶𝗺 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀. There is plenty of grief to go around, whether that's grief for a loved one, grief for a job lost, grief for plans changed or something else, and the emotional rollercoaster is distracting, taking energy from desired results. Things now are exhausting. It’s okay to expect less productivity than would be considered normal.

TAKE ACTION - While implementing these big-picture steps, there are a few tactics to adopt that can be super helpful:
1️⃣ Visualize what matters most to you, committing time to those priorities. We must know our goals to get there.
2️⃣ Internalize the belief that we all deserve joy, putting things on your calendar that bring happiness while staying at home. Maybe that's scheduling virtual hangouts with friends, achieving milestones with work goals, enjoying a tasty meal via takeout from a locally-owned small business, finding an organizational break-through for a troubling area of your home, self-care or something specific to your unique interests. Decide what you need and creatively go after it.
3️⃣ Create structure. Protect your designated workspace, whether that's a corner of the living room that you've partitioned off with painter's tape or an actual office. Have a morning routine that sets you up for success, including an effort to get dressed in such a way that you feel better about yourself. Set breaks throughout the day for movement, eating and staying hydrated. Find tools for capturing tasks, time commitments and information, culling the details together so they can be better organized and make using those details easier. Establish an evening routine that is calming and creates a foundation for the next day's success, expressing gratitude and celebrating what went right that day.
4️⃣ Determine what will hold you accountable. Do you need a carrot to work toward or something negative to avoid?

This season is not normal, but there are still ways to thrive. Even if it’s only 5 minutes of deep breathing each day, taking a tiny bit of time to invest in your own well-being can go a long way toward cultivating the lives we want. What action can you take today for which your future self will be grateful?