Here is a list of my favorite business tools that I use and I couldn’t do business without. I wanted to share them with you because I love them and they may be beneficial for you in your business, as well! If you have any favorite business tools that you love that I didn’t mention, be sure to leave me a comment and tell me about it!
My Favorite Business Tools
Planoly– I absolutely LOVE using Planoly for Instagram! I batch my graphics every week, then upload them all to Planoly to schedule throughout the week. You can set it up to post automatically for you or you can go in and do it yourself. One of the things I love most about Planoly is the ability to rearrange my scheduled posts on my feed and make it look “pretty” before actually posting. This is a great way to do it if you have a grid and want to keep it looking a certain way! Try it and let me know what you think!
Tailwind– Tailwind is a site/app that I use for Pinterest. I know that I am not using it to it’s full potential, as I am still getting it all figured out, but I love the ability to schedule posts on Pinterest! I don’t always remember to get on and pin consistently, so Tailwind helps do that for me, once I load up the queue. You can also join Tailwind tribes in your niche and share your content there to be shared by others! It is definitely worth the investment!
Gsuite – Gsuite is great for email, docs, google drive, calendar, and more. I even have my gmail set up with my domain, so my email address is email@example.com. And I love Google drive for creating, storing, and sharing documents. It’s a great way to save things that I want to be able to access from any computer or device. It’s also great for being able to share things between my clients/team members and myself when I am working with them on a project.
Acuity Scheduling – This is an awesome tool for allowing clients and team members to schedule appointments with me. I can create my calendar based on my daily life schedule and they can choose a time that works for them. I can also ask them to answer some questions when they book to help me know what they are wanting out of the call, and they pay right when they schedule the appointment, if applicable. And I love that it emails both them and me a reminder the day before!
Zoom – Zoom is a fantastic tool for video conferencing. I often use it when I want to “meet” with a someone online and want to be able to see each other and record the video content. You can use it with groups of people as well, and can see each person who is part of the meeting. Being on video is not a requirement, though, for someone who would rather not. You can also mute people other than the speaker so you cut down on background noise and other distractions. It is also free for up to 40 minutes of screen time.
Canva – This is a website that I use pretty much every day! I most definitely could not do business without it, because it is how I create all of my graphics! A lot of people use PicMonkey as well, but I prefer Canva for most things. And I love paying for Canva for Business so that I can save my brand colors and fonts. It makes it super easy and quick to create branded graphics for my business!
Trello – Trello is an awesome tool for all kinds of things, to do lists, content management, project management, and more! I use it for all of the above. You can create boards privately and use them yourself, or you can add others and have team boards. In each board you can add lists and cards and move the cards around. In the cards you can add comments, checklists, upload files, colored labels, due dates, etc. It’s pretty fantastic!
Stock Photos – There are several free stock photo sites I like to use, such as Pixabay and Unsplash and even Canva, but one of my favorites is my stock photo membership from Ivory Mix. There are tons of high quality gorgeous photos that I love to use for creating graphics and website images. You can browse the different collections she has and purchase them individually, but I highly recommend doing the membership option because it is definitely worth having access to all of the photos! She also has a lot of affordable courses that you can take as well. I’ve bought a couple of them so far and plan to go through more of them as I have time.
Siteground Hosting and the Divi Theme– As I have created several website for myself and others, I have found that these are two of my favorites! Siteground is my favorite site for hosting your website and Divi is my all-time favorite theme! I love how customizable Divi is. I can create all kinds of very different websites!
What are your favorite business tools to use? Leave a comment and let me know!
Ok, to be honest with y’all, I am not the best and keeping a clutter-free home. But lately I have been thinking about ways to keep my home less cluttered and more tidy on a daily basis. You know those homes that seem like they always look company-ready at any given time? Yeah, mine’s not one of them.
Sure, I do a pretty good job of picking up and hiding stuff putting stuff away right before I know people are coming over. But the rest of the time I am driving my husband crazy with my mess (he’s way more tidy than me). So, I’ve decided that I am going to do a better job of keeping my home clutter-free.
My goal is to have a plan for keeping things tidy and clutter-free that won’t take up much extra time. These are not huge, life-altering tips, or really anything you haven’t heard before. Anything I come up with needs to be easily implemented into my daily routines. So here are the five main things that I think are do-able on a daily basis.
5 Tips To More Easily Keeping a Clutter-Free Home
1. 10 minute pick-up at the end of every day. I am going to make it a habit to go around the house and quickly pick things up and put things away at the end of every day. You know, the blanket still lying on the couch, my shoes under the coffee table in the living room, the bra lying on the floor because I couldn’t stand wearing it any longer, the wine glass on the end table. And that’s just the living room! I didn’t mention the close lying on the bed/floor in the bedroom, the Color Street nail strips lying around my office that I didn’t get put away, etc.
I don’t have kids yet – one on the way! – so it’s just my crap stuff lying around. It should just take 10 minutes, top! This should help me stay on top of keeping the house picked up. And if I can make it a routine now, I am more likely to be able to keep it up after baby girl gets here in a few months.
2. Do the dishes after every meal. Am I the only one who sucks at this? By the time I have cooked and eaten dinner, I am tired and don’t want to do any more work! But by letting the dishes pile up, it ends up being more work later on. SoI am going to try *really hard* to make it a habit to go ahead and get the dishes done after every meal, cleaning them as I go if I am the one cooking. My husband does a really good job of this, so there’s no reason that I can’t do it too.
No more leaving the dishes out overnight (or for days!) Getting them done right away will help keep my kitchen looking nice!
3. Make sure everything has a place. I think I do ok with this one (I mean everyone is allowed to have a junk drawer, right?!), but I want to get better at it. Everything needs to have a place. If something doesn’t have a place and it needs to, then I will find a place for it so I know where to put it next time. Otherwise, I may need to get rid of it. No more clutter of things I don’t know what to do with! And I need to make sure I put things away right away, instead of letting things stay cluttered until later.
This includes the bills and paper clutter. I am going to go through the mail every day and immediately throw away anything that’s junk. Bills will go in this desktop organizer from Target. Anything that needs to be filed will go in the filing cabinet. No more piles and piles of paper and mail, just because I am too lazy to do something with it right away.
4. Make the bed everyday. This one is going to be hard. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me, but it’s never been a habit I have gotten into. Making the bed is something I just don’t do! I know that I am way more likely to keep the rest of the bedroom picked up and clean if the bed is made, but for some reason I never do it. So from now on I plan on making it every day! (Someone want to check up with me and hold me to it???)
5. If something is not being used/loved/have a purpose, get rid of it! This one kind of goes along with number three. I am done keeping things around that I really don’t need to keep. I have a couple of tubs in my storage room that are designated “garage sale tubs,” so anything that I need to get rid of that I think I can sell, I will put in there. Otherwise I will throw it away/give it away/donate it, whatever needs to be done.
I plan on taking some time in the next few weeks to go through every room and every closet and pull out things that we don’t need to keep. Once I do this I can finally start working on the baby’s nursery! It has become a catch-all room, so this is my motivation for getting this done!
Morning sickness. The dreaded first trimester (usually) struggle. Why do they call it morning sickness, anyway? For me it was all.day.long. It was miserable. If you are one of the lucky women who don’t have much, if any, sickness during your first trimester, ENJOY IT! If you are one of the not-so-lucky few who deal with it all.pregnancy.long, you have my greatest sympathy. Surviving morning sickness is one of the not-so-fun things we moms do for our children. Because we love them.
The one upside, if you can call it that, to feeling sick during the first trimester, is that it is proof that there is a little tiny human growing in your belly! And that makes it all worth it.
If you are in the midst of surviving morning sickness, here are a few things that helped me find relief during my first trimester. (Along with eating/snacking small meals more frequently, eating foods high in protein, avoiding greasy or spicy food, etc).
Surviving Morning Sickness: 6 Ways I Found Relief
1. Preggie Pop Drops – These things were a lifesaver for me during the first part of my pregnancy! I kept them with me at all times – in my jacket/pants pockets, my purse, my car, the bedroom, the living room, my office. Anywhere I went I made sure I had these with me. I got the ones with vitamin B6 in them, as I had heard that can help with nausea as well.
2. Ginger Ale – I lived off of ginger ale during my first trimester – so much so that I was sure I would be sick of it by the end. Surprisingly, I wasn’t! (But I have stopped drinking it since because of the sugar content, now that I am feeling much better.) Ginger Ale was about the only thing I could drink and keep down during the first couple months of being pregnant. I made sure to have some with me everywhere I went.
3. Applesauce – Everyone says to eat crackers, like saltines, when you’re feeling nauseas, especially first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. But that didn’t work for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t really like saltines all that much or what, but I couldn’t stomach them. But applesauce? I ate it like crazy, first thing every morning and anytime through out the day or night when I needed something quick.
I would buy the little applesauce cups and put one by my bed every night with a spoon so that I would have it first thing in the morning. And I’m STILL eating applesauce pretty much every morning right when I wake up, even though I’m no longer dealing with morning sickness. It is really nice to have something quick and readily available to put in my stomach right when I wake up each morning.
4. Peppermint – After awhile I got kind of tired of the Preggie Pop Drops. Enter peppermints. I had heard that peppermint could help with nausea, and my first trimester just happened to be right before Christmas, so candy canes were readily available! And I love candy canes anyway, so it was perfect. I also kept these babies with me everywhere – the little ones were the perfect size.
5. Ginger tea – When I wasn’t drinking ginger ale, I would drink some ginger tea. I wasn’t drinking coffee because I knew my stomach couldn’t handle it, so it was nice to be able to have a hot drink when I was missing my coffee. And a huge plus for the ginger helping to calm my stomach!
6. Pink Stork Pregnancy Probiotic – I was taking Pink Stork’s Total Prenatal + DHA vitamin as my prenatal vitamin. When I saw that they also had a pregnancy probiotic and that it could potentially help with morning sickness and nausea, I was sold! It is nice to have something to support my gut health during my pregnancy, and even better that it helped me survive morning sickness!
What are some of your favorite ways to relieve morning sickness? Tell me in the comments – I’d love some more ideas for next time!
Many people make resolutions to get and stay organized at the start of the year. (Anyone raising their hand?) Almost as many find that they start strong, then burn out after a week or two. (How many hands are still up?!) That may be because they haven’t found a good system that is compatible with their habits and life/work style.
I have never really been the most organized, productive, or clutter-free person. There’s a reason my “word” for this year is discipline. I need more of it in ALL areas of my life! #reallife So I am right there with y’all, raising my own hand. I am working hard this year on getting systems put in place in my business and life so that I can get and stay organized in my business.
Like business and time management, organization is a very personal thing. There are a million strategies out there, but they don’t always work for everyone. So, it’s important to understand how you can approach organization and what you can do that will help you achieve your goals, instead of sticking to a system that others tell you to use, even if it doesn’t work for you.
Here are six tips that can help you get and stay organized, hopefully in a way that works for you and helps you achieve all of your goals. If you have other tips and tricks for staying organized, make sure to leave a comment on this post!
Six steps to getting and staying organized in your business
Create a filing system that works for you. Organization is a highly personal thing for each individual. What works for one person may not work for another and that includes filing systems. Some people do okay with piles – they know what’s in each pile and where specific pieces of paper are that they need. (Yep, I’m a recovering piler, in transition to using a filing cabinet!) Others need a more robust system, because they don’t like piles at all.
There are many furniture items and tools out there that you can use, like filing cabinets, desktop files, etc. There are also electronic systems. I recently heard about Neat, which allows you to scan your invoices and receipts, to organize the data and can even automate data entry into other business software systems. If baskets work for you, then use baskets. It’s all about finding a filing system that works for you, that you’ll keep using.
Create a system for communicating with clients/customers/team members. Business communication can be all over the place. (Yep, raising my hand here, too!) Some people prefer phone calls, while others use video chat software, Facebook messages, or email for minor conversations and updates. The actual communication isn’t what needs organized, most of the time. But getting those appointments into a calendar is an opportunity to create a new system.
There are a variety of scheduling platforms you can try, like Acuity, Calendly, or others. (I personally use Acuity to do coaching calls with team members.) Those platforms can input the appointment in your own calendar and in the other person’s calendar as well, and can send reminders.
Pick two or three items from your workspace to get rid of each week. Clutter can be a big reason for disorganization, stress, and a hindrance to productivity. Getting rid of a few things on a regular basis can help you to feel less stressed by the stuff. Eliminating the excess stuff means you have less to move around and less to gather dust. It can even help you to get more done, because it’s easier to find what you need – whether those items are paper-based, or tools and equipment.
Even if you’re not getting rid of things completely, make sure to take time each day to put things away where they belong. Leaving things out to put away another day ends up creating clutter and an unorganized office. This is one of my biggest issues that I am working on!
Save email and social media for dedicated times. Make sure clients and/or team members know that you’ll respond during those specific times. Organization is about more than just physical items and calendars full of appointments. It’s also about managing your distractions. It may be tempting to respond to email and peruse social media during your work time, but that can create issues of disorganization, in addition to productivity problems.
Use checklists for rush projects. If you take on rush projects with tight deadlines, it can be easy to get a little stressed, and sometimes disorganized. It’s easy to miss a step and screw up when the pressure of a deadline is on. Checklists can help you to ensure that you complete each step of the project so that you deliver everything that is necessary to have a complete project.
Valentine’s Day is weeks away. Are you ready? It’s an opportunity to show the one you love just how you feel. It’s a great day to shower your love with affection and attention, but a great gift can’t hurt, right? Sure, candy and flowers are classic options, but why not be a little more creative? Maybe this list can inspire. Here are a few Valentine’s Day gift ideas that have caught my eye. I hope they inspire you.
Valentine’s Day Gifts for Women
Spa Day Gift Certificate: Total pampering and relaxation is a great present for any stressed out, busy woman. There are so many options to give. Spas have a variety of services – massages, facials, steam treatments, and more. You can offer your Valentine a great day of relaxation at a local spa that she will more than appreciate!
Green Air SpaVapor 2.0 Spa Room Diffuser and Plant Therapy Essential Oils: This is the diffuser I have in my bedroom! I love the intermittent diffusion feature and that you can choose to run it for one, two, or three hours. It is perfect for using at bed time, and with the right oils (I love a combo of Vetiver, Cedarwood, and Lavender), it helps me sleep well! Plant Therapy is by far my favorite oils to use, with pure essential oils of the highest quality. I love that they have certified aromatherapists on staff to answer questions, as well! And free shipping is a huge plus in my book! Use this link to get $10 off your first purchase!
This Gorgeous Kate Spade Purse: If your lady is into designer purses, this one is gorgeous! And a good price too, for being Kate Spade. I’d say you can’t go wrong with this one! I’m drooling over it as I write this!
Movie Night Basket : For the woman who enjoys a night at home with a favorite movie and her special someone, this is another great option. Grab her favorite movie, candy, and popcorn. Add a cozy blanket and a bottle of wine, and date night might be her favorite day of the week. Perfect for after the kids go to bed, especially if you are on a budget!
Color Street Dry Nail Polish: For the woman who enjoys a good manicure and nail art, Color Street’s dry nail polish strips offer an opportunity to show off a little personality, with no risk of chips and dings, super easy to use, plus no dry time! It’s a win-win in my book! There’s even a unique collection for Valentine’s Day, and tons of other options to choose from.
The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Mid-Size Kit: For the man who appreciates the perfect shave, the mid-size Art of Shaving kit is a great option. He can prepare, lather, shave, and moisturize with ease. This kit helps to prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs, while creating his perfect look. My husband loves this set and prefers the unscented version, but I am partial to the sandalwood scent!
Shish Kabob Skewer Rack Set : Does he like to grill? A kabob grilling skewer rack set gives him another option when he moves outside to cook. You can customize each kabob for everyone in the family, and the baskets lessen the potential for flavor mixing.
JackCube Design Multi-Functional Nightstand Organizer: This nightstand organizer is great for a guy who likes to keep things neat and tidy. It has a charging hole for smartphones, nine different storage compartments in two levels, and a black carbon leather finish. This is one elegant organizer, with a luxury feel, and it keeps everything close at hand.
Norwex Car Accessories: If the man in your life enjoys washing and taking care of his vehicle, these just might be his new favorites! The Car Wash Mitt is two sided microfiber and excellent at collecting dirt and debris. The Car Cloth is great for quickly drying and polishing your car’s car windows, mirrors, chrome, and the rest of the car!
Norlan Glass Whisky Glasses: For the man who enjoys his whisky, classic hand-blown Borosilicate glasses by Norlan are designed to enhance the flavor of his favorite whisky brand. The lightweight glass was created with master distiller Jim McEwan.
No matter what your lady or leading man enjoy, there’s a perfect Valentine’s Day present out there! What do you like to get your significant other for this holiday? Share your Valentine’s Day gift ideas in a comment below!
I’m Melissa Mackey, a leader with Color Street and a new lifestyle/mom blogger. A former special ed teacher turned work from home mama who loves coffee, wine, Mexican food, donuts, horses, and Jesus. Passionate about helping women like you feel just a bit more put together without taking much time out of your day – dry nail polish for the win! Sharing my about my pregnancy and journey to becoming a new mom while working my business. Come alongside me in my journey through womanhood and life. Even though it’s messy at times. Let’s be our beautiful selves together.