Briana Morgaine

Image via Unsplash.

I’ve been on a bit of a minimalism kick lately.

It all started with my interest in the idea of a capsule wardrobe. From there, I read the unbelievably-popular book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Ever since, I’ve been on a mission to declutter all my spaces, take stock of what I own, and carefully assess what things I bring into my home.

One of the hardest areas to declutter, however, has been my office. From piles of papers littering my desk to disorganized folders and endless cords (seriously—I can’t count the amount of times I found myself wondering, “What does this cord even go to?”), my office space was in serious need of decluttering.

[click to continue…]

{Leave a comment}

Briana MorgaineBriana Morgaine

Image via Unsplash.

As someone who works from home, I live my life according to my own ability to successfully plan and budget my time.

After all, I don’t have a boss looking over my shoulder, or an office full of coworkers. In terms of my day to day, there isn’t the usual accountability factor that an office setting can provide.

So, it falls on me to motivate myself to get things done and be productive. I’m generally successful on my own; after all, I’ve figured out my own personal “user manual,” and I’m pretty good at being productive from a home office.

But, there are some days when I really need that extra push.

[click to continue…]

{2 comments}

Briana MorgaineBriana Morgaine

Image via Unsplash.

We all have our own idea of what makes a successful entrepreneur.

While this conception may vary person to person, certain aspects remain constant: high intelligence, the ability to persevere in the face of adversity, a passion for what they do, a sense of fearlessness, the ability to adapt quickly, and so on.

These are the types of traits that spring to mind first—the quintessential smart, strong-willed, unfailingly confident entrepreneur, blazing his own trail.

No doubt about it, these are important qualities to have. But realistically, while they matter, they might not be the end-all, be-all when it comes to successful entrepreneurship—and they may not be indicative of long-term success, either.

[click to continue…]

{3 comments}

Briana MorgaineBriana Morgaine

Image via Unsplash.

This morning, I decided to walk to the coffee shop down the street. When I got there, I decided to have a cup of coffee and a bagel. Those decisions shaped my morning, as did all the other small decisions I’ve made up until this moment.

Our daily lives are the cumulative effect of hundreds of small decisions.

These decisions encompass everything from what you chose to wear today, to where you’re eating for lunch. Generally speaking, decisions like this come fairly easily, and we rarely agonize over the small choices we make throughout our daily lives.

However, some decisions carry enough weight that the prospect of simply making a choice can feel like a huge undertaking. The decision to quit your job and start your own business, choosing to hire additional team members, taking on a new, difficult project—the decisions entrepreneurs face are often very difficult to make, and involve careful consideration.

[click to continue…]

{2 comments}

Briana MorgaineBriana Morgaine

Image via Unsplash.

Confession time:

I’ve never pulled a work-related all-nighter.

I went my entire academic career never cramming for a test, or staying up until 3 am to finish a paper. I don’t personally know the feeling of seeing the sun gently creep above the horizon as I work, frantically, to finish a project.

Now, part of that can be put down to the fact that (at the risk of sounding cocky) I have cultivated decent time management skills. It’s also based on the fact that I have a very clearly defined sense of when, where, and how I am most functional.

When it comes to working at night (and especially if it involves extensive research, writing, or critical thought—all things that both my work and my university experience demanded of me in spades) I am essentially useless. Once 7 pm hits, I am no longer capable of producing good quality work. Evenings, for me, are for socializing, errands, Netflix, a glass of wine—you get the idea.

Though I could choose to power through, I prefer to take a different approach. Instead of forcing myself to do work in a context in which I know my output will be inferior, I make an effort to work with what I know suits my work preferences. This brings us to the idea of the “user manual.”

Image via Unsplash.

Creating your own “user manual”

The longer we spend working (whether that be at school, at our jobs, starting our businesses, or on pet projects), the more evident it becomes that we have certain times of day and environments that encourage us to do our best work.

You might have discovered that you prefer to do emails in the morning over coffee (or they just won’t get done), that the Pomodoro technique really helps you focus on projects, or that you do your best creative work while listening to a classical radio station with noise canceling headphones.

Rather than simply letting this information float around in your mind and disappear just as quickly, consider honing in on it.

Spend some time determining where you work best, what time of day you get the most done, and what atmosphere you require to be as productive, creative, and efficient as possible. What systems need to be put in place to help maximize your output? How can you optimize your environment, lifestyle, and surroundings to get the best possible out of yourself?

In essence, you’re creating what I’ll be referring to in this article as your own personal user manual.

[click to continue…]

{3 comments}

Briana MorgaineBriana Morgaine