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Oh man, Libby is super cool. We met over a cup of coffee one early morning at my favorite cafe, and after learning more about what was next for her, I asked her to let us in on all of it. Read on.

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
Hello! I’m Libby, an aspiring farmer/agricultural educator. I’m currently (newly) transitioning from a career in tech to a career more aligned with my food and agriculture dreams. My day to day now consists of getting to work on the operations team at a local food hub, as well as at a sustainability-minded restaurant.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
It’s funny you ask me this, because I’m in the thick of the process of figuring this out. So far, I’ve realized that no matter how much you love your job, you still need ample life outside of work. I’m slowly learning the best ways to spend my free time, particularly how to fulfill what I need that day or that moment.

To unwind, I read, talk on the phone with my parents, brothers, and friends, jog, give myself a morning to cook a nice and big breakfast, do some personalized stretching/yoga/meditation combo, or find and consume the nearest scoop of ice cream, or peanut butter cookie. To really clear my head and/or perk myself up, I listen to music and walk around my favorite neighborhoods in the city to people and place watch. I also find I’m never in a better mood than when I’m in a third space either on my computer or writing and also kind of eavesdropping on what’s going on around me. It sounds goofy but it gives me faith in humanity and makes me love people. I’ll also occasionally strike up a conversation with a stranger, which really gets me going. Talking to someone who knows nothing about you can be very freeing, and it’s also telling what you choose to present about yourself.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a grocery store cash register attendant, because I loved the “beep” noise the bar code scanner made, how knowledgable the attendants looked punching buttons on the register, and thought it was cool that attendants get to see what kinds of food people buy for themselves. I also thought they got to keep all of the money in the register.

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
TBD! But if I had to decide the job I’d have for the rest of my life tomorrow, I’d be a farmer within a coop. Goats, chickens, veggie/fruit/herb fields, and a greenhouse, with educational programming.

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
Thank you! People can find me on instagram (ebelyon) or email me at ebelyon@gmail.com

Work is something we all have on our plates, and with 24/7 access via mobile phones and email, it can feel like you spent an entire day (and night) accomplishing very little. Sometimes you may only be able to assess your output by the number of emails you sent or the number of meetings you attended. So when you feel that you’ve just been working a lot, but can’t quite say what you accomplished – productivity is key. Read on for 4 lifehacks that will up your productivity (and lower your working hours).

  1. Map your work – I know, it’s not a sexy one, but it’s important to plan ahead. By looking at the day you have in front of you, or the week, month, quarter you’re giving your brain an understanding of what’s on the docket. This will let you make sure you’re aligned with your current personal or project goals consistently so you can stay focused.
  2. Schedule your time – Organizing your time allows for real work to get done. Rather than having free hours in your day, block out time for the tasks you’d like to complete during those times. Test out different periods of time that work for you – for some you may only be able to focus for 10 minutes at a time, others, 45 minutes. When you start a task session, fully commit for those 10-45 minutes. You’ll start to sense a balance as to how long you can really pay attention to one task. Leave gaps between task sessions to handle items that require less focused attention.
  3. Prioritize to-dos – This is similar to planning ahead, but a little more granular. Not only is it important to have a broad picture of your personal and professional goals, but your daily to-do list should be prioritized by what is critical and what is important. Obviously, everything on your to-do list is important, but some items truly cannot wait past today. Distinguishing between the two will allow you to focus on what matters most today.
  4. Break out – As much as focus is important, so is lack of focus. Give yourself time before, during and after the work day to truly unwind. That may be a few minutes of looking at puppies, taking up a quick meditation or shutting off your phone after work hours so you can really step away from the office and rejuvenate.

Hope these help you get more done, faster, so you can have more time for fun things!

Credits:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/joefolkman/2015/03/23/8-ways-to-get-work-done-faster/
http://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/how-to-work-less-and-achieve-more
http://www.inc.com/ilya-pozin/learn-this-in-10-minutes-and-be-more-productive-for-life.html

Stress Tips

Stress is bad. For real. It causes all kinds of psychological issues like anxiety and low motivation. Women and millennials are feeling the heat the most according to American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey taken from a Business Insider article. Also, Millenials are the worst at finding smart and healthy coping methods. Instead they’re smoking, drinking, napping, watching tv and other general veg-life actions, rather than taking care of themselves.

Now that we’re agreed that stress is really horrible, here are some tips to combat stress:

  • Slow down! I know, we were just talking about this, but it’s really helpful to take a minute and step back.
  • Breathe. Breathing brings in more oxygen to the brain and can lower your heart rate and generally make you feel great. A fun exercise here.
  • Meditate. I’m still really digging Headspace if you’re looking for a guided start
  • Move. Hit the gym, pump some iron, do some yoga.
  • Eat well. Good food will help you get some good stuff in your body.
  • Connect. Talk to friends, family or a therapist to make sure you’re finding a safe space to talk about your emotions.
  • Write/Reflect. Writing helps you reflect and get your thoughts onto paper and organize your own actions.
  • Take Responsibility. When the stress is occurring at work, it helps to think about your actions and be honest with yourself and others about how you can improve.
  • Make Time. Set aside time for yourself each day, to just have you-time.
  • Break it up. Take breaks! They’re so good for you. Sitting at a computer screen can be torture, so try to get up a couple times a day.
  • Be Grateful. Your worst day is better than a lot of people’s best days. Putting things into perspective and thank yourself for what you’ve accomplished. It could be as simple as washing the dishes. Or having a conversation with a friend.

Stress can do crazy things to us. But, one last approach is to make stress work for you. Check out this TED Talk for reasons why: https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend/transcript

Here’s to less stress! Cheers.

 

Credits:
http://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-are-the-most-stressed-out-2015-2#ixzz3S8Lhg1kV
http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/blissing-out-10-relaxation-techniques-reduce-stress-spot
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-at-work.htm
http://zenhabits.net/20-ways-to-eliminate-stress-from-your-life/

 

 

 

mindfulness

Continuing along the thread of meditation, mindfulness and “Me” time, there was a great article on Inc about finding mental space.

  1. Schedule meetings for 45 minutes instead of one hour to build in time to synthesize your thoughts in-between meetings, and don’t forget to find out what the purpose of the meeting is.
  2. Create a recurring, weekly meeting with yourself, to reflect on your thoughts about yourself, your team and your goals. You can also try writing down at the end of each day what you accomplished. It’s shown to boost productivity and can help you stay focused at work and prepare for your reviews.
  3. Try a silent commute once a week to give your brain some time to think and debrief.
  4. Take a walk.  In the morning to prepare for your day; after lunch to get fresh air and re-energize; in the evening to unwind and reflect on your day.
  5. Disconnect from all forms of technology for one hour a week to get back in touch with things and people who are right in front of you. (i.e., experience real life vs. virtual life)
  6. Practice mindfulness by truly focusing on what you’re doing, the sounds, feeling, motions, etc.
  7. Do nothing for two minutes to give your brain a break

It’s nice to take a break.

 

Credits: Meditation designed by Matt Brooks from the Noun Project, @iconmonstr

get some headspace

While finding areas to improve in the workplace and our personal enjoyment, I went on a small hunt to also find out ways I can improve myself in the meantime. And, one of the main things that’s been hitting the presses lately is all about how meditation will cure anything and everything. Are you sad? Meditate. Are you stressed? Meditate. Hungry? Meditate. You get it. However, there is some science-backed research coming out now that’s giving some rigor behind the methodology and how it can impact your life in a positive way.

It’s a common saying “You can’t control the world around you, only the way you react to it.” One way that people recommend taking time to move from reactive to reflective is meditation. I want to preface all of this with I am not quite the meditation convert I assumed I would become. Looking for “headspace” requires time, effort, and sitting still.

However, if you’re thinking about it, I’d recommend Andy Puddicombe’s book Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day. It offers great statistics around why meditation is good for you, and just how easy it is to fit into your daily life. It almost feels like a QVC-shopping network “JUST TEN MINUTES EVERY DAY WILL MAKE YOU PERFECT”, but, the content is there, the statistics are informative, and the technique is clear and easy to follow.

I won’t say he’s the best storyteller, and there are some “holier than thou” moments, but overall, I do think this is a great, straightforward book to get you started on mindfulness and mediation. You can also check out his TED Talk, followed a guided meditation, read about the benefits, and there’s an app download to take headspace with you.

 

Credits: Meditation designed by Matt Brooks from the Noun Project

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