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Your Guide to Kick-Starting a Productive, Healthy Fall

It’s funny how even when we’re not students anymore, our lives tend to still revolve around the school calendar. The start of the school year – or perhaps just the start of a new season – inspires a restart and new beginning for most of us, maybe even more so than New Year’s Day!

Over here at HOUSE of HARPER, we love the month of September because it motivates us to refocus on work and our personal goals after a summer of laid back eating (and drinking) habits, lazy mornings, and summer Fridays. As soon as Labor Day weekend was over, we were more than ready for a refresh and productivity reboot, and we assume that most of you were as well!

Today we’re sharing how we are setting ourselves up for a successful, healthy end to 2018, from self care and wellness routines, to our careers and family life. Continue reading for our tips and advice! 

Find Your Most Productive Schedule (& Stick to It!)

We’re firm believers that a productive schedule looks different for everyone. Some of us thrive in a nine to five office environment while others accomplish their most productive work in the early morning (or late evening) hours and need an afternoon break to regroup. The most important step is to identify what productivity looks like for YOU. Maybe that includes “me time” in the morning followed by hammering out emails before heading into the office. Or perhaps you work from home and need to take an hour at 3 p.m. to clear your head with a walk around the block. Once you find your best rhythm, schedule your calendar accordingly and stick to it! We find that scheduling everything into our Google calendar or Erin Condren’s LifePlanner  — clearing our inbox and breaks included — helps us stay on task. Even though it can be intimidating, we suggest setting up a meeting with your boss, coworkers, and/or employees to chat about the schedule and environment that allow you to perform best and why — because ultimately, that’s a win win for everyone! 

Restock + Replenish

For those of you craving a food and alcohol detox, we’re right there with you! After a summer of rosé, Tex-Mex, and a generally laid back diet, we’re rebuilding healthy habits over here! (Kathryn on our team is currently on Whole30, and has been utilizing our friend Marcia Smart’s Whole30 meal plans.  Anyone else tried it?!)

Whether you’re diving into Whole30, or simply cutting back on sugar, the best step to setting healthy eating habits is to purge your pantry, restock on healthy ingredients and snacks, and then replenish your body with all of the good stuff like fresh fruits and veggies! (If you are on Whole30 here are tips on how to not cheat!)

We get that between shuffling kids to school and refocusing on work, diet can be the first thing to go, but if you try out some basic meal planning and lunch prep, you’ll feel better already about your food choices!

We’ve been kicking off our mornings with this healthy detox smoothie recipe that gives us an extra energy boost throughout the day. For lunch, we’ve been making these healthy, kid-friendly recipes on repeat. We also keep a stash of healthy granola and protein bars in our office to avoid afternoon sugar cravings. We like to keep dinners simple and easy — these healthy chicken tacos are our typical Tuesday dinner! To be honest, after a summer of indulging, we don’t even miss unhealthy foods (yet). 😉

HOUSE of HARPER enjoys yoga and stretching in her second trimester.

Schedule Your Physical (& Mental) Fitness

Admittedly, keeping a steady fitness routine is not one of our strong suits. We’re aiming to shake things up in this department by scheduling our workouts as if they are appointments in our planner and on our Google calendar.

Back to our first point about finding the best schedule that works for you, this goes for working out as well! If you’re not a morning person, don’t set yourself up to dread and miss early morning classes — schedule workouts during lunch or after work. If you are a morning person, book your early workouts and treat them like meetings that you can’t miss! It’s also important to consider which fitness activities you actually enjoy and make you feel like your best self. For some of us, high intensity training is more draining than rejuvenating, so perhaps yoga or a light jog outdoors is more nourishing. If you just want to get your steps in, try these 8 daily practices. Listen to your body and what you need, and then head to your calendar or planner and write it down!

We’re also using the month of September to outline our personal goals and check in with our well-being. Our goals and priorities are constantly shifting, and sometimes we forget to ask ourselves what is most important in our lives right now. We find that a morning journaling session is super helpful in setting the tone for our day and helping us prioritize what is most important. Whether that means waking up 30 minutes earlier to meditate and journal, or winding down the evening with a notebook and pen, we highly recommend sticking to this step!

Don’t Miss Out on Quality Time with Your Loved Ones

One of our favorite things about summer is how much time we get to spend with our family and friends. Whether on a vacation, or just during quiet school-free weeks at home, the summer encourages us to slow down and take time to be with one another. Once the busy season of school, after school activities, and events kicks in, it becomes more difficult to spend quality time with family and friends.  This September we’re focusing on quality time by prioritizing weeknight family dinners, setting aside ‘family time’ on the weekends where kids pick the activity and it’s just for our little family, and taking evening family walks with Rosie.

Declutter Your Home & Clear Your Mind

If you’re like us, sometimes it’s difficult to be productive at work when we know there are lots of to-do’s waiting for us at home. Instead of dwelling on these looming tasks that we’ve been putting off for months, we’re using the month of September to reorganize and cross off items on our personal organization list. Whether it’s cleaning out the pantry, giving your garage a makeover, or taking a haul of clothing to Goodwill, make September the month you get it done! 

Build the Life You Want by Learning to Say No

We just read an inspiring article about saying “no” that we included in our most recent Weekend Reading. It can be really difficult to turn down opportunities, especially lucrative ones, but sometimes saying no is the best decision we can make in order to say yes to the things and people that matter most. The article we read gives a good rule of thumb — if an opportunity is less than a 90 on a scale of 1 to 100 (100 meaning you really want to say yes), then you should turn it down. When weighing an opportunity, ask yourself what your goals and priorities are, and then determine if this particular opportunity is leading you towards one of those goals or distracting you from them. Every time commitment means sacrificing time that could be spent elsewhere, so consider what you’ll be giving up by saying “yes”!  

Are you feeling inspired to start fresh this September? We’d love to hear about your personal wellness and productivity goals for the rest of the year in the comments below! 

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