Listen while you work

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I need to get shit done at work, I listen to podcasts. I never understood the whole rage with podcasts; I used to think they were like audible books which I’ve tried once and just couldn’t concentrate so decided not to do it again. Plus, nothing beats the satisfaction of reading the words and holding an actual book… or e-book.

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My last manager listened to podcasts whenever she worked and I thought it was very fascinating. One day I decided to give it a go and surprisingly, I found it quite enjoyable. I know what you’re thinking; how the hell do you concentrate on your work if you’re listening to someone talk in your ear? To be honest, I have no idea! But it works! It’s less distracting than listening to music as well because with music, I always find myself tapping my feet and humming along and creating music video scenarios in my head (I know you do it too!). And if I don’t listen to anything I get sucked into the hustle and bustle of everyday conversations going on around me and I’d rather not listen in on other people’s convos. It makes me really uncomfortable. I’ve never been good at multitasking but surprisingly, I’m really good at listening to the podcast AND doing work.

I thought I’d share with you my top five favourite podcasts. So if you’re a podcast-listener-worker like me and are looking for some new recommendations, or if you’re a podcast virgin looking to pop that cherry, you’ve come to the right place.

On your marks, set, GO…

Casefile 

This is my absolute favourite podcast. I listen to it while cooking, cleaning, commuting and well, working. Each week, the podcast covers well-known murders and what I like the most about it is the fact that they go into great detail; from the background of the murderers, to their crimes right through to their death or sentencing. I’m a fan of murder mysteries and crime and like watching documentaries and tv shows on murders (my Netflix recommendations list is looking pretty damn gory) so that’s why I enjoy this podcast. It may not be the podcast for everyone, just because it can be quite grisly, but if you enjoy a good history lesson on well-known murders, I highly recommend it.

Success Insider 

This was one of the first podcasts I listened to and I actually quite enjoy it. It’s part of SUCCESS magazine and is hosted by Shelby Skrhak and Josh Ellis. Each week, they discuss the latest trends in personal empowerment and career development and give you lots of tips and tricks on how to be more productive and move up that career ladder. I think what I like most about this podcast is the conversations the two hosts have. Usually I find podcasts like these to be kind of stale with lots of really pretentious music but for a ‘self-help’ podcast, I’ve really enjoyed this one. Plus, each episode is nice and short too.

The Inquiry

If you’ve got an interest in current affairs without wanting to spend too much time on it, I highly recommend this podcast by the BBC World Service. They cover topical issues and ask the hard-hitting questions, and best of all, they do it in half an hour or less. When it comes to world issues or politics, I’m not going to lie I like getting the facts and I don’t like listening to long, overly drawn commentary and opinion. I just want an intro to the issue and if I’m really interested, I would go and do some research. This one is great for getting the who, what, when, where and how.

TEDTalks

I have a funny feeling that everyone who listens to podcasts will have TEDTalks on their subscribed list. TEDTalks have made such a name of themselves and what I love about listening to it is it’s inspiring (and short!) and covers a range of topics from business, technology, world issues to emotions, relationships, mental health and creativity. So if you feel like listening to something motivating, check it out because I guarantee you’ll find a topic of interest and learn and thing or two.

BTW, the hyperlink will take you to their website where you can also access videos. I listen to podcasts on the Apple Podcast app.  

Myths and Legends

I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to fairy tales, legends, folklores and myths. There’s so many out there and I can’t keep up with them. What I love about this podcast is that I get to be transported to a different era with host Jason Weiser covering what the legend/myth/folklore is about and its origins. It’s so fascinating and is a great one to listen to when you’re stuck in the office doing mundane things and just want to be transported to a different world.

Yes I’m a fantasist and can easily transport myself to a different world but sometimes, you need a little help and that’s where this podcast comes in. Also, if you’re a history buff like me, you get a bit of a history lesson too which makes it extra awesome!

So here’s my top five list. Some other recommendations I’d love to share are:

Have you got a favourite podcast that you think I should check out? Please comment below and share because I’m always on the hunt for new podcasts to listen to!

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Full-time study and work: just stick to it

If you’ve been reading my blog posts for the last month, I’m sure you’ve picked up that I’m working full-time as well as studying full-time. I’ve been doing this for over a month now and I thought I’d share my experience and some tips that might come in handy if you’re thinking of embarking on formal study without having to quit your job.

Just a bit of background on what I do and why I chose to study and not quit my job: I’m a Communications and Engagement Advisor for a government department. My highest qualification to date is a National Diploma in Journalism. I never finished my degree and thought I’d take three papers this semester to fill in some ‘free-time’ gaps since it’s not like I’m doing anything productive. I’m completing a Bachelor of Professional Communications and I know it seems strange that I’m studying towards a job that I’m already in but I thought it’d be a good way to help me understand my role better from an academic perspective.

So getting into it…

Firstly, there’s no sugar coating it: balancing work and study is challenging. On top of that, there’s life and its many attractions and disruptions. The key to success is planning and discipline. You’d be surprised at how much you can achieve if you take time to set out a schedule and (here’s the real challenging part!) STICK TO IT.

I’m not going to lie: I still find it super challenging but I’ve never been good at balancing, multitasking or general discipline. For those of you who are good at all of that, then it’s a piece of cake and you’re probably reading this and having a bit of a chuckle. For those of you who are like me, fret not because I’m telling you it’s doable.

I set my study schedule in my bullet journal – I plan out what I’m going to study and which activities I’m going to complete and when, what assignments are due and when I should start them. I also set a time to start studying, allocate the hours of study and try my complete best to STICK TO IT. I know it seems like a lot of effort goes into planning this out in writing, but it’s what works for me so find what works for you. It could be as simple as putting your assignment and reading schedule into your phone’s calendar.

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If you know that a social gathering is coming up, plan around that. Perhaps allocate two hours of study that day and then treat the social gathering as a ‘reward’. If you find you really can’t bring yourself to stick to your planned study hours, that’s okay – shift it and study in an hour or two after you’ve relaxed and done what you need to. If you’re like me and have set TV shows you just simply can’t miss, plan around it so you don’t feel guilty about not studying when you’re supposed to.

Just because planning is one of the keys to success, doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible. It’s going to be a hard time so it’s important to be kind to yourself. There are times when I want to gauge my eyeballs out and cry from the stress but I have to remind myself that I’m only human and sometimes life gets challenging and despite it all, I can do it.

So again I reiterate – planning and discipline is going to be your best friend during this challenging time. When the going gets tough, please don’t give up. STICK TO IT. After all, when you get your assignments in, get that exam done and get that passing grade, you realise it was all worth it. Well I do anyways.

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Hopefully you found this post somewhat helpful. If you’re in the same boat as me, please share your secret to fulltime study/fulltime work success!

The tale of online dating and I

In a previous post, I mentioned I’ve been single for about three years now.

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I guess that’s a while but I was seeing someone for about a year in that time. We weren’t ‘officially’ dating so I was technically still single but we weren’t seeing anyone else. I guess some people would debate that that means I wasn’t single the whole three years but I’m not going to go into the technical details of what’s considered ‘official’ and bla bla bla…

Before I met this gent, like most single adults, I decided to try online dating. I started off with a site called Badoo cause I was too chicken shit to try Tinder. Badoo is kinda like OkCupid but I was told AFTER I started using it that it’s for people who want nothing more than a shag.

Let’s get one thing clear – I wasn’t sure of what I was looking for. I just wanted to meet people and not be in anything serious. However, if it became serious then I would ride the wave and see what happens. I was just going to be open-minded about the whole experience.

Then I deleted my account and evolved to Tinder, where I made it a personal mission to hit 1,000 matches for lols. Tinder was one hell of an experience. I met so many people. It was interesting. I went on many dates and yes there were one night stands.

The meeting up part is always the hardest; particularly if you’re really getting along with them then you meet them and they’re not like you imagined them to be or they do things that sort of annoy you. Or if you’re shallow like me when it comes to height, they disappoint in that department by not being more than 5’10. I met this Irish dude and he was about my height. I’m a shortie at 5’2. Yes, I was disappointed. Even more disappointed when he was really boring too. I ended the date in 15 minutes.

You also meet some real characters. This guy told me a story he claimed “you would really enjoy” and it was about how he came home really drunk one night and passed out outside his bedroom door in his boxers and his stepdad had to wake him up and turns out his balls were hanging out. Firstly, why did he say I would enjoy this story and secondly, why did he whisper the word “balls”?! There was no need. It would’ve been a funny story if he were a bit more casual in the delivery department! I ended up making eye contact with this cutie at the bar and we smiled at each other and had a moment before I reminded myself I was on a disastrous date with a guy and needed to stop checking out other guys to compensate for lack of connection.

Then there was this other guy who told me I reminded him of his ex in terms of looks and personality. He said she was great (wonderful!) but she destroyed him and stomped on his heart (not so wonderful!). Then he said he was hungry but didn’t want to eat if I wasn’t eating. I’m sorry I ate before I left for the date given I thought we were going to just have coffee. In the midst of his hunger tantrum, I agreed to have a milkshake. I didn’t even want the fucking milkshake. Then he wanted to drive me home despite me saying, “no thanks, I’ll walk” many times. Anyways, he dropped me off a few houses down from my place and then turned off his engine as soon as we got there. Um excuse me? I told him I was tired and I was going to go straight to bed (I didn’t realise this excuse was far from believable until I saw the time: 8pm). He begrudgingly said it was okay and asked for a kiss. I said I’d rather not and I’ll see him next time. I waited for him to leave before I ran back home. I never saw him again. There are many more stories to share but I’m not going to bore you with them.

I’ve tried OkCupid as well. Haven’t met anyone on there. To be fair, I only go on when I’ve got messages. I recently downloaded Tinder again and I’m still trying to figure out why. The conversations I have are quite stagnant and to be honest, I’m not actually looking for anything. Not even a shag. Why you may ask? Well, I’ll save that for another post.

I had quite a relaxed, YOLO attitude towards meeting people in person. I wanted to give them a chance and more often than not, I would leave disappointed. What was I doing wrong? Is there a process I should be following to ensure success? I mean I’m a pretty chilled and open-minded person! If you don’t believe me, look:

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Only a chilled, open-minded person would pose like that in front of a cow sign.

Anyways, I was so, so close to giving up when I actually met someone.

I’m not here to rubbish the experience I had with online dating. I actually met some incredible people as well – some who I consider friends and still talk to and some I couldn’t be with because of circumstances (yes I did fall for about three guys in my time of online dating). While it may seem like there’s a hell of a lot of people on these platforms wanting to ‘score’, there are definitely people on there who are genuinely looking for connection and well, love. I met quite a few blokes that actually wanted a relationship… but I didn’t. Well, not with them anyways.

While online dating is hard and can leave you with plenty of horror stories to share, I think singles should definitely give it a go. It’s an interesting experience and sometimes you do find a diamond amongst all the rocks. I’ve yet to find a diamond but then it’s not like I’m trying to find a diamond. In fact, I’m saving Tinder for when I go to the UK in hopes of finding a rock star OR a Scandinavian Norse God that’s 8-foot god knows. Yes, my expectations are realistic 😛

For now, my love life looks a little bit like this:

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And that’s totally okay!

Got any dating horror stories to share? I’d love to hear them!

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For those of you who are wondering, yes I did reach my 1,000 matches goal. I actually screenshotted it so I could send it to my mate to prove to him I could do it. What a retard.