9/17/17

4 Way to Make Yourself Productive Throughout the Day



4 Ways to Make Yourself Productive Throughout the Day

Americans are working machines. According to a recent Inc. 500 survey, 85 percent of CEOs representing today's fastest-growing companies work 10 or more hours a day. Meantime, the output of goods and services per hours worked grew by about 74 percent between 1973 and 2013.
Yet, despite all that, it's apparently still hard for people to get things done. Recently, a productivity-tracking company noted that just half of all people's to-do lists are completed within a day, while 41 percent are never completed at all. Indeed, there is no "limitless" pill for productivity; there's no magic cure or special trick, either. However, there are some common sense, science-backed approaches you can take to get stuff done.

1. Master Your Morning (or Night)

In What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, author Laura Vanderkam polled 20 executives, with 90 percent of them admitting they get up every day before 6 a.m. These successful business people also cited habits like exercise, meditation and spending time on a passion project as a means to "get away" before more easily accomplishing their goals.
These approaches also fall in line with research conducted by biologist Christopher Randler, who has published a study indicating a correlation with waking up early and being productive. Think about it: If you have the opportunity to wake up before the kids, head into work early, and get some important stuff done, you've likely crossed off a number of to-dos that otherwise would not have been accomplished — at least in terms of time and efficiency.
But merely thinking that waking up early will solve your problems is a non-starter. This likely isn't an option for millions of Americans, and plenty of successful people are night owls, anyway. Now consider a second study that found volunteers exhibit greater creativity during the time of day they find most optimal. In the end, whether you're a morning person or night owl, determine the hours when you can be the most productive and creative.

2. Take Time to Nap (or Sleep)

Just as people carve out time to be productive, many others make it a point to set aside time every day to nap. For instance, Dr. Sara Mednick developed a nap wheel based on someone's typical wake-up time and proclaimed the "ultimate nap" time occurs when someone's REM and slow-wave sleep cycles are equally proportioned.
Now, if you can't find time throughout the day to take a quick nap, the next most important thing is to ensure you get enough sleep. A study conducted by Rand Corp., indicated the U.S. workforce is losing 1.2 million working days per year at a cost of approximately $411 billion due to employees getting a lack of sleep.
If you need another reason to get the proper amount of sleep, consider another finding from the study: Someone who sleeps less than six hours per night has a 13 percent higher mortality rate compared to someone who gets between seven and nine hours of sleep.

3. Practice the Pomodoro Technique

Of course, you can strive to be more productive without changing your sleeping habits. For instance, consider the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method developed in the late 1980s by Italian university student Francesco Cirillo. The premise is simple: People set a timer to break down work into more desirable time intervals — usually around 25 minutes — which are then separated by short breaks. The idea is to eliminate burnout and work more efficiently. It works like this:
1.     Identify a task you consider a top priority.
2.     Set a timer for any desirable time period.
3.     Work on the task.
4.     Eliminate all distractions, like answering emails and phone calls.
5.     Work until the timer dings.
6.     Take a 20- to 30-minute break every 100 minutes (this equates to four Pomodoro sessions).
The technique is said to help you understand how much time and effort it takes to complete a task. In the end, all it takes is using the timer on your trusty smartphone and developing a list of tasks you hope to check off. If you're going to use your smartphone, make sure to set it up to filter our unwanted calls; for example, the LG G6 can identify numbers not stored in your contact list and alert you when an incoming call may be spam.

4. Factor in Temperature and Lighting

There's yet another factor that has a huge impact on productivity: your working environment. Lighting, temperature, comfort and more all play into workplace efficiency. Just ask anyone who has to bring an extra sweater to the office in order to survive the frigid AC, or someone in a hot cubicle who elects to have their fan on full blast. These temperatures matter, though.
A Cornell study indicated employees make 44 percent more mistakes when their office thermostat is set at 68 degrees versus a more optimal setting. As a freelancer or solopreneur, this type of thing is easy to regulate and it's also becoming more manageable for regular employees, too. In fact, Comfy allows its employees to regulate the office thermostat.

Additionally, natural light is said to not only make you more productive, but also more happy, healthy and calm. One study exposed a group of participants to daylight and another group to artificial light during the daytime hours. The results? Those who were exposed to daylight were more alert in the evening. Ultimately, when it comes to brightening your office, find some useful ways to incorporate more natural light into your work environment.

9/11/17

Lilysilk: Wardrobe Essentials


My style and design aesthetic has evolved over time. I no longer shop and create based on trends.  Don't get me wrong, I do still like a good trend, but it no longer is my motivation for purchasing clothing.  I now make more informed purchases and  look for classic silhouettes made from high quality materials like 100% silk. It's a sustainable and practical approach to shopping. I look for versatile pieces the I can wear for all types of occasions and pair with other items in my closet. I was happy to partner with Lilysilk who meets these expectations and then some. They not only offer beautifully made, high quality clothing from 100% silk but also at affordable prices.  They have all your wardrobe essentials like silk camis, collared shirt, even bedding, sleepwear and more.  P.S. Great gift ideas for bridal parties and holidays!  Here are a few of my favorites.


The Lilysilk Cami is a wardrobe essential.  This cami comes in basic colors and has a great shape (not too long or short).  Made with the finest %100 silk.  It's a stand alone piece but also perfect combo for pairing with jackets and sweaters. 


The Peplum Hem Silk Shift Dress is the perfect LBD. Yes, it's darling! The flounce sleeves and peplum hemline give this "little black dress" a feminine twist.  It's modest enough for day wear and can be styled with heels for special occasions. Even add a pair of jeans underneath as a tunic.


The V-Neck Blouse I call my "go to." It's the perfect transitional piece to go from work day to evening attire. It's a year round essential and offered in many different colors and collar details. This indigo blue is my favorite. 

  Shop more of the Lilysilk Womens Collection here. Please use coupon code: trashtocouture for 16% off women's clothing and comment "#eyemaskgift at checkout to receive a free eye mask with purchase at LilySilk.

* In Collaboration with Lilysilk.

9/8/17

DIY: Grommet Sweatshirt Refashion


If you've been following Trash to Couture for awhile now then you know I love an edgy update using Dritz Eyelet Tools and Fashion Grommets amongst their other products.  Some of my top DIY projects feature these.  I was thrilled to partner with Dritz again on this original sweatshirt update.  I usually prefer their Eyelet Pliers but they just released the Fashion Grommet Tools and Fashion Grommets that make it easy to create projects like this.  You can also apply the grommets anywhere on the project and not just on the edges.  Initially,  I was nervous to try the tool sets because it required a hammer but after practicing with a couple it was the easiest and most efficient way to apply them to the garment.  You can also get these products in all different sizes and colors because one is just not enough!  Follow the tutorial below to update a basic sweatshirt into this fashion-forward look. 


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DIY details below:

9/5/17

DIY Camera Case


I was putting together my September content and on the list was a bag tutorial. I was thinking a bit too hard about this project because I didn't want to make another bag tutorial. Then I had an "aha" moment as I was taking photos for a post. What DIY project do I use everyday that's a bag? My camera case! I've been using an up-cycled case (from a coat sleeve) I designed and it's protected my camera for years through all the travel, kids, photoshoots, etc. So I partnered Sulky Threads to design this pattern and tutorial to share with you and of course add some embroidery into the mix. It's not southern after all if it isn't monogrammed. :)

 If you take photos and own a nice camera you will want one of these. If you're like me, I don't want to be carrying some huge case around but also need some sort of protective cover that I can use on the go.  I even made an army print one for my husband as he usually takes my finished photos.  I travel with this in my carry-on and just love how well it protects my camera and lens. Which as a blogger a camera is one of the most important things you need. 

Follow the step-by-step tutorial below and sew your own camera case. 

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DIY Tutorial:

8/28/17

DIY: Button Down to Bomber Jacket

I got a crazy response in regard to this refashioned blouse into a bomber jacket. It's exactly how I did the men's shirt upcycle "Button Down to Bomber" tutorial here.  Full video is here as well...

I actually was going to give this blouse away and before leaving for my "It's Sew Easy TV" taping I whipped it up so I could wear it on set for the episode on "Button Down to Bomber."

It fit me perfect so all I had to do was add the rib knit from Organic Cotton Plus and Coats & Clark 20" zipper.  I will be showing this on "It's Sew Easy TV" in full detail so I'll let  you know when that airs as well.

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8/22/17

DIY: Embroidery Fabric Basket & Wall Tapestry


Since moving to our new home this past month, I've been getting into home decor projects.  Being from Colorado I really want to incorporate that western style into our home in Georgia.  Which brings me to the Cacti Collection from OESD. The collection is 3 unique designs featuring the prickly plant. The cactus reminds me of the desert mountains of Colorado, a symbol of home away from home. These designs are also cute additions to t-shirts, sweatshirts, denim, and more. 

We came up with some great back to school projects you can make with these Cactus embroidery designs. Add some fun to your space with a wall tapestry or customize fabric baskets for a visually appealing way to organizing. 

Below I show you how to create a fabric basket which is perfect for storage from fabric scraps, supplies, and even clothing items (socks, scarves, etc.).  Then add an embroidered wall tapestry to personalize your space. 


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DIY tutorial:

8/3/17

DIY Shibori Dyed Kimono




Do you remember a few posts back when I shared my yearly Shibori with Indigo post using Jacquard Products Indigo Tie Dye Kit? You can see the full post here.  It was to date my favorite outcome of all my dye sessions.  While dyeing I cut out a traditional kimono pattern using Organic Cotton Plus's White Sateen.  The feel and sheen of the fabric was perfect for this kimono.  I loved how vibrant the Indigo dye came through on the natural fibers. Well, I finally had a chance after moving to sew the pieces together.  Still in time for summer! The kimono is a versatile piece that can be worn as a cover up at the pool or a statement piece for an evening out.  You can alter the pattern to be longer and/or wider.  The sashes add fit and can be tied in either the front or back.  See how to sew your own kimono in the steps below! 

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