4.01.2019

Clearing Headspace: How I Effectively Manage My Events and Tasks


Hello! It’s been a minute since my last post! I feel like lately something always comes *first* before blogging, and I hate that I haven’t been able to prioritize it lately. But hey, that’s life, and I have to live it even if that means dropping off the face of the internet for two months. I missed y’all, though, and I’m excited to talk all things scheduling, tasks, and calendar.


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Girls like us have a lot going on. Whether you're in high school, college, or beyond, there's always a lot -- and I know better than anyone that it can be overwhelming. Keeping straight what you have to do and where you have to be can take up a lot of headspace.

But shouldn’t we be able to devote that space to actually doing those things, implementing those ideas and being present in those places instead of just thinking about them? I certainly think so. 

That’s why it’s so important to me to “automate” my tasks and keep a tight hold on my calendar. Of course, it takes time to set these things up, but I promise the methods pay dividends by saving you time and reducing anxiety. Until I started unloading everything into my organization systems, I didn’t realize how much I was lugging around inside my head, constantly ticking off boxes and racking my brain for my next assignment due.

I’d love to share with you how I do this, with effectively using technology and a classic paper planner or notebook to seamlessly organize the chaos. It’s not perfect but it works for me, and I welcome all of your suggestions and how YOU manage your calendar in the comments below!

Tool 1: Google Calendar

I’ve used Google Calendar for at least three years now, and I love it more and more as time goes on. It’s flexible on how much/little you want to use it, but through trial and error, I’ve found a method that works for me.

Here is what goes on my “master calendar,” each under a different colored “sub-calendar.”

Main calendar (this is what comes automatically set up on G-cal): this holds club meetings, meetups with friends, non-school related deadlines, and random events and reminders that don’t fall under a category below.

Assignments/quizzes: this holds every assignment and quiz that is on any of my syllabi or brought up in class. I put them in as soon as I get each syllabus from the professor. I typically title the event with the “Class name, assignment, assignment number,” such as “RETL 268 TREND REPORT 2.” I often make abbreviations for recurring assignments and add the time of day it is due in the notes section of the event, instead of in the time slot, so that the assignment will still show up on top of the calendar.
Exams: pretty self-explanatory, but I give exams a color to themselves so that they stand out! I’ll put the chapters that the exam is over and the format in the notes section.
Readings: when I have to read chapters or articles for a class, I put the class and chapter number on this calendar.
Classes: I put my class schedule on this calendar with each class’ section number. This also makes it easy to delete a class if it gets canceled and add notes, such as when we are having guest speakers, for different class times! My calendar also alerts me 30 mins before each class to make sure I’m not late.
Blog: This is where I put goal dates for blog posts and other blog-related deadlines!
Sorority: This is where I put all ADPi related events -- chapter, philanthropy events, functions, etc.
Church: I put all the mass times/event times for my church on this calendar!
Travel: Anytime I am going to be out of town, I like for the event to be a different color to indicate it and make it easy to see visually when I won’t be at school.
Shared calendars: I also have the Google calendars of my boyfriend, Greg, best friend, Caroline, and roommate, Abby, shared with me! This makes it especially easy to know when Greg will be able to talk on the phone (#LDRLife) and where Abby is when I get home and she’s not in our room.
This is what my side tab with all of my calendars on it looks like!


Tool 2: Google Tasks


This one is newer to me, but it is so well integrated with Google Calendar that it’s been a total breeze to use. Google Tasks is basically my new secret weapon/BFF. How it works: it’s a side tab that you can easily enable on Google Calendar, but it also has it’s own iPhone and Chrome app -- making it super easy to add your tasks right when they pop into your head.

You can organize them by date, manually, or just in the order which you add them. By tagging them with due dates/times, Tasks will remind you when you have something due that day or something overdue.

You can also make separate “lists,” I have one for main tasks, one for emails to send, and one for blog tasks. For me, everything goes on Tasks. Laundry, working out, lab reports, calls to make, etc -- it’s all there, but it feels so good to have it in one place! It also counts and keeps track of all of the tasks you’ve ever completed, which is so satisfying and reminds me of all the progress I’ve made, especially on days where it feels like I’m bogged down and getting nowhere.

This is what my side tab of Tasks looks like on G-Cal!
A look at the Tasks app

Tool 3: Good Old Paper

Admittedly, I am using my paper planner less and less -- and I could see myself getting rid of it in the future. That said, for now, it helps me to stay on track while studying and doing homework because it is a physical item that I can lay out on my desk and be reminded of my tasks, schedule, and gratitudes.

How I use it: At the start of the week and before each day, I write my events and things I have due on the days of the week. This gets my mind set on what’s coming up in the next week/day to make sure I am dedicating my time accordingly. At the start of each day or the night before, I will write in the four tasks that I need to accomplish during that day. As I’m referring to my planner during the day, I fill in my gratitudes and check my boxes for loving my mind, soul, and body. I also sometimes check off how much water I’ve been drinking.

My planner also has a page for each week. Here, I fill in my meals for the week (what my sorority house is serving), as well as goals and prayer intentions. My monthly goals (like from this post) go on the intro page to the month. If your planner doesn’t have room for this, I recommend writing them on a separate piece of paper that you cut to the size of your planner and taping it in the pages.

Even though I’ve been relying on technology more and more, I really am a big paper and pen gal, so this is therapeutic to me!

Whew, that was a lot, but I hope it helps! Let me know below how YOU rock the planning game -- I’d love to hear it.

Stay sunny,
Meg

1.21.2019

One Shirtdress, Three Ways

The best items in my closet are those that are versatile. Being in college (and having a tiny closet) has basically forced me into having a "capsule wardrobe" -- wearing a few classic pieces that I can style with more seasonal/trendy accessories and garments. One of my favorite "classics" is  a good shirtdress -- like this one. I think they are so chic but appropriate for everyday wear, plus they can be layered for different seasons and styled so many different ways. To show just how much I love my shirtdress, I styled it in 3 different ways -- sporty + fun, cozy but cute, and edgy + understated. This post comes in perfect timing, too, because my dress is $47, down from $98, with the code DOUBLEYAY. Double yay, indeed!

Look 1: Sporty + Fun

For this look, I added some cute enamel pins onto the dress to give it flair and personality -- they're my favorite detail to add to outfits, especially denim! I paired the dress with some gold hoops and pink sneakers for a simple, relaxed combo. I would wear this for walking around a new city (like on vacation), going to class, a casual lunch/brunch or a shopping outing with friends.


dress (use code doubleyay for 40% off) | shoes | hoops ($25!) | bangle | similar pins

Look 2: Cozy But Cute

To create this outfit, I belted the dress, added a long cardigan, simple jewelry, and booties. I know everyone probably has these items in their closet, especially with long cardi's being so popular right now, so it should be super easy to add this into your arsenal of outfits! I would wear this to church, work (in a retail store), formal chapter for my sorority, a nicer dinner, or just when I want to be more presentable but still comfortable. 


dressbangle | cardigan (almost out of stock), similar cardigan | belt ($17) | similar booties 

Look 3: Edgy + Understated

Adding snakeskin booties to this outfit is a perfect example of supplementing a classic wardrobe with trendy pieces. Black tights and gold jewelry polish this look off, and keep it simple enough to make the boots the focal point! I would wear this for any combination of events -- going out with friends for a meal, work, traveling, etc. 



I hope this post helped you to see something you already have in your closet in a different light :-) For 2019, my mission is to build on my classic pieces with new ways of styling!

Stay Sunny,
Meg

PS: thank you, Marie, for the photos!

1.19.2019

Best of the Madewell Sale

SHOP MY MADEWELL SALE FAVES!

through jan 22, use the code DOUBLEYAY for 40% off the prices shown -- this type of sale doesn't come around often so take advantage :-)

12.31.2018

My College Search + Why I Chose USC


If you'd rather watch a video on this topic instead of reading the post, check out my IGTV @asunnystateofmind!

I'll be real with ya: I do not miss my college search one bit. It was long, labor-intensive, confusing, and emotional. So if you're a junior or senior in high school and feel the same way: I totally get it and am right there with you. AND - I'm serious - it WILL get better! I absolutely promise you that. 

During my college search, I looked into hundreds of schools, toured eight, and applied to six. After my fifth college visit, in September of my senior year, I started panicking. I didn't even like any of the places I toured. I couldn't see myself on any of the campuses I had been to so far and I felt deeply unsettled. I told my mom I felt like a dramatic Goldilocks: every school I visited was too big, too small, or not quite right in some way. And it exhausted me. After the fifth tour, with tears streaming down my face, I resolved that I was simply being too picky. I told myself that I should just choose a school and move on, that I was asking for too much and the perfect place for me just didn't exist. With this mindset, I applied to schools I didn't much care for and hoped that at some point it would become clear to me which to choose.

But then I realized something. Never in my life had I ever settled, so why start now? Why should I choose a college that was anything less than my expectations? So the search went on. I booked more tours at Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Georgia.

When I arrived at USC, I did not have that "feeling" that people talk about, where you step on to a campus and "know" it's your home. In fact, I'd challenge that the "feeling" actually doesn't exist and that some people think they feel that way because it's how society, movies, and their parents tell them they're supposed to feel. So let's just take away that pressure right now.

Making a college decision is so much more than a feeling. It's a special balance of mental analyzation, forward-thinking, and yes, going with your gut. In hopes of giving some clarity to those making their tough college decisions, I thought I'd share a bit on how I made mine.

I distinguished between nostalgia and wanting to call a place home.

When it came down to it, my top two colleges were Wisconsin and South Carolina. When I thought back to the tours of each, I had two different types of positive feelings. With my Wisconsin tour, I had a memory similar to a vacation. I thought more about the fun times I had with my dad and Fran at UW than I did about the actual university. I felt nostalgic but didn't love how my life would be if I went to school there. I had positive feelings about USC because I knew it would support me, my needs, and my goals for the next four years.

It was a career choice...

Ultimately, you go to college to prepare yourself for the workforce. For me, USC had the program that was most tailored to my career goals. Sounds simple, I know, but this is hard to define! I knew I wanted a program that had an even balance of business and fashion, and that's what USC could give me. I needed to be able to combine my love for fashion and mind for business in order to be satisfied.

It was a lifestyle choice...

What really helped me narrow down my decision was imagining how I would be living my day-to-day life at each college. I considered things like clubs, the city itself, things to do, and other opportunities. I also felt out the overall personality of the campus. USC is very sunny, somewhat quaint, but still big enough to explore. And I loved that!

Repping at the World War II Memorial in DC! :-)
I hope this post helps all you college-decision-makers with your choices. I know it's a stressful time, so take a deep breath and try not to overanalyze!

Good luck & stay sunny
Meg

12.21.2018

First Semester Recap

One semester down. It's crazy to think that around this time last year, I hadn't even toured USC and was ridden with anxiety over the unknown. I had been on quite a few college tours and settled for the fact that I was picky and probably wouldn't ever find a school that I loved. Man do I wish my seventeen-year-old self could read this post. While my first semester had a couple growing pains, I barely noticed because I was having so much fun. I love my South Carolina home. It gave me the absolute best first few months, and I can't wait to share a little bit about them with you all (or y'all... as we say in the south ;-) ). 
I went ADPi...
Joining a sorority was definitely a defining factor to my first semester and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Bid day!!!
My mom is an ADPi too-- so she got to come to our initiation!

My awesome big, Hannah, and I before initiation 

I fell in love with my campus...
I feel like USC's campus is different from others I've visited because it doesn't have a real obvious beauty. Yes, it's pretty at first sight and I liked it when I toured, but most of what makes our campus beautiful to me is the hidden spots and comfort in familiarity. It's really hard to have a bad day when you call such a pretty place home. 
I mean how could I not fall in love with this!?
Our library -- which I got to know almost too well this semester
Making friends on the way to class at the pop-up petting zoo!
I cheered on the Gamecocks...
Ask anyone: I've really, truly, never been a sports fan. But this semester, I made an exception for Gamecock football and loved it!
My friends from my floor and I tailgating!

Saturdays really are for the Cocks

My friend, Erin, and I with our favorite gameday guys: USC Security and our live chicken Sir Big Spur
I traveled...
I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of the best parts of USC is the location. We're close to so many cool cities to explore! Being in a new city is energizes me and I'm so grateful for the places I got to go this year.
Charleston! Read the full post here

Visiting Greg's sisters in Charlotte -- and getting my favorite ice cream ever: Jeni's!

Visiting my bffs at Ohio State was so so fun

Hilton Head!
I decorated my dorm...
A definite highlight of first semester was getting to create and decorate this space to call my own. My roommate and I really had fun with it and I love how our tiny room turned out!



I had some fun events...
ADPi and USC provided me with no shortage of fun events to go to. I love getting to dress up, have fun, and meet new people. 


Seeing my QUEEN Beyonce!

ADPi Biker Bash! 
Big Little Reveal

Mallard Ball 

Semi-Formal

A carnival for my residence hall

Paint fight!

If the rest of my next semesters at USC are anything like this one, I know I'm in for a good time.

Stay Sunny,
Meg