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Our Favorite iPhone Apps

We're big believers in boundaries when it comes to technology and social media (have you seen our social media-free weekend tips?) But we also know that when used properly, our iPhone apps can make our lives more efficient and streamlined, leaving room for us to spend time doing the most important things and being with the people whom matter most.

With that said, our team is sharing a round-up of twenty of our favorite iPhone apps!

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Lake: Artists™ Coloring BooksLove the idea of adult coloring books for destressing but don't want to carry everything around with you? This color app has been a long-time favorite of Nicole's!

Pillow: If you're anything like us, we could always use a few extra hours of shut-eye! While Pillow can't add hours to the day, it is an advanced sleep tracking alarm clock that can effortlessly measure and track your sleep quality, waking you up at your most optimal time. Tip: There's no need to pay extra for the features. I made that mistake, and it wasn't necessary!

PoshmarkI can't remember the last time I bought a new article of clothing because of this app! I'm on a strict budget right now, and Poshmark has helped make it easy to buy new-to-me clothes (you can search for new with tags, too) and sell some of the clothes in my closet. Feel free to use my referral code UHUUS if you want $5 off your first purchase (I'll get $5, too!)

Notes: This native iPhone app makes it so much easier to jot down ideas and lists without carrying a tiny notebook around. I keep shopping lists, restaurant recommendations, my friends' favorite Starbucks drinks or treat, and so much more here! My ongoing Christmas shopping list is in my Notes app, and you can lock it with a password in case you have any snoopy people with access to your phone :)

Reminders: This is another native iPhone app I use every single day. I ask Siri multiple times throughout the day to remind me to do something. I love how convenient it is, and it takes the pressure off of me to remember smaller to-dos that I might forget.

SpotifySpotify is a favorite amongst our team! There is a monthly fee, but I've found it worth it for the ability to download music to your phone. There are hundreds of premade playlists, and you can build your own. Each month I create a new playlist on my Spotify account to enjoy throughout the month, and it's been a fun thing to share with friends!

BibleOne of Lara's 2017 goals was to read through the Bible is a year, and she's been making so much progress using the Blue Letter Bible Chronological Reading Plan. What we love most about the Bible app is how practical it is! The read-aloud option makes it great for exercising, drives, or doing other things!

Amazon AlexaAmazon's Alexa app makes it easy for Lara to add things to her grocery list as she's prepping dinner for her three children. If she's out of something, instead of finding a list, she can simply say "Alexa, add eggs to the grocery list" and it's all in one place!

ThingsHave multiple to-do lists floating around your desk and computer? It might be time to invest in the Things app. There is a one-time fee, but Lara has been using this for years and loves it. It syncs seamlessly across all her devices, and it helps keep her on track!

FitBitOur office participates in a weekly fitness challenge each Monday using our FitBit trackers. FitBit also has paid exercise plans that are agreat for exercising at home or on the road. I have an annual subscription, and I use it on days when a barre class won't fit into my schedule!

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StarfallStarfall is a fun and educational app that Lara's 6-year-old daughter loves. It requires an annual membership, but it's affordable and has already made up for the amount of time Grace has used it!

Chick-Fil-AWith the ability to earn free treats, order ahead and much more at your favorite fast food restaurant, it's easy to see what Chick-Fil-A One app is a company favorite.

Pic-Tap-Go Pic-Tap-Go is one of our favorite photo editing apps because it's fun, easy to use, and can transform your images in seconds. It saves your favorite combinations to make it even easier in the future!

Venmo: Venmo is the simple to send and request money from friends. Whether you're splitting a dinner bill, the rent check, concert tickets, or the cost of a road trip, Venmo removes the awkward talks over who owes what, and it syncs directly with your bank account.

Starbucks: The Starbucks app stores all your gift cards so they aren't floating around in your purse, and the app makes it easy to run inside, skip the line, and pick up your order. It's a great timesaver on busy mornings or if your hands are full with a few littles.

HotelTonightTaking a last-minute trip somewhere? HotelTonight is a great app to find hotel rooms at a discounted rate. I've used it a few times for spontaneous getaways, and I've always been thoroughly impressed with the customer service experiences as well as the accommodations. You can book up to one week in advance in most cities!

First5The First5 app is an easy way to start your day with Scripture and a mini-devotional. It's available in email format, but if you're anything like me, I don't need another email in my inbox. Turn on notifications and it will alert you each morning!

ShiptFor those busy days where grocery shopping just isn't going to happen, the Shipt app makes it easy to have groceries delivered right to your door. Amber has been using it for the past few months, and she's found that not only is it freeing up her time, but it's saving her money because she isn't taking two children to the grocery store with her!

Asana RebelLove the idea of exercising on a regular basis but unable to get to a gym or yoga studio? This app is perfect for you! There are new workouts each day that help you work towards achieving your personalzied fitness goals!

Endless Alphabet: Set the stage for reading success with this delightfully interactive educational app for preschoolers. Marissa's daughter has a blast learning her ABC's and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet. A great option for screentime with children!

What apps would you add to this list? Leave a comment, and let us know if there are any we should try!

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Using PowerSheets in College

When Jess asked me to write about how to use PowerSheets as a student, I jumped on the opportunity because I benefitted from using them during my senior year! I am a proud University of Kentucky alum, and I’ll take any chance to relive the glory days.

One of my favorite thing about PowerSheets is that they aren't limited to a certain season of life, but they grow with you—PowerSheets can be used by anyone, anytime. I started my 2017 PowerSheets as a college student, and looking back at graduation in May, I can see how although my goals have changed quite a bit, my PowerSheets are still working.

One important thing to note is that my PowerSheets weren’t a homework, studying, and project to-do list.

While those things are important for success in college, I used PowerSheets as a means of uncovering what mattered to me—whether that be inside or outside of the classroom. College is a great time to grow in areas of your life that will last beyond student life—this could be community involvement, relationships, finances, healthy habits, etc. I'm delighted to share what I learned using PowerSheets as a student, and I'd love to hear from you!

1. Keep your Tending List visible.

PowerSheets only work if you use them. And to use them, you have to see them! I kept my backpack pretty much packed with the same items—my planner, a binder (that I used for all classes), a calculator, and a snack for the day, so there wasn’t a whole lot of space to bring my PowerSheets.

That's where the perforated Tending List comes in handy! Simply tear out your Tending List and tape it to the inside of your class binder or planner. You can consistently check in on a weekly basis and make adjustments without having to add another book to your school bag.

2. Use semester breaks to complete the PowerSheets Prep Work.

I received my 2017 PowerSheets as a gift over the holidays, and balancing family and friend time over the holiday break made it hard for me to start the Prep Work before my spring semester. Whether you’ll be using a Dated One-Year Workbook or a Six-Month Undated Workbook for 2018, I highly recommend starting as soon as you can leading up to winter break. This gives you enough time to enjoy the break and thoughtfully work through the Prep Work before filling out your January Tending List.

3. Focus on what matters to you.

Being a college student doesn’t mean life outside of class is put on pause. As I completed the Prep Work, I found that a lot of my focus for 2017 included uncovering what I wanted to do post-graduation, cultivating relationships I had built, and spending valuable time outside of class in a way that refreshed my soul. If you were to look at my Tending Lists from the beginning of the year, you will find a lot of goals focused on the student organizations I had leadership positions in and my community in Lexington, and that was a good thing! I chose the most important things, and I prioritized them on my Tending List each month.

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Many of my favorite college memories came from serving on the DanceBlue leadership team and planning #DB17, which showed up often on my PowerSheets. Marc was a great mentor for the year leading up to the 24-hour no sitting, no sleeping, dance marathon and now, post-graduation!

4. Be specific.

This tip can actually apply to anyone, and it’s been a game changer in how I write out my Tending List each month. For example, instead of “start saving”, I added “open a Roth IRA and invest $x”. The more specific my action steps were, the easier it was for me to make progress on them. It also made it easier to me to translate goals into my daily planner! To learn more about using your PowerSheets alongside your planner, join Lara and Emily Ley for a live class on How to Create a Cultivated Calendar!

5. Set aside time on your lightest class day to do your Tending List each month.

Try to keep your monthly check-ins consistent and mark it on your calendar. Maybe it’s during your Tuesday or Thursday break between classes, or maybe it's during homework break on your Monday afternoon library stints. Either way, consistency is key! One important thing to remember is that you don’t have to wait until the day before to do your Tending List for the upcoming month. I used to try to do it on the last day of each month, and when something came up I would feel guilty about not getting it done. Now, I start my PowerSheets the same time each month (the last Friday of the month), and it's been a game changer! This is why we give you a PowerSheets Prep Day sticker in our sticker book!

6. Give yourself margin during exam seasons.

Is it just me, or does it always seem like your professors met together and decided to give exams all on the same day? I found myself have one week with little projects or assignments due, and then another week with all my exams! Even if you aren't a student, I'm sure you can relate. In the “What’s Ahead” section, be sure to note if you have a busy month ahead in your classes and include dates. Writing out dates will help you see if certain weeks are heavier than others, and it will allow you to build in margin and avoid trying to do too much. In this case, feel the freedom to leave some of the lines on your Tending List blank!

7. Find inspiration from others! It was always helpful for me to see what goals other students were setting, so I flipped back through my PowerSheets to pull some examples for you below:

Monthly

  • Create a list of prospective companies I would like to work for (and why)
  • Research and open a Roth IRA + deposit summer savings
  • Create study plan for Finals week
  • Submit application for school organization leadership team

Weekly

  • Attend office hours for (insert your most difficult class here)
  • Encourage girls in bible study
  • Meet with career mentor/professor
  • Prepare well for DanceBlue meeting
  • Work on homework from a coffee shop - Breaking up my homework routine was so refreshing each week!

Daily

  • Pack a snack
  • Encourage a friend
  • Charge laptop
  • Pack backpack
  • Skip the bus and walk

Are you a student? Do you use PowerSheets? I'd love to hear any others tips you might below in the comments!

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How To Create a Cultivated Calendar with Emily Ley

Feeling overwhelmed? Like you don't have time for the good stuff in your life because your days are full of the to-do's on your list? Are you exchanging celebrating the people you love and adventures with the things that don't fill you up? If that's you, you're not alone! And we want to encourage you to do something about it!

Join Lara Casey and Emily Ley, creator of the Simplified Planner, for a free class on Thursday, September 28th at 3pm EST on How To Create a Cultivated Calendar. 

We've often asked why we don't include a day planner in our PowerSheets, and it's simple: they are two entirely different products that work together. In order to know what to put in your planner, you must first know your priorities and goals. Lara and Emily will share how to uncover good goals and what matters most, and then teach you how to use your PowerSheets and Simplified Planner (or any planner!) together to get the most out of your time.

We're even planning a special treat for all you sticker lovers out there :)

If you are not able join us live at 3pm EST, there's no need to fret! A replay will be available for all those that have registered, so be sure to sign upto receive access to the broadcast afterwards!

We can't wait to spend some time with you next week!

Leave us a comment to let us know you're coming! We can't wait to spend the afternoon with you!

PS. Our 2018 #PowerSheetsAreComing on October 25th! Sign up to stay updated over the next few weeks and to be the first to see the new collection next month before it goes live!

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Our Best Tips for Working From Home

A few weeks ago I asked for Cultivate blog content ideas from many of you on Instagram, and you didn't disappoint! I've added a few of them to the queue for the coming months, and I wanted to start with one I've been asked a lot more recently:

I just found out I will be transitioning to working from home, and I'm very excited! Could you write a blog or share on Instagram stories about tips on working from home--space organization, desk, calendar, etc, how you stay on task and accountable to duties, and how you stay plugged in with the team? Thanks! -Cortney T.

If you've followed the Cultivate team for a while, you know we have a unique work environment. Half of our team works remotely, and the other half work out of Lara's home office. Having only recently transitioned to working remotely, I still have a lot to learn, so I called on the advice of my fellow remote-working ladies: Amber, Kristin, and Marissa! We've been incredibly blessed to continue to do the jobs we love remotely, and it's our goal to continue to work smarter and more efficiently! I've rounded up some of our best tips below:

Breathe fresh air. This is probably my favorite tip from Kristin because I've learned how easy it could be to go days without breathing the air outside your home. One of her most practical pieces of advice: make sure you spend some time outside each day, whether it's a morning walk, an evening errand outside of the house, or switching up scenery to a local coffee shop.

Eat lunch away from your desk. It can be tempting t o work through lunch, especially when there isn't a coworker there to grab lunch with you. One of my PowerSheets goals is to eat lunch away from my desk every day. Whether it's on my kitchen counter or outside, taking a few moments to step away from my computer prepares me to dig into the afternoon!

Dress appropriately. This doesn't mean you have to dress in business casual clothes every day, but if you know you are more productive when you are dressed and put together, add an additional 15 minutes to your morning routine to force yourself out of pajamas. Amber, our Marketing Director, even puts on shoes!

Use technology to your advantage. Our team uses a variety of different technology platforms to stay connected-Google Hangouts, Asana, Google Drive, Dropbox, and a team text message thread just to name a few! Regardless of what you're using, having times to check in with your team can help counter any feelings of isolation you might experience in the first few months of transitioning to remote work.

Honor office hours. Moving from working in a large corporate office, Marissa found herself overcompensating for the blessing of working from home by being accessible at all hours of the day. Now, she has fairly-strict office hours (noted in her email signature) because working from home can lead to over-working for her Type A personality. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules! Really busy days or mornings that might have a doctor's appointment usually warrant a later closing time. I've taken Marissa advice and scheduled exercise classes in the evening at 5:45 pm. That forces me to close my computer and step away from my desk!

Create a dedicated workspace. One of the great things about working in an office is the ability to leave your work at work (for the most part, depending on your profession.) However, when you're working out of your home, it's easy to turn every part of your home into your office (We're looking at you, living room couch) And this doesn't mean you need a whole separate office! I have a desk in my studio apartment, and it's my work area. Having a dedicated space to work makes it easier to wrap up and walk away when the workday is finished. Bonus tip: clean up your desk at the end of each day-remove empty cups, put pens away, file necessary papers. (This can easily be one of your PowerSheets daily goals). It makes a big difference when walking back into your office area the next morning.

We're by no means experts, but we hope these tips encouraged those of you, like Cortney, who might be making this transition soon!

Do you work remotely? We'd love to hear your best tips in the comments!

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How To Use Stickers In Your PowerSheets and Planner

If you've seen my PowerSheets or calendar on Instagram, you know that I'm a big fan of my favorite black pen. A year ago, I probably would have scoffed at the idea of using color in my planner or PowerSheets, but I've been converted after using our Cultivate What Matters Sticker Book for the past eight months! I'm here to share some of the ways I use stickers in my PowerSheets and Simplified Planner, and I'd love to hear from you, too!

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PowerSheets Prep Day Stickers: We've said over and over again that we created our sticker book to be intentional, and I'd argue that this is one of the most intentional stickers in the whole book! I add a PowerSheets Prep Day sticker to my planner on the last Friday of each month to remind me to prepare well for the month ahead!

Establish a monthly planning day. This doesn't have to take a long time, but try to spend an hour at the beginning of the month looking at your calendar and PowerSheets. Tip: Do it right after you finish your PowerSheets prep for efficiency! Mark any upcoming birthdays, appointments, meetings, bills, coffee or play dates with stickers on your monthly calendar spread so you can visually see what's in store for the month. This will help you see the whole month at a glance, and prioritize or reschedule if you find one week is filling up faster than others.

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Keep the stickers accessible! You won't use the stickers if they aren't near your PowerSheets or planner, so keep them together! I tore the page of stickers you see above out of my book, and I keep it in the front pocket of my planner. If I add a meeting, appointment, or get a bill notification, it's easy for me to add that to my calendar right then and there!

Use them to celebrate. Celebrating often conjures up this grand idea of throwing a party, going on a trip, or spending a lot of money, but what if we celebrated in a smaller way (and more frequently!?) While filling out my August PowerSheets, I decided that I wanted to try to use some of my stickers to mark my progress this month. I'm going to start by using the shopping cart sticker for my weekly goal of meal planning and prepping. Each time I put a sticker on my PowerSheets, I'll be reminded of the little by little progress!

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Have fun! Don't take yourself too seriously! Use the stickers because they are exciting and help you focus on what matters, but don't get overwhelmed by making it look perfect! This is your planner, not a work of art! If you put too much pressure on yourself, you'll never even start!

Now through July 31st, everything in the Cultivate Shop is 25% off-no code needed! If you're as big of a fan of the sticker book as I am, now is the time to stock up. We are releasing a new sticker book at the end of the year, so when this one is gone, it's gone!

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