8 Tips on How to Improve Your Efficiency

We all have our dreams, some of us have even ideas or even better, plans on how to achieve them. And for some people, it simply seems like the most basic and easy thing to do. Sometimes though, after we are done with the mundane responsibilities of everyday life, we don’t have enough energy or time left to dedicate it to activities which bring us personally joy, satisfaction and a feeling of self-realization.

Thanks to the long-term home-office I can so far enjoy, I had the opportunity to experiment a little bit and find out how to deal with the never ending and nerve wrecking exhaustion which I had to fight with during the everyday time race of pre-corona days. And I learned many useful things which I’d like to share with you right now!

First of all, I have to admit that under different circumstances, I would probably not try out several of those tips. I would lack time and energy for that and that means my will to try and stay with it would not be strong enough. Although working remotely from home can have it’s drawbacks (for others, I still haven’t found any), you definitely save unimaginable amount of time, which you can later invest into a proper rest in the first place and self-improving in the second. So I have to actually thank for this list of activities, which help me to get things done through out the day, to the extra time saved from commuting to Prague every single day.

I guess everyone of us is trying to find ways how to not feel so tired all the time, how to handle more and more throughout the day, and simply put, how to become those superwomen and supermen the modern society wants us to be. And so we try this here and that over there. What I realized in the last couple of days is that in order to succeed, it is essential to follow all those habits at once. Like, at the same time. All together.

Some of them might seem overwhelming at the beginning, as you’ll see, but you can jump onto those step by step. I know that everyone is different and things can work differently for each of us, but even if this list would help only to one person, I have to share it with you.

So, are you ready? 

1. Tall glass of water in the morning and water intake

It’s gonna be the first thing in the morning you’ll do. Maybe even before you manage to open your eyes properly. Our bodies are truly dehydrated after the whole night and a glass of fresh water in the morning will help you to start your blood circulation and get up from the bed easily.

Prepare a bottle or a glass of water to your bed area, right before you put yourself to sleep The closer, the better. This way, you can ensure to drink it indeed immediately, not with the “right after I got to the kitchen”, “right after I finish my coffee”, “right after I brush my teeth” nor even “right after I catch the bus” thoughts in your mind.

No, drink it as soon as you wake up. Every morning. And watch the miracles happened.

And of course, with starting the day as brightly as this, don’t forget to hydrate properly throughout the day as well!

2. Try to say NO to caffeine

I know, I know. Coffee means so much to all of us. It is a morning ritual, a means to wake up, a social contract, a reason to stretch out the legs on our way to the corporate kitchen and even a moment of tranquility when we can stop worrying. And the taste, the smell of it! I know. I like coffee, too.

But despite all of that, I have to say I stopped drinking coffee with a big excitement a I am never planing to go back to its seductive taste and smell. Never. Why? Sometimes, it’s just nice to realize than even though something is super nice and awesome on the surface, inside it can do more harm than good. And that was exactly my case with the coffee.

After I stopped drinking it two months ago, it was impossible to not notice the difference in how I feel in my body and I realized just how many problems I was dealing with was intensified or even directly caused by excessive intake of caffeine.

All of that despite the fact I would call myself a responsible drinker of coffee. I rarely drank more than two cups per a day and always tried to drink my later coffee in the early afternoon hours in order to prevent it to mess with my sleep regime. Nevertheless, all of my insomnia and impossibility to fall asleep was probably linked just to drinking coffee. And that was not all.

Same as any other person alive, even I had my ups and downs throughout my life and from many of those experiences I sustained scars and bruises which make me anxious and cause panic attacks even to this day. But after I stopped drinking coffee, I battle them noticeably less. Everyone who has ever suffered from those knows that this is priceless!

And the last but not least, after you will overcome your first week or two (depends on how big addict to caffeine you are), you will feel by far much more rested, energized and ready to deal with everything the day will bring to your plate.

This might seem like the hardest step from the whole list but I swear to you – it is really worth it!

3. Intermittent fasting

This is one of the latecomers I started with only a few days back but I can already feel the difference. Intermittent fasting means that you yourself will set up a time “window” during which you can eat whenever you want and for the rest of the day, you fast. The recommended times for the beginners and women are 10 hours of eating and 14 hours of fasting, however it is possible to get tough and eat in ratio 8 : 16. I know even those who eat only once per a day!

Since I am not as tough with myself as I would like to be, I chose the path of the least resistance and follow the regime 10 : 14. Because I’m rather night owl than a sparrow and still like to go to bed in late hours, I start with a breakfast at 10 AM and I have to manage to eat my dinner before 8 PM. I am used to having breakfast everyday right after I wake up, so waiting for the first meal is probably the least pleasant part. However, it is not as hard as anticipated. Considering I still work from home, it could be more difficult under the different circumstances.

And what are the results? I don’t crave junk food that much. It also eliminates night looting of pantry and generally, one eats less because there is just not enough of time to eat everything. I have more energy throughout the day and usually, I don’t get exhausted that easily. That means I can start writing even after work, which would have never been an option before.

4. Few minutes of dancing to feel woken up

As I already mentioned, I am a night owl. Waking up and getting out of the bed is probably the most painful thing in the whole day. No wonder that sometimes it is not without the effort to actually be in a good mood after such a torture. I personally feel like a purple minion from the Despicable Me 2 movie. Or at least I used, before I employed all of these tips.

So, how to deal with it? It’s super easy to read how important morning exercising is. What is not that easy though is a question: how to actually exercise, right? If you make yourself a breakfast in the morning, doing your make up, cleaning or doing whatever, you can play your favorite music and dance a little bit into its rhythm. Few minutes of dancing next to a kitchen units and the world is noticeably more colorful!

5. Waking up regularly at the same hour

This one is a habit still in progress. Yet I already know that in those days I manage to wake up between 7 to 8 AM, I manage to do more during the day and I am simply more satisfied with myself then on other days.

Many of the famous people did follow this rule as well: they used to wake up not only regularly but early as well. You simply get the feeling you made the best out of your day. It feels nice to tick off several of your tasks right before breakfast.

6. Meditation

I write about meditation a lot. People who have never tried it can’t probably understand it but those who has their experience with mindfulness and meditation, they know what I’m talking about.

It is one of the simplest method how to quickly (it can take you from only a few minutes of mindful breathing to several tens of minutes, depending on a program) and effectively (you feel the difference right away and it lasts) reduce stress and regain power to come back to solving the problems you need to solve. Or back to the dreams you wish to follow.

At the same time, meditation has never been as accessible as it is now. No matter if you go for a mindfulness app (I can recommend Calm, even just its free version can make miracles) or one of the countless guided meditations on YouTube, you are on the right path.

7. Eat healthier and mindfully. The same goes for alcohol

We know this already, you might say. Of course. But I am not a fan of tough diets and restrictions, I believe in the golden rule of moderation. One simply needs to listen and follow the needs and requirements of his or her own body.

It doesn’t matter if I talk about the almost comatose tiredness after I polish off the whole vegan burger with fries or about that night full of ciders and youthful neon colors of a city night life. It is good to take a lesson from how you feel after those adventures. It is pointless to forbid something to ourselves. It is just nice to sometimes decide to skip some of these foodies in order not to feel tired, wearily or useless afterwards.

8. No Facebook or news before you fall asleep (cause you won’t)

Many of the tips pointed out earlier will help you to find a better way to sleep. Same as this one. Maybe you don’t even follow any social media and you don’t really care about what is happening in the world. Good, you are the lucky one. But for me as a chronic insomniac was this an extremely dangerous habit.

Many of you surely know this story too: you can’t fall asleep, minutes are slowly running away and your eyes keep opening. So you tell yourself: “Sure. I can take a look on what is new on Facebook (Instagram, BBC News, anywhere). It can do no harm.” In the best case scenario, you’ll end up giving warm hearts on Instagram for hours, in the worst case scenario you will get upset or scared from reading the world news and commentary section right bellow them. As a result, you waste hours of your life usable for sleep (or something overall more constructive). And instead of putting you to sleep, this activity will only make you feel even more awake. You put your phone aside and start from the beginning.

If you have hard time falling asleep, there is several techniques you can try (right after you say NO to caffeine and sweets before bedtime). You can listen to an audio book or a story from your phone, Spotify, YouTube or the already mentioned Calm with its sleep time stories should do the trick. Another option is to play relaxing music or the ambient sounds of nature – as kids, we used to listen to the sounds of storm or the running river on a CD. Now I find sounds of the sea waves wearing down the shores the most relaxing. Meditation and deep breathing work awesome as well.

But my most favorite thing to do right before I fall asleep is imagination, making up my own stories. You can go anywhere, do whatever you want and meet whoever you desire. And while doing that, comfortably drift away.

What helps you the best with your efficiency? 🙂 Comment, like, share and see you soon again!

The Positive Diary #18 – All the useful stuff

16th April – For the most of us, the current pandemic means restraints of freedom. We can’t go out whenever and wherever we want, some of us has lost their jobs, others lost a connection to their coworkers in offices as they are forced to work from home office. We cannot go to trips we planned, to concerts we paid for. We don’t even dare to dream about the future because we don’t exactly know, how it will look like. The traps of our mind, fears and regrets, might feel eternal, real and hopeless. I know it is hard, especially for some of us.

But hey, we are living in a time of great freedom and endless possibilities thanks to new gadgets and, especially, the Internet. Just look around… Do you feel lonely? You can connect to Discord or Skype and spend hours on the call with your friends and family. Is it still not enough? You can play together, wander through the Elwynn Forest or under the open skies of Middle-earth, or if you know more games than me, you can wander everywhere. And be safe.

Would you like to see a movie? And Netflix is not enough anymore? Well, there is HBO, Prime and many other different platforms. You just have to choose and enjoy it. Is it not the same without the popcorn and trashy people in a cinema? You can always make an online order and your precious popcorn will arrive. And if you really need someone to talk during a movie you want to see, you can go back to the first paragraph and try to call some of your friends.

Do you feel melancholically? Why won’t you listen to some of your favorite music? It is not the same as when you are on the go and you listen to it while being active every day, but it can definitely bring you those memories back. And the feelings you have when you listen to your favorite music, these won’t go away. Also, while listening to it at home and in no rush, you might notice, discover new aspects of these songs. All of the options of how we can listen to and approach to music have their own benefits.

Or maybe, you feel down and overwhelmed. The world seems to be falling apart, and you have no control over it. Luckily, there is plenty of useful mindfulness apps and even free YouTube meditation lessons online. You can just comfortably sit or lay on the mat and let these short voice recordings to calm you down. Maybe, you are too skeptical about trying it, but trust me, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. If you can spare just ten minutes to give it a try, you will see for yourself.

Okay, maybe enough of fun. The TV shows are all the same, nothing can surprise you anymore and you feel empty and bored. Maybe it is a sign that you’ve had enough of fun and you are ready to work on your skills. I bet there is something, anything, you were hoping to learn for a long time now, but you never had the energy nor the time to give it a proper try. Well, guess what – this is the time we were all waiting for! If you belong to the lucky ones, who can work from home, keep their salaries, but still have an excessive amount of free time left, you can purchase some of the online lessons. I shared a subscription of MasterClass with my brother, but you can find whichever class or platform you like and get dedicated to fulfilling your dreams. There is many free “how to” and “DIY” videos on YouTube, you can try Patreon, Skillshare, whatever suits you better. Just go and give it a try.

Maybe the lessons are too much for you. Maybe all you wanted was time to practice your craft. Practice your writing, cooking, drawing, sewing, whichever skill you have and want to evolve. Because you have time to do it now.

The whole day sitting can also numb your senses, your will to enjoy the life. Luckily, you can always go to YouTube, Patreon or use any sport dedicated web or app to add a little more movement to your life. Yoga, pilates, dancing classes, shredding classes, whatever you prefer, it is there, just within a reach of you hand.

If you are tired of all those online activities, you can always grab a book you wanted to read for so long but never managed to merge entirely into it. Now you have the time. Jump into the story and let it to take you away. That is one of books’ magic purposes. They can also slow your overthinking patterns and calm you down, easily and naturally rock you to sleep.

 

I know times are hard and becoming even harder the longer they continue. I myself am having anxiety attacks when looking into future or just when I follow the news. It is overwhelming, even for a person who can easily work from home. But, as in other tough times and situations, I need to see the positive sides of this situation too. And when I look around, I see a lot. Despite the situation, internally, I have never been happier.

 

So now, just fix the outside world and we are done, right? Right.

 

Have a lovely day.

 

Yours,

 

Wicked and Clever

 

Šárka

 

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The Positive Diary #16 – Ability to step back

9th March 2020 – What am I grateful for today? I’m grateful for many many things, as usual. For my health, my job, my loving and caring boyfriend; for all those possibilities to grow through my past mistakes or just through experiences. There is so much to be grateful for. But what am I grateful today, what am I grateful specifically on this day?

Let’s talk about our ability to step back today.

As a person who is constantly overthinking everything, I find this ability very helpful. It is a feature I’ve been rediscovering for the last couple of days and it gives me what I was searching for thoroughly for the last couple of months.

I’ve been through a lot last year. It was essentially a storm year – for my personal life, for my work life, for the way I used to see myself. It gave me as much as it took away from me. But eventually, I managed to find my way out of every trouble, with a little help and also with a sense that none of what happened was a mistake. These were only experiences. Not necessary only pleasant ones, but still – just experiences. Just this shift, to see what we did without the constant judgement of ourselves and without that constant comparison with what could have been instead of what actually was, is freeing.

Another step is a simple realization. It is the moment when you realize, you are going to heal, with time. It is about learning that you need to be patient with yourself the same way you are patient with others. It is a promise of hope. You are on the right path; you just need to persist.

But even with knowing all of this, there are certain moments of weakness. It goes hand by hand with overthinking and the trigger might be almost everything. Moreover, with overthinking, it is not just our old scars and experiences that can start to exhaust us. It can be the most teeny-tiny problem you are dealing with in work, minor problem with people at school, basically, it can be anything. But with a little ‘help’ of overthinking, the problem can grow in your head really quickly really big.

So, what then? Learn to acknowledge that you are overthinking and learn to take a step back. Get distance in order to see the problem with fresh eyes, from a new perspective. It can be a guided meditation that will teach you how to become aware of this. It can be a person, who notifies you that you are thinking too much. In the first, second or even a third time. It’s okay to have help. And trust me, eventually, you will learn how to realize that on your own. And when you do, there are different rituals that will help you to take a step back.

Like breathing. Focusing on your breath and on your inner voice can help to take away the outside noise and redraw your attention to something worthy. What helps me, right now, is my imagination.

I lighted two candles in my bedroom this weekend. Those helped me to get rid of my negative thoughts or memories during the time when they burned. It was my safe space, a shelter where I can be happy, finally, and enjoy time with my special one. So now, even when I’m not there and the candles are not burning, I can picture them in my mind, see their light and feel their warmth. I can easily tune back into that feeling of safeness and harmony and use this feeling to repel those unnecessary negative ones.

That is magic. On some level. It must be.

And that is what I am grateful for today.

 

Happy Monday, everyone!

Free.

“I just want to be free,” she whispered, “free of the pain.” And she closed her eyes and opened her palm. The moth sitting on her skin stretched its wings and took off – quietly, gently, just shimmering in the air until it got lost in the darkening night sky. 

She breathed in. The air was light, cold, watery. With the air in her lungs, her whole faith expanded.  

The Positive Diary #14 – The air and the clarity

18th February 2019 – Today, I want to talk about something we take so very often for granted but it still remains one of the most crucial bases for the life on Earth itself. I want to talk about the fresh air and the various ways it can help us through difficult times. I have to admit I am always that one annoying person who complains about a bad air in a room, especially when there is lots of people or in case there is no possible way to give the room a good airing. It seems to me that many people don’t even recognize there is something sneaky and unhealthy going on when we breathe such a bad air. To me, lack of a fresh air starts to feel like a great tiredness and continues with feeling dizzy, powerless and almost sick. But in the moment I leave the room and grasp my breath, all of this suddenly disappear. That is also the reason I cherish every single moment when I can take a deep breath in and out.

Focusing on one’s breath is one of the techniques that can help us to reduce stress, ease anxieties and repulse panic attacks. It can also be used as a technique to help you fall asleep faster when your brain is overwhelmed by the number of thoughts spinning inside your head after a stressful day. Maybe the reason why I feel so weakened by the lack of the fresh air is the fact that I use these techniques so often, sometimes even without acknowledging it.

But there is also another part of me that loves the air. My less rational but the more loving part. Even as a child, I was always attracted by the strong wind during summer thunderstorms. And even as an adult, I just can’t help but to love the mild breeze ruffling my hair on a quiet walk through a forest. It is an inseparable part of my deepest admiration of Nature itself and every conscious breath I take is not only my ally for fighting my inner demons but also a reminder of this love.

So yes, no matter how silly it can sound, today I am the most grateful for every breath of chilling air I took outside today and for every other I will take in the future.

Take a deep breath and enjoy your evening, my friends!

With love

Wicked And Clever

Šárka

5 Reasons Why You Shoud Start Practice Meditation

Meditation – for some people sacred grail, for others just a lunetics’ practice and waste of time. Here are my 5 reasons for which I love practicing meditations and tips where to start, if you are interested.

Enjoy it and let me know, what was you experience with meditation like!

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