Natural Remedies and beauty tips 4 – cough drops

Cough drops tend to cost a lot. None doubts their usefulness, yet how would you like to make your own?

I have been digging though some old books on herbal medicine and note of my mother-in-law and found this simple recipe:

Take a pot then drop into it:

1 glass of sugar (can be brown if you prefer)

1/2 glass of water

juice from a whole lemon

1 tbsp. of honey

1/2 tbsp. of grounded clovers

1 tbsp. of powdered ginger

Mix well and cook for 20 minutes regularly mixing; final texture should be more or less like maple syrup. Use as natural materials for this as possible ..bio is the way to go.

Pull out a sheet of baking paper. Spread it on a flat surface. With a table spoon distribute the mixture on the sheet in small lumps/drops (it is relatively fluid so ‘lumps’ might be only an approximate word for them – much depends on quality of ingredients used). Take powdered sugar and cover all of them with it. Leave to fully cool.

Tear the drops off the paper, and there you go… home-made fully natural cough and anty-flue drops ready.

 

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Productivity fails when all you have are meetings

Much has been written on the subject. Much has been said and even more research has been conducted. I can only say that, the older I grow the more AGAINST meetings I am.

Well, maybe not ALL meetings per se… but wasteful meetings. From my experience more than half of the meetings we go through are simply waste of time. Instead of being substance only, they tend to wonder off on subjects not related to the meritum.

A lot of them are also done simply to pat oneself on a back… ergo.. see how much I have done? why haven’t you done so much? … seldom there is questions of what I can do to help you get more done?

Are you really so complex ridden to have to prove your superiority in such a low manner?

I guess in corporate culture we forget that we are part, tiny wheels of one and the same mechanism and if one of us jum up on something… the rest won’t be able to be as efficient as should, until we help that jummed up wheel to move along as well.

So stop patting yourself on the back… start looking at the larger picture and helping one another.

Balance number of meetings vs. what you and the rest of your team needs to do. Else, all you will do is have meetings and none will be actually done

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work and life balance- on paper

There is simple math to life. There is only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. A month is composed of 4 weeks, year of 12 months and 56 weeks. There is no time to stretch that.  Neither me, nor anyone else can have more time. Thus good time management is essential.

Much has been written and said on the subject. With some I agree, with others I don’t.   Let’s do a little math.

  1. first thing that one needs is sleep. Adults need on average 6-8 hours. Results of not getting that for a long time are disastrous to our health. Also if you can’t get that squeezed in your daily plan.. most likely you are doing something wrong. Thus  from our 24 hr .. 7 (average again) is gone.  We are left with 16-17 hours.
  2. Another big chunk of our day is work. It should be taking you between 8-10 hours. In all honesty, I have not seen a person who would stay focused and really productive for as long as that.  I for instance divide my work-time into several areas that are interrupted by certain events allowing me to refresh and refocus. It is my daily routine, which I find best written down on paper and on side of my desk.

My work-day plan looks something like this:

4:00-6:30  work + snack and coffee

6:30-7:00  getting my son ready for school and sending him off

7:00 -12:00 work + breakfast while doing concept work on paper

12:00-13:00 break (usually spent on studying for coming up exams) usually with a tiny lunch

13:00-15:00 talks/phone calls/meetings

15:00-17:00 at least a few minutes exercise and study time

17:00-19:00 dinner with family and help with school work

19:00-21:00 usually household stuff

21:00-4:00 sleep

Of course it varies from day to day due to other arrangements such as different school day start time for my son, his extracurricular activities, my lectures (as I am 2nd year student of law, which means that Thr/Fri evenings from 15:00 till 21:00  and Saturdays from 8:30-19:00 I am away).

3. As you can see there is little to none time left for me and family although in theory there should be at the least 5-6 hours a day. There was a time I worked at an office. Commuting, on top of 8 hours at the office, took me 3 additional hour a day and it was rarely possible for me to get any time during the week for my loved ones. Yet I did make a point of it to leave work on time, if need be I would take projects home and work on them when family went to bed.

Here and again I have proven to myself that time alone and time with family is needed and no planning is the golden rule. With a carefully planned week in a hand you can work out almost anything. In today’s economy it is hard to change a job, yet there are other options that might be a solution for you.. just need to look for it and include it in your daily plan.

Remember, there is no way to stretch time, there is no way to recover the time you have spent working instead of being with those you love. We have just one life.. thus do plan your days- it helps.

Pulling myself together

It is true that old habits die hard, yet there is nothing that can really stop you except for yourself.

Since December I am running an experiment on myslef and I can say that at the least in my case the rule of 3-weeks for a new habit is BS. I guess I am weird. Anyway, that has not worked… what did work out.. it seems is my new approach to my self organization.

Yes, I work at Nozbe, and yes I have a lot to do with GTD on daily basis. Yet, it never quite kicked in on my personal life and personal struggles. Perhaps because I have tried hard to separate the two worlds. Regardless, I have decided to make a bit more sense and give my day a written structure at the end of last year.

Here is what I did:

  1. I bought a physical desk calendar, one of those large ones where you have a whole week on one page and the page next to it is for notes.
  2. I started to keep regular notes of what I do each day in it and what I plan to do … there are things I have already in plan for June or September. ( I do have them in Nozbe as well, but due to work related matters I seldom have time to look at my private ones).
  3.  I do have some financial worries ( it is not precisely easy to be the sole supporter of a family of 3, on a rental and with 2 cats and studies to pay for)… so I started to record everything I spend and to cut out things I can live without on regular basis. I do admit that damaging my car is not going to help my finances in scope of another 6 months or so… but ohh, well…effects of stupidity do tend to be painful.

How I do it:

  1. I record any events as soon as I can in it; and I check on daily basis all the info on them as recorded. I also keep a Google Calendar to be able to update the information on the way, but somehow the physical on-paper version works better on my mind.
  2. I use the blank note page for calculations of finances and recording all the spendings
  3. In a month I have 4 of those pages, so I really use only 1 max 2 of them for the finances. I actually split the page in halves. One for the spending, other for remaining matters.
  4.  Each month after receiving my salary and any other income I might get I run through my account at the bank, pay all that I need to pay and NOTE down in my calendar precise sum that I am left with (if any) .. if it is a debit…I write it in red
  5.  I seldom check my account after that point… as not to get too down in dumps and I do have it all in my physical form.

What I hope to achieve:

  1. I hope to avoid forgetting any appointments ( I have always been ‘on time and on spot’ person but somehow my boys have managed to get me to be late on more than one occasions…I really do not like that). – So far so good
  2. I hope to slowly pull myslef out of the financial issues at hand… of course a 2nd working person at home would be of use… especially after 5 years +… really tired of that. – and here, except for the unforeseen accident, things were going slowly but rater good.
  3. I hope to cut some time out for myslef and things I really wish to do:  a) return to studying Japanese; b) get more time for exercising; c) get time and funds for practicing drifting ; d) add more structure to my study-time as the amount of material covered at the university raises exponentially it seems. — so far rather minor-to-none in terms of results.

I have to admit that I have been raised in times when Internet was not so readily available. I have to admit also that what I wrote in the past about switching to Nozbe ( or any other virtual time management system) is still valid and for one though since early the value of paper and physical calendar …I guess I’m tired of fighting it, although I do see still much value in the virtual system. I can see that the next generation is rather allergic to pen and paper. Yet, after so many experiments on myself, I decided to give this another go… and in combination with virtual tools I think, I hope it might finally work.

Thus far this method has been more effective and more old-habit-breaking than anything else I have tried.

 

 

Procrastination

I believe this to be a curse of even the most productive people. I see that it happens to any of us. .. and it is not easy to avoid it.  But it is possible. I will share with you a few of my tricks, maybe they will come in handy.

One thing is to keep focused. Easiest way to do so is to make ahead of time planning sessions. I kind of like David Allen’s approach of weekly review and try my best to be religious about that. Over the years it has proven very valuable, and the only time I do fall of the wagon and behind my in my to-do lists is when I fail to keep this habit up. Those 2-3 hours in a week for planning and time ‘distribution’ are essential and you should give yourself that time. Regardless if you work with some electronic devises or just plain paper.. sit down, cut all external influences off, concentrate, review what you have done, look at what is to be done in a longer run and plan what will get you there, what little steps you need, to keep heading where you want/need to.

Another thing is to be honest with yourself.  It is humans natural tendency to find excuses, especially where they are reviewing things done or overdue. Stop wasting time on excuses! finding them consumes energy and time.. and they lead to nowhere. Ok, so you failed to deliver something, you failed to complete this or that. I really does not matter why… what matters is what are you going to do with it from now on. So, get your act together, put the item yet again on your list.. at the top and focus on getting it actually done asap.

Making plans in actual ink and paper is crucial. Regardless of my trusted on-line tool where I keep everything, I still plan on paper. Why? Over the years I have discovered that our brain sees these electronic means as fleeting…pen and paper for some reason seems to be more stable to it. Ergo I first plan on paper then transfer stuff over (as needed). And I keep my plan always with me. It is a constant reminder not to postpone.

Small steps method in Planning. Do plan big. Using small steps does not mean you are not planning BIG.. it only means you are not jumping at the huge idea.. instead building a solid foundation for it. So do split big plan into smaller areas, set time to do them.. and DO!

We all have our ups and downs.  Whenever I have my down I repeat to myself “a bee must, a bee does”. Truth is that if I slip off the track I will need to catch up later on.. thus I prefer to do things as soon as possible and not have to remember about them anymore. That also helps keeping on track.

Last but not least… I have tried with reminders…they are cool when you have very tight schedule, but too many of them are a killer to your effectiveness. They detour your mind away from what you were doing, they are disruptive and destabilizing. Though I am a multi-tasker, I choose NOT TO.. cause I would rather get a one job done to perfection than work on 100 little things and get none done properly.  Ergo my reminders are limited to bare minimum. I simply check my calendar daily.

Tough it may seem strange coming from me (person working in a GTD and on-line task management for all those years) I still believe pen and paper can be of value.. the key is to use it right.

 

The vandalized art of flirting

I’m very much for direct communication and a lot of my male friends and acquaintances through the years have seen me as more male in this aspect than most females. SAY IT STRAIGHT, seems to be my motto. I hate beating around bushes, except for fun. Flirting has always been my great toy, and among those of my age or older I have found many willing partners for this entertainment. It is of course essential that all involved are aware it is just for amusement 😉 but such thing can be cleared before you get deep into the fun. At least that’s what adults should do.  Yet, I absolutely hate what is happening to the great art of flirting nowadays.

Wikipedia states “Flirting or coquetry is a social and sometimes sexual activity involving verbal or written communication as well as body language by one person to another, suggesting an interest in a deeper relationship with the other person. In most cultures, it is socially disapproved for a person to make explicitly sexual advances, but indirect or suggestive advances (i.e., flirting) may be considered acceptable. On the other hand, some people flirt playfully, for amusement. ”

I definitely am of the “old-school” where flirting was taken as fun, an exercise of the mind and not so much a serious matter that would lead to actual sex. I have been though by old-timers (grandparents born in 1910’s&20’s, including one countess among them), where flirt was meant as amusement most of the time, and though it could lead to more serious things as it served as great testing ground for the wit of your counterpart, majority of time it did not. It also meant that a man accepted and approved of witting and intelligent woman he was flirting with, approved of her as a human being and a partner in conversational battle of words, jokes, and subtle hints.

Throughout recent years of observation of the Internet and the young, I have discovered the sad truth that to wast majority of ‘new generations’ flirting EQUALS to getting into the undies of the other involved party… where is fun in that? where is the mind exercise?

Real flirting is like a game of chess, just played with words and body language.. and that’s where ‘beating around the bush’ is more than proper and welcomed.  Some of the best and most trusted friends I have ever made happened to me made via simple flirtation. It serves as a great test of intellect, it can be very entertaining and it definitely does not have to lead to anything more serious than that.  Hell, there was even one friend I had in L2 Dragon Network, who asked my character to marry his… and none though twice of it… neither my hubby, nor our guild members (all way above 20 back then)….only younger people from other guilds would get the funky idea that were having affair …I really don’t grasp where they would get that idea from…. maybe except for potential misunderstanding of our constant teasing and flirting with each other.  That once again…both of us knew would lead to nothing more than mutual intellectual fun 😉

Ohh, what a sad life they lead not knowing the fun of flirting and taking it way too seriously. How sad, that they all can’t see past sex. I agree – sex is enjoyable and can be great,  but there is so much more to exercising your own brain in such inter-human way.  So, stop over-simplifying things, bringing them down to mechanics of intercourse, and start enjoying flirt for what it is… one of the best games of the mind that you could play.

 

Inspiration

For years I have helped Michael Sliwiński (http://michaelsliwinski.com/) with Productive!Magazine (http://productivemag.com/). He has recently published his second book (http://nozbe.com/blog/passionbook/), dealing exactly with the topic of Passion. Thus I though to write something of my own.

A road to inspiration differs.

For me no running, no reading of books by others, no external impulse helps.  What does? Simple and firm decision taken at a moment of relaxation. This time the big turning point was a decision to buy my first car followed by… actually purchasing it. It is nothing big or fancy or new…. but it is mine. I went through with it and in return it has pulled me back into studying… the car is so old I can fix it on my own with just a few books and tools at hand.

Going from that point I reached conclusion that I’m sick and tired of being ‘wed to kitchen’ and my son. He is 12 now… needs to stop being ‘nursed’ by mom every step he takes. Yet, I admit to having been on the drug called “motherly pursuits”. I simply need/needed to let go (tense depends on perspective). So, I went for a spring/summer legalese english course at the Warsaw University and decided to take certification exam for legal translators. This is very much work in progress. I also started to work as an intern for a professional translator.

Once I did move forward, once I went for my 1st class, I recalled how much pleasure it was to study… always been a bookworm.  Suddenly,  realized that being mom, though pleasure in itself, has taken me away from studies, took me away from many of the things I loved doing and was passionate about. I admit that I have not been  the best mom in the world, but I did and will continue to help my son and will do for him whatever I can….yet… I’m not too old and apart from being mom I should also be myself. I have avoided some of the key aspects of “me” and hiding behind “mom”.  It is, I think, time for a change and pretty much last call for me. So, I have decided to go back to university and pursue Masters in Law.

It is not that I do not have a degree… I do… double B.A. and one M.A….. but Law has, ever since I remember, been hunting me. You could say that I kept getting those hints on if from people around and from the life itself. I have resisted it for longest, cause my parents were trying to force me to it… and they have overdone the forcing on so many levels…

One has to reach every decision and live with it on his/her own.

and one last reason, not sure if that is not THE ONLY REASON…. ’cause I CAN

 

SO STOP FOOLING AROUND, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER, AND do Whatever you wanted to.

Magic Fix od ArtDeco.

O ile muszę przyznać, że Arteco osiągnęło idealną czerwień przy zachowaniu cudownej jedwabistej konzystencji jeśli bierzemy pod uwagę szminki… mówię tu o Dita von Teese nr. 620, który nie dawno pojawił się na polskim rynku… jednak Magic Fix ich produkcji nie jest jeszcze ideałem.

Wypróbowałam go.

Fakt, sprawia, że szminka utrzymuje się dłużej. Zapobiega rozmazywaniu się jej i dzięki niemu zostawiamy mniej śladów na szkle etc. Mówię mniej, gdyż w brew temu co mówi ulotka, nie eliminuje on tego problemu całkowicie… ślady są , ale ich intensywność zmiejsza się o 80-90%.

Jest spełnieniem marzeń jeśli mówimy o utrwaleniu szminki… ale jeśli planujesz wybrać się na randkę to odradzam użycie tego specyfiku… no chyba, że Twój partner lubi się kleić do Twoich ust w sensie dosłownym. Tak, kleić. Fix sprawia, że usta stają się klejące, a przynajmniej w.g. mnie nie jest to cecha pożądana przy całowaniu. Większość facetów tego nie lubi, dodatkowo fix rujnuje smak i zapach pomadki (po prostu usuwa je).

Wybór należy do Ciebie. Polecam Magic Fix a długie dni w biurze, gdzie pamiętanie o odświeżeniu szminki nie należy do priorytetów… a odradzam jeśli masz w planach romantyczny wieczór.

Psychological problems with switching to Nozbe.com

I’m no psychologist, mind you, but I do like to see myself as an observant and analytical individual.

This post is based purely on my observation over the years of users, and also of myself. Some five years ago I was in the position of any new Nozbe user… no clue about the system… little or no knowledge of the GTD.

 That’s why I have decided to chip in my 5 cents here and point out some of the most common issues a new user might have. Surely, to some this may be discouraging, but I do have to say that it is worth the pain.

 We are all raised with certain beliefs on how one should organize their day. Those principles grow out of observation of our parents, grandparents and later on of our teachers and professors. But for the most part we do not take one aspect into account…that the times change…and as result that which was sufficient or efficient for the older generation might not go well with what is expected of us or what we expect of ourselves. This often leads to frustration and looking for alternative time management solutions.

And here is where Nozbe.com (http://webapp.nozbe.com/a-Amirgse ) appears.

 It is one of many of programs found out there. It is certainly not a cheap solution, but yet tens of thousands of users pay for it. Why do you think they (and I also) feel it is worth it? What is the magic behind it?

 Well, Nozbe concentrates not so much on time management and ordering your tasks as on helping you, encouraging you to get them done… but (yes there is a ‘but’) before you jump at it…it also needs you to think about your duties in a bit of a different way than most of the programs out there. So if you are looking for spending your time on fiddling around with tasks – look elsewhere.  If you want to get things really done – this is the spot for you.

You can say that Nozbe is ‘flat’ in a sense.

There are no priorities. Why? For one, at the end of the day does it really matter what you did first? Or is the fact that you did it more important? I think the fact of getting it done is they key.

Besides if you really need to do things in a certain order and not by their contexts, then ‘drag’n’drop’ allows you to set whatever order you like among your tasks.

There are no sub-tasks or sub-projects. Why? Here David Allen’s book on “Getting Things Done” comes into play … he says that any task that you need to do but requires more then one step is a project… Now why is that? One of the reasons behind it, and behind Nozbe.com being the way it is, is that this flat 1 level organization allows you to see how much you really are getting done and as you task list shortens throughout the day you actually get encouraged to do more and more, because you easily can see the effects. We humans love instant gratification… GTD and Nozbe.com if used properly can give us a sense of it. It is just a different way of looking at the things you do anyway. Multi-level tasks and ever more projects seem never to end…and I do not find that very encouraging if you never really see anything major done.

Now, some can say that they don’t have a problem with that… that most of us have an internal urge for priorities and making multi-level projects that are really very daunting. This is a result of all those years observing how previous generations dealt with matters. For them, with more time, it was fine to sit down with pen and paper and write out their day in point and order… for us… that time can be used for the simple purpose of actually getting things done.

It took me over a year to stop thinking in terms of priorities and looking at things to do in this ‘flat’ perspective. I can’t imagine how hard this can be for older users, but I have to say it is worth every drop of sweat put into it. I do not regret the change I have made, it has made me encouraged and happier about everyday work. And I hope my post will help others in Getting Things Done and being happier about what they do in their daily lives.