Sunday, June 26, 2011

One amazing weekend!

I have to! I have to recap this w/end. Because it was an amazing one!
It was so colorful and diverse - in terms of weather, cities, things I did, emotions I felt, but most importantly - the people I was surrounded by, literally and virtually! And in hindsight, I loved every moment of it!
The weather - nice and warm when I left Utrecht, rather chilly Friday night in Groningen, quite rainy Saturday, and lovely sunshine on Sunday - everywhere I went.
The cities - Zwolle, Groningen, Amsterdam and Utrecht.
The events:
- Super awesome Swingin Groningen Jazz and Soul Festival - with Benny Golson, Candy Dulfer, Kraak & Smaak, Billy Cobham quartet, which lead to a MeetUp / CouchSurfing gatherings and drinks with Mannus, Muhsin, Indiana, Koos, Mike, Anna, and Erik. I loooved the Benny Golson performance! Reminded me of the great times in Chicago, and further back in time - learning about jazz with my boyfriend Alex and my friend Ivo, and even further back - listening to jazz for the first time as a child on a short wave radio with my Dad. Sweet! I also enjoyed the more dancing jazz and soul tunes.
- A stroll through Groningen in the rain, with Mannus - including discovering a quaint square by the University, an eclectic photo exhibit, a lovely garden, a backgammon game (I won!)
- A delicious Dim Sum brunch with Ray in Amsterdam which turned into a leisurely stroll along canals, across bridges...sneaking bravely into the Grand Hotel to check the Marriage Chamber - ignore the name, it's an amazing hidden art-deco gem!!! Also played the piano in the hallway! Yes! Popped in a great chocolate shop (you knew I love chocolate, right?), the ever so inspirational RoB shop, De Jaren for drinks...did I miss anything? Oh, I laughed a lot!
- Going away dinner with the Fantastic Four (well, Five now) - Vero, Paul, Isabel, Mette, and Markus. A bit sad to see some friends moving away, but good to know one has good friends!
- Phone call with a dear friend of mine - loved to hear her laugh!
- Skype chat with my parents - poor they! Had not called them in a while! Guilty! :)
- A group Reiki energy exchange - with people from the UK, Ireland, Russia, the Netherlands, US, and Germany. I am so at peace now!

Excerpts of a random conversation:
'How long were you with your last boyfriend?'
'I don't measure relationships in terms of time, but in terms of intensity.'
'So how intense was it?'
'It made my every body cell alive!'

'How far do you usually travel to work?'
'These days distances are measured not in kilometers, but in 1-2 hours.'
'And how long would you travel to meet a girl?'
'As far as it would make me happy.'

Today I woke up with a sense of sweetness from life - for the first time in a couple of months. I smiled and smiled and smiled! Until it hurt, and then I smiled some more!

I found My Happy Place ...again!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

1 Pomodoro, 2 Pomodoros, 3 Pomodoros

A few years ago I bought a simple digital alarm clock from IKEA. I managed to set it without reading the instruction booklet. So far so good. Shortly after that I started hearing beeping sounds, but as they were single beeps and not too loud, I could not figure out where there were coming from. Finally, on a weekend, after a few hours on the sofa reading a book, I had an Eureca! moment - my clock was beeping once every hour. At first it felt annoying, but soon I realized it was a good reminder of time passing by, especially when I was doing something very lazy and slowly (while actually it could have been done much faster).

Last year a friend mentioned Pomodoro to me. It is based on the same idea, but it's much better!!! Why?
Because you can set the timer to 25min, 45min...anything you like, or anything suitable to the kind of tasks you do.
Because after '1 Pomodoro' (the length of time you work), you have to take a break of a few minutes (also timed!). It is important to take the break!
Because during the Pomodoro time you are not allowed to answer the phone, have a snack, or get distracted, which maintains your focus and makes you more productive.

You may be like me at first and already think that the Pomodoro technique is too simple, or too annoying, or too...whatever, but once I tried it I was sold on it! And I wish I had started using it sooner. Because it really works and improves time management.

This blog was written in one Pomodoro of 30 minutes. Now I'll have my well deserved break. And you....go download the Pomodoro timer and let me know how it works for you :)

PS. Thanks go to E. Pragt for introducing me to Pomodoro.