5 tips to increase your productivity

  1. Clean house, clean mind

I believe that a clean and well organised house can give you not only more living space but space to think and be creative. Whether that is literally or figuratively speaking. For example, I swear by making the bed each morning, because it gives me a sense of peace. It marks the start of the day and it marks the end, when I get to dive into the cozy sheets of the neatly made bed. It’s only one of the examples of how a visual manifestation of neatness eases the mind. Trust me, it works. If you are not thinking about not having made the bed or some other household task, you will have room to think about something else, something more productive.

2. Breathe

Whether it’s a breakfast with a cup of tea or with a 5 minute meditation session (Calm is a really good app for this) on the train or during break at work, it’s important to breathe… It sounds straightforward, but it’s easier to forget than you’d think and it has a great influence on lots of other things, like your productivity.

3. Take a break

We all know the importance of a break to increase productivity, whether it’s from studying or work, but I’m mentioning it anyways to stress the importance of actually taking a break during your break. Not just for food, not just by being on your phone for a couple of minutes. Talk to someone, go for lunch with someone that isn’t from work, read a book, take a walk, do some sports, listen to some music,… the options are endless. Sometimes it’s better to take 5 minutes extra and get going afterwards than to stay at your desk and do half of what you could’ve done. Simple, right?

4. Get the overview

As a professional list-maker and organisation enthusiast, this one is easy for me. I like the colour-coding, the to do lists, the post-it notes and ticking off boxes. It’s doesn’t have to be that complicated though, just jotting down your thoughts can be a simple way to get some perspective. It’s easier to discern priorities if they’re put to paper and not floating around in your brain somewhere.

5. Make it fun

Whether it’s a grumpy cat notebook or photos from your family on your desk, it’s important to make the space you work in feel a little bit homey. You’ll be a lot more creative if you actually enjoy your working space.

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Alle tijd is kostbaar

De regen tikt op de ruit, terwijl ik knus en gezellig binnen zit. Warm. Huiselijk. Tussen mij en het glas zit een wereld van verschil. Ik zie de mensen voorbij wandelen. Sommigen gehaast om de regen te ontwijken en hun kapsel niet in de war te brengen. Anderen kan het niets schelen, een attitude die ik wel kan hebben. Een bliksemschicht voert mij naar een andere realiteit. Twee verdiepingen hoger zit een oud vrouwtje op dezelfde plek als ik naar buiten te kijken. Ze ziet dezelfde mensen ook. Zijzelf  is niet gehaast, ze heeft tijd, iets waar ik soms zo ademloos naar snak. En toch, ik benijd haar niet. Ik bedenk dan dat ik nog uren, dagen, ja-ren tijd heb. De mevrouw van het derde waarschijnlijk niet.

Soms troost ik mij aan de gedachte dat zij nu ook ziet wat ik zie. De mensen op straat, de regendruppels, het haasten, het leven van anderen. Ik stel me voor dat zij dan een nipje van haar theetje neemt. Dat ze het ook warm heeft, en knus en gezellig in een zeteltje voor haar venster zit. Dat ze wijselijk glimlacht om de onwetendheid en naïviteit van ieder die jonger is dan zijzelf. Dat ze zucht, niet van opluchting of vermoeidheid of ergernis, maar van geluk. Zij heeft het allemaal gezien, gedaan, beleef, geleefd. In mijn verbeelding knipoog ik naar haar. Alsof we een soort van geheime verbintenis hebben. Zij weet het.

We nippen gelijktijding aan onze tas thee. Nu, nu delen we tijd.

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The Art of Choosing

“Choosing is losing.” It’s what I always presumed to be the truth. A truth that seemed to be reaffirmed by the fast-track society we live in nowadays. We are confronted with decision-making daily, all in order to achieve a richer life, where “more” equals “better”. From the clothes we wear tot he things we eat and the programs we decide to watch on TV, choosing has become an identity determining full-time job. And as if this decision-making isn’t arduous enough, society expects us to do it fast. There is no room for doubt or reconsideration; we’d have to decide yesterday rather than today. This leaves us bewildered as to whether there are still choices to make at all. Really, hasn’t the decision been made for us?

Careful consideration has become an ancient concept that people no longer choose to apply. Society expects us to know precisely what we want and who we would like to become, yet many of us are left behind, clueless. There is no time to be unsure or cautious because time is money. If we don’t make up our mind soon enough, we are left behind, doomed to become the outcasts of our society and communities.

Don’t get me wrong, having choice is a luxury, but when both ends of the choosing feel like losing, with FOMO chasing us down every path we choose to take, it often doesn’t feel like it. So, society tells us: choosing is losing. I used to be the person afraid to miss out everywhere. I’d want to be at different places at the same time. I’d want to meet different people at the same time. All this to the point where I’d be unhappy either way.

What I’ve realised is that it is not, though. When fruit famers grow fruit, they choose which branches to keep and let go of other pieces in order to maintain the quality of those that they chose to keep. To choose one thing and lose another means knowing what you want. It’s choosing quality over quantity. It’s choosing time over money. It’s choosing happiness over resurfacing doubt. Sometimes saying no to someone means saying yes to yourself. So choosing isn’t losing, it’s winning.

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