How to Avoid Unproductive Spirals

How to Avoid Unproductive Spirals - Paper Swallow Events #productivity #organization

Confession: I am a perfectionist. 

It makes me really good at this job. It can also drive me insane. 

In my journey through life as a perfectionist I've learned that beating myself up all the time for not accomplishing my goals is really not good for my mental health or my long-term productivity. This realization has led me to recognize the unhelpful mental loops that I used to send myself through all the time (and sometimes still do.) I've also noticed that I'm not the only person struggling with unproductive spirals.

These unhelpful and unproductive spirals are what sends us spinning 'round and 'round until we spiral out of control feeling terrible about ourselves and a million miles from the destination that we had in mind. (Which doesn't help you conquer either your occupational or wedding planning goals!)

My loop used to go something like this:

  • Wake up feeling ready to do ALL THE THINGS
  • Immediately write a list on my phone of ALL THE THINGS I want to get done
  • Give myself the very logical deadline of TODAY to get it ALL done

From this point my day would split into a couple different potential directions:

1. Realize an hour into my day how long this ONE thing is taking me > feel terrible for being slow > look up a way to do it faster > get lost in an internet rabbit hole > realize that I've just wasted so much time > realize that my to do list is impossibly long > feel defeated and give up (aka spend the rest of the day doing busy work.) 

OR

2. Get a couple little things done > go to check them off on my phone > decide to check my social media accounts while on my phone > get off my phone eventually > realize I didn't check my list for my next task > get back on my phone > find my next task > check social media "real quick" again > start and complete the next task > repeat. 

The second method isn't quite as self-defeating, but I still spend WAY more time unproductively than productively, which doesn't bring me any closer to my dreams of vanquishing my to do list with daytime to spare.

The productivity boosting methods I've learned aren't anything new or revolutionary. They aren't geared more towards business women or towards brides. They are methods that I heard from multiple sources time and time again, but it wasn't until I finally took the time to break down why I was being unproductive that I saw how much these methods could help.

So what does my productive loop look like now? Well...

First, I Get that List Off My Phone!

My phone is great. It enables me to stay in touch with so many people and allows me to use my favorite app, Instagram! My phone can also lead to lots of unproductive time. So the first thing I do is take all of today's known tasks off my favorite list app and write them down on paper.

With a paper list my options for getting distracted as I check things off are limited, which is good!

Recently, and I KNOW I'm not the only person out there saying this, I've been working on doing this list writing at the end of each day starting with the 3 most important tasks at the top. I heard it time and time again before I really paid attention, but been completely worth it so far! You'll wake up feeling more focused and can't fall into the trap of spending way too long to write your list. 

Second, I View My List as Goals Not "To Do"s

This tip is because of the perfectionist in me. Formerly, when I wouldn't get an item knocked off my list, I would feel terrible. I would consistently have items rolling over from one day to the next and feel unproductive because of the urgency with which I was viewing them. What I forgot was that I only have a limited number of hours in a day and each task takes a certain amount of time. 

Now that I view my list as a list of goals  not to dos I'm way more productive. I don't feel guilty and overwhelmed when items roll over, so the next day it's easier for me to dive back in. The less time spent on negative feelings means more time spent getting things done, even if the wording doesn't actually change anything. The right mentality will carry you far. 

(This is also where starting with the 3 most important tasks comes in handy - because you're not ignoring the actually important tasks, which also helps you from real feelings of being behind.)

Third, When I Feel like  Superwoman, I Fuel It

When you wake up wanting to do ALL THE THINGS don't kill your motivation by conquering the hard stuff first. Yeah, you can take it, but you're likely to kill that empowered feeling when you tackle your epic 3 hour project first thing in the day. Why? Because when you look at the clock and half the day is gone yet you've only done one thing, you'll likely feel like you still have too much on your plate. However, if you feed your motivation a handful of smaller tasks and clear what looks like a large chunk off your list, that superwoman feeling will carry you further and lead to better results as you begin on your larger projects. Especially since you won't be struggling with feeling the pressure of the other items on your to do list, so you can feel fully free to focus on the big stuff.

So, whether you're planning a wedding, running a business, or trying to do a little of both, give these things a try and see if they can help keep you out of those unproductive spirals!

What are your unproductive loops like? How do you combat them?

xoxo, Stacia

How to Involve Your Family When Planning a Wedding from a Distance

How to Involve Your Family When Planning a Wedding from a Distance - Paper Swallow Events #wedding #weddingplanning

Planning a wedding is one of those events that makes you want all the people you hold nearest and dearest to be involved. Girls often grow up imagining outings with their mother or grandmother to search for their dream dress. They have multiple secret Pinterest boards filled with ideas for different types of weddings and are just waiting for the ring to narrow down things down. (Or they have one secret Pinterest board full of every wedding idea they have ever liked and are waiting to narrow down the overwhelming options.)

Or, okay, maybe your family is big and overwhelming and wedding planning makes you want to run into a hole and hide (which is a great reason to hire a planner!). That happens, too. But for those of you trying to figure out how to involve your family - particularly if your family lives far away - here are some great solutions!

Make a Shared Pinterest Board

Pinterest is popular for a reason. It's so easy to share images and ideas back and forth with people, which bridges the distance gap so quickly! Take that overwhelming Pinterest board and only pin the pins that truly represent what you want for the day over to a new board. Then your family will know the direction you want to go, and you'll have common ground to work from. 

Honestly, I love using Pinterest even with my local brides. Visuals are powerful and get us on the same page faster than a long winded description!

Try to be Together for the Big Moments

I know from personal experience what it's like to plan a wedding in another state from your family. Personally, there were no two people I wanted to go wedding dress shopping with more than my mother and sister. Because of the timing of my engagement, we combined dress shopping with my visit home for Christmas. However, I believe we would have made that a priority even if I hadn't gotten engaged close to the holidays. (And then you get to conquer the fun adventure of traveling with your dress.)

What if you can't be in the same location?

I understand that for some brides it's not an option financially to travel and be together for these milestones. Or your best gal pal might not be able to make the trip with you, even though you wanted her there, too. 

In this case see what your options are for Skyping or Facetiming the loved one while you try on dresses. Always ask, because some dress shops don't want you taking photographs of the dresses, but assign someone the task of documenting the experience so that the absent people can still feel as if they were there. 

Split Tasks Up by Location

Are you getting married closer to where you live or traveling home to get married? If you're traveling home, have items that you've ordered shipped to your parents' house so you don't need to worry about transporting them. Or, if you fall in love with a collection of vases at Target, send your mom to go get them locally instead of dealing with shipping them. 

Likewise, if you're getting married locally and your mom is traveling to you, assign her some jobs that can be done at a distance. She may love addressing and mailing all the invites so have them delivered to her. Or have her call around and get quotes from salons in your area. Anything that can be done over the phone, online, or will travel easily is a great task for her!

Skype to Share Little Details

Skype your family when you've made big decisions, bought something you're excited about, or want to chat about the progress of the event. Skype will make you all feel closer than a phone call and it offers you the ability to use visuals. 

Group Text Message Streams

Start a text message stream with your family where you all share pictures and progress updates and just stay in touch regarding details. Include your dad and brothers, too! It can be fun to see the sense of humor they bring into the process or the brilliant ideas they may surprise you with!

Have you planned a wedding at a distance from your family? How did you keep them involved?

xoxo, Stacia

Dear Friend

Dear Friend - Paper Swallow Events

I love snail mail and exchanging letters. There has been a lot going on behind the scenes with my business the past few weeks as we've moved to a new state, so I thought today we'd break from the wedding-centric posts and I'd write you a piece of virtual snail mail to catch up on what's been happening lately. 

Dear Friend,

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind recently. On June 30th Michael + I left our Tennessee home, the home where we spent the first 2 years of our marriage, and on July 1st we moved in to our new home in Charleston, SC. With this move came a lot of excitement and anticipation (we've been working towards this for what feels like forever), but also a lot of bittersweet "see you laters" and the closing of a large chapter of our lives. During this move we went two weeks without internet, traveled to Georgia to see family for the 4th of July (all with our cat, Max, in tow - he's a car riding pro now), and I've been dividing my days between finding internet hot spots to respond to my brides and unpacking.

Well, we have internet now, but there are still so many emails to respond to and boxes to unpack. I haven't been blogging as consistently as I would like because I don't want to throw together posts just for the sake of having something to post. I don't want to waste my readers' time. But I still feel a bit of guilt - it's the perfectionist in me.

Boy is moving an adventure! I set off the fire alarm our first night here while cooking dinner, something I never did while living in our old apartment. Max thought the end of the world was finally coming (something I'm sure he's been wondering about with all of the long car rides and strange new creatures - dogs - he's been meeting recently). I learned which of our windows open easily and which ones I needed to let the maintenance guy know about. Michael learned how to turn the fire alarm off. It's a story for the memory book. 

I'm learning to have grace with myself as I go through the emotions of moving. Even though we are so excited to be here and have been anticipating this for what feels like ages, I don't always handle change in my personal life very well. Knowing when my brain and heart are too full and in need of rest has been necessary for retaining my sanity and well-being. Some evenings it's better to run off to the beach when Michael gets off work than to deal with the piles of boxes in our living room. 

The room I'm most excited about in this apartment is our combo guest room + office space for me! I'm looking forward to having a space where I can work and to no longer need to move my projects off the dining room table so that we can eat dinner. I'm also looking forward to making it super inspiring! I'll share photos as I get things underway. 

Overall, it's a really good move, and we are loving exploring the city and getting to know some of the more local spots. I'm really looking forward to having the boxes put away, though, and the awkward adjustment period over.

How are things going for you?

xoxo, Stacia

Timeless Yet Modern Wedding Dresses from Truvelle

Timeless Yet Modern Wedding Dresses from Truvelle - Paper Swallow Events

Have you heard of the wedding dress design company, Truvelle? If you haven't, you've been missing out! I've been in love with all of their creations ever since I first discovered them a couple years ago. Their dresses are seriously divine!

Each dress features a timeless silhouette that has been reinvented so that each bride can truly express her personality while still benefiting from the figure flattering design principles of the past. The Sierra (the dress featured in these photos) has a classic sweetheart neckline combined with a classic a-line skirt. However, it isn't afraid to make a statement with the bold sequin details on the bottom half of the skirt. 

I love that each of the dresses is individually hand cut and made-in-Canada where the company is based. It is obvious that each dress is assembled with great care and attention to detail, even just from the photos. But if you get to see one of these dresses in person, the care becomes even more evident!

One note is, I would be certain to check their size guide or correspond with a staff member regarding your measurements if you are considering purchasing one of their dresses. (Locations to try on the dresses are still limited, though not impossible, in the United States.) Wedding dresses tend to have their own sizing system, so ordering the size you typically purchase in a dress is not an advisable route with any wedding dress including these. Because of the way wedding dress sizes work, you will probably be purchasing a dress a few sizes larger than you would typically wear, but the science isn't exact so pay attention to the size guide they give you. The Truvelle staff is lovely to work with, though, and knowledgeable about their dresses, so they make the customer experience extremely easy! 

Which of Truvelle's dresses is your favorite?

xoxo, Stacia

VENDOR CREDITS:

Designer/Planner/Coordinator: Paper Swallow Events  |  Florals: Gold and Bloom  | Photographer: Christina Elyse  |  Wedding Dress: Truvelle  |  Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie  |  Veils: Melinda Rose Design  |  Jewelry: Whisperwill  |  Guest Book: Blue Sky Papers  |  Venue: Stonebridge at 164  |  Models: Madeline Powell, Kate Harris, Grace Loe + Rachel Liebert  |  Hair + Makeup: Amy Powell + Paper Swallow Events 

This is not a sponsored post. I simply adore Truvelle's unique dresses and, after having some first hand experience with them, I wanted to share my experience and opinion with all of you in case any of you were curious about the quality of their gowns. If you have any more questions that I didn't answer, please let me know in the comments and I'll be happy to answer them. :) 

Welcome to the Weekend!

Welcome to the Weekend - Paper Swallow Events

Happy 4th of July!

I hope you all are having a wonderful day with your family or friends! Michael and I are at the lake hanging out with his family. It's a nice rest after moving earlier this week. Max came with us because I didn't want to leave him alone overnight in a new apartment. It's been interesting. haha. Anyways! On to the links!

You May Have Missed:
Monthly Goals: July 2015
Vendor Highlights: Gold + Bloom Floral Design

Great Finds!
Simple yet colorful. Perfectly delightful.
If you're having a barn wedding, this would be the most adorable flower girl!
This type of photo is really only practical and pretty when it's part of a styled shoot. It would be terrifying if it was an actual wedding.
Someone should come over and make a whole garden of these with me!
Pure preciousness.
Invitation suite styling is becoming one of my favorite things.

Did you find anything great around the internet this past week?

xoxo, Stacia