5 trade secrets for maintaining willpower while working from home

5 trade secrets for maintaining willpower while working from home

Working from home. Sounds pretty nice, right?

It’s something that a lot of us would love and even try to build a life around it (i.e. me).

But for some, it can be a bit of a nightmare. (also me)

A lot of people actually rely on the ritual and accountability that working at a workplace can have.

I really know that feeling, the ONLY thing that would get me out of bed in the morning for years was the fear that I would get fired for being late! And sometimes, not even that would help (I was late for work A LOT, whoops!)

Working from home takes a crazy amount of discipline and willpower, especially during a pandemic when your motivation is at an all-time low!

Fortunately, as a seasoned work-from-home-er (and as someone who generally relies on accountability to get things done), I know the struggles that accompany working from home – and I have some awesome and unusual tips for overcoming them!

Disclaimer: Products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

Top tips for maintaining willpower at home! (during a pandemic!)

Now there are a few standards – like having a daily routine and a dedicated workspace that are important, but these tips will go a bit further than that!

My first few tips are pretty standard, thought definitely worth mentioning,  and the last few are where things get interesting!

Tip 1: Get creative with your motivation

I think that one of the biggest reasons for my willpower and discipline is that I have very big goals! And I’m very excited to achieve those goals.

That being said, sometimes on a daily basis, it can be hard to maintain motivation when those goals are so far away.

That’s why I also like using daily motivation strategies.

For example: I hate waking up early (but I know it’s good for me) – so I try to make getting up as nice and easy as possible. So I chose my alarm music to be a song that I really like and when I wake up I make myself a latte (which I really look forward to!)

Another way to motivate yourself daily is to plan something you really enjoy doing for after you finish work! And only let yourself do it if you have completed the task!

But sometimes you need a bit more motivation than that. The laziness is real, folks!

Sometimes, “just planning something fun” isn’t going to be enough motivation.

So here are a couple even more creative things you can do to maintain your motivation!

 1. Keep yourself on track with a friend. Having a sense of accountability is the best way to motivate yourself, but you can lose that when you’re all alone at home.

Instead, get a friend to check in on you to make sure you have done what you were supposed to and you can do the same for them!

2. For extra motivation – put some money on it! The website stickK allows you to place money on yourself, like a bet. If you do your task, you can keep your money.

If you don’t, then the money gets sent to charity (or a charity or person that you don’t like, which is further motivation to stick with it)! This honestly might be the best motivator! 

Tip 2: Eliminate distractions as much as possible

When you don’t have to worry about your boss peering over your shoulder while you’re “taking a break” and looking at videos of puppies eating cheetos, it can be very tempting to get caught up in the weird, but entrancing rabit hole of instagram or facebook videos.

There are also other at-home distractions, such as your family and your oh-so-cozy-looking bed!

Here are a few ways to eliminate those distractions.

  • Use Freedom – it’s an app that blocks whatever you want across all devices. So it blocks website AND apps! You can check it out here here! It has helped me SO MUCH to not browse facebook and instagram all the time!
  • Have your designated workspace that is secluded (or if you don’t have an extra room, try and face a wall or something, so you don’t look at things that might distract you!
  • Have a do-not disturb sign of some sort, so that your family knows not to disturb you when you’re in a deep focus mode!

Tip 3: Find ways to use your willpower LESS

Your daily willpower is limited. And your willpower gets used for every single decision you have to make.

And it is deceiving how many decisions you make in a day!

What kind of breakfast will you have? What will you have for lunch?

Where will your desk be for the day? And should you work on the oh-so-comfy-looking couch?

Will you work out before you work or after you work? What will your workout be?

And as trivial as these may seem, they are slowly depleting you of your will power!

So the solution?

Plan as many things as you can for the day – in advance!

And when you work from home, there are just that many more decisions!

Such as:

Where will I work? When will I have lunch? When will I start work?

When you work from home, your day almost becomes too flexible and ends up hindering your ability to do work.

Things you can plan:

  • your workout clothes (set them out the night before)
  • what days you will work out and what time
  • your meals for the day (you can try my meal planner!)
  • when you eat
  • when you start and stop work
  • where you’re working – like I said, have a dedicated workspace! Or if you like variety, have different workspaces, but plan when you’ll use them.

And again, invest in a productivity app, like freedom or todoist, to keep you on track!

Tip 4: Don’t try to do too much!

This is a common problem for everyone ever. Not to exaggerate, but I think I’m right.

It can be even more tempting when you’re working from home because you have all this magical time because you don’t have a commute and people distracting you at work.

But there’s a little thing called the planning fallacy that you need to keep in mind.

The Planning Fallacy is a human tendency to overestimate how much we can do in a day.

Spoiler alert: you can do a lot LESS than you think you can in a day.

That sounds like a bit of a pessimistic thing to say, but it will actually help you achieve much MORE in life!

Doing less will guarantee that you do it, rather than the alternative: which is planning too many things, getting overwhelmed, and then not doing it.

Over time, you’ll get more done every day if you just stick to things that are manageable.

And most importantly….


When you work from home, it can be very tempting to try to work as much as possible, in an attempt to get things done earlier in the day! That’s a good idea, right?

Well, yes, if you’re doing it right, but doing it right, involves taking BREAKS!

Your brain absolutely needs a break and it also needs fuel, which brings me to my next point…

Tip 5: Eating properly and drinking water!

If I don’t eat properly, I CANNOT concentrate!

There’s lots of evidence out there about drinking water and eating the right foods and the impact they can have on your concentration.

I know from personal experience that the days I eat healthier are the days where I feel the most energized and able to concentrate!

I actually eat a huge breakfast with a balance of fats, protein, and carbs – plus lots of veggies and fruit!

AND I try to drink a ton of water when I wake up to make sure I get hydrated. (This actually influences my concentration the most)

Also, remember that your brain runs on glucose, so you need carbs for it to work properly!! This doesn’t necessarily mean refined carbs and sugars, but things like fruit, potatoes, and whole grains.

The takeaways for developing and maintaining willpower!

  • Be creative about your motivation
  • Eliminate as many distractions as possible
  • Use your willpower LESS
  • Don’t do too much (and take breaks!)
  • Eat properly and drink water (i.e. take care of your body)
  • Most importantly, listen to your body and go easy on yourself!

Some days will be easier than others – and that’s OK! No one can be 100% everyday, so go easy on yourself! Especially now – it’s a goal pandemic y’all – it’s ok if you’re not disciplined 24/7 and doing 110 things a day.

10 Sunday habits for your most productive week ever

10 Sunday habits for your most productive week ever

Sundays are great for so many things – brunching with friends, staying in your PJs all day, roast dinners with the fam, cuddle seshes, movie nights…

Did I mention I love Sundays?

But besides all this, Sundays are also great for one other reason: because they help you prepare for the week ahead!

I know, I know, this one’s a bit less exciting than Netflix and all-day onesies, but let’s be real: if there was anything you could do to help make your Monday a bit less hectic, wouldn’t you do it?

I sure would!

That’s why I’ve started using my Sundays as a “prep day” to help me prepare for the coming week. And trust me, it’s been a total game-changer.

So without further ado, here are the 10 productive things I do every Sunday that YOU can start implementing into your routine as well! The best part? You can do almost every one of them in your PJs!


Disclaimer: products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

Productive Habit #1: Do a brain dump 

Every Sunday, I spend a few minutes doing a brain dump of all my thoughts, hopes, fears, and concerns about the coming week. Think of it as a stream of consciousness journal entry, but less “journal-y”.

Instead of writing everything down line-by-line, just scribble down all your thoughts about the coming week anywhere on a scrap piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be organized and it doesn’t have to make sense – it just has to be there in one big mess. The organization of this mess comes next…

Productive Habit #2: Organize your thoughts into a to-do list

This is where you pick out the most important points from your brain dump and make them into a concise to-do list.

Read over what you wrote. Was there anything in particular you wrote about a lot?

For example, if you realize that you wrote down a lot of things you have to do, then you’ll know that the week ahead may be a bit on the busy-side. Take some time here to write a list of all the tasks you need to get done.

If you notice that you wrote down a lot of worries or anxieties you have about the coming week, take time here to analyze why you’re feeling anxious and if there’s anything you can do about it. Is it because of one particular task? If so, spend time here breaking that task up into smaller chunks on your to-do list. Is it just general anxiety you have about the week? If so, I suggest checking out my free Anxiety Handbook to help you get a better idea of why you have this underlying anxious feeling.

You should spend a good chunk of time on this. The more organized and thorough your to-do list is, the more clarity and focus you’ll have in the coming week.

Productive Habit # 3 – Write down your intentions

This is different from your to-do list because it’s not about tasks you have to get done, it’s about ways you want to feel.

Spend some time clearly stating to yourself how you want to feel next week. 

Do you want to feel productive and motivated? If so, then figure out what you could do to help you feel this way and make sure that it’s on your to-do list (for example – dedicating 30 minutes each day to working on your passion project).

Perhaps, however, you want to feel calm and at peace. If so, you may want to think about replacing a certain task on your to-do list with a self-care strategy. Is there any task that can wait until the following week to get done in order to make room for some “you-time”?

If you need help getting clear on how you want to truly feel, then check out my Dream Life Goal Planner. I created this planner to help guide you in finding out what your true desires are so that you better understand how you can accomplish them. This is something that’s quite difficult to do on your own, so I highly recommend getting some guidance on it!

Productive Habit #4 – Make a schedule

Now that you’ve written your to-do list and you’ve set your intentions for the week, it’s time to combine both of those into a master schedule.

I like to begin writing my schedule from the most important task to the least important task rather than writing it out Monday to Friday. This allows me to make sure that my priority tasks get into the best time slot (therefore making it more likely I get them done!).

Remember – when scheduling your tasks, make sure to keep your intentions in mind.

For example: if my intention was to feel at peace, my most important tasks may be to exercise and to spend time doing something I love. I would therefore schedule these tasks FIRST, and I would put them in priority spots (like Tuesday afternoon when I know I’m free).

Productive Habit #5 – Plan your meals

This is something that I used to struggle with quite a bit. Instead of planning my meals in advance, I would always hem and haw trying to decide what I felt like eating in the moment. This just doubled my time in the kitchen.

So recently, I’ve made a point of setting aside 30 minutes each Sunday to plan my meals for the upcoming week. I usually do this in the early afternoon so that I have enough time to pop into the grocery store if I realize I need to buy something

Planning your meals in advance may sound like a bit of a boring chore, but honestly, you’ll be SO thankful each time lunch rolls around and you don’t have to put any brain power into making a decision!

Productive Habit #6 – Plan out your content

If you’re anything like me, you probably spend a LOT more time than you should deciding what to do in your free time (especially during your evenings!). You may know that you want to read, but you may not know what to read. And you may know that you want to watch a TV show, but you may not know what TV show.

There’s a lot of choice out there – and it can be overwhelming.

To combat this, I’ve started using my Sunday to plan out all the content I want to consume during the week. 

This means planning out:

  • Books to read
  • Articles to read
  • Podcasts to listen to
  • TV shows to watch
  • Movies to watch

It may sound a little silly planning out what movies you want to watch, but it’ll save you tons of time scrolling through the never-ending feed on Netflix!

Productive Habit #7 – Go over your finances

We can sometimes go a bit overboard on our spending during the weekend. That’s why taking some time out of your Sunday to look at your bank account(s) and make sure you’re on the right track is a good plan. 

If you’ve been a bit heavy on the spending, know that you’ll need to tighten up in the week to come. Is there anything you were planning on buying that you could postpone until next payday?

If your finances are looking good, rest assured that in the coming week you’ll have some nice wiggle room to spend a little extra cash! Maybe you can treat yourself and go out to your favourite restaurant on your lunch break. Or maybe you can order that thing that’s been sitting in your Amazon shopping cart for ages!

Productive Tip #8 – Clean

Okay, this one’s pretty self-explanatory. 

We all know that Sunday’s cleaning day. And as much as you may not want to clean, get it into your head that spending an hour doing the dishes and getting a load of laundry done will drastically cut down your worries during the week. 

My tip? Turn on your favourite podcast while you clean to make it seem a bit less suck-y (or check out this article on how cleaning is a form of mindfulness to develop a new appreciation for it!).

Productive Habit # 9 – Catch up on messaging people

The craziness of the weekend can sometimes make us forget to respond to people over text or email. I myself have a bad habit of waiting to reply to people until the “perfect time” when I’m “fully available” – but that never seems to happen!

Instead of letting people hang, try using Sunday as a correspondence catch-up day. Reply to anyone who’s reached out to you during the week and spend some time calling/texting anyone you haven’t heard from for a while. It’ll only take a few minutes, and it’ll make you feel so much better before getting caught up in your own life during the workweek!

Productive Habit #10 – Make time for self-care 

We can’t forget about self-care.

Sunday evenings are the perfect time to set aside an hour (or let’s be honest – two or three) to engage in all things self-care. Switch your phone off, get into something comfy, and take some serious you-time before the week begins. If you want some ideas on where to start, check out these 100 self-care ideas – you’ll have plenty to choose from!

Feeling productive is probably one of the best ways to boost your mental health and make you feel more fulfilled (therefore happier!). That’s why I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to figuring out ways I can be more productive each day.

It took me quite a bit of time to learn these secrets, but it doesn’t have to take that long for you. I created my Productivity Secrets and Goal Planner to share with you ALL my top productivity tips and guide you in incorporating them into your routine.

You can get it all right here, so there’s no need to spend time searching for all this on your own. All you have to do? Sign up and get started!

16 productivity tips that will crush your to-do list and supercharge your life!

16 productivity tips that will crush your to-do list and supercharge your life!

If there’s one thing that all of us on this earth share, it’s the desire to GET STUFF DONE!

We humans are a productive species, and that means that we need to do things in order to feel fulfilled. In fact, a recent study found that the more busy a person is, the happier they are!

So what does this mean for us?

It means that we should think of increasing our productivity as a worthy goal – not only for the sake of ticking things off our to-do list – but also for our happiness in general!

That’s why I’ve decided to round up 16 of my best, most effective productivity tips to share with you. So get those pencils ready, ’cause after you’re done here, you’re going to be ticking a whole lot of stuff off that list of yours!


Disclaimer: products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

1. Create a morning routine

We may not all be morning people, but research shows that there’s a direct correlation between how early a person wakes up and how successful they tend be. This is because of a couple reasons:

First of all, the earlier we wake up, the more time we have to spend doing healthy morning habits. These habits will then set the tone for the rest of our day. Some examples include:

  • Writing stream of consciousness
  • Stretching
  • Mindfully drinking our coffee/tea
  • Writing down things we’re grateful for
  • Repeating positive affirmations to ourselves

On top of this, waking up early also means that we’ll have more hours in our day to get things done. Once we finish our healthy morning habits, we can just get straight to work (even before most people have waken up yet!).

2. Group easier tasks together and get them done first 

Here’s a good rule to follow: if it can take you 5-10 minutes to do, just do it (I promise this isn’t a Nike advert!).

Take a couple minutes (in your morning!), to list all the quick and easy tasks you need to get done – whether it’s responding to an email, calling someone back, or even unloading the dishwasher. These are super easy things to do, but if you keep putting them off, they pile up, and that’s when they start to get overwhelming.

Plus, when you do these quick tasks first thing, it’ll get you in the “get stuff done zone”. Once you start doing even the simplest of tasks, you’ll be surprised to see how motivated you are to keep going!

3. Do your most dreaded task right away

We all have that ONE task on our to-do list that we keep putting off because we just don’t wanna do it.

Whether it’s a big time-consuming project or just one little chore that we shiver at the thought of actually doing (returning a phone call that makes you uncomfortable, perhaps?) – you just have to get it done.

The easiest way to do this? Get it done first thing in the – you guessed it – morning! After you’ve done a few of your small tasks, get the cringe-worthy one done and dusted and OUT of your mind (and enjoy how amazing it feels after you do so!).

4. Write everything down on paper

Sunday is great for so many things – movie nights, roast dinners, and planning out your next week!

Spend some time on Sunday evening listing all the things you want to get done in the following week. But here’s the catch – leave your computer and your phone turned off. Instead, write it all down on – GASP – physical paper!

Okay, in all seriousness, writing things down on paper rather than on your electronic devices has SO many benefits (as this article does a great job explaining). For me, the biggest benefit is being able to physically cross everything out when I accomplish it – there’s no better feeling in the world, I swear. 

And lucky for you, my Goal Planner was designed to help you with just this! I created this planner to guide you in getting clear on your goals so that you can break them up into smaller tasks to do throughout your day. It’s a fantastic resource for helping you take charge of your daily habits so that you can manage stress much better!

5. Don’t hesitate

Shout out to all my fellow procrastinators out there! Okay, this is one tip that I struggle following the most, but it’s also one of the most important ones (funny how it always seems to work like that!).

When we look down at our to-do list (handwritten on paper of course!), it can be overwhelming to see everything we have to get done. Often when this happens, we have this funny little habit of doing nothing at all rather that just doing something!

This is called procrastination, but I like to call it inaction. Why? Because it has the solution right there in the word – ACTION!

Honestly, just start doing something. I promise, once you do, you’ll get in the zone.

6. Eat healthy

If you want to be productive, there are 3 key times during the day you’re gonna want to pay special attention to:

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (okay, let’s be honest – snack time too!).

What you put inside your body is going to make all the difference with how many things you’re able to get done throughout the day. Food is fuel, and your body and mind need fuel to be able to focus hard and work harder (if you want more insider tips and tricks on how to incorporate healthy eating habits into your daily routine, I suggest heading on over to my website and checking out my Design Your Anxiety-Free Life course!).

7. Take breaks

We’re all human, and that means we can’t be operating on superdrive all day long.

No matter how overwhelming your to-do list may seem, you MUST take breaks. Not only will it give your mind and body a much-needed rest, but it will also allow you to be more productive when you start back up again!

Schedule in advance small chunks of time throughout your day that you will dedicate to doing something that isn’t work.

Now, as much as our phones and the TV remote may be tempting, I advise against just flipping on a screen. Instead, the best thing to do on your breaks is something that rests you but also charges you. These things include:


  • Reading a book
  • Stretching/working out
  • Spending time in nature
  • Doing something creative
  • Listening to an inspirational podcast
  • Cleaning (yup, I said it! But honestly, you’d be surprised at what epiphanies you can have about your work while washing the dishes!)

8. Get in some exercise

Exercise is like the cousin of eating healthy – and you need the help of both these cousins if you want to get stuff done during the day! 

Working out is such an underrated component when it comes to being productive. I can’t stress this enough – if you want to feel motivated and productive, you need to get moving!

Whether it’s a stroll down your street, a quick yoga session, or even just a 5-minute stretch in your office – any and every form of physical activity is going to be your saving grace during your working day (which my Habit Tracker will help you stay on top of doing!).

9. Group similar tasks together 

This is what many people would call a productivity “hack”. Why? Because it’s a super easy yet not very well-known tip that only THE most successful people do (which will soon be YOU!).

When you’re planning out what you want to get done during your day, try as best you can to schedule similar activities in during the same time frame. For example, let’s say you have a lot of correspondence to do (phone calls, emails, texts) – schedule those in for one time block. If you have a bunch of cleaning that needs to get done, schedule each cleaning task in another block together.

When you do this, you’re allowing your brain to stay in similar “zones” as it does similar tasks. This means that you’ll spend less mental energy “switching” from one task to another completely unrelated task.

10. Break up bigger, daunting tasks into smaller chunks

This one is for that MONSTER on your to-do list (you know that one I’m talking about!). In order to defeat the beast, you gotta take it in chunks.

Instead of focusing on the WHOLE task, break it up into 3, 4, 5, or as many smaller tasks as it requires. Separate each task on your to-do list so that your brain just thinks of them as small, not-so-daunting tasks. 

11. Focus on one thing at a time

You have a million things to do. I know. I totally get it. But the only way you’ll get everything done is when you work on One. Thing. At. A. Time.

Whenever I have a never-ending to-do list, I tend to lose focus on one task because I’m thinking about that other thing I need to do, and that other other thing I need to do. I have to constantly remind myself that this way of thinking is NOT helping me – in fact, it’s distracting me from doing what I need to do!

Just take it one step at a time. You’ll get to everything. Don’t worry.

12. Have a good organizational system in place

If you’re anything like me, then you naturally have about TEN different places where you keep all your thoughts and notes organized (email, Google Grive, Dropbox, Microsoft Word, notes on my phone, notes in my notebook etc etc…). This is no way to be, and it will just end up adding more time to each of your tasks.

One of the best decisions I ever made in terms of my productivity was to streamline my organizational system. How did I do it? One word: Evernote

Evernote has been an amazing help in keeping all my many (MANY) thoughts organized an in their place. Honestly, if you haven’t already, I recommend downloading it (it’s totally free!).

13. Minimize distractions

Social media is great way to connect with people. It’s also a great way to lose FOCUS.

I, along with many of you I’m sure, have often fallen into the trap of taking a “five minute break” that turns into me scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed for HALF AN HOUR (I swear that social media distorts the time-space continuum).

My best advice to you? Switch your devices off. Your friends can wait, you can upload photos later, and you definitely don’t need to see who posted the latest vacay pic.

I know that this can be difficult to do on your own, but there are some super helpful apps out there that can help you out with this.

14. Get enough sleep

Who could say no to some extra Zz’s?!

Just like eating healthy and exercising, sleep is another vital function that our body NEEDS in order to be in tip-top condition to get things done.

If you struggle getting enough sleep, then I recommend you check out my Free Anxiety Handbook. In it, I share one super effective relaxation technique that works absolute wonders in helping you fall asleep easier and faster!


15. Say ‘no’ sometimes

One of the biggest things that has helped me focus more on the important things is learning the art of saying ‘no’.

It can be difficult to tell people that two-letter word, but honestly, once you learn how to, it’ll be a total game-changer. Whether it’s taking on more responsibilities at work, running some errands for your family, or doing a favour for your friend – you are always allowed to say ‘no’.

People will understand if you just explain the truth – “I’m really sorry, I won’t be able to do this for you because I have a lot of pressing things I need to get done but I’ll be happy to do it [insert time when you’re free]”.


16. Realize that the world will go on if you don’t get everything done

Go easy on yourself. If you don’t get everything on your to-do list done, it’s okay. You’ll survive. The world will go on.

You need to work through your to-do list with less of a “I-need-to-get-everything-done-OR-ELSE!” mentality and more of a “I-just-have-to-work-through-this-step-by-step” mentality. All is good, all is well.

You’ll get it done.

If you want more help crushing your to-do list and living a stress-free life, then check out my Productivity Secrets and Goal Planner! In it, I’ll be giving you worksheets and planners that guide you in structuring your day in a way that works for your schedule and aligns with your goals!

Natalie Burns-Holland

Natalie Burns-Holland

Content Creator at Mindaya

Natalie is a freelance writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.

5 best strategies to fuel self-growth and unlock your fullest potential

5 best strategies to fuel self-growth and unlock your fullest potential

The most beautiful and most unifying thing about life is that we are all on this earth with the same (but individually unique) purpose – to grow and become the best version of ourselves. But in this rat race of an age we live in, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that “self-growth” means “career-growth”.

The truth is, your career doesn’t necessarily dictate how much you’ve grown as a person. Often, we find the most self-growth outside of work and school. I know I certainly have. I truly believe that if we reframe our minds to focus on our own self-growth over career-growth, the world would be a very different place.

These are my five favourite strategies for fueling my own self-growth, and trust me, none of them require meeting strict deadlines at work or finishing any school assignments!

Travel somewhere new – ideally for longer than a month

If you’ve ever travelled anywhere for an extended period of time, you’re no stranger to the serious amount of growth that comes with it. Travelling forces you to start from zero in a completely new environment – whether that’s a new city, province, or country. And with that comes a ton of life lessons.

When I moved to Scotland, every single day brought new opportunities to expand, develop, and just learn about myself in ways that I never would have if I stayed back home in Ontario.

We’re extremely fortunate to be living in an era where travel has become so accessible. Taking a gap year (let’s be honest – gap years) is becoming the norm among our generation.

But if travelling for an extended period of time just isn’t financially possible for you (trust me, I get it), short-term is your next best option. Go on a week-long Contiki trip to Brazil…or Greece…or Vietnam! The world – and an undiscovered part of yourself – awaits!


Get outside of your comfort zone (and stop being self-conscious about it!)

If you love belly dancing, but you’re way too nervous to sign up for classes, sign up for them anyway. The fear of having people judge you is holding you back from being your authentic self.

My life opened up in so many extraordinary ways when I finally realized that strangers do not care.

I guarantee that when you’re on the dancefloor shimmying your stuff, everyone else is too busy worrying about how they look to care at all about you!

There are so many daily practices you can do to get your comfort zone walls tumbling down.

Go to a bar alone. Go to the movies alone. Strike up a conversation with that cute Italian barista. Get lost in a new (and perhaps a bit eclectic) neighbourhood. Go to a palm reader. Send a message to that boyfriend who broke your heart in grade 10.

When you start doing things that push you outside of your comfort zone, over time you’ll get more comfortable with it. And once you’re comfortable feeling a bit uncomfortable, a world of possibilities opens up to you!

Re-awaken your inner child

Many of us who have passed the threshold from childhood to adulthood are in a constant state of mourning for our inner child.

We may not realize it consciously, but deep down we all yearn for a missing part of ourselves – the part that was more free, more creative, more imaginative, more playful, and more open to life.

As we age, we often lose touch with our inner child. This may manifest in a number of ways, including (but not limited to):

  • Having a pessimistic outlook on life; never really feeling excited about things
  • Conforming to what everyone else is doing even when you really don’t want to (a wardrobe full of grey and black when your favourite colours are pink and green)
  • Feeling overly anxious and self-conscious around people (“What are they saying about me? What do they think of me?”)
  • A paintbox full of untouched paints
  • A bookshelf full of unread books
  • A forgotten hobby
  • A forgotten passion
  • A forgotten backyard

If any of this sounds like you, don’t worry. You can re-awaken your inner child by doing a bit of mental time-travelling and getting back in touch with the things that made you light up when you were young.

And once you do, you’ll discover a beautiful, long-forgotten side of yourself you didn’t realize how much you were missing.

Journal every day

When it comes to self-growth, journaling is the equivalent to breathing.

Every morning when you wake up, write as many pages as you can of stream of consciousness style writing.

When we write without thinking too much about it, what we’re really doing is getting in contact with our higher self (our soul).

The magical thing about stream of consciousness journaling is that all you have to do is show up on the page and your soul will do the rest. It may sound a little bit cheesy, but before you mock it, try it.

I promise you that through the physical act of writing, insights will begin to bubble up inside of you and flood out onto the page – insights into what you’re truly thinking and feeling.

After a few months, it’s amazing to look back at older entries to see how much you’ve grown through the pages.

Listen, listen, listen – to everyone and everything

Make a deal with yourself. Instead of thinking “I already know this”, instead ask “what can I learn from this?”.

This simple way of reframing your mind can have a radical impact on your personal growth.

Once you approach the world with an open mind and an open ear, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of learning something new every day and exposing yourself to new perspectives that may change the way you think about life.

Listening to podcasts and reading books are two of my favourite tools for learning something new, so I always have a book in my bag and a couple good podcasts downloaded on my phone.

Ted Talks are another fantastic resource for expanding yourself and exploring new ways of thinking.

But sometimes, even just talking to a stranger at a bar, or a party, or even a bus stop can expose you to eye-opening new perspectives.

Everyone has their own story to share, and we can all learn from a good story. Try treating everyone you meet like your guru and see what unexpected insights you discover.


I continue to use these five strategies to grow and expand myself each and every day. I hope that you too will benefit from them as much as I do!

I wish you good luck on your journey – remember I’m right there with you.

Natalie Burns-Holland

Natalie Burns-Holland

Content Creator at Mindaya

Natalie is a freelance writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Goal Setting Worksheet: 5 Easy Steps to Making a Great Plan

Goal Setting Worksheet: 5 Easy Steps to Making a Great Plan

The first step to achieving your goals is to make a kick-ass plan, but the idea of making a big plan can be pretty daunting. Enter the goal setting worksheet. This is a super easy way to plan your big goals completely from scratch.

And just an fyi, goal setting and planning doesn’t have to be for the ultra-intense-super-achiever (although it can be), it can also be for people who have personal goals, such as becoming more mindful, getting healthier, or being more social! It can be for everyone to help them reach their career/life/financial/educational/etc goals!

So for this post, I wanted to focus on creating the perfect goal setting worksheet that is tailored to your own personal needs and goals.

How helpful can a goal setting worksheet actually be?

For some people, a goal setting worksheet might be just another piece of paper that gets crumpled and stepped on and used as a napkin or doodling paper.

But if you actually commit to using one, it can be an amazing way to motivate yourself and remind yourself frequently to stay on track!

Before you start:

Removing Expectations

You need to remove the expectations that society/ your parents/ and any other sources are putting on you and start to think about what you really want.

So with that being said, here are two big questions you need to ask yourself:

1. What would I do if I didn’t need to impress anybody?

2. What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? (cliche I know, but important)

These questions are simple but we tend to ignore the answers because our fears of disappointing others and of failure are too strong.

keep this in mind as you go through the next steps and starting making your goal planning worksheet.

Step 1: Figuring Out What You Really Want

I want you to focus on what you want to do and how you want to feel.

Understanding what you do want

For your general work/life goals, here are some prompts that can help you to better understand what you want:

What activities/work make you feel the happiest?

What do you feel like you are meant to do?
What would your perfect life consist of?
What do you love to do?
What is your dream?
What is your motto/mantra?
What do you want to do right now?
When do you feel most alive/energetic?
What makes you feel excited?
Is there anything missing from your life that you would like to add? (time with friends, exercise, time in nature, more challenging work, time to relax)
What do you imagine yourself doing in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

These are questions that will help you to decide what you really want and what will make you feel good in life if that is what you want to do.

Understanding What You Don’t Want to Do

You should also address what you don’t want to do in life. When pursuing any goal in life, there are going to be aspects that you don’t enjoy that much. You might be able to deal with some of the more difficult tasks, but there might be some things that aren’t really worth it to you. And that’s totally fine – it will just show you that that specific path is not the right one for you.

What/who is significantly negatively impacting your life and causing you stress?

What things do you really not enjoy doing in your regular life that you find yourself doing quite frequently?

 Understanding the Factors Holding You Back

There also might be certain aspects of your life that are preventing you from reaching your full potential in your professional goals. I have outlined some questions that could help you figure out some personal development goals that will help you to create the right skills to help you out in the future for your life goals.

Are there certain times in your life where you feel a block/barrier that is preventing you from doing things that you want to do?

Are there things you wish you had the courage to do, but can’t?

Are there habits that are wasting time for you? (TV, sleeping, nervous habits)

Hopefully these questions will give you some indication of some personal goals you could start with or give you an idea of the goals that you might not want to pursue because of the negative aspects that you might not want to deal with.

If you want some more help with finding the right goals for you, you can check out another article of mine: How to Find Goals that Align With Who You Really Are

Step 2: Categorizing Your Goals

Now, what areas in life do you have goals for and which are the most important to you?

  • Professional goals (career, job, livelihood)
  • Physical goals (body, health, weight)
  • Relationship goals (romantic, friendly, familial)
  • Financial goals (savings, wealth/money, financial habits)
  • Emotional/mental goals (feelings, mental health)
  • Spiritual goals (connection to something greater, your spiritual path and values)
  • Experiences/hobbies goals (travel goals/other fun experiences)
  • Educational goals (learning and knowledge)
  • Philanthropic goals (giving back to the community, world)

These nine areas should give you a good basis for the areas in which you should base your goals. This also might show you that you actually might have more goals than you might have thought.

So when you fill out your proper goal setting worksheet that you can download here: it can be best to only focus on one goal at a time.

Step 3: Narrowing Down And Focusing On One Goal At A Time

You can go through the next few steps for each goal if you’d like so that you can narrow it down into more manageable pieces.

Basically, you are going to have your main goal, which you have determined using the steps above, but you also want to find the smaller goals and steps that you will need to achieve first in order to reach this bigger goal.

So what you need to do is further break down your goals into mini goals and then break those down into micro goals.

Mind Map/Flow Chart

It is a good idea to do a mind map or a flow chart to see if any of your bigger goals are actually steps to reaching your other big goals, or if there are mini-goals that will help you work towards multiple bigger goals.

Tip: This is also a good time to check in to see if there are any goals you have that really don’t fit in with your major goals. Sometimes we don’t have time to complete all of our goals and sometimes certain things we want are more distracting than anything else.

In the image below (which is from my goal planning workbook) will help you with a visual representation of your goals and mini goals.

Step 4: Defining Your Goals

For all of these goals (especially the bigger goals), you want to be as descriptive as possible because you want to have a very clear idea of what you want and the steps that it will take to get there.

So, there are a few exercises that you can do to help define your goals. And don’t worry, I have compiled all of these into a goal setting worksheet (or workbook, rather) that you can download.

5 Ws + H

So the first thing you want to do is answer the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How? Answering these questions will give you a lot more insight into what it will take to reach this goal.

More specific questions you can ask are:


Who will be involved in this Goal?

Who will be affected by this goal?

Who’s help might you need in order to achieve this goal?


Be as specific with this goal as you can.

What is the final result you will achieve with this goal?

What resources will you need to achieve this goal?


Where will this goal take place?

Where will you need to be/go in order to reach this goal?

Where will you work to reach this goal?


Why is it important that you reach this goal?

Why do you want to reach this goal?

This question is a bit of a double-check to ensure that you really want to complete this goal and that it is for you and not for someone else. Also, it’s a great way to motivate yourself with all the reasons that you want to do it!

Making SMART Goals

You will also want to check that your goal is SMART. Smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

To check that you have a smart goal, you can go through the following:


Be very clear with your goal. You want as many details as possible so that you know exactly what you need to achieve.


how will you know that your goal is complete? ex: how much weight do you want to lose? what will you have achieved?


How will you reach this goal? Are there any constraints that might prevent you from reaching this goal? (ie. financial, where you live, other commitments)


This will be more for your mini goals. Do they work towards the overall goal that you want to achieve and towards the life that you want?


You need to make sure that you have a deadline or series of deadlines that you can adhere to so that you stay on track.

Once you do this with your bigger goals, you can go through again with your mini goals and micro goals.

Now that you have your goals well-defined, you can start to make a plan.

Step 5: Making a Plan

You can start to map out when you want your milestones to be.

Mapping Your Milestones

1 Year Goal:

9-month goal:

6-month goal:

3-month goal:

1-month goal:

1-week goal:

Today’s goal:

Once you have those goals figured out, as well as your mini goals and even micro goals – you can start putting your plan into action by filling out a yearly calendar, then monthly, weekly, and daily.  I have included yearly, monthly, and weekly calendars in the printable goal setting worksheet here.

It helps to always keep these calendars nearby with your goals clearly written out so that you can keep these goals at the forefront of your mind. When you start seeing these every day, you will be inspired and motivated to work towards them – especially if you already have all the steps written out too!

If you want an even more thorough goal setting worksheet (well actually it’s a workbook), check out this one. I use it myself and it is so thorough and so detailed. It’s around $30 but totally worth it! It has 60+ pages and even just using a couple of them has helped me out a lot!

But if you don’t want to shell out the cash, you can download my free goal planning workbook below: not as thorough but I will be working on updating it and making it a lot better!

Also, a huge part of achieving your goals is your mindset, so you should check out my free mindset training course. It will be specifically dedicated to reframing your mind and habits toward reaching your goals.

Starting a Bullet Journal – For Beginners: A Step-by-step guide

Starting a Bullet Journal – For Beginners: A Step-by-step guide

If you are reading this, then you are probably looking to start a bullet journal. And if I had to guess, you might be a bit overwhelmed by all of the ideas and possibilities out there for starting a journal. I know I was. That’s why I thought I would write about the best and most straightforward way to start your bullet journal.

If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, I have one question for you: do you live under a rock?

I feel like everywhere I look (well on the internet), there is somebody talking about bullet journaling. This is with good reason because bullet journals are an incredible tool to organize your mind, life, work, hobbies, and even your mental and physical health.

But, like I said, it can be overwhelming. That’s why I’m going to give you a step-by-step, quick and easy guide to bullet journaling for beginners, so that you can start to reap the benefits of this awesome tool as soon as possible!

*Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links, but there’s so additional cost to you! And it’ll help support my blog and allow me to provide free, awesome content!

Step 1: Figure out what you want to include in your bullet journal

First of all, you should decide if you want your bullet journal to be mainly professional, personal/hobby related, or health and wellness related. It could definitely be all 3, but sometimes it is nice to maybe have two bullet journals.

For example, you could have your health and wellness journal next to your bed, so you can use it in the morning and at night. Then you could have your professional one at your desk/at work.

There are endless amounts of topics; I have narrowed down a few in the following image. Again, this part might be a bit overwhelming but I would start by focusing on 3 main topics that you would like to include/track in your journal.

Step 2: Decide on your date format.

A problem that I have always found with store-bought planners is that they never have the format I want. Personally, I like to have a monthly view right next to my weekly views for that month. Also, sometimes it’s nice to have a yearly view somewhere, just to give a high-level overview. And when you are tracking your food or exercise for example, it’s nice to have daily pages for that.

A bonus of having a bullet journal is that you can change it as you figure out what works for you, so you can just start out with a weekly view + some daily views, but you can change it later if you find that you don’t use the daily views as much.

Step 3: Add your index page

This was something that I was missing for a while, and before I used one, I found that my bullet journal was a bit scattered and I was worried about messing it up or adding certain pages where they didn’t quite fit.

All these problems go away when you have an index page! An index page allows you to put pages in wherever you please, because you can just refer back to your index page!

This brings up part 2; it is a good idea to number your pages. It is slightly tedious, but it will definitely pay off in the end.

This also solves a common issue that may come up, which is when you fill up an ideas page, for example, that you want to continue it on another page that is further down in your journal. Well, you can just add that second page number into your index, and if you want, you can even add that to the original ideas page itself, so that you can remind yourself of it.

Step 4: Adding the bells and whistles

There are a lot of cool extras that you can add to your bullet journal to really spice it up. But again, the amount of options can be extremely overwhelming.

These extra bells and whistles I’m talking about are the fancy designs, creative mood trackers, a cover page (if you dare!), and signifiers (what does that even mean?! Don’t worry; I’ll get to it in a second).

There are probably a lot of other fancy things you can add, but I think it’s all a little too much. You can totally do them and get as creative as you want, but I want this to be more for the sake of functionality. So for now I’ll just stick to the points I mentioned and how you can make the most of them.

Fancy Designs

This one is self-explanatory, but it is something that can be a bit intimidating when you look at the amazing works of art that are on the internet. I would just say, that you should do what will please you – maybe do some flowers in the corners of your pages or add a page dedicated just to doodling! Make it what you want and don’t get caught up trying to make it perfect!

Cover page

This is another very intimidating part of starting any journal, especially in a notebook that you love and don’t want to ruin! I’d say to either leave the first page blank, or just write something simple. Mine just says “Sagesse’s Productivity Bullet Journal”. Simple, but effective.

Creative Mood Trackers

Mood trackers are a great way to analyze your mental wellbeing – which is so important! And, if you are tracking other things you are doing each day, you can see how your day-to-day activities impact your mood and mental health.

Using mood trackers is an INCREDIBLE way to start optimizing your wellbeing and productivity, and you can just start by writing your mood of the day in your monthly planner. You can also get more creative and have little drawings that correspond to a day of the month and then colour code them according to your mood, to gt a visual representation of your mood throughout the month!


Now what are these?! I don’t know if these are universally called signifiers, but they are basically little symbols that you can use to sort out the information that you put into your

(Take my own pictures for these posts)

Step 5: Pick your journal and use it!

There are so many journals to choose from, but I have a few suggestions for types of journals to buy.

Grid paper: The journal I currently use has grid lines on it, which I really like because it helps me space out everything nicely. It’s also great if you are going to draw boxes, weekly/monthly calendars, etc.

Blank journal: This is great if you are more artistic. You have a blank canvas and you can make your journal into whatever you’d like it to be!

Regular ol’ lined journal: Uhhh boring! Just kidding, this is just the classic journal, but I actually find that the lines are a bit too restricting for my taste. I like to be free or at least have the grid to compensate for my less than perfect ability to draw straight lines and boxes!

I like the journals from MUJI (that’s where I got mine), a lot of them are made from recycled material which is really nice. They’re all very simple and you can stock up on multiple for when you start on your next bullet journal.

As for the cuter, more fun journals, I would suggest chapters or indigo. They always have cute journals and they frequently have good sales on older journals!

Here are some other journals that you can easily order from amazon!

Extra step: Make sure you use your journal!

You’re not going to gain anything from your journal if you don’t use it consistently – so make it a habit to start using it. Keep it next to your bed or on your desk and use it when you get up or as soon as you get to work. Or use it at the end of the day as a reflection tool!

Happy bullet journaling!

If you want some extra help with organizing your life, you should check out my Dream Life Goal Planner. It has journal prompts to help you figure out what you truly want and it has goal planning tips and templates to help you get on your way to living your best and most authentic life!

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Owner of Mindaya

Hey guys, it’s Sagesse – the face behind website! I’m dedicated to helping you find freedom your anxiety and overcome the mental obstacles that are standing in the way of your best life!