Do you have a kudos file at work? Make one!

It’s been some time since I sat down and wrote about self-help tips. Most of my blog has been focused on travel, which is fantastic, but I originally started KeepitKassual to share happiness tips with others that I have found helpful. This particular topic has been on my mind for a few months and I am super excited to share it with you—especially if you need a happiness boost in your job!

In any day-to-day, it’s hard to press the pause button through all of the meetings, to-do lists, and big projects that eat up your day at work. One day, I found myself troubled with my “go go go!” lifestyle at work and realized that I wasn’t taking time to give myself a mental high five at all of the awesome work I was doing. Whether it was a well-crafted press release or a beautiful creative project, I was not sitting back and appreciating a job well done. So, I started to give myself a pat on the back and recognize when I did something well by writing myself “thank you” and “awesome work” messages in my journal I keep at work. It really did help!

I also noticed, however, that I was not necessarily tracking the positive feedback I was receiving from my co-workers and other employees at my organization. I am lucky to be in an organization where we do congratulate each other and I realized it would be of great benefit to keep track of the compliments I received at work.

One morning, I created an electronic folder in my email and titled it “Kudos.” From then on, every time I received an email detailing positive messages like “great job!” or a “thank you so much!” I would file it in that folder. It’s such an easy way to track how much others appreciate you!

Since then, I’ve collected a handful of emails from my teammates, to my supervisor, and from our CEO with positive messages about my work ethic, teamwork, and work quality. Rather than skimming over the email, taking those as an “OK to proceed” and move on to the next project, I started to save them. I have found this ritual to be super fulfilling for it offers a sense of positive closure to a project. I take time to appreciate my hard work, someone else appreciates what I have completed, and I file it in a folder that keeps track of all my accomplishments!

It’s also a useful tool for when you may start to feel down at work. During the busy seasons at work, I start to feel run down and sometimes hopeless that I won’t get all of the tasks done on my to-do list. The moment I start to lose faith, I skim my kudos file and I immediately feel confident and motivated that I can not only get the job done but also get it done well!

If you find yourself feeling down at work, try to find an innovative way to file your “kudos.” Do you write it down on fun sticky notes and place them in your office or on your desk, or do you file them electronically so you can look at them wherever you are? Whichever way, filing your kudos and successes will help boost your happiness and make you feel fulfilled in your job! And don’t forget to share the love as well!

A weekend getaway|Burlington, VT

This weekend, we took a road trip with our friends to one of our favorite spots, Burlington, Vermont. We always seem to visit Burlington when it rains or when it is cold, but it is still a fun town with lots to do and see (and eat!). We had a great day!

Ian and I first visited Burlington in November of 2015. We had a great weekend exploring the city, eating comfort food and trying out craft beers. Though we did find some sunshine on a bike ride, this was my usual look:

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This time, it was a lot warmer and we were able to stick to a couple of layers and be a little more comfortable. I wanted to share a few photos of our day!

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We walked up and down Church Street exploring the shops and stopping at a few places for some snacks: Champlain Chocolatier for some fudge and hot cocoa is definitely a must! This street is filled with character: musicians, kiosks, and all types of restaurants from a quick bite to a sit-down meal.

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We stopped into one of my favorite bookstores: Crow Bookshop. It’s filled with new and used books.

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And of course, we made sure to walk down to the waterfront and enjoy the beauty of Lake Champlain.

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I hope you enjoyed a small glimpse into my weekend. Have you been to Burlington? What are some of your favorite spots?

Check-In to Airbnb

Here is a guest blog post by my husband, Ian, about our experience with Airbnb!

We have now used Airbnb for two trips which officially qualifies us to have an opinion. We have received many questions about this service. While we were a bit hesitant at first and were still hesitant after just an OK, first-time experience, we have grown to love it!

We encourage each of you to consider it for your next trip! Even better, go on there without a trip in mind and see what you discover!

These are the 3 most common questions we receive about Airbnb:

Q: Why would you use an Airbnb?

A: There is one fantastic reason to use Airbnb: price. For the same price as a motel where you might catch something viral, you can stay in a two-bedroom in a trendy new Boston suburb next to a cafe bistro that was featured on the Food Network. While camping is probably the ultimate option for cheap travel, I prefer to do my camping indoors….with soap….and without the fear of bears.

Just as a reference, our trip to Ireland cost less than $700 in lodging for 8 nights.

Q: Do your hosts talk to you?

A: Yes. And that is okay! A big part of Airbnb is the communication between the host and guest. In fact, you are both rated on it.

As for in-person communication, that depends entirely on your stay. The reality is that if you are using Airbnb, then you and your host share a yin for this type of social interaction. We have stayed in four places. Once we never met our host, once we met a friend who showed us in, and twice we met and conversed daily with our hosts. Each experience worked for us.

At our Airbnb in Kenmare, we met Flor, a multi-generational dairy farmer in Ireland. In Fanore, we met John, a widower who found a new purpose in life providing rental opportunities to people to see his corner of the world. We have been empowered through our experiences to see and hear about a new part of the world. The stories of our hosts truly enhanced our visit.

Take time to read the guest book of each Airbnb. You never know who stayed before you, their stories, or where they are from! It’s a cosmic experience.

Q: Is it clean?

A: I have yet to see an Airbnb as spotless as a hotel, but an Airbnb feels lived in. It is cozier and personal than a hotel so don’t let a few dusty corners deter you. Also, most come with a cleaning fee which is just proof for the nonbeliever that the homes are in fact cleaned.

Look around your house right now. Not every nook is spotless, yet you feel comfortable and at home. For reference, I walked around with no socks on at 3 of our 4 Airbnbs and I am usually in my crocs or socks in my own home! If I felt comfortable to go barefoot, then you can go for it and experience a new home away from home!

 

A few last tips:

  1. When you do your search, be specific with your filter. For us, every search starts with “Free parking on premises” (unless we are not driving) and “Wi-fi” because even in 2018 you’d be surprised who doesn’t offer Wi-fi.
  2. Read the reviews. Pictures can be deceiving, so make sure you read why people did or did not enjoy their stay. Try your best to be objective too. Just because SCIFIGUY78 thinks the breakfast place next door made runny eggs doesn’t mean you should look elsewhere…but if he says the bed is uncomfortable and that’s the third time you’ve seen that then maybe it’s a review worth respecting.
  3. Be exotic. Airbnb has opened our minds to new places and opportunities. We found a place in the XVI Arrondissement in Paris for less than $100 a night. Now we are planning a trip around it! Hotels cost at least twice that. You never know where your next destination might take you.
  4. Trust in humanity. The people who rent an Airbnb are nice and mean well. It is their business to give you an enjoyable home. Enjoy your stay and take advantage of their knowledge of the area. You never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll learn.

 

Bonus Material: I am into the NPR podcast How I Built This and one episode is about Airbnb. Listen to host Joe Gebbia talk about his entrepreneurship: https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=497820565:497945288

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 Note: The image for this blog post is from one of our Airbnbs in Kenmare, Ireland. Look at that view!

 

Ireland | Cliffs of Moher

Today is our last day in Ireland and what better way to close out an amazing trip than a trip to the Cliffs of Moher! This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we couldn’t recommend it more to everyone. It’s a must-see. The cliffs are magnificent; it is a truly magical place. We found ourselves speechless as we climbed the cliffs.

Guests are able to learn more about the cliffs in the visitor center. You can take the stairs up on one side and visit the O’Brien’s Tower (which you will see in our photos). The tower was built specifically for tourists in 1835. You can then take the other pass and climb/walk throughout the cliffs on protected paths. Don’t get too comfortable though—there are plenty of warning signs throughout advising to be careful, not slip, and to watch for grassy areas due to frequent landslides! We did our best to stay on the path well from the edge and were in awe of the views.

OK—enough talking. Check ’em out!

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Thank you, everyone, for following our adventures in Ireland! Stay tuned for our next trip in May—Quebec!