STUDY FOR LONG HOURS

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How to series no 10

How to study for long hours

Exams are what we all go through at some point during our lives, some more than others so here are some pointers to help you manage long periods of productive study time and even pull all nighters. I’m not going to include stuff like wear comfy clothes and keep the cellphone away because you already know it. So here we go with the rest..

1.A good start– Start after a good rest preferably 8hrs of sleep if you study in the morning or a good relaxing 90 min nap if after a long day of work.Fresh start is better if you have a study plan of 6-8 hrs at one go. The important point here is to make sure that you end it with a couple of stretching exercises so that your body keeps up a good circulation going on in all the muscles which were not used during your desk time.

2.Study space– have a personal work station be it in the home office or a desk and chair in a corner. The feel of sitting on chair and table with proper light makes you do your work in a more important and official way. Library environment is better conducive to exams preparations than at home in bed. Keep the  tv/phone/distractions at bay.
3.Hydration and nutrition – Keep a water bottle and some fruit within reach. The water is to keep you hydrated and prevent you getting drowsy. Also frequent toilet breaks won’t let you sleep easily. Fruits are light and healthy options since heavy meals tend to induce sleep. Have some nuts to munch on in between if you like. Avoid meals loaded with carbs especially fried foods like chips which are more harmful in the long run.

4.Fixed time- Start studying at same time every day. This helps your body to prepare itself for the task ahead and adjust better. Find what hours suit you the best, are you an early bird? or a night owl? Whatever is your peak time, just stick to that.

5.Breaks– Its a risk as well as a benefit so be extra careful here. Take breaks for 10 mins only after studying for 50 mins. Set an alarm if you have to or you can do 10 minutes chores like fold the laundry, take out the trash, take a stroll, dance to music or workout in between study breaks. The trick is to avoid doing what you love spending time on like instagram or Netflix. These act as distractions which tire you and it becomes difficult to go back to the focus zone again.

6.Track the progress– Keep a record of your study hours just like you do at your job. Imagine yourself having a 9-5 workday. Daily charting down of your hours helps to keep up the self discipline and motivation. If you plan to study for say 6 hrs each day it will take a few days for the concentration levels to build up. Start by trying study 30 mins more each day till you reach your goal.

7. Divide time- If you cant sit at the same place for long you can do it in parts instead of an 8 hour stretch. Divide it into 4 parts of 2 hour sessions each. When you study in sessions you can reinvent eg. session 1 for learning – fresh mind retains more. Session 2- problem solving/ practice test since you have the juices flowing. Session 3- light reading. Session-4 revising.

8.Variety- When studying for finals where you have 8-10 subjects pair different subjects- a major subject with a minor. Select topics that are a major chunks of the subject and do them first. The easy part can be kept for light reading later on. Break the monotony and keep it fun.

9. Study techniques– if the traditional method that you use is not working anymore try different methods like active reading, highlighting, summarising, making notes, teaching yourself etc. You can learn about various study techniques from the internet and adopt what speaks to you and does justice to your subject.

10.Rewarda good day with an episode on Netflix or a treat at the end. Rewards are a way of encouraging positive changes. But do plan extra carefully if you did not have a good study day this time. Don’t worry you will get there over time, be patient and carry on.

If you have reached here, a little reward for your extra boost!

11.Bonus tip– Change location /subject/topic if you not getting it anymore. You have read it 5 times but still not getting it , its better to turn the page and keep it for the end.  Don’t waste more time than you already did. 

Pick up your books and get started!!! I believe in you.

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AT HOME PAMPER ROUTINE

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How to series no 9

How to have a pamper routine at home

I know you work so hard that a break is well earned once in a while. When the world is full of people and life is full of instances that test your patience to no end, you deserve to cut off and give a moment all to yourself. Since we can’t afford luxury trips to the spa every week or a weekend gateway to the Bahamas, this is a home care package to give it to yourself when feeling low and dry or just in a mood to make use of that extra time on making your inner self really happy!

1.Massage oils-  that gentle rhythmic slow motion pressure on just the right spot whether it’s the scalp or sore leg muscles makes you cry out in relief easing out the worries you’ve been carrying along. You don’t need a professional always. Just take a few drops of your favourite oil (btw mine is coconut) and massage it from head to toe. You bet nothing feels more relaxing than this.

2.Face- its important, trust me i know.You look tired all the time and that needs to go! So pick up a face pack and face mask and get it going. Clean the pores, the blackheads with a scrub and afterwards do hydrate with a moisturizing lotion even. Add cucumbers for that vibe if you want.

3.Manicure- nails, something we can love or hate but simply can’t ignore.  Before anything just soak them in lukewarm water for a few mins. Then cutting and filling followed by french, plain nail paint, gel , acrylic, basically whatever you want.

4.Haircare– first hair mask, make it at home if you wanna keep it simple then headwash. Pick up the blow dryer or curler for a professional feel but the natural waves after air drying completely are the best.

5.Exfoliation- soak your body beforehand in warm bath. Exfoliation softly done by body scrubs , loofahs or even a pumic stone with your regular bath soap will suffice. Its important to remove the dead skin but don’t scrape yourself crazy.

6. Shave-  only after exfoliation that opens up your pores that you pick up a shaving cream and razor on the lather in neat and clean strokes. Don’t apply too much pressure or you will cut yourself. Rest I think you will manage. 

7.Moisturise- after washing away everything with water, put on that lotion very generously. You do your skin a favour every time you moisturize it so make it a habit.

8.Go the extra mile- pick up the tweezers for stray eyebrow hairs, open a tan bottle, bring out your bath bombs, Epsom salt. Whatever that you wished you would one day. Do it for yourself now. The wait is long over.

9. Ambience– with a mellow lightning, use scented candles if need be or an essential oil dispenser for a special aroma that invites your senses to tranquility. 

10.Comfort – it being food and music, hot chocolate, cupcakes, pizza, Chinese, wine. Whatever is your cheat meal, just dig in and let it melt in your mouth while listening to some jazz or old melodies. Just keep it simple in the background and focus on yourself.

As soon as the world washes away while you lounge, a freshness will settle in which will rejuvenate your energy source. Until the next time.

ATTENDING A CLASS/LECTURE

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How to series no 8

How to attend a conference, lecture or a class. You maybe a student full time or part time, working from home or running a business. Even if its a spin class..you always should follow some pointers that will help you reap maximum benefits out of everything you do. Enjoy the most out of all you can with these.

1.Arrive early be on time because early bird takes the worm. You are less likely to miss important introductions about the topic as well as the speaker. Get a good seat, be comfortable about the surrounding. Go to the loo if you want.

2.Look  sharp dress comfortably so that you can sit through long hours but look smart as if you are ready to meet your in law’s. How you look should reflect your personality and makes an impression on people you meet the first time.

3.Sit in the front  you will listen more attentively and the speaker is more likely to remember your face than if you remain at the back. Also you are less likely to make mistakes in a practical or training session as the teacher is looking out for you. 

4.Read if you know the topic beforehand reading will benefit you in many ways like understanding the of subject and better retention. Knowing about what the topic is going to be encourages you to participate actively.

5.Ask questions –  weather its during the lecture if allowed or at the end of the session. If in doubt do get up and ask. You never know how many other people will be thinking of same but afraid to be in the spotlight. Even the speaker feels better knowing you actually listened to them.

6.Do away distractions –   keep away your phone on silent in the bag. Avoid talking in between or overhearing the gossip in the row next to you. Instead focus on the task you came for.

7.Learn-  never miss an opportunity to learn. Learning is a top priority in every field if you want to progress. Any chance missed to learn is a door left closed.

8.Introduction to the speaker. Its very important to know your teacher so that you remain updated about the next class as well as any projects or tests coming up. 

9.Network with collegues and other listeners. Make acquaintances that may help you attend future classes together and lookout for each other. Who knows you may get new friends. 

10.Don’t forget to collect study material
– study materials that are given out before or after the lecture. Pamphlets to ebooks. You will need it. Even if you don’t , you can always pass on info to others.

BEST NIGHT ROUTINE

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How to series no.7

Have the best night routine

Night time is the goodbye to your day so don’t rush it or it will come back to haunt you in the morning. Instead sign off in style so here is one such routine you can try to follow so that you wake up with a smile and no regrets.

1. Walk around – take a leisure walk after dinner. It can be in the neighborhood or a walk around your house. Try to do 2 min tasks for example checking the locks on doors and windows, unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry and picking up stuff lying strewn around to lessen the burden on tomorrow’s chores list. Also moving around after dinner helps digestion by getting mild exercise in one form or another.

2. Prepare for tomorrow – first set the alarm. Then lay out clothes for next day. Pack your bag (handbag or school bag) so that you wake up next day without worrying about trivial stuff.

3. Unwind – get a hot shower, it is a quick way to relax your sore muscles from the day. Have a cup of warm cinnamon milk or chamomile tea, they will help you sleep better. Light a candle if you want a soothing aroma.

4. To do list –make one for tomorrow and write down all the tasks on top of your mind listing according to priority to make sure you don’t forget anything. 

5. Digital detox– don’t bring your phone to the bedroom. This should be a strict policy in your house. Late night instagram scrolling leads to sleepless nights and stalking stranger profiles. So keep your phone on the kitchen counter or the coffee table so you can reach not before morning. Same goes for the iPad, kindle etc.

6. Take meds-  this is when you take your nightly vitamins or other meds after dinner but before going to bed. Incorporate it into a routine and you will never fear missing it again.

7. Brush-  2 words. Dental hygiene. Less and trips to the dentist. Also if you had post dinner snacks or milk/tea etc.

8. Pray/ gratitude-  saying your prayers or a few words of grattitude go a long way to relieve your mind of everything that troubles you. Be it a relationship or money matters. Let it out to empty the stress and make space for positive vibes and thoughts through the night and life in general.

 9. Read- a good book. Daily reading habits before bed is the best food you can give to your brain. After doing all the above you are now done for the day. Your mind is clear and body is relaxed. Reading even a few pages helps you learn better and sleep better. However keep in mind when to stop turning the pages and get your shut eye.

10. Say goodnight -aloud to your partner or your family (even if they are in another city, you will feel a sense of being closer) or even yourself and turn off the lights.

Dream love, sunshine and flowers.

The novel chapter 10

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The rain did not stop pouring and they had to rush to the sheds over the far end of the lake where the fishing boats were kept. Cele on the horse with the guy on the bike in lieu.All three of them crowded under the shed roof along with the boats.Out of all the scenarios of their next encounter which played in her head, what were the chances of something like this happening.

None of them uttered a word and the rain was making all the noise around them beating down on the metal sheets above. The sky was still dark so that meant they could be stuck here for a while. As she was sitting on the end of an old wooden bench since Naaz was standing tied to its other end looking at the rain outside. Cele was trying to steal glances at him sitting on a make shift stool out of an old oil barrel staring at the lake filling up with rain drops. He looked a little pensive and bored from his profile. Cele wanted to take a closer look at his face. All that she could see now from the side view was a straight slant forehead marked at the end by thick brows with long lashes, she wondered what color his eyes were while eyeing his rugged jaw marked by a shadow of a light stubble . He wore a dark blue checkered shirt with jeans almost too casual she thought. He didn’t even bother to dress up. Not that it was a date. They had not prr decided to meet here. It was by chance, she sighed internally. Who was she kidding! She had wanted to meet him and there was no denying that. From the moment she heard the rumble of his bike on the road her heart had stopped and her head had become cloudy like the sky. As the clouds above them had decided to wait no more to pour out their contents Cele had no option but to lead the horse to turn along the path by the side of the lake till they reached the sheds. The guy had also followed them to the shelter and put his bike against the wall uttering no word. He had however looked a few times at her when Cele was pretending to calm the horse stroking gently after dismounting. Also he did not sit down on his barrel until she found a space to sit on the bench first. As much as she acted oblivious to the fact that he was sitting only a few steps away from her, his presence in her world definitely was the only thing in her mind.

Finally she took a deep breath and blocked her head. “Hey!” She sounded too loud and eager to her own ears.

“Hi” he said as he turned his head in her direction.

“My name is Celestie” she said and looked up at him.

He looked into her eyes, holding her gaze and smiled “I’m Jim.” She had finally given in and he knew it now.It made her feel warm, his voice and his eyes.

It was so sudden like the breeze that a sense of familiarity and comfort engulfed her. It was somewhat a bit frightening for her, hence, instead of smiling back she averted her eyes to look down at her shoes.

“So you were out on a walk?” He asked cautiously.

“No, I was going to my friends place actually. I thought I should pick her up for college.” Cele was not sure yet as to how much she wanted to share. 

“Oh, I finished college 2years back.”he replied.

“Its my last semester.”she said.

“Yeah.Good.”he said ending the topic for now.

Not to let the conversation die out before the silence creeped in again Cele prompted another round by asking “so, what did you study?”

“I did business and marketing. Had a job which I left finally to come home. So what about you, what next?”

“I do have an acceptance letter to a buisness course next fall, still a few months to decide. Its that or taking up an internship and start working.”

He got quiet for a while and then looked at her “You should go ahead I think. With that course I mean. More you study more options you have. If you want a better career growth I mean.”

“Yeah I will probably.” She felt good knowing how genuine he sounded when he said that. As if he wanted her to focus on her professional life and was actually interested in her life and dreams.

Their conversation thinned out like the rain which was now very light as the clouds were scattering off to their next destinations.

“Your friend must be waiting for you”

“She did not know I was coming, I was out on a walk just to give the horse some exercise” Cele was honest this time.

“I must admit I don’t want you to leave. But I hope we will meet again hopefully.Soon.” This time he got up and walked to where she was sitting.

Cele also got up and together they walked to the horse. He helped hoist her up by lifting from the waist, being a perfect gentleman without his touch lingering on longer than needed.

“Tomorrow?” Cele replied looking into his eyes. Hazel would be her favourite color from now on.

“I would like that. Really. A lot .” he was smiling now.

“So, Same time Celestie”

“Yeah. ” she could not mutter any other word after hearing him say her name.

“Like a date” he said and stepped back forcing her to end this lovely morning with him.

“Maybe.” It was then she released her smile back at him and took off after waving a goodbye.

She did not know that he actually stood there for a long time even after she was out of his sight.

The novel chapter 9

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When Cele woke up next morning as usual she started brushing her teeth before she looked at the clock. It was 6 and her first class was at 10. There was plenty of time, should she go back to bed or …go for her morning walk that she had avoided for a week now. That anticipation had not settled and the bubble of a dull morning burst oozing the rush and excitement which settled at the pit of her stomach. She got to thinking was there any chance of meeting him again? Would he actually come for her or guys don’t take what they say to girls that seriously? She did not know any of the answers and nor could she talk to anyone about this. The secrecy of the whole scenario made her even more nervous. She rinsed her mouth and rushed to look out of her window. There were a few dark clouds in the sky but it was nothing that would otherwise have stopped her from going out.

She got dressed extra carefully that day wearing her figure flattering black jacket with cream pants and brown boots. It was casual yet she rarely wore this to college. Feeling overdressed and still not ready to face the guy she wasn’t sure if she wanted to meet, Cele went downstairs to grab some breakfast. It was the feeling of over self consciousness that had her thoughts preoccupied with the imaginary conversation ahead, specifically what she was going to say if they actually met when, her father called out to her.

He was sitting on the patio in the backyard having scrambled eggs which Cele was more than happy to dig in on normal days but today she had her stomach full with butterflies. “Morning Pops” she said as she dropped down on the sofa chair. As her father began telling her about recent buisness and how their competitors had started expanding into horse feed trading with the farm production this year on the lower side, all that she was listening did not register with her brain somehow, hence the only reply her father got was the sound of Cele sipping on her coffee.

When she looked up, her father’s gaze from behind his glasses was fixed on her. She downed her coffee with a gulp and picked up the stray apple which had rolled down the fruit basket. Standing up and rubbing the apple on her jacket sleeve in an attempt to get it clean “I’m going to take Naaz for a walk before college starts Daddy. See you later” she said as she hurried away. “Have a nice day dear” he said to himself it seems as Cele went off munching.

As soon as they got out of the gates, she kicked her horse to pick up speed. Racing along the usual morning route they hadn’t been on since the past week, Cele felt a sense of calmness settling in her heart and the familiarity of their lush green fields further enveloped her in the security that the world around her was still the same. She no longer felt the need to worry about any stranger. This is how her life had always been, a green field of sunshine and free breeze.

As they passed the fields she slowed Naaz to a strut while up in the horizon she could see some dark clouds gearing up. It was going to rain definitely, just a matter of time. Cele looked at her watch showing 7:30. She realised she still had time to swing by Tamara’s to see if she was ready so that they could walk together to college.

Turning to the lakeside route Cele gazed at the clouds above getting darker. She debated to turn around before it started pouring when she heard a rumble in the distance. Maybe it was the clouds or it was the possibility of meeting him again but her heart had already started beating so loud against her ear drums that it masked all the other sounds. Her brain was desperately trying to warn her that she was in trouble either way, but her heart knew it was time she got in this sweet trouble inviting her.

HAVE A GOOD SLEEP

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How to series no 6

How to have good sleeping habits

Sleep is as important as any other part of the day but as we grow older and busier in our lives we struggle with it on a daily basis. Sometimes even a medicine becomes necessary for this vital part of our day to day life. Remember the good old days you loved sleeping, its not so hard to do it again. Here are some tips that will help you sleep just like a baby.

1. Early Dinner – you can’t sleep hungry so dont skip it and have a healthy meal but do take a walk after, specially if its a heavy dinner. If you are craving for snacks later on, have a warm glass of milk instead. Avoid coffee or any caffeine after 5pm and heavy meals after 8. Ideally the dinnertime and bedtime should be 2-3 hours apart.

2. Bedtime – Have a fixed time. 10 means 10. One single email reply or the next episode can wait till tomorrow. Say goodnight to yourself strictly at the set time and switch off the lights.

3. Nightclothes – comfortable clothes are a must. Tight clothes will cut off your circulation. Wear clothes you like to breathe in.

4. Switch off – Don’t carry technology to bed. Avoid social media one hour before bedtime. You can use the traditional paper and pen instead to write your journal or just read.

5. Hot Shower it helps relax your muscles after an entire day of hard work. This is a major step to remove the stress and welcome relaxation. After a shower your body will officially be ready to shut down and unwind.

6. Atmosphere – Keep temperature, sound and light control. These are three cardinals for a good sleep which ensures you wake up refreshed. Have the thermostat at a comfortable level (ideal temp is 24-28°C), peaceful surroundings or any white sound in the background, a clean bedding, a cozy blanket and a scented candle if you feel the need.

7. Water – a glass by your bedside in case you wake up in the night feeling thirsty. Saves the time and the pain of going to the kitchen and bumping into furniture. Also make sure you pee before you jump into the sheets. We did this as kids too so no harm in doing it now again.

8. Posture – Have a mattress that is neither too soft and not too hard. Have a proper back support. Also try sleeping on your back and not on your stomach if you have back pain or after a heavy dinner. This additionaly helps avoid nightmares.

9. Gratitude – make peace with yourself to banish conflict so that you can sleep well. Try to have a gratitude journal or simply pray. You can also try deep breathing to calm yourself.

10. Happy thoughts – When you close your eyes think of the one thing that makes you really happy. Slowly your imagination will turn into dreams as you drift off.

Zzzz..sweet dreams.