Tag Archives: stress

Miranda’s ninth month: Priorities

Inspired by Titania’s thoughts on time and priorities, I have decided to turn this month into an experiment. Since my life gets more and more stressful, I think it is time to start prioritizing the right things. Since I came home from Italy, I have been exercising twice a week, and I notice such a tremendous change in my energy and motivation that it would be stupid not to take time to exercise. It simply gives me so much time in return.

One thing that doesn’t give me energy, however, is sugar. This easter weekend has been crazy, with two family dinners and lots of desserts and candy. I don’t need to lose weight, but stomachaches and tiredness is something I could definitely do without. I’m curious to see how it would affect my body and mind to stay away from sweet things for a whole month. I don’t think I have managed more than a week before, but I think that this perspective will help me. Instead of viewing it as a ban, I will prioritize eating healthy because it makes me feel much better and gives me much more energy.

Finally, because of my stress I almost feel guilty when I spend half an hour reading  before I go to bed.  I haven’t touched my guitar for months, and sometimes I would like to draw or take some photos or bake bread or meet a friend, but I usually end up studying instead. This is not okay! I have to squeeze in some free time and fun activities to be able to cope with the stressful days, and I think that if I can make my days more effective by gaining more energy, I will find time for this as well.

So, my goals for April are:

1. Do some kind of physical exercise every day.

2. Eat no candy or cookies.

3. Take time to do something I really enjoy every day.

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Filed under Body, Challenge, Diet, Food, Goals, Health, Miranda, Physical exercise, Priorities, Productivity, Stress, Wellbeing

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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Filed under Miranda, Organisation, Productivity

To let go

I’m happy I chose Productivity as this month’s focus, because I really wouldn’t have time to focus on anything else than getting things done. I’m so stressed out that it’s affecting me physically, making me nauseous and tired all the time. Tonight, however, I sat down and tried to structure all my tasks for the rest of the year, week for week. Now I know what I need to do every week when it comes to school, work, driving practice and exercise, and that is somewhat comforting. Next week I’m going away for a few days to visit my grandfather, and perhaps the change of scenery will help me relax a bit as well.

So, what about the Love month? Although my boyfriend and I have had our ups and downs I think I managed to take quite good care of our relationship last month, and I keep trying. I survived the tour, obviously. After the first anxious days I simply didn’t have any energy left for worrying. I let him take care of our contact, which meant that I didn’t have to worry about unanswered texts or calls and got a happy surprise each time I heard from him instead. And I ended up really enjoying having time for myself.

Whether it’s a sky-high heap of homework or a boyfriend touring Europe or something entirely different that makes your intestines ache with anxiety, the only thing that really helps is to let go. And to realise that when you do, things tend to work out quite nicely in the end.

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Filed under Fear, Giving space, Letting go, Love, Miranda, Productivity, Relationships