Alyssa J Freitas

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.

Commit

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?

-AJF

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? 

-AJF

October 3, 2018

Separating Other's Advice and Your Opinions

There are tons of benefits to being a young professional - you have so much energy, few personal responsibilities, and bring a fresh perspective. However, you also have the challenge of not having prior experience to draw from. While a seasoned professional can make decisions with the facts in front of them plus their experience in similar situations, it's a completely different game then when you're trying to make a choice purely based on your limited knowledge.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Do you find it challenging to make a decision when you have other's opinions and your own thoughts competing? Here's how to clear through the noise and make your own decision
This dilemma almost feels like the "blind leading the blind" and can make you question and doubt the success of your decisions. This is why so many of us turn to mentors and parents and professors to help us when we have to make a choice that we've never faced before. While it is a good thing to take advice and input from people who have been in a similar situation, we can't only follow their guidance without listening to our own opinions.

I've found myself hiding behind other people's input rather than forcing myself to have an opinion about my own choices, which doesn't make any sense! Your decisions impact you the most, so it is essential to listen to yourself and actually figure out what you think about it.

In the past I've written about avoiding decision fatigue and how to make a great decision. These topics are important to revisit (and more often than not come back to perspective), but something I didn't discuss in those posts was how to draw the line between taking advice and listening to your own opinions. Here are some ways you can determine how to weigh other people's experiences and your own thoughts to make the optimal decision. 

Gather the evidence

Get your pens ready, it's time to make some lists. When faced with a big decision - which college do I want to attend, what job do I want to pursue - it is important to collect all of the evidence. Talk to other people who have been in your situation, read whatever you can get your hands on that pertains to the decision at hand, and write down your own thoughts. Expand beyond a simple pros and cons list and incorporate all the information you are collecting.

Test out your different options

I talk about expanding your options in this post (not everything is a this or that situation), so make sure to make your pool of options extensive. Then if you can actually test it out (accepted students day, shadowing a colleague in a different role), do that. Or, you can visualize and mentally try out your different choices.

Ask your deep down self

I get to my deep down self by journaling. For you it may be while you take a long walk, or think in the shower. Whatever you can do to have an unfiltered conversation with yourself, do that and find out what you really think, regardless of what others say. This is so tough to do, but it gets easier with time. Try asking yourself what you would do if you weren't afraid/didn't care about meeting external expectations. 

When all else fails, listen to Phyllis

This scene from the office cracks me up. Michael is deciding what to do about his (no good, terrible) relationship with Jan. While he doesn't listen to some of the methods I mentioned (expanding your options, gathering evidence, going beyond a pros and cons list), Phyllis is able to get him to understand his deep down self by telling him not to think and just to answer.


Getting to know yourself and make optimal decisions comes with time and thoughtful practice and patience. These tips can get you going in the right direction! And remember, most decisions we make will end up changing, so don't be afraid to take action and adjust later. 

How do you draw the line between other people's opinions and your own? 

-AJF

September 26, 2018

Upping Your Reading Game

So much of what we read and listen to on a daily basis doesn't add much (read: any) value to our lives. As you know, I consciously unfollow and get rid of the opportunity for useless content to come in my view, and have decided to have a standard for the books I read too (4 star and above on Goodreads, thank you very much).
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Do you want to up your reading game and get the most out of what you choose to consume? Here is an approach to have a great reading experience, each time
Recently, I took it a step further and am reading the *best* books that everyone should read in their lifetime. There are tons of lists out there, and attempts at combining the lists to create an ultimate list. Instead of holding myself to a hard and fast list, I'm using one list as a starting point and picking books based on my interest and their availability at the library.

So far, I've read 15 out of the top 20 books in this list, and I'm currently working on 1984 and have To Kill a Mockingbird checked out. With hundreds of books on this list, there is little chance of me running out any time soon, and I may very well skip to another list if it strikes my fancy.

My all time favorite book is Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer, and my favorite author, Edward Rutherfurd, certainly aren't showing up on any of these lists, so I realize I can't just stick to one method of choosing books to have the ultimate reading experience. However, now that I am not in school and reading classics/books that really, really make you think, I wanted to have a curriculum of sorts.

This post isn't here to tell you that you have to do x, y, and z to be well read or that there are only certain books worth reading. What I am trying to say, in this roundabout way, is that challenging ourselves and making a sincere effort to expand the scope of our minds and what we would normally seek out is highly beneficial and fun! Who doesn't love to check off a list and be able to join in conversations about these classics?

Here are a the books I've selected to tackle next:
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Of Mice and Men
  • and something by Tolkien - going to have to ask Ally on this one. She is legitimately an expert.  
How do you decide what you are going to read? Do you think lists like this are overrated or do you swear by them? Would love any and all suggestions!

-AJF

September 19, 2018

Life Lately

My last "Life Lately" post was history themed, but I'm not quite sure what the theme should be for this post. End of summer activities? Random experiences thrown together? Let's just go with: life.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! The end of summer has held lots of fun - here's a recap of life lately!
Photo by Ally Marcino

In August I had a business trip in Denver the week that Ally moved to Colorado Springs, so the timing could not have been better! We got to eat ice cream and explore bookstores and do nature things too.






Joe and I had a beach day down near his family's home. He was so excited to swim and I fulfilled my one and only beach day of the summer quota.


Joe and I also got to spend some quality time in the city, including sunsets and a Yankee game.




The end of summer also held Austen's birthday! If you don't already, make sure to follow her blog and Instagram, and you can read the story about how we became friends here.

This month I went to a conference called Mogul X with Sheetal. Mogul is a technology platform that allows women to connect and pursue opportunities to be "moguls." The conference had a slew of impressive speakers (the head of BBC America, Molly Bloom) and was a great place to reset your mind to focus on career development.

Something that really stood out to me was in the first session when the speaker asked for those who had a job to raise their hands, and 90% of the room responded, then she asked us to raise our hands if we felt like we were in the perfect job and not a single hand went up. It was a great reminder that no job is perfect, but we discussed how we can get closer to what we are meant to do and how to ensure that each career decision we make puts us in the right direction.
It's been a good summer, with lots of travel and fun, but I'm ready for fall to arrive!

How has the end of your summer been? Any exciting plans for this next season?


-AJF
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