Category Archives: Organisation

Miranda’s sixth month: Simplicity

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”
— Henry David Thoreau

In line with this month’s area of focus, I’ve decided to keep this post simple. To sort out the mess that my life, home and workload has turned into during the constant stress of the last few months, I’ve decided to make things simpler, and these are my goals:

– Figure out my priorities in life and spend more time on them.

– Get rid of all unnecessary things and find a home for everything else.

– Do one thing at the time.



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Filed under Goals, Miranda, Organisation, Priorities, Productivity, Simplicity

To get things done

As November and my month of Productivity & Order is drawing to an end I thought I’d share some advice on how to get things done:

1. Plan

Although some people prefer to be spontaneous I think I would be helpless without my lists. When I have everything that needs to get done penned down on a paper in order of importance on my desk I can relax in a way I can’t when the tasks are just soaring through my head without structure. And I love the feeling of crossing another task of my list!

2. Break down big tasks

No matter how much I love to write, essays always freak me out. The last few weeks I’ve written two essays for school and I realised that the only way I could get myself to tackle them was breaking the working progress down into small, manageable pieces. I wrote down each step ahead (Read through the texts, note differences, form into so and so many topic sentences, write a draft, let it rest, read through it etc.) and suddenly I could approach one tasks at a time instead of just running away from the huge impossible essay. Simple but very effective.

3. Work in intervals

Since my dad told me about the pomodoro technique when I struggled with my bachelor’s essay last winter, I’ve started working so much more effectively. The method was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s and is ridiculously simple:

– Set a timer and work with a task for 25 minutes (one ‘pomodoro’).

– Take a short break of 5 minutes.

– Repeat.

– Take a longer break every four ‘pomodoros’.

There are numerous different iPhone and computer apps devoted to the technique. The one I currently use (which you can find here) is free and very simple. However, I find it to be extremely useful, as it allows me to stay concentrated (and most importantly, awake!) and reminds me to take pauses. I get small tasks done during the pauses, and the big tasks usually take much less time than I expect when I work like this.

4. Get some fresh air

Every day I try to use some of my little pauses to step outdoors, to get the mail, collect firewood, take a short walk or just breathe. A few minutes are enough to revive my brain and give me enough energy to focus some more hours. This morning I woke up to find a layer of snow on the lawn! The change of seasons always makes me happy, and when you’re happy, even the most difficult task seems a little easier to tackle.

What are your best advice for staying productive?

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Miranda’s fourth month: Productivity & Order

The last few weeks have been extremely stressful because of my school. I had an exam today and I still have a huge analysis to finish and hand in before Sunday. I might give you an update on my last month’s project next week, but I’ll have to keep this post short.

Next week I start a new course, though, and I really can’t allow myself to keep behaving the way I have up until now. I keep oversleeping, procastrinating important tasks and mess up things because I have a thousand thoughts on my mind at once. So, this month I will focus on Productivity & Order. I will simply try to create a peaceful environment, get things done and pick up some habits that will help me keep things that way. Here are my goals:

 – Stop procastrinating
I think I’ll try to reverse my behaviour by doing the hardest tasks first. Then it will just get easier as I progress through the list of tasks and I won’t have to go through them with the difficult task hanging over me like a dark cloud. This includes tasks such as difficult homework, collecting firewood in the morning (instead of freezing throughout the day because of my laziness, and yes, we heat the whole house with firewood), doing dishes and my back exercises…

 – Find order
I will clean up my home office, go through my computer, my wardrobe, anything where there is disorder that distracts me.

– Sleep and work earlier
I study a full-time course. I technically need to work 8 hours a day but I usually don’t. Mostly because I get started way too late. The earlier I start, the more free time I’ll have in the afternoon to do whatever I want and get school completely off my mind. And of course, rising early means I can’t stay up forever in the evenings.

– Stop multitasking
Writing a few words, writing a text, watching a youtube-clip, reading a blog-post, going back to writing a few more words, making a list, rushing up to do some back exercises while checking instagram… No wonder time rushes and nothing gets done. I really need to make an effort to do one thing at the time, and finish each task before I move on to the next.

Approach new tasks with confidence
I always stress out before dealing with a new school task, and I always work it out in the end, so why not skip the doubting and avoiding and just do it.

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Organisation vs spontaneity

I love to keep my life well organised. To make detailed plans and stick to them. I feel safer when I can keep things under control. I write lists of things to do and things to buy and habits to keep and if we’re going on a trip, I usually arrange everything. I book flights and accommodation and search for things to do. I print maps and schedules to make everything go smooth. And I’ve always thought this is the only way to make things work. That if I didn’t make all these plans everything would turn out a disaster. But that’s not true. The last few days have really showed me the value of allowing some spontaneity into my life.

I turned 22 last week, and my gift from my boyfriend was a trip somewhere. We decided to take a bus to the west coast and spend two nights at a camping. Since the trip was a gift I didn’t want to interfere with my boyfriends plans (or lack of them), so I decided, for once, to stay away from all kinds of planning. On our way to the bus station we spotted some dark clouds and decided to check the weather. The forecast for the city we had decided to go to didn’t look good at all, and my boyfriend simply said: “so, let’s go to the east coast instead”. This was half an hour before our bus was supposed to leave. Normally, I would probably stress out, but perhaps the fact that I hadn’t really planned anything helped me bite my tongue and agree.

An hour later we jumped on a train and ended up spending two great days with perfect weather on the east coast. And the interesting thing was that any plan we tried to make went awry, but mostly with great consequences. We planned to go to the cinema the first night, but instead spent the night watching stars by the sea. Not too bad. On the second day we took a bus to a zoo, but when we got there it was closing within 30 minutes. I’m sure the zoo would have been nice, but instead of spending lots of money we walked to a camping and went for a swim. That wasn’t unpleasant either. I wasn’t able to stick to all of my health habits, but I had a wonderful trip with my boyfriend that certainly made up for it.

During October, when my focus area is Love, one of my goals will be to allow more room for spontaneity. Although some routines and plans are good, I really admire my boyfriend’s ability to just go with the flow and see where it takes him. I don’t want to stifle his spontaneity with my planning addiction, and I don’t want to quench my own happiness because I’m to busy arranging the future or stressing over the present.

I know that when I dare to, it’s so nice to simply let go.

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Filed under Letting go, Miranda, Organisation, Spontaneity, Traveling