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March 2016

    5 Tips on How To Stay Focused

    Tips on how to stay focused

    Photo Via: @kaalit_thegreat

    I must admit. I get distracted. Like easily distracted. I can be in the middle of typing a post, than I’ll switch to googling “How to clean suede shoes,” than I’ll switch to purchasing leopard print calf-hair shoes for 30% off with an online coupon. An hour later, I’ll remember that I’m suppose to be typing a post targeted to be published tomorrow at 9am. Chai! Staying focused is not my strongest suit. That’s why I’m constantly trying to find ways to improve on my productivity skills. Here are some helpful tips I’ve come across.

    1. Make realistic to-do lists

    Write the vision
    And make it plain on tablets,
    That he may may run who reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV)

    In order to stay focused, you have to know what you need to focus on. It’s important to write down your tasks daily. More importantly, they have to be realistic. I infamously write down about 15 things to do daily. But, I hardly get past 4 or 5 of them, because I underestimate how long each task will take. Sometimes, I procrastinate on daunting or difficult tasks, which also delays my workflow. It’s best to try to accomplish about 2 or 3 major assignments a day. If you only focus on 3 tasks a day and complete them all, it can be a major confidence boost. Also, doing the hardest task first can boost morale, because the rest of the items will be easy, breezy to accomplished.

    2. Organize your space

    It’s hard to think and stay focused when there are loose sheets of paper that need to be filed on your desk. An organized space is an organized mind. Try to declutter your work and creative space to optimized your productivity. Don’t leave bills, books or even a cell phone around your working environment if it doesn’t directly relate to the assignment you are accomplishing at hand.

    3. Escape from social media

    Social media is cool. It’s our way of life these days. But one click on that link for that senator’s daughter’s wedding on Bella Naija you thought would take less than 10 minutes to scroll through literally just took you 30 minutes. Why? You didn’t factor in the time it would take to read through the comments and research her exclusive dress designer.  We all do it. I’ve been there too. Sometimes, I think I’m just going to peruse Instagram quickly, but find after going from one account to another, I wasted precious time.  Time is a commodity that once spent, you can never get it back. Learn to schedule your social media breaks. It may sound silly, but to be successful in life, you have to be intentional. When you allocate a purpose for every hour you use, it will create lasting structure for your daily success. Also, turn off your notifications, it helps.

    4. Tell your Nigerian parents your goals

    It seems like once I tell my mom something, even if it’s years ago, she has a way of remembering at the appointed time.

    Mom: ” Bisola, you said you were going to get married at 25. You’ve passed that age, so what are your plans now.”

    Me: ” I did?” “When.”

    Mom: “When you were 12.” (…with a straight face)

    LOL. But seriously, Nigerian moms just know how to hold on to their children’s projected accomplishments, even if it was ephermerally spoken. It may just be my mom, but test your parents out too. It doesn’t hurt to tell people who care about your well-being about your plans or goals. They help to hold you accountable. When you’re slacking and have been off your focus, find genuine people around you that can help keep you on track. If they see you getting ready to get comfortable to watch Suga Naija, and you still have to do some work for your dissertation, they’ll let you know.

    5. Learn to say no unapologetically

    You have to learn how to say no to people, places and things that don’t fit into your priorities at the moment. You can’t attend every wedding, baby shower, or girl’s night out. You can’t buy everyone’s Aso Abi, split every dinner bill evenly and buy every matte MAC lipstick that comes into existence. You have to stay focused on your current goals, despite the inevitable pressure to do otherwise. If you’re trying to go to the auction to buy a car outright, meaning no car note, than you must judiciously guard how you use your money. Stay focused on what matters to you. Say no when you need to and don’t apologize for it. Your friend will still get married if you can’t buy her Aso Abi. She will understand. Wear a dress in the same wedding color palette and you will still fit right in with the other guests. Trust me.

    Tell me, how do you stay focused?

     

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    Last Minute Grown-Up Easter Basket Ideas

    This year, I decided to gift my little cousins with a custom Easter gift basket stuff with kid-inspired goodies. The problem is I’m still trying to figure out how to put it together and we are 3 days away from the Big Day. If you’re like me and you’re looking for some last minute ideas for the grown-up variety, well here you go. Now, start creating something your friends will enjoy!

    1. Simply Elegant Easter Basket

    Simply Elegant Easter Basket

    This basket is so simple and so organically elegant. The black and white stripe bow is a classic. Who wouldn’t love a basket filled with candy and candles?

    2. Oh My Gold Easter Basket

    Golden Dream Easter Basket

    Create this for your metallic obsessed friends. Did you spot the golden lips on that travel mug? So luxe.

    3. Candy Covered Easter Basket

    Candy Covered Easter Basket

    Of course you will put candy in the basket, but what about outside of it? Create this for the kids-at-heart in your life.

    4. Organic Rope Easter Basket

    Organic Rope Basket

    Create the entire basket with rope and then stuff with pretty brassy shiny things and some gourmet candy.

    5. Floral Easter Eggs

    Floral Easter Eggs

    I know this isn’t a basket, but I couldn’t resist these. Aren’t these so gorg?! Who can resist putting these inside one of their fabulous Easter baskets?

    Learn how to create each basket here: //1 // 2 // 3 // 4 //

    The floral eggs here: // 5 //

    What are you putting in your grown-up Easter baskets?

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    Easter Stylin’

    Easter Stylin'

    Do you remember your Easter outfit? The tulle lined flare skirt with the white dress socks and white patent leather Mary Janes? Growing up, I remember getting a new outfit for Easter every year. I loved Easter stylin’! It was the time I could pick a pretty dress to my satisfaction without my mother’s input. I had the liberty to choose between pastels, florals, metallics and laces, whichever my young heart desired at the time. Now that I’m older, the tradition hasn’t broken. I still enjoy the process of shopping for my Easter outfit. Here’s some inspiration.

    Images Via: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

    What will you wear for Easter?

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    Reflecting On: David’s Patience

    Reflecting on David's Patience

    Last week, I was studying David’s rise to kingship in my Sunday School manual. When King Saul disobeyed God by rushing to make a sacrifice on his own, God decided to appoint David to replace him.

    Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” 1 Samuel 16:13 (NKJV)

    Even though David was the youngest of his brothers and a Shepard, God still destined him to be king. The part that held my attention was that David went back to being a Shepard after he was anointed. He knew he would be king one day, but he didn’t change his lifestyle. He continued to live humbly as a Shepard until he was called to come to the palace. How many of us can live within our current means if we were promoted to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company? I probably would start researching how to customize a Tesla, as soon as, I signed my employment agreement. David was certainly a patient and humble man. It’s a challenge to perceive where you’re going, yet decide to wait until the future is ready to receive you. David didn’t leave his home until King Saul summoned him to the palace.

    Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, ‘Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 1 Samuel 16:19 (NKJV)

    David eventually made it to the palace, but he didn’t start at the top. He started from the bottom. He started playing music for King Saul to relieve him of his stress. Eventually, David worked his way up to kingship.

    Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, ‘Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” 1 Samuel 16: 22 (NKJV)

    As a millennial, David’s work ethic and patience is inspiring. Most of us would rather start at the top and figure it out. If I was offered a CEO position and was told I’m starting in the mailroom and working my way up. I would be in my feelings…hard. I would much rather start the CEO position and learn from trial and error. However, that would be a recipe for disaster. Essentially, David learned to be a king by serving another king patiently for 13 years. When he finally rose to the top, he hit the ground running. At times, it may seem like we are always answering to a boss. It can be hard when we have some fresh ideas we want to implement and feel we can carry the company or a personal business far. However, everyone has to be go through training in order to succeed. It will save us a lot of time and stress to learn and soak up as much knowledge as possible until it’s time for us to be promoted in life.

    Lord, grant me the grace to wait patiently for my timing.

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    7 Nigerian Influencers You Should Follow On Instagram

    Instagram is overloaded with inspiration and influencers. However, it can be a bit daunting trying to sift through and find accounts that not only have great images, but also give a nod to your cultural background. As an expert inspiration finder, I constantly search for women who are unique in their talents that I can culturally relate to. Here are 7 influential and inspiring Nigerian women to follow…like now.

    1. @MadeInSheba

    Madeinsheba Instagram Handle

    Inspiration: This model-like beauty gives me 90’s fashion editorial stimulation. Her vintage style and striking cheekbones are just accents to her amazing illustration skills. From Youtube personalities to fellow grammers she uses her pencil to artfully construct beautiful faces through shades and gradients.

    2. @ThinkPoppy

    Think Poppy Instagram

    Inspiration: This beauty inspires me to jump in her suitcase and tag along on her many travel excursions. Her attention to detail and artistic way of capturing the simple things in life whether in Nigeria, Kenya or in her backyard keeps me coming back for more. The profound descriptions take you beyond the image itself, to a place of deeper thought, understanding and meaning.

    3. @RantiInReview

    Ranti in Review instagram

    Inspiration: Her feminine and elegant style gives me goosebumps. As a lover of beautiful and dainty things, this feed capitalizes on my feminine sensibilities. She inspires me to put my best pump forward while her love for ivory roses grants her extra credit in my book.

    4. @Asiyami_Gold

    Asiyami Gold Instagram

    Inspiration: Her big textured mane gives me life. What I love about her feed is that it’s not really about her hair, but her lovely mane provides just as much inspiration on its own as the whole image itself. The vibrant colors on muted white backgrounds are candy to my eyes while her travels satisfy my wanderlust dreams.

    5. @SkinnyHipster

    Skinny Hipster Instagram

    Inspiration: This lovely ladies’ downtown chic street style is infectious. Just ask the ladies who like to remix her style. Her cute pixie cut coupled with her cropped pants and leather loafers reminds me of our version of Audrey Hepburn.

    6. @Art_Isadanma

    Art Isadanma Instagram

    Inspiration:  This artist brings her creativity to the canvas when she paints images of beautiful black girls. I love the authenticity of her pieces.  Bold and vibrant colors and patterns flood her feed giving a nod to her Nigerian heritage while her textured fro make statement appearances.

    7. @YagazieEmezi

    Yagazie Instagram

    Inspiration: This photojournalist effortlessly captures the beauty of Nigerian culture in unexpected and common places.  Her prose reveals the mind of a visionary who studies her subject and speaks forth intangible observations that aren’t easily noticed to the untrained eye.

    Who inspires you on Instagram?

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    Gidi Girlboss: Jumoke Dada of Signature RED

    Jumoke Dada Personal

    Jumoke Dada of Signature RED

    Sometimes when you’re looking for inspiration and encouragement, you don’t have to look far. Jumoke Dada is what I call a professional entrepreneur. Growing up and even now, I look up to my older cousin, because she’s equally a dreamer and a doer. You don’t often find people who can dream up the ideas and execute them with passion and precision while effectively balancing the two. Jumoke has learned how to do just that. Sometimes, it amazes me how much she can get done within 24 hrs. I wonder if my days are shorter, because I’m still learning how to get things done while still making it look effortless. I’ve learned how to be a Girlboss from her and I hope you do too.

    G&P: You were pretty young when you graduated from college, what was your first job and did your age affect your career?

    JD: Well, I was young when I started college (at 16), because I skipped a year of school. I think starting young (in my case) was interesting, because although I could handle the school work, I wasn’t clear on what I wanted to be my major.  I always struggled between being very creative and very analytical; therefore, it took me some time to declare a major. When I did declare, the logical side of my brain won and I decided to pursue a STEM degree. I graduated with a Computer & Information Sciences degree from Temple University to be exact.

    I believe making a decision was the hardest part, but once I did everything fell into place. I was recruited by a company before I graduated; therefore, I had a job waiting for me after graduation. I was always a mature and responsible person so I believe that I transitioned well into the workforce. I don’t believe my age affected my career at all.

    G&P: Why did you decide to start in a STEM field instead of a creative field?

    JD: I love the arts and all things creative.  I always thought that I would work in entertainment or law; however, there were a series of events that led me to the decision. I distinctly remember interning at a popular hip hop magazine in NY and when it was over, I realized that I didn’t want to work in the music industry after all. Although marketing came naturally for me, I knew that I would have to utilize that skill in another way one day. The following semester I looked at my classes and noticed that I was strong in STEM classes, so I began looking at career options in that space. Both of my parents worked in the medical field, so although I thought it was great, I knew that I did not want to go that route. It came down to choosing engineering or computer science so I went with the latter. Looking back I see how God was directing me the whole time.

    G&P: So your internships helped steer you in the career path you thought was best for you. So, fast forward a couple of years after your first job. You ended up being featured in Black Enterprise for your real estate success, started Signature RED, a technology and marketing company specializing in women-targeted marketing and founded Project ALOE, an initiative geared towards high school girls going to college. Describe how you transitioned from Computer Science to Expert Entrepreneur?

    Signature Red Sheroes

    JD: It was God that directed me to where I should be.

    My college experience really played a major role in my development. After college, I worked as an application developer / technologist for years before coming to a point where I wanted to move away from coding and do something that would allow me to interact more with people. I remember needing a creative outlet and wanting to move back to New York. I started applying for jobs but nothing panned out so I thought about alternatives.

    I bought my first home after college and I referred a number of people to my real estate agent. One day the light bulb went off and I decided to get my license so that my friends could use me as their agent. I set my mind to it, took the classes, passed the exam and began selling real estate part-time while working in I.T. Prior to getting my real estate license, I never had an interest in networking, but I needed to meet new people, so I started going to young professional events. As I met people, I noticed that I naturally connected with women and, like me, many of them had side-hustles.  My marketing instincts and training from selling homes kicked in and when I decided to give entrepreneurship a try, I decided that I wanted to focus on women-targeted marketing. Eventually I moved away from I.T., stopped selling real estate and focused on Signature RED. In the beginning, I built a portfolio by hosting “Legally AMBITIOUS” educational networking events for women but in 2013 my inner geek re-awakened after learning about opportunities for women with STEM degrees so I began incorporating more tech services into my business. Today, I do technology and marketing consulting.

    I’ve always enjoyed working with women and girls. In 2010, I decided that I wanted to do something to give back to girls specifically and that’s how Project ALOE came about. Project ALOE is a beauty drive and send-off event to help girls be fit, fab and focused for college. During the summer months, we collect hair supplies, cosmetics, and toiletries for college-bound girls and invite them to an event where they receive advice about campus life from beauty, hair, and fitness experts before receiving care packages. After hosting the annual drive for 5 years, I applied for 501c3 status with 2 other women and founded Signature RED Cares. Project ALOE is now its main program.

    Project Aloe Ladies

    G&P: Wow, you’ve taken different avenues with your entrepreneurial pursuits. How have you been able to balance your intellectual and creative energies without burning out?

    JD: I definitely don’t have a straight career path and I love that fact. As far as energy is concerned, God keeps me. And as far as balance is concerned… I play A LOT. Believe it or not, I manage my time and projects pretty well and everything falls into a bucket of time throughout the year.

    G&P: How do you stay motivated?

    JD: I’ve always been a self-starter and motivated by possibilities. It’s not always easy to stay that way so when I need a break or getaway, I take it. I am also a woman of faith. I start my day with quiet time with God. Each day is a gift and if I’m not on the right path, I need Him to tell me. I know that I have a purpose otherwise I wouldn’t still be here so if God has given me gifts, talents, dreams, who am I to say that I won’t use them?

    G&P: I totally agree! Each day is a gift given for us to continue pursuing our God-given purpose. What is your evening routine and how do you unwind?

    JD: Each evening is different so I don’t have much of a routine but if I’m not working or at a board meeting, I spend time with special people or just relax on my couch.

    Project Aloe Jumoke Dada

    G&P: Where is your favorite place to travel?

    JD: Nigeria with South Africa as a close second. Africa is poppin’!

    G&P: It is! I haven’t travel to South Africa yet, but it’s definitely on my list. What business icon would you like to shadow for a day?

    JD: She’s not a business icon but definitely Michelle Obama. Oprah would be a close second. Both are such smart, savvy, fun, poised and generous women.

    G&P: How has your cultural background influenced your business decisions or entrepreneurial endeavors?

    JD: I’m somewhat of an odd ball in terms of my immediate family because for the most part, everyone works in a STEM field. It wasn’t until my uncle visited from Nigeria last year that I saw that I have some of his qualities. He’s an entrepreneur and his mind is always going but he’s also very laid back. The work ethic that my parents have is unbelievable. They do what they have to do and never complain and they have brilliant minds and a lot of faith. All in all, I believe that it has affected me in that I’m a resilient and hardworking individual who is also very grounded. I also know that if God says walk away from everything, I would have to do it.

    Tech Girls Signature RED

    G&P: What have you learned in the past 24hrs?

    JD: God has my back and He is enough. He doesn’t my help to accomplish anything. In the past 24 hrs., He has reminded me that His timing is perfect.

    G&P: What would you tell your 21yr. old self about staring a business?

    JD: To my 21 yr old self, I would say embrace your geekish ways and pay close attention to how God speaks to you and trust His leading. Pray HARD, get a mentor, and keep coding.

    Either/Or Roundup:

    A) Youtube or Periscope?
    Youtube

    B) South Africa or Ghana?
    South Africa!!!!
    Never been to Ghana. It’s on my #DadatheExplorer list

    C) Philly or NYC?
    Brooklyn!

    D) Wealthy or Famous?
    Wealthy

    E) Fleek Makeup or Fleek Shoes?
    Shoes

    To learn more about Jumoke Dada check her out at JumokeDada.com.

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