Work Life Balance | How to get things done efficiently (Productivity tips!)

3.28.2019

One of the most frequently asked questions I get: 
HOW DO YOU JUGGLE BETWEEN WORK-LIFE BALANCE?!
especially when I'm also doing my part-time masters program (i love it but ugh as well) 

To be honest, I don't have a magic solution that could make all things work out, but I do have a system that I rely on to maintain the homeostasis lol, and to make sure I don't go haywire. 






1. Set a system for yourself 
I think this is pretty basic, we all know that we need a planner (be it physically or digitally) to keep ourselves organized. However, have you find yourself jotting down all the to-dos and schedule yet, still not keeping up? A lot of us KNOW this but we don't do it optimally (myself included). 
I took a productivity course on Skillshare which has help me tremendously in optimizing my to-doist app, Google Calendar and physical planner 

Another huge tip on this is to set a review day. What you do with a review day is to review the previous week (e.g.: carry forward events, what was working well and what you need to catch up on). This allows you to have a birds-eye view of the following week too. I personally set a 30 minutes on a Monday to do this review :) 





2. Instead, multi-task in efficient ways 
For the longest time, I thought being able to juggle work-life balance is to be good at multitask. Boy am I wrong. The key to having it all 'well-balanced' is to be good at FOCUSING. 

I now use the Pomodoro method as discussed before (e.g.: setting 20 minutes to start off a task) in order to make myself go into deep work mode. Of course, some good lofi music helps too! (my current favorite is this one)
I got to understand more about the effect of multitasking through the illustration below: 

credits to donebeforebrekky

When you multi-task, you often spend a great amount of effort when changing from one task to another. This costs more effort when picking up the previous task/next task when we interchange between task. Overtime, the amount of tasks that's effectively is decreased, which is known as being busy, not productive and effective. 

Also, I'm currently looking more into the Pomodoro Method and Task Batching to learn how to be more effective with my daily tasks.

Resources: 

Also read about Batch Tasking 
and






3. Ditch the perfectionist in you 
 The idea of having everything perfectly in line is just bullshit (sorry for the lack of vocab but really). A lot of people think work-life balance means having it all together and it's sunshine and rainbows all the time. 

Here's what balance looks like to me: 
Pulling an all-nighter for an assignment due, double booking my appointments, having heated arguments with Joe and feeling guilty of not having enough family time. 


Knowing that I can have it all, not all at once, but I can have it all. 

 For example, next week is my finals (yiaks) so I know that I will be investing most of my energy on my studies instead. There's always a place and time for different focuses so know that it is ok for fall back sometimes. 
This shift of mindset had helped me tremendously in combatting that evil critical self-talk that's so detrimental to my mental well-being. Please practice self-care in this journey too to avoid burnout.(follow me through the 30 days habit challenge!)




Are you struggling in maintaining work-life balance? What do to do to keep yourself in place when things get out of control? Let me know!


Journalling tips for busy people | Prompts and resources

3.20.2019

I'm on my Day 15 of journalling and I finally feel different from this habit building journey. I've fall off twice this month: 1) due to my busy schedule, 2) I'm sick (and still am).

Again, these are the setbacks that I've foresee during my habit building planning (click here for FREE worksheet!), and I'm surprise on how well I'm able to pick up the habit the next day without feeling discouraged at all! *kudos!*



Now, when I first started announcing the #30dayshabitchallenge on Instagram, a lot of you asked: "How do I start?" "What should I write about?" "I couldn't seem to start." 

It was exactly how I felt too! Especially when you are busy juggling with school/work and life. You just want to make it as easy as possible to do this self-care routine. Here's my top tips for those busy hustlers out there that want to start journalling! 


1. Use prompts 
If you have no idea where to start, a few prompts that I've been loving are: 
a) Today, I'm proud of... 
b) I'm grateful for.... 
c) I want to focus on... 

Just this three will do. The others will flow. Just like how they say, it's not that the journey is hard, it's the first step that's stopping you. So get started with these few prompts and you're good to go! 


2. You are not writing an essay
Like, you don't have to submit this piece of work to anyone! Screw that grammatically correct sentence, ditch that bombastic adjective to describe your feelings. You can literally write, or even doodle whatever that's in your mind. 

Some days, I could be writing about how angry I feel and then I jump into my to-do list. LOL. Some days, I even start my journal in English and then switch to Mandarin. If that's how it resonates with you at the moment, do it. 

You may also want to google: morning pages or stream of thoughts for more information.


3. It can be ugly 
Who says journals should be pretty with washi tapes and stickers all around. I know you've been looking for 'journal inspo' on Pinterest but oh dear... we ain't got that amount of time. If you're anyone like me where you still have zillions of to-dos at the back of your head, you want to get it done asap. So, don't worry if it's not 'aesthetically pleasing'. After all, it's the content that matter. 


4. Set a timer 
Go on your phone and set a 15 minutes timer. It may seem very 'extra' but trust me on this, setting timer to any task that you're dreading is magic. It really made me focus on what I needed to do at the moment. 


My journal notebook on Evernote app. You can also see how my mind works, it's all over the place lol.



5. Do it digitally instead 
Not all journal needs to be on paper and pen. I do know people who prefers getting things done digitally. On days when I'm on-the-go, I even journal on my Evernote app. It's quick and easy. You can even create a private blog to document them and review them later. Any note-taking app is good! Do it on your phone or on your computer. Anything that works! Just know that there's always alternatives. 




So that's that! Be sure to download my FREE habit building planner to help you on this journey! If you are journalling as well, let me know how you're doing! Can't wait to hear from you :) 

How to build new habits? Detailed and actionable planning | FREE Downloadable worksheet included!

3.13.2019


Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. - Atomic Habits

Another habits post because I've got lots of questions from you guys regarding my journalling process. If you didn't know about my #30dayshabitchallenge, head over to my Instagram to follow through the journey! 

Before I break down the journalling journey, I'll share with you some of my tips when planning my habit building journey. I've also included the worksheet that I made to help your make planning process easier. So here we go!


1. Identify the habit 
DUH. But really, in details. Not "I want to be healthy" but instead, "I want to workout twice a week". Be specific and ONLY CHOOSE ONE HABIT at a time! Don't ever underestimate how a small habit can transform your life! 

2. Think and feel like you've achieved your goal
Try and feel as if you've already have the habit of working out twice a week, how would you feel? Powerful, healthy and strong. Try envisioning yourself in that state and savour it until it feels true to you! Law of attraction guys *wink*




GET THE WHOLE WORKSHEET HERE


3. Make a plan 
Download my worksheet HERE to help you with the process! Remember, make sure you are at least 70% confident with your plan, or else, amend it! 

4. Get ready for the setbacks 
In the worksheet, I've also included a column for you to plan for your setbacks. For example, that week was your exam week and you really got no time to hit the gym? Alternative: Do planks at home for 1min x 5 sets. Planning your setbacks allow you to feel more confident in getting back on track later on! 



5. Reach out (find your support system) 
For the longest time, I was so afraid to share my thoughts or goals to others thinking "What if I fail? I'll be such a joke." But when I took the leap to post it on my Instagram, I'm so amazed with how many people are supportive towards my journey and even Joe (a.k.a. the boyfriend) is constantly checking in with me on my journey. So find your own support system to keep you accountable in your habit building journey. 

6. Review 
Look back and evaluate how did the process go. What went well? What did not? Would you continue practicing this habit or you would do it differently? I'll do this together with you on my 30th day of the #30dayshabitchallenge. Can't wait! 



If you want to download the full worksheet, click here

If you want to see how I'm doing with my 30 days habit challenge, click here

and if you want to connect or ask me questions/send me feedback regarding the worksheet, 
email me at heyminniechang@gmail.com 
or dm me on Instagram/Facebook. 


Love ya'll. 

30 Days Habit Challenge | Why?

3.06.2019

As we're entering March, I believe a lot of us are struggling to achieve our resolution and goals. How are you coping with it?

I know one of my goal this year is to produce more content (particularly personal development content) and practice better self-care. With that said, I started giving myself a challenge to encourage myself to step out of my comfort zone.




I believe in order to grow better, we need to be uncomfortable; and in order to build the 'dream life', we need to build habits that work. 


Habits, are actually little systems that contribute to our lifestyle and identity. For example, having the habit of drinking lots of water and having balance diet contributes to a healthy lifestyle and 'healthy' image. Whereas, having the habit of drinking beer every meal might contribute to a 'unhealthy' image (well, of course beer belly shows too). 

What I'm trying to say is, WE CAN SHAPE OUR OWN IDENTITY. We can be in control in who we want to become. 


So this is why I started the 30 days habit challenge (#30dayshabitchallenge) 

For every 30 days, I'll be challenging myself to commit to a habit that I want to focus one. ONLY ONE. A lot of time we get so overwhelmed with the amount of habits we want to adopt: working out, eating healthy, reading, waking up early etc. 


But really, our lifestyles are not built in a day, a week or a month. It takes time. A year? 5 years? Maybe more. But it's ok. That's the best part of it. 


We get to solidify our foundation. Each habit will contribute to another, like a snowball effect. Drinking more water lead us to less sickness, which in return lead us to get more things done. It's small, but it has it's effect. I'm starting off with journalling because it contributes to my well-being, which keeps me grounded and allow me to be more efficient. With that, I'm able to do more while staying healthy emotionally. 


Well, that's it for a short post on why I started the #30dayshabitchallenge! If you want to see my progress of building my journalling habit, head over to my Instagram (HERE) to get up-to-date posts! Let me know what habit you're trying to build! :) 

OLIVE EYES x MAKEUP

2.20.2019

Hello everyone! I'm so excited for today's post! It's been a while since I did a makeup/outfit styling post. Today (drum rolls please), I have a makeup AND outfit post, 2 in 1!


Thank you Barbie Eyesland for sending over the lens! It inspired me to step outside of my comfort zone to try out a new style. I decided to start off with the DOLLY OLIVE contact lens.

If you guys know me well, I do have sensitive eyes. But this time, it feels pretty comfortable to wear during this shoot! I almost forgot how eye color can instantly boost up the whole look!


Cut the talking and here's how I styled the whole look around OLIVE, using Orange as the contrasting look.








OUTFIT DETAILS: 
inner black top - Cotton On 
olive overalls - Taobao
bomber jacket - thrifted 
heels - random shop (sorry!)
earrings - instashop: purpleagnes


Well, you can guess it. See you in my next post! I have two more contact lens to style *yay*

So you think our relationship is perfect? | Things we learned from our biggest argument.

2.14.2019

It's been a pretty tough few weeks for us.  We... well... mostly me, I was triggered over and over again by an unresolved incident that had happened six month ago. Now, let me fill you in a little bit:

6 months ago, Joe broke a news to me, I didn't take it very well, we argued. 
We thought we were over it, but turns out nope. On and off, it went on for the next 6 months.




In today's post, I want to write about the things that we've learned from this downhill of our relationship. Yes, you heard me right, WE. Joe is going to write his bits too! Please send him some love, this is probably his first time writing a blog (he told me it's like writing essay lol). So proud of him! I thought having both of our thoughts would give you a better perspective rather than a one-sided thought.








I realize both of us felt very very similar when we are in argument, and I'm glad we learned similar things from this experience. Love is weird, but it's worth it at the end of the day, be it an argument, a break-up or milestones that we are achieving together.

After all, we are all human that long for that connection,
with others and within ourselves.

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you feel loved whether or not you have a romantic partner, because if you are reading this, I love you!


p/s: I know you're reading Joe, just want to say thank you for doing this with me! you the best.

Counselling, do you need one?

1.30.2019

I just ended my counselling session with my first ever counsellor. It was like a break-up (in good terms la of course). To be honest, I often get asked: Do you think I need counselling?


The answer from me is always yes.



Whether or not you are in a distressed emotional situation or you are 'perfectly' fine (well, we all know there's no such thing as perfect), counselling would be beneficial because...

1. You'll learn your trigger points
I first went in for a counselling session just because
- it's free for Help University students (yay free stuff)
- my lecturer says it would be beneficial woorrrr.

So I went in just because. But little did I know I would come out with so many gains. My first session looked like this



Yes. I cried like a crying baby, sobbing, unable to finish my sentences. After the session, I was shocked to recognize how many trigger points I had, that I never knew of for example I never knew I cared so much for my family before, or I've never knew I hadn't overcome my feelings that I had since I'm a child.


2. You're learning a life skill 
We never learn about self-care in schools or from our parents. In school, we learn to focus on academics and curriculum. At home, our parents taught us what's acceptable and what's not. But no one had every touch upon self-care. No one told us how to check in with ourselves. Really, how do we do that?

In sessions, I was able to recognize my thinking patterns and identify certain symptoms when I am going down-hill (read my burnout story). Moreover, it's the awareness that you have for yourself that's most important. I am now braver when confronting with my feelings, like when I screwed up the other time.

This, is a life-long skill. It's something that's different for everyone. So the sessions will guide you in finding your own way to be someone better.



3. It's the time you focus on yourself (probably the only time) 
If you are like me, you are constantly on-the-go. Even when I schedule my "me-time", it's never my me-time. I find it extremely difficult to tune in to myself, especially when I'm constantly having conversations in my head.

The counselling sessions creates a space that I can fully embrace my flaws and strengths. I could be myself. I don't have to put up a face to be the "perfect" daughter. It's my sacred place.



4. You learn to empathize
This is probably the best by-product. After being consistent with the sessions, I find myself being more calm, hence better at listening. Why? Those voices/conversations that I always had are now managed so I can finally listen to my friends and family when they talk. I learn how to listen to care, not listen to answer.


Before I end this post, here's a message from my first counsellor that brought a different perspective on counselling. Thank you :)




I screwed up

1.23.2019

It's hard to admit but, I screw things up too. Yesterday when I was coming back from Johor, I received a call and knew that I screw up an appointment. I forgot about it and there's nothing I can do because I was on the road.



This feeling left me with lots of guilt and shame, that lasted for the whole day. If I were to experience this back then, I'll probably carry the shame and guilt with me for the whole week. But yesterday I took initiative to do the few things below, and it made me feel better.



1. Take responsibilities 
It's scary to admit that you are wrong. My reflex when it comes to facing my mistakes is to push the responsible away or at least as far as I can. I was so scared in taking responsibilities. Yesterday when I picked up the phone, I knew I did a mistake. My first attempt was to find excuses. Pause. I told the person over the phone that I was terribly sorry (I really am), and offered a solution that hopefully could help with the situation.



2. Process your emotions/feelings 
Last night, I took the time out to write down how I felt. These were exactly what I wrote.

".... I feel shameful for making this mistake" 
".... I feel guilty that I have caused inconvenience for others" 

I even went on to describe the physiology when I was experiencing the emotions like, heart/chest feels tighten, sweaty palms etc.

After admitting these feelings, I proceed to the next.


3. Ask for forgiveness, from yourself
It is true that the highest expectations that a person could give is yourself. Yesterday I went for my last counselling session with my counsellor and she said that I am very 'critical' to myself, I almost teared.

I wrote a forgiveness letter to myself.

"Yes you did a mistake, but it doesn't mean you are not loved or liked anymore. You've learned from this mistake that you need to update your calendar every week. You've learned that you should pause and think before agreeing to any appointments. You are now better because you've learned how to manage your time better. Remember what to do next time, but don't hate yourself for making this mistake. I love you!" 

It's cliche. But it works. I felt a huge sense of relieve as if the pressure on my shoulder is lifted.



Thank you for reading. If you've made a mistake today, learn from it, and let it go so you can move forward in bettering yourself.

Thrift Lookbook | Malaysia thrifting experience

1.16.2019

Hey loves! I'm finally writing on a styling post! A while ago, I went to this bundle/thrift shop located in Ampang called Family Bundle when Nadia (@inner.maverick), one of my favorite online people called for a thrift hangout on her Instagram. It was definitely one of my favorite place to thrift because it is air-conditioned and the place is HUGE. I got to pick more 13 pieces with just RM83! SUCH A STEAL. Here's me putting together a few of my favorite pieces and had my good friend Ally photographed me.

Disclaimer
I usually buy stuff that are more affordable so most of the items doesn't have brand. Either I got them from Bangkok or thrifted besides my sneakers. So, you don't need to be expensive to play with styles!

Styled by: Minnie & Ally

Photographed by: Ally



Look 1

I love pairing a good oversized jacket with some feminine and sexy item inside. Hence, this is probably my favorite look! Also, you can always upgrade a look by getting a pair of white jeans!


Outerwear - Family Bundle 
Jeans - Bangkok 
Bralette - Bangkok 
Fanny Pack - Bangkok 
Sneakers - Converse  







Look 2


This look is definitely something that's out of my comfort zone. The top has a different sheen to it, the vest adds some layers to it and the pants are so lightweight and easy to style! All thrifted *score*! 


Long sleeved top - Family Bundle 
Pants - Family Bundle 

Vest - Family Bundle 
Hat - Forever 21 

Sneakers - Nike 
Clutch - Vavoom









Look 3

The key to this outfit is definitely the pink jacket. My favorite thing to thrift are jackets/outerwear. I love how unique each piece can be! Also, this outfit is mainly styled by Ally, with a bit of help from the boyfriend. Well, what d'you think?



Wind breaker - Family Bundle 

Crop top - Bangkok 
Jeans - Factorie 
Bucket Hat - Factorie 
Shades - Bangkok 
Bandana - Bangkok 
Boots - Palladium 






I had so much fun thrifting! Some quick tips when you go thrifting (I'll do an elaborated one once I've master the thrifting skills :P)

  1. Wear something light weight like a sleeveless top and shorts because you may/may not have a changing room. This way you can speed up your 'trying on' time. 
  2.  Be open minded. Chances are, you'll find unique stuff that has never crossed your mind. 
  3.  Estimate at least 2 hours to shop! You'll need to be patient in finding the right stuff. I always need some buffer time before warming up, going in full force! 
  4. Bring water, snacks and tissue (oh, and your own recycle bag). It could get dusty sometimes so I sneeze a lot there. So make sure you are well-fed so you don't get hangry when shopping! 



Last but not least, do you thrift? If so, where?

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (What I've Learned)

1.09.2019

Well, this could've been the most talked-about book in 2018! It's still quite rare to see people read it in Malaysia, hence they were not in the more common bookstores like Popular or Book Xcess (maybe they think it's too vulgar lol). I got this copy from Kinokuniya at the price of RM79.90 *ouch*, but since I know I'm going to keep them, I bought it despite the price.

Instead of giving this book a rank (I'll do it at the end), I want to list down some of the things I've learned through this book.


1. Action creates motivation
I'll be writing on a post on how to create motivation next month. *brewing* The biggest thing I've learned from the end of last year is that there's no such thing as motivation. YOU CREATE MOTIVATION. Action first, then the motivation will come by. For instance, writing this post, posting it and receiving feedback from you guys creates motivation for me to keep producing more!

2. You don't need the AHA moment
The biggest take away from this book is that there will never be a right time. Don't wait until you are smarter, richer or whatever to start your dream or to learn something. In this era of technology you can learn within a click on the finger. You wanna make videos? I'm sure you have a phone. Need a gadget to start you business/passion? Start saving money to achieve them!


3. Improvements come from failures
"... the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you've failed at something."
It hits me hard because I am always comparing myself with other people's success. But what flipped me over is, I should compare my failure to their failure. I am not failing enough. I am not experimenting or doing enough, that's why I am not learning enough, hence, not successful yet. Also, by failing, it does not put a full-stop to your journey to your success. Failing once on this blog does not mean I cannot succeed here, it only means I can grow and learn and fail better next time ;)

4. "Do Something" Principle
"If you're stuck on a problem, don't sit there and think about it; just start working on it.... the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head." This ties back to my first point, just take actions. Many times, I have all these 'wonderful' ideas in my head, but I don't act upon it. What's the point? So many times when I encounter problems, I dodge it as long as I can. But really, it only cause morrreeee streesssss. There will never be the best solution/best way, but you can always the right ways/ideas when you take the first step.


5. Why I'm procrastinating
"The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it."
So many times I've passed on certain opportunities because I was afraid that I couldn't handle it. For example, I've been procrastinating on revamping my blog, because I was afraid that I couldn't live up to my set of expectations to be a great blogger. It challenges my ideal, hence I procrastinated. I was so afraid of the labels being "lame blogger", "blogger wana-be", "uninspiring" or "unprofessional", hence I rather not start this journey. This bring us to the next point...

6. Never know who you are
I always label myself as a dancer or a counselling student. But really, is that it? Sometimes it sets a strict expectation towards myself that I don't even realize. In the year of 2018, I expanded myself as a marketer, producer or even, not I finally can say, a creative blogger (in a much more confident way). I'm so excited to see what, and who I can become in the future years.




So... here's how I'll rate the book overall:

Rate: 8/10

Why?
It was a very easy to read book because I easily got so caught up with the way he writes it in a light-hearted way. I was flipping through it so fast, getting a-ha moments here and there throughout. It's easy to understand, and I would definitely re-read this book. However, towards the end I was reading it chunk by chunk so sometimes I don't follow the book throughout (hence I'm looking forward to re-read this). Overall, this is something I'll keep in the shelf, and pull it out whenever I need a reminder of what should I give a fuck about.



Oh, and, send me some book recommendations for the year 2019!


How to set new year's resolutions that REALLY work? (2019 version)

1.02.2019

Happy new year everyone! Still can't believe the year has flew by within a blink. I was going to write about how my 2018 went but I'll save that for another time. If you haven't catch up on the previous post, do so! Today's post is a continuation of the previous one.



I'm going to share a few tips on setting achievable resolutions. I've seen three types of people when it comes to setting new year's resolution:
1. The "I don't believe in making new year's resolution" type
2. The "I love setting new year's resolution but I never achieve them" type
3. The "I set them and achieve them" type


Today, we are focusing on how to become the third type. I've been doing this since 4 months ago and so far it's been working very well!


1. Knowing the bigger picture & reflecting on the previous goals 
Read my previous post here and you'll get a better idea of what I'm talking about. I can't emphasize enough on how important this is. To know where you are heading towards, and to know what's next is a form of motivation to keep you going.


2. Setting the goal 
You've probably heard this a million times, but it's important. Set goals that are measurable. How do you define your success? Say in 2019, you want to read more. What does 'more' means? Make sure you really define what does more and less means. For example, reading one book every month so that I can read 12 books at the end of the year. Also, always define your goals. For instant, if you want to be happier, then define what 'happy' means to you. More money? More opportunities? More family/friends time? By doing so, you are able to 'create' the happiness because they are measurable and achievable.


3. Visualize it
This brings me to this exercise: visualizing. You can do it in different ways: drawing it out, writing it on a paper or just saying it out loud. Don't keep your goals in your head. There's something about putting your goals out there, it's kind of like, making the goal exist. It sounds weird but trust me, it does make a difference. After doing so, put it somewhere that you can constantly refer back. For me, I make it a point in the beginning of the month to go through my list, so I can remind myself (because I'm a human Dory) what are my goals and reprioritizing my energy and time. This also ties in with the concept of "law of attraction", the more you believe your goals are real, they will become real.

So let's do this exercise together: draw/write down how would you feel and be like on 31st December 2019?

a) What will you be doing? 
b) How are you feeling?
c) What are you wearing? 

*be as detailed as you can be!*



4. Creating a system
Writing your goals are NOT ENOUGH. This is probably the most crucial part in making your goals achievable. If you were to set a goal on having a fit body, how are you going to achieve it? What are the steps needed. Break down the steps into the smallest possible. For instance:
1. Look for a fitness centre 
2. Sign up for classes 
3. Join 2 classes each week 
4. Only have desserts over the weekend etc. 

By breaking down the steps and creating the system, your seemingly huge goals are now achievable and you have a sense of power to make the change.


5. Fall backs 
Expect yourself to 'fail' at some point. Let's face it, we're human. We screw things up. But it doesn't mean we fail as a human being. I learned it the hard way after experiencing the burnout. Let's say you need to travel this week and will need to skip the fitness classes. Or this week you're overwhelmed with unforeseen events, what are you going to do? Many will feel demotivated and just ditch the system overall. I'll say, write down the possible fall backs you're likely to face (e.g.: if I fall sick this week, I'll take another week to recover or only go for one class the following week). This way, the fall backs ARE part of the plan.




I think that's all I have for you this week! I hope you find it helpful. Speaking about creating a system, I'll be uploading a new post every Wednesday 7.30pm! Let me know what other topics you want me to write about. Can't wait to create more content in this space.

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