Productivity Apps to Help You Ace Your Finals

If you’ve been following the blog since the beginning, you’ve probably noticed that I used to be all about studying tips and school. I’ve since expanded into more of a lifestyle blog, but I love to drop a quick post about productivity here and there.

I’ve been using some of the same apps off and on since my freshman year of college to help me keep track of how hard I’m working, my goals, and to keep my study space distraction free. Here are my top three favorites:

Flipd

Flipd is an app for smartphones (available on the App store and in Google Play) that helps keep you distraction free. Flipd it technically a digital wellness company, so it’s meant to be used for things other than studying, but I typically use the app to force me to stay off my phone.

I set a timer for five minutes each morning when I get up. This keeps me from scrolling through social media while I’m still under the covers. I honestly think that’s one of my day’s biggest time sucks! I can stay curled up under a pile of blankets liking Instagrams for hours without realizing it – and then my whole day is gone! So I try to set a five minute timer and put my phone down when I first wake up. I started doing this mid-September once I realized that most of my morning was being devoted to other people’s lives rather than preparing myself for my own. I haven’t been late to class since! And I can honestly say my brain feels fresher when I step out of my house each morning, even if it is 8am.

For studying, I tend to set the timer for 20-30 minute increments. This is what the Pomodoro method recommends. Being focused for thirty minutes, then allowing yourself a five minute break, leads to the most productive stretches of time. The way the app works is that you’ll get a countdown for whatever time you set. If you leave the app, your timer dies. You can have the app shut off all your notifications if you need the extra push to stop looking at your phone, but I usually just set the timer and leave it alone. If you forget that you’ve set a timer and leave the app, or open your phone, you’ll get a notification saying that you’ll lose your session if you don’t head back to the app.

The app challenges you to get 180 minutes of distraction free time a day. Their Instagram has monthly challenges to see who can rack up the most Flipd minutes, or be the most productive. They partnered with Passion Planner for 2019 and do productivity giveaways most months.

While I don’t use this feature, you can categorize how you spend your time. I don’t tag my Flipd minutes, but if you’re using the app for different things, like exercising or sleep, then this is a good way to track your progress.

You can also study with groups on the app. Just search using a group name or a group code to find your friends. Mine is called Bailey’s Study Group, and the group code is #xkKGWk

Forest

Forest is another app that can be found in the Apple App Store or on Google Play. While Flipd is a free app, Forest does cost money. I downloaded the app way back when it was free, but now it costs $2 to download. I use the app every day so I think the cost is worth it, but if you’re looking for only one productivity app and don’t want to spend the money, you’re better off using Flipd.

Personally, I like Forest over Flipd because Forest gives me a visual representation of what my time looks like. The app grows a tree, or a shrub depending on how long you set your timer for, while you study. If you end your session, your tree dies. For each tree planted, you get coins. You can use those coins to purchase different types of trees on the app, or donate your coins so that the company can plant a real tree out in the wild.

You can up the stakes in Forest by studying with a group. Any person that leaves the app before time’s up makes everyone’s trees wither.

You can also unlock achievements along the way by spending more time off your phone, growing more trees, and having a variety of plants in your garden.

As a visual learner, I appreciate that Forest gives me a visual representation of what spending time away from my phone looks like. I can go back and view all of the months I’ve been using this app and see the forests I’ve created. The more trees, the more time away from my phone.

Those are the two apps I use for productivity, but I also have a Google Chrome add on called Momentum that I use daily for to-do lists.

Momentum is very popular on the Studygram and Studyblr communities, so you’ve probably seen it before if you follow any Instagram accounts that are about the studying ~aesthetic~

Good luck on finals everybody!

Using a Bullet Journal to Hold Yourself Accountable

I’ve written about my bullet journal several times on the blog. I use it to keep track of my busy schedule, write down all the things on my never ending to-do lists, and keep up with my school work.

Bullet journals aren’t just for school, but as a student that’s what I utilize mine for the most. Today I’m working with Quill to show you all of the extra ways to use your bullet journal (for life and for school!).

Productive Bullet Journal

My bullet journal looks very different from this set up, and that’s okay! Bullet journals are totally customizable – made by you for you!

Instead of a future log, I find it most helpful to draw out monthly calendars for the whole year in the beginning of my bujo. That helps me keep track of when things are, but also is really good because I’m a visual learner, so seeing everything all together gives me an even better idea of how much time I have to complete assignments or study for tests.

My favorite pages are definitely my brain dump pages, goals sheet, and reading log. Giving each their own page not only keeps them separate, but gives you extra space to track your progress, or to write mini reviews for each book, or even put in some doodles!

A fun page that I’m planning on incorporating into my 2020 bullet journal is a spread created by Amanda Rach Lee. She puts all her “to watch”, “to read”, and “to listen to” items on one page so she can keep track of them. I’m planning on making a movie list, a tv show list, a book list, an albums list, and a podcast list. I always have something I really want to catch up on, but when I finally have free time I totally blank on what it was! I’m hoping keeping all of those “to watch/read/listen to” things together will help me better utilize my free time.

Here are a few links to help you get started shopping if you’re stuck:

Brush Pens 1 & 2 / Fineliners / Ink Pen 1 & 2 / Journal / Sticky Notes 1, 2, & 3 / Washi Tape 1 & 2

What are you putting in your 2020 bullet journal?

Disclaimer: Some of the links are affiliate links, which I do receive a small commission for. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Happy December!

November was an absolute whirlwind of a month. I missed posting to the blog every week, which sucks because I had made a resolution to be better about posting four times a month. Oh well! Life happens.

Here are a few of my favorite things from the month of November:

Food – Will made his grandmother’s potato casserole for Thanksgiving and everyone that tried it adored it. Maybe I’ll have a guest post about it sometime soon? We’ll see!

Drinks – Recently I’ve been very into trying new wines and mulled ciders. I think it all started with Fran Acciardo’s vlog about Trader Joe’s wines. I miss having a Trader Joe’s in town, but for now the wines from Aldi will have to do.

Check out the video here: Trader Joe’s Cheap Wine Review Under $6

Books – While I wish I could say I’ve been able to read for fun during law school, I haven’t. My eyes are so tired at the end of each day that reading before bed seems like more of a chore than a pleasure. I do have quite a few new and noteworthy books in my TBR pile. You can check them out on my Goodreads profile!

I decorated my Christmas tree before I left for Thanksgiving break. I found some mini balloon dog ornaments at Walmart for my tree (which is basically a fluffier version of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree). I’m tempted to get these giant balloon dog ornaments for my parents’ tree at home. How cute!

That’s all for now. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude Journaling This November

I try my best to journal at least once a week. This November, I decided to change gears a little bit and try to write down one good thing from each day.

I tend to be a little negative at the end of the day. I’m tired and hungry, definitely overwhelmed by everything on my never ending to do list, and just generally not in a great mood, so when I sit down before bed to write, my entries end up being about all the bad in the world. Reading over a few of my October entries I realized that I actually had a really good month, but I documented only the bad stuff. After reading this article from Lauren Conrad, I decided to change things up.

In my psychology classes during undergrad I learned about the power of positive thinking. It not only helps to improve your overall mood and outlook on life, but can also lower stress levels. Less stress means a healthier heart, more energy, and better sleep. All of that leads to a longer life! Sounds like a nice package deal, and I don’t have to wait for Amazon Prime delivery! This gift comes instantaneously – one positive thought can change your brain chemistry.

Writing down one thing I’m thankful for, or one thing that happened to me that day that was good, has helped me work through this turbulent first semester. It’s also given me a few pages of happiness to look back on in a few years. Right now, I’m thankful that future me will remember nights with friends instead of my Civil Procedure midterm grade.

Here are a few journaling ideas to get you started:

How are you practicing gratitude this November?

What’s on my Radar

Midterms are finally over, and I am officially braindead. Here I am studying for finals anyway. That’s the major difference between law school and undergrad – I started preparing for finals before midterms were halfway through.

I’ve been watching a lot of Amanda Rach Lee‘s Youtube videos. I’m preparing for my 2020 bullet journal by binging her bujo set up clips in my free time. I find her voice so soothing that I actually watch her videos right before bed!

Here’s how I set up my 2019 bullet journal. I’m expanding my set up so that I have habit trackers, mood trackers, and monthly to-do lists. I’m super excited to get started, but I’m waiting until winter break to start.

I also decided that I’m taking my address book and birthday cheat sheet out of my bullet journal and moving them into an actual address book. Will and I went to Paper Source over the weekend and I found this adorable one from Rifle Paper Co!

I’ve also recently been obsessed with Twenty Seven on Instagram. Her shop is adorable and I wish I was in Lakeland to visit in person! I also love how her goal is to spread more sunshine and happiness.

I listened to Bad on Paper‘s podcast with Carly the Prepster. I’ve been following her blog and Instagram for around five years now (how has it been that long?!) and was inspired by her to start my own blog. So here we are, full circle, talking about her blog on my blog.

Her feature in Bad on Paper’s podcast felt special because A) I was stuck in Atlanta traffic while listening to her chat and that made me realize how much I’ve grown up in the past five years, B) I now have a tbr stack of books that I know I’ll love (because everything Carly has recommended has been right up my alley), and C) she’s so relatable. Here’s to hoping we’ll run in to each other in a bookstore or a coffee shop one day! But for now, I’ll just continue reading her blog.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll have more time to write up an actual blog post next week!

Sending Greetings Made Simple with Paperless Post

Some claim the art of letter writing has been lost, but I think it’s merely changed forms. I love sending my friends letters, but because most of them are in college or recent graduates, their mailing addresses change frequently and it’s hard to keep up with them. You know what doesn’t often change? An email address.

Sending snail mail has been popularized again by Instagrammers sharing their letter decorating or hand lettering online, and by the recent Thinking of You Week, but online letters can be just as beautiful.

I teamed up with Paperless Post to send out graduation invitations in May, and I’m back to show you some of their unique designs for sending electronic letters, emails, fliers, and invitations! Paperless Post makes it easy to send a ~paperless~ letter to those you love, without the hassle of figuring out who still sells stamps.

The greeting cards offered by Paperless Post are not only unique, some of them are by your favorite designers! Who knew Kate Spade made e-cards? Well, now you do!

And for all those designers out there, you can upload your design to their website to create your very own e-card. Paperless Post also gives you the option to take your digital design and turn it into a real life card with the help of Paper Source if you find that digital hello’s just aren’t your thing after all.

Like I talked about in my graduation invitation post, I really enjoy Paperless Post because the animation gives you the feel of actually opening a card. Instead of what most e-cards do, where there’s a picture or a video for you to send, Paperless does it differently. When you send your card, your friend gets to see an envelope addressed to them, from you, with a Paperless stamp. The envelope is opened through the animation and your card is pulled out. As far as I’ve found, Paperless Post is the only e-card service that not only lets the sender customize the card and envelope, but allows the sender to cater the experience of opening the card towards the opener. Part of the joy of getting snail mail is actually opening the letter, and this isn’t lost here even though the whole transaction is online!

I picked out a card to send to my mom (hi Mom!). She and I share an affinity for funny greeting cards, and we almost always picked some up from local bookstores in Athens, GA when she visited me!

Dear Paperless Post, you are awesome sauce as well! Thanks for making sending greeting cards so easy!

All pictures are screenshots of Paperless Post‘s website and products. Images are not my own. Post was made in partnership with Paperless Post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What’s on My Radar

Law school work is quickly catching up on me. Here are a few things I found on the web this past week for some light reading:

A question I ask myself often – what happens when I’m no longer impressive for my age? Article from Man Repeller

A story about a ghostwriter and the truth behind an Instagram star (don’t we all wonder how they turn out?)

The Goldfinch came out last week. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 25%. It was one of my favorite books of 2017.

I have a new place to visit: the world’s first cheese conveyor belt

And finally, an easy lunch recipe my friend made for me yesterday. Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Pinwheels from Minimalist Baker

Two Story Coffee House

Macon doesn’t have many good coffee spots. I like Starbucks as much as the next person, but there’s something about a shop with personality that makes me feel more at home.

Photo from: Style Blueprint

My favorite coffee shop in Athens closed down right after I began my junior year. It was called Two Story, and it got its name from the way it looked: a little house with two stories right off South Lumpkin Street in Five Points. The coffee was delicious, but that’s not the whole story behind why people liked this place so much.

The big appeal? It’s a house! Walking in felt cozy, like coming home. You could sit on the front porch and watch the world go by. You could lounge in a couch indoors like a lazy cat under a sunny window. Upstairs had study nooks with desks in every room. The back porch, screened in and facing a gravel parking lot, was my favorite spot. Screened in so the bugs couldn’t get ya, but still outdoors. Sitting there while it rained was a favorite leisure activity of mine.

Photo from @TwoStoryCoffee on Twitter

Each space felt special. I think everyone that walked into Two Story thought that. Being away from home, finding a spot that felt cozy and homey was important to me, even up until my junior year when I lived in an actual house. I haven’t found a place like this in Macon (which is probably why I camp out on the couch in my living room so often). Maybe I’ll find my “spot” someday soon, but Two Story will always have a special place in my heart. Even though I don’t live in Athens anymore I am still sad it had to close!

What I’m Up To

Happy July! Anybody else feeling like we’re watching red, white, and blue on repeat recently? Go USA!

If you haven’t been keeping up with the news, the women’s U.S. soccer team won the World Cup yesterday, defeating the Netherlands for the win! I’m not the biggest soccer fan, but I’ve tried to pay attention for all the friends that are mega fans. Couldn’t be more proud of our girls!

The Fourth was recently as well, and I spent the day cleaning Will’s house and packing him up for his move to Alabama (hey Will, hope you’re reading this!). I did see a lot of firework boomerangs on Insta though! Well worth it.

I’m prepping for my first year of law school at Mercer, and by prepping I mean trying to get my life together. Since I’m not studying psychology anymore it doesn’t make sense for that to be my blog name anymore. I haven’t finished setting everything up yet, but get ready for some major changes around here!

That’s all for now! Tune in next week for something a little more exhilarating than life updates haha

Life As A Pioneer (AKA living as a millennial without a microwave)

As my roommates and I all move out to start our new adult lives our stuff has slowly began to disappear from our house. I’m currently sitting in a living room with a tv stand, but no tv, end tables, but no couch, curtain rods, but no curtains…you get the picture. Not throwing shade at my roommates – this is just how adulthood is sometimes. Or, as the kids say nowadays, that’s just “how it be.”

I don’t know about you, but my microwave is an adulthood essential. All of my home cooked meals usually end up in there, most of those meals being a 9pm dinner of popcorn and wine. Living life without a microwave has thus left me without my popcorn, and I have been (somewhat) devastated. It’s crazy to think that I go about my days using technology that could be easily replaced but when I’m left trying to “easily replace” it I’m somewhat dumbfounded by how much my adult self needed it.

People say that a wine glass is basically just an adult sippy cup. If that’s the case, then my microwave is the adult version of a pack’n’play. Instead of reheating my coffee or tea, I have to brew a new batch. Trying to make a frozen meal? Forget it being ready in five minutes because now you have to wait on the oven to heat up. And don’t get me started about popcorn on the stove – I nearly took my own eye out. I’m having to re-learn simple tasks that are crucial to adulthood (like, for example, cooking…). No longer are things quick and easy. I actually have to plan things out. Yeesh.

I hope you all realize that that was sarcasm. If not, it was sarcasm. Cool. Glad we’re on the same page. Anyways! This is a long winded way of saying that I take a lot of things for granted and don’t realize it until it’s 2am and I’m making stove top popcorn and being burned by flying bits of butter. Adulthood is a long and winding road. Simple things like microwaves and iPhones make it a lot easier, but in terms of actually knowing how to do life “right” my generation has a long way to go. We’re so dependent on the technologies of our childhood that when it comes to facing some part of life without them we tend to fall apart and not really know how to carry on as normal. This goes for little things, like single use plastics, too.

Plastics became big during my parents’ childhoods. Tupperware became an especially fast growing phenomenon. My mom remembers having tupperware parties where housewives would gather around to sell each other Rubbermade bowls and lids. Now we’ve become so reliant on it that living life without it seems…awkward, and more effort than it’s worth. For example, why would you go through the trouble of getting out pots and pans if you could just pop that dinner plate into the microwave to heat it up? Why go bring your own cups to Starbucks when they have their own? Get my drift?

It’s so much easier to walk into a store and buy what you need and walk out without having to think about it. Not to mention, it’s much cheaper to buy single use plastics than to purchase things in containers made of glass or metal. Another thing to not mention is the way an entire industry has changed based on the fact that we’re no longer using glass refillable bottles for milk, and it’s no longer a “neighborhood” thing where you leave the bottles at your doorstep and your friendly neighborhood milk bottle boy would pick them up, have them refilled, and bring them back. Instead of a neighborhood enterprise, it’s now national. If I’m being honest, this is pretty remarkable in an oddly awe-inspiring way (keep a lookout for my next memoir Girl Inspired by How Single Use Plastics Changed the National Dairy Industry in Under One Generation. Haha. Just kidding.).

Change is hard. Reverse change is even harder. No one likes to think about going backwards as progress, but hey, sometimes you need to take a step back in order to get a running start, right? And now, as I go back to living life with the crippling anxiety of not having my microwave to assist me in my comfort of superfluous everyday living, I have decided that appliance I cannot live without is my tea kettle, which actually isn’t mine but my roommate’s. Wish me luck.

If you’d like to read more about single use plastics, click on the following links:

If you want to read more about the United State’s milk industry, click here: