July 15, 2015

4 tips for being less productive

Filed under: Health & Wellness,Time Management — lidia @ 4:46 pm

4 tips for being less productive

I follow many small business blogs and they frequently share tips for productivity. But lately I’ve been thinking of ditching the spreadsheets, time maps and to-do lists, and trying to be less productive.

I read a great article by Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune about the “misspent summers” of our youth and how kids are overscheduled nowadays. I say adults are overscheduled too. We try to pack productivity into every minute of the day (the pressure’s especially on if you’re a working parent).

My son had summer break from daycare recently and while it was a bit hectic coordinating family work schedules, I thoroughly enjoyed a few unscheduled—and unproductive—days with him. It not only let me rest my work brain, but opened me up to new ideas.

For myself, switching out of work mode is hard—I need something to force me out of my routine. Since I was feeling too immersed in work lately, my son’s summer break—and the opportunity to unschedule myself—came at the perfect time.

4 tips for being less productive:

  1. Take a day off in the middle of the week (if you have kids, hit the playground with them!)
  2. Meet a friend for a leisurely coffee
  3. Take an afternoon yoga class
  4. Read a magazine or book (instead of a small business article)

So, how about you? Can you use some free, unscheduled time to let your creativity flow?


April 8, 2015

G is for gratitude

Filed under: Health & Wellness,Mompreneur — lidia @ 10:00 am

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

G is for gratitudeG is for gratitude

I’m a big fan of gratitude. Whether it’s sending a handwritten thank you note to a client or friend or just putting grateful thoughts out into the Universe, I believe gratitude can change your life. When you’re a parent and a small business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday. But I like to take a moment every night to express my gratitude (either to the Universe or in my Gratitude Journal app).

How do you share your gratitude?

November 21, 2012

9 things I’m grateful for…

Filed under: Health & Wellness — lidia @ 12:26 pm
West Loop view

A beautiful fall day in Chicago’s West Loop

  1. My son
  2. My husband
  3. Health
  4. Loving family
  5. Inspiring and supportive friends
  6. Generous clients
  7. Creative inspiration
  8. Music
  9. A beautiful Fall day in Chicago (see above)

I forgot to mention my dog Essie, but I’m grateful for her too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

October 18, 2012

What I love about having my own business: flexible schedule

Wait, weren’t there just leaves on these trees last week?

One of the things I love about having my own business is the flexible schedule that allows me to take walks with the dog in the morning, which is where I snapped these lovely fall pics this week.

You CaptureThis post was inspired by You Capture, a weekly photo challenge by I Should be Folding Laundry. Click on the logo to learn more!


September 26, 2012

Featured project: small business branding & marketing collateral

Filed under: Featured Design Project,Health & Wellness — lidia @ 1:50 pm

Clockwise from left: Tribe Wellness logo, Worksheet, One-Sheet Promo, Program Logo and Icons

I recently worked with a client launching a new business. Not only do I love working with up-and-coming businesses, but it was wellness-related to boot!

Started by wellness coach Amy Nadelen, Tribe Wellness offers health coaching for families. Their mission is to tackle the issue of childhood obesity from a holistic perspective, offering tools and support to the entire family.

My client liked the idea of using a Tree of Life—a traditional symbol of interconnectedness—so I used that in my initial design concepts. It was eventually chosen as the final, but I also explored a simpler tree motif (signifying strength/family) and a subtle “tribal” design.

Once the logo was designed, I designed promotional materials, a One-Sheet Promo and “RX Pad” (for doctor’s offices), as well as a Program Workbook template.


  • Creating a logo and overall identity that would incorporate the three components of “Our Healthy Tribe,” their coaching program (learn/grow/discover)


  • The logo’s graphic elements were successfully “dissected” to create three program icons
  • A logo for “Our Healthy Tribe” was created from the main logo, to strengthen the overall branding

Production highlights

  • After lots of tree research, the final logo was hand-drawn, scanned and redrawn in Illustrator
  • The Tribe Wellness website was created by my friends (and website hosts) Tasty CMS!

 See examples of all of the Tribe Wellness materials here.

September 17, 2012


Filed under: Health & Wellness — Tags: , , — lidia @ 5:19 pm

The view from my yoga mat

I used to be an avid yoga enthusiast. I even did prenatal yoga quite regularly when I was expecting. And then I had a baby. Who didn’t sleep for the first 10 months.

Now that Little One’s just over a year old and sleeping well, I’m slowly getting back into my yoga routine. One of the things I missed was how great yoga made me feel—especially during busy weeks when I logged a lot of computer time. A regular yoga/stretching routine even helped me bounce back from a case of wrist tendinitis, so I can’t sing its praises enough.

The benefits of yoga for a busy biz mama

  1. It melts away the day’s stress—and pulls back my (computer-induced) hunched over shoulders
  2. It allows me one glorious hour to myself, where I don’t have to worry about anyone being fed, changed or walked
  3. It clears my mind of any work tasks and prepares me for the weekend with my family

I’ve been taking outdoor yoga classes in a park near my office, so it has the added benefit of spending an hour in fresh air and sunshine. Friday can’t come soon enough!

June 6, 2012

Got aches & pains? Step away from the computer…

Filed under: Health & Wellness — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 3:01 pm

One of my favorite resources for avoiding aches & pains

Is sitting at your computer all day a pain in your neck? Or back? or hands?

Extended periods of time in a sitting position + poor posture = aches and pains.

But, relief can be just a few stretches away. Having experienced a bout of wrist tendinitis when I first started my business (yes, I worked too many hours!) I can vouch for the benefits of daily stretches and yoga, as well as frequent breaks.

See some of my favorite resources below.

Preventing work-related aches & pains

Now, step away from the computer and get moving!

Still feeling the pain of sitting all day? Read my tips for staying healthy at your desk on the Creative Freelancer blog.

July 18, 2011

Be like a tree: staying calm in busy times

Filed under: Health & Wellness,Time Management — Tags: — lidia @ 6:27 pm

Photo by MizzD on flickr

Thanks to my yoga teacher, I recently picked up the book Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul by Melody Beattie.

With books like this, I like to flip to a random page and see what the “message” might be. The daily meditation I flipped to was titled “Learn to be Calm.” It was incredibly appropriate as I prepare my business for an upcoming maternity leave—a process that can sometimes feel, well, not so calm.

The meditation detailed a drive the author took along the Redwood Highway in California, her observations of the tall, proud trees and the lessons learned from the calm, patient redwood:

Learn a lesson from the redwoods. Let them teach the power of patience and calm… Times move along. There are stories to live and stories to tell, but we can be calm and know that, always, all is well.

—Melody Beattie

It’s a good lesson for any small business owner who is going through a busy or stressful time. Staying calm and assuring yourself that “all will be well” can help get you through—even though you can’t predict the path that will take you there.

What helps you to stay calm during busy times?

June 2, 2011

Be more productive: take an outdoor lunch break

Filed under: Health & Wellness,Time Management — lidia @ 1:47 pm

Hubby enjoys a pastrami sandwich while Essie enjoys the park (and eyes the sandwich!)

One of my favorite things about warm, summer days is taking a lunch break in the park.

On days when my husband works from home and we both have free lunchtime schedules, we make an effort to dine al fresco in the neighborhood park with our dog in tow.

Today’s lunch menu included a Pastrami on Rye from Manny’s Deli (for him) and a Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich from Morgan Street Cafe (for me).

As much as I love my office, getting out into the fresh air not only improves my mood, but recharges and inspires me for my afternoon workload—which means I get more done.

And Essie doesn’t complain about getting an extra walk and park time!

Make the most of your lunch break

  • Enjoy the fresh air and nature: head to a park or other outdoor space
  • Shop local: visit a local cafe or restaurant
  • Dining solo? Bring a book to read or notebook to jot down ideas
  • Dine on wheels: Seek out a local food truck and discover a new cuisine
  • Eating healthy? Brown bag it!
  • Get in a workout: power walk back to your office or walk an extra block or two
  • Work from home? Bring your four-legged friend along—they’ll appreciate the extra walk!

Now, back to work…

Anyone else sneak out of the office for an outdoor lunch today? Where did you go?

April 16, 2010

Stop and breathe…

Filed under: Health & Wellness — Tags: — lidia @ 11:17 am

Japanese Garden, Chicago Botanic Garden

My friend Amy and I were just talking about how great we feel after yoga class—mainly due to the fact that we’re able to stop and breathe during our busy day.

Often we get so wrapped up in our work that we find ourselves literally holding our breath. As anyone who’s taken a yoga or meditation class can attest, breathing works wonders. This article from Yoga Journal called “Meditation 101” details 10-minute mini-meditations and breathing exercises that can be done in your office, car or on your commute (just don’t close your eyes while driving!)

And next time you find workday stress creeping up, just stop and breathe…

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