Working from Home and Keeping Your Sanity

Working from Home and Keeping Your Sanity

When I had a scheduled job that I went to everyday Monday through Friday I would often say, “I can’t wait until I can just wake up and write, nothing else.” I couldn’t wait for those work from home days where I could just sit in my PJ’s and write or get dressed up just to go sit in a cafe and type like one of those hipster kids. I thought it was going to be sunny days, outfit of the day posts, free as a bird in the spring and summer. I thought the winter was going to be cozy and easy and relaxed, working from home, but I didn’t anticipate becoming a couch potato, nor was I prepared for the constant cabin fever outbreaks. I wasn’t prepared for the endless…or what felt like endless days since my schedule was completely flexible, and I wasn’t prepared to lose days of the week since Mondays felt like Tuesdays and Tuesdays felt like Fridays and Fridays felt like Wednesdays…you get the point. Don’t get me wrong, working from home has it’s pluses until you find yourself calling upon the Justice League to help you fight the laziness that’s holding you captive in bed. It’s easy to lose motivation, to not feel like doing anything at any given moment and it’s easy to find yourself on the brink of insanity in the walls of your home. So I had to think outside the box to come up with some things to keep me sane when working from home.

Create a creative space that’s conducive to creativity. 

Modern creative workspace on yellow wall.

How’s that for some dope alliteration? But I found that working from home was most unproductive for me when done in my bedroom. A bedroom is a place associated with rest and relaxation and I always found myself sprawled out on my bed lounging and aimlessly surfing the web more than I was being productive. So I went out and got a little table and a nice accent chair and decorated a nice space with colors and art to keep me motivated and away from my bed. It also gives me something to look forward to because I’m excited to sit in my colorful chair in my colorful corner. *sings* “in my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be…” Of course Brandy sung it better.

Get A Change of Scenery

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I spent the past week in Baltimore visiting and touring the city with my significant other, but work had to continue because deadlines were still approaching. Even though I was working on the same content, I felt a fresh sense of renewal doing it from another city in another state. I sat by the harbor jotting notes in my Moleskine while taking in the scenery of the harbor, I toured the inside of an art museum, I walked a college campus and I was also a couch potato in someone else’s house, but the point is changing locations even if it’s as small and simple as walking to the local cafe, coffee shop or library or sitting in a park can make all the difference in boosting creativity, motivation and certainly combating cabin fever.

Step Away from the CPU…and nobody gets hurt!

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No, but seriously in the words of OutKast, you got to get up, get out and get moving. Sometimes cabin fever comes when we refuse to unglue ourselves from our screens. You find yourself having a brain fart and writer’s block and you’re just stuck. The best way to remedy that is to close the laptop, put the computer on hibernate and go do something else for a bit. Finish a workout DVD, fold some laundry, catch up on a missed show episode, make you some lunch or better go and buy you some lunch, take a walk, call a friend, etc. Sometimes you just need a mental break.

Create a routine

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If you didn’t have a 9-5 schedule at an office job and you were told to work around the clock would you? No? So why do it at home? Even though you’re working from home and can do so whenever you please as long as deadlines are being met, that doesn’t mean you work all day. Create a routine and set a specific amount of time aside for work just like you would at a regular office job including lunch and bathroom breaks. When the work day is over, the work day is over.

Captured Memories & Missed Moments

Captured Memories & Missed Moments

4E37FCD4-AC3D-42AB-A4C0-06840559D13DI had such a vivid dream last night. I was in an auditorium with a bunch of people I’ve met throughout my life: childhood friends, college friends, sorority sisters, co-workers from different jobs, etc. and we were all waiting on something. Something big. It was President Obama and he was coming to speak to apparently a bunch of students at an elementary school, but we were all there. As soon as he entered the auditorium, applause, screams, and cheers erupted. Everyone rushed to him for handshakes, hugs and selfies. I was one of those people, but when it was my turn, I couldn’t get my camera to work properly. The battery had died on me. So I pulled out my camera phone, but the memory was too full and no matter how much I deleted pictures and created memory space, it was still too full. Getting frustrated and feeling rushed, I pulled out another camera phone and whenever I pressed the camera app, it wouldn’t open. It kept crashing. So at this point, I’m getting anxious, the line is moving, my time is almost up so I’m begging people to use their cameras, camera phones, iPads, whatever so that I can take a picture with the President to post on social media. It was an epic fail. I did not get that picture with President Obama. I didn’t have a conversation with him. Nothing because I was too busy trying to literally capture the moment rather than create a lasting memory, gain some wisdom and make a connection. When I woke up this morning that epiphany dawned on me like cracking open a fortune cookie. I thought about how many times in my life I had done this.

How many times have I missed the marked? How many times have I missed out on a good connection, a teachable moment, and a lesson learned because I was too busy trying to capture the moment without making any memories? Think about it, we go to a fancy restaurant with an awesome person (maybe a date or a really good friend) and our plate comes and it’s this beautifully plated meal that we just have to capture. While we’re trying to set the table up to capture the beautiful set  up, our food is getting cold and our date is disinterested. We spend the rest of the date checking our notifications, seeing who’s liking what we’re eating and although we are paying attention to our date, they don’t have our undivided attention.

How many times have you gone to a networking event and didn’t network as much as you could have because you were taking selfies with others and speakers rather than creating conversation?

It’s like hey, I’m here and I want you to know that I’m here, but am I reeeaaaally here? Am I fully present in the moment?

The point is, be present in everything that you do. Put the phone down and make a real connection beyond finding people on social media. If you do meet someone on social media, reach out the them to meet in person if you’re in the same area. Make some new memories.

If Only Life Were Always Like A Box of Yogi Tea

If Only Life Were Always Like A Box of Yogi Tea

Don’t you just love when you open up a box of Yogi tea and the pleasant aromas just come springing out? Opening up a packet of tea has the same equivalent of cracking open a fortune cookie and reading the fortune or reading the cap of a Snapple bottle. You can always guarantee that you’ll read a quote that is inspiring and uplifting.IMG_3894

Yesterday, I had to be reminded of my blessings. These days those reminders are coming more often than I would like, but I found myself briefly slipping into a state of depression and I thank God for the friends and family that I do have because they immediately reach down and yanked me out. One of my best friends sent me a message from Joel Osteen that read “If you’re not content in the process then you’ll never be satisfied.” 

My boyfriend preached a mini sermon to me and literally counted out every single blessing transpiring in my life. He had to lay it all out on the table for me to see. Everything that I want, it’s on its way. I just need to learn patience. I expressed to him that probably since graduating from college in 2012, there has never just been an extremely long period of peace in my life. I’ll get settled into something only for a single event to just shake it all up.

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But before all of that came my Yogi Tea bag message that read: “Happiness comes from contentment.” I thought how do I find this happiness…how do I find the contentment when I’m uncomfortable? It’s like Martin said, “Love’s in your face.” It is literally in my face every time I open up my eyes to let me know I’m alive another day. It’s in my face every time my boyfriend texts me or FaceTime me to see how my day is going. It’s in my face every time my friends texts me because I know there are people who genuinely care. It’s in my face with every annoying and frustrating work email that I answer and deadline that I meet because someone believes in my writing that much to give me a chance.

I’m already a tea addict and I have a cabinet stocked full of Yogi Tea and I’m pretty sure I’ll be drinking it much more often because I’d like my life to be big ball of inspiration like a box of Yogi Tea.

10 Things to Know When Dating a Creative

10 Things to Know When Dating a Creative

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Dating a creative can be quite the adventure, but only if you avail yourself to experience it. Dating a creative can also require a lot of patience and TLC when necessary. As a creative, there are specific wants and needs that we have that might different from a “normal” relationship because at times we are far from normal and that’s not such a bad thing, but if you are dating a creative, if you’re attracted to one and is thinking of pursuing it, here are some things you should know beforehand.

We Love Spontaneity. 

Seriously if we wanted to date a Grandpa Joe or a Grandma Jane we could’ve just went to a nursing home. As a creative, routine and predictability are slow killers to our vibes. Our sense of adventure is much like our thought process, sporadic and unplanned. We get bored with the same thing day in and day out and often need an escape to get our creative juices flowing again. We love surprises and to be able to just get up and go do something fun without hesitation.

Simple, Creative Dates Trump Traditional, Expensive Ones.

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Even though we like spontaneity, that doesn’t mean we’re materialistic. We’d actually prefer a simple and creative date over a traditional and expensive one. Rather than going out to a fancy restaurant for brunch or lunch, we’d prefer a picnic at a park or near a harbor. Rather than taking us to the movies we’d prefer going to a free movie night in the park if the weather is permitting. We love free concerts and music festivals. We love flea markets and thrifting. We love when the person we are dating can think outside the box because we often live life outside the box.

We Value Space. 

Sometime you might find us in a creative bubble where we completely tune everything out. We might not text you or call you or see you for a day or two. Sometimes we need a clear and creative space to do what we do. We aren’t avoiding you, but unless you’re a creative yourself and we can bound ideas back and forth we’d prefer to be left alone. We’d prefer you leave us in our creative fog and don’t try to disturb us.

Late Night are Inevitable. 

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Our college days are over, but pulling all-nighters certainly aren’t. There was a time when I had a regular job that I went to everyday. I would get home around 8pm every night and rather than going to bed, I would open up my laptop and just write. I would be up until three in the morning. Sometimes I wouldn’t go to sleep at all. It comes with the territory. There are times when I’ll be in bed and an idea will come to be and force me to get up. The goal usually is to get it out of our mind and on to paper before we forget it.

Emotions Are Everything. 

One of the things that come with being a creative or a deep thinker is that when we feel things…we REALLY feel them and it is often fuel for another poem, song, article, painting, story, etc. We don’t just feel things, we experience them. We sit in it, they consume us. So be prepared to deal with an array of emotions.

We are Scatterbrains.

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Sometimes we’re messy and you’ll have to clean up after us. Sometimes we forget to make that phone call. Sometimes we forget to respond to an important email. Sometimes we forget we were supposed to meet you somewhere. Sometimes we forget our thoughts mid-sentence. It’s not that we don’t care or that we have a disregard for others, our minds are literally on 100 all the time. So be prepared to give us reminders and repeat yourself often. Sorry.

We Didn’t Ask for Your Opinion Until We Ask For Your Opinion.

Keep in mind we’re artist and we sensitive bout our ish so unless we ask for your opinion please save the bootleg art critiques. Don’t tell us how to write our stories, don’t tell us how to paint a portrait, don’t tell us how we should sing that song UNLESS we asked you to.

Big Kid Moments Happen Often.

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Telling us we need to grow up often falls on deaf ears. What fun is life if you’re not getting a little silly and immature? We play too much, we enjoy laughter. We enjoy being kiddie at times. Sometimes we like to sit and watch the Adventure Time marathon. Don’t rain on our parade just because you prefer to be a prude.

We Follow Our Gut. 

We might say one thing, but end up doing a completely different thing because following our gut is telling us to. It’s just something we do. Being an artist and a creative is about taking a risk, often again societal norms and expectations.

Don’t Make Us Choose.

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Photo Cred: Arnold Butler IG: @ab2ether

Do NOT give us an ultimatum. Do not force us to choose between what we create and you because that is a battle you will lose every time.

Are You Living or Are You Existing?

Are You Living or Are You Existing?

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I woke up this morning with a heart full of gratitude. I thought about all of the doors that are opening for me. I thought about my purpose and the passion that I’ve been chasing. Truth is, everything that I’ve been doing is coming full circle from my desire to work with teens and teen girls and my desire to be a writer…the webs are connecting. Finally. So I took an opportunity recently as a full-time high school teacher with KIPP NJ. I figured it would definitely help my writing and speaking skills, it would most certainly help me to understand a huge portion of my audience when it comes to the books I have prepared: teens, and it wouldn’t hurt to be able to fund those published author dreams in the process. Yes, I am still writing for Madame Noire, Upscale Magazine and editing for Black Girl Magik, so imagine the stretching that’s about to take place come September. Yikes!

I see often on social media “I know I wasn’t born to just pay bills and die.” My question is…what are you doing in your life so that you aren’t JUST paying bills and aging? Ask yourself are you really living or just existing and what can you do so that you can fully start to appreciate your life in it’s entirety? For me, it lied in financial security and freedom. I am literally a starving artist. My plate is always full, but my bank accounts are also always near empty and I knew that in order to fully embrace my life again as I had when I was in Newark…I had to change my perspective on things. I quit my job in October 2015 because I hated it there. I was at a place that only allowed me to exist and trying to live often left me broke and hungry. So I figured, hey I’m going to pursue this writing thing full time…in the meantime until I finally figure out my place. Well, I found it…let the living commence!!

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Anyway, lately I’ve been connecting with some pretty awesome and inspiring people who dream beyond their 9-5’s, but who also know that they need their 9-5’s in order to live their dreams. One guy, in particular, named Stephen talked to me about his daily checklist and how he holds himself accountable in all aspects of his life. As he was talking, I found myself writing down what he was saying. I wrote down every question on his daily checklist and I thought for someone who realizes they are existing and wish to start living, this is a great place to start.

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Now, these questions might do absolutely nothing for you, but the most important thing is that you’re asking questions about your life because when you ask questions it means that you’re curious and when you’re curious it means that there is still room for growth and when you’re growing, you’ll never find yourself in the same spot every single day existing.

Are you living or are you existing? Are you dancing or are you holding up the wall?

 

 

Manifesting an Abundance Mentality

Manifesting an Abundance Mentality

Some days I wonder if what I’m doing is really impacting others. Some days I wonder what am I even doing? When I started blogging and working on my book two years ago I was excited about the possibilities. I just knew that I would someday gain a wide audience and become this inspirational person to the masses. Two years later it seems like everyone’s a blogger now and everyone’s writing self-published books now and there are times when I want to just stop because I feel like what I’m doing is no more significant than what everyone else is doing. Has anybody else found themselves feeling this way?

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So last week, I had the opportunity to interview trichologist and natural hair educator Dr. Kari Williams for Upscale Magazine. We talked a lot about the black hair industry and how it’s an extremely lucrative business to go into for someone who’s interested in entrepreneurship. We discussed how so many women and men are turning to the industry as side hustles to make a few extra dollars a month. We discussed the word “oversaturated” and how it’s often used to describe certain work fields that are producing the most jobs and competition. I asked her for a bit of advice she’d give someone building a brand or looking to be an entrepreneur when they feel like they just can’t get their foot in the door of an “oversaturated” industry.

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She talked about how the first thing everyone needs to do is have an abundance mentality. She said if you walk into something feeling defeated or you allow defeat to creep in you’ve already lost before you’ve even allowed yourself to win. I keep replaying that comment over and over again in my head whenever I feel like just dropping everything. I had never heard of “abundance mentality” before. She explained to me that it’s the logic that there is enough for everyone and what you have is different because it’s coming from you. It’s original and that’s what makes it different.

What is “Abundance Mentality”

The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.

So how do I manifest an abundant mentality?

There are a lot of ways you can shift your mindset. The first is by having gratitude. Rather than focusing on what you don’t have, think about everything that you do have. Water your own grass and stop looking at how green someone else’s is. Stop comparing yourself to others, their harvesting process is different from yours.

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As a kid you’re parents should have taught you that sharing is caring. Well that’s another way to manifest an abundance mentality. By sharing with others it creates a healthy habit that we can all share a piece of the pie. We can all pull up a chair to the feast. There is enough for all of us so don’t be stingy. Share.

Resources are not scarce and believing things are ushers in greed, closes off connections and is draining. You’ll constantly feel like you have to be keeping up with someone or something. You’ll feel this jealous often. You’ll have this rushed process because if someone take a bigger piece of the pie then that leaves hardly anything for you so now it’s about getting the bigger piece.

She spoke it to me in terms of hair care and as if someone was aspiring to be a hair stylist. She said, “there is enough hair in this world for every stylist to have a seat. People can do but so much hair in one day before it’s time to let someone else in so that you can rest.” Apply that same logic to what you’re doing. Perspective is everything.