book, books, decluttering, Uncategorized

Dear Decluttering Addicts!

If you are like me – a stationery and books addict and love to do lists, and organise your home, life, ideas, projects and whatever else you may think of – you may want some great advice to learn how to better manage all your papers, documents and lists with ideas or tasks.

Did you ever lose an invitation, some post notes or an important bill? Were you wondering how to keep your children’s artwork and school-related things organised neatly? What papers you should and shouldn’t throw away? 

That’s what this newly released book can help you with: The Paper Solution by Lisa Woodroof. The author felt there was a lot about decluttering in general but not much help or many tips available for people who struggle with floods of papers. She had to deal with boxes of documents, and all sorts of albums and notebooks belonging to her father after he died. There was so much of this, she felt overwhelmed and left the task for a couple of years. At some point she felt that she didn’t have a good working system for herself to deal with her papers as well, as there were so many coming via the post every week.

“The average American receives 49,060 pieces of post in their lifetimes. One-third of it is junk mail.”

As well as the mail, we bring home business cards, invitations and forms from work, school, the doctor’s and other places. There are also often tonnes of photos that we keep, some souvenirs, magazines, recipes we may or may not use one day… And of course, there are always some reminders and notes to ourselves, and shopping lists, and so much more if you think about it for a little bit longer! She has the perfect name for it, the paper tsunami, and she believes it will come sooner or later to most of us.

Lisa created a system that worked well for her and then started to help others to deal with their papers. She quickly found out that 85% of all papers we keep at home can actually be shredded and recycled.

Would you like to find out more about some of the tips from the book?

book, books, Uncategorized

A story about survival – an interview with the author of the book Being Krystyna.

A story about survival – an interview with the author of the book Being Krystyna.

This time of the year we have many World War Two anniversaries starting with 1st September when in 1939 the Nazis attacked Poland and began the war. I think it’s the perfect time to sit with a book such as Being Krystyna – a story that connects the war times with our modern world, and two very different generations. A beautiful but also sad story. An account that gives hope even in the worst circumstances that one may find oneself.

What is one of the most surprising facts is that, had I eaten breakfast and not fainted in a gym a few years ago this book wouldn’t exist! No, the moral isn’t that unhealthy habits can sometimes be good for us. ;), it’s rather that everything happens for a reason. An ambulance was called to the gym and I met Chris Porsz, a paramedic and photographer who was born in the UK and had Polish parents. We spoke a bit about Poland where I come from and he suggested that I may want to visit his mum who lives in a local care home. He thought she would enjoy the company of a Polish-speaking person. She did still speak Polish but hasn’t used this language for years. I agreed and visited the lady a couple of times. Once I met Christ there and he said that he wrote some notes down when his mum used to tell him about the war, her move to England and life here. He said he isn’t a writer but would love someone to write this story down so it could become a book one day as he felt it’s really special and should not be forgotten. I love writing. However, I didn’t really feel up to the challenge! I knew someone who could be just perfect for this task! And that’s why and how I ended up telling my writer friend Carol all about this story. She decided to take it on. 

1.    Carol, what sort of books did you write before Being Krystyna and why?

I had written an epic fantasy trilogy before Being Krystyna. It came about following a day dream I had many years ago in which I saw the main characters and decided to write their story. I have always liked reading nonfiction but never thought I would write in that genre one day.

2.    Was the decision to write the book about Chris’s mum surprising? I know you had doubts whether you should write this book. What has persuaded you that you felt you should do it?

I did ask several people I knew if they wanted to write a book about Krystyna Porsz, but no-one seemed interested. It seemed a shame that her story would never be told because I knew such wartime experiences were valuable and important, and something compelled me to try and write it myself. I doubted my own ability to do the story justice and you have to be very careful when you are writing about real people. It’s a completely different discipline from writing fiction – you are using the same tools but you need to approach the subject matter with much more sensitivity. It is even more important when the person or people you are writing about are dead or unable to communicate -as in Krystyna’s case with her having dementia. This was one problem that I found very daunting. I wanted to be as accurate as possible regarding the facts while also showing Krystyna in the best light as she was not only the main character but a real human being too. Fortunately, it seemed to work out really well!

3.    I’m one of the characters in the book! How great an honour is that! It’s an amazing feeling that my name can be in the book out there for decades or perhaps even centuries. However, it’s also a weird feeling when I know that I didn’t really do anything special to deserve to be in such a book. Did you have the idea to use my character in the book from the beginning? If not, what other ideas did you have for the plot of this book?

It took me ages to come up with a structure for the narrative. I didn’t want to tell the story where you just go from A to B and then the end, like writing a list of what had happened in a person’s life. I felt it was very important to show the importance of the lessons of history by comparing Krystyna’s past with the present-day. I can’t pinpoint the exact day that the idea for seeing the story through the eyes of another person came to me, but it was a magical moment! The whole book seemed to create itself around that idea. It also allowed me to contrast the different life experiences of two Polish women. I think it added depth to the narrative. Using the real you, Agnieszka, also felt right because you had met Krystyna on several occasions so what followed in the book was an embellishment rather than a fiction.
 

4.    What do you like most about writing books? Is the process or the final step – when the book is finished – the most pleasant?


Every book is different. Usually, I only write when I have inspiration. If the inspiration is powerful and I have plenty of ideas, the writing comes easily. That is when I enjoy the whole process. Getting lost in the physical act of writing is what I enjoy the most. If I lose all sense of time and even any sense of who I am or where I am, then it is the best feeling.

5.    Writing a book is a great challenge! Writers get tired, overwhelmed, fed up at different stages. How was writing Being Krystyna for you? Did it take you long? And have you experienced any obstacles while writing it?

The only obstacle for me with Being Krystyna was having to go out to work! Once I had the idea for the structure of the book, I found the writing came fairly easily. I made sure I planned what I was going to write in each chapter as I like that kind of discipline. I’m not what they call a ‘pantser’ where you just start writing and see where you end up. I wrote like that when I began the first draft of my first book and it was a dreadful mess that needed lots of work afterwards. The only thing that held me up with Being Krystyna was the research for the historical details. I did a lot of reading and also studied documents and personal accounts of wartime online. These details allowed me to add depth to Krystyna’s own accounts of her life. I don’t recall how long it took me to write. Probably four months. I worked on it every afternoon. It’s a novella, of course, and I would expect a novel to take twice as long.

6.    What do you feel is the most important message in the book?

Stories like Krystyna’s show us how quickly hatred and bigotry can infiltrate society, and with the resurgence of far-right ideology in the present day we need to know these lessons from the past. Krystyna always feared the Nazis would return after the war and I think she was right. That fascist mindset has never gone away and no-one should be complacent about it. Krystyna herself would say her message was ‘Just be kind’.

7.    While writing the book you had to do a lot of research on WWII. You surely learnt a lot during this process. Did you find anything surprising or shocking about the war that you didn’t know about before?


I read many personal accounts that were profoundly shocking. I knew there was absolute horror in the camps but the facts are even worse. There were things I read that I’ll never be able to forget, try as I might. But there was great heroism too and time and again it surprised me how much some people can endure and yet still survive. That Europe in particular was able to rebuild itself after all that destruction and carnage amazed me – and to find that normal decent human feelings still existed even more so.

You can find more about the book in the description and reviews on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2H1Oxzx

books, career, happiness, success, Uncategorized

How your twenties launch the rest of your life.

Finally it has arrived…

Released just a few weeks ago in the genre of personal development it’s The Rocket Years – How Your Twenties Launch the Rest of Your Life by Elizabeth Segran. I bought it as a present for someone in their twenties and I really hope they will read it. I wish I had got this informative and thought-provoking book when I was in my twenties! This period of our lives can really be challenging, influential and sometimes confusing. It can be a real roller-coaster. I love the message that the book sends out – that we have the power to create a meaningful life. 

The book discusses topics such as career, hobbies, fitness, family, friendship, politics and faith. So much variety for one book, isn’t it? The book draws on many recent findings and discusses each topic in combination with the author’s own personal observations of life. The writer explains why politics or friendships are important in one’s twenties and what impact they have later on our lives. It’s such an inspirational and interesting book. I actually thought – I’ve always loved to dig in various research findings about health, personal development, or fitness – why had I not yet collected the most important research findings from at least the last decade for myself and my family? It would be great to know some of these things years earlier, ideally… in my twenties!

If you are interested in the book, it can be bought here: https://amzn.to/30kc4mr

A few quotes from the book:

“I’d assume that an “exit to adulthood” sign would pop up somewhere in my twenties, pointing me to the moment when my decisions would suddenly matter. But that never happened. In the midst of all that carefree adventure, I made choices that shaped almost every aspect of my present reality. My life as a writer, wife, and mother is the direct result of how I reacted when my dream career went up in flames and my romantic relationships fell apart. And somehow, while I wasn’t paying attention, I built a tribe of friends, formed habits and routines, and cultivated values that will serve me for the rest of my life.

I wish there had been some sort of guidebook to help me navigate the choices that lay before me in those years… I wish I’d had a framework to help me wrestle with the existential questions that occasionally drifted into my mind, catching me by surprise…Is there really such a thing as a dream job? What about a soul mate? What will I do with my… precious life?… What will it take to create the life I… desire?

***

“…perception of my peers’ success may have been the trick mirror of social media at work; career twists and turns in your rocket years are actually the norm… But… the data reveal that most people will eventually find deeply satisfying work. It just takes longer than you might expect. The road there is almost always filled with turns, detours, and long periods of being stuck in one place, unsure of where to go next. If you persist, though, there’s a very good chance that you will nab your dream job.”

***

“A 2015 medical study suggested that hobbies could be an intervention for improving health and well-being in daily life, after finding that people who practiced them experienced more happiness and less stress...Surveys have found that 20 percent of the population have no hobbies at all. A quarter has a single hobby they practice regularly. And a little over half the population has multiple hobbies. [However] research shows that leisure time is effectively shrinking. Today’s twenty somethings are on track to have less time for hobbies than their parents and grandparents did. “

Attention & concentration, book, books, career, goals, happiness, learning, motivation, personal development, planning, Productive Mondays, productivity, success, time management, time usage, Uncategorized, work-life balance

How to cut out all meaningless stuff?

Yellow and White Ceramic Coffee Mug on Brown Wooden Surface With Black Eyeglasses

There are many tempting things in the world!

Every week try to cut off or limit something that doesn’t matter much to you but takes up your time—it may be complaining, Facebook, TV, gossiping or worrying about the future. Don’t feel bad though if you procrastinate a bit sometimes; according to research this is normal and everyone does it. It’s important not to feel guilty about it and make sure that it doesn’t take too much of your time and attention.

It’s easy to get into meaningless chats or meet with negative people not because we really want to but because for some reason we feel we should. When you start to say NO to some invitations you may lose some friends. But then, are they real friends if they don’t understand your need to work on something important to you so you can’t hang out with them as much as you used to?

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The average adult person who has children has for themselves only around 2 hours a day. Due to lack of energy these 2 hours are often spent in front of the TV in the evenings. Think how you can organise this time differently. Surely you need to rest a bit but, to tell the truth, TV isn’t a good method for gaining more energy. Maybe you could allow only half an hour a day for TV (and occasionally watch a film, say at weekends) and spend the remaining time on some exercises, such as yoga from a YouTube channel.

Exercise is a very effective cure for fatigue.

Way too often we spend our time also on… looking for different things. Try to be organised and dedicate a week or a whole month to de-cluttering your house. Plan what you will do each day to tidy your stuff up. A method by Marie Kondo is very popular and helpful nowadays. Have you heard of it yet?

  • Try to find a place for everything in your home and group things together. Don’t keep coins or hairpins in a lot of different places at home. One type of item = one place at your home.
  • Organising your clothes (including the ones in the laundry and in any other place at home), on the same day works wonders. Put into a bin everything you haven’t used for a few years but think that you “might use it one day’. If you didn’t need something for 4 years, do you really think you will need it now or in the near future?
  • Many of your documents, notes, and other similar things also could go in the bin. Don’t deceive yourself; some of these things you will never use or need again!

Try a meaningless stuff diet and see how well it tastes! 😉

Attention & concentration, blogging, book, books, career, Efektywnosc, goals, grit, learning, motivation, personal development, planning, Productive Mondays, productivity, success, time management, Uncategorized, work-life balance

How to avoid distractions?

A simple distraction such as a notification (often not important at all!) on your mobile means that each time you lose your focus and, according to studies, need 4 to 15 minutes to concentrate and motivate yourself again to keep working effectively on your tasks!

It was found that office workers are distracted every 3 minutes on average!

Data from 2016 indicated that 3 out of 4 employers believe that every day an average employee loses 2 hours of work due to distractions. While you are doing your work, write down all the distractions that happen for a week or two and analyse them. Think what you could do to minimise or avoid them!

We get easily distracted when we are tired. Remember about taking regular breaks, going for a walk and catching some fresh air. Breathe, eat well, drink a lot of water and some green tea. These SIMPLE (but often neglected!) pieces of advice will help you to stay calmer, more focused and more patient.

If you can, and surely sometimes you can, turn your mobile off or change it to airplane mode.

Free stock photo of hands, coffee, iphone, smartphone

One of the greatest pieces of advice, although quite difficult to follow at first, is to get up earlier to avoid distractions: requests, phone calls, noise, notifications, and questions from others! You’d be amazed how much meaningful work can be done in the early morning hours. Don’t get up earlier to catch up with emails or to clean your home! Get up earlier to do something creative, something that’s meaningful for you, something that will give you exceptional results and will bring you closer to achieving your goals. Write, read, work on your business or project, for example. This is a precious time.

If you get up 1 hour earlier every day you will gain 7 extra hours for something that matters to you! How does that sound? Seven quiet precious hours. I had a long period of time when I was able to get up 2 hours earlier than usual. That’s 14 hours a week! Now while in advanced pregnancy I have had to change my schedule because of the need for more sleep. Remember, not every piece of advice will work the same for everyone but I can say that this tip which I read about in What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfastby Laura Vanderkam (available here) made a huge improvement in my life.

Experts advise that to change your habit and make this morning routine easier, ideally, you should get up at the same time every single day. If you allow yourself to sleep longer at weekends, then you’ll feel that it’s more difficult to get up early during weekdays.

If you feel it’s too difficult to do this, maybe try a shorter period of time; for example, 30 mins extra in the morning—that will also make a difference. Just remember to make sure that you still can sleep 7-8 hours a day.

Some people like to have their Power Hour in the morning so they can feel they’ve achieved something before everyone else gets up. Power Hour means that you dedicate one hour where you put 100% effort into a dedicated project, activity or task. Or it may mean for  some people, for example: 20 mins spent on some creative work, 20 mins of reading and 20 mins of exercising. Check what will work best for you. Knowing that you achieve something early in the morning will make you more satisfied and put you in a more positive mood which will last for hours during the day.

books, depression, happiness, happy, Happy Wednesdays, mental health, time usage, Uncategorized, well-being, work, work-life balance

What is HYGGE and how can it improve your life and well-being?

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Hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”) is a Danish word that describes a lifestyle where we consciously focus on creating joy and cosiness in everyday life, or, in other words, it’s a ritual of enjoying and celebrating life’s simple pleasures such as family, good feelings, nature and friendships.

People who implement this in their lives respect others and try to be always warm, friendly and open. Surely, the world would be a much more beautiful place and our lives easier if everyone decided to implement this approach. 😉

Snuggling up in a blanket in your most comfortable PJs, with a big cuppa of your favourite coffee, tea or hot chocolate, and working or relaxing in such a comfortable environment, is something we should aspire to once in a while if we want to maintain or boost our well-being, according to Danes. They believe that this is the best way to fight boredom and depression too.

Some people describe Hyggeias a Danish way of looking for beauty in everyday mundane life.

Hygge means that we allow more time for things that we enjoy. It means that we are okay to slow down not because some activities need to be done more carefully but because they simply give us pleasure and put us in a good mood: simple, small, everyday things like making a coffee or preparing or eating breakfast.

To some it may seem like a lovely but awfully unproductive (yet nearly impossible) way of living which active and busy people don’t have time for, but actually…  is Hygge perhaps the answer to why Denmark is often in the top 10 happiest nations in the world?

Living a very active busy lifestyle is surely draining and not really a natural way of living for human beings. Hygge can help you to relax, slow down a bit, and make your life more enjoyable.

How can you implement Hygge in your busy everyday life? 

Everyone is different, so not every activity will feel ideal for you, but if you look at the ideas below, you may find something that you will actually really enjoy and may consider trying to implement in your busy schedule once in a while …

Why should you do it?

Better to ask: why not? Why not try it if it was found to be so beneficial for people?

    • For example, you could invite friends round for a chat (rather than a movie or playing games, or sitting together and texting) and put out some simple drinks and perhaps a fruit or cheese platter for you all to enjoy together.
    • You can consider what you have always wanted to try but had various excuses for not doing, and take up a new hobby that would help you to relax (painting, swimming?).
    • You could light some candles to create a soft glow during dinner time and switch off the TV and your mobile, so you can enjoy your meal more.
    • Go out and play and enjoy spending time with your dog or children outside.
    • Have a picnic in the park with a friend.
    • Go for a bike ride

The ideas are endless really. You can find your hygge where you find your inner calm, where you feel good. It doesn’t need to be nature or snuggling in a warm blanket at home. It may be a coffee shop in the city centre where you enjoy observing others while drinking caramel mocha. It’s an individual matter as to what feels right and makes you happier.

Everyone can find hygge in a different place and situation. Try to find yours. Do more of what you love and be open to new ideas for spending your time unwinding and relaxing, especially here and now – in this super busy world that we live in…

You have only one life. Live it well! Enjoy it!

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If you’d like to learn more about Hygge, I recommend this beautiful edition in hard cover (great as a gift!): Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg. Have a look here

This is a nice read too: Hygge Habits: 42 Habits for a Happy Life through Danish Hygge that take Five Minutes or Less by Helena Olsen (more details here).

… and to end in true Hygge style here are two quotes that perfectly summarise this post… 😉

 

book, books, career, goals, grit, learning, personal development, planning, Productive Mondays, productivity, success, time management, time usage, work-life balance

THE THREE BIGGEST PRODUCTIVITY MYTHS – Multitasking 1/3

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THE MULTITASKING MYTH

Around a decade ago some employers suddenly started to ask during work interviews: Are you able to multitask? Some still do this although many people are already familiar with the most recent studies which indicate that multitasking is impossible in humans and is merely switching from one task to another. On top of that, multitasking decreases productivity by up to 30-40%.

It may sometimes be okay to combine a physical activity with a cognitive one, e.g. listening to an audio book while riding a bike or washing dishes, but many employers got the idea of multitasking completely wrong. Some of them believe that multitasking is needed and can be done in busy office environments where one needs to answer a lot of phone calls, reply to emails and provide face-to-face customer service. No, it can’t.

Research shows that trying to multitask will actually make you slower and also … lower your IQ! Our human brain can focus only on one task at a time and people who try to work this way and avoid multitasking achieve the best results.

Researchers from the University of Sussex in England carried out a study using MRI scans. The findings revealed that people who spend time using multiple devices, for example texting while watching TV, had less brain density in a part of the cortex which is responsible for cognitive and emotional control. Emotional control is a simple term but some of you may wonder what cognitive control means. It basically means that your brain allows you to make decisions based rather on our goals than habits and reactions. It allows you to be flexible and adapt more easily in different situations.

If you are interested to read more about multitasking I’d recommend this book: The Myth of Multitasking: How “Doing It All” Gets Nothing Done by Dave Crenshaw (available here).

book, book cover, books, career, graphic design, success

Do you judge a book by its cover?

Image result for kidd chip

Designing books may seem a relatively easy and not very important task but actually merging an idea for a design with a book’s meaning is a massive challenge.

Charles (Chip) Kidd, is not only a famous award-winning American graphic designer but also a writer, a musician, an editor, a book designer and a lecturer who lives in New York. He presented his ideas and opinions in two TED talks and in various interviews which have been seen by millions of viewers world-wide. He is probably one of the most famous book-cover designers.

When asked during an interview whether he judges books by their covers. He responded wittily: “No, I judge covers by their covers.”Image result for kidd chip

Kidd stresses that a book cover is vital because that is the first thing people see while deciding if they want to buy a book or not. In one of his TED talks Kidd quickly persuaded an audience how first impressions truly matter when he started his speech with “a full body wriggle” to draw people’s attention. Kidd advises other designers to trust their intuition but to remember that covers cannot be obvious:

“When I’m working on a cover for a book called ‘City on Fire,’ I’m not going to show a city on fire. It’s like going back to drawing an apple and writing the word ‘apple,’ underneath, you don’t need both.”

When a designer reads a book, he needs to think how he translates the main message and the meaning of the book. Designing jackets is somewhat like capturing something intangible that is embraced by the writer’s words, things that readers need to imagine, and transferring it to a more tangible idea, a picture, a meaningful design.

Image result for chip kidd jurassic parkOne of his most famous projects was a book-cover design for a science-fiction novel, Jurassic Park, written in 1990 by Michael Crichton (the book Spielberg adapted in 1993 into a legendary film with the same title). While thinking of the design, Kidd decided to learn more about dinosaurs, and to see different pictures, models and expositions in the National History Museum in his city.

He was thrilled when he found out that the right to the image was bought and used by MCA Universal for the famous movie with the same title.

Jurassic Park is only one out of over 1,000 book covers that Kidd is responsible for.

Have you ever bought a book because you liked the cover; or vice versa, have you ever decided not to buy a book because you didn’t find the cover attractive?

What sorts of book covers do you like most?

book, books, goals, motivation, personal development, productivity, success, time management, time usage, work-life balance

What discourages (instead of motivating) us in the field of personal development?

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We know that one of the problems is of course our time usage. I don’t like to use the phrase ‘time management’. Time management used to be SO important for around a decade or so, and yet it’s vital to realise that THIS IS MORE crucial in terms of physical work (especially for example with targets in a factory) but in most jobs, such as admin or management, time isn’t as important as other aspects, such as:

  • being innovative
  • having creative ideas
  • managing stress
  • team building
  • or having great interpersonal/presentation skills

I think the term ‘self-help’ books is quite damaging as well because it seems like there is something wrong with people who read about goal setting, productivity and well-being and they NEED HELP! They need improvements in their life, like everyone does in some areas, but it sounds like they have some diseases, maybe mental health problems, and need help with this. What’s more, it suggests that the problems may be so sensitive and embarrassing that people don’t want to speak to their doctors about it and they prefer to help themselves on their own… SELF- help books… Who created such an unsuitable name tag for these great titles about personal growth, strength and motivation?! I’m glad that this has changed and publishers have started to refer to this section rather as ‘self-development’ now.

Similarly, I believe that we should find a new name for life coaches! What a discouraging wording! I think it suggests they can teach you… how to live your own life properly! So they basically seem to know everything about “how to live a happy life” and can teach everyone the same or similar techniques no matter where they come from, what situation they are in, or what they problems are. It’s like measuring everyone with the same scale.

Many people have started to make big money out of this business and unfortunately there are some so-called ‘gurus’ out there who learn all the secrets of a fulfilling, healthy and happy life on a short online course and then they are certified and ready to tell you how you should work, bring up your children, achieve your goals and build your relationships.

I was really put off by the term life coach for a long time. It sounded like people trying to get rich at the expense of whoever would be willing to pay to get advice from such modern fortune-tellers. “The concept of ‘life coaching’ barely existed 30 years ago. But by 2012, it was a $707 million business in the U.S., according to the most recent figures from the International Coach Federation (ICF).” (read more here).

It sounded like a scam and deceiving people. However, if I’m against something I like to know what it really is. How can I be against life coaches if I haven’t watched a few videos and read some books about them and written by them? I thought they were people who pretend to be psychologists. While getting familiar with the topic I’ve realised that some so-called life coaches are actually great and charismatic people who make some thought-provoking and interesting speeches. I have a few favourite ones now. I don’t treat them as my ‘gurus’ and specialists about everything but it’s motivational to listen to some of their speeches or read some books.

So, yes, it looks like the name is quite unfortunate and may put many people off rather than encourage them to learn something from, for instance, good and experienced productivity and time-management experts.

I’d recommend we dig deeper to see whether we like someone and their opinions rather than focusing on the name that may not always be chosen accurately and wisely…

book, books, goals, grit, learning, motivation, personal development, planning, Productive Mondays, productivity, success, time management

Productive Mondays! Are you a night owl or a morning bird?

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To tell the truth I’ve always struggled to define myself as either a night owl or a morning bird. Which one are you?

…On a daily basis fully 85% of the people follow an early bird schedule in the morning, but given any choice in the matter, only 22% would continue to do so.” (read more about it here )

Some periods in my life I could say that definitely working and/or studying late evenings or even at night felt most productive to me, and yet on different occasions (depending on my circumstances such as having vs not having children, work shifts etc.) I felt that I kept falling asleep around 9pm-ish but felt so much better in the mornings! Why is that, then? I was curious as to how to find out how my natural biological clock works and if this is even still possible in a world as artificial as the one we have created: we have light at night and technological devices that distract us all the time.

Thomas Edison apparently used to promote his idea of the light bulb a lot by emphasising that future generations won’t sleep much and they will be able to have longer days due to the breakthrough of electric light, and because of this they will be able to achieve more! He wasn’t entirely mistaken BUT… sleeping less than 7-8 hours isn’t part of our human nature and leads to many negative consequences, like bad mood, stress and even to some health conditions… We can control light but it doesn’t do us much good, does it?

On the other hand, when we count how much time we sleep in our BUSY, PRODUCTIVITY-BASED & ACTIVE lifestyles it seems like a huge waste of time and we feel that if we could sleep “just a little bit less” we could accomplish SO MUCH MORE!

I’ve read the book The Power of When (available HERE ) and it got me thinking… The author suggests that each of us can be one of four (rather than just two) types of people or actually… as he prefers to call it – type of an animal. It was great to find this book because it sounds so unfair to categorise ALL PEOPLE simply in one out of two categories: early riser or night owl.

It looks like I’m a bear type and I feel most energetic if I can get up when the sun is rising and go to sleep when it’s getting dark outside. It is a bit problematic where I live, in England, because during most of the cold months days are really short and I can’t do everything just within 6-7 hours a day because that’s the only time we get light! So although I may be a bear, I still need to make a choice and decide whether I can feel better and accomplish more when going to bed very late or by getting up very early. I tried both.

According to studies, night owls can often be associated with intelligence and creativity but there are so many more different benefits that you get when you get up in the morning (read more here).

I think the real breakthrough in my thinking about it was a book which I didn’t want to buy because I felt that the title was somewhat silly… What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: How to Achieve More at Work and at Home by Laura Vanderkam. It turned out to be a fantastic and useful book (available HERE ).

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The author convinced me that getting up earlier and not spending my time on ANYTHING I have to do – such as cleaning, working, cooking, etc. – but on the most meaningful tasks and activities which make me happy, are connected to my passions and are important to me, can be a great way of improving my work-life balance and life satisfaction! Lack of tiredness and little or no distractions help me to achieve a lot more in the mornings in terms of completing different tasks related to writing, for example. Yes, that’s true, it is difficult to get up early… but once you start to do it you just need to stick to the routine even at weekends/ your days off and then it becomes so much easier.