What is going to change in this blog?

Hi guys,

Today I would like to talk about all the changes in this blog, that are going to happen since now. If you have followed me for some time, you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting regularly for the past months. There have been some posts here and there, but there were months where there was not even one post published here. It wouldn’t be so bad if not the fact that there were multiple months in a row, where there was no sign from me at all.

Now there is a time when all of this is about to change. I have decided about the schedule and this time I am going to stick to it. But before I’ll tell you when you can expect posts, let me tell you what was going on with me for all this time. And there are no excuses. This post isn’t meant to show how hard my life was, because it wasn’t.

For the past months, I’ve been struggling to decide what I want to do with my life. We got to the point with my husband, where I don’t really need to work full time any more as his salary is enough to get us from month to month with an opportunity to save a small amount each month too. That allows me to work just part-time so we can have some funds for any extra spending we might have. However, I still work my night shifts full time, as my company is about to close by March 2021, maybe earlier.

After thinking for months, I’ve decided to continue working at my current place, until they either close down or put me on redundancy and during this time I would like to save as much as I can and work on my personal projects as if they were my part-time job. I also want to educate myself on various ways to get more productive and organised, because especially while I have my full-time job and my son to look after, I will have to learn to get as much out of my time as it is possible.

All this brings me to the point, where I am now. I’ve never thought of this blog as the way of making money and I would like to leave it this way (unless I’ll find a way to monetise it without having to change much). I want to keep it as my place, where I can share my thoughts, worries and basically all the things I have been doing so far. So I came with a schedule which will be as follows:

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I will be posting regular posts which you have seen many so far, while on Fridays there will be a post with self-development related book, where I am going to present you main ideas explained in that book. This should keep me accountable for educating myself while bringing some value for you.

I hope you like the idea. I hope to see you at my new post on Monday, when is the first day since my schedule is going to work.

For today, I wish you a very productive day and I’ll see you at my new post.

Daria

What should you learn from a child?

Hi guys,

Today I would like to talk about self-development, but from a bit different perspective. We all know so many various tips and tricks on becoming a better, healthier, more productive person. We can read books about it, watch videos and despite of knowing all these advices, still there is something missing. Like one piece of the jigsaw puzzle which has been lost a while. You can see the picture without it, but just knowing that it is not there triggers something inside. I personally think, that jigsaw puzzle comparison is very accurate, as in fact most of use have lost a small piece, which is a child’s mindset.

We have replaced it with advanced planning, thinking about the future and basically trying to have everything under control. However, life doesn’t work this way. Such thing does not exist. And even when we seem to have a control over some aspects of our life, this control stands on pillars of sand. It can collapse in the most unexpected moment. We simply can’t predict what is going to happen even in the next minute (you know, this is how most of accidents happen).

But in this world of uncertainty, there is a huge group in every society, who can adapt to new situations pretty quickly and who seems to embrace new things. This group are children.

I am personally lucky mother of 17-months-old boy, who is become more and more interested in everything around here. There is no more: ‘my space’ or ‘my belongings’ in my home. Well, this phrases exist still, but only when my son is asleep. It is such a shame, though, that I am pretty much done too at the time. I had no idea that changing, feeding and chasing this little munchkin could be so exhausting! And, by the way, where children are taking so much energy from? But coming back to our topic: since I’ve had my son, I’ve started wondering, how is it possible that he can learn new thing almost each and every day. And I’ve observed some characteristics, that I am missing. In today’s post I would like to share them with you.

Interest in everything

This is the thing, which I am missing since my later school years. I used to think that I don’t need to learn subjects which I simply find boring. Although, my son is still far before going to school, I see him exploring everything around him. He tries copying everyone around him. All this makes him learn so many things every day.

As we are getting into a certain age, we are less likely to try new things. We prefer to stick to our routine and not to go out of our comfort zone. Having our eyes attached to all the screens around, we are forgetting just to look around and see the beauty of the world. There is no place in our life to stop and wonder for a while, how it is made, what makes it work, etc. But the truth is, that ideas are being reused in different fields and in each of them, they have completely different role to play. Most of inventions are inspired by the nature or other existing things. But how can we get our inspiration, if we don’t even have a time to look for it?

Persistence

The other important thing I can see in my son is persistence. He is trying to get what he wants, till he manages to get it. Same is with the new skills. He taught himself walking without any aids like baby walkers or holding someone’s hand. He kept trying and trying till he managed to walk on his own. It took him a while, he did fall many times, but he managed.

As I can say for myself, even the smallest obstacle or failure stops me from getting into my goal. I am giving up very easily and as a result, I am starting a lot of projects, but there are just a few brought to an end. Having a child’s persistence is a very valuable characteristic.

Not caring about other’s opinion

My son is a kind of child (I thin they all are at some point), when he doesn’t take ‘No’ as an answer. He will try to fight to get what he wants no matter what. Although, it is a bit frustrating for me at some point, I thing it is very useful characteristic too.

As adults, we’ve been taught about so many rules for the society’s members. We have to follow the law and respect older. We need to obey our religion, we have to follow all regulations. All this made us unwilling to fight for what we want. One ‘No’ answer very often make us stop to look for other solution. We are just giving up and forgetting what we even wanted. And of course I am not telling you to stop following all rules or anything like this, but to try to look for some solutions to your problems and other ways to achieve your goals, even if it seems impossible.

And that are three characteristics that I think are very important and we, as we were growing up, have forgotten them. What other people would think about us, have made us not think what we our self will think.

I hope this post was interesting for you. For today I wish you a very productive day and I’ll see you in my next post.

Daria

How much should I save?

Hi guys,

Today’s post is continuation of previous one where I presented five ways to earn or save some money at your home or doing things, you do any way. Especially, if you are planning to switch from full time job to your own business, no matter what it is, beginnings are usually hard. That’s why it is important that you’ll make your decision about leaving your save income not earlier than you are ready. You might have a hard time figuring out how to market your products or services, you might struggle to get hang on your taxes or just working from home might be harder than it was at work, when you had your boss over your head for the entire time. Why shall you add to this worrying about money? Remember that no matter how well or bad your business is going, you will still have your bills to pay.

So how much is good to save before leaving your job. And the answer isn’t as simple and direct, as some people would like to hear. I would definitely like to. But there are some questions which, in my opinion, everyone who starts their own business should ask themselves, before going on their own (and they are not all possible questions, just all of them I thought of myself and which I’m using to take this decision).

How much am I spending each month?

This is very important question. First of all, it will determine, the minimum amount of money you need to survive. You should include all you house bills, groceries, clothes, debt payments, etc. When you will look at your costs, I would right away divide it into two categories: necessary and unnecessary. Necessary would be all stuff like bills, food, medicines, if you are taking some, clothes, cleaning stuff, etc. Generally everything what you really need. Unnecessary will be all except them. And it doesn’t mean that you have resign out of them, at least not right away. In this category would be your all subscriptions (except these which you would be using for your work, they will be in previous one), all coffees drunk outside and all other costs, you would be able to live without if you had to. If you get some numbers, you can move to the next question.

Can I reduce any costs of the unnecessary category, if I have to?

This one might be hard sometimes, but no one ask you to do so. Just think about this, in case if there will be any unexpected cost, something you didn’t know how to prevent. Or if there would be a tight period in your business. Where could you pull money out to cover it? Or if you’d realised that your business actually needs a bit more time to work for itself, how much longer are you going to be able to stretch your funds?

What is plan B?

You have this great idea for your business, with eyes of your imagination you can see how you are becoming a millionaire within no time. But what if this will not be the case? Of course I wish you that you succeed, but there are many businesses which don’t make it. What are you going to do in case if your one will be the one? Will you have an opportunity to return to your old work? Or you will have to find new job? How long approximately it can take you to do so?

How long do I think I will have to wait for my business to take off?

This question might be hard, especially if you are new in entrepreneurship. But just think what is your first thought. Maybe your business is already running and you just need to scale it? What steps do you need to take and how long the process is going to take? If you are about to start, maybe try and think, how long mentally are you going to take it. You can give some deadline to yourself, and after that start looking for at least part time job to support your actions?

When you’ll get an answer for all for questions, you could try to decide this way: if the answer for last question is one year, multiply your monthly costs by 12 months plus the time of how long do you think getting your plan B into the life might take you. To be even more sure, you could add couple of months as a mistake margin. Or you could just try to cover it by reducing your unnecessary category costs. This is a way of how I am planing to do so. I think this system would keep me calm and give me a lot of time to react, in case if something will go wrong. But remember, this is my way. Maybe for you peace of mind will bring doubling these numbers or even tripling. The only thing I want to ask you to do, make sure to get at least a bit ready. Don’t throw you straight into the deep water, if you don’t have to.

But at the same time remember, that you can start your business as a side hustle after your work. At least on the beginning. It will make you much more tired, but can save you a lot of stress in the future. And as you’ll see that the product or service you have to offer is on demand, you can resign knowing that you are not in a bad situation (but you could try to have some savings any way, even if you are working full time ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

That’s it for today’s post. I wish you a very productive day and I’ll see you in my next post.

Daria

5 ways to earn (or save) some extra money

Hi guys,

Today’s post will elaborate on some 10 ways of earning an extra cash or just making some savings on things, most of us are spending money any way. Habit of saving money and learning money seems a hard task for many of us. including myself. Although, I am not the person who buys a lot of expensive clothes, or clothes at all (mostly, I buy new one when my old ones are damaged), I am not going out as much and I am able to save some small amount after most of the months, there is always something coming out.

At the moment world is in this weird situation, where I don’t thing many of us expected. There have been whole countries locked at their homes, travelling became close to impossible, a lot of people simply lost their source of income, as their company bankrupted or some stuff had to be reduced. And I always repeat, that money isn’t the most important thing in the world, but at the same time you can’t live without it.

As I mentioned on the beginning, my household’s financial never has been very bad and I hope it will stay this way, but I’ve also realised recently that our savings wouldn’t allow us to live comfortably for a longer period of time. My company is closing by the march as well. So, I’ve decided to look for some ways to actually build up our savings and ideally find some other sources of incomes too. I would appreciate, if I would be able to start earning my money from home. This is my most important goal at the moment, because it would give me an opportunity to spend more time with my son. As my company has been closed for last couple of weeks due to some incident, I’ve decided to use my free time to do some research and I came out with some ideas. Some of them, I can’t really recommend from my own experience yet, as it takes a time to see results or I haven’t started yet, but I will tell you as I am describing each of them.

Here are my 10 tips:

Join partner programs in shops where you do your shopping

This is one of the ways, where you can save some money, by doing your regular shopping. I am living in UK and a lot of (if not all) supermarkets, pharmacies or even some coffee shops offer to sign for there program, where usually you are getting a card and keep collecting points for every time you use it in shop. After you collect right amount of them, they are exchange for money, you can use to reduce your next bill in this supermarket.

I’ve always thought, that this is quite pointless, as it takes time to collect enough points to actually get some money. But I’ve decided to give it a go any way and you won’t believe how quickly it adds up. Big grocery shopping here, small snacks for a park trip there and you will not even notice and you’ll have enough points to get some reduce next time you shop. Is it a lot of money? Definitely not, but you are saving it without much effort. I even made a piggy bank, where I am putting all money that have been saved this way and it is still not a huge sum, but always better than nothing. And you will not even notice, how fast these small sums are adding up.

Review your subscriptions

We are living in a world, where we are subscribing to many different websites, portals, etc. I have found these advice in many other blog posts and I thought that this is just no use. If I subscribe to something, I must using it. But as looked closer to my bank outgoing transactions, I found so many subscriptions that I had no even a clue when I signed for them.

But even, if you are sure that you are paying only for what you are truly using, still have a look, as there might be some subscriptions that offer some options for more users. If we take myself as an example, after some time of me and my husband subscribing to netflix, we realised that we can have just one subscription and two users within it. I think, you might be aware of this, but we got to know about this just recently. Again, is it a lot of money? No. But it is still money.

Organise your home

This might seem stupid, but you can’t even imagine how many stuff you don’t need. Starting from some obvious like clothes, but even some kitchen tools, pots or pans. Do you know how many pas I had, which I haven’t taken tags of? And I don’t even remember when did I buy them! Similarly with some decorative elements, which doesn’t fit in our space any more, but still I did hold on to them. They were simply collecting dust somewhere out of the sight, forgotten… But now, many of them found their new home and my savings grew a bit.

Offer you services online

This is a mind blower for me. I already knew that you could become a website developer online, or do some graphic design for people, or even write peoples post. But somehow, it didn’t occur to me that you can offer cooking food for people for money, or baking cakes, sawing, knitting, doing some art work… Almost everything you like doing might be turned into the side income.

I’ve recently met a women, who literally prepares containers with food for some people from her neighbourhood. They give her ingredients and all she needs to do, is to turn them into a tasty meals. But what is even more amazing? She loves cooking, so she basically gets money for her hobby and still she is able to work her full time regular job. isn’t it a win-win situation?

Create an online content

This one has been presented as a last thing, just because you probably can’t count on instant income. I can’t say for myself, as I’ve never considered this blog as a source of income of any kind (and probably I will not turn it into it), but recently I’ve decided to build my own community and hopefully turn my actions on my new blog into a business.

But of course, not only the blog is an option. You could try to become a youtuber, podcaster, Instagram influencer and many many more. However, this one I can’t say for myself yet. I could only ask you for keeping your fingers crossed and let’s hope my plan will work some day.

And this is it for today’s post. I hope you enjoyed it. I wish you a very productive day and I’ll see you in my next post.

Daria

10 ways to motivate yourself

Hi guys,

Today I would like to talk to you about some ways to motivate yourself and keep your motivation level throughout your day. Just imagine, being able to get a lot of things done. Each and every day. Seeing your to-do list getting smaller. So today, I am going to share with you some ways, how to stay motivated.

Here are 10 tips:

Keep switching types of your tasks

This is especially useful, if some of your tasks require you to sit in one place for some period of time, while the other need you to move.

Let’s say that in any given day you have to wash the dishes, write a report and do grocery shopping. In your analysis you estimated that writing a report is going to take you 4 hours. So you could start writing it first, after 2 hours take a break to wash the dishes and return to writing after that. As report is done, you can go to do your shopping. In this case, household tasks are becoming a break in your big task which is the report.

It is a lot easier to maintain motivation, if you will keep switching between task, where you sit and these requiring you being active, these outdoor with these indoor ones. This way each task will be sort of break after the previous one you’ve just accomplished.

Make starting your tasks as easy as you can

This one has changed my day a lot. If you are anything like me, you know (even better than you should) this feeling, when you feel so ready to take this run which you have planed the day before. You get out of bed, have a glass of water, light breakfast and of you go! Well, almost. Where are your running clothes? Ok, it will take just a while to find them in your wardrobe. Ok, now you are ready, you can go. Where did you leave your shoes last time? Quick search and you got them on your feet. This time, for sure you are ready, aren’t you? But it would be nice to have something to listen to. But what? You are creating running playlist very quick and when you are checking the time you realise that you wasted two hours already and you should have started writing this report for work an hour ago.

You decide that you are going to skip running today and go tomorrow instead. Now you really need to do your report. But where are your notes you’ve taken during the last meeting?

You know the circle. Before you even start, you will realise that you should be already working on next task and this way nothing really gets done.

Getting everything ready in place beforehand, will make you more likely to actually work as soon as you’ll ‘force’ yourself to ๐Ÿ˜‰ And this is how you are being productive instead of just being busy.

Remove distractions

This one you can probably see in each and every article or blog post about productivity. Well, probably for some reason. Getting distracted during your work, has similar result to the one from previous point.

Let’s imagine following situation. You planned to write your report. You made your tea, all your notes are waiting on your desk, so is your computer with text editor opened on the screen. Happy to start, you are sitting in front of the screen, you almost typed your title when… “ding!” – you just got notified on your phone that your sister updated her status on her social media profile. You are checking it. It will take maximum two minutes. She posted that some movie she has just seen, was amazing. Yeah, you wanted to see this movie. Ok, you’ll book tickets after your report. Well, but what if you’ll forget. Better to do this now, and work on your report right after. You go on cinema’s website, choose movie, time and place, pay and it is done. “Ding!” quick look and it is just message confirming your reservation. But wait, there is another message from your friend. Maybe something happened? It will be wise to actually check it. Uff, she is just asking how are you. Yeah, but you opened it, better to answer, otherwise you’ll forget and she’ll be upset. ‘I am ok. Just writing report for work. And you?’ You put your phone on desk, start typing your report. Ok, title page is done. “Ding!” Your friend just answered. She is fine too and would like to go for a walk with you this evening. You answer that it is ok, just when you finish your report, shouldn’t be late. You check the time and you realise that you just wasted half an hour. Better leave it today, and get ready for a walk. You’ll write your report when you’ll be back or even tomorrow. It doesn’t go well any way.

I think all of us have been there. It is not a secret that we spend much more time looking at our smartphones screens. We subconsciously are only waiting for this “Ding!” sound whatever we are doing. And don’t get me wrong, I am exactly the same. But since some time I’ve just decided, that when I intend to do some job, I swith off all sounds in my phone (vibration too) and put my phone out of my sight. And I am sorting all ‘important’ notification right after my task is done. This way, my task actually are getting done ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a vision board

This is kind of tricky, because as a first step you have to actually make one ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just another task to complete. Ok, but before we start – what vision board is? It is a board, piece of paper or even file with your goals visualised. You can print pictures of your dreamed home, piles of money, exotic places or just smiling face of your child being happy after receiving his dreamed gift. Whatever the reason why you continue doing what you are doing, will work. And now, each time when your brain is trying to think about everything but your task, have a quick look at all this reason and go back to work. Just make sure that it will not become another distraction!

Plan realistically

Here is another one worth it to be mentioned. Having huge to do list full of tasks would probably make you feel proud, but only if you tick at least most of these boxes. If you you accomplish just few of thousands, it will just feel like a tear in a sea.

Just for your mental health, make sure that amount of tasks is equivalent to time you have. Otherwise you’ll be constantly disappointed with yourself and all your motivation will disappear as soon as it came (or maybe quicker, as you probably read this post because of lack of motivation).

Remember though, that if you’ll put less on your to do list, there will be still space on your list. If you’ll accomplish all of your tasks before next morning ๐Ÿ˜‰ you can always add a couple more. After all, it is better to do extra, than not do enough.

Have regular breaks

This is something you’ve probably heard millions of time, too. But here is the truth, we are not robots, we can’t just connect ourself to charger and we’ll be fine. We actually need some rest. Sleep, walk, meet people and eat. Simple as that. Not taking breaks might work for couple of days. If you are super human, maybe couple of weeks. But eventually, you are going to burn out.

So whenever you feel tired (but tired, not feeling like watching an episode of your favourite serial), take break, have a lunch or dinner with your friends, visit your grandma. Anything! Just forget about work for a while and relax.

Look at your obstacles as if they were an exam

Before I’ll explain, let’s establish something. In our life we have tasks and TASKS. Some of them are as easy as washing the dishes, where there are just two cups in the sink, but the other seem impossible to even start. And even if you will start you will soon realise, that you have no idea how to move forward with this thing. You are in very dead point where nothing seem to work.

And I am not talking now about overfilling chairs with clothes to iron in my spare room, because last three days were a laundry days after my washing machine arrived finally ๐Ÿ˜‰ this is thrilling, but you can do this. I am talking here about this project, which doesn’t want to give right results, this exam where you study honestly focused, but can’t understand even a small bit, this app which keeps crushing every time you want to compile it.

These kind of TASKS are the ONLY, when you can intentionally procrastinate. Just step back, work on anything else, take a break and don’t come back to it until the very next day. Remember, that hard things are your life exams. How do you deal with them, are you going to give up? This is what matters and this will determine, if you will succeed or not.

So try and push through hard things. Wait for some inspiration, if you need to or even ask for help. It’s not a shame to ask. This task might be your final exam. You will get an A by solving your problem and your dreams will become the truth, or you’ll see F by just giving up. It is your choice of course, but I think first option is more attractive.

Keep your environment clean

Did you hear the stories about students who clean the entire home like never before during exam period? Well, there is something right about this. When we have some task, which seems hard for us, we tend to look for anything easier to do. This way we still are ‘productive’, but we don’t really get important things done.

Keeping your environment relatively clean (it doesn’t have to be a sterile place) will reduce this kind of distraction. It will be harder for your brain to find an excuse not to focus on your task and as a result, you’ll be more likely to at lest make some progress in your work.

Schedule your time, not tasks

This isn’t always possible. I’ve started testing it before I had my son. And I’ve worked in this system for about two weeks. But let me explain the idea. Instead of having tasks like: finish my project you would have something like I’ll work on my project for one hour. You could also time when exactly you are going to start particular task. This way, no matter how far you did get while working, you are stopping your work as soon as your alarm starts ringing.

It worked quite well. However, I am aware this method isn’t for every one. As I mentioned, I stopped using it when my son was born, as I am not able to predict how long he is going to sleep each day. And there are some tasks I simply can’t work on, while looking after him. It probably wouldn’t work, if you have tons of deadlines the very next day. But if you are able, try this way. It has a great potential.

Make habit of getting your stuff done

This last one will not be helpful right away, as it requires a lot of time to establish. But if you will create a habits of working, if you will let accomplishing your tasks become part of your routine, you will not have to struggle each time to get yourself into doing something. It will be as natural as having your coffee or other beverage in the morning.

That’s all tips I have to share with you today. I am constantly testing new solutions so I might write continuation of this post in the future. I hope you’ll find my tips useful. If you have any other advises, feel free to share it in the comment section below.

For now I wish you a very productive day and I’ll see you in my next post.

Daria

Living in a world of high expectation

Hi guys,

Today’s post will be a bit different than the usual ones. I won’t share any tips, any deep thoughts. But I will complain a bit instead. It is going to be kind of weird, as the only thing I can complain about is myself. So let me introduce the story.

As probably most of the world does, you might be forced to self isolate yourself. This is our reality, we are trying to fight the pandemic which flooded the entire world in just couple of months. It might have sounded amazing on the beginning (I mean staying at home, not pandemic itself). You know, this time you are going to spend with your family, this projects you’ve never had time before to work on or just simple sitting on the couch and watching tv. Now you were about to take some time off or start working from home and who said you can’t watch tv while working?

Everything sounds perfect (except all the bad things happening outside, especially growing numbers of new cases and people who actually didn’t make it, but this is a different topic). But after some time, you might have realised, that nothing changed. You got this extra hours (even if you are still working from home, you don’t waste any time for commuting), but nothing changed at all. There is still no time to start this project, watching tv isn’t as relaxing as it sounded before and you might have even started to miss your work place.

If you have been reading my posts for a while, you might have noticed that I have never enough time. That my to do list is getting bigger and bigger, just because I keep adding to it without getting anything or just a bit done. I am getting too tired to do anything after working a night shift. I am trying to spend as much time with my son as I possibly can. But still my other things are being left behind.

My company used to be closed for over six weeks. I had tons of spare time. But my to do list have reached a world record for the biggest amount of task on it. I just couldn’t set myself to work.

Today I’ve started wondering, what’s happened? What am I doing with all this time given to me for free? And finally, why do I feel so tired, when I do almost nothing?

And I came to some conclusions. Or more likely I can see some possible options. But the most likely one is I can’t force myself to do anything, if I don’t have any expectations set upon me.

Normally, we live in a world where there are expectations regarding all aspects of our life you could possibly think of. What kind of worker you are, how does your household look like, what kind of a husband/wife, child, parent you are? These are just some of the aspects and no matter what you do, there will be someone who will try to prove that you are doing it wrong.

There are also different kind of expectations, which are even harder to live with. The ones which you set yourself. These are more harder, as every time if you’ll do “not well enough”, you’ll not have to wait for anyone to point it. This person will be already there. Just because it will be this part of you, which is never happy with your work. This voice in your head saying that you should have spent more time and your results would be much, much better.

So let me talk about these last expectations for a while. Before my son was born, I planned to keep my home spotless, so he can grow in the best environment I can provide for him at the time. And although my home is never a complete mess, it isn’t spotless either. There are the days, where there is sink full of pilling up dishes, clothes to wash already doubling size of my washing basket. There are a days, when I can’t get myself to iron (you would probably get scared after visiting spare room in my home). Or when the trash bin is asking me to take it out.

The image of me having a baby made me feel like I have to find a good night shift job, so we can provide for our son’s decent life. I was sure I will manage it easily. I was sure I will be a bit tired, but will manage it till my son will go to the school or till I will manage to figure out getting some kind of business going on from my home (which I haven’t even started to think about so far). I was sure and I was wrong at the same time.

Although it was obvious, I haven’t realised that as my son will be born, things won’t change for better. Of course, my son is the best person coming to my life, but he is also the most demanding one. Since he was born, I forgot what does spare time mean. I have no idea what detailed planning is, as the best I am able to do now is to have plans like: “during his nap time, I will…” or “while he plays with his toys, I will…” There isn’t any particular time. All my life has been sacrificed for this little human being (well, sacrificed isn’t the best word, but he became my reason to do everything I am doing, no matter how hard it gets). But this is not the problem itself. As I said, my son is the brightest sunshine in my life, I wouldn’t change this for anything else. There is only one problem. Expectations. Expectations set by other people, which I can always ignore (although, not always I can manage it quickly). Expectations set by my son, regarding our routine (which I am glad to have). And finally, the hardest ones, expectations set by myself.

Since I have realised that, I’ve decided to stop expect anything from myself. I can’t do anything about other people’s expectations, but I can stop myself from doing it. I will still make my plans and to do lists, but I’m going to look at them like they were some kind of guide, not my duty.

There will be sink full of dishes left overnight? That’s fine. Never ending pile of ironing? Amazing! Well, not so amazing, as eventually I will have to do them, but still ok. But what is more important, I will not let to define myself by the amount of chores I am doing each day or amount of tasks I am getting ticked out of my to do list. How is it going to go? I will definitely share it with you after some time, as I see any change (either for better or for worse).

But for now I am going to end this post. I hope you enjoyed reading it and if you have any thoughts or advises regarding expectations, you are very welcome to share them in the comment section. For now, I wish you a very productive day (without any expectations, though) and I’ll see you in my next post.

Daria

How to work at home and don’t get insane – 10 tips

Hi guys,

Today is a kind of delayed post. Everything what’s going on at the moment all around the world can be very depressing. A lot of us are in self-quarantine, trying to stay sane. Some of us are supposed to work from their home, very often juggling their private life like looking after children, home and all this everyday’s things we used to do after we returned from work.

I won’t lie, this situation got on me a bit. After spending couple of weeks at home, while my employer was working to provide save environment for us to work, we returned to our workplace, having huge amount of work. By the time we got used to, we found out that company is closing and successively there will be stuff reduction going on. Also not being able to meet our friends and family is harsh too.

However, for all of us life is still going on. Being advised (or even forced) to stay at home, we have tree options I can think of. First, is to break the rules and put yourself and possibly many others into the risk. Second, is to stay at home and cry over your situation (I have to admit, I was doing so for the last weeks, since my company closed – not literally crying, of couese). Or third, which seems the most sensible to me at the moment, is to try and make the best of the time we have at home.

The last option has a lot of advantages too. Let’s try and think about our life, before all this started. In my case, it was constant running. Juggling working full-time job, looking after my son and trying to keep my home relatively clean. Just a bit of sleeping and the whole circle kept starting all over again. There were a lot of projects I wanted to work on (I did actually, but not as much as I would like to), if I only had more time. And guess what? Now most of us have a lot of free time! And a lot of us need something to take our minds off of the situation in the world. So why not to use this time to do as many things from our when-I’ll-have-time to do list? And before you’ll say anything, just admit to yourself that even if your list is not written anywhere, it does exist in your mind. Whether you wanted to learn something new, start your business, write a book, make your own game… When will be better time for it? As soon as world will return to norm, even on your days of from work you’ll have a lot of errands to run, friends to meet, appointments to attend… Most likely you don’t have any of this now. And even, if you have somewhere to go, there is much less places you have to be, and more time to use for all the things on your list.

So after such a long introduction, let me get into 10 tips on working at home. All of them are a result of my research, millions of YouTube videos I’ve watched and tons of blog post I’ve read. I think I could easily write a post with many more tips than 10, but I’ve decided to include just those, which I implemented myself and had worked foe me. Please keep in mind that not necessary all of them are going to work for you too. Let’s get right into the tips:

1. Get up early

I know, it seems weird. You don’t have to go anywhere, no more rushing to work or school and still you need to get up early? Ok, let me explain, what I mean by early. So ideally, it would be similar time, as you would normally. So let’s say you get up at 7 to get to work at 8? Try to put your alarm at 8 instead. You’ll get an extra hour of sleep and at the same time, you won’t sleep the entire day. But key word in this tip is to get up early, not just wake up. I find it difficult to roll out of my bed as soon as I wake up. I would be able to stay there even, if I no longer asleep. Getting up and making your bed as soon as your are out of it, will set you into productive day. The other advantage of this tip is that when it will be all over, it will be easier for you to adjust to the old routine, when you will finally return to work.

2. Stick to your old routine

Try to remind yourself, what were you doing when you used to leave to work every morning. Probably you showered, eaten some breakfast, or simply got dressed. What ever it was, you should keep doing it. It can bring a lot of benefits not only for the time when you are staying at home, but also for when you are returning to work. You will have less trouble adjusting, when the long waited time is going to come and there will be no sing of virus left. On the other hand, now you will feel more productive, just because your brain will feel, that everything seems to be normal, no changes.

3. Set up your office

This might be easy for those of you, who have a spare room at home as it can become your temporary office. You could even leave it as an office for good, if you only wish. But, if you are like me, where there isn’t any spare place or room, try and designate just small office area. In my case it is a small table I ordered recently and I did put it my living room. I can easily fold it, if I need some extra space to play with my son, but anytime I need it, I have my office corner in no time. The only thing you try to avoid is to work from your bed (if there is no other choice, because you rent a box room for example, bed should do, but it will make it a bit harder, as it will be very tempting to just take a nap insead of doing a job).

Having this designated space, will help you to set your mind into the working mode. As you will be physically commuting into the work place. You would also have some space, where your work stuff like computer or folders could wait to be used, without the necessity of looking for them each time when you want to work.

4. Get your kids entertained

This point requires you to be creative too. Everything depends here on your children’s age. My son is 13 months now, so I work when he has his nap or when he is surrounded with his toys and I know that as long as I’ll stay in same room, he will take at least an hour to go through all of them and get bored. I started implementing these techniques since one week (as I said, all this got me a bit depressed) and on last Friday we got a message that we are returning to work (I am considered a key worker, as bakery provides food). So tonight will be my third night at work, and this first two days still went pretty well. To get a bit more time I extended my son’s screen time from 30 minutes a day to 1 hour a day (not at one time of course) and I am using early mornings to have a bit of a sleep, and similar my son’s nap time became my nap time too.

5. Keep your home clean.

This might seem obvious, but at the same time it is so tempting to skip dusting couple of times in a row. Especially, if you are pretty much sure that there will be no unexpected visit of your friends or family. However, it is very important, that you keep your home relatively clean at least. It will keep you motivated, as who does not know this feeling that you have to clean now, even of you have so much work to do?

6. Prepare your action plan the day before.

This is the important one too. I am not sure if there is any worse thing to do than sit, ready to work. Believing that you are going to do so much, but… as you sit you realise that you have no idea what to do. This is another one known probably by most of us. But what an action plan really is? If we have our to-do list we should be fine, shouldn’t we? Well, not always. There might be days, when you sit at your desk (or wherever you have to accomplish your task) and you start thinking: ‘Where is my notebook? I need it to start..’ And you are getting up to pick it up from the shelf on the other side of the room. Back by the desk and wondering where did you leave your favourite pen, after laptop, you have no charger, this and that…

You were ready to start your work long time ago, but you already wasted so much time and effort that you actually got a bit hungry. Some snack will definitively set you up for work. Yeah, but these salty crisps, you’ve just eaten, made you a bit thirsty…

I think you know where it all is going. Preparing an action plan is to going through your to-do list and making all tasks on it as easy to start as possible. You could prepare some stacks of things, you will need to accomplish all of the things from your list and after just grabbing them as your tasks are being completed. This way, you reduce some of the excuses to not to start actual work.

7. Take breaks as you would in a regular job.

This is something what a lot of us keep forgetting. When you’ll finally manage to start your work, it might make you lose sense of time. However, as longer you work without break, as less efficient you’ll become. It is even more important, if your work includes sitting by the desk by the screen. It is very important to give some break to your eyes and to stretch your muscles.

Nowadays, there are a lot of tools which can be very helpful in this case. You can download any of the pomodoro apps, where you can set up for how long you intend to work and how long you want your break to be. Your phone will let you know with the alarm, when it is time to stop work or to return to it.

8. Write reasons why are you doing this and hang it in visible place.

To be honest, this one seemed a bit useless to me at first. Why shall I waste my time for writing things I already know? But if you’ll look at this realistically, there will be many tasks which will seem a bit overwhelming. Or you’ll just get stuck in so called dead point, where you just can’t carry on, because you have no idea how to solve the problem you came across. All this might make you give up and keep procrastinating again. If you’ll have all the reasons why do you want to complete particular tasks, you will be more likely to stay motivated and continue.

9. Spare one day a week to precook for the next days.

This saved my life a lot. I used to thing about type of meal I want to cook since the time I woke up. Even when I was doing other things, my mind kept going away to this topic. Having some prepared meals in your freezer or fridge (depends on for how many days you prepared your food) will take your mind off of this topic and help you focus on the things you have to do.

10. Have any kind of physical activity every day.

This advice is very important especially for people, who’s work does not require them to work. Having some physical activity, especially in the morning will give you great kick of energy for the day (I know it seems impossible, as exercising makes you tired, but since I’ve started doing at least mild exercise like going for a walk with my son, made me a lot more productive).

This way we went through all of ten tips. I hope they will be useful for you and help you achieve your goals and get on the top of your to do list as soon as it is possible.

That’s everything what I’ve prepared for today’s post, I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any other advises or tips on working from home, you are very welcome to share it in the comment section below.

For now I wish you very productive day and I’ll see you in my next post.

Daria

Planning’s traps

Hi guys,

Today I would like to talk about quite important thing to me. As you might have realised already, I plan my year, month, week and each day. I keep my bullet journal for that purpose. And although I admire my system, I can see some potential traps connected to it too. I have fallen into most of them myself, some stopped me from getting my things done at all for a while. So I’ve decided to share all of them with you in this post.

Just before I’ll start, I would like to note that all this isn’t to scare you, but to make you aware, so if you’ll become a victim of any of them, hopefully you’ll take an action as soon as possible.

Let’s move into the traps:

Overloading your TO DO lists

This is quite common. You’ve probably heard about it millions times already. But this is a big one. We tend to overestimate how long each task is going to take us. This is going to happen quite often, especially when you are just starting your adventure with planning and scheduling. However, even if you are a pro, master of planning and creating your schedules, there might be a time, when something out of your control will cross your plan. Let’s say you need an internet connection to complete most of your tasks and during the most busy day, you won’t be able to connect. Or there will be some other emergency, like broken pipe or anything else. You might find yourself in the situation, when at the end of the day you look at your TO DO list and there is nothing to be ticked.

I am usually very disappointed and unmotivated. I completely lose any will to carry on for a couple of days. Especially, if tasks from the previous days have to be done any way and adding them to the next day, where everything seems to be packed up and ends up carried on to the next day, where there are again tons of things to do… I think you get the point. It might get you on the loop, where each iteration leaves you with more and more to do every next day.

If you want to avoid it, you can do one of the two things. First is to simply plan as much, as you can handle each day, with leaving some time for emergencies. But if it is not possible for some reason, you might try to assign one day a week (or month), when you are not planning anything. Just keep getting any pending tasks, to clear your TO DO list before the next planning session. This way you’ll create an escape from loop mentioned before.

Forgetting to update your plan

If you are anything like me, you might find yourself in the situation, when new things keep coming up at any time of the day. I tend to forget to put it into my schedule and… simply forget about it after less than 10 minutes. Although, it doesn’t sound like very serious thing, you might realise that you work very hard, but there are a lot of things just dropping out of your hands.

Solution to that is very simple and a hard at the same time. You just have to make an habit of adding all this incoming tasks into your plan right away. It is so easy, but everyone who tried to make a new habit will tell you, how hard job it is.

Not achieving your goals

All plans should lead to some bigger goal. However, sometimes you might work a lot on something and not be able to see any results. This might leave you very disappointed. Seeing all the time you’ve spend, might make you think that there is no point. Only thing you need to remember is that some stuff are just taking more time than the other. But if you’ll still think that you’ve just wasted your time, it might be a sign that either the way you’re working is wrong, or the entire goal is just not for you. This might be analysed and you should be given an answer.

These are all traps I wanted to share with you today. I hope they were helpful. I wish you a very productive day and I’ll see you in my next post.

Daria

Designing your dream life

Hi guys,

Today I would like to talk about something what is very important, yet mostly forgotten. I want to talk about dream life. All of us have some idea, how they would their life to look like. What they would like to do for a living, or not to have to work any more and have time for their passion.

Personally, I wish that one day I will own my property, not to be forced to move as often as I do now. I want to have a passive income on such level which allows me to pay all property related things and live decently.

Although, these seem like financial goals, they are just my way to achieve an alternative goal, which is to be able to spend as much time with my family as I want. I want to be able to visit my mum in Poland without begging for holiday first.

All this stuff require me to build my passive income such a way, that I will be able to receive a bit more money each month, than my regular spending. This would give me an opportunity to live my life with enough time for things that really matter: family and memories for my family.

This is my dream life and I am sure that most (if not all) of us would like to be in a place which is different than the current one. Maybe it is being a debt free, or being able to travel freely. Maybe just like me you want to simply have time for your family, without facing the fear of losing roof over your head.

Whatever it is, you might be in a place where I used to be. Thinking that it is what it is and you have to take it. That there is no point to try, as it isn’t going to change anyway.

Well, I have a good and a bad news for you. All in one. Let me quote:

Whether you think you can, orย you think you can’t โ€“ย you’re right

Henry Ford

You have much more control over your life and, what’s more important, over your mindset. You can sit and keep taking everything as it is (and it is completely fine, if you chose so) or you can become more proactive and start changing your life bit by bit.

Let me be honest, before I’ll share my tips to design a dream life. Not everything is going to work plus it might turn out that your dream life isn’t as dreamed as you might think now. At the same time, it is important not to give up. Otherwise how are you going to judge, if you’ll never get there? And what is very important, the journey is what matters.

But let’s get to my tips (or steps) of designing a dream life:

Step 1: Analyse

This should be done even before you start thinking about designing your dream life, it might be a good idea to analyse your current situation. My way to do it is to write all this things that I like in my life on the one site of a paper and everything what I want to change on the other site. You can include everything, what you want. In my case some of the good things will be my family, the fact that we can afford to pay for roof over our head, that we have food on our plates, etc. Small things that I like, let me see, that my life is not a nightmare. Thinks I would change, is to move to our own property, to have a passive income, to spend more time with my son, etc.

As soon as I have these two list, I start asking “why” questions to things to change. For example, why do I want to move to our own property? Because I don’t want to keep moving. Why don’t you want to keep moving? I don’t want to have my son to change his school because of that. Why? It would take a sense of belonging out from his life. Why? Because his surrounding would be changing all the time?

As answers start being about one thing, or I simply don’t have any more of them I move to the next one. And all this till I’ll get definite answers for all of the things on this list.

That time I am going back to the other list and check if there are answers connected to things from it. As more I have, as more sure I am to be on the right path. And then, I move to the next step.

Step 2: Action plan and action itself

This is where all the hard work starts. You just need to pick up one of the things from your things to change list and write as many options or ways to change it as you could. But don’t get caught in a ‘there is no way to change it’ mindset. Let’s say you have picked to have a passive income one. You could create a digital product, you could write a book, or invest. For simplicity we have these three options only (in your it is good to include more in your action plan). You can go through everything you came up with and pick one of them again. If you’d have an cash laying around (except your emergency funds), you could chose investments, but there might be some risks connected to it. And let’s be honest, probably not many of us have money to invest. So you might decide to write a book. Think what your book could be about. Will it be a fiction, or non fiction book? Prepare an outline and start working on it in your spare time.

And here there are two things that can happen when you finish: you’ll either succeed or fail. In the first scenario, you need to decide whether you are happy with level of income you are getting? Will it decrease over a time? Are you fine with that? If no (or you failed), pick another option ( like creating your digital product) and start all over again. Just remember to learn from mistakes you could have made on your way. If yes, pick another thing from things to change list and repeat step 2.

All this might seem easy, but it is hard in fact. Changes are rarely happening within a days or even weeks. They are more likely to take a lot of time. But this is what it takes. Hard work, to get where you want to be or at least as close to that place as possible.

That’s all for today’s post. I would like to hear from you, what changes would you like to do in your life? Or maybe you are already living your dream life? Share it in a comment section below. I’ll be happy to read it.

For now I wish you a very productive day and I’ll see you in my next post.

Daria

How do I plan?

Hi guys,
Today I would like to explain how do I plan. Probably all of us have so many things going on. I keep finding myself in situations, when I have so many things to do, so I have no idea where shall I start. Everything seems to be urgent, all the time household chores are pilling up (especially clothes to wash and iron; add to this a sink full of dirty dishes – where are they coming from? – and you could possibly spend all day doing just this).
To try to stay on top of all my things, never ending to-do lists and new things to do continuously coming up, I needed a great planning system. As you might have read in one of my old posts, I am using a bullet journal. I used to use nozbe, which worked great for me, but unfortunately, I kept forgetting to charge my phone and there were a moments, when I needed to write very important event or appointment and my phone just died.
So I came back to using a bullet journal again. If you haven’t heard about bullet journal before, it is a customizable planner (basically notebook, where you can include any spread you can think of – but you are setting it up by yourself), which allows you to assign how much space for each month, week, day as you need. There is an original system designed by Carroll Ryder (you can watch how it works by clicking on creator’s name).
I use my bullet journal slightly different, because I found out that I can get more things done when I plan it in kind of funnel way. So let me explain three stages of my planning.
First stage: long term planning
I make long term goals approx. everyย  9 to 6 months. In this stage I include all goals, projects, appointments, etc. which are going to happen any time from now to up to 12 months. I simply create a future log (you can see it in almost every bullet journal set up video). It allows me to write all deadlines, events, appointments, which are meant to happen later in the future. I also include my long term goals, divided into smaller steps (it will be helpful in my next stage). And having all this written down, I don’t have to worry about them at the moment and I am ready to move to my next stage.
Second stage: monthly planning
As you can tell by the name, this planning happens every month. That time I have a calendar for that month, where I add all events and deadlines from my future log plus anything what comes up mean while. I also make use of my goals divided into steps in the previous stage, as I am including these steps as a goals in my monthly goals spread. I also divide them for smaller steps to make it easier to work on them during the month (just small tasks I can handle during one working session). At this point, I have my weekly spreads already set, so I assign each of these steps into a particular week. This allows me to visualise how much stuff I am able to achieve each month and see what will be left in any given project.
Third stage: weekly/daily planning
This is the last stage of my planning. At the end of the week, I assign tasks for each day in the following week. After that, every day I revise what have been done, keep adding any tasks which could appear mean time. Any task which wasn’t done at planned day is being migrated to the next day or if there are a lot of tasks waiting to be done, for any other loose day.
Also, there are a lot of other stuff, which I include in my bullet journal, like finance tracker, budget planner, savings log, sleep tracker, mood tracker, etc. All this is giving me great insight into my life and helps me to implement any adjustments, whenever I notice that something doesn’t go well.
This is all for today’s post. If you have your way of planning, I will be glad to read it in a comment section. For now I wish you a very productive day and I’ll see you in my next post.
Daria