This stylish notebook might just be hottest organizing accessory of the year.
Everyone is supposed to have 24 hours in a day but for some us, it feels like there must be a rip in the space-time continuum. How else can you explain being constantly busy but having nothing to show for it? If this sounds familiar, learn how you can make the most of your time with our five fave productivity tips.
1. Write it down
Billed as "the analog solution for a digital age," the Bullet Journal is a diary, to-do list and catch-all for all your random thoughts. Developed by Brooklyn-based designer Ryder Carroll, this trendy organizing method involves writing down quick, memory jogging statements rather than complex entries. Use it to organize your tasks by day and month pages, keep tabs of books you want to read and things you want to buy or create new lists whenever inspiration strikes. An indexing system allows you to quickly find what you're looking for.
2. Plan your time
Sort of like HIIT for your to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique involves working on your tasks for a short, timed cycle of 25 minutes. With no distractions allowed, it’s great way for those with short attention spans to focus. Take a 5-minute break before starting your next 25 minutes of work and, after four of these cycles, you're rewarded with a longer, half-hour break. Sound a bit too structured? Maybe that's why it works—it was voted the most popular productivity technique by the readers of lifehacker.com.
3. Try a tech-savvy solution
The If This Then That app might be the closest you'll ever come to a personal assistant. Got any apps on your phone? Automate their functions by using If This Then That statements, or as IFTTT calls them, “recipes.” For example: get an early morning text when the forecast calls for rain, use it to get coffee going without getting out of bed (using a programmable outlet) or tell the family you're on your way home (with an email triggered by your location app once you've left work).
4. Go KonMari on your clutter
While organizing trendsetter Marie Kondo’s method of minimal living has been criticized for being a bit too twee, an organized, uncluttered home can be key to increased efficiency. "In most cases, things that function well are inherently neat and clean," says Clare Kumar, a professional organizer based in Toronto. It's not hard to see why. Simply owning less makes it easier for you to find what you need and streamlines your decision making (no need to choose between your 6 pairs of jeans, for example), saving you time that can be better spent elsewhere.
5. Let it go
There'll be days you can't get to everything. Your work presentation sits unfinished, the house is a mess and dinner was takeout (again!). Instead of stressing out, try to cut yourself some slack. "Our bodies burn out when stuck in fast-forward," says Carl Honoré, an expert on the topic of slow living. Sometimes the best way to be productive is to take some time out to recharge. So curl up with a good book, take a long bath, or enjoy a glass of wine...guilt free! After all, there's always tomorrow.
Who doesn't have a sweet spot for sweets? Here, a roundup of our most adored dessert and baked goods recipes of the year.
Whether it's a favourite dish you whip up with the kids, a showstopper you make for an event, or a special dessert you treat yourself to, we all have a few go-to recipes when we're in need of something sweet. But, in case you're looking for a new recipe to add to your list of favourites, we have a few amazing contenders lined up.
For the cake lover, you've got to try our Canada's Best Carrot Cake With Cheese Cheese Icing. This deliciously moist treat is perfect for all celebrations—birthdays, showers, reunions, and beyond.
The Christmas cookie lover will be all over our Cream Cheese Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies. They're soft and chewy and filled with a tangy cream cheese icing.
Like to enjoy your sweets with coffee? Go for our Pumpkin Scones With Whipped Brown Butter Icing, Chocolate Ginger Biscotti, Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Loaf, or our Best Ever Apple Pie—satisfaction guaranteed.
And finally, for the true Canadians, you've got to try our Maple Fudge, Butter Tarts and Butter Tart Squares.
But, no matter which recipe you try—though we encourage you try them all!—you're guaranteed to have an amazing go-to dessert on your need-to-bake roster.
Our most popular recipe ever! This moist carrot cake is welcome at birthdays, weddings, reunions and all special occasions.
Get the recipe: Canada's Best Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Icing
This classic recipe for dense candy- shop fudge will be an instant family favourite.
Get the recipe: Maple Fudge
A brown butter spread gives flaky spiced pumpkin scones nutty flavour and an extra touch of sweetness.
Get the recipe: Pumpkin Scones With Whipped Brown Butter Icing
Make your own delectable custardy tarts instead of buying them.
Get the recipe: Best Maple Butter Tarts
These soft, chewy ginger-spiced thumbprints are filled with a tangy cream cheese icing for the ultimate holiday treat.
Get the recipe: Cream Cheese Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies
Whether runny or firm, with raisins or nuts, butter tarts are treats that never go out of style.
Get the recipe: Best Butter Tarts
These twice-baked cookies are great for gifting because their dryness allows them to be stored for long periods of time and is less prone to breaking.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Ginger Biscotti
Studded with chocolate chips and crystallized ginger, this moist marbled loaf makes the best fall-flavoured afternoon treat.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Loaf
It doesn't get any better than this.
Get the recipe: Best Ever Apple Pie
The perfect all-Canadian treat.
Get the recipe: Butter Tart Squares
fruit and veggie smoothie
These speedy breakfast recipes are easy, quick and chock-full of health benefits. Make them at home or look from similar items on restaurant menus!
Starting your day with a smoothie is a great way to get a head start on your daily recommended dose of fruits and veggies. To help you feel full after your morning drink, make sure it has a protein base like plain Greek yogurt, non-GMO soy or hemp protein powder or almond milk. Then add in some greens like cucumber (anti-inflammatory and hydrating), spinach (high in iron and full of antioxidants) or kale (high in antioxidants and vitamin K). Throw some low-glycemic index fruits inside like wild blueberries or strawberries and a potassium-rich banana to offset the greens. Finally, add some chia seeds to the mix and you've got a power-packed drink that will provide energy and loads of health benefits.
Don't buy the parfait at your local coffee shop—it's often chock full of unnecessary sugar. Make your own at home with full-fat plain Greek yogurt and home-made granola. Make a delicious at-home version with rolled oats, nuts, seeds, banana and unpasteurized honey. If you're opting for store-bought granola check the nutrition labels for the amount of sugar and preservatives. Muesli types of cereal generally have less sugar and more nuts and seeds. Top it with fresh, seasonal fruit.
If you're sick of plain old oatmeal, try a quinoa bowl for breakfast. Cook your quinoa the night before and add in some nuts and seeds for good fats to start the day. Skip the raisins and honey if you want less sugar. Cinnamon has been found to help control blood sugar levels, so it's an easy and tasty way to spice up your meal.
Eggs are a complete protein and they'll help you feel full longer so experts recommend eating them first thing. This egg dish has spinach, a potent, iron-rich antioxidant and mushrooms, which can boost your immune system function. Feta cheese has vitamin B12 and calcium. Pair one or two mini frittatas with a whole wheat English muffin if you're worried about going hungry.
Ann Douglas shares her weight-loss story. Image by: David Wile
Ann Douglas shares how a walking routine and being kinder to herself helped her lose 120 pounds.I had almost given up on ever losing the extra weight I'd been carrying around my entire life. It was January 2013. I was staring down a milestone birthday (50) and the number on my scale (286 pounds). Heading into midlife with more than 100 extra pounds increased my odds of a premature death or disability. I wanted so much more for myself and my family.
|This story was originally titled "Many Steps Forward" in the October 2014 issue.|
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