Why It is Important to Spend Some Time Alone

Today, because everything is so fast-paced, we end up thinking that taking a break is a waste of time. We want to stay productive because of all the demands in work, in school, sometimes even at home. But, we need to start realizing that taking a step back can also be beneficial. Here are some reasons why it is important to have some “me time”.

A time to relax

Taking a break and taking some time off things is probably one of the main reasons to spend some time alone. When you’re alone, you can generally let go of your worries for a while and even take a rest from all your work. It can be a way for your brain and body to slow down, ease up, and recharge. That is why spending time alone is a great way to refresh the mind and re-energize the body.

You become more creative

If you get the chance to notice, your thoughts flow differently if you are alone and if you are with others. This is simply because when you are alone, your mind can wander freely. When you’re with a group, on the other hand, your thoughts are restricted only in relation to the conversation. When your mind is allowed to wander, you will begin to get more and more ideas and you’ll be able to look at things from different perspectives.

You’ll be able to make plans

Of course, alone time doesn’t mean you have to do nothing. You can use this time to be productive and plan out your activities as well. Alone time allows you to list down and track your goals, achievements, future endeavors and etc. You’ll also have space to arrange your work and organize some tasks beforehand.

It will improve your emotional and mental strength

Sometimes we can get so stressed emotionally and mentally that we can’t help just having some alone time. But you really shouldn’t wait until you’re totally stressed out to enjoy some quiet time. Occasionally spending some time alone can help you take a step back and work through your problems. This, then, will help you build emotional and mental strength because you can now manage stress more effectively.

You can be more independent

Say for example there was a new trend in Singapore regarding partying. Your peers start to go with the trend but you know that it can affect your productivity at work. When you are a part of this group, it’ll be easy to submit to their way of thinking as well. But if you spend some time alone, you’ll be able to discern what’s right or not. You’ll be more self-reliant and you won’t have to seek attention and approval from others.

What is Dopamine and How Can You Make the Most of It

What is dopamine and why is it so important? Well, here’s why. Dopamine is a hormone produced by our body that gives us the feeling of happiness and fulfillment. Now this hormone is the main reason why we feel emotionally happy or up. Basically when we lack dopamine, we experience sad or down emotions. This is why this hormone is very important. There are a lot of other uses of this hormone but let’s keep it simple.

This is all you need to know about dopamine to make it important. Dopamine comes in so many forms. Sugar and coffee can trigger dopamine production and this is why too much sugar makes us experience a sugar high. We become more energetic and feel more positive when we produce more dopamine in our body. Sadly, this is an unnatural way of increasing dopamine production within our body which means that this doesn’t have a good effect in the long run.

One reason most people experience low dopamine in their body is because of the irregularity of dopamine production within the body. When our body is used to instant gratification, our body’s expectation of dopamine becomes higher and thus makes us crave for more dopamine within the body. This can be very dangerous because if the bar is set higher, the easier it is for us to feel down and sad.

Taking care of our body and our emotions means taking care of our protein production. Don’t underestimate the power of dopamine! If you are experiencing lack of motivation, low self-esteem, and basically feeling down most of the time, this may be caused by irregular dopamine production within your body and instead of finding an instant fix or an instant way of increasing the dopamine within your body, why not increase your natural dopamine production?

Increasing the natural production of dopamine in your body to reach a state of equilibrium could be pretty hard but definitely not impossible! A lot of people have been able to get themselves out of depression because of how they learned about dopamine and did their research in countering irregular dopamine production.

Even if most people blame it on the culture and the norms of the food we eat, the activities we do, and even the instant availability of information, there are still a lot of reasons as to why most people nowadays experience irregular dopamine production. Learn how to conquer your problems instead of escaping from them. The more you try to escape from your problems, the stronger they become and the more they will haunt you. Learn to fight your problems by tackling the source of you feeling down, dopamine!

Multi-Tasking: 3 Reasons why it’s Actually Counter-Productive

With all the ways modern technology allows us to make our work easier for us, it’s hard to believe that there can still be a way for very little to be done – and then there’s multi-tasking.

What’s Multi-tasking? Multi-tasking sounds great as a concept – you divide your attention by doing multiple things little by little at the same time, and instead of finishing just one task, you can do two, three, or maybe even four.

However, once you actually start doing it, it’s actually hard to get anything done at all. Here’s why you should stop doing it:

1. Your brain can’t handle it. It’s designed to focus on one thing at a time, which is why many people describe being “in the zone”, or in a state where their focus is completely directed to their work and they don’t notice anything else. When you can’t focus on one thing, you also don’t feel the investment you’re putting into your work, and with this lack of oversight means…

2. You’re more likely to make mistakes. The more tasks you try to do at once, the more you try to shift between one task and the other. This means you can’t focus well enough on any one task, which means you’re more prone to making mistakes with your work. And because you’re not focusing on your work, you won’t commit it to memory, which leads to…

3. You inhibit creativity. When you’re constantly shifting your attention from one task to the next, not only do you rob yourself of the time you need to actually focus on getting it done, but you also prevent yourself from seeing any possible ways to improve the overall work. Even if you do get the tasks done, you keep yourself from accessing parts of your brain that allow for critical thinking and creativity, so you’ll only manage to come up with results that you won’t be too happy with.

Improving Focus and Concentration
With the constant stream of information being delivered to you through your computer and mobile devices, it can also be hard to focus on any one thing. However, you can still achieve focus through a number of ways.

Here are some tips you can use to improve your concentration and focus on your work:

• Eliminating distraction by prioritizing tasks from most urgent to least urgent, and start with the most urgent task first, and then work your way down until you clear up the least urgent tasks for the day.

• Engage with your work. Even if you don’t like what you’re doing and need to get it done, simply being passive and doing it for the sake of doing it won’t give you the results you want.

• Put aside all tasks not related to what you’re doing. If you find yourself researching information on the internet, close the tabs and applications that aren’t related to what you’re doing.

How to Clean Different Glasses and Screens

There’s a good chance that your work involves staring at a screen for long periods of time, and if you’re wearing eyeglasses in a humid country like Singapore, you’ll eventually come to a point where you will be squinting through lenses that are streaked with grease and smudges.

The same can be said for other types of glasses at home as well, such as your windows and mirrors, and because they are different types of glass, knowing how they should be cleaned can make a big difference.

Here’s how the different types of glasses are cleaned:

Eyeglasses
Cleaning your glasses daily prevents them from scratching and other types of damage in the long run. Wash your hands thoroughly before applying just a tiny amount of dishwashing liquid using your finger all over the lenses and the bridge.

Once that’s done, rinse it in hot water and dry off with a lint-free fabric (preferably your lens cloth, which is made of microfiber).

Alternatively, if your dishwashing soap contains oils, you can use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and distilled water. Rub the lenses with your lens cloth before letting them air-dry for best results.

LCD Screens
Some time ago, you may have used spray glass cleaners to clean CRT monitors and old TV sets. However, you can’t do the same with LCD screens.

What you can do to clean them is by using a 2:1 ratio of isopropyl rubbing alcohol and water, and just like with your glasses, be sure to use lint-free fabric when wiping them as using paper or tissue will only leave dust and paper fibers all over the surface.

You should also make sure to wipe the screen gently to avoid getting any scratches or accidental smudges.

Windows/Mirrors
Windows and mirrors are easier to clean by simply using glass or mirror cleaning fluid, but when you don’t have that at home, you can substitute it with a combination of distilled water and your choice of dish soap (1 tablespoon for every half-bucket) or vinegar (a 1:1 ratio).

And just like with the previous types of glasses, using a lint-free cloth is crucial for keeping smudges and scratches to a minimum. You can use a sponge for both windows and mirrors, but be sure that they don’t pick up any dust while cleaning.

To minimize the dust that’s settled on your windows, you can also use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of it before cleaning them, as dust can still stick to them, especially when wet.

And because dust can also collect on your bucket, replace your cleaner every now and then to keep the dust and dirt from depositing and leaving any streaks when dry.

How Not to Embarass Yourself in a Foreign Country

Travelling is supposed to be fun, and you’d want to explore new places feeling as confident and relaxed as possible. But before you head to the airport to catch a flight to Korea, Japan or US, take a look at this cheat-sheet to manage your expectations on cultural customs and behaviors.

1. Know when (and when not) to touch a person
Whether to touch or not can be confusing when you are in a foreign land. In many European countries, invading personal space for a bit may not be a big deal. But with much of African and Asian countries, you wouldn’t want to appear clingy. In France and Italy, maintaining eye contact, touching the other person and reaching out are considered more polite gestures than just staring at the person with your hands crossed over your chest. However, in Nigeria, maintaining eye contact can be perceived as threat or an overly bold move.

2. Mind the table manners
Although you were always taught that elbows should always be off the table and do not leave anything on your plate when done eating, table manners vary widely from country to country. In India and certain parts of Africa, it’s more than just keeping your elbows off the table. You also have to be mindful of your left hand—it shouldn’t touch anything on the table or it will be considered dirty. In Japan, you can slurp the soup, but do that in China and you’ll get all the strange stares at the table. In China, eating your rice with chopsticks is customary, but in Thailand it is considered inappropriate (use a spoon, instead).

3. Know whether you need to tip or not
In America, people do not leave a restaurant without leaving 15 percent tip on the table. However, in many countries around the world, tipping is either already part of the bill, unnecessary because the staff are paid much higher or just plain rude. Do not tip in Australia, Brazil and Japan. Leave at least five percent tip in Germany, France and Italy, while at least 10 percent tip in Russia, Egypt, South Africa and Hong Kong.

4. Dress appropriately
Unless you are headed somewhere In U.S., it’s best to dress more conservatively when in a foreign land. Cover your arms and legs and avoid wearing shirts with graphics and slogans that are too loud to the sight.

5. Learn the most basic local phrases
This is an obvious one, but we’ll say it again: learning the foreign language of basic phrases like “Hi,” “Hello,” “Please,” “Thank you,” “Where’s the bathroom,” and “Do you speak English” will go a long way in making you appear more friendly to the locals. It only takes a few minutes to learn these magic phrases that can greatly help turn strangers to friends anywhere you are.

Above all, be observant. Try to be the tourist that does not make the locals roll their eyes behind your back.

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