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WHAT’S IN MY PENCIL CASE(S)?

hello everyone! i use a loooot of pens on a daily basis, so i thought it’d be cool to let you guys take a sneak peek into my pencil cases! without further ado, here’s a quick rundown on my pencil case contents!

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On Opening Jars & Self Compassion

[I sent this as an email this morning to @merlin​ Mann & Dan Benjamin about recent episodes of their podcast, Back to Work. I want it to live here, too.] 

Hi Merlin and Dan. I’ve been thinking a lot about something you said, Merlin, on last week’s Back to Work, and it just combined with something you said a long time ago in a really helpful way.

The idea from last week was that when we look back at our past selves with regret or frustration, we should remember—or at least consider—that we did the best we could. We did what we could. I’ve been struggling lately—i.e. my whole adult creative life—with focus. I lose time on twitter or trawling the internet, and then I get really mad at myself. Right now I’m working on a big writing project under a tight deadline, and this idea of “Hey, I did what I could” sounded, rather than resigned, very compassionate to me. (It’s a good counter to the narrative that we procrastinate so that we can say “Well, it’s not my best, but I finished it,” to have an excuse for failure. Instead, this reminds me to say, “This was my best, and it happened the way it happened.”)

This connects, for me, with another hugely useful thing you’ve said. It might not even have been a metaphor, but it’s become a very important metaphor for me. It’s your instructions for opening jars. Basically: don’t just grip tighter, focus on your shoulder (or something), etc. This has become a guiding metaphor for me in thinking about habit-change. I can’t just buckle down harder. That’s often my instinct. NO TWITTER TODAY FROM 9AM TO 6PM. I do this—lots of us do this—with food, too. NO JUNK FOOD. SEVENTEEN SERVINGS OF VEGETABLES. TRY TO HAVE ONE PERFECT DAY, JUST ONE. And, duh. It. Does. Not. Work. Because we’re just trying to grip the lid of the jar harder and harder and harder.

The thing I realized from putting these two ideas together is that sometimes our arms just aren’t strong enough yet for a particular jar. If I can’t lift a heavy weight at the gym, I don’t get mad at myself for not being strong enough. But if I can’t write for five hours straight, or if I long for twitter, I get mad at myself. I feel like a failure. But my brain-muscles just aren’t there yet!

So, what are my options for opening this jar of focus? Focus on my shoulder instead of my grip—dig deeper to change the habits, change my approach instead of forcing it. Grab a grippy thing or run the lid under hot water—find other strategies that scratch the twitter itch but don’t derail my writing. Build up my arm strength—meditate. Etc. And, through it all, be compassionate toward myself. Because I’m obviously not not-trying. I’m working really fucking hard. But working hard at being mad at myself and comparing myself to other people sucks and I’m going to keep trying to stop.

[22/100] days of productivity - 02.08.2016:

I’m writing a rough draft of a biology lab report. I got about 4 hours of sleep last night, so I’m extremely surprised I’m not dead by now!!!! 

How to be productive

IMPORTANT NOTE: You`re not a robot and you’ll never be. Our lifes are a sum of constant ups and downs, so don`t expect yourself to work all day and still feef fresh as in the morning.

PLANNING OUT WORK TIME: Write all taks you have to do and divide them into categories. These are mine:

  • work (graphic design, shop)
  • hobby
  • school
  • home
  • habits
  • other
  • to buy

Doing it gives me a clear view of what exactly I have to do. And also I`m a organisation freak so even my tasks has to be organised!

APPS/OTHER USEFUL TOOLS: Some like using a piece of paper, some have bullet journals and some (like me) use applications. This is a list of them:

  • Any.DO - I keep all tasks there. I love their feature called “a moment for Any.DO” which is an easy way to decide which tasks are for today and which are for later.
  • Productive - habits recorder. Looks cute and works great.
  • Pomodrone - I like to track my working hours with ease.
  • Wunderlist - I keep all my recipies there and use subtasks as ingredients. With planned meals I don`t starve and I`m more productive!
  • Sunrise - it`s a simple calendar, I just love the design.
  • Google Keep - for random notes so I won`t lose them.

YOUR BODY & MIND:

  • enough sleep? -  excercise, drink tea, take a nap, try to get a better sleep.
  • hungry/thirsty? - only healthy meals/snacks get help. Cook it yourself, it will taste better.
  • can`t concentrate? - turn off your phone, clean your workplace and avoid putting too many things on your desk.
  • feeling down? - many of them are not serious - just get it done, in the end you’ll have to, so why not doing it earlier? If it serious spend time with friends or on your own watching movies, playing games. Having a hobby really helps.

THINGS THAT CAN BE HELPFUL:

  • sense of sight - decorate your place, make it beautiful and personal.
  • sense of hearing - I LOVE having music played in the background. Spotify has great playlists if you`re lazy to create your own.
  • sense of taste - when you work, you have to eat! Healthy please!
  • sense of smell - candles, perfumes, hand creams…
  • sense of touch - wear comfortable clothes which you like.

ENDING NOTE: I`m really a lazy person so if these tips has helped me, they will help you as well. Your time is the most precious thing you`ve got. Be satisfied and happy how did you spend it. You`re human, we all are and we all have the same clocks which works exactly the same, not faster, not slower. If some people can make it, you can as well.

❄️Snow Day❄️

There’s something about snow days that makes me real productive. It’s not even 12 yet and I’ve already:

- Cleaned the kitchen
- Cleaned a bathroom
- Done a load of a laundry
- Picked up my room
- Study for my calculus test Thursday

Now that’s what I call productivity! Maybe when I have more sleep, I feel like doing more stuff? *cough*school starts too early*cough*.

Groceries bought
Trash taken out
Dishwasher emptied/dishes done
Laundry almost folded

I’m feeling good. I’ve been consistently productive for about as long as I’ve been sober (minus the withdrawal days) and I sleep so much better. I’m feeling amazing and proud.

The Power of a Checklist: How to Stay Disciplined and Avoid Stupid Mistakes


In today’s world, we have more information and knowledge than ever before. Most of it is readily available and easy to access – all it takes is a quick search on Google or Wikipedia and you can pull up a fact about nearly anything.

Yet with this burst of knowledge has also come increasing complexity and confusion. We know more than ever before, but we don’t always know how to apply it and how to make the most of it. We have trouble putting this knowledge into action – making sure that it is useful and practical.

In many ways, the information age has made us a lot less practical and less wise with the knowledge we know. We know so much now that we get easily distracted, we lose sight of the basics, we miss the essentials, and we make mistakes when we know we know better.

According to Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public health researcher (who explores how to maximize our use of knowledge in his book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right):

Mistakes when “we know better” are often more painful than mistakes we make when we have to make a guess and just try our best. These mistakes are super important to avoid for a person like Atul Gawande, because as a surgeon a simple mistake could make the difference between life or death.

How do we not get lost in this ocean of information? How do we make the best of the knowledge we have, while still leaving room for the unexpected? According to Dr. Gawande, the power can be found by making a simple checklist.


Click here to read more

Hello everyone! This is my first official guide, and I’m very excited to post part 1 of this series! (I devoted a lot of love to this post please help me spread this to a student in need!) I may also make another study post guide as I compile and discover more effective study methods ^^ This is very motivationally dense but I intended for it to be that way and I hope someone out there finds it helpful! 


Read my intro guide to AD/HD here


This post should be helpful if you:

  • have been diagnosed with AD/HD
  • used to be a student who excelled and got away with poor work ethic, but are now academically and emotionally suffering from said work ethic 
  • have absolutely no idea how to organize or discipline yourself
  • are all of the above

Though I am no professional, I speak from both personal experience and from the voices of similar students. You are not alone in the the quest for self improvement, nor are you a helpless case. 

The first thing you must realize:

Everything that is within your power is something that you must try to control. Everything from how you wake up to the way you sleep is an external factor that must be regulated, because if you find it difficult to grapple with inattentiveness or disorganization, then you have to at least keep every other variable in check. 

Just trying is not enough. Blindly working hard is not enough. To eradicate years of poor work ethic means that you must implement deliberate and careful practice into almost every aspect of your life. It’s an intimidating thought, but the reward of it is so great, I promise you! It is so possible, you just have to want it enough.

Not too long ago, I was struggling with the most daunting task of starting to confront my issues. I was the poster child of inattentive AD/HD, struggling with other illnesses and a severe lack of understanding about my purpose in my life. I was a demoralized, depressed individual with no hold on any aspect of my life. Through discovering art and creating my studyblr, I’ve really begun to throw myself into a pendulum of constant work and self improvement! I have off days, obviously, but the fact that not every day is an off day is already miraculous to me! 

And, by no means am I completely perfect now. I’m not even close! But perfection is not the goal, it is continued hard work and perseverance that will get you places.

I won’t ever have a cumulative high school 4.0 GPA. My stress is still monumental even when it deosn’t need to be. I’m still as anxious as ever, and some parts of my life are still horrendously disorganized (I’m getting there, and that concept is diminishing rapidly!)  However, I can physically see the improvement every single day, and that is a feeling that just cannot be beat. 

The little things count, guys; I don’t lose  my headphone twice a day anymore! I don’t forget weekly homework assignments nearly as often as before. I’ve finally begun the process of eliminating every single terrible habit I accumulated, and I’m here, telling you that I am by far not the only one. 


That being said, Here are some study tips specific for the students who lose things twice a day and sometimes forgets to bring their binders to school *guilty.* Shoutout to you guys, we’re not alone. We are every bit as capable and intelligent as anyone else. We are stronger than we realize, but the primary thing obstructing our success is a fundamental trait we sorely lack–

Discipline.

Especially for the kids with AD/HD, the lack of attention regulation makes it nearly impossible to develop these skills as a kid, but I promise that you can. It’s not really your fault; it only becomes your fault when you recognize the issue later and don’t deliberately work toward improving it. 

We must learn how to work hard, because nobody is behind us to cushion our falls anymore. We must grind everyday to reform ourselves. No matter who you are, something will work for you. You just have to want it enough to search for it. 


READ THIS ARTICLE BEFORE PROCEEDING. MARK IT, READ IT, LIVE BY IT, LOVE IT.

What it takes to be great


WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN.

I talk about this more in part two with calendars and apps, but trust me when I say that if you’re a mess, you have to write or type everything down. 

Start a bullet journal, grab an old notebook, do anything, but make sure you write down any valuable semblance of information that ever crosses your mind, or else you will forget. I am a genuine advocate for believing in yourself but believe me when I say that you cannot believe you will remember everything, because you will not. You are a human and you forget things. 

If you’re interested  in starting a bullet journal, here are some posts to refer to :

Bullet journal in-depth guide by @littlestudyspot

Bullet journal official website 

Bullet journal ideas by @liveandstudy

Bullet journal prompts by @kimching232

Remember that a bullet journal does not have to be prompt-heavy or laden with aesthetic typography in order for it to be effective. It can be as straightforward as you need it to be so please do not get caught up in the frills of social media if it does not suit you! Use it as everything and anything you need it to be. 


DO YOU LOSE EVERYTHING? YOU PROBABLY DO.

Buy this.

Or this.

Or this.

If the item requires a remote, STICK THE REMOTE ONTO THE WALL SO YOU DON’T LOSE THE REMOTE.

If you don’t wish to buy an item finder, that’s fine! 

Whether or not you buy an electronic aid, you must get into the habit of putting things back EXACTLY where you want them to be. Not one meter away, not somewhere in its general vicinity, but exactly where it needs to be. 

I force myself to put my earphones back into my backpack the minute I get home, because I used to have to spend ten minutes to find them,

every.

single.

day.

Practice this and don’t cheat! If you’re tired, too bad–get up and place things back where they belong. You can no longer swim in a litany of excuses. Don’t cheat yourself, or else the only person who is at fault is you.


ESTABLISH A ROUTINE

This is vital. Sleep and wake at about the same time everyday, unless exceptions force you to do otherwise. (Procrastination is not a viable excuse.) 

Do not make it a habit to start homework in the late morning. Do not think that since it’s 2am, you have 4 hours to finish your homework before class starts. This kind of passive thinking will virtually destroy every other hope at reverting your work ethic and discipline. Remember, you have no right to complain about being tired if you’re the one perpetuating this poor lifestyle!  Not only is this making you feel lethargic and unmotivated during the day, but it will sustain that lifelong habit of procrastination.

Try to use sleepyti.me to determine an optimal time to wake up based on the time you go to sleep (natural circadian cycles.) You must force yourself to adopt a healthy sleep cycle if you want to feel physically and mentally better!

Pick out your clothing the night before. Force yourself (key word being force) to print all of the papers you need and put all of your supplies into your backpack before you go to sleep.

Wash your face, drink a lot of water, and make it a habit! 


GET A WATCH AND CLOCK.

Purchase a watch that you like, and keep it for as long as it still ticks. Using your phone for the time will often shift from “What time do I need to turn this in?” to “Why hasn’t DiCaprio won an Oscar yet?!!” Don’t be that person. Buy a watch and wear it. put a tiny clock on your table or one on your wall! 


COLOR CODE EVERYTHING!

OH MY GOODNESS When I started doing this, my focus sharpened ten fold, I swear to you. I color code every school subject and item on my calendar because if I do not, I get distracted. Determine a color for everything (Red for psych, pink for math, blue for history, etc…) Use that color in your planners and bullet journals and color code your textbook covers if you need to! The less you have to think about menial correspondence, the more mental capacity you have to focus on more important issues (like being on time to class and actually studying.)  For example, if I see a book with a pink sticker and pink text in my bullet journal, I then immediately know it’s for English.  


MEDIATION  (MHK, SMILING MIND) AND EXERCISE (try the 7 minute workout app)

Meditation will not only promote self control and serenity, but it will strengthen your mental health. At first, it will seem nearly impossible to sit through the given time periods, but force yourself to keep doing it for a while, even if you don’t think it’s for you.

If meditation doesn’t work, then congratulations, anyway! You’ve still achieved the practice of disciplining yourself and forcing yourself to sit through something you don’t like (this will be imperative for classes that you don’t like, projects you hate, or boring part time jobs.)

If meditation really doesn’t help, however, even after a month or two of CONSISTENT trial, then turn to exercise.

Exercise never fails. If you’re lazy, fix it. If you’re un-athletic, walk a little bit, do the seven minute exercise, pace around the house 10 times, walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, try some stretching.  Go to the gym or track, or walk two miles around your neighborhood. It is scientifically proven that exercise will promote chemical balance in your brain.

Ever since I quit swim team in freshman year, I’ve been trying to work out consistently. However, I too, am just like you and I’ve failed to make it a habit. For every week I don’t exercise, I feel more and more tired. This is especially helpful if you’re a hyperactive kid; it will make you more mellow!


HEALTHIER DIET

I am certain that many of us are not living on a very healthy diet right now. if we’re in high school, we’re lazy, and if we’re in college, we’re probably poor. But we have to make both mental and physical health a priority, since they’re so closely interlinked. 

Example:  the Ketogenic diet was designed to aid patients with epilepsy but future studies it effective for other illnesses, AD/HD included. Results show that it works for most patients and poses no short or long term effects.

Disclaimer: I AM IN NO WAY TELLING YOU TO IMPLEMENT THIS DIET. THIS IS MERELY INFORMING EVERYBODY THAT SOME FORM OF DIET CHANGE IS CLINICALLY HELPFUL.

I’m thinking of going in depth about foods that promote focus and energy in a separate guide. I’ll update you guys when I do that! 


STUDY WITH FRIEND

You may have noticed that “friend” is singular. Study groups genuinely do not help everyone, especially if you are extremely disorganized and/or have AD/HD. The reason you’re disorganized is because you’re scatterbrained, and if you’re scatterbrained then groups of people will likely distract you. Study with a friend but find a friend/classmate who will motivate you to work hard and refuse to be distracted by side conversation, but is kind enough to help propel you toward understanding and finishing your work.


WHERE AND HOW DO YOU STUDY?

Do you feel cramped in your room? Try moving to the living room, or a cafe. What kind of lighting do you prefer? In what clothes do you feel most comfortable studying? These are all external factors that, unsurprisingly, matter a lot when it comes to studying.

Personally, I have to change into baggy clothes the minute I get home because I feel restricted in my day clothes. My room makes me feel claustrophobic so I try to finish the bulk of my work after school in the classroom. Comfort (or lack thereof) and environment matters so much when you’re trying to study.

PRO TIP: Remember to get up every once in a while, stretch and walk so that you don’t feel fatigued while studying.


POMODORO METHOD 

READ ABOUT THE POMODORO METHOD

Use the pomodoro method, or something similar for study sessions.  This is so useful for a lot of disorganized kids and students with AD/HD. Try it out! During the short breaks, make sure you don’t check your phone or look at anything distracting. Again, practice discipline and force yourself to look away. Do some stretches, drink some water, and walk a couple laps around the house! 


FINISH EVERYTHING.

You probably don’t have a habit of finishing things. Fix it. Get in the habit of finishing everything you do. Start with a morning routine, try to finish a workout, three bottles of water, etc etc… 

Think of bad habits as a broken leg; even if time and care helps it to heal, you still have a weak leg that you need to put through physical training. You NEED to put in the maximum effort and fight your natural urges to give up halfway through.  Just because your leg has improved doesn’t mean you can walk again. 

Example:  Do you have a lenient teacher who doesn’t check that you’ve completed homework?

Don’t cheat yourself; finish it anyway! If you think you got lucky getting a teacher who doesn’t care, think again. Your careless habits will only then be further perpetuated by you, and that shows that you don’t truly want to get better no matter what type of issue you have.

If you fail to always do this, that’s ok! It’s a learning process. I am still trying to perfect this. If you succeeded Monday through Thursday and mess up on Friday, redeem yourself on Monday. You’re not going to run out of chances anytime soon! Be proactive in your self improvement, don’t wait for someone to give it to you. 

Force yourself to work honestly. Every lazy, dishonest move you make is a step back for routine success. I know that the minute I excuse myself from completing an assignment, I’ll do it again and again and again. However, keep in mind that if you’ve failed to do something right, you are not automatically a failure. You simply have to keep rolling the dice to move forward!


NOTEBOOKS/SUPPLIES

For the disorganized student, TRY NOT TO USE  loose leaf paper. You’re probably going to lose it. Instead,

  1. You can buy two notebooks, one for homework and one for notes
  2. keep one notebook for both
  3. KEEP AN INDEX FOR YOUR NOTES AND HOMEWORK NO MATTER HOW YOU ORGANIZE THEM. Create an actual index, use sticky flags or post its, anything you need! 
  4. If you must turn them in for points, buy folders to store them when you get them back. 

DO NOT LET YOURSELF SLIDE ON THIS ONE. Make sure you do not lose anything.

If you work better with ringed notebooks, buy those. If you like bound notebooks, that’s fine, too! Find out what works the best for you.

Additionally, 

  • Buy a hole puncher for home, and optionally, a portable hole puncher. Make sure you don’t give yourself any excuses to shove everything into the left pocket of your binder until it tears (*cries*). Most teachers have hole punchers in their room! Take advantage of that. 
  • Buy a mini stapler
  • Buy three ring hole enforcers  or 5 star paper. 

BUY A LOT OF FOLDERS

Keep old (but relevant) work in category specific folders, and refer back to them if you need to review, but whatever you do, do NOT hoard everything in your binder.

About once a month, look through these folders and throw out anything you do not need.

Color code everything if you wish!


MUSIC

Usually, music you cannot sing along to is ideal. However, this is not a steadfast rule. 

Example: I don’t listen to Halsey on a daily basis, but her music is perfect for my study sessions (that and Troye Sivan but I listen to Troye Sivan all of the time).

For me, the lazy alt pop beats of both artists are very effective study songs, but your tastes may vary. 

Look at some of these:

3 Hour Study Music 

exam season playlists by @thestudious

classical music by @violaboss


HOW TO COMPREHEND SOMETHING???

Sit down and read it aloud, as though you’re trying to teach it to a kid. Talk to yourself, ask yourself questions and answer them as though you’re both student and teacher; strike up conversation with yourself. Have dual personalities. Play devil’s advocate and ask stupid questions until you get to the root of the issue. 

You’re not weird or crazy for doing this! It’s a proven, popular method of proofreading code in the programming world, known as rubber duck debugging. 

CAN’T REMEMBER THINGS?

Assign weird mental images, acronyms, or pictures to everything you need to remember.

Example:  If you need to memorize a bunch of vocabulary words, look at these. These work really well because your mind won’t easily latch on to boring definitions easily, but they will remember interesting stories! 

Example: For historical figures, I used to create stories for them noting their accomplishments in almost slang-like. humorous language, and that would help me to remember what they did on the test. It works, I swear by it! 

Remember, you’re impulsive and you hate boring things. Stop trying to study like everyone else.


MAKE PLANS AND BE A REAL PERSON.

This sounds “counterintuitive,” but a lot of my tips that sound counterintuitive work the best. Please do not think that being a recluse and trying to study all day is going to work.

Establish a routine, and do the routine like clockwork. Don’t sleep in late unless you’ve pulled all nighters for finals and you need sleep. 

Even on weekends? 

Especially on weekends. You must adhere to a schedule constantly! This doesn’t mean you have to study 24/7, but you need to solidify a daily routine. You can certainly wake up later on weekends, but you must wake up around the same time on a consistent basis anyway.

The weekends were a black hole for me. I’d wake up, stay in bed for hours and lounge until 5, and then tell myself “I still have time to do homework” before bed. NO. DON’T DO THIS. YOU WILL FAIL EVERY SINGLE TIME. 

If you have plans at 6pm, then you now have a deadline. Be tough on yourself to continue your daily routine, even if nobody is watching. Wake up at 9 or 10, brush your teeth, eat some breakfast, do homework until whenever, and then be human for a couple hours. If you don’t finish, you’re screwed, simple as that. Don’t give yourself excuses. Stop trying to baby yourself and extend your own deadlines, because you’re only making matters worse, my friends! 

If you don’t go out with friends often, I recommend either pacing or going outside anyway for a short period of time. Try doing this during sunrise/sunset; the serenity and fresh air during these times will provide clarity for your mind and de-stress you! 

HAVING STRUCTURE IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL. If you don’t do anything in this series, DO THIS.

Because you need structure, joining extracurriculars or clubs is also very helpful. Deadlines, outings, and responsibilities will train you immediately to adopt a stricter sense of discipline, especially when you’re afraid of letting other people down.  I wasn’t kidding when I said that successful students who have AD/HD or were horribly disorganized in the past are often some of the most structured individuals you’ll ever meet. 

Trying to improve your lifestyle now will help you ten fold in the future. You will feel stronger mentally, physically, and emotionally by adhering to structure. It will be worth it! 

Don’t get me wrong. This is extremely difficult, and it goes against everything we’ve inadvertently trained our brains to do. If we could have easily done it, we would have been perfect students this entire time. However, it’s nowhere near impossible, and with great effort and deliberate training (Reference the article I asked everyone to read) you will become great. This is not wishful thinking, this is a fact. You must rewire your perception of what “working toward a goal” actually means before you can start to truly make some progress. 

The feeling of self improvement and success is paramount to anything else, especially when you start seeing significant results. You’ll become happier with yourself, and you’ll start to see that your true potential was only muddled by poor work ethic and confusion, not by a lack of ability, because you are capable. 

These are merely suggestions based on my own suggestions and based on other students with nearly identical stories. These have been proven in the past to help tremendously to those who genuinely try to implement and adhere to them. 

I love you guys! Until next time, my loves <3 

LOOK  OUT FOR PART TWO (more tips, apps and technology)  to be updated soon if this post is received well!