10 Lessons I’ve Learned in my First Year of Blogging

So it’s sort of my blogging anniversary. This blog has been around for quite awhile, but it’s only been in the past year that I have devoted time and effort to post (mostly) consistently. It’s crazy that it’s already been so long! I have learned SO MUCH from blogging and I can’t wait to see how much more this little space can grow.

When I started this blog, I never would have imagined I could be someone who made money through blogging. I started a blog mostly as an experiment and to exercise my passion for finance and writing. It has grown so much more (and much more quickly) than I ever could have imagined. To think, after only a year and I am already making money from blogging!

If you’re interested in starting your own blog, read my free tutorial here!

Not only that, but my blog has lead to the opportunity to get paid to freelance write for other bloggers and companies. Honestly, it has been so amazing to get paid well for writing! I know I have a lot left to learn, but I have learned so much during this past year of blogging. Some were fun lessons to learn, but most were complete fails, so I hope you have a laugh and learn from my mistakes!

1. You Need to Create Content People Want to Read

A blog is your own personal space, and I definitely think you should share as much of your life on there as you want. However, if you’re serious about earning money while blogging and getting actual people to visit your blog, you need to write solid and engaging content that people want to read.

This was a huge shift in thinking for me. No one was going to find my blog if I only wrote about my own life and finances. I had to have an applicable takeaway. So I started thinking about blog post titles. If I was writing something that didn’t have a strong title, I knew it wouldn’t perform well.

I occasionally still do personal and financial updates, but I know that these won’t drive traffic to my blog, so I don’t spend time marketing them.

2. Consistency is Key

This is cliché, but it is so true. Once you build up any following, even if its tiny, you need to be there for your readers. They will expect a steady stream of blog posts!

This isn’t to say you need to post every single day. Lord knows I do not. But chose a time – maybe every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or just once a week on Mondays. Post new content the same time every week.

3. Be Prepared to Make Income

I say this because I was totally not prepared to make any money. So all of the sudden, I had people reaching out to me wanting to partner with me or hire me and I had no idea what to do!

I suggest thinking about what kind of work you might do. Would you be open to affiliate partnerships? Different advertisers? Freelance writing opportunities?

Currently, I make money through all 3 channels, so I need to have material for any potential client to understand what services I offer. I created a media kit, which has been a literal lifesaver! I’ll have to do a post on media kits in the future, but essentially, a media kit is a snapshot of who you are, what you do, what services you offer, your stats, and your rates. It sounds like a lot, but my media kit is just a simple one-page document. I update it periodically when I change my rates. Now, when I reach out to a potential client or vice versa, I simply send this document to them. It helps me to always be prepared for new opportunities!

Once you start making money, I also HIGHLY suggest opening a separate bank account for your blogging income. I personally use Capital One 360 savings, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s all online, which allows them to give me higher interest rates on my savings! If you’re interested and open an account today through my link, you’ll get $25 once you simply deposit just $250 into a new account.

4. Hard Work = More Pageviews = More Money

While this isn’t always true, I definitely see a correlation between my hard work and how much I make. When I slack a little on the blog, I don’t receive as many page views, which definitely leads to a decrease in blogging income.

Good things come to you when you work hard! Blogging is a lot of hard work, especially at first, but it’s fun if you’re passionate about it!

5. Back It Up

No, I won’t tell you to get low. But hear it from me. Back. Up. Your. Darn. WEBSITE!

There may have been a time when I first started blogging that I accidentally deleted my entire website *SHAME and EMBARRASSMENT*

Luckily, I didn’t have a ton of content, and I was able to recover all my content. I just used it as a good excuse to redo my blog layout and design,

6. Be True to Yourself

Remember, above all, that this is your blog. Look to other blogs for inspiration, but be YOU! The world doesn’t need two of the exact same blogs.

I struggled with this a lot at first. I would read blogs that were written in a much more professional and formal tone. I thought I was supposed to write like them! But I realized that it’s not who I am and it’s not what I want this blog to be about. I want this blog to be a fun place to learn about finances and such. So I won’t hide the fact anymore that 99% of the blogs I write are while I’m on my second glass of Cab and rewatching Greys.

Keep in mind, this also applies to choosing who you work with and represent. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some companies and brands I really truly love and would recommend. I’ve also had a lot of shady brands reach out to work with me. It can be hard to turn down money, but if it isn’t a brand you can 100% stand behind, it’s better to turn down an offer than to sacrifice your integrity.

I truly do believe that, so that’s why I try to be honest with you guys in that I do get paid for affiliate links and sponsored posts. But I don’t partner with any company, product, or service I wouldn’t 100% recommend.

7. Pinterest is Your Best Friend

Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest, and it has honestly been the best tool I’ve used so far when it comes to blogging.

Even though I LOVE Pinterest, there is no way I can be on it 24/7 and figure out the best times to pin and share my content. So I pay for two services that do it for me. I can’t decide which one I like better, so I still use both Boardbooster and Tailwind to schedule my Pinterest feed. They both have their pros and cons. I think Tailwind is easier to use, but I get better results from Boardbooster, so I continue to pay for the smallest plan on each.

8. Have a Flexible Attitude

You can read about blogging and learn as much as you can, but it really is something you have to just dive right in and take as it comes. No amount of preparation can really prepare you (I’m Type-A and can’t believe I’m saying skip the planning!)

Opportunities will arise. You’ll face rejection. You’ll have viral posts. You’ll also have months with very low traffic.

9. Focus on Collaboration, Not Competition

The personal finance blogging community has been so freaking supportive. There are a lot of money blogs out there, but I have never felt like they are my competition. Other PF bloggers have been encouraging and willing to share their wisdom. I’ve learned so much from other bloggers and they have helped me out a ton. I love getting emails from other bloggers and that I know I can reach out to a variety of different people if I need anything.

Personal finance bloggers are so collaborative that we even have our own website directory, created by a few bloggers! Check it out!

10. Have Fun with It!

Blogging is as fun or as stressful as you make it. Push yourself to do well and be consistent, but also enjoy the freedom to write about whatever you would like.

*Bonus! Learn How to Code!*

You don’t need a deep understanding of coding, but as I wrote this, I am so glad I learned a little CSS. WordPress blog themes generally make it easy to make this website look pretty, but sometimes I do have to go in and change the code to get it to look exactly how I want. Learning coding isn’t as difficult as it sounds! I highly recommend checking out Codeacademy.com (and it’s free!)

Are you a blogger? What lessons have you learned? If you’re not a blogger, do you have questions about blogging? Comment below!

How to Give Back by Doing Your Taxes

This post is sponsored by 1040 taxes, but all opinions are my own.

What time of year is it? Yes, it’s getting closer to spring. But you may be forgetting that it is tax season!

Maybe that’s a season only a personal finance blogger can get excited about. The reality is most of us don’t look forward to doing taxes. It can be complicated, messy, and time-consuming. But the good news is that there are ways to make filing taxes easier and simpler, and do some good for the world while you’re at it.

If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, I highly recommend looking at filing on 1040.com.

Continue reading “How to Give Back by Doing Your Taxes”

Life and Finances Update

It has been radio silent over here for a few weeks, and I’m sorry to have missed you!

As I have mentioned, my only “resolution” this year has been to be a little nicer and less hard on myself. So I actively chose to skip blogging for a few weeks.

Life is always crazy and busy, but honestly, these last few weeks have been very challenging for me.

As you may know, I am getting married at the beginning of March, which is coming up SO SOON. Wedding planning has been very time consuming. And other than that, life has been filled with a lot of travel. And some amazing things have been in the works for my freelancing business, so that has been even more consuming.

So here is a little update on where I have been.

Continue reading “Life and Finances Update”

It’s 2017!

Happy New Years my friends! I hope you all enjoyed yourself this season.

One of my goals this year is to be a little easier on myself. So that meant no writing while on Christmas vacation, so no post from me today! But don’t worry, I’ll be back with some great content (and a story!) next Monday.

If you’re really missing me, check out some of these recent posts!

How to Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet

How to Start Your Own Profitable Freelance Writing Business

7 Productivity Hacks to Combat Procrastination

See you next week!

 

As I reflect on this past year, I realized something And it is...holy sh*t, I've learned a ton! Here are my 10 biggest financial lessons I learned in 2016.

10 Biggest Financial Lessons I Learned in 2016

As I reflect on this past year, I realized one thing. And it is…holy sh*t, I’ve learned a ton!

It’s refreshing to look back and see how far you’ve come and what all you have learned! So here are my 10 biggest financial lessons I learned in 2016.

1. Cost of living matters

I used to live in rural Iowa, where I could rent a 4 bedroom house for $500 a month. I moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 2014 and every single year, the cost of living increases astonishes me.

They estimate 40 people are moving to Charleston every single day, so the housing costs, in particular, is skyrocketing. Every year, our rent is being raised, so every year, we have moved to a new apartment complex.

I forever find myself wondering what our finances would look like if we could even save $500 a month on our living expenses, but for now, we both have jobs that pay us well enough that the high cost of living is nothing more than an annoyance. We couldn’t be paid as well in an area of lower cost of living, so we are trying to adjust to seeing our rent cost.

2. My current money situation is because of me

This is a hard lesson to learn. I have student loan debt because I didn’t pay for school as I went or apply to enough scholarships. I earned a degree that wouldn’t have paid well (and required a ton of hours). So there was a period of time I wasn’t able to put hardly anything towards debt. Now that I have switched careers and have also started freelance writing on the side, I earn more, but man, I have had to work my butt off to make what I do (not to complain…I love my job and writing!)

I can’t point fingers at my school for being too expensive or blame people for not educating me. Because I should have taught myself. I was just plain stupid.

You might find yourself in a similar situation. Once you claim responsibility for your current situation, you’re setting yourself on the right path to achieve financial freedom. And the good news is that even if you got yourself into a bad situation, you are the ONLY one who can get yourself out of that situation. It’s empowering. So go kick butt.

3. Weddings are NOT cheap

I try. I knew having a wedding in Charleston would be ridiculously expensive, but it was something we wanted to do anyway. I’m fighting tooth and nail to keep the cost of this wedding as low as possible, but man. It ain’t easy!

I knew going in that it would be expensive, so I would have to lower my standards. There are so many creative ways to save! I haven’t been afraid to break tradition, so I think that helps!

4. I can make more money

This year, I was able to start making money off my blog and by freelance writing. Honestly, I didn’t really think it would be possible for me. It took a lot of hard work, but I love earning more money!

Making money on the side has been extremely empowering. It’s comforting to know if I ever lost my job or had a financial emergency that I have another source of income. And I feel proud of the little business I have built!

5. Budgets will never be perfect

No matter how much you try, your budget will never be perfect. Every day, week, and month are different, and that’s why I am fairly flexible with my budgeting.

If a super strict budget works for you, go for it! It just doesn’t really work for me. In the near future, I will be writing a post all about my flexible budgeting.

6. I’m capable of a hell of a lot more than I thought

Okay, so this might not be a direct financial realization, but taking ownership of my finances this year has shown me a lot. I had debt to pay off and a wedding to save for. I had major goals, and I realized I needed to make even more money to make it possible.

So I started earning money freelance writing and putting that towards my financial goals. I also worked extremely hard at my full-time job to earn a raise. I made it my mission to provide value and then demand to be paid for my value.

It hasn’t been easy AT ALL. Planning a wedding by myself while my fiancé is in a grueling grad school program has not been easy. Plus freelance writing, blogging, working, and studying for a certification has been tough but so worth it. Yes, there have been meltdowns on my part and times I wanted to quit everything, but I am proud of what I have done to meet my long-term goals.

I don’t say this to humble brag, but I hope you can realize that you can achieve more than you ever thought. If you aren’t relentlessly pursuing your goals, then they aren’t big enough. I didn’t learn that until I realized my student loan debt would be the biggest barrier to my goals of going to further my education, so I am thankful to have learned this lesson.

7. You can’t be “average” with your money

I talk to a lot of people about money, and I have to laugh at how many times people tell me they are just “okay” at dealing with their own money. Though I admit I do tend to see things in black and white, this just doesn’t make sense to me.

If you are just “okay” or “average” with your money, that means you don’t have as much control as you should have. While everyone has room for improvement with finances, there are some very black and white things. Debt is bad. Savings is good. If you have debt but are telling me you’re working your butt off to pay it back, I would assume that you are recovering from being bad with your money.

These are more my thoughts, so feel free to agree or disagree. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

8. Comparison is stupid

Everyone, especially women, are guilty of comparison on a regular basis. I am terrible at it! I find myself getting so jealous of other people. I compare myself to others, when I have no idea what their personal situation or feelings are.

Comparison is definitely something I want to work on in the new year. Because it’s a huge time waster! I’m excited to see what I can achieve when I put my blinders on and keep the focus on myself instead of comparing myself to others.

9. Emergency funds are a life-saver

I can’t emphasize emergency funds enough. You. Need. One.

My emergency fund gives me so much peace of mind and security. That $600 car repair bill earlier this year? I had cash for it. Without my emergency fund, my budget would have been blown for months!

10. Communication is ABSOLUTELY the key to healthy finances

Perhaps the most important lesson I learned this year is about communicating with my fiance about our finances. We have always been very open and honest about our own financial situations, and now that we are in the process of combining our finances, we really have to talk about it.

We don’t really have money fights because we have worked out our agreement. We each get some cash every month to spend at our own discretion. It’s been a huge learning opportunity this year, and I’m excited to see how our finances look when they are all officially combined (I know…nerdy to be excited about this!)


These are a few of my lessons learned this year! What are your biggest financial lessons learned in 2016? Comment below!

Have you ever wondered if it was possible for you to make money by freelance writing? I’m here to show you how, and why, you can start your own profitable freelance writing business. Get my free guide here!

How to Start Your Own Profitable Freelance Writing Business

Have you ever wondered if it was possible for you to make money by freelance writing? I’m here to show you how, and why, you can start your own profitable freelance writing business.

Freelance writing is appealing for a number of reasons. It gives you an opportunity to earn money while working from home on your own time. It pays well and if you enjoy writing like me, it only makes sense to get paid to do it!

I started TLB the summer of 2015, but it wasn’t until March of 2016 that I actually committed to blogging regularly. I started the blog simply to blog. I never thought it could ever lead to me making money, especially in such a short amount of time!

Since March of 2016, I have gone from making 1 cent from this blog to making a few hundreds of dollars a month – and my business is still growing.

I couldn’t have gained freelancing clients if it weren’t for my blog, so I consider my freelancing income as part of my blog profit.

While I have zero intentions of turning my freelance writing business into a full-time job as of now, it’s extremely comforting and exciting to know that I could fairly easily turn this into something more if I wanted to. In the meantime, however, I am too excited about where my day-time career is going, so freelancing will remain a fun side hustle.

If you aren’t yet convinced, here are more reasons why you should start freelance writing:

  • Extremely low startup cost – pretty much just need a computer and internet!
  • Work in the comfort of your own home
  • You choose your projects and work
  • Strengthens your writing skills
  • Writing skills are extremely transferable to any job
  • Make money!
  • Create a business on the side for more job and income security

So did I sell ya? Here’s my guide on how to start your own successful freelance writing business.

Decide on your niche

If you’re considering freelance writing, it is assumed you have strong writing skills. While you may think you have the ability to write about any topic under the sun, I caution you against that.

Clients want to hire experts in their field. They want to hire people who are just as passionate about the topic at hand as they are. By choosing a few niches, you are automatically making yourself look more skilled.

Obviously, my niche is personal finance and career. I also have experience in travel writing and legal press releases (from my full-time job…more fun than it sounds!) While I mention my experience in travel and legal writing to those interested, I will continue to primarily advertise myself as a personal finance writer.

Create a business plan

To be honest, the opportunity to get paid to write kind of fell in my lap. I didn’t have a business plan, but since I’ve gotten more writing gigs, I’ve started working on mine. Learn from my mistake and start your business plan “write” off the bat (ok sorry for the pun. It was TOO good.)

Like I mentioned above, the best part of freelance writing is that there is extremely little overhead. You probably don’t need to rent office space, buy a brand new computer, or pay for much inventory. So don’t be intimidated by writing a business plan, even if you’ve never written one in your life. Freelance writing will start off as a one-person show. You won’t have investors or anyone to present your business plan to, so it’s okay to be extremely simple. But you should write a business plan to create a clear picture of your company to yourself and your clients.

A simple business plan for freelance writing could include:

  • What is your company and what does it aim to do?
  • What services will it provide and to whom?
  • How will you market your services?
  • How will you charge and collect money for your services?

Having a business plan will save you a ton of time and confusion. Once you understand your business, you’ll set yourself up for success when finding clients to hire you.

Start a blog or website

I can’t stress this enough. My clients have even said they wouldn’t hire anyone without a blog or website and it makes total sense.

Clients want to be able to see living examples of your work and they want to know that you are technologically savvy enough to put up with the demands of virtual writing.

Having a blog in your niche shows that you have current knowledge of your topic and that you understand how to write articles that people want to read! It helps potential clients understand your style of writing and who you are as a person.

If you aren’t sure about the whole blog thing, at least consider starting your own professional website. Make sure the design is aesthetically pleasing and that it is accessible and easy to navigate. You’ll want to include examples of your work and provide potential clients with an easy way to contact you.

Reach out to clients

With millions of websites and blogs out there, you can’t just sit back and wait for people to stumble upon your freelance writing business. You really need to work for those first few clients.

Think of who might need your services. Are they companies? Bloggers? Make a master list of potential clients and their contact info.

If you are regularly commenting on blogs you would like to write for, it’s easy to just shoot the blogger an email saying you enjoy their work and to keep you in mind if they are looking to hire writers. Having natural relationships with other writers is incredibly helpful for more reasons than finding work!

If you’re reaching out to large companies and websites, however, you likely do not have a direct contact. These are big-time businesses, so keep it professional. Simply find a contact form and send a professional email, stating that you are a follower of their work and that you would like to be considered as a contributor and why they should accept you. If you have links to any work, include a few.

If you’re not feeling super confident with reaching out to larger companies, focus first on scoring some smaller clients. They are more likely to work with you and teach you a few things and give you references to other clients.

But whoever you are emailing, make sure it is written well and always err on the side of professional. Even as a small blogger, I get emails from writers that start with “Hey,” and have a ton of spelling errors. Not a good look!

Keep in mind that you will face rejection a lot. It isn’t fun, but not everyone is always hiring freelance writers, or they may have a different budget. You have to keep trying and once you score one, the rest come easier!

Have a service mindset

Freelancing is NOT EASY. There are strict deadlines and it’s up to you to create contact. If you’re not an organized person, it can be challenging to cater to multiple projects and deadlines.

So above all, remember to only take on what you can provide exceptional service for, and make sure the client is a good fit for you. One of the best parts about being a freelancer is that you can choose who you want to work with.

It might be tempting to take on a ton of jobs and clients who either aren’t writing about a subject you are knowledgeable in or who are very demanding to work for. Don’t chase the money! Only take on what feels right and what you can do well. For example – I personally would never, ever take on a sports freelance writing project. Because I. Know. NOTHING about sports! I would waste my time trying to research the topic and be disappointing to the client. I wouldn’t be delivering exceptional service and my career would suffer.

As you gain more clients, keep in tune with their needs and wants. Some clients may want you to check in often, while others may want you to charge ahead with little direction. If you’re not sure what they prefer – ask! Ask all your questions ahead of time so they are out of the way. You will want to ensure you both are on the same page moving forward.

Understand the business side

Freelancing should be run like a business. You need to dedicate time to the financial side of your business, the marketing, and customer service.

You’ll need to develop a process. How will you organize conflicting deadlines? How will you invoice clients? How will you deliver your writing?

As far as the financial side goes, keep in mind – you likely are not paying taxes on whatever you earn, so you will be responsible for your own quarterly taxes! This means you will have to pay money in taxes every quarter, so it’s important to save your earnings. The last thing you want as a freelancer is a hefty tax bill!

DC over at Young Adult Money wrote this amazingly helpful article about freelance taxes – check it out!

To keep track of my freelance finances, I personally have my own Capital One 360 savings account, where I put all of my freelance earnings. I also put my travel fund, wedding fund, and emergency fund all within my Capital One 360 savings account, which is why I love it so much! Use my referral code and get $25 when you open an account with at least $250 in it.


My personal experience with freelance writing has been amazing. I honestly had no idea I could grow the beginnings of a business from home so quickly.

The fact that I can pick my own clients, make money from home, and create my own schedule while having almost no overhead makes freelancing a fun and profitable business. I love that I can grow it as much as I want…it’s very empowering!

7 Productivity Hacks to Combat Procrastination

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of procrastination (me!!)

But for real, sometimes we find ourselves getting so overwhelmed with all that we have to do that we don’t know where to even start. Or maybe the task at hand is SO FREAKING BORING that we can’t focus for more than .3 seconds.

So the only solution to combat procrastination is to wait until the very last second and cram to get something done, right? Wrong!

As much as we all use excuses like “I work well under pressure,” or “I do my best work at 3:00 am,” these are just lies we tell ourselves to make procrastination okay.

Procrastination sets us up for some pretty unhealthy habits. It brings unneeded stress into our lives and messes up our schedules so that what we could have done weeks ago becomes first priority last minute.

Continue reading “7 Productivity Hacks to Combat Procrastination”

7 Things You Can Do Today to Make Tomorrow Better

You know those days that you wake up and everything seems to be going wrong? You slept in, you throw on some wrinkled clothes, you skip breakfast, and you jump in your car and see you’re low on gas? Yeah, not the best way to start a day.

I’ll let you in on a secret: organization is one of the biggest keys to success. Time is limited, and organization allows us to optimize our time to meet our goals. Whether you want to get out of debt, save money, or learn a new skill, it all takes time.

Since I’ve started my blog as my side hustle, my time has become extremely valuable to me. The only way to balance a full-time job, blogging, freelance writing, planning a wedding and spending time with friends, family, and my fur babies is to be organized.

By spending as little as 15 minutes the night before, you can ensure that you are more organized tomorrow. Here are 10 things you can do today to make tomorrow better:  Continue reading “7 Things You Can Do Today to Make Tomorrow Better”

October Goals

What do you do when you’re relocated to avoid a massive hurricane? You goal set. *Boom*.

Hurricane Matthew may have evacuated us from our home in Charleston, but we are safe and doing well. We had family in town and unfortunately, we all had to evacuate on my fiance’s birthday.

So Andrew, the pets, and I load up the car to drive up to a family friend’s house in North Carolina. Though Charleston looks like it will be hit hard, we have all of our most important things and have insurance so we are just thankful to be safe!

It was still 85 degrees when we left Charleston, so North Carolina actually feels like fall!

Anyway, being evacuated with nothing but your computer and knowing everything you own might be destroyed, you gotta keep on keeping on. So here I am, thinking about what I need to achieve this month.

September was a great month. Andrew and I traveled nearly every weekend and had some friends visit us. I accomplished a lot of wedding goals and I have been finalizing the touches on the transition to a new blog look.

I also got my first freelancing income in September! I am a new writer for DC over at Young Adult Money – check it out! Tons of good info over there.

Here are my goals for the month.

Blog

  • Get ahead on posts. I have been terrible with this lately!
  • Automate tweets
  • Grow my Pinterest following to 1,000 people. I am currently at 850.

Wedding

  • Book hairstylist
  • Order invitations
  • Finalize everything with the church
  • Pray my wedding dress and decorations items in my apartment aren’t destroyed by the hurricane 🙂

Personal

  • Continue to wake up at 5:30 to workout each morning
  • Finish my current book – The Power of Positive Thinking by Normal Vincent Peale
  • Look into switching cell phone providers. I am on an individual Verizon plan right now, and now my rates are sky rocketing. Any suggestions on this?

Money

I added Andrew to my emergency fund (the first shared account we have!) With both of us contributing, we should be able to quickly build an emergency fund. I use Capital One 360 for this, and they have been super easy, convenient, and I had awesome customer service with them! Our goal for our emergency fund is to rebuild it to $2,000 before the end of the year, where we are right on track!

We are holding off making a ton of extra payments on student loans right now since we are still paying for a big wedding. Once we are married, we are looking forward to hitting those student loans hardcore.

What are your goals for the month? Comment below!

7 Things You Can Do Today to Make Tomorrow Better

I’ll let you in on a secret: organization is one of the biggest keys to success. Time is limited, and organization allows us to optimize our time to meet our goals. Whether you want to get out of debt, save money, or learn a new skill, it all takes time.

Since I’ve started my blog as my side hustle, my time has become extremely valuable to me. The only way to balance a full-time job, blogging, freelance writing, planning a wedding and spending time with friends, family, and my fur babies is to be organized.

You know those days that you wake up and everything seems to be going wrong? You slept in, you throw on some wrinkled clothes, you skip breakfast, and you jump in your car and see you’re low on gas? Yeah, not the best way to start a day.

By spending as little as 15 minutes the night before, you can ensure that you are more organized tomorrow. Here are 10 things you can do today to make tomorrow better: 

Make a to-do list

If you’re like me, your brain might never shut off. I can’t tell you how many times I’m almost asleep and wake up panicked about something I forgot I need to do tomorrow. Making a simple list of what you need to accomplish tomorrow not only keeps you organized, but it keeps you sane and anxiety-free. Keep a small notebook by your bed to write down anything else you might think of last minute.

Write down your goals

Writing down goals is different than a to-do list because goals keep you centered. Looking at my list of goals for the day keeps me on-track and excited! It’s hard to get up in the morning if you don’t have a sense of purpose. Goal-setting gives you motivation and gives you the drive to actually do your to-do list.

Pack a lunch

There are so many reasons why packing a lunch sets you up for success. First off, it saves a ton of money. I can pack a lunch that maybe costs $2, where I spend at least $10 if I go out to lunch. If I do that 5 days a week for a year, that is a savings of over $2,000!

Secondly, it is so much healthier than eating out all the time. Fat, sodium, and calorie counts in restaurant foods are actually insane you guys. Packing your lunch at night ensures that you bring it every day, saving you money and calories.

Do a brief cleanup

By spending even five minutes a night straightening up, it saves you a ton of time on the weekends when you might do heavy cleaning. Put clothes and shoes away and do the dishes. It’s relieving to have things cleaned up, and it saves you from looking at that three-day pile of dirty dishes in the sink…ew.

Make time to workout

When you’re busy, it’s so easy to let working out slide. But we shouldn’t let it. Working out is imperative for a healthy body and a healthy mind. When I work full-time and come home to blog on my computer, I literally spend ALL day sitting. Working out is absolutely necessary for me to feel on top of my game. Schedule a time in the day that you can work out and make it a goal to stick to it. Even if you start by going on short walks, just get moving! How many successful people do you know who don’t take care of themselves physically? I can’t think of many.

Lay out your clothes

I don’t know about you, but when I wake up in the morning, I want to make as few as decisions as possible. I’m tired and delirious. Laying out your clothes at night means one less thing you have to do in the morning. Plus, it keeps you looking put-together and professional versus throwing on the first thing you find in a hurry.

Lastly, turn your devices off!

As a blogger, I am so guilty of staying on my phone at night, and it’s terrible. Physically, the brightness of devices stimulates our minds so we aren’t rested and it also gives me a lot of added stress and anxiety before bed, which is never good. Turn off your devices and go to sleep, already!

All in all

By doing a few things the night before, we really set ourselves up for success the next day. If you’re not sure where to start, just make it a goal to spend 10 minutes at night doing something that will make tomorrow better.