Alyssa J Freitas

November 7, 2018

4-Step End Of Week Routine

This past Friday I was co-working with my friend Sheetal and before we headed out for the weekend, I told her I had to do my end of week routine. I showed her the steps I take to organize my outstanding tasks, inbox, and files, and how I clear my mind for the weekend. Though to be honest, most Saturday mornings I still end up working, but it's usually on a few key items and I already know what has to get done Friday at close of business so I can enjoy my Friday night.

She suggested I do a blog post about my Friday wrap up and I was like "perfect, now I don't have to brainstorm Saturday morning," so thank you, Sheetal!
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Here is a 4 step routine to help you wrap up the week and clear your mind for the weekend
There are three key steps I go through at the end of each Friday to ensure that I'm set up for the weekend and can pick up right where I left off on Monday.

Step One: Notes

I keep notes in a notebook and digitally with a program called Evernote. I try to type up my handwritten notes after client meetings (I don't like to type when I am face to face with others) so I have searchable records. On Friday I'll flip through my notebook to find any notes I took that haven't made it to Evernote yet and make sure that everything is recorded digitally. It makes it so much easier later, when I've finished the notebook or can't find an exact page, to have it all synced on my phone an computer.

Step Two: Emails

I've written about email minimalism and taking back your inbox, but both of those posts are from before I had a full time job. I'm due to write an updated email organization post, but for now those posts are a good starting point to understand how I approach my inbox. 

Throughout the week I do my best to file my emails into the appropriate folders and respond to messages in a timely fashion (24 hours is the max I usually allow myself). That way, by the time Friday roles around it's just like doing my normal end of day review of outstanding emails. I'll mark off emails that I want to respond to on Saturday morning and then I make note of the actions I need to take from any of the emails sitting in my inbox. Which brings us to the next step...

Step Three: Updating To-Do Lists

I've yet to blog about Trello, the program I started using at the beginning of September to keep track of tasks and projects. I wanted to make sure it was a method I really liked, and can do an in-depth post about how I use Trello in the future. For now, I'll give you the quick overview, in context of my end of week routine. 

Below is an example of what a Trello board looks like. I blacked out my notes because they mention my clients, but you can see that I have five main lists: To Do, Doing, Done, Kudos/Wins/You're Doing Just Fine, and Personal To Dos.

It's pretty self explanatory. On the first three lists I keep track of where I am on work tasks. Each item can be opened up and you can add more detail to what needs to be accomplished, like check lists and notes. The fourth list is where I put small and large wins of what I've achieved throughout the week, and the last list is where I keep track of my personal to dos.

At the end of the week I make a copy of the board, change up the background, and reshuffle the tasks to the appropriate list for the next week. I also add any other tasks from my email clean up. I take the wins from the week and move them to a separate "wins" board, which is sort of like a work journal/place for me to keep my accomplishments to see how I'm progressing.

Step Four: File Cleanup

A little while back I wrote about how I organize my laptop to keep all of my files and applications in check. I have found that it is essential for me to go through my downloads folder and desktop to organize my files at the end of every week. I am able to determine what I need to keep and my goal is to have a clear desktop and downloads folder each Friday.

There you have it, my four-step end of week routine! Going through these steps helps me reflect on the week I had, clear my mind for the weekend, and set me up for a successful week ahead.

Do you have an end of week routine? Is there any step that you find super helpful?


October 31, 2018

What Sales Has Taught Me About Relationships

As you probably know by now, I love sales. I love helping businesses identify and address challenges. I love interacting with people and understanding their motivations. I love that I have many different functions, from presenting to reporting to running assessments, that keeps me learning.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Sales is an awesome career that will teach you lessons for your professional and personal life alike. Here are some key ways sales can teach you to improve your relationships
There is so much you can learn from a career in sales, but one of the most important areas of personal development for me has been in my relationships. Here are some of the key attributes I’ve learned from sales that can help you enhance your relationships.


If you only take one thing away from this post, make sure it’s this point. We all know it’s important to listen to other people, but since starting my career in sales I am listening at a whole other level. When you’re talking to a client you eliminate all distractions, you not only listen to their words but also take in their body language, and you listen without judgement. I think about what they’re saying versus what they may mean and ask questions. So. Many. Questions. To fully understand I need to ask follow up questions and summarize and find out if I’ve gotten an accurate picture of what they are saying to me.

We hear all of the time that listening is a key element to having a successful relationship, and the better listener you can be, the better you’ll understand others. Every time you remember something someone said and can relate back to it later or ask the perfect follow up question they will feel cared for and it will deepen your relationship.

Focusing on the other person 

It’s best practice in sales to get a full understanding of the challenges your client is facing and how they are thinking about addressing it before launching into what you can provide. I will admit this is hard to do! However, by focusing on the other person you can ultimately tailor your message and have greater success.

In personal relationships the more you learn about someone else and show your genuine interest in them, the more they will like being around you and reciprocate that interest. Sometimes I feel like I’m interviewing my friends and new people I meet, so try not to just run through questions. Rather, learn about them and relate where appropriate to make it a true conversation.

Following up 

It feels like half of my job is being persistent and following up. When you are invested in having a relationship with someone it requires effort. From texts to check in, to consistently making the time to talk, you have to understand that work and life will get busy, but with mutual effort you can foster deep relationships. I wrote about staying in touch with friends after college and this level of effort is exactly what is required in any relationship.

These are only three of the lessons I have learned (and continue to work on) from sales that have made me more present and a better daughter/friend/girlfriend. Hopefully you can integrate these lessons in your relationships and reap the benefits of sales skills.

What have you learned from your career that applies to your personal life?


October 23, 2018

Back In Time: Lotteries

History time!!! So you know how everyone is going crazy with the big lottery drawing scheduled for tonight (the reason for this post being a day early)? It got me thinking about how lotteries started and how the game has evolved over the years.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! With the frenzy over the lottery this week, I'm sharing the history of the lottery in the US
As you know, I love American Colonial/Revolutionary history. While lotteries began in China before the birth of Christ, I was more interested in learning about the evolution of the lottery in the US, and I was not disappointed.

Lotteries were chiefly used to raise money for a variety of ventures, rather than for a private citizen to make it rich. A lottery run by the Virginia Company of London in 1612 helped raise money to settle the colonists in Jamestown, Virginia. Many early universities (Princeton, Yale, University of Pennsylvania) used lotteries to fund the construction of buildings in the 18th century.

Founding Fathers

George Washington attempted to sponsor a lottery in 1767 to build a road leading to a resort. Fun, right? Unfortunately Washington's plan didn't pan out because there were too many other lotteries going on at the time...and the king banned lotteries that year. The lottery did eventually go ahead (once legal again) without Washington's help. But then people weren't into it because 85% would go to the winner with the remainder being kept for the project - apparently 15% was too much, but imagine how they would feel today with the amount that gets taken out in taxes alone?

Earlier in 1747, Ben Franklin used a lottery to raise money to buy cannons to protect Philadelphia. With his printing press producing pamphlets and his promotion of the game, the Philadelphians came as near to selling out in seven weeks as the New England lotteries did in seven months.

Oh, but let's not forget about good old Thomas Jefferson (I have complicated feelings about him, but here's another reason why he is far from my favorite). Jefferson had the grand idea of using a lottery to pay off his debts. In the year of his death he petitioned the Virginia State Legislature for permission to run a lottery for the aforementioned purpose, writing that "Far from being immoral, they [lotteries] are indispensable to the existence of man." Really, Tom? His heirs were able to hold the lottery after his death, but it was unsuccessful to tackle his mountain of debt.

Even Alexander Hamilton was in on the scheme. As you may remember, the Americans were pretty upset about the whole taxes thing, so even if they were represented in their own country it still was not widely accepted that taxes should be used to pay for public projects - so they used lotteries instead. As Hamilton put it "Everybody ... will be willing to hazard a trifling sum for the chance of considerable gain ... and would prefer a small chance of winning a great deal to a great chance of winning little."


Things did get quite out of hand in the 1800s in Louisiana. From the founder of the Louisiana Lottery getting a 25 year charter to be the only gambling outlet in the state (by paying off the state, naturally), to paying more "reputable" men to host the drawings (former Confederate generals), to the company keeping the unsold tickets and actually winning the prize, Louisiana inspired other states to stop lotteries all together.

But get this, the whole thing started when Charles T. Howard was sent to Louisiana from Kentucky with $50,000 from a company he was supposed to get a lottery charter on behalf of. Well, once he paid off the legislature and got the charter, he got local partners instead and abandoned the original company that gave him the money.

Now that old Charlie was a good corrupt and influential man in Louisiana, he wanted to become part of the Metairie Jockey Club, but was denied membership. He got the last laugh when he bought the race course years later, turned it into a cemetery, and then was buried in the center. That'll show 'em.


Ok, last one (this post is ending up far longer than I expected). A lottery brought up the issue of federal courts reviewing decisions made in state courts in 1821. When the federal government created the National Lottery, Virginia had already passed a law to prevent the sale of out of state lottery tickets. A highly regarded lottery company in Virginia sold tickets to the National Lottery and was charged by local authorities with breaking the only-Virgina-lottery-tickets law. The brothers who owned the company sued and the issue made its way to the Supreme Court. Ultimately the Supreme Court said that federal courts could review decisions made by state courts on federal law, and Cohens v Virginia went into the history books.

There you have it, a select history of lotteries in the United States. From founding father fails, to double-crossing men, to Supreme Court rulings, lotteries have played a major role in American development. Best of luck to everyone who is playing!


October 17, 2018

Thoughts On Motivation

This hasn't happened in a while. It's currently 8:30pm on Tuesday and I am just now sitting down to write this post. There isn't a good reason why I didn't write this weekend like normal. I suppose if I had to pin down a reason it would be a lack of creative inspiration. I've been cooped up in the house because of a foot injury and haven't had my usual time in the city, doing activities to get the creative juices flowing.

So, I decided to turn to the ultimate place of inspiration: Pinterest. After browsing some pretty images and looking at pins with post ideas, I began to wonder how I stay motivated to keep writing week after week. Sometimes I have a ton to write about and other times I'm forcing myself through the motions. But I've yet to miss a posting day and somehow keep myself chugging out content.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Here are some ways I've been thinking about motivation recently
Usual forms of motivation are monetary (nope, not selling anything here) or social/recognition (not a lot of reader comments and interaction goes on), yet somehow, here we are with a post scheduled for 5am, just like every week. This is what I've realized about motivation and how we can keep ourselves working at something for the long haul.


And get yourself on a schedule! No matter what you want to do, you have to set aside dedicated time (and mini-deadlines) to do that thing. You will always find time for what you prioritize, so if you commit to something, you can make it happen. 

Have a record

Have you seen habit trackers in bullet journals? Where you fill in a little square each day you engage in a habit? Keeping track and having a record gives you pride and self-motivation to keep working towards what you want. I realize that not everything can be measured exactly, but if you can get creative and figure out a way to see your progress, it'll do wonders to keep you going.

See the long term value

I love blogging because it challenges me to come up with new ideas, to refine the way I express myself, and it's a great way to look back at my personal growth. Each post I create adds to my story and development. When you have something you want to engage in for the long haul, see how it makes you happy now, but also how it brings you pride and value in the long term. And keep reminding yourself of that!

When I first started blogging 4 years ago I didn't imagine I would keep it up this long. I've never really thought about when I will stop blogging. I most likely won't keep doing this my entire life (there's going to be too many technological changes for this to be relevant forever), so it's certainly something I want to enjoy and be committed to for as long as possible. 

How do you stay motivated with blogging or any other activities? How do you optimize the conditions to keep you committed?


October 10, 2018

Loving Lately: Fall Edition

Sometimes I feel like "loving lately" posts are a cop out. It's sort of like if you can't come up with something to create, you can just put together a list of things others have created and call it a day. But I've decided to write this post because there are a bunch of things I want to share with you that I have been genuinely loving lately!
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Here is a list of everything I've been loving this fall
Quick update: I injured a bone in my foot and have been housebound for the last 3 weeks, and it looks like I'll be stuck for a while longer, so I've needed to entertain myself without going out. This is hard for someone like me who likes to be on the move and whose favorite activity is legitimately walking. However, this is how I've been able to put together this list, so positive things, right?

Podcast: The Femails

I am not a podcast person. At first I thought I was just more into reading than listening, but now I think it may be because I hadn't found the right podcast. Career Contessa, my favorite site for career advice (where I've contributed a guest post), launched a podcast called The Femails. It's hosted by Lauren, the founder of Career Contessa, and she speaks with women on a whole host of topics. You get to hear about their experiences and how you can apply the lessons to your own life, and I've found each episode to be valuable.

YouTube: Kalyn Nicholson's YouTober

I subscribed to Kalyn's channel within the last year and love her! She is positive and insightful and her editing is absolutely beautiful. This is my first YouTober as a subscriber (she posts everyday in October) and I am excited each day to see what she posts.

Spotify: The Everygirl Listens: Fall

The Everygirl is a website I subscribe to and their fall playlist is so pleasant! A mix of new and old keeps it interesting and it's become a go-to when I'm working. You can check out other playlists I like to listen to here

Scents: Bath & Body Works' fall candles

I think we can all agree that there is nothing like a good fall scented candle to get in the mood for the season. Yankee Candle used to be my first stop when looking for a great scent, but Bath & Body Works came on to my radar with the Summer Boardwalk candle, and they have not disappointed for fall. Joe and I each got a different scent and the jury is still out on which one is the absolute best. I got Leaves and he got Sweater Weather

Reading: Classics/The Greats

I know I wrote about this about two seconds ago, but I have really been loving reading classic, great books. It seems like I've been playing catch up from books that I somehow never had to read in school, and it's the perfect way to get into the start of school/learning mindset this fall. Check out my Goodreads profile to see what books have been making the cut.

Curling up with my Kindle, with a fall playlist on in the background and my fall candle burning, I almost don't mind not being able to get out of the house. Almost ;)

What have you been loving this fall?