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4 Ways to Increase Productivity at Your Apartment

1 May

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Now that I’ve graduated school foreverrrrr, I’m gunna have to learn to be productive at my apartment. It won’t be easy… with my super comfy couch and NetFlix so easily accessible…it’s so much easier to just lay back and be lazy.

But I won’t do that. At least, not ALL the time. I’ve still got tons to do and plenty of goals to reach, so if I can find a way to increase my productivity at my place, that would be kind of awesome.

In today’s guest post, Allie shares with us 4 ways to be a little more productive at home, and her tips are super helpful. Enjoy!

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How many times has this happened to you – “I can’t focus on work from home” or maybe there are so many distractions, you need to go to Starbucks to get stuff done. While this might not be a big deal at first, in the long run, it could be harmful. What if the coffee shop is closed for the night, but this project is due first thing in the morning? Or have you thought about how much you could save financially?

Starbucks was my work place of choice whenever I wasn’t in the Trimark Properties office. I always bought a specialty Starbucks coffee and some type of pastry to snack on. Yes it’s delicious, but it starts adding up real quick. As a gal on a budget and watching her figure, I decided to find a way to utilize my apartment. I took the time to get my temp “office” or aka corner of the room set up, put up a few calming pictures, and voila! On average, it helped me save about $60 a month (that’s about $720 for the year!). Crazy right? Now that I have your attention, check out a few of these tips that helped make this happen:

1. Have a Designated ‘Office’ Space

It can be a small corner of the apartment or a whole room. The main thing is that you know it’s your working space. When choosing the office area, try to look for a quiet space, preferably not in a heavily used area where lots of people hang out and socialize. Once you have the space, set up an organizational system. Create a to-do list that prioritizes your workload, and get a filing system going so there are no loose papers floating around. Messy areas tend to overwhelm us and decrease productivity levels dramatically. Save yourself the stress and begin with a fresh start by having everything in order. Desks aren’t necessarily needed, but a place for everything in the room will lessen cleaning maintenance.

 2. Set Some Rules

Get a timer out and allocate the amount of work time before you take a break. Then, during the break, really treat yourself with a cookie or watching a short TV show just to let your mind unwind. Remaining calm and not overly stressed will help you focus. Also, it never hurts to let your roommates know that you’ll be working. If your roommates are nice, they’ll try to be quiet and won’t bother you until you come out of your work cave. Rules might sound like a strict standard to set, but they’re a great way to set guidelines to getting things done!

3. Apartment Décor

How is the lighting? What about the color scheme of your office space décor? The way you decorate, heavily impacts your productivity levels. Boost productivity by opting for lighter colors such as light blues, coral, and yellows to give the apartment a happy & fresh look. A little tip, avoid dramatic colors or patterns that could distract. The point is to find a color that will subtly motivate and not take up your attention. Then, let’s get some light in the office. Lighting sets the mood, and nothing says “get to work” like a lot of light waking you up! Mirrors are great ways of lighting up the room too.

 4. Inspiration -*Cue Rocky theme*

Get motivated and inspired to complete your projects. Before working, read some inspirational quotes and/or listen to music that will get you pumped. One of my favorites lately is Pharrell’s song, “Happy”… it always leaves a huge smile on my face. It’s important to be excited about being productive and knocking a few things off your to do list.

How about you? What do you do to keep you productive at home?

 About the Author: Allie Castillo is a marketing guru for apartments in Gainesville FL. She is a young 20-something professional and recent grad from the University of Florida. During her free time, Allie enjoys playing with her pet Yorkie, traveling, and baking.

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The 5 Most Valuable Lessons Grad School Taught Me

17 Mar

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I honestly can’t believe it. 43 days till I’m done with school… forever!!! There are no words to express how absolutely elated I am. No words at all.  

For the past two years, I’ve been working full time while pursuing my Master in Public Administration degree.

I’ve written paper after paper after paper…

I’ve had more group projects than really necessary…

And I’ve also been sleep-deprived (Dear God I so look forward to getting more sleep.)

So now that this chapter in my life is coming to a close, I thought I’d get drunk and celebrate  reflect on the most important things I’ve learned in Grad School. Because I really have learned a lot.

Not just about my field of study, but about life in general and about my future in the workplace.

And in writing this, I’m really really happy. I’m happy because I DO feel that I’ve learned things.

Two years and way too much money later, it really has been worth it.

1. It’s the quality of your work, not the quantity.

I’ll honestly never understand why some students feel the need to write 20 page papers when the professor asks for 5. I mean, come on… really? 15 extra pages?? Do you have nothing else to do? Some people really think that by writing more pages, they’ll get a better grade. It’s kind of funny actually. Some people think to themselves, “I have no idea what to write this paper about, but if I hand in a really big stack of paper, and write 10 extra pages, I’ll probably get a better grade than someone who hands in 5.” Well…um…it doesn’t work that way.

In both grad school and in the workplace, your teachers and your bosses are more often concerned with the quality of your work rather than the quantity. It’s all about efficiency, people… producing great quality work in the least amount of time. So you can be the student who spends 15 hours on a paper and turns in 15 pages, and yes, gets an A. Or, you could be the student who spends 3 hours on a paper, turns in 5 pages, and ALSO gets an A.

At the end of the day,  who’s more efficient?

It’s no secret that companies want efficient employees. It’s no secret that employers want great-quality work. So if you can find a way to be efficient with your time while still producing great quality, I’d say you’re pretty set in terms of life after college.

2. Importance of time management.

I don’t care if you have the world’s best memory…Nor do I care if you can memorize a whole deck of cards in under a minute. If you don’t have a calendar/planner/phone reminder system, you will fail miserably as an adult.

Like, big time.

Like I mentioned before, these past two years I’ve juggled work, school, my slowly-becoming-non-existent social life, a relationship, a house, crossfit, this blog, and my family.

Miraculously, I’ve managed to keep some of my sanity.

When you get to grown-up status, you realize just how crazy and hectic life becomes.Like, there’s really no time for anything. While in grad school, I’d go to work, then go to school, and by the time I got home, you know what I wanted to do? NOTHING!! Absolutely nothing!

I’ve been living a life of pure exhaustion.

But I’ve certainly found that having a planner helps organize my brain, because without it, I’d have zero idea about what I have to do.

So regardless of how crazy things get, make time-management a priority. It’s super important. Because as you get older, there’s a lot more to your life. More responsibilities, more to remember, more to accomplish. 

But I’m absolutely positive that if you organize yourself you can somehow become a fully-functioning member of society. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

3. Corporate America is very bad at implementing best practices.

This lesson makes me very sad. This lesson also makes me want to punch a giant hole in the wall and the only reason I don’t punch a giant hole in the wall is because I don’t have money to fix it if I did.

But anyway, this lesson that I’ve learned makes me extremely mad. Because I go to school and I read these massive books that are more often than not, quite boring. And then I write paper after paper after paper. And then somehow, throughout that process, I learn things. Through my Public Administration degree, I’ve learned about…you guessed it! Administration! Administration, and leadership, and organizational behavior. I’ve learned about HR practices and what it takes to run a company in the most ethical way possible.

I’ve learned and I’ve studied extensively about what the workplace SHOULD LOOK LIKE.

And then through my work experience, I’ve seen what it REALLY LOOKS LIKE.

Total opposites most of the time.

There’s so much dishonesty in the workplace and there’s a lot of poor leadership. That’s the reality. And it’s hard to deal with in a sense because knowing what I know, there are days when I just want to slap people and say, “Hellooooo?!?!?! What are you doing?!?!?! This is NOT how you’re supposed to do things! That’s not what I learned in my HR class!”

But I don’t slap people at work because that’s also one of the things I learned. You don’t slap people if you want to keep your job.

So what does that mean for us? What does that mean for us recent college grads? It means that we have a lot of work to do. It means that we’re going to see things that we don’t like in the workplace. And really, it’s up to us to do something about it.

Maybe we’re not in the position at this point in our careers to make a huge difference, but one day, when we can make decisions, we’ll need to make the right ones. Because, maybe naively, I still believe that the workplace can be a much better place if we fight for it.

4. People will surprise you.

When you’re in a class that requires you to complete a group project, you spend approximately 5 minutes praying that your group members are smart. So that’s what I did a few months ago and well, my prayer was not answered.

One of my teammates, let’s call her Ashley, had zero interest in the class we were taking. Why do I say that? Well, we had a quiz a few weeks into class and our professor allowed us to use a note card as a “cheat sheet” to write down stuff so we wouldn’t forget.

She was filling out her note card 3 minutes before the quiz.

Let’s see… she also rarely attended class. Then, the day of our group presentation, while our whole group showed up 15 minutes before class…she was late. We almost had to start without her. So obviously, my impression of Ashley was that she was the worst group member ever and that she wasn’t very smart.

A few weeks after our group presentation, we were doing another group project where our goal was to build the tallest structure using marshmallows and spaghetti… one of those team-building, hands-on kind of projects. And as time was almost up, my group had no idea what to do to get the marshmallow to stay at the top of the structure without knocking it down. Point is… Ashley had an idea. And you know what I did with her idea? I didn’t listen to it.

Not a single bit.

Because I had completely written this girl off as my incompetent teammate who shows up late and doesn’t study. So we obviously failed, we didn’t have the tallest structure. And when our professor briefed us on how we could have done better, that same idea Ashley had…that’s what he told us we should have done.

People will surprise you. Good ideas come from anywhere. So you need to be open to listening to them.

5.  Importance of a strong support system.

I’ve had serious panic attacks in the past. Like, I-can’t-breathe-I’m-never-going-to-finish-this-paper-but-it’s-my-own-fault-because-I-procrastinated- panic attacks. They’re not fun. There have been days when I’ve gone to work on 2.5-3 hours of sleep and I look and feel like a  zombie. It’s just like being drunk. Only I’m not drunk because I wasn’t able to go out and drink because I was finishing an assignment.

There have been days when I’ve felt like just quitting half-way. “So what if I’m only 9 credits away from graduation? I’m totally over this.”

And I definitely would have, if I didn’t have such a strong support system in my life.

I have an amazing family that has encouraged me my whole life really, but especially these past two years.  

My boyfriend, who I live with and love like crazy, has endured my mood swings, calmed me down during my panic attacks, and has reminded me that I’m not allowed to stop.

Must. Keep. Going.

So in 43 days when I graduate, I’m going to wear some weird dress/robe thing and I’m going to be handed by diploma, and I’m going to look out into the audience and I’m going to see my family and my boyfriend. And I’m going to feel so eternally grateful to have them in my life. Because without them, I know for a fact that I would have given up. I know that I wouldn’t have made it this far.

Because life in general is just way too crazy and too much for any one person to deal with alone.

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Why You Need to Learn To Get Over It

20 Jan

I think I have  a memory problem.

I mean, I hope I don’t…but I’m a little concerned.

I have a really hard time remembering things that happened yesterday, and sometimes, when other people bring up things from the past, I can’t remember what the heck they’re talking about.

No, I don’t remember going to that party.

No, I don’t remember getting in trouble that night.

Ashley? Who the heck is Ashley?

So as I’m thinking about all of this while praying that I don’t have some kind of early-onset Alzheimer’s, I realize that although this really bad memory of mine is somewhat problematic, it’s also very much a blessing too.

Yea, it kind of stinks when I can’t find my keys.

It’s even worse when I can’t find my work badge.

But if there’s one really positive thing about my memory issue, it’s that I’m really not capable of holding a grudge.

Because I can’t remember that I was mad in the first place.

Or I often forget after a few days.

It’s a beautiful thing, this semi-amnesia.

When I think about it, I know a lot of people that get upset about things and stay upset for a really long time.

Heck- I know some people who’ve been mad their whole lives.

But that’s really not healthy.

The more I experience in my life, the more I realize that conflict is going to happen.

I don’t like it, but it’s a fact.

At some point, you’ll be hurt, and at some point, you’ll hurt someone too.

At some point you’ll be mad at your family, your friends, your boyfriend, your co-workers- your boss, even.

But that anger and that pain… it doesn’t need to hang around forever.

It’s just not good for you.

So if there’s one thing you really ought to learn how to do, it’s how to forgive and forget and move on.

AKA… GET OVER IT.

Because there’s nothing more damaging to your spirit than holding on to anger.

So if you want to be mad, be mad.

But only for a day or two.

After that, pretend it never happened, and you’ll realize just how much lighter you feel.

And that, at the end of the day, will make you much much happier.

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Millennials: Don’t Be Afraid to Operate Solo

19 Dec

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I think we’ve finally accepted it: being in your twenties can be slightly lonely. Lone-ranger status… a lot. I used to be one of those people who needed to be around 50 other people in order to feel happy. But as I’ve grown, I’ve come to absolutely LOVE the time I spend alone. Because we need it- for our sanity. And I also feel super-cool when I can get things done on my own. Today’s guest post from Jessica is perfect, reminding us that there’s nothing wrong with operating solo. Enjoy!

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What they don’t tell you about your twenties – the decade of late nights, traveling, reconnecting with high school friends and indulging in happy hours – is that it can get lonely.

Maybe you’re moved into your first apartment without roommates, or you’ve felt a creeping sense of self-consciousness at weddings and baby showers. Perhaps you’re newly single and feeling like you’re waiting at a stand-still, trying to navigate “real life” after college whilst friends are scoring awesome industry jobs and packing up for a new city. Regardless of the scenario, you’re beginning to realize that not all relationships – romantic or platonic, The Notebook-esque or General Hospital-worthy – will last forever, and that’s okay.

Because you have yourself to keep you company. And if you’re introverted, maybe that’s something you understood back in middle school the summer after your peers returned in September, extra mean and extra pimply. If you’re extroverted, maybe it’s something you’re only just coming to terms with now.

Learning to be comfortable with yourself and your thoughts is an understated and yet highly important skill. Knowing how to relish in “me time” is a serious benefit to your emotional and physical health. Relationships complicate and convolute your inward perspective, but being alone will teach you who you are and what you want; what gets you off and what makes you tick; what breaches your tolerance level and what fuels your passion. Introducing yourself to solo situations now will only help you to thrive in these environments as they crop up more frequently in the future.

Take Care of Yourself

Sure, you learned how to do a load of wash, use the elliptical and prepare a meal that wasn’t purchased in the frozen food section while in college. But did you ever try exercising without a gym or jogging buddy? In your 20’s, you should warm up to the idea of attending a class, taking a walk, or just hitting the gym without a friend, and create a workout routine that doesn’t require the coordination of two schedules. You should also stock your kitchen with all the basic essentials – cookware sets like these from Belgique are super affordable – and get into the habit of preparing a fancy-pants dinner for one. Bonus points if you eat it without the TV on. Every so often, don’t be afraid to venture out on your own to get your nails or hair done, and chat with your beautician instead of asking a friend to tag along.

Travel and Explore

Learn how to hail a cab, and take a train or public transportation on your own after mapping out your destination. Take a solo day trip somewhere. Hop in your car, or rent a Zip Car for the day, and drive out to some location or attraction a few hours from home, and spend the afternoon adventuring and sight-seeing. Take lots of selfies and just be present in the moment, taking in all of the new sights and sounds around you. One day, you may even have the guts to take a vacation alone with just me, myself, and I. Sound intimidating? Thousands of people do it every year, whether “it” means backpacking through South Asia, touring around with a group, or taking off for a few days to grab a tan and engage with the locals.

Socialize

Going out without a designated buddy doesn’t mean maintaining your solitude. If loneliness is what we’re trying to combat, then optimize every opportunity to go out and meet new friends and networks of people – just don’t be afraid to venture out alone initially. Attend a networking event or conference, or an introductory class just for kicks. It can be yoga, pottery, HTML coding, resume building, beer brewing; whatever floats your boat. And if you get asked to a party where you only know the person who invited you, go anyway! Tough it out for a few hours, or at least until everyone has warmed up with liquor, and see if you can’t have a good time with a new crowd.

Go to a movie. Make it a matinee, though, so you can prop your feet up on the chair in front of you and rattle your candy and slurp your Coke as loudly as possible. Accompany yourself to happy hour: dress cute, and bring a book or watch whatever game is playing. The sooner you become comfortable and embrace the ability to go out single, the more you will be able to experience when work, family, and conflicting schedules get in the way of plans.

Nights spent on the couch watching Netflix are comfortably easy, but too many of them will make you resentful and lonely. It’s important to get comfortable with yourself sans distractions in your twenties to help build confidence and develop self-awareness and efficiency. Don’t miss out on life because you’re afraid of operating solo – as you get older, you’ll be spending more and more time alone, and that can be a wonderful thing.

Jessica Herbine is a twenty-something PR and Marketing professional working in Philadelphia. She loves to read, write, attend theater performances, rock concerts, and go out for dinner and drinks. Find her on Twitter at @jessherbs, and follow her blog at http://www.100wpm.wordpress.com!

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5 Life Lessons for Twentysomethings from Lorde’s Royals

18 Nov

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Today I’m thrilled to publish the following guest post written by Lisa Crocco. I’m a huge fan of Lorde, and I love how her music is something that we can all relate to. Have a great week everyone! Hope you like!

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If you haven’t heard the song “Royals” from Lorde (Ella Yelich-O’Connor)- the talented, sixteen year old from New Zealand, then you must not have turned on your radio for weeks. This catchy song has been sung, hummed, covered, and jammed to on repeat enough to hit the top of Billboard Hot 100 chart. Not only is the song super catchy, but its message is also powerful.

When we break down some of the lyrics we can see how Lorde wrote a song that is actually relevant to the majority of our lives.

‘I’m not proud of my address’

Unless your postal code is 90210 chances are at one point or another you have been embarrassed by your hometown.

Let your roots and upbringing push you to make a better life for yourself and get out of your little 236 person run-down town if that’s what you want. Go find someplace to live that makes you finally feel like you are home.

‘We’ll never be royals, it don’t run in our blood’

Unless you get your food served on gold-plated china with a diamond-encrusted spork to match, then you unfortunately weren’t born into a royal family.

We have to work twice, if not three times as hard, since life didn’t hand us that beautiful, beautiful gene that Prince Harry and William have. But just because you might not be royalty it doesn’t mean you lack the opportunity to be great and do wonderful things.

‘We count our dollars on the train’

How many minimum wage jobs can one young person work at once? It seems like nowadays there is so much pressure to earn money and lots of it. We are also expected to make this wad of cash while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, being a community leader, having a social life, and watching marathons on Netflix—we can’t do it all!

So we struggle financially and we suck it up and deal with it. We appreciate the pennies we do have and try to spend wisely while we can…since we have no other choice.

‘We aren’t caught up in your love affair’

Focus on yourself, your goals, and your passions. Ignore the criticisms from those who belittle your ambitions. Don’t get wrapped up in the hype of what everyone else thinks and says is the happening thing to do or be. You will get lost and getting lost is scary.

‘Let me live that fantasy’

There is nothing wrong with living in this little fantasy world that you paint for yourself in your mind. Dream up a life that you have always imagined and then have the courage and determination to make it a reality.

You can be the queen bee.

Lisa Crocco: As a senior at Illinois State University double majoring in Public Relations and Political Science, I hope to one day work on political campaigns as part of the communication team.

I like to think I can speak Swedish, Spanish and sarcasm fluently, but I constantly fail at all three of those. Despite my hectic schedule of blogging, interning and compulsive list-making, I find time to nap, read and watch re-runs of the West Wing.

If you have any questions for me or would love to connect, reach out to me via Twitter or Email.

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Hey, Twenty-Somethings…You Really Don’t Have Much to Lose

18 Jul

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In the spirit of Paul Angone’s new book, 101 Secrets for Your Twenties, I decided to write my own secret, because, well…why not?

If I had to give just one piece of advice to young people everywhere, it would most likely be this…

In your twenties, you don’t have much to lose.

So, you’re a little lost. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Welcome to your twenties!

Are you freaking out yet? Of course you are!

You’ve got tons to do, lots of options, and you don’t know where to start.

You don’t know where to go. You don’t know what to do for a living. You don’t even know, really, who you are.

But it’s a beautiful thing, being lost in your twenties, because in case you haven’t realized…you don’t have much to lose!

Really, you don’t. You’re twenty!

NOW is the time to take risks. NOW is the time to make mistakes. NOW is the time to jump on every opportunity.

Because if you put yourself out there and it doesn’t work out, you can start all over again rather quickly.

Your twenties are a time in your life when you get to discover who you are. You get to decide who you want to be.

And that requires taking chances. That requires making moves that scare you.

But because you’re at the start of your adult life, you haven’t invested all that much. And that makes any risk that you take a little less risky.

So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to new opportunities.

Because you have everything to gain. Yes, everything…

And not that much to lose.

A Book For Every Twenty-Something: 101 Secrets for Your Twenties

15 Jul

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Paul Angone, creator of All Groan Up, just released his first book… 101 Secrets for Your Twenties.

I’ve been following Paul’s blog for a while now, so when I heard about his book, I knew I had to read it ASAP.

Because he’s awesome.

So I DID read it and I’m really glad that I did. I only wish that I had read this 3 years ago…that would have been great.

Below are a few of my favorite “secrets” from the book, and how I feel about them.

#2: The possibility for greatness and embarrassment both exist in the same space. If you’re not willing to be embarrassed, you’re probably not willing to be great.

In order to be great, you’re going to have to take risks. And when you take risks, it’s likely that you’ll fail. And when you fail, it can be really embarrassing. It sucks, I know. But on the flip side, the complete opposite can happen. You can NOT fail and achieve awesome things. So understand this going into any situation and embrace it. Understand that the possibility for embarrassment and greatness go hand-in-hand. And usually, that potential for embarrassment is totally worth it.

#4: Your 20s are about having the courage to write a frightful first draft.

Did you understand what you just read? FIRST draft. Not FINAL PUBLISHED draft. When we’re in our twenties, we tend to think that everything will be perfect. Especially those of us OCD over-achievers.We’re going to graduate college and land our dream jobs and have everything figured out. But that’s not how it happens. In our twenties we just start working on these things. It’s a first draft. Our lives will be tweaked and reviewed and edited to perfection. But that takes time…and it’s okay.

#6: Life will never feel like it’s supposed to.

If there’s one thing that I struggle with, it’s this. I really shouldn’t have watched so many Disney movies growing up. I really shouldn’t have watched ANY movies growing up. Growing up, we’re exposed to movies and books and songs that fool us into believing that life is supposed to feel a certain way. And then, when life doesn’t turn out to be as awesome as we thought it’d be, we’ve severely disappointed. When we find ourselves not working at Facebook or Google, we feel like we’ve somehow failed. But life will never feel like it’s “supposed to”, because there IS NO “supposed to”, because there’s no ONE way to live life. So give up that fantasy and you’ll be a whole lot happier.

#34: Sometimes the most proactive thing you can do is De-Plug.

Turn it off. Everything. Phone. Computer. Ipad. Ipod. Everything. Go take a nap.

You need some time to be alone with your thoughts. You need some time to think. Or not think. Whatever you want to do. Sometimes you just need to unwind so that you can rest and catch up. And when you do this, you’ll find yourself with a lot more energy.

#36: Your 20s might be less about finding out what you want to do, and more about finding what you DO NOT want to do.

You don’t know exactly what you want to do. Congratulations! Welcome to the club. I am the president. I may not have an exact idea of what I want to do, but I definitely have an idea of the kinds of things I DO NOT want to do. And I’ve learned that over the course of the past four years. With every job that I’ve taken, I’ve come closer to understanding what I want to do with my life. But I’ve only understood that by trying different things. By experimenting with different opportunities, I’ve discovered that there are a certain things that I DO NOT LIKE and DO NOT WANT TO DO. And for that, I am thankful.

So try things. Try lots of things. And figure out if you like them. Every time you discover something that you DON’T like, you’re that much closer to narrowing down your interests and figuring out what you DO want to do.

If you want to read more secrets, you can buy Paul’s book on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.

I’m not even kidding. Every 20-something needs this book! So if you know anyone in their twenties, buy it for them. If you have no money or just don’t like them enough to spend money on them, tell them about it. Because it’ll make a difference in their life!

When we’re in our twenties, we kind of have no clue what we’re doing.

That’s obvious.

BUT THIS WILL HELP!

Paul is a great writer who offers down-to-earth, no-BS advice for anyone who’s feeling a little lost and confused.

So do yourself a favor and take the time to read it.

It’s a quick read, and could very likely save you years of therapy.

And in case you’re not aware, therapy is VERY expensive.

***Paul and his publisher have been nice enough to host a give-away of the book on this site. Leave a comment below for a chance to win a free copy of 101 Secrets for Your Twenties.

Procrastination In Our Twenties & Why We Need To End It

27 Jun
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I save EVERYTHING for the last possible minute.
 
And so the award for world’s biggest procrastinator goes to…ME!
 
It’s a terrible habbit, I know.
 
But I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re all kind of procrastinators. It almost seems as if society’s making the very act of procrastination quite acceptable.
 
Especially for us twenty-somethings.
 
We’re told a lie repeatedly…here it goes…
 
There’s plenty of time!  Don’t be in a rush!
 
We’re in our twenties…we have our whole lives ahead of us…no need to be in a hurry.
 
But here’s the thing…
 
When we think that we have plenty of time, we tend to do nothing.
 
Think about it…when we know that we have a week before that paper is due, we sit at home watching 100 episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Imagine what happens when whe think that we have our WHOLE LIVES to do something, with no deadline in sight. At what point do we actually get up and write that paper? At what point do we actually start?
 
Think about all the ideas you’ve ever had.
 
How many of them have you actually made happen?
 
When I graduated college, I had so many dreams. I had so many ideas.
 
 I had so much that I wanted to accomplish.
 
And even today, there are still so many things that I say I want to do.
 
Write a book.
 
Take a month-long vacation to Europe.
 
Change careers.
 
But for how long have I been saying that I want to do these things?
 
For a LONG TIME.
 
And yet, nothing’s happened.
 
Because I keep convincing myself that I have my whole life to do these things.  
 
***
  
So at what point do we stop with all the talk and actually make things happen?
 
I really hope it’s soon.
 
Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade, argues the same principle in her book, which I highly recommend to anyone in their twenties. Basically, she argues that people in their twenties have been convinced by society that it’s okay to delay adulthood. 30 is the new 20! 40 is the new 30! So does that mean that we get an extra 10 years to do nothing? Because I’m not a fan of that.
 
We’ve been programed to think that we don’t have to make decisions. Not now, at least. We don’t have to start thinking about marriage. We don’t have to start thinking about a serious career. We don’t have to start thinking about buying a house. And why? Because we have our whole lives to think about those things!
 
Well, how about we actually start living our lives? How about we actually start making decisions?
 
How about we actually start making things happen?
 
Because yes, it’s a lot easier to procrastinate.
 
It’s a lot easier to relax, and watch How I Met Your Mother.
 
But if you don’t start making moves now, you’re going to regret it later.
 
You’ll wake up 10 years from now and you’ll realize that all those things you wanted to do…you haven’t done them.
 
And that trip you wanted to take… you haven’t taken it.
 
And you’ll be sad.
 
Because you’ll feel like you’ve wasted a whole lot of time.
 
Then, you’ll get discouraged.
 
Then slowly, and sometimes even without realizing it, you’ll give up on your dreams.
 
Then slowly, you’ll accept that you never accomplished those things that you once wanted so badly.
 
So let’s not let that happen.
 
Stop procrastinating, and get to it.
  
Those things that you want, you can have them.
 
What’s stopping you?
 
makethingshappen

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Prepare For Career Success

4 Jun

Prepare2

This weekend I went shooting.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t that bad.

I didn’t shoot myself by accident…so pretty much, I did much better than I expected.

It’s not something I do every day, but I’m glad I did it.

Because for a long time, I’ve been scared of guns. Terrified, really.

And for that reason, I never thought I’d actually pick one up and shoot it.

But I figured that if I ever (God forbid) find myself in a situation where I DO need to know how to shoot to defend myself, I’ll be a lot more successful if I’m comfortable with the basic concepts, having practiced a few times at the shooting range.

I figured that I’d feel a bit more PREPARED.

And that being prepared would ultimately give me a huge advantage.

Because that’s the thing about preparation. It DOES often give you a huge advantage.

And it can make a world of a difference.

Observing people, I’ve seen that there are way too many college graduates that enter the workforce completely unprepared.

However, every once in a while you’ll find a few who are prepared.

Not ENTIRELY prepared, because let’s face it…most of the time we have no idea what we’re doing.

But some graduates know better…some graduates enter new jobs with a basic understanding of work.

How to dress…

E-mail etiquette…

Professional behavior…

How to deal with people who are different

How to deal with people who are mean…

These are all concepts that I guess some people just tend to take for granted.

Because these days, most universities offer ONE HUNDRED MILLION THOUSAND courses and classes all aimed at helping college students prepare for the real world.

They’re all aimed at making sure that college graduates are successful in the workforce

And well…that’s kind of nice.

But unfortunately, a lot of people think that these sessions are stupid.

Confession: I used to be one of those people who thought the sessions were stupid.

I used to think…I’ll figure it out when I get there.

I used to think…Why waste my time in college preparing for my first real job when I have a million other things to deal with?

But the value of these courses shouldn’t be overlooked.

And if they’re offered to you for FREE, I’m going to punch you in the face if you don’t take advantage of them.

Because you’ll ALWAYS learn something that you didn’t know before.

ALWAYS…as long as you’re willing to listen.

And at the end of the day, that preparation will give you a huge advantage.

That preparation will set you apart from the rest.

That preparation will ensure that you’re successful.

Because just like me and my ability to shoot a gun…you’ll be more comfortable with certain concepts if:

a. you’re familiar with them

b. you’ve practiced, and

c. you’re not caught off-guard.

So if you can, give them a shot. What do you have to lose?

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Oprah’s Advice For New Grads

31 May

I’m such a sucker for commencement speeches.

I could really just sit and watch them all day.

But I don’t.

Because I have a job and have to work.

And be productive.

Regardless, here’s the latest one I’ve watched.

Oprah addresses the Harvard graduating class of 2013.

And anything that has to do with Oprah can’t be bad.

So if you have some time this weekend, watch it (You can start around minute 8).

Let me know what you think! 🙂

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