Saturday, August 27, 2016

Decluttering : Desk Edition

Till about a year ago, I used one of those student desks which came attached with bookshelves and were designed to hold computers too. It was organized in a way and I religiously dusted it twice a day, but was chock-full of stuff. Among other things, I had a calendar, an alarm clock, a poster of the periodic table, a daily "good thoughts" calendar, my glasses, two bottles of water, two pen holders full of pens (with the remaining taking up space in one of the drawers), a basket of miscellaneous stationery items, two scientific calculators, my laptop with its two hard drives and adapter and an accompanying pair of headphones RIGHT THERE on the desk. And let's not forget the notebooks and notepads and reference books and library books and dictionaries and files and folders and this one big, fat encyclopedia that my dad found at a terrific discount.  The shelves had begun to bend under the weight of all this stuff; I'm not kidding, go take a look at the "before" image at the beginning of this paragraph.

Back? Good.

It's not like I didn't have bookshelves for my books. My parents have bought me books from a very young age and there's more than enough storage space for my tomes. But for reasons unknown I had this notion that everything I could possibly ever need for that academic year needed to be within reach. Literally.

It was childish and irrational and I soon realized that I needed to change things before this obsession drove me crazy. In a lucky coincidence, a few months later one of the bottom drawers got damaged in an accident of sorts, so my parents offered to replace the desk, an offer I willingly accepted.

And now it looks like the picture on the right. It's a simple office desk made of metal. There's three shallow drawers which I use to store miscellaneous stationery objects and the like. On the desk itself is the table lamp, a bottle of water, my laptop, a wifi router, a pen-holder containing my fountain pens, another pen holder for my pencils, my a couple of paper notepads, a paperweight (it's a South-facing room, paperweights are a necessity) and my glasses. My books are all in their appropriate places in the nearby bookshelves and are put back as soon as I'm done with them. Cleaning my table's not a cumbersome task anymore and there's no accidents involving sneaky spiders hiding in corners. Even my cats can now host napping parties here without having to worry about knocking fragile things over.

Everyone wins.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Haircut(e): 2016 monsoon edition

This happens every single time: I want to grow out my hair a little because I want to twirl it and swish it around like a Bollywood movie actress, so I vow to never touch my scissors again. The hair grows, gives me grief during damp and/or hot weather, I tie it up and sigh continuously for a few weeks, then pick up my biggest pair of scissors and go all choppity-chop on my locks. My mother looks at me with disapproval and suggests an outing to a hairdresser, then shrugs and gets back to her cooking.

The weather here's been muggy for the past couple of months and my shoulder-length damp hair that kept developing tangles was making me here's the results of today's monkeying around. I wanted to get bangs, but then my hand slipped and I ended up with a weird tuft of hair that I'm going to refer to a fringe from now on. Gotta have professional terms, ya'll. 


I don't need to bother carrying a comb around in my purse anymore, hairtie-related worries are a thing of the past and best of all, I can take a nice shower at night without having to  worry about my hair properly drying overnight. The only problem is that this makes me look a

Hah, I'll learn to live with it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My 2016 planners

It's 2016. Time to archive the old planners and journals, break into the new ones, and to learn and evolve from past mistakes and experiences. After some considerarion, I decided to stick to most of my old planning habits of last year, with a few simple tweaks to upgrade myself because:
  • Pre-finals and finals of final year approaching. Lots of exams dates to consider, exam prep and exam post-mortem to schedule, assignments to hand in and labwork to complete
  • Post-graduation plans to line up and methodically execute
  • Since there's a high possibility that mum might be out of town for a week sometime in the coming few months, I'll be in charge of the house and it's various mammalian and avian inhabitants
  • Increased part-time tutoring committments.

So, all in all, three-fourths of this year is going to be somewhat stressful and to cope with that I'm using:
  • A pocket-sized monthly planner for a bird's-eye view of my day/week/month/year
  • A day-based hardbound notebook to file away to-dos and appointments/events/reminders efficiently, somewhat like an even more minimalist version of Ryder Carroll's excellent bullet journal method. There's blank pages in the front and back for specialized tasklists/reading lists/goals
  • An A6-size daily schedule notebook, that I fill in either the previous night or first thing in the morning, after consulting my day's tasklist, to lend some semblance of structure to the day, along the lines of what Cal Newport does
  • A dedicated journal to rant in at the end of the day. Last year, I tried combining a journal and day-based notebook, but since I'll write a couple of lines one ay and five pages the next, the effect was wildy uneven, so I went back to my trusty old diary to ask for forgiveness. Everything's been peachy since then.

And that's all. No frills, no fussing, no five-coloured pens to code different levels of urgency of a scarily-lengthy tasklist, no washi tape to segregate different sections of a page. At the end of each day, I skim through my monthly planner to see if there's anything urgent on the horizon, put a checkmark against the tasks I've completed that day, look up the important tasks of the following day and contruct a flexible schedule for the following day. If in the mood, maybe a little entry in my journal and some frivolous bedtime reading. Then I go to bed, at peace with myself and with the world.