Time out

Sorry for falling of the earth! Well, actually I fell into the thesis black hole. I have been working like a crazy person and I have decided that I need to make some choices. Unfortunately, that means that I will not be writing on a regular basis anymore, well, not writing for fun that is. At this moment in time I cannot enjoy this blog like I want to and it starts to feel like a chore to keep it up. And the last thing I need is another chore. So here is the plan:

I will finish my thesis first. Blogposts will be infrequent to nonexisting. After this, I hope to pick it up again and I will be back though I am not sure how I will continue the blog then. Probably something like it has been all along: a place to write about stuff that keep me occupied.

I say farewell for now!

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How to be a thesis ninja

 

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With my professors and me deciding  on a deadline for my thesis I realized that I needed a better strategy. Hell, I need to become a thesis ninja asap otherwise I won’t survive this! So I started thinking how I could help myself to get through the last bits of my thesis process as pain-free as possible. Though I like working with my weekly todo list on the blog, I did notice that I was feeling a bit drifty. Of course I could finish my todo, but I never know when I will be done, if I am still on track, and what needs to get priority. So, over the last two weeks I came up with some tools:

  1. some rules
  2. a planning
  3. a reward system

1. How to be a thesis ninja: make some rules

I figured that I had to set myself some rules to keep my sanity. Of course, it is important to work hard, but there are other things to life as well. And I certainly do not want to end up with a burnout. So, here are the rules I set up for myself. I wrote them on a piece of paper and keep them where I can see them.

  1. Work hard, rest hard. It is ok for me to work very hard, as long as I take my rest very seriously as well. This also means I should not mix the two up by doing so-called relaxing activities in the middle of my work. Keep the two separated.

  2. Relax time is a rule-free zone. To continue on the previous point a bit; once I have my free time I do not have any rules. This is the reason I kicked my personal projects off my todo list. I like sewing and I don’t want to be doing it because it is on my list. It doesn’t matter if I sew or if I doze off in front of the TV. I have a very busy schedule and it would too much to have all kinds of projects I ‘have’ to finish. Of course I will work on projects but I am not going to feel forced to do so.
  3. Keep the house clean & neat. I had to make this a rule because it is important to me. I can live for a little while with the house being trashed, but eventually it drives me crazy and causes me lots of stress. Not to mention that it takes way longer to do things if stuff is not in the place it should be.
  4. Stay active. It gives me the energy and relaxation I need, makes me happy and allows me to eat what I want (good thing I love eating healthy).
  5. Invest in your loved ones. After having worked all week and done all the other stuff I am supposed to do, I am pretty much beat. But even though I want to go hibernate and enjoy me free time resting, I should not forget about my loved ones. This means that I will contact a friend every so often, visit my family, and help them if they need something.
  6. Make time for yourself. On the other hand I should not forget to make time for myself without feeling guilty. It is ok to say no and it is also ok to spend an entire afternoon playing beautyfarm: taking showers, painting toenails, reading trashy magazines, etcetera.
  7. Go outside. I know it may be winter but I need fresh air and I need to be in nature. It makes me feel good. It always does.
  8. Live your life instead of dreaming about it. This is an important one. I really like self-development and am always trying to improve myself. I like to read about interesting things I might do some day, make plans for the future, etc. But time is passing by fast, especially with my working hours, so I need to pay attention to enjoy things as much as I can. Even my thesis, it is a once in a lifetime project and soon it will be over. Also, being content with what you have instead of dreaming about all you want to become, is very stress relieving.
  9. Efficiency is key. Try to do things as efficient as possible. Delegate household chores, batch things. Good is good enough. Let go of unnecessary things. I love organizing and I going to apply my ‘organizedness’ to get stuff done quickly. I already have a system to make the household run smooth. I unsubscribed from the majority of newsletters and feeds because at this point in time they are not worth my limited time and energy. Yes, they are fun but I can’t have everything and sometimes you have to choose.
  10. Balance is everything. The overarching theme to this rules is represented in this last rule. It is all about balance. Of course in the upcoming time my work is going to consume a lot of me and that is okay, but I have to make sure it doesn’t get all of me. There are other things that are important as well.

2. How to be a thesis ninja: Make a planning

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I have a deadline now, and that deadline is pretty close. Next to feeling totally freaked out by it, I am also using it to my advantage. I have made planning to which I have got to stick if I want to meet the deadline. So at the moment it is very clear to me what I have to finish each week. This brings me to my next point:

3. How to be a thesis ninja: Set up a reward system

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I have been working with plannings a lot, but I find that if I am really not motivated I throw it out of the window or I reschedule it even tighter so I can fit in my procrastination for that week. But I don’t really  have time for procrastination anymore, no matter how much fun it might be. Therefore, I came up with a reward system that should trick me into doing what I am supposed to do. Actually, it is a reward and punishment system. Every week, when I finish what I need to, I receive a reward. This is an activity that I don’t do so much, or a small item that I would like to have. It might be a magazine, a trip to the fabric market, or a cappuccino somewhere. I get my reward in the week after and I cannot save up, because then I am still waiting for a long-term reward and that is useless because the long-term reward is finishing the damn book! So, what happens if I don’t meet my weekly deadlines? My punishment is that I get grounded.  I can only go to my Body Balance class and that is it. No Zumba, no swimming with my friend, no other social get togethers. I need the threat of punishment because if I just miss out on the rewards my life would remain sort of the same and for me that is not motivating. I have to feel like I lost something if I don’t do my job, so I work hard to avoid that. And then at the end of the week I get a reward for my hard work so I keep my motivation. Just avoiding dreaded things is not making me happy.

So, what do you do to finish a major project when it is overwhelming and you have trouble feeling motivated?

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Winter has arrived

Well, winter has definitely arrived in the Netherlands! I went for a run on Sunday and I was freezing my butt of the first 5 min. And then Monday it started snowing! Not much, but enough to get the whole city jammed and it took me 1.45h instead of 30 min to get home….sigh…. It really is the same every year, they never seem prepared.

Last weekend I went painting at my brothers house again. I painted his wall green! In the can it looked like like baby green, but luckily it was not when I got it on the wall. I had such a busy day that day because I also ran around and did all my errands and groceries and dropped off the Boyfriend at his work, before showing up at my Mom’s place at 11am. So…when I cam home at 5pm I crashed very hard. The Boyfriend was getting sick and I did not feel like driving over 200k late at night I was forced to cancel a fun B-day party in Amsterdam.

The rest of my days have been a blur and I really don’t have anything interesting to talk about. So I am going to finish my tea and then I am off to work!

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Slaying my Todo list: wk 48

Another week has passed! Let’s see how I did!

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I finished almost everything! Except for that dreaded to read pile though…. But I have a reason for that. No, really I do!  I had a meeting this week with my supervisors and we decided on a strategy regarding my publications and a deadline for my thesis. From now on I am going to focus on putting together my thesis and less on getting out publications. Originally I was using articles as the basis for my thesis, but now I am just going to write a book and worry about the publications later. We decided on that because I have been having some trouble getting my papers published because of the weird niche of my topic. Because my latest rejection (article 2) did come with an invitation to resubmit, I am going to work on that. So I worked on article 2 a lot this week, I actually did a lot more than what was in the todo list (somehow it didn’t even copy crossed out when I extracted the list from Google Tasks. However, the to read pile stayed. But I reduced it to something manageable to read in a day. The new deadline puts a lot of pressure, but also made things very clear as to what I am supposed to do each week if I want to meet that deadline.

So, what’s up for next week?

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First there is the to read pile which is supposed to be finished for real this week. That’s because I have to use that information to write a first version of chapter 1, the general introduction of my thesis. I am also going to rewrite article 1, which will be chapter 2. I had a lot of feedback last week so I am good to go! People are supposed to send back their Delphi questionnaires tomorrow so after that I will be stalking them for it haha! For my other work I have a meeting Monday morning first thing and I need to print and read some stuff. I also want to read more about the specific type of interviews we are going to use in the data collection. Lastly, I have a meeting this week about my contract! I need to bring some papers, but that is not a big deal.

In my personal life I have no plans this week. I did finish one of the chairs this week that I am redoing ( it was on my todo list for a while)! I will continue on the rest and I also have been eying the half done dress that is lying around.

Wish me luck and I am off for So you think you can dance, the final!

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The real nature of my cats

Warning: pictures of cute cats, but don’t be fooled!

For a long time we actually believed that Chick and Chinta were cute and sweet kitties. It just took us a while to see their real nature.

Here is a picture of when we just had them. Look how tiny and cute! When they were full grown they could barely fit in there alone.

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They were also best friends. Too bad they don’t cuddle like that anymore.

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When they got bigger they still looked cute.

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And even though there were some signs (you see those nails and cold looks?)

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Most of the time they just look too damn cute to think of them as anything but nice kitties.

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That is, until we captured evidence of their real natures. Now we have to admit it, their real nature is pure evil*!

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Chickie’s cover fell through over a year ago. But now Chinta has been caught as well.

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We fear the day they will carry out their master plan, which probably is to take over the world and use us humans to make their food, provide warm baskets and blankets to keep them warm, to act as playing objects or scratching poles and lie on their laps just to show who is the boss. Oh wait…they are already doing that….

 

 

 

* Actually, they were just yawning.

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Floorcloth

Yesterday I felt like a floorcloth for most of the day. That’s how we call that ‘I feel so blah and weak’ feeling when you have a cold in Dutch. But this morning I am feeling much better!

Yesterday was a busy day at work, I had a meeting and we decided on some important stuff for my thesis which is really going to help me finish it in time. We also put a deadline on heaving the manuscript ready for review by the Prof and co: 31 jan 2011. That is soon, but doable (I hope). I am finishing my planning today and then it hopefully is just a matter of crossing things of my todolist for the next months (probably not, hahaha)

In the evening it was time to swim with a friend. It was my first workout in over a week! I don’t know, but somehow I wasn’t feeling it last week. Well, I do know: my busy schedule in combination with my immune system feeling confused about the medication being gone (those pills are definitely crap, I tell you!). It is probably why this cold came up, it could sneak in while my immune system was fighting invisible monsters. Anyway, I thought it was a nice break and not so bad as  I haven’t been completely inactive (painting, walking stairs, groceries, car wash etc). I am happy to be back though!

Okay, I have to go to work now (now there’s something you will be hearing quite a lot).

Have a good day!

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Cold

I started my working day all ambitiously, until I found out I really had a cold coming up. You see, I am like an 82-year old with my allergies: I need some time to get started, for my morning runny nose to clear up. But when I still felt groggy after a couple of hours I knew something was up. But, I tried my best and only had half a day anyway. In the afternoon I went to my brother’s new apartment to help him paint. My sister and BIL were there too. We had fun and got quite a lot done. I stayed over for dinner at my parent’s house and helped my dad with a Powerpoint presentation. After that it was too late for Zumba class, but I wasn’t feeling so fit anyway. So we went to bed early and watched an episode of the final season of One Tree Hill (yeah, I know, I am way behind and I also know that I am probably too old for that as well). I hate that the series is almost over!
Then I had a hell of a night, tossing and turning until 2am because I couldn’t breathe well. So you can imagine that I feel incredibly fit and well rested this morning. I have a meeting this afternoon and I hope I survive until then. Wish me luck!

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