How to Get More Reading Done

With every passing month’s new releases, and with every new author you’ve discovered, your TBR (to-be-read) Pile never seems to lessen, when even more books are added on top of it.

I’ve been participating in Goodreads Annual Reading Challenge for 2 years now, (2016 & 2017). Both years (hopefully 2017 included) I’ve surpassed the number of books I thought I’d read for that year.

To start of with, I don’t go for the outrageous number of pledging 120 books for that year. I know its a “challenge”, but I like my goals to be S.M.A.R.T. (Just Google it)

I have an estimate of how many books I’ll be buying – well, planning to buy, in the year. Meanwhile, all my past hauls have lead to my bookshelf having 50% TBR books. [My Kindle Library is more of 90% TBR]. I make a point to finish at least one book per month. Adding the books I’m planning to buy, plus the books that are top of my TBR. Then rounding it – I end up with around +/- 20 books as my personal ‘challenge’ for that year.

 

So how to exceed that and get more reading done:

  1. Read more than one book. On average I read 3-4 books during the same time.
  2. Have books on various platforms. I have my paperbacks, Kindle, and epub reader app on my phone.
  3. Carry your book every where. During commute, or while eating lunch, or even at your work. These little breaks can give you a lead in your challenge, and having it various platforms will help as well. Heck, you can even get comfy and all tucked in your bed, and get your Kindle out, read until it falls over your sleeping face. (Been there, Done that)

The next two suggestions are from EpicReads via their Youtube Channel. I’ve yet to try it out myself.

  1. I’m not a fan of Audible Books, but it can seriously get some ‘reading’ done, by just how convenient it is. And if you increase the speed of narration, Bam! you are getting through that TBR-pile at the speed-of-sound! (ok bad joke)
  2. Commit a certain time for reading. We all are busy people, but one has to make time for reading. As a way to relax yourself after a hectic day, carve out little time – 20 minutes – to just get a mug of coffee/tea and a good book.

 

However, there comes that time when you hit a reading slump and nothing really catches your attention.

I prefer to give a short break, and let is run its course. but when it stretches over, I pick out a book that I’ve already read and thoroughly enjoyed. Re-reading books reminds me of the love I have for reading and the relaxation I get from it.  By the time I finish re-reading, I’m luckily out of my slump and can get back to picking a new book. (Yay!)

 

Lemme know how you get more reading done, and don’t let the slump get you in a dump. (ok seriously no more jokes)

 

Happy Reading!

 

🙂 FTK

Socialize like an Ambivert

I used to stress out every time there would be a gathering at my place, or whenever a group of friends’ friends organized a massive BBQ and everyone was going.

The thing was, I realized, I didn’t have to go. Sure, my friends were going to be there, but I can easily excuse myself earlier and all would be well.

I forgot to mention, I used to have social anxiety, which made me miserable around people.

 

As an ambivert (part introvert and part extrovert), while I didn’t mind social events, I just as same didn’t mind being by myself. So that left me on neutral grounds. Most of my decisions were then deflected to these questions:

‘Who else is going to be there?’ and

‘Do I really have the time to go there?’ and

‘Do I have something to wear for this event?’

Once I had the answers, it made it easier to schedule my time and work around with what I had left to finish of my pending chores.


So how to Party like an Ambivert?:

  1. You know who your friends are. And you also know which of those friends you are most comfortable with. It’s highly likely that they will be similar to you in terms of personality. Hanging out with them during social events, will give a sense of security to your introvert-side, while your extrovert-side still has fun.
  2. You don’t have to go to each and every single party or Happy-Hour you are invited to. Pick out the places that you like to visit or is convenient for you. This way, it’s easier when you need some quiet-time from all the socializing. But hey, if you want to be a party-animal; by all means, who’s stopping you.

But what to do when you are at a work-related event?

How to Network like an Ambivert?

  1. For a Seminar or conference, you might be able to find out who is attending. Look them up and connect with them via online platforms beforehand, then re-introduce yourself at the event.
  2. Observe the audience. You are not the only one who doesn’t know anyone or is feeling out of place. Narrow down to couple of people you might be interested in talking to, they might be of the same industry or might have mutual connection with you.
  3. Small talk is ugh, probably avoidable, because it may make you awkward. Instead start with some industry news you read recently, or better yet, discuss the topic of the event itself.
  4. Don’t push yourself, you don’t have to meet everyone. Quality over quantity.

 

Hope this helps! Happy Partying!

 

🙂 FTK

Photo via Visual Hunt .com

De-technologize Yourself

Always Connected..
Always Sharing..
Always Online..

According to Entrepreneur.com, Millennials spent 18 hours a day consuming online content. That figure was of 2014, I’m sure it has only increased since then – I personally spend 9-10 hours looking at the screen at work alone.
After returning from work, it’s usually Netflix and Chill, otherwise I’m reading books-on Kindle.

So basically, I’m on the screen, all the time. And even when I’m travelling, the routine doesn’t change much.

Now, however, when I travel, I would limit my online time to 2-3 hours everyday. The remaining would be going “old-school”. I would opt for an actual book, to pass time on public transports, I’d take photos from an actual camera, and not my phone, and wherever possible, I’d use an actual paper-map (though I often use my phone in the end, just to make I don’t get lost).
In the beginning it was impossibly difficult to leave my phone and not constantly look at it. But sooner than I expected, I got accustomed to the fact that, well, you really don’t have to check your phone every 5 minutes.
I started noticing everything around me, started to interact more with people, and indulged myself in more creative things.

Back to routine life, it isn’t always possible to stay away from technology all together, but I try to use it in more productive way and to balance it with something non-techie, like reading or crafting, etc.

This has limited my obsession of posting everything on social media and gave me time to spare to pursue others stuff, and to live in the moment.

 

🙂 FTK

Photo via Visual Hunt

Diet and Weight Loss

Although I am of average built, with a BMI of 22-23, my weight has fluctuated almost 15kgs in the last 3 to 4 years. For my body type, I’m used to having a gradual weight gain, and even slower weight loss. But just the sheer change in my routine and eating habits lead me to loose 10 kgs in one year, and gain back almost 5kgs in the following 6 months.

I also just completed online course for “Diploma on Weight Loss”. Here are the top three things I learned:

1. Dieting doesn’t work for long-term

It doesn’t, I’ve tried to diet before, and just wasn’t able to commit to it. Other than being able to commit to it or not, dieting is a short-term fix. It will help you look good for a special occasion few months away, but sooner than later, you will return back to unhealthy eating. For a long-term, you will need to change your lifestyle, eating healthy meals regularly is better for you body than crash dieting for a week and then eating junk food.

2. Learn to Plan your Meals

It becomes difficult to meal plan when you are living with family, but living alone, I was able to plan out what I’ll be eating for next 4 days, based on that, I would know exactly what to buy when I went to grocery shop. Of course, certain ‘cheat’ days would spring up, when I don’t feel like cooking, or when I’m eating out with friends. But as a whole, eating ‘healthy’ and cooking your meals rather than ordering a takeout, helps reduce weight. Also, skipping meals is a no-no, because if you skip one meal, you might binge in the next meal.

3. Basic Workout is Necessary

I’m not a avid gym-goer, but as my lifestyle is mostly sedentary, due to long working hours at a desk-job, and then being too tired to do anything else, it is important to exercise on a regular basis,  but no need for an extreme workout. a short run would keep your calories in check, and would give you stamina.

 

“You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake.” -Unknown

 

🙂 FTK

Photo Credit: Visual Hunt.com

Reflections on Cross-Cultural Living

Where’s Home?

Residing elsewhere away from your ‘home-country’ has its challenges, but when you are second-or-third-generation to be born-and-raised there, that ‘new’ place soon becomes the only home you truly know and love.

You are your own kind of person – a hybrid.
You carry traditions and beliefs of both places.
But now you are to live abroad – a third ‘new’ place.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” ― Anita Desai

 

Living and Traveling
When I decided moved to Chicago to pursue my post-grad, I was a mix of emotions; which drove me half mad by the time I actually moved there. Being a frequent traveler, I thought “How hard can this really be?” I had forgotten that I wouldn’t be a tourist any longer, no room service, no bed-n-breakfast, etc. Here, I’ll have to cook, clean, and study – and most stressful aspect- for me personally – to live alone.

Cultural Shock
I found the first three months to be an educational-adjustment experience. I created my new routine. I noticed how many things I had to finish myself before they piled up and ruined my weekend. (And I found out how much a bad cook I am). Regardless, no matter how excited I had been in the first few weeks, slowly, slowly, the excitement was washed away. I started feeling homesick. Missed Home and Family. Missed having dinner conversations and planning the weekend.

Soon, I was counting down to the next holiday when I’ll be flying back home.
The remaining time, after the first three months – that had been super slow, continued at a normal pace. I got accustomed to my routine – almost to the point of boredom. But somehow started liking it, this had become “my time” – doing what I wanted – when I wanted.

Same yet Different
Soon after a better part of the year, which included often going back home on holidays, the lines blurred. Rather than finding differences and adjusting, now I found similarities between my lifestyles in both places. How the life would go on even if you aren’t in the city. The little differences in language and currency would make me adjust again to my home country, but it got easier with time.

Returning Home
I hate saying goodbyes, and it still makes me teary  when I think of my friends and the moments we shared. Even the bad days are a sweet reminiscent of the time spent there. Home, remained exactly the same. I knew what to expect when I return. The time spent in Chicago seems a distant past, like a good book or movie I lived. But readjusted was needed – to move on – back to normal life.

“When traveling becomes routine, Home becomes Luxury” – FTK

🙂

Photo via Visual Hunt