Working a full time job, running my blog and handling a new creative business together means I work for long hours and often don't have time to relax. Working continuously without relaxing ain't good for the mind or the body.

And so, I have made relaxation a part of my work routine by including little activities that calm and refresh me throughout the day. These are some of the quick and effective ways I use to relax and you can too:

1. Take a 10-minute catnap: Yes! Go sleep but not for more than 20 minutes. Research says that a 10 minute nap during the day boosts our focus and productivity. However the trick here is timing, if you miss the 10 - 20 minute mark, you will enter the sleep inertia zone which will make you feel tired and groggy. So steal a short nap during the middle of the day and encourage your boss to take one too!

2. Soothing music: Music is food for the soul. Listen to some soothing music while you are at work to relax your mind. I love using apps on my phone to play some sweet sounds that refresh my mood. Sounds of nature - birds chirping, water flowing, wind blowing are so lovely to listen to and keep my mind calm. You could also create a playlist of some relaxing music on your phone or desktop - I love this youtube playlist as background music while I work. 

3. Micro-meditation: From a very young age, I 've been into meditation and it has helped me a lot in keeping a calm mind and controlling stress. You don't have to spend a lot of time, you can meditate in short 5-minute periods throughout the day. For starters, I love the Headspace app for guided meditation. You have to try it, its awesome.

4. Take little window breaks: I often take 2-3 minute breaks for every 25-30 minutes of work. During these breaks, I love to look out of my window as it takes my mind off work and gets me involved with the outside world. Whether it is watching the clear blue skies or busy people on the road, these breaks help me return to work with a new perspective and a fresh mind.

5. Creative visualization: This is one of my favorite ways to relax. I just close my eyes and visualize a scene that makes me happy. Whether it is traveling, meeting your loved ones or success at work, just close your eyes and visualize it happening - it instantly drifts you into a state of happiness and relaxation. 

6. Water plants: This one is very specific to me, but I love watering plants every afternoon. There is something very relaxing about plants and watching them grow, it puts happy thoughts in my head. If you don't have plants around, just take a short walk outside and look at some greenery.  

7. Sip on some tea: Coffee is for kicks, but tea is relaxing. I love sipping on some hot lemon tea, it refreshes me instantly! Ginger, lemon, green - any tea, just choose one and sip on.

Life is really beautiful - stop, appreciate, relax and say thank you for it!

What are your favorite ways to relax?
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Why do we need content creation tools?

From coming up with ideas to presenting them to the reader, creating good-quality content regularly is a long and challenging task. Although creating content is still the work of the mind, there are a few tools that make the process easier. 

Personally for me, these tools have been life changing, as they save me a lot of time by providing easy methods to present my ideas in a clear and appealing way. 

Textual Content:

1. Text Editors: Any content management system that you may be using like wordpress or blogger, provides you with a rich text editor to write and edit your content in a fuss-free way. Alternatively you can use offline word processors such as Microsoft word (Windows), Apple Pages (Mac), EverNote etc. Editors provide you with a set of features like font & color pickers, spellchecker etc. and formatting tools that help you create error-free and beautiful looking content. This awesome webinar by Regina gives a complete lowdown on using Apple Pages to create digital content.

2. WordtoCleanHTML: If you have tried to copy a blog post that you drafted in Evernote or Microsoft word into your blogging platform editor, you know what a nightmare it is. All the formatting disappears and the beautiful content you created suddenly gets wild and ugly. WordtocleanHTML comes to the rescue by providing an easy way to convert your content into HTML that preserves the formatting of your text.

3. Google keyword plannerMultiple blogs have been written about the importance of having the right words in your content : a match between the keywords that people search for, and the words you use in your post can multiply your audience and reach. Google keyword planner helps you identify the right keywords and generate relevant combinations, so that you can write great content without compromising on your writing style. Here is a great tutorial to get started with Google keywords planner.

4. Font resources: Depending on the content you are creating, you might need different fonts to embellish your text. Google fonts and Dafont are great places to find a variety of fonts that you can easily install and use in your projects.  

5. Google docs: If you are working in a collaborative environment, Google docs is an excellent choice to create, edit and share content within your team in real-time. It provides a web-based word processor that can be accessed by multiple people at the same time thereby making collaborations a lot more fun and easier. 

Graphical Content:

6. Canva: This is an awesome tool that helps you create beautiful graphics without requiring the skills of a designer. It provides an easy drag-drop interface to integrate text and images into beautiful layouts thereby helping you create all kinds of visuals - blog graphics,  flyers, cover images, etc. in an easy and quick way!

7. Skitch: This app is great for creating annotations and markups for graphics. Taking screenshots and editing them is so much more easier with skitch. 

8. Thinglink: This tool is a recent discovery and it is so darn awesome. With this you can make your graphics interactive by embedding links / icons in them which are activated on hover. This is useful for sharing social media links or embedding short and quick information in graphical content.

9. Infogr.am: Infographics are one of my favorite content forms as they provide a quick and intuitive way of grasping a lot of information in a short time. Infogr.am is a great tool that you can use to create infographics by importing and visualizing data in various forms such as charts, graphs, venn diagrams, etc.

10. Place it: When I was setting up my Etsy shop, I wanted to showcase my designs on real-world devices. Okay, it took me at least 10 cups of coffee and pulling out my hair before I figured that these kind of graphics were called mockups. I finally created these mockups via a time consuming process on Adobe photoshop. A few days ago, I found this tool - Place it which creates fancy mockups of your images on all possible real-world environments that you can think of in just a click - and I was like - ?! 

There are several alternatives to these tools, but these are by far the most easy to use and distraction free in my experience. I would love to hear about your favorite tools for creating content. Happy Sunday! :)

What tools aid your content creation process?
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It is kind of surprising that I wasn't into Instagram until recently. Sure, I had an account and posted pictures of my latest blog posts, but I never actively got involved in the community. In the past month, I have spent one too many hours on Instagram exploring photos, and here are my favorite accounts that inspire me each day!


Fashion & Lifestyle

DIY & Creativity

Woo! That is quite a list now, I am sure these Instagram accounts will inspire you and fuel your creativity. Also I would love for you to join me on Instagram too - Follow Pinkpot on Instagram here !

Who are your favorite Instagrammers?
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Tim Ferris, author of the Four-hour work week says "Focus on being productive, instead of being busy". For those of us who blog, striking a balance between work, blogging and social life is a big challenge that even a minute saved is a blessing. Photography consumes a big chunk of blogging time, so here are a few time saving tips to help you. 

1. Plan with the weather: Most of us live in places with limited hours of sunshine, so it is very important to make the best use of natural light. The ideal condition of us being free and the weather being sunny is a rarity. Check the weather forecast and schedule your photography session accordingly. Charge your camera batteries and clean up your SD card the previous day of your photo session so you have everything ready when its time to take the photos.

2. Tether camera to laptopGood news! You don't have to shoot in bulk anymore. This time saving trick is new for me, but oh boy! it has changed my life. Its hard to accurately assess the quality of the photo on the small LCD screen of the camera, which is why we often shoot in bulk. By tethering the camera to the laptop, I can check my photos on the big screen right away without having to wait until editing. This helps me instantly adjust the composition, lighting, etc., thereby saving me a lot of time. Here is a guide to tether your camera to the laptop.

3. Mobile photography set-up: Create a photography set-up that you can easily move around. While shooting, you might want to try a few different positions to decide which one is the best for lighting. For eg., I decide whether I want to shoot near the window in my living room or outside in the patio depending on the amount of light I need. If I decide to move, I can easily shift from one place to another with a mobile set-up as opposed to a fixed set-up. A light-weight ikea coffee table or this DIY table top are ideal for a movable photography setup.

4. Store accessories & props in one place: I have all the props I use for my photos in a single box so I find everything easily when I am setting up the scene for photography. The tripod, remote and props like flowers, potpourri etc. are all within an arm's reach when I shoot. This saves me a lot of time compared to when I have to fetch each thing from a different place in the house.

5. Shoot for multiple blog posts: While you are at it, take as many photos as you can.  Depending on my editorial calendar, I decide in advance the photos I need for each post. I then shoot photos for multiple posts at once so I have a ready repository and don't have to worry about running out of photos for a while. This saves the set-up time when compared to shooting separately for each post.

These are small things, but go a long way in saving time. Hope you find them useful!

What are your time-saving blogging tips? 
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I am really excited to share the first article I wrote for a little opulent (ALO) with you. I am a huge fan of their work and have been following along since the very beginning, so I am stoked to be on their team now. 

I love scrolling down my Instagram feed to find amazing calligraphy work. The finesse, precision and hard-work  required for calligraphy really inspires my creative process. I wish to create my own calligraphy art work in the future, and I am working towards it.

However,  there are so many calligraphy fonts that I almost lose myself while exploring them on Pinterest! Head over to read my first post for ALO - 10 awesome calligraphy fonts!

What are your favorite fonts?
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