21 techniques to increase your productivity

1. Make your bed in the morning (so you won’t be tempted to go back there).

I almost always make my bed in the morning.

2. Have a nice healthy and energetic breakfast (to have energy for the most productive part of your day).

I rarely eat a healthy breakfast. I had boiled eggs.

3. Organize a cluttered space (you’re going to feel instantly more productive).

I’m usually tidy but this was a good reminder.

4. Spend less time on the phone (and do something useful).

The bane of my existence! I’m trying.

5. Get a planner and use it (plan everything you want to achieve).

I plan on my calendar but I did print out a weekly planner and filled it up.

6. Turn off unnecessary notifications on the phone (don’t let this little machine distract you).

I turn off my wifi when I don’t want to be distracted by my phone.

7. Create a meal plan for the entire week ( so you don’t waste a lot of time thinking about it every day).

I plan what I’m going to cook a day before, but meal planning for the week is not my thing.

8. Make a to-do list (and try to complete all the tasks).

I make to-do lists almost every day.

9. Take a 30 min walk (to get some fresh air and feel motivated).

I’ve been walking my son to his karate classes and I’m definitely getting my steps in!

10. Declutter email inbox (it can be a little overwhelming sometimes).

I normally do this once a week, or more.

11. Exercise for 30 min (even if you don’t do anything during the day, you will feel super productive after your workout).

I was able to do 15 minutes, more than my usual 7.

12. Read a chapter of a book before bed (and forget social media).

I’ve been reading from 100 simple secrets of happiness every day, sometimes right before bed.

13. Don’t watch TV (so you have more time for yourself).

I’ve been binge-watching daily for a month but I skipped 2 days of no TV!

14. Organize your closet (and donate everything you don’t want anymore).

I did this today (I’m not doing the tasks in order).

15. Create a music playlist with your favorite songs (and dance like no one is watching).

I did!

16. Don’t check your phone right after you wake up (and have a slow and peaceful morning).

I’ve been practicing this a lot lately. One day I even didn’t go on my phone until after 3 hours of waking up!

17. Meditate for 10 min (you will feel rejuvenated).

I listened to relaxing sounds on my phone for 10 minutes.

18. Organize your pantry and fridge (so you don’t spend too much time searching for your favorite snack).

I did and it felt so good!

19. Deep clean your room (clear space, clear mind).

I deep cleaned the kitchen.

20. Unsubscribe people that don’t bring you joy anymore (you will feel much more relieved).

I do an Instagram purge every once in a while and it feels good.

21. Schedule a rest period during your day (we all need some relax time).

I napped. I’ve been doing that more and more lately.

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

I created a spiritual awakening challenge!

Unfortunately, I didn’t actually do much of it…

Day 1

Watch an Islamic YouTube reminder video.

Day 2

Pray all 12 rakat nafila.

Day 3

Pray doha

Day 4

Smile at everyone you see (it’s charity) and avoid frowning

Day 5

Give sadaqa (even if it’s a little amount).

Day 6

Read quraan as soon as you wake up instead of going on your phone.

Day 7

Stay up after fajr until shurouq, then pray 2 rakat

Day 8

Pray witr and make a heartfelt doua.

Day 9

Pray 2 rakat in the middle of the night, or right before you sleep if you stay up late.

Day 10

Sleep soon after Ishaa prayer (it’s sunnah).

Day 11

Buy a loved one a gift. تهادوا تحابوا

Day 12

Do an act of kindness for your neighbor.

Day 13

Thank your parents for all they have done for you.

Day 14

Read tafseer

Day 15

Read from any islamic book reminders or فقه or hadith.

Day 16

Get acquainted with Allah’s 99 names.

Day 17

Read or watch a video about السيرة النبوية

Day 18

Learn a new douaa.

Day 19

Learn a new hadith.

Day 20

Give someone islamic advice in a friendly way, a Muslim you know who wears tight clothes or puts makeup on.

Day 21

Reach out to a non Muslim you know and try to introduce them to Islam in a friendly manner.

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

Why I need to write things down

I write to-do lists to motivate myself to be productive. Otherwise, I give in to laziness and depression. I get anxious if I don’t write what I need to do because as a stay-at-home mom, I have a lot to do. Some people may think I just sit around and do nothing, and even though I do waste my time binge-watching sometimes, but I do get a lot done in a day. Maybe not as much compared to those housewives who cook and clean all day, but my productivity is about balance. For example, today I exercised and read Quran and prayed, and made sure my son studied. I did the dishes and laundry, watched 1 1/2 episodes of The Good Doctor, and did other little things, like making the beds and tidied up, and listened to my son, and assessed my goals for last week (something I usually do on Monday).

I write my goals to keep myself focused. Otherwise, I’ll just wander through the day passing the time. Besides being a mother and a housewife, I consider my writing my job. I take it very seriously, but I don’t force myself to do it. Yesterday I didn’t feel like writing, so I didn’t. I was in a mood all day because I hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before, and I was also trying to be productive while spending less time on my phone (I’m currently doing a productivity challenge on the 21 days challenges app).

I’m also doing a journaling challenge on the app because I need to self-reflect as well. I write to let things out, but I can’t write well if I don’t know what it is exactly what I need to let out. I called my mom yesterday. My relationship with my mom isn’t one I write about on the blog, but it is a bit complex. I love my mom. I do, but I’m still working on accepting her as she is and not expecting her to be like other moms, all while trying not to be like her while finding out I’m more like her than I care to admit. As I said, it’s complicated. Watching tv shows helps me self-reflect because I observe social interactions between the characters.

I write blogs to let my thoughts and feelings out. I’ve learned the hard way that nobody cares. Rarely anyone ever wants to know how my day went, except for my older sister sometimes. I share big stories that happened during the week with my family on Saturday, like when the glass fell on my arm and bruised it a week ago, and they make good stories. I’m good at telling a story with my family, as long as it doesn’t involve deep conversation. I find strangers are more invested in how I feel than my family, and can relate more.

I write my goals and tasks so that I don’t forget.

Grammarly doesn’t catch all mistakes, so I still had to reread the posts and edit more than 40 mistakes per post.

I write about my thoughts and feelings so I don’t ruminate over them. The blog is like a brain dump for me sometimes. If you ask me to reference my blogs, I honestly can’t remember. I edited a few blogs from 2017 a few days ago, because back then I used to write one paragraph and I made many grammatical mistakes.

These are the blogs I edited from 2017

I started this post aiming to write my progress with my goals, but I guess I’ll just take a picture of my assessment instead, like I did last week.

Physical goals increased 19% compared to last week, while emotional control decreased 14% compared to last week.

I keep obsessing over my stats. On the one hand, I noticed most people aren’t getting past my home page lately, which to me is bad. On the other hand, I have more views in these 6 months of 2021 than I had in all of 2020. Just a tiny bit more but still, it feels good.

5,725 views in the last 6 months compared to 5,711 views last year.

Also, I’m starving. I had a bowl of coco pops at 9 am and it’s after 1 pm. I also really need social connection but I also don’t feel like talking to anyone. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy today. However, my son is starting to get bored, and he has been mouthy with me lately, but I don’t want to expose him on the blog. I’m hoping I’m able to deal with him with wisdom. For the time being, I’m practicing patience.

In conclusion, writing for me is a need and a want. I appreciate every one of you who takes the time to read my blogs, like, comment, and/or share. I don’t get paid to do this but I find a sense of belonging here more than I do with my friends and family. So thank you for being here with me on my rollercoaster journey, as I try to understand myself and as I reach out to you and try to give advice. I tear myself apart and bare my soul to you so you can understand yourselves better and hopefully help me understand myself better.

I write here because I need someone to write to, and in my life, I don’t have someone who will listen. Everyone is either busy or simply doesn’t care. I do have people who occasionally listen. I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the loved ones in my life, but they don’t read my blogs, so I very much appreciate that you do.

Thank you my readers from the US, India, UK, South Africa, Canada, and Lebanon.
Thank you my fellow bloggers who read the most. Thank you to those who read from Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, no matter how few you are.

When I 1st started my blogging journey, I never imagined I’d get here, and yet here I am, with so far more to go. I just wanted to stop and acknowledge the progress I’ve made as a writer and to thank you my readers because I couldn’t have don’t it without you. With all the reasons in which I write, you are one of them. I write for myself, but I also write for you.

I’m off to eat lunch and then draw superheroes for my son because that was the deal. He studies and I draw things for him.

He has me draw the ones that are too hard for him to draw. I drew the 1st row. He drew the 2nd row.
He drew his dad as a superhero as well.

21 easily achievable things you can do to be more optimistic

Hello and welcome to my blog! Have you ever noticed the sound water makes when it boils? Yesterday, I taught my son how to know when the water on the stove boils just by listening. He was mind blown. It’s the little things.

We are going through tough times, at least here in Lebanon and many other countries. Some people are thriving, but everybody has problems, even the rich and famous. The trick to getting through life with optimism is to focus on little things that help you look on the bright side.

Here are 21 little things you can do to be more optimistic:

“Optimism is a conscious decision to live your life choosing to have a positive attitude. Being able to look on the bright side can be uplifting and hopeful.”

1. Start journaling. Write down something positive about every day. I haven’t done this but during the day, I slow down and register the positive things, like a nice breeze coming from the window, or my husband and son bonding, or my son playing pretend with the cardboard superheroes I drew and he colored and cut. It’s probably better to write them down, though.

2. Appreciate what you do have. Tell your loved ones how much you appreciate them. I feel so grateful to have my husband and son in my life, and I constantly tell them that. Every once in a while, I let my siblings and parents know I appreciate them too.

3. Be kind to yourself always. Remember you can do anything and that progress takes time. Don’t be so hard on yourself for losing your patience, for procrastinating, for wanting to stay in bed all day. We all have good days and bad days. On your good days, thrive. On your bad days, if all you do is survive, you did well.

4. Make a list of things that you are looking forward to. My author copies arriving. The possibility of going to the beach. Finishing reading all the 9 books I’m in the middle of reading.

5. Think of all the reasons to be cheerful. The sun is shining and so are you. It’s a very uplifting song.

Sun Is Shining https://g.co/kgs/xf1Gwi

6. Don’t compare yourself to others. If you’re feeling envious about something, sit back and think about why and how they’ve achieved that. You are unique in your own way and you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

7. Take time to reflect on what you’ve achieved this year. We’re always in a rush, absorbed by the daily hustle, that we forget to look back every once in a while and see how far we have come. Emotionally, I may have matured only 1%, but I’ve come a long way with my blogs and books this year. I even have a podcast now. I still have a long way to go, and sometimes it seems daunting and far fetched, but looking back gives me the courage to keep moving forward.

8. Look for the good in every single person you see. Humans are a mix of good and bad. Some people have a hard shell but are very sweet on the inside, once you break through their walls of fear, insecurity and shame. Choose to see the good in people, even those who seem unbearable at first.

9. Listen to inspiring music or a podcast. I listen to uplifting songs every once in a while. They really help when I’m feeling down. Songs like “don’t be so hard on yourself” and “fight song”. I also listen to podcasts, such as “the happy times”, “pick the brain”, ” kaylns coffee talk” and “the science of happiness” podcasts.

10. Write down your top priorities and plans for the future knowing that you will achieve everything you want. The key is to plan your future, knowing it will come true. Not as if you are making castles in the sand, knowing the waves will just come and wash them away.

11. Stay present and appreciate the beauty of the moment. (Feeling the sun in your face, details in someone’s face, the clouds, sounds, …) Especially when you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed, be mindful of these tiny moments.

12. Be proud of yourself on the little wins in your day to day. So you’re not feeling very productive today?! Go small. Get up. Make your bed. Grab a cup of coffee. Today I don’t feel like getting out of bed. I’m tired and in pain and my mood is off, but I got up in order to wake my son and get him to eat breakfast, and that was my 1st win of the day. Then I ironed (a tedious task) and kick started my day. My to do list is a bit demanding today but I’m sure if I go step by step, I can turn my day around.

13. Shift your mood by doing something you enjoy. I watched a YouTube video while I was ironing. Then I had to turn my headphones off because my son was awake.

14. For an upcoming situation you’re worried about, write down the best scenario that can happen. I’m worried about the future of Lebanon. There doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m torn between living it up because I don’t know what the future can bring and living carefully and saving up in case there are worse days ahead. The best-case scenario is that things turn around for Lebanon within the next few years.

15. Focus on solutions, not problems. It’s so easy to get caught up in your problems and playing the victim and feeling helpless, but it gives hope to try to find solutions to whatever irks you.

16. Let go of the expectations of others and focus on what matters. It is so easy to get lost in the expectations of our loved ones, so much so that their voices become our inner critic, and their opinions become our convictions. It’s important to find your voice and tune out most of the noise.

17. Surround yourself with optimistic, positive, kind people. There is a saying that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. In my case, they’re 2 people, but their moods and behaviors have a great impact on me. That’s why I read a lot of positive content online, to try to make up for my lack of a social life.

18. Change ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’t…yet’. The power of yet is so strong that a book was written about it. I’m YET to read that book (see what I did there?).

19. Take care of yourself. When we feel our best, we can see things more positively. Shower, sleep early, dress up, rest, exercise, eat healthy. I get so focused on getting my son to do all this, I forget about myself most of the time.

20. If you’re not happy with something don’t complain about it. Just change it. Complaining doesn’t yield any positive results. It just sucks you into a vortex of negativity and despair. I know because I tend to complain a lot, but I’m working on changing what I can and letting the rest go.

21. Find three good reasons to be hopeful about the future. My son (I want to see him turn into a young man), my books (I want to keep writing, keep improving, and see my books being bought and hope I make a positive impact on people through my books), and friends (I’m hoping as covid dies down and the economy gets better, I get to hang out with my friends again and go places; maybe even travel).

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

What do you do to be more optimistic?

Positive affirmations.

What are you optimistic about?

Transformation Tuesday: I kind of finished a kindness challenge

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to transformation Tuesday where I share my progress in goal setting and achieving and completing challenges.

Some challenges do take me the normal 21 days, while others lag on to around 30 days. The 21-day kindness challenge I did took me a while because while some acts of kindness are simple and easy to do, others are hard and not so practical for me.

Anyway, I finally managed to finish this challenge minus 2 acts of kindness because I don’t know any homeless people to feed and I’m scared of beggars in my area, to be honest. Maybe I’ll give money through a trusted organization. My sister is my connection for that. I’m too socially paranoid to do it myself. Also, the donating clothes, I have them ready in a bag but waiting for my husband to give them away. He knows who he is giving them to and after waiting for 2 weeks for him to give them, I’m not about to lose a kindness challenge waiting. I’ll tick that off whenever he does it. In the meantime…

The 21 day kindness challenge:

Day 1

Show support to someone today

Day 2

Write a thank you note to someone who made an impact in your life.

Day 3

Leave your favorite restaurant/coffee shop a positive review.

Day 4

Make a family member/loved one breakfast in bed.

Day 5

Let someone go in front of you in line.

Day 6

Surprise someone with a gift/something baked by you.

Day 7

Leave your favorite app a nice and positive review.

Day 8

Put positive sticky notes on mirrors.

Day 9

Compliment someone.

Day 10

Write a list of reasons why you love someone and give it to them.

Day 11

Give someone a tip.

Day 12

Spend the day saying only positive things about people.

Day 13

Tell someone you love how much you appreciate them.

Day 14

Do a chore that you typically wouldn’t do.

Day 15

Say ‘Have a nice day’ at least 3 people.

Day 16

Buy a meal for a homeless person.

Day 17

Help someone before they ask.

Day 18

Bake cookies and gift it to someone.

Day 19

Donate clothes/books/toys to a local charity.

Day 20

Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while.

Day 21

Most important of all – be kind to yourself, always.

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

I didn’t elaborate on each challenge what I did and to whom because it’s a kindness challenge and I wanted the acts to be between me and God. Acts of kindness are not to be boasted. I’m only sharing here to encourage you to do more acts of kindness. I know one thing this challenge taught me is to reset my intentions when someone asks for help or favor and do it as an act of kindness, without waiting for a thank you or doing it with resentment. I think maybe I’ve become 10% kinder.

New month, New challenge: Day 13

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the new month, new challenge series where I do a challenge each day and share it here so you can do it with me.

Today’s challenge is long overdue, from day 13:

Smile at everyone you walk past today. Looks good on you.

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

It’s not that smiling is awfully difficult for me to do, but because I’m at home 90% of the time, and when I do go out, I wear a mask so I can’t exactly smile at anyone. Today, though, I made an effort to smile at my in laws whenever I made eye contact. I’m usually not a smiley person since I became a mom, so I think they may have found it creepy or awkward. I hope my smile seemed genuine because I was so self conscious about it.

Are you a smiley person?

Now I’m done with the new year, new you challenge.

New month, New challenge: Day 21

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the last day of the new month, new challenge series where I do a challenge each day and share it here so you can do it with me.

Today’s challenge is:

Share this challenge with a friend, so they can find positivity and happiness too 🙂

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

There. I did it.

I 💯 this app.

New month, New challenge: Day 20

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the new month, new challenge series where I do a challenge each day and share it here so you can do it with me.

Today’s challenge is:

Cook a healthy meal today.

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

This challenge isn’t really a challenge for me. Basically all the meals I cook for lunch are healthy. I can’t say the same for breakfast and dinner (remember in Arab countries, lunch and dinner are switched so when I say lunch, I mean the main course).

The challenge here is that today is Thursday, but I cook every Monday, and sometimes on Thursday but not today. I was going to explain why but I’m trying not to defend my lifestyle, whether I’m okay with it or not.

Anyway, so I’m considering this challenge done. In case you didn’t know, I’m not very passionate about cooking. I mean, I know how to cook many meals but I only interest myself in cooking the limited meals that my picky husband and son will eat. Even if I like a meal and they don’t, I won’t bother cooking it unless I’m really craving it. I’m not even interested in trying new recipes (unless it’s for cake and cookies because baking I like).

Do you cook daily or weekly or somewhere in between?

Do you love to cook?

New month, New challenge: Day 19

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the new month, new challenge series where I do a challenge each day and share it here so you can do it with me. Now why is it that when you have something to do, and you know you’ll feel better after you do it, you tend to do anything but that thing? Anyone? Just me? Anyway…

Today’s challenge is:

Clean and organize your home and workspace.

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

I’m a tidy person in general. I don’t pile up dishes and laundry, I make the beds as soon as I wake up, and I even have a cleaning schedule. However, since today’s challenge was cleaning, I found my to do list very daunting. It suddenly felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, and my heart clenched, and I didn’t feel like doing anything (that could also be because I’ve been feeling a bit exhausted and overwhelmed for the past few days), but nothing a nice walk couldn’t cure.

I did the dishes and laundry and then rewarded myself with a walk to the supermarket where I bought a lot of junk food, then walked back and did more housework after rewarding myself with a chocolate bar. Now I’m rewarding myself with chips.

Now excuse me while I tend to my 6 year old who has a minor blister on his foot but is acting like he’s been shot.

New month, New challenge: Day 10

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the new month, new challenge series where I do a challenge each day and share it here so you can do it with me. This challenge was actually about a week ago but I wasn’t able to do it until today.

The challenge was:

Take a social media break for the day and spend quality time with someone you love.

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

Well today was my lucky day. Not only did I spend zero minutes on instagram, Facebook and Twitter…but I also played Ludo with my 6 year old, visited my grandparents and saw my sisters and parents, and swung by my in laws for a bit. So you can say I crushed the challenge today!

I’m exhausted though. I’ve been up since 6 am and it’s 10 pm. I woke my son up at 8 am in the hopes that he will sleep earlier tonight but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I’m going to sleep anyway because I’m so tired I’m dizzy. Good night