create and grow happily

Category: Lifestyle (page 1 of 2)

brush cleaning

I have this philosophy I apply with my art process.

The idea goes like this: The simple cure of an art block can either be a thorough cleaning of all your palettes and brushes, or staying away from the drawing board for a while.

What I’ve been trying to learn the past several months – the past couple years even – is knowing when to clean and when to step away. When to listen to my body and when to be stubborn.

Because sometimes when your body says “I’m tired. I don’t want to draw,” you listen to it. And other times, you don’t. Because maybe your body is tired and needs to rest, or maybe it just needs a little push.

Several days ago, I spent an entire evening cleaning my old palettes and water brushes. I probably spent more than an hour by our kitchen sink squeezing out the red watercolor stain out of one water brush. But that’s fine – time feels slow and forgiving when you’ve got nowhere to go like these past month.

I stood there silently. It’s already dry season now, where I’m from, and the nights are sweltering. I could feel a drop of sweat sliding down from my chin to my neck, the fan ventilating my brother by the dining table barely reached me.

Remembering that particular scene several days ago, that particular moment, I could liken it to cleansing your life or your head space. How much work it is. How heavy and uncomfortable you could feel while doing it. How it takes a while before the stain comes off completely (if they even do) and you return to a squeaky clean start.

Sometimes, cleaning up the messes around you is all you need to do to keep your sanity intact.

And sometimes, you are too overwhelmed to even clean them up. So much so, that all you can do is step away from them. Remove them from your view – if only for a moment.

I’ve been through both times. Heck, I’ve even been through both times at the same time.

When it comes to both my art and life and my mental well-being, I still don’t know the telltales of when to persist and when to quit.

All I could do right now is to listen, and to try.


Hello friends,

It has been a heck of a long time since I published a short pondering type of post. It’s weird to not care about readability or the SEO. I’m trying my best to ignore it hnggg.

I honestly don’t know when I would write another one of these – maybe immediately after this one or maybe four years after.

That said, I hope I too made you ponder, even for a while. And I hope you are safe and well wherever you may be.

Kate

A Case Against 21st Century’s Biggest Career and Life Advice

“Follow Your Passion”

I feel like this has been the go-to advice people give to others. Like ceramic cherubs are the go-to souvenirs in weddings, and McDonald’s is the go-to place for eating greasy food. (Except in the Philippines. We kneel only for our lord and master, Jollibee.)

And I have a problem with that. (The advice, not Jollibee.)

Let me be clear, though. I do not completely, wholeheartedly hate this advice. I am all for going after what you love and seeking your own version of joy in life through the things you are passionate about. Whenever I come across inspiring stories of people finding success in doing things they love, I telepathically send my congratulations and throw them colorful confetti.

But I have a bone to pick with how “follow your passion” has somehow become penicillin. A cure-all advice for any career and life woes.

Not sure what you wanna do? Follow your passion.

Unhappy with your job? Follow your passion!

Wanna be successful? Follow! Your! Passion!

orange glove gesturing stop with greenery background

STOP.

 

I know this as someone who was given this same advice for many career and life struggles. Be that with my career, or with my identity as a creative, or with life as a whole. It was such a shiny new thing, this advice. So I heeded it and expended most of my energy into it.

To be fair, for a while, it worked. But that’s the thing with “follow your passion”: it only works for a while.

Why “Follow Your Passion” is A Bad Advice to Give

The more I think about it, the more I realize that “follow your passion” is a McAdvice. It’s a short-term fix for hunger, not supposed to be the sole composition of your entire diet. When I said I had a bone to pick with this McAdvice, I was lying. I have three bones to pick.

First off, it’s vague af

You know how in stories, the most clichéd answer to “Where are we going?” is “You’ll know it when we get there.”

Every single time I hear that line, I want to hURL something across the room.

It’s up there in my list of “Top 10 Clichés I Want Thanos-Snapped and Gone Forever.” And the reason why I hate that line is the same reason why I find “follow your passion” a bad advice. It’s vague as fuck.

Is it helpful? Perhaps. But can you go anywhere with this advice alone? I don’t think so.

You start thinking it’s that One Thing™

You know, as much as it’s good being told you’ve got that one thing by five good-looking boys, that’s not the case when it comes to finding and following your passion.

And “follow your passion” implies that you can only be passionate about one thing in your entire life.

People aren’t only passionate about just one thing. At least not everyone. Which is why I find it ridiculous advising others to find that one passion and follow that one passion for, like, ever.

As the popular saying goes, “Change is the only constant thing in this world.” Life itself is naturally fluid and flexible. The things we loved as kids may not be something we love now. I used to think McDonald’s burger was the superior burger but now I believe Jollibee’s have the best fast food burger. And even my burger loyalty may change in the future!

Why, then, must we limit our passions — the prime sources of inner exhilaration and excitement — to just one thing?

“Follow your passion” makes everything seem so freaking easy

There is this notion that by following your passion, the rest will just fall into place. Admittedly, that’s quite romantic but it’s also disregarding the nuances and complexities of life.

“Follow your passion” is an advice that does not consider human’s inherent changing nature.

Look, I’m not saying that, when it comes to a meaningful career and life, passion is a non-factor. Of course, it is! But it isn’t the only factor, nor is it the biggest one — at least, it isn’t the biggest factor all the time.

A happy, fulfilling life does not rely solely on finding and following a passion.

Which then leads me to ask: when trying to create a meaningful life, why must we be so laser-focused on passion?

Passion, Our Fleeting Friend

When you think about passion, you think about intensity. You think about how it’s burning into your very being, calling you to do The Thing and to do it now. And when you listen to its call, there is this sense of complete uninhibited joy. This mix of delight and accomplishment. It’s an amazing feeling.

That intensity may run incredibly long.

But it can also run incredibly short.

Passion is erratic. Like its close cousin, Inspiration, it knocks on the doors of our hearts at the most unexpected times. It likes to bring interesting goodies and playtoys, those both old and new. Passion urges us to do things and we oblige happily. Then it leaves whenever, and we are at a loss and with no clue how to finish what we’ve started.

As a creative, I’ve relied heavily on both Passion and Inspiration to forge ahead with my creative endeavours. And I can tell you that they are, in fact, not so reliable and not always available.

Will I stay friends with them? Abso-freaking-lutely. I love them to death. I enjoy their company. You know how some friends you meet once in a while and you don’t tell them your entire life story or share your insecurities? But also that doesn’t make your friendship any less precious? Passion and Inspiration are simply that kind of friends.

So rather than “follow your passion”, what can you do to lead a meaningful life?

Follow your curiosity.

Way back in 2017, I first heard these three words from Elizabeth Gilbert. It felt like a personal breakthrough. Here was my door out of this passion, be all end all mindset that I’ve been stuck in for a long time. And boy, it was freeing.

Passion is fleeting and finite; curiosity is everywhere. It works as a subtle nudge your way. I love how Robert J.K. Lee describes it:

Curiosity moves in ways that could be described as gentle, contemplative, unusual and even pensive. As an elemental metaphor, Curiosity acts like water. It is shapeless, but it interacts with you in different ways. […] Curiosity invites you to cast attention and notice something that you hadn’t before.

– Robert J.K. Lee, “5 things I’ve learnt about being friends with Curiosity and Passion

My Curiosity Journey

When I think of that one thing that Curiosity gently guided me towards, watercolor comes to mind.

I was scrolling through Instagram one time. Back then, I was new to the platform and didn’t know what it was for. But it recommended one video of someone demonstrating how to paint loose floral illustrations using watercolor.

And I was entranced. Like seriously. I felt like I was three years old again and I just watched Teletubbies for the very first time.

It was a whole new kind of magic. The way the paints flow to where water is, the way two colors interacted with each other. The way these tiny puddles of color turned into petals and then magically, a flower.

I was hooked.

Looking back, I could have simply stayed hooked and kept on watching. But already Curiosity was there, gently tapped on my shoulder and whispered,

What is that?

The first few months, I bought everything cheap from the department store office supplies. My first ever paints and brushes and papers were the ones you used in middle school, but I was too damn excited to try to even care. I tried painting flowers and leaves. I tried to do flat wash. (Because holy shit, you can make something close to solid from such a fragile-looking pigment??? 2016 Kate ain’t ready for gouache.)

And you know what? I SUCKED.

My flowers looked like rotting plants. When I tried painting a galaxy the first time, it was like a zombie wasn’t feeling well and it vomited brains. Everything I painted was godawful. There were definitely times when I wanted to give up and go back to my black and white ink art. But every time, I’d feel Curiosity lightly tapping behind me.

Hmm… what if I mix these two colors…

What would it look like if I sketched a person first?

I wonder what would happen if I use both inks and watercolor…

Curiosity, Our Guiding Friend

In retrospect, many of the things I’m now passionate about were born out of curiosity. I didn’t even realize it but at some point, Curiosity had already handed me over to Passion. Because that’s what Curiosity does.

Sometimes.

I really want to stress this out. When I say follow your curiosity, I’m not saying it will eventually guide you to your passion or even your purpose. Following your curiosity may lead you to your passion. But sometimes it doesn’t. And that’s okay. That is not the point of all this.

Perhaps you’d feel excitement and delight. Maybe you’d even feel that complete and utter joy when the curious things become passion things. Or maybe you won’t. Maybe you’d lose the interest before it could become something grand.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

The moment you lose interest, let it go. Keep only the memories andand the learnings. Carry on following your curiosity. See where it leads you this time around. What adventure, or non-adventure, it has in store. Experience the moment fully and treasure what lessons it gives.

Isn’t that, in and of itself, what meaningful life is all about?

Photos from Gary Bendig and Alexander Ramsey

Trying Out Bullet Journaling (for the third time)

Way back in the middle of July, I decided to try out bullet journaling again (for the third time) and that I’d start in August. But then August came around and I was just too occupied with wrapping things up in my previous job that I did not have the time to set it all up.

Well, now that I’m basically jobless for two weeks, I’ve decided to finally set it up – this time, in preparation for September – so yay!

Before that, a bit of history between me and bullet journaling

The first time I heard about bullet journaling, I thought it was interesting. The idea of a systematic way to organize your life (or certain parts of your life) and add in a touch of your own creativity to it? Brilliant. Million dollar concept. Where do I sign up.Then, the idea that it’s all personalized, and therefore you must completely make the entire thing yourself, sank in.

This is too much work, I thought and gave up.

I think I only managed to make a monthly calendar that first time. I didn’t even get to use it. The subsequent times I attempted bullet journaling, I had a similar pattern. A vicious cycle, if you must.

My life (as usual) was in utter chaos > desperate for a semblance of order > thinks bullet journaling is the solution > finds it laborious > gives up.

The reason I decided to try out bullet journaling again isn’t really that different from the first two times I tried it out. A part of my life needs tidying up Marie Kondo-style and bullet journals are still very much a huge thing. I enjoy seeing people share their journal spreads online like Myrthe with her aesthetically pleasing Instagram page, and Lauren with her fun blog posts on all things bullet journals. These rekindled the teeny tiny interest that I had for bullet journaling. And as they say, three times the charm, so I decided to give it a third try.

Trying out bullet journaling for the third time

I thought I’d be more intentional this time around and so I did a bit of research (aka watched bullet journal videos on Youtube). One key thing that I learned from them bullet journal masters is that no one started out with Pinterest-worthy spreads. And you might notice, this is me relearning the whole “nobody started out perfect” thing all over again. An especially great tip I got from AmandaRachLee is to know your purpose for starting out a bullet journal. In my case, it’s to KonMari the heck out of my creative life.

Which is why I only have four spreads on my September bullet journal: a cover, the monthly calendar (+ goals for the month), art habit tracker, and a special “books/mangas/anime I watched/read” spread.

My September bullet journal

 

Picture of bullet journal cover page with a pen lineart illustration of alstroemeria flowers

The cover is, essentially, um… useless. I only made it because I’m using an old journal already half-filled with sketches and doodles. (I am not buying a new journal for this.) And also, it’s for funsies! I like the botanical lineart I got going and it’s also the general theme for the rest of the spreads.

A closeup shot of the floral lineart

Monthly Calendar

The monthly calendar is there to help me remember commitments I pre-booked mostly. I find that the older I get, the more my memory is becoming that of a goldfish. (And I’m only in my early twenties *llama cries*)

I also have a box underneath where I listed my goals for the month. I wrote down some personal stuff I do not wish to share at the moment so you’ll just have to settle on my prettily painted hands. But yes, one of my goals is to finish reading ONE BOOK. As you can see, my bar for progress right now is so low. But that’s okay – progress is progress. <3

A section covered by my hands

Art Habit Tracker

The art habit tracker is really the main spread, I guess. I’ll be using it to track how many times I drew during the month and which of my many art ideas became an illustration on that month. I have tons of spaces left which I’ll probably fill in with additional stuff, if I so deem fit. But other than that, it’s really just me building and tracking my art habit.

 

A closeup look of a black and white plant lineart in my bullet journal page

What I’m Reading & Watching

Finally, there’s the books/manga/anime page that’s a more self-indulgent section. I’ve been reading tons of manga and Webtoon comics lately and just having a physical place where I list brief thoughts on them would be great.

Picture of my bullet journal's books, manga and anime page and a quote on the next page, "Show up even when no one applauds you for it."

Also, I love the quote on the next page because I know I will have moments where I’ll be lazy and won’t want to check in on my journal.

Overall, some people may find this too simple but I’m good with that. I don’t want to overwhelm myself (again) so a simple bullet journal for this month is good enough for me.

Do you have a bullet journal? How long have you been doing it? In what other ways do you KonMari your life?

Pin image for post with blog post's title, Trying out bullet journaling (for the third time)

 

3 Reasons You’re Feeling Unproductive (and What to Do About It)

As my boy, Li Shang, famously said, let’s get down to business. If you’re here right now, I’m willing to bet you’ve been in that kind of sloppy hell: The Slow, Sloppy Hell of Feeling Unproductive.

It isn’t exactly painful outright. It’s one of those slow-burns. And it burns from the inside out. It targets your self-confidence and motivation and self-determination ever so gradually until they’re nothing but ashes.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry, friend. I’m here.

Let me help you douse that flame now before it continues to spread. Here are three reasons why you’re not achieving anything right now and what you can do about it.

Why You are Feeling Unproductive Today and What You Can Do About It

1) You are busy doing other less important things

Look, I get it. We’ve all been there. We’ve all said we had an unproductive day. That we weren’t able to accomplish that one thing because we were too busy on other things.

But were you?

Were you really busy with other things? Or suppose you actually were busy, were you too busy on something that’s actually relevant?

Maybe, like me, you were only doing this thing they call procrastination.

Take it from someone who went to the Procrastinators’ School of Making Excuses. There is a difference between being occupied and pretending to be busy. Learn it. Know what signs to look for.

Be self-aware when you start making excuses. Over time, you’ll find it easier to spot them. I noticed that excuses always have a different tone than truth — even those we say in our heads.

What You Can Do:

You’re probably familiar with the Eisenhower Matrix. Where you arrange the tasks you need to do under levels of importance and urgency. This way, you can eliminate a task that is neither important nor urgent. And then you can focus your energy and present time on things that are actually important or urgent. Or both!

2) You’re a perfectionist

It may seem counterintuitive, saying that being a perfectionist is making you unproductive. Like, won’t my perfectionist tendency make me more productive?

Um, actually…no.

I know this because, aside from being a Master Procrastinator, heck I’m a Master Perfectionist too.

When you’re so focused on having everything —  and I mean, every tiny detail — perfect, you end up getting fewer tasks done.

See, perfectionism takes up a lot of time by forgetting time. When you’re nitpicking on the small stuff, when you’re putting 120% of your attention on that tiny area in your project, you forget about everything else. Including time. And if you have that special hybrid I call perfection procrastination, you waste time by doing mundane, unimportant tasks. When you should be working on the ones that matter.

What You Can Do:

Give yourself the permission to fail.

Remember: choose finished, not perfect.

Let that sink into your mind. The idea of not succeeding at first try isn’t so bad. What’s important is that you learned from your failures and mistakes. And these lessons will actually help you get closer and closer to success.

3) You’re feeling unproductive because you’re mentally or emotionally stuck. Or both.

Being stuck stems from various causes. Perhaps you’re having a writer’s block. Or experiencing a creative draught. Maybe you just have zero inspiration to write or do anything.

The thing is, a lot of our physical tasks are partly powered by our inner resources. Some even more so than others.

This shouldn’t come off as a surprise anymore. The immediate connection between our physical health and mental wellbeing has been proven in so many studies. Our physical health is as affected by our mental wellbeing as the other way around.

Which means poor mental health can be the cause of physical fatigue. And therefore, you feel unproductive.

In order to do the things you need to do, you must also pay attention to these inner resources–inspiration, motivation, and mental stability, to name a few. Because when we lack or don’t have such resources, we become mentally or emotionally paralyzed. Literally unable to work even when we are physically able to do it.

What You Can Do:

Along with your physical health, take care of your mental and emotional well-being too. Exercising is just as good for your mind as it is for your body. Having a well-rounded healthy lifestyle that takes into consideration your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is imperative — whatever life you may live. Create that balance, yes? BIG YES.

I WANNA HEAR FROM YOU!

Have you got more tips for those who are feeling unproductive? Share your wisdom in the comments below!

Woman writing in the background a white rectangle overlay with the text, "3 Reasons Why You're Unproductive Today - and what you can do about it"

Photos from Ivory Mix and Kaylah Otto (via Unsplash)

Image of a woman sitting back on a pink overlay. A white rectangle with a text on top says: 3 Reasons Why You're Feeling Unproductive.
Girl on a sofa with a pink translucent overlay and a text on top saying, 'Feeling unproductive? Three reasons why + what you can do about it'

Hi, I’m still alive (probably?) | March Side Notes

You may have asked, What the heck happened to Kate?? (Or probably not.)

To which I answer, Kate was very confused blog-wise this month. But I’ll talk more of that in another post. (Maybe. Possibly.) For now, let’s start this wrap-up, yes? Yes.

Side Notes is a monthly wrap up where I share the interesting, and incredibly inspiring things I found during the month that I couldn’t fit in any post. Expect awesome recs, awesome books and awesome bloggers.

Also expect: fangirling (lots of it) and a glimpse into my life — the happy, the chaos and all.

I’m sure a lot of awesome posts were published all over the blogosphere this month but, sadly, I just didn’t have any on my Keep Notes.

I did share some posts I loved over on Twitter earlier this month so go check out my Twitter too! I share posts I come across at the moment on there, and sometimes like today, completely forget to add them on my Keep Notes.

The Awesome Side of the Internet

The Internet can be a jerk sometimes, let’s all be real here. But it is also filled with authentic and incredibly inspiring human (and non-human) stories.

Friend, if you’re going to watch one thing from all of these, let it be this birdie rock-and-rolling to Elvis and his bird fren not wanting to be part of it.

The only space mascot we need: Earthy.

I’ve never been into True Crime, but this article questioning the gender of the famous, most mysterious serial killer might have just converted me. I’m gonna listen to My Favorite Murder on the bus this month, y’all.

This teacher lost her battle with cancer and continued to teach on Youtube. Cue heart swelling. Cue mad respect.

Fonda Lee wrote a great Twitter thread on Writer’s Block and iT SPOKE TO ME.

A postman who takes pictures with the neighbors’ dogs is the BEST postman.

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj

I feel like, ever since I discovered The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Youtube, I was on the journey of finding better and better late night shows.

This topped it off easy. Even LSSC.

Hasan is clever but very relatable because 1) he’s a millennial and 2) he’s an Indian-American. And I’m not gonna say I understood all of his Indian jokes but I live for those about practicality because Filipinos are like that as well. It’s just an overall entertaining show and you will always leave with a new thing learned. Aaand! It’s on Netflix so you can watch the entire episodes anytime. But they also have a Youtube channel with Youtube-exclusive content.

Francina Simone

I only subscribe to one Booktuber and that’s Francina. I love her nuanced discussions on all things bookish and while we don’t agree on everything, I respect her stance and her “too each their own” approach which I’m all for too! 🙂

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

  • I finally got my first ever salary!!! *whispers* Is this what it means to be an Office Lady?
  • I got to treat my fam on my birthday! *whispers* IS THIS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ADULTING OFFICE LADY???
  • My little art instagram is growinggg *cries in confettis*

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

(because we’re not perfect, and it’s good to share your awful moments)

  • I’m quite sad that I haven’t been around in the blogging community this month. And whenever, I got this weekly blog stats report, it’s like a slap to the face of, “Hey, here’s another week you didn’t do squat on your blog!” So you know what I did? I disabled that weekly stats report. Which was definitely the right decision because I immediately felt lighter afterwards.
  • Lots of stuff brewing on my mind this month. But, seriously, when is that not happening? lol
  • I’m trying to introduce myself to a lot more fiber-rich food just because I’ve been having stomachaches recently and I’m… scared.

Little Milestones – Things I Want to Achieve or Do Next Month

(because according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, I am an Obliger and I need outside accountability to reach personal goals)

A MINI-REVIEW ON THIS MONTH’S GOALS
  • Create a routine around work ✔ | This was like, The First Thing I did this month so yay!!!
  • Set aside 5,000 php to savings (That’s about $100, give or take) ✔ | Holy cow, I completely forgot about this goal but I’m so glad I got to save more than that!
  • Write and schedule posts ✘ | Again, haha.
GOALS FOR NEXT MONTH
  • Go ice-skating! (It’s searing hot over here which is why this is perfect, and it’s just nice to get out of my comfort zone, once in a while!)
  • Have at least three posts up on the blog. (Don’t worry, I have first drafts finished but let’s see if they’ll get past second draft.)
  • Do a full-color illustration! (The sad thing with this month’s art was all of them were simple portraits. Which isn’t surprising. I don’t have a lot of time to make full-color pieces because of work. But with Holy Week coming up, I’m hoping I could get out at least one full-color piece next month.)

Last Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Finish one book. Ohmigosh I achieved thisss! *cries noisily* The book I finished reading was When Dimple Met Rishi, which was… okay? I wouldn’t say it was earth-shattering and broke my heart. But there was this one particular scene with Dimple and her mom that made me cry. But yeah, I’d give it 3 out 5 cookies.

Next Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Journal for the entire April. I’m probably going to use one of my old sketchbook journals for this. But yeah, let’s do this!

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

How was your February? Was it awesome or did it suck so bad? Share to me everything!

xx Kate

Photo from Ivory Mix

Why you need to create your own business hours

Is Time Management in the same level for you as flying? (Because, you know, it’s unachievable) Or maybe you’ve planned to be productive but end up spending it scrolling through Twitter? Perhaps you’re always scrambling around to get a some semblance of routine in your life?

Friend, I know exactly how you feel. Which is why I know you definitely need to create your own business hours.

Have you ever felt like “Time Management” is in the same level as flying? (Because, you know… what even is time management??) Did you ever plan to have a productive day but end up spending it scrolling through Twitter? Were you ever distracted by messages you received at an ungodly hour? Friend, I know exactly how you feel. Which is why I know you definitely need to create your own business hours.

Obviously, most businesses have this. Business hours is that period in which the company do… well, business. But we can also see it like this: it’s when, and only when, people can go do business with a company. Or in this case, you. Here’s how creating your own business hours will help you.

The Benefits of Establishing Your Own Business Hours

1) You create boundaries

Specifically, time boundaries.

If you ever struggle with friends or bosses who respond to you at ungodly hour, this one’s for you. This is also helpful to those who work at home or are freelancers.

When you don’t have the gift of a set time like in a typical nine-to-five job, it could be so easy for your work hours and non-work hours to blur and mix together. And that isn’t productive or efficient.

Creating your own business hours could help with all of that.

Not only do you create time boundaries to the people around you, but you can also train yourself to stick to those same boundaries. I know there are people who have a hard time with that as I’m one of those people.

2) It gives you free time

Because you have set business hours, you can leave time in your day for personal stuff. Maybe you like to kick back and crochet to end your day. Or maybe you like to have time for a 10-minute workout sesh in the morning. Knowing when your work starts and ends means you can make room for other things in your life.

And most importantly, when you do scroll through Twitter, you could do it outside your business hours, on your free time – and not feel guilty about it! #Win.

3) Avoids overwhelm and burnout

Overwhelm and burnouts often happen because of overworking. Sometimes, people overwork simply because they don’t have that strong separation between when they should work and when they should take a break.

Not all of us are expert time-jugglers. This means we have yet to master the art of time management. If you are one, then I highly suggest starting with establishing your own business hours. Here's why you need one.

When you have your own business hours, you can establish a structured time in which you do your work.

And you should do your work strictly within those hours only.

Why do you think most factories have business hours? Because it isn’t ideal to run a machine endlessly and without breaks. If they did this, they would run their machine to the ground and break it. Like machines, you need to take a break.

4) Creating your own business hours can reduce stress

I think this is particularly helpful to fellow Obligers, and anyone who is a semi-organized potato like me.

Obliger is one of the four tendencies in Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four Tendencies. (Gosh, I am in love with this book. Expect a book review and a more in-depth discussion on the tendencies in the near future!)

Related: Four Personality Tests You Can Try Today to Better Know Yourself

Obligers are those who put a higher value on meeting other people’s expectations than they do on their own. Which makes Obligers reliable co-workers and peers. (Not to brag or anything, but this is accurate yo.) However, they also have trouble setting boundaries on other people’s demands, and this could be a huge source of stress for them – which is, again, accurate yo.

If you’re an Obliger like me, creating your own business hours can help you set limits on what people need from you and when you can work on those demands. No more getting up late at night to write that document someone wants.

On the other hand, this is also super helpful for both semi-organized and un-organized folks. There are times when you are aware of how you aren’t organized. And you mentally kick yourself for not being productive with your time.

Establishing your business hours, and sticking to it, may just be what you need. With a structured time like this, it’s like going back to school. You don’t have to think about what you need to do. The frequency of scrambling around is lessened because you already have your day planned out for you, just like when you were at school.

The big difference is this is more convenient because you don’t have to start at seven-in-the-freakin-morning. (Shaking my head at the school system.) Instead, you get to establish your work hours during your peak time.

In this day and age of hustle culture, time is a very important commodity. Learning to be more productive is everyone’s business nowadays. Maybe you can juggle everything in your to-do lists like a pro-juggler could. But maybe you’re like me and is often seen scrambling around for some semblance of order and routine.

Start by establishing when to work and when to take a break.

And look hey. This may not be boss-level time management, but it’s a start!

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Are you a professional time-juggler? Or are you a Twitter-scroller? Do you think established business hours will work for you or nah?

xx Kate

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Suck at time management? I feel you. If you have a hard time managing your time, maybe you can start with creating your very own business hours instead. Click on to read why you need one.

Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash

On My Semi-Organized Life and Learning to Embrace It

Confession: I have a deep, deep green envy for people who lead a super organized life.

I mean, clean workspace? Alphabetized books? Super cute stationery drawers?? Ducks in a neat row, arranged by size???

Cue sparkling eyes.

See, my whole life I always wanted a clean organized room. But alas, no matter how much I angry clean and sort out my books by sizes or spine colors or authors, I can’t seem to accomplish what those folks on #mybookshelves or #myworkspace on Instagram could. One time, I tried incorporating an editorial calendar for a month. And despite how much more efficient it made my blogging process, it only lasted for that month.

No matter how much I try to make myself go into a routine, I just end up going rogue. Very few of the new habits I take stick. And when they do, some don’t even last long either. Or they’re just effective for a short time or in bursts.

That, my friends, is what you call a semi-organized person.

You know how some people are super organized superheroes, and others are, um… cluttered potatoes? Well, there are actually people who fall right in the middle. They’re called semi-organized and I’m one of them. Perhaps you have a suspicion you’re one too. Here are 5 signs you can look into to know if you’re one.

You know how some people are super organized superheroes, and others are, um… cluttered potatoes? Well, there are actually people who fall right in the middle. They’re called semi-organized and I’m one of them. Perhaps you have a suspicion you’re one too. Here are 5 signs you can look into to know if you’re one:

1) Some aspects of your life is clutter-free and neatly ordered while others seem like they’ve constantly been devastated by a tornado.

For instance, my bag is super clean. There’s a system as to where everything is placed – even the trashes that I set aside when I can’t find a bin near me. On the other hand, my workspace looks like it’s constantly devastated by a hurricane. I once misplaced my comb and I couldn’t find it until a couple weeks later. It’s horrendous.

2) Everything is a distraction

You know how you open an app on your phone to do one specific task and then, three hours later, you resurface and have ultimately forgotten what it was you had to do?

Yep. That happens to semi-organized me so many freaking times.

It could be social media, or the television playing on the background, or the music I have playing on my earphones, or shiny things. Maybe even an unusual mannerism from someone in my peripheral vision. The gist is anything can be a distraction. It’s quite difficult for me to focus on one task but when I do, you won’t see me doing anything else for hours.

3) New routines and new habits very rarely stick.

I already mentioned this above but it needs saying again.

Folks, I try. I really really do try. But I always have a hard time creating new or better habits. And even when I do, they don’t stick for very long. One time, I tried to use Habitica. But that didn’t last a week. Another time, I try to do ten-minute exercises every morning, but three cramps-filled days later, I forgot about it.

4) When desperate, you resort to nonsensical multitasking

Oh boy, this happened to me whenever I’m procrastinating in the mornings instead of prepping for school. I end up brushing my teeth and picking out clothes at the same time. Putting on my earrings and carrying my bag out of the room with my teeth. It’s not a pleasant sight to see and I don’t advise anyone visiting our house on 9AM.

5) When you are at peak organized mode, it’s absolutely wonderful

And after finishing your homework, bulk-scheduling posts and arranging your closet to look decent enough, you relax. But also lowkey hoping that you won’t fall into Cluttered Potato Mode for the next several moons or so.

As semi-organized folks, we often have the tendency to fall on either side of the spectrum – extremely organized or cluttered potatoes.

There are super organized people like Marie Kondo and then there are cluttered people like Rebecca Bloomwood. But did you know that therea re also people who fall right in the middle? They're called semi-organized. And I'm one of them. Are you one too?

But for most part, we struggle to be more of the former. To be more organized. To embody the clutter-free spirit of Marie Kondo. But we can’t help it that there’s just that part of us who’s as disheveled and distracted as Rebecca Bloomwood.

It’s sad and, for that little aspiring Marie Kondo-wannabe inside me, quite disappointing.

But this year, I want to embrace my semi-organized-ness. This year, I want to be less critical of myself when I divert from writing blog posts to check on the chickens on the backyard. I want to bask in fully during breaks. But also remember to give myself a push in the back when I’m knee-deep in lazy potato mode. I want to remind myself that there is nothing wrong with taking things slow, or relaxing for a while. And while there is so much joy in accomplishing everything you need to do, there’s also a different but equally wonderful feeling in doing absolutely nothing.

I need to have faith that I’ll figure things out… eventually. And maybe, so do you.

I WANNA HEAR FROM YOU!

Are you a super organized superhero, a cluttered potato, or a semi-organized bloke like me? Is there a trait you didn’t quite like that you want to embrace more this year? Share them below!

xx Kate

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Embracing my semi-organized life and learning to accept that I can never be like Marie Kondo. (And that's okay.)

Photo by Haute Chocolate Stock

New Year, New You: Things you need to leave behind in 2018

New year new me, yes? YASSS.

That said, I know a lot of people don’t like doing New Year Resolutions, me included. But there’s just something absolutely wonderful in being given the chance to reset things. And I think that’s one of the lovely things we could do in January.

There are some things that you need to leave behind in order to move forward and further grow. Here are six of them. #selfgrowth #personaldevelopment

But if you’re like thirteen-year-old Kate and you’re deeply allergic to change, why don’t you try leaving things? Specifically, you need to leave behind the things that bummed you out last year? You know. People, mindset or stuff that did not make you happy in last year. Below is a handy list of things you can start with.

6 Things You Need to Leave Behind in 2018 so You Can Start 2019 on a Better Note

(featuring some awesome motivational tweets from awesome people)

1) Comparisonitis

 

One of the things you need to leave behind this year is this modern-day ‘sickness’ which does not bring anyone any good. And if anyone tells me otherwise, I’m challenging them.

Comparisonitis is real. We’ve all been there. We have done it. Compared our lives with our neighbours or our friends or even someone you only know through the Internet. And this problem definitely got bigger in this age because of social media and how it made other people’s highlight reels a mere click away. You don’t need that on 2019, yo.

Related: How to Turn The Comparison Game Around and Actually Help You

2) Compromising sleep and health

I love how has become more proactive. The hustle culture is an ever-growing one and I’m all for it! I love how everyone is ready to act on their dreams and goals. It is honestly so inspiring, and makes me want to do the same with mine.

But there’s also a flipside to this.

Sometimes, we are so focused on trying to achieve our dreams that we have disregarded other equally (if not more) important stuff like our health and wellbeing. You need to leave this behind, this unhealthy habit.

Friend, it’s good to hustle and work super hard for your dream life. But please don’t forget to take a break. Look after your body and wellbeing too. Make them a priority. It’s your main ship to get to where you want to go after all 🙂

Sometimes for you to improve and continue forward, you need to leave behind the things that slow you down or hinders you from your best self.

3) Negative Self-Talk

If there’s one thing I learned last year, it’s that I really am the only person standing between me and the great opportunities waiting for me. Negative self-talk is comparisonitis’s ugly cousin. You don’t need either in your life this year. Which is why we’re leaving both of them behind.

I made 2018 my year of saying yes. To new opportunities and new experiences and new friends. I’m so grateful for everything that had come to my life. I don’t think I’ll be able to experience any of it had I listened to my negative self-talk. And that did take lots of work, too. This year, I will continue challenging negative self-talk.

4) Bad or unhealthy habits

This one’s probably one of the hardest one to leave in this list. I know it is for me. And that’s saying something because, boy, are these things hard.

But it is necessary.

We all have them. A bad habit or five that’s preventing us to be the best person that we could be. Or at the very least, be a better person than you are now.

For instance, mine are picking on my chappy lips and procrastinating until the very last minute. Both are habits with long-term consequences that I know my future self don’t want to deal with. But it is so freaking hard to stop them too, you know???

Anyway, I will work on it this year. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I shall happily report less lip-picking and procrastinating.

5) Toxic people

I’m aware most people will say to cut off the toxic people in your life. And I support this. You don’t need to surround yourself with negative people who easily and constantly ruin your everyday life. But I also acknowledge that this could get tricky when that toxic person is a close relative or family. For some people, cutting things off with that toxic person may not even be an option.

 

6) Unhealthy and unnecessary perfectionist tendencies

Does this mean there are healthy and necessary perfectionist tendencies, Kate?

Why yes, there are.

Look. I’m a perfectionist. Does being one made life difficult for me? Yes. But do I still think there are great things that came out of my perfectionism? Absolutely.

See, if it weren’t for my perfectionist tendencies, I wouldn’t be able to deliver good work. I won’t make quality outputs in school, or during my internship or even here on my blog. It did help me in becoming detail-oriented and diligent. I do think perfectionism has some good sides to it. To a certain degree.

But like most things, too much of it is bad. One of the awful sides of perfectionism is the procrastination that happens when you have perfectionist tendencies — or perfection procrastination


I know that most of these things above aren’t easy to leave or cut off. They could be awfully complicated, depending on your specific situation. But I hope that you try working on a couple or three of them. In order to be better and live a happier life, I believe that you need to leave something in the past. And find something better to carry for the now and the future.

Besides, isn’t that what self-improvement is all about? 🙂

I WANNA HEAR FROM YOU!

What other things do you want to leave behind in 2018? Share them below!

xx Kate

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Wanna make 2019 better than last year? I hear you, friend. And I think, in order for you to move forward and be a better version of your 2018 self, you need to leave behind some things in 2018. Click on to read more.

Photos from Ivory Mix 

2018 New Things: An Evaluation (and what I want to do moving forward)

Last year – or one year and 17 days ago, to be precise – I published a post in which I announced that I will try to do 10 new things in 2018. And the result… deeply astounded me.

Out of the 10 new things I set myself up to do last year, I was only able to do one.

WOW, KATE.

But because I kinda want to make up to (deeply disappointed) January 2018 Kate, I will look further into each New Thing and torture myself in embarrassment at the same time.

This is going to be fun, y’all.

1. Finish a horror movie without running away. I didn’t even watch any thriller last year, wow. But I guess it was to be expected since I was extremely busy for my last year in uni.

2. Make no-bake cheesecake. In my defense! I was going to do this over the holidays. But as I was spending Christmas and New Year’s in my grandparents’ house and all of the people living there either have diabetes or high cholesterol, I decided to just do it when I get back to Cebu.

3. Enroll in an art class. This is the One New Thing that I got to try out last year. So I signed up for one of Craftsy’s art courses because they had a promo back then. The course I signed up to is Kateri Ewing’s Startup Library: Painting with Watercolors. It was ah-mazing. I love the teacher and it tackled watercolour basics which really helped me understand watercolour better.

4. Make a popsicle house. I can’t believe I forgot I had this as a New Thing! And my brother had a project where he had to build one, hng.

5. Go to the gym. I don’t wanna talk about it.

6. Participate in an open mic. I remember I had plans on doing this last April at a popular tea house in my hometown, when I went home for a long break. But I learned that they no longer have an open mic there which was sad. I also didn’t know any other place that holds an open mic. So there you go.

7. Pierce ears. Omg, I was going to do this! But again, I had no time. Also, I was supposed to do it with my best friend but I only went home twice last year. Again, sad.

8. Eat sushi. Again not much free time = no time to go eat out. I did try out eating Korean barbecue and kimbap for the first time last year. So that sort of makes up with trying out new food, yes? Yes. And for a picky eater, I’d say that’s a win.

9. Listen to an album from a genre I don’t usually listen to. Um… I don’t think it counts because it was only one song but I listened to KDA’s Popstars.

10. No chicken or pork for a week. This is the one that I was disappointed at myself the most, to be honest.

All that said, it was quite disappointing for my first ever New Things year. For 2019, I will be tweaking things a bit and just try out five. Also, I’m going to add in a monthly assessment section on my Side Notes every month for this.

Five New Things I’m Going to Try in 2019

1. Make no-bake cheesecake

I am adamant in doing this, okay??? My family think I can’t make food outside instant stuff and frying eggs and cooking rice. I’ll show it to them. Also I just think it’d be nice to finally be able to try making something no-bake. I’ve seen them on Pinterest and they just look delicious and seem easy to do.

2. No chicken or pork for a week

As a notoriously known meat-eater, this is another thing my family don’t think I can accomplish. They don’t believe I can live with just fish and veggies. But I want to prove to them and myself that I can do this. This one’s going to be hard, though. So I’ll probably create a meal-plan for this specific week.

3. Attend a yoga class four times

I honestly have no idea how I’m going to do this but I want to try. I’ll have to research on yoga classes near me that I can attend to.

4. Attend a live watercolour workshop

I tried enrolling in an online art course last year. This time, I want to see if I get out of my introverted shell more and interact with people with the same interest. It’ll be fun too!

5. Post five video on Youtube

I’m still not sure if I want to appear on the videos or do a voice over or… just make videos but I haven’t dipped my toes on creating videos for fun and not for a school project. So this is going to be fun and anxious-filled.

Other than these five New Things, I also have three Big Goals I hope to achieve this year:

  • Have a collab with a huge brand on my blog
  • Save up for the CMA Board Exam (which I hope to take either this year or next)
  • Write a 100-page book. (I have no idea what it will be right now, but I just want to write one hehe)

I WANNA HEAR FROM YOU!

Did you achieve your goals last year? What are your goals for 2019? Share them below!

xx Kate

An impromptu welcome back after my impromptu break! | December Side Notes

Why yes, I totally did go away from the blogosphere for one whole freaking month without a warning after posting that November Side Notes.

Was I sorry? Of course! Even just a tiny bit.

Did I regret it? Definitely not.

I thought November would bring out all the busyness of the year. But nooo. December is definitely the busiest I’ve been this year. All the Christmas shopping, all the clearance running… All the graduation shenanigans. Sigh. But that’s the thing. I’m okay with all of it.

Because YA GIRL HAS NOW OFFICIALLY FINISHED UNI Y’ALL.

I’ve also taken advantage of this month-long impromptu break by catching up on emails and creating blog posts and do all other online responsibilities I’ve set aside because I wanted to focus on graduating. I haven’t ticked all my delayed to-do lists but that’s alright. I’m going at it slowly.

Anyway, on to the post!

Side Notes is a monthly wrap up where I share the interesting, and incredibly inspiring things I found during the month that I couldn’t fit in any post. Expect awesome recs, awesome books and awesome bloggers.

Also expect: fangirling (lots of it) and a glimpse into my life — the happy, the chaos and all.

interesting finds

In the Blogosphere

Key shared a very personal post about experiencing post-partum depression and it’s such an inspiring read.

ALJ put out the most awesome holiday gift guide for this year and — welp, not that you’ll need it. But in case you need to shop for super duper late holiday presents, they’re your gals.

If you’re up for some wholesome holiday read, Devinder posted the most wholesome Christmas post I’ve read this month where she shared the traditions she and her family have for the holidays.

Marie-Celine wrote this short but super on-point piece on comparisonitis and we could all go for a little reminder today.

Corrie wrote this timely piece on creating transformative New Year’s resolutions that you can carry through past January!

The Awesome Side of the Internet

Yes, yes. I know. The Internet can be a jerk sometimes. But it is also filled with authentic and incredibly inspiring human stories. I always believe it only takes one kind heart for other kindness to join in 🙂

This kid is a goth in training and I have mad respect.

Seven-year-old shows her friends her new prosthetic leg and if that doesn’t tug your heartstrings enough, see how they responded *heart eyes*

McDonald’s created an anime commercial and it’s super kawaii (cute).

This girl is signing to her deaf father at a rock concert and my heart is swelling from so much love.

recommendations of the month
“Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee

The best Sunflower song I have ever heard y’all.

It’s so good vibes-y and super upbeat. All throughout November to December, I listened to this repeatedly on commute while going to school. It is such a great way to start the day on a positive note! Go ahead and listen! Also, watch the new animated film Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse, which the song is a soundtrack to. Haven’t watched it myself but you can be sure I will!!!

Chocolate Soy Milk

In case you didn’t know, I don’t drink coffee. *shields self from any attacks*

I have never really liked the taste of coffee. Also, my mom prefers we drink milk every morning, if we could help it. I was extremely busy these past couple months. In effect, I had to sacrifice my sleep. Because I don’t drink coffee, I try to get my dose of caffeine in other ways. I tried pure cocoa but that was bitter as heck. And I tried getting from cola but that’s wayyy too unhealthy and certainly not good for my hyperacidic-prone stomach.

But then, I remember my friend once recommended chocolate soy milk.

So I tried that and YOOO. To my fellow rare non-coffee-drinkers out there. This is the healthy caffeine option we need y’all! I drink either the Vitasoy Chocolate Soy Milk or the Vitamilk Double Choco Shake (which is a local product, yay!!!). Both are extremely delicious and they give me that small boost of energy I need in the morning.

the little things

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

    • I FINALLY GRADUATED Y’ALL!!! Finally finished four years in Accounting huhu. I actually wrote a super long Instagram post about it (shameless self-promo) and if you followed me on there, let me know so I can follow you back!
    • Got six cartons of Dutchmill from my Secret Santa (another non-caffeine drink I absolutely enjoy) and that makes me super super happy.
    • I am now, once again, surrounded by my favorite fowl ever: CHICKENS!!! (I mean, the turkeys of my neighbors in Cebu were fun to watch but nothing could top chickens for me hehe)
    • Finally bought cactus soil and pebbles for Cactus’s babies. But I just found out you don’t want to transplant cacti on the fourth quarter of the year since it’s their dormant period so April transplanting it is!
    • Sent out 2 guest post pitches! This isn’t what I hoped to achieve but I’ll take it. (Side note: you can check out my guest post about why having a creative hobby is important on La Ivana here)

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

(because we’re not perfect, and it’s good to share your awful moments)

  • I had a pre-graduating breakdown and that meant puffy eyes on graduation day, oomf
  • Still have zero posts on buffer and I’m still scared
  • I haven’t touched any book in weeks wow

Little Milestones – Things I Want to Achieve or Do Next Month

(because according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, I am an Obliger and I need outside accountability to reach personal goals)

  • Finish three posts for the month and send out two guest post pitches
  • Read and comment on 14 blog posts every week
  • Update my resume (hnggg)

Last Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Be happy and stress-free. December was certainly stressful but the holiday vibes really got to me and I’m super happy.

  • Next Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

    Try out one thing you haven’t tried before. I’m already thinking of trying out sushi for the first time but I need to ask a friend where the best sushi place in town is hehe.

    I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

    How was your December?? Do you drink coffee or not? What’s your favorite non-coffee beverage? Tell me all the things!!!

    xx Kate

    Photo from Ivory Mix