February in Review

Pretty good things: My February consisted of lots of Tumblr and a good amount of Netflix. I’m almost done with season 5 of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I only read approximately 3 books. I read Freak of Nature by Julia Crane, which I was not a huge fan of. I guess the idea of the book was promising, but the writing was just terrible, and the story was rushed. I also read An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, which was relatively enjoyable, kind of boring at times, but okay overall. I also read about half of Complications by Atul Gawande, which I’m reading for a class, and it is a fantastic book, especially for those interested in medicine to any extent. I started The Time Machine by HG Wells; I wasn’t really paying attention when I started it, so it’s been hard to get through. I also started Just One Day by Gayle Forman; it’s okay so far. I’ll see if it lives up to the hype (probably not). I’ve also been listening to more music, which is a good thing in my opinion. My current favorite artists are Hozier and Milky Chance.

Also pretty good things: Productivity-wise, I did pretty well in February. I’ve still been getting my work done by approximately 5 pm. I was also pretty social in February (for me at least). I actually met a lot of people last month. I need to find some productive hobbies. That shouldn’t be a problem though because my sister got me an early birthday present of a calligraphy set, so I am going to be spending a lot of time writing stuff on paper. Maybe I should use that as a reason to write poetry, which I’m supposed to do this year anyways. I researched a lot about MBTI again. I know so much about it by this point that I should probably write a whole separate blog about living life as an INTJ. I will probably start working on that once the current round of exams is over with.

Bad things: I didn’t journal much, which is a bad thing because a lot of things went on in February. I really need to start journaling again, at least once a week. My eating habits have also been bad. Not that I’ve been eating unhealthy food, I just haven’t been eating enough, and I forget to eat sometimes.

I think that’s pretty much it for February.

How did your February go?

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December Goals Evaluation

December has gone. And so have the many stressors that came with it (mostly just finals). This is my December goals evaluation:

1. Reading 10 books-I surpassed this goal. YAY! I read about 17 books. Amazing, I know.

2. Watch classic movies-I did not do this because I was busy reading. I am okay with this. However, I did watch Serenity.

3. PL/RA application-Yes. I finished and submitted my application. And I am very proud of it. I am just waiting on my recommendations. I also really need to practice interviewing because I really suck at interviews.

4. Finish TV shows-Yeah! I finished SherlockFirefly, and Parks and Rec. I also started and finished Selfie, and started BroadchurchDollhouse, and House M.D.

5. Practice coding-Kind of. I used some coding apps to practice, but I didn’t actually code a webpage or anything.

6. Organize-Partially. I organized my Tumblr and updated my Goodreads account. But I didn’t get a chance to further organize my Chrome bookmarks and clean out my email.

7. Build online presence-Meh. I got over 30 followers on this blog! But I did not really do much else. I posted almost every day of winter break, and I have over 100 blog post ideas on Evernote, but I haven’t worked on YouTube or made a LinkedIn.

8. Work out-Complete and utter failure.

9. Productivity experiments-Also, fail. I didn’t do an productivity experiments at all. I guess I read approximately one book a day, but I am not going to count that.

Did you accomplish your December goals?

6 Books for Non-reader Friends

Today is day 7 of 12 Days of Book Lists! If you, or one of your friends, doesn’t read, I would recommend for you to pick up these books. You won’t regret it.

6. Outcasts United by Warren St. John
Outcasts United is a great tale of a real life story about a refugee town in Georgia that gets transformed by a soccer coach. It’s a fairly quick read, and it’s pretty easy to get through. It is also pretty relatable, but at the same time eye-opening.

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Giver is the classic dystopian novel. Most people have to read it for school at some point, which causes them to naturally be skeptical of its entertainment value. But it is also a book that most people I know love, regardless of whether they are avid readers. It is also a really short books and is part of a quintet, in case you are craving a more satisfying conclusion. But it is perfectly acceptable to read it independently, if the thought of reading four books causes aversion.

4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habit is a productivity/psychology/business book that is very insightful regarding how much of human life is based off of habits. It is also a good book for those who never finish the books they start because all you really need to read is Part One (chapters 1 through 5). The rest of it is anecdotes and research, which can honestly get a little boring.

3. The Tattoo Coloring Book by Chronicle Books
Who doesn’t love a coloring book? This is a great book for those who will not read at all, even if the book is a gift. Coloring is something that does not require a lot of attention and can be done while watching TV or something. Reading is not requires, so stubborn friends can still claim the title of “non-reader”.

2. Everything is Going to be OK by Chronicle Books
This book is a picture book of sorts. Each page contains various pictures with uplifting quotes. This is a great coffee table book, and also allows the maintenance of the “non-reader” status.

1. Why You’re So Awesome by Knock Knock
This book is a great gift. It is a fill in book in which the gifter write things about why the gift receiver is so awesome. Everyone I know would be touched to receive this, even if they don’t care for books.

Which books would you recommend for non-reader friends?

9 Reasons Everyone Should Read

Today is the fourth day of 12 Days of Book Lists. Yay! This list is 9 reasons that everyone should read. Even those who supposedly “don’t read”.

9. To be a better writer
It’s pretty much a fact that good readers make good writers. I can assure you that most of those who write professionally were avid readers even before they considered writing. Even for school writing assignments, those who read often write better work. Readers generally have better grammar and word choice, a stronger vocabulary, and knowledge of whether a work flows well or has effective style.

8. To expand your creativity
Obviously, when you are constantly exploring the creative genius of others, your own creativity grows in response. You can’t just read about a world created by the individual mind of an author and not imagine what kinds of worlds you would create.

7. To understand yourself
Reading lends itself well to introspection. When you get to explore the minds of characters in a book, you learn how to explore your own mind. When you see characters deal with crises, you can’t help but imagine how you would deal with those crises. By finding which characters you relate to the most, you can find which personality traits that you share with them.

6. To appreciate your life
Similarly to watching the news, reading books makes you aware that your life is not that bad compared to that of others. If you read about someone the same age as you trying to overthrow a corrupted, seemingly all-powerful government, you start to realize that you embarrassing yourself in front of your crush is really not going to ruin your life.

5. To relate to others
I, for one, have a hard time relating to others unless they have very similar personalities to me. But reading allows me to learn how to deal with those whose personalities do not necessarily mesh well with mine.

4. To create more goals for yourself
When you read of teenagers who single-handedly defeat the worst possible enemies while still going to school and continuously building their repertoire of skills, you begin to reevaluate your singular goals of getting rich and starting a family. Of course, those are not bad goals to have, but you begin to realize that you could achieve those goals and still do so much more with your life.

3. To grow the multiverse of your mind
I believe that everyone’s mind contains their own personal universe. That is, those who don’t read have minds that contain singular universes, which are the universes in which they exist. However, those who read have multiverses in their minds. Instead of just containing the home universe, a reader’s mind contains all of the universes in each of the books that he or she has read along with the one’s he or she creates through their expanded creativity, which is also a result of reading.

2. To travel to magical places
Who doesn’t want to travel to mystical lands and whole new worlds? Reading allows you to travel the Earth, as well as trillions of other worlds, from the comfort of your own home.

1. To be more productive
I am a firm believer that reading is an act of the productive. Reading undoubtedly increases productivity, if only because of the plethora of productivity and lifestyle books that exist. Reading is a stress-reliever, a relaxation method, a creativity booster, a creativity inlet, as well as many other tools essential to attaining maximum productivity. Reading and productivity also participate in a positive feedback loop. Reading increases productivity, while productivity gives you more time to read.

Why do you (or don’t you) read?

11 Literary Gifts

Today is Day 2 of 12 Days of Book Lists. I now present 11 Literary Themed Gifts. (I sincerely apologize for the graphic. I know it sucks.)

11 days of book lists

1. Finger Pointer Bookmark

For those who can never remember where they are.

2. Harry Potter Necklace
For those who still aren’t over Harry Potter.

3. Prism Glasses
For those who are incredibly lazy.

4. Percy Jackson pencils
For those who want to write like a daughter of Athena.

5. Personal Library Kit 
For those who lend.

6. Writer’s Block book
For those who want to write the next bestseller.

7. Old Books scented candle
For those who want to smell like a library.

8. So Many Books! So Little Time! Bookends
For those who have too many books to read in a lifetime.

9. Fishbowl bookends
For those who need more life in their reading.

10. Talk Wordy To Me tote
For those who need some help carrying home their books.

11. Literary Quotations Calendar
For those who lose track of the date because they get lost in the world of a good book.

What literary gifts would you like to receive?

12 Days of Book Lists

My friend Sydney from Books and Stuff has started a tag for the holiday season called 12 days of book lists. I thought it was a great idea, and I am going to partake in it. I know it’s not strictly productivity-related, but having enough time to read is a consequence of being productive. Also, reading can help increase productivity in many different ways. Regardless, I am going to try my hardest to somehow relate each day’s post to productivity.

from sydneybollinger.wordpress.com
from sydneybollinger.wordpress.com

Click here for the original post.

I tag all of you. Mwahahaha!

December Goals

My month of December is split into two distinct periods: the stress-filled, first couple weeks, in which I must go through my first round of college finals, and the relaxing rest of the month, in which I can work on personal projects while on vacation.

My goals for the first half of December include but are not limited to:

  • getting through finals
  • not stressing out too much
  • being very productive
  • not dying

My goals for the second half of December include:

1. Reading 
I am going to read lots and lots of books because I haven’t had the chance to read as many books as I’ve wanted to lately. I don’t have a set goal yet, but I’m working on making a list of books I will read in December. My goal will probably be around 10. Last year, I read 15 books over winter break, and that break was much shorter than this year’s.

2. Watch movies
I need to catch up on some classic movies. There are quite a few movies that I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t seen. So I’m not going to. I also want to catch up on movies from 2014 that I haven’t gotten the chance to watch. There’s also probably some from 2013. Maybe 2012. I need to watch some documentaries, too. I haven’t really seen many.

3. Apply for things
I really want to be a Peer Leader (PL), or Freshman RA, next year. The application has been out, and it’s due halfway through January. I am going to use winter break to write killer answers for the essay questions and making an awesome welcome letter, which is also part of the application.

4. Finish TV shows
There are quite a few TV shows that I have started but have never finished for reasons that I don’t even know myself. Over winter break, I am going to finish the following TV shows: Sherlock (BBC), Merlin (BBC), Parks and Recreation (actually, at the rate I’m going, I’ll probably finish this before next week), Firefly (I’ve only watched the first episode.), and Lost (Again, I’ve only seen the first episode). I thought there were more, but for the last month I’ve been trying to get through shows I haven’t finished. I guess I finished more than I thought I did. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I also want to watch the River Song episodes of Doctor Who in the order of her timeline.

5. Practice coding
I started to learn HTML over summer, and I need to practice. I also need to learn some more coding languages.

6. Organize
I really need to organize some things on my laptop. Not having them organized stresses me out. I already organized my YouTube subscriptions. But I still need to organize my Spotify songs, and I need to unsubscribe from/organize some Tumblr accounts I am following, as my interests have drastically changed since I first got a Tumblr. I also need to clean out my emails; I read all of my emails, but I want to delete all of the emails that are already read. I also need to unsubscribe from some email lists. My Google Chrome bookmarks have been organized for a while, but I need to clean them out and further organize some of the folders. I might need to uninstall some programs from my laptop because I don’t use them, but I’m not sure. I never really got into Goodreads, but now I really want to try to remember all of the books I’ve read and organize them on Goodreads. I use Wunderlist to collect lists, including my To Be Read book list. It currently holds around 200 book titles. I need to organize these into subcategories, so it is easier for me to find books I am interested in reading at the time that I am looking for them.

7. Build online presence
I really want to grow this blog over break. My goal is to post daily and create lots of new post ideas. I also need to make a LinkedIn profile. I am hoping to start a YouTube channel soon, so I’m going to try to work on that over break.

8. Work out
I have been really bad at working out this since school has started. I am hoping to start working out again over break.

9. Productivity experiments
With all of these goals, I’m going to have to be very productive, even though I will be on break. I am perfectly happy with this, as I like being productive in my downtime. I plan to experiment with various productivity techniques. Some of the experiments I’ve been thinking of trying out are:

  • waking up at 5 am every day (5 am club)
  • meditating for an hour a day
  • watching two-three hours of TED talks every day
  • using exclusively digital productivity techniques for a week
  • only using to-do lists for a week (no time-blocking)
  • reading a book a day
  • doing an hour of yoga a day

I think that’ it. For now. There’ll probably be a couple more items on this list by the time my break officially starts next Friday. Goodbye, and happy finals!

What are your December goals?