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How to be more productive, despite the heat

increasing productivity in summer heat

I don’t know about you, but this 28 degree weather hasn’t exactly been boosting my productivity. It’s hot, which can make you feel more tired, you take things slower and might get less done in a day than you usually would.
To be brutally honest, I haven’t done that much this week. I could have been working much harder but instead I’ve spent a little too much time just cooling down, chilling and hanging out with friends.
It’s time for a productivity boost though, because this heat is about to last and I need to get some shit done.

  1. Don’t multitask too much. It’s stressful and usually a lot less productive than when you do your tasks one by one. Your tasks get more attention when you’re not multitasking, and extra stress is something nobody needs when it’s this hot.
  2. If you’re lucky enough to work at home, of if you need to get things done at home, eat popsicles through the day. They will cool you down and give you that summer feeling even though you’re actually getting things done.
  3. Do the things you don’t really want to do in the morning. It’s the coolest moment of the day and you’ll feel extra good for the rest of the day, because you completed that task you were dreading most.
  4. Slow down, but don’t slow down too much. Make a realistic to do list that allows you to take time to do what you need to do, but without running around like crazy. It’s hot, give yourself a break as well.
  5. Eat well. Your body needs a lot of energy to cool you down, and if you don’t eat well the heat will stroke you harder. As many people, I don’t really have much of an appetite when it’s hot outside but I force myself to eat anyways because my body needs food to cool me down.
  6. Balance it out. Tell yourself what you want to get done that day, and when you’ve done it, relax. I mean, it is summer after all which means cocktails as a reward (something to keep you motivated) and spending time outside. Enjoy.

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A night at the Student Hotel

student hotel amsterdam city review opening

Last week I attended the opening of the new Student Hotel Amsterdam City. A huge hotel located in the building where famous club Trouw used to be. It’s now a gorgeous hotel with restaurant The Pool that has delicious food. The rooms are really nice, spacious and on trend and the bed was just a dream. The afterparty was insane, but a good hotel room and breakfast cures any hangover. Definitely a new hot spot in town, go check it out when you’re around!

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How not to be perfect

img good enough

Pressure. A lot of us feel it these days. We want to do everything, all at once, and get it done perfectly while we’re at it. We always want more, better, nicer. We want to do it all that’s why we’re all super busy. The bar is set really high when it comes to being successful. We compare ourselves to others. We want to work hard, work out, be social, eat healthy, party and have a relationship and be happy all at once. We’re very competitive and constantly looking for more, because anything is possible. Everything seems like it can be made, so perfection can be created as well. We compare ourselves to others who always seem to do better. We are achievers. And if we don’t achieve, we feel bad about ourselves, or guilty.

That’s one of the downsides to wanting it all. Feeling like you’ve failed if you don’t have lots of success in every aspect of life. It can cause a lot of stress and pressure, and I feel like our generation asks way too much of themselves.
Being a perfectionist has it’s downsides as well. Being one, you’ll find it hard to take advice from others and will want to do everything yourself. You’ll think in terms of ‘I have to’ instead of ‘I can’. Tasks can go slow, because they have to be performed perfectly. You may find it hard to make decisions and be afraid to make mistakes.

I personally think we should aim for mediocracy sometimes. Be less hard on ourselves. Don’t put the pressure on ourselves of wanting it all and wanting it now. The art of being good enough, because nowadays hardly anything is good enough. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself wanting to succeed in all areas of life, wanting to do everything perfectly and I’d feel guilty if I wasn’t constantly nailing everything. I have learned to let that go, and think of myself as good enough. It gave me a lot of peace of mind, and took away a lot of stress. Here’s some tips I used on how to be less hard on yourself..

  1. Allow the thought that some things are just normal, and not perfect. That way you can enjoy the things you actually stand out in. You don’t have to be amazing at sports, work 60 hours a week and have a bubbly social life all at once. Not everything has to be a highlight. Accept reality as it is.
  2. Don’t try to perform for the sake of performing, but perform because you like doing that certain thing.
  3. You may often sketch the ideal (perfect) situation as you hope it will happen. Next time, think of a good enough situation, with room for error. Don’t ask too much of yourself.
  4. Learn to be useless sometimes. To do absolutely nothing.
  5. Accept that making mistakes is part of life, part of learning and everyone makes them.
  6. Don’t live in the future all the time. Focus on the now. Find pleasure in the activity itself instead of just focusing on a goal. But if you’ve reached a goal, take a moment to reward yourself for that and celebrate it.
  7. Make small goals. Manageable ones. Take them one step at a time.
  8. Set boundaries and ask yourself how you’re feeling. Say ‘no’ more often, especially when feeling tired or stressed. Put yourself and how you feel first.

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12 Steps to worrying less

ways to worry less

Worrying. It can get the best of all of us. It’s perfectly normal, yet can be very annoying. Personally, I worry a lot. About little things like to do lists, to big things like whether people like me or not. I would sit and just worry for hours, and get nothing done, which was again something to worry about. After an immense amount of worrying, I decided to take care of my worries, so I did some research, thought of what could help and started tackling my worries. Here’s some steps you can take if you’re done worrying all the time, they really helped for me so I hope they’ll help you as well.

  1. Don’t try to stop your worries. That will only make them worse. You can however get control over them somehow, by starting to recognize when you’re worrying. That’s an important first step, because when you catch yourself worrying, you can do something about it and snap out of it. You can control your worries somehow by postponing them. If you’re worried about something, just write it down somewhere (like in your phone) and decide to worry about it later. Allow yourself to half an hour a day for those worries that go through your head all day. We think we can solve problems by thinking about them, but that’s not really how it works. Postponing your worries gives you more control over them.
  2. Create some overview by writing down your worries and making a list. Which problems can you solve, and which ones not? For the ones you can solve: take (small) steps in the direction you want to go in, and make decisions, even if you don’t want to. Make priorities and take control by making decisions and taking steps. Make sure your steps aren’t too big, so that you can do one small step every day and get closer to dissolving your worries. Slowly but surely you will have solved at least 1 problem!
  3. For the worries you can not solve: put them into perspective and ‘zoom out’. Worries are often based on fear, and fear can cause a blurred vision. Challenge your thoughts. Ask yourself these questions:
    Am I solving my problem by worrying about it?
    Is the situation worth worrying about?
    Will it be just as important a week, month or year from now?
    Am I thinking realistically, or am I being led by fear?
    Is there really such a big chance that what I’m afraid of, will happen? What other things could happen?
    What is a positive and more realistic way to look at the situation?
    What would I tell a friend that’s worrying about the same thing?
  4. Share your worries. The problems that look unsolvable, not always are. A friend can give you a new perspective, come up with a solution or at least show some support.
  5. Some of us are really good at doomwatching, expecting the worst to happen. Think about what the worst thing is that could happen and put that into a wider perspective. Would it really be that bad? Make sure you could even be OK with the worst outcome, that way every outcome is OK. (Thus I have decided that if I never find a guy, I’ll be OK with having 14 cats and staying alone ;))
  6. Be nice to yourself. Give yourself pep talks. Make sure you are your own best friend and tell yourself it’s all ok, you’re doing the best you can and you’re good enough. It might not feel natural at first, but practice really works here. If we can talk ourselves way down, we can also talk ourselves up.
  7. Try to live in the now. Our worries are often about the past or the future, and worrying about them can be quite useless. Now, at this very moment, there’s often not that much going on you need to worry about. Mindfulness can really help by learning to live in the now, as can meditation.
  8. Try to remember that you’re good enough just as you are. Don’t have unrealistic or perfectionistic expectations from yourself. You don’t have to be able to do anything and everything, and you don’t have to do it all perfectly. Go for good enough. It’s OK to make mistakes.
  9. Listen to your intuition and trust yourself. Are you worried about whether you’re doing well or going in the right direction? Often, deep inside, we already know the answer to that. Try to listen to what your heart tells you and do whatever feels good, that can bring you further than you might think.
  10. Organise. A messy life and messy house can cause a lot of worries. Don’t let life live you, but live with intention. Think about what you want and take steps in that direction. You don’t have to be perfect to everyone all the time. Taking control over your life and your time will tackle at least some worries. Have a realistic schedule and let go of other people’s expectations.
  11. Face your fears. Take a leap of faith every now and then. Worries and fears can block us, make us get stuck, but sometimes you just have to try and take a leap. Just experience it. Don’t try to let fear rule your life.
  12. A few things to remember:
    – Everything will be OK in the end. Even if things don’t work out the way you wanted them to. Accept.
    – You will not solve problems by worrying about them. The only thing that does is get in the way of your luck.
    – Every experience transforms you into who you are. Eventually you’ll be a wiser person.
    – Everything is temporary, and time will always go on. Even your worries will pass.
    – Challenges make you stronger, wiser and more stable.
    – Everybody worries, there’s nothing wrong with you.
    – Worries tell you something about what you value in life. Use that in a positive way.

 

I hope you’ll find this helpful! If you have your own tips to tackle those worries, do share them in the comment section!

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4 Ways to try less hard

ways to try less hard inspiration

Our future is in our own hands. It’s something we make or break ourselves completely, or so it seems. It’s definitely true that sometimes if you really want something, you have to try really hard to get there. But constantly having to try and do everything ourselves also causes stress and sometimes even results in things you want actually not happening. For instance, I was looking really hard for a boyfriend last year, but with some things it just doesn’t work that way. When I stopped trying so hard, I actually found one (who has also already left me again, but that’s a different story ;)) which showed me that sometimes, we should try a little less hard and trust our paths, the universe and circumstances. When you really want something, it can be hard to let it go and I’m not saying that you should let it go completely, but not obsessing over it or trying too hard can be really refreshening and actually bring you closer to where you want to be. Here’s 4 tips to try less hard.

  1. If you focus on just one goal or direction, you might lose sight of other paths that are just as good (or even better!). Be open to different approaches and different paths that lead in your direction. Your way isn’t necessarily always the best way. Get advice from others and actually listen to it. A lot of roads lead to Rome.
  2. Have an expectant and relaxed attitude towards your goal, instead of being stressed out about not being there yet. Tell yourself that all outcomes are ok. Whether you get a yes or a no, put the different outcomes in to perspective. Think about what would happen if what you want to happen doesn’t happen, and find reasons why that would be ok as well. We don’t always get what we want, what really matters is how we respond to that fact.
  3. Focus on the positive aspect of why you’re trying what you’re trying. Don’t think: if I don’t find a man I’ll be alone for the rest of my life, but think: I’d like to date because I like the company of a man. Focusing on the positive site will turn your goal into a fun extra, instead of something you cannot fail at. It takes some of the pressure off.
  4. It’s not always true that you can accomplish everything if only you try hard enough. Trying really hard can cause a lot of stress. Stop thinking about how things should be going, and have a positive and open attitude to what’s actually happening. This way you’ll be less disappointed when things don’t work out, which they simply not always do. With low expectations, your disappointments will be less intense and you’ll be happier and more relaxed. Whether you’re finding a boyfriend or looking for the perfect pair of sneakers.

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Lessons in time management

plants on pink

Don’t you sometimes just wish there were more hours  in the day? Or that your to do list is so long, you just wish you had more time? Or maybe you’re a procrastinator, like I tend to be sometimes, especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the things I need to do. Time is manageable though, and there are certain things you can do to not only use your time better, but also to have more hours left in the day. Here are some things I do when it comes to time management and reducing stress. Especially number 3, which wasn’t my favorite to begin with, does a lot for me..

  1. Get up 20 minutes early. It takes a little perseverance at first, but when you get up earlier than you have to, you’ll feel more relaxed in the morning because you don’t have to rush everything. I have to say there’s days on which I can’t get myself to do it, but those are the days I have more morning stress. Getting up early and taking time to prepare for the day makes you feel more calm throughout the day.
  2. Make a to do list (when you have that time left in the morning, or the night before) so that you’re head won’t be overflowing with all the things you need to do and mustn’t forget. It gives you an overview and you’ll be able to plan your activities in a way that they’re manageable.
  3. Put your phone down more often. Yes, that’s hard for most of us but even though we don’t notice it, our constantly bleeping phone can cause quite some extra stress. We fill up ’empty’ moments by checking our phones, social media and email, but what if you would just put your phone on airplane mode a few half hours a day and actually enjoy your free time, or not let yourself be distracted while you’re doing things?
  4. Follow David Allen’s 2 minute rule: if you can do something within 2 minutes, then do it immediately. Another way to getting more things done.
  5. We tend to multitask a lot and switch between different tasks. This switching asks more from your brain than you might think. Focusing on 1 task at a time and nothing else helps. What also helps is clustering tasks within a certain category and doing those before switching to another category. Doing your administration first and then do your house cleaning tasks ask much less from your brain and does much better for your focus than doing the dishes, then your taxes, then your vacuuming and then your emails.
  6. I’ve said this one before. When you have a big task, divide it into smaller tasks so that your task looks less overwhelming and you won’t be tempted to procrastinate. What I also do, is I underscore about 3 core tasks on my list, and those are the ones I really need to do. The other ones I’m not so rigid about. If I get them done, great, if I don’t, there’s always another day tomorrow. Don’t ask too much from yourself.
  7. Enjoy your free time. Actually enjoy it, instead of scrolling through Facebook for the 55th time that day. Put your phone down and do something you enjoy, like getting your face in the sunshine or reading a magazine. Taking more moments of rest will make you feel more rested, even though you have a million things to do.What do you do to manage your time better?

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