| 5 new enjoyable and productive habits

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

5 New Enjoyable and Productive Habits

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The last few months in Salamanca I have been trying to get into some enjoyable yet productive habits. I absolutely love routine, in this sense I have quite an addictive personality, meaning having things planned for myself and setting myself guidelines gives me the feeling of stability. However, we all need to change up the routine and do new things into our daily lives from time to time in order to stop things becoming monotonous and boring! Here's 5 things I've incorporated into my routine.

1. Learning a new language
I've wanted to learn Italian for a while now, but my university course has kept me much too busy with French and Spanish, leaving me no time to pick it up! Last weekend, my Sicilian flatmate had her sister, cousin and a friend over to visit, and never before has the flat been filled with so many expressive and passionate voices.

That weekend I decided to finally start learning, with the Duolingo app. Italian for me is pretty simple, given its clear similarities to both French and Spanish, I can read and translate it easily. But my how fun it is to speak! I can't comment on how easy it is for first-time language learners, since straight away it requires you to translate, speak and write. I've incorporated it into my current daily routine, by attempting to learn two or three topics a day, such as the present tense, connectors and colours.

2. Pilates
I briefly mentioned in my life update that I've found a class right by my flat, ran by a really sweet Spanish lady, to which I go to twice a week in the mornings. I'm relatively new to pilates, having followed a few videos on Youtube beforehand. The problem with this though is that there's no one to check your form, which is super important in order to prevent injury and get the best possible fitness benefits out of each move.

Since I have no classes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (tough life), I needed something to motivate me not to lie in all day, since these have become the days I work on my dissertation. They help to wake up earlier and start the day refreshed and calm. You'll find that pilates classes vary wildly in terms of intensity, and I would say her class is quite low-intensity, given that many of her clientèle are middle-aged or older. Despite this, I've already started noticing that my flexibility and form are improving. It's a wonderful way to take time during the day to breathe deeply and enjoy the peace whilst stretching out the muscles.

3. Weekly planning
I found this simple and pretty planner on Pinterest (you can find it over on Small Paper Things). It's been popping up on my Instagram here and there recently, and it's become invaluable to help me keep organised! There's more than enough space there to plan out the day, unlike a monthly planner which means you can add in extra bits if your plans change.  I also love the "Don't Forget" column, since I'm a pretty forgetful person, this helps to remind me of the bits I really need to do this week, such as rent payments, phone bill etc. I love sitting down on Sunday evening and planning out the week ahead, it gives me focus and helps to keep me motivated.

4. Controlled Netflix binges
It's only recently that I've become a huge series fan, and I admit I'm hooked! However, in times of university work and dissertation, a degree of control is required in order to make sure I still get everything else done in the week. Thus, with my lovely weekly planner I allow myself relax time two days a week, ones which I rarely feel motivated to work, Friday and Sunday evening to be exact. I've tried to convince myself that I can work on Sundays and it just never works, therefore I will use this evening to genuinely relax instead of feel guilty for having not done anything. This stops Netflix from becoming an everyday occurrence, and something to look forward to once I've got tasks out the way.

5. Using headphones to be productive
I recently bought the beautiful Sony MDR-ZX110 headphones, and it's love. I love the design, the sound quality and the sturdy cable meaning they get much less tangled (one of my pet hates). In January I listened to a podcast by Freakonomics which aimed to help us stick to our New Year resolutions with better willpower.
One tip really stuck in my mind; combining a boring/unpleasant task with something you really enjoy, and only let yourself do the enjoyable task when you're doing the boring task. I've been applying this to my dissertation, classwork and when I'm walking to and from fitness classes. This means I can enjoy myself when I have to apply myself and work, and it feels more like a treat because I'm not always using my headphones whenever I feel like it.

I've been loving incorporating these habits into my daily routine. What productive habits do you have?



  1. Oh I love this so much! Thank you so much for the mention too. Love your blog :) So happy to have stumbled across it. I love that you are learning Italian. I have always wanted to learn but it has just always seemed to be one of those "one day" things. I should start to schedule it into my week and make it happen :)

    1. No worries the design of it is perfect and so simple! ahh wow that's really kind thank you :) it's such a gorgeous language I would definitely give it a go!


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