What Productivity Hacks Really Work For You?

Here’s a fun question for today: What productivity hacks really work for you? Does your diligence with productivity hacks come in waves (as resolutions strengthen and weaken) or have you hit on anything that is your new normal? What have you tried but failed to implement regularly — and what productivity hacks really work for you, particularly at work?

This is constantly something I’m thinking about, and I’ve tried a LOT of productivity hacks.productivity hacks that really work - image of efficient businesswoman being productive

These are some of the productivity hacks that really work for me:

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How to Take the Stress Out of Vacation Planning (Open Thread)

We haven’t talked about how to plan a vacation in years, so here’s a fun topic for today: how do you simplify travel planning — i.e., take the stress out of vacation planning? Do you repeat trips? Copy a friend’s (or blogger’s) itinerary? Use a travel agent? Do you have any “done and DONE” kind of things where, say, if you know there’s a Kimpton hotel in that town you’ll stay there, or if your friend or a magazine or book series says Y restaurant is amazing you make it a “must do”? Take a specialty vacation package like biking or a family vacation resort something? Do you use social media like Instagram or FB? What are your best tips to take the stress out of vacation planning?

The topic kind of comes up because I just stayed at a Cambria hotel a few months ago for an alumni trip — and I mentioned how nice the hotel was for an affordable, well-located hotel to an acquaintance and she said, “Oh yes, we LOVE Cambria and ALWAYS stay there if there’s one in the city.” Interesting technique, and I could see how that would reduce a lot of the stress of vacation planning if you didn’t have any boutique hotel you were dying to stay at or you were flexible on where in town you wanted to stay. For those among you who travel often for business there’s probably a whole subtopic here — what’s your favorite hotel chain? 

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Open Thread: What Are You a Snob About?

What are you a snob about?If you read our post earlier this week about brain candy books and other fun summer reads, you probably had one of three responses: (1) “Hmm, I should check out some of these,” or (2) “Eh, not my type of book,” … OR (3) “Ugh, why does anyone read those kinds of books, anyway?” Some of us are just book snobs — and all of us are snobs about something or other, right? We thought general snobbery would be a fun topic for a open thread on the day after a disorienting middle-of-the-week holiday, so here’s the question: What ARE you a snob about — and what are you decidedly NOT snobby about? Did you used to have things in the first category that, over time, moved into the second category? How about vice versa — have you gotten more snobby about anything as you’ve gotten older and wiser? 

Earlier this year, we got almost 100 comments on our “What are you drinking in 2018?” open thread, so clearly many readers are very discerning about wine, cocktails, and so on — and Kat readily admits that she’s a gin snob. (She wrote that book post, so she’s obviously an equal-opportunity reader; she also notes that she generally prefers simple Folgers coffee rather than fancy stuff.) So let’s hear it, ladies: What are YOU a snob about? Clothes, bags, jewelry, or shoes? Makeup and skincare? Food, restaurants, cookware? Wine, tea, coffee? Musicbooks, TV, movies? Home decor(Just in case it needs to be said, there are no right answers here! We just thought it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on what purchases are worth the splurge and what aren’t…)

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The Mommy Effect: What It’s Really Like to Be a Working Mom

What It's Really Like to Be a Working MomFYI – over at CorporetteMoms today we’re discussing the new Mommy Effect study, which notes that women often have an unrealistic view of what it’s like to be a working mom. Come join the discussion if you’d like to weigh in!


Who’s Your Imaginary Celebrity BFF?

imaginary celebrity bffHere’s an important question I’ve wanted to discuss here for a while: who is your imaginary celebrity BFF? Do you enjoy him or her for their style sense, their wit, their activism? Do you look to them for imaginary guidance (what would J.Law wear to this event?) or do you just have a funny sense that if you were to somehow meet in real life you’d just get along smashingly? Who was your imaginary celebrity BFF at various points in your life — let’s say at 15, 25, and your current age?

For my own $.02: at 15 my imaginary celebrity BFF was probably Sandra Bullock — she seemed smart and funny in Speed, one of my favorite movies around then (although that probably had more to do with my imaginary celebrity boyfriend, Keanu, ha.)  I also really liked Drew Barrymore, although she seemed a little crazy but in a good way.

At 25, I was in law school and binge-watched a lot of silly reality TV shows between classes so I’m going to go with either Tyra Banks or Tim Gunn. Ah, Genevieve Gorder from Trading Spaces also seemed very cool. I also remember being ridiculously happy when Queer Eye came on, probably with Ted Allen as my favorite.

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Small Political Actions to Take Each Week — No Matter What Party You’re In

small political actions to take each weekWhether or not the current issue of separating immigrant families at the border has contributed to your outrage fatigue or spurred you into taking action (and/or brought you to tears, as it did even for an on-the-air Rachel Maddow), you may be looking for small political actions to take each week to make your voice heard — no matter what party you’re in.

In the meantime, you might find it helpful to read our posts on the benefits of meditationhow to relax after a stressful day, how to take a partial social media break, how to focus on work (when other things are going on) … and, for very simple stress relief in general: coloring books for adults. If you want to get even more involved, check out our resources for women running for office.

Here are four websites that make it easy to learn about small political actions to take each week — plus one bonus site that helps you make a difference in other ways. If you know of any other groups with small political actions to take weekly or daily, we’d love to hear about them!

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