Posted in Travel notes

Travel note: Milan,Italy.

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Usually Italy associates with delicious food: pasta, pizza, lasagne etc. However, there is much more to see in Italy than food, and in this post you will find must sees in Milan!

First things first:

  • Milan is the second biggest city of Italy after Rome
  • Located in the north of Italy
  • Holds fashion week yearly

I have been to Rome 2 years ago and honestly did not like it that much. So I had a feeling that I am not going to like Milan either before I went there, and boy was I wrong. Now Milan is one of my favourite cities in Europe, and I believe is a must visit for everyone. This is my personal top 4 places to see in Milan.

DUOMO ( MILAN CATHEDRAL)

One of the most amazing cathedral churches I have ever seen. The atmosphere inside is incredible, and if you go there on Sunday, you might be lucky enough to hear organ music, which fills the cathedral and makes it magical! Moreover you can get on top of the cathedral and observe the city from above. Also the fact that it took 6!!! centuries to build is impressive (1).

 

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LAKE GARDA

Located fairly near Milan (1-1,5 hours by train) the atmosphere of the place is completely different. Even thought the lake is surrounded by quite busy towns, somehow it is peaceful. There is a beautiful castle on the lake shore, and you can also find there super delicious pizza (located in Desenzano del Garda, Pizzeria Kapperi).

 

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LAKE COMO

Lake Como is quite close to Milan, 1 hour by train only. And even though Como is smaller than Garda, it is in no way less beautiful. The view is incredible: water, Alps, beautiful villas on the lake shore. The nature is so amazing that some scenes from Star Wars Episode 2 and James Bond Casino Royal were shot in Como (thanks to my friend Elizabeth, who told me this info). I don’t have enough word to describe the beauty of this place, so I will just leave lots of picture in here. If you happen to be in Milan, this is absolutely must see.

 

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BLUE NOTE

Last, but not least, is “Blue note” jazz club. There you will see and hear all the magic of live jazz/ blues and get a feeling like you are in some kind of 1920s american movies. So if you plan to visit Milan, check out their program and definitely go and see. I have been there twice now and it was so awesome that I cannot even describe my emotions. I cannot wait to visit Milan again and go there. Unfortunately I do not have any videos or proper pictures from there, but I will just leave here a picture with my partner in crime before the show of “Three ladies of blues” started.

P.S. I think now we have some awesome ideas what we could do when we are 60+ 🙂

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Surely, there is much more things to see in Milan, but these are my personal favourites, the one place I would really love to go is La Scala theatre, so hopefully one day I can make it.

Please check out some useful links below, I hope this post has inspired you to pack your things and fly to Milan 🙂

May the force be with you!

Cheers

Daria

  1. https://theculturetrip.com/europe/italy/articles/10-things-you-never-knew-about-milans-cathedral/
  2. https://www.kapperi.eu/
  3. https://www.bluenotemilano.com/
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Posted in Notes: motivation & goals

How to get inspired? Step 1.

We all want to find inspiration and motivation. However it is extremely difficult to start changing your habits and fall out of routine. So here are some tricks on how to change you life and get space for “new projects”, and today we will start with STEP 1:

THE TOTAL CLEANING!

Okay, so we cannot really get inspired if we are surrounded by mess. Moreover, how would you get new ideas if you simply do not have space for them? So the first step that will help you get motivated and inspired is cleaning your space and mind.

  1. Working space. First things first, if you want to find inspiration, you will need to clean your working space. Get rid of all the trash, organize it so that you have nothing extra just laying around, leave the things that make you think of your goals and dreams (for example I have a card from Paris and a magnet from Italy). Furthermore, you can have pictures of people that inspire you, or maybe quotes. So just surround yourself with things that will push you forward and increase your productivity.
  2. Closet cleaning. We all have tendency to keep stuff, because we think we might need it in the future, or we just do not want to throw it away. But this way our closets get full of stuff we do not use, and probably will never use. They just collect dust and create overall feeling of mess. So start with your clothes, the good rule is: everything you haven’t worn for the past 2 years has to go, everything that does not fit you anymore has to go, everything you do not like anymore but still keep has to go and all the broken clothes should be either fixed or they also have to go. You can donate clothes if they are in good condition or if they are broken you can take them to a recycling center, but anyhow get rid of them, and you will feel so fresh and ready to embrace new things. After you get rid of all the clothes you do not use anymore, you can organize your closet however suits you best, some ideas: by season, by colors, by people ( if you are not living alone). This way your wardrobe will look nice and be easy to access the clothes you need. Then you can move onto other stuff like dishes ( do you still keep some broken cups and plates?), furniture, decorations etc. Make your home look cozy, not messy. The closet cleaning will make you feel renewed, plus you can try to sell some things you do not need and get some money, which is of course always nice.
  3. General cleaning. Now that you got rid of extra stuff, clean you home: clean windows, wipe the dust from everywhere, vacuum and wipe the floors. Take out all the trash, recycle what is possible. Clean out fridge and freezer, kitchenware like microwave, stove etc. Organize your bathroom, throw away products you do not use and which are just laying around taking the space. Wash the carpets and all the towels. Make everything sparkling clean.
  4. Clean your mind. This step is the key to get out of your routine, empty your head and embrace your thoughts. We have so much going on in our brain: so many worries and  thoughts. Sometimes we are just drowning in them and cannot get out. There is simple no space for new ideas and inspiration if our mind is burdened. Start doing regular walks, get some fresh air, meditate, do whatever helps to get rid of useless worries.
  5. Keep it that way. Now this is the most difficult part, keep your  home clean and cozy, do not make extra mess. I am personally struggling with this, as it is so difficult sometimes to keep everything clean, but it is possible and I just love the look of clean home and it inspires me so much to start doing stuff.

When you are surrounded by good and clean atmosphere, it inspires you to start doing things. So if you feel like you are drowning in your routine, start with this! Get rid of the stuff that pushes you back, clean you thoughts and start moving towards the rights direction for you.

I am planning on my total cleaning this week, what about you? 🙂

Cheers!

May the force be with us!

 

 

Posted in Notes: motivation & goals

When is it too late to change education/career path?

Spoiler: it’s never too late. One of my classmates at the university was 50 years old, and he was studying with me and I was 19 at the time. For me it was shocking, and I was wondering back then, isn’t he a bit too old for studying? From where I come from, people expect you to have your stuff figured out by 30: education, career and family. So for me it was extremely unusual to see someone older than my parents studying with me in the same degree program.

So from that time I have started to wonder, is it ever too late to change your degree or career? According to The Balance Careers (1):

…the average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times (with an average of 12 job changes) during his or her career.

Now that number includes all job changes: within same field and not. Moreover, according to Jopus, in Japan (2):

Looking at each age group, it is obvious younger employees are more likely to switch jobs. The group of 25 to 29-year-olds topped the chart at 39.6%, followed by 30 to 34-year-olds at 23.3% and 40 years old and over at 14.0%.

So even though the percentage of young professional changing their jobs is much higher than the rest, we still see those 14% for 40+ age. And this is a very good indicator of the fact that it is never too late to change your job. There are various reasons why people decide to change jobs, and those reasons sometimes depend on age. The below statistics is taken from Linkedin article (3):

It is interesting to see how “Lack of opportunities for advancement” is present in all age intervals. And even though the percentage “weight” of this reason is lowering with age increase, it is still there, which shows that we all always want to develop and improve ourselves, which is just great and gives some motivation boost!

But what about education? The trends are showing that the average student age is growing, because more and more people are willing to change their degrees or get an additional one after their 30s and 40s. Usually there is really no age limit for studying, which gives a great opportunity to start changing your life and move to a different direction.

In conlusion, no matter what age you are, if you think that it’s too late to change now, and you should just stick to what you have and achieved so far, because it would take too much time and effort to change something- don’t! Nothing comes easy, but with hard work we can achieve amazing results!

Cheers

May the force be with you!

Sources:

  1. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-often-do-people-change-jobs-2060467
  2. https://jopus.net/en/news/doda-average-age.html
  3. https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/2015/09/how-a-persons-age-affects-why-they-change-jobs
Posted in Notes: motivation & goals

Quit New Year’s resolutions and start doing here and now!

It is that time of the year, when we all make plans, goals and new year’s resolutions. We believe that with the New Year comes fresh start. But truth is that every day is a fresh start. For me the concept of New Year’s resolutions is same as “I will start from Monday”.  We do not need to wait for particular time or day to start doing something. Just because the year has changed, it does not mean that changes will come by themselves.

The main problem comes from the fact, that we kind of feel obliged to make new year’s resolution, because everyone is doing them. But this way we create unnecessary pressure on ourselves, and force ourselves to do things we do not maybe even need or want to do. Just find something that inspires you and go from there. New Year’s resolutions are not an inspiration, and even if they are, they inspire only for a short period of time. Surround yourself with people and things that inspire you all the time, then you can achieve almost anything!

Moreover, often our resolutions are so broad, that they become not possible to achieve. We want to lose weight, read more, study more, travel more etc. But those are not specific goals, and we face huge disappointments when the year ends and we do not see the results.

Furthermore, sometimes the deadline of 1 year is not enough, so our unrealistic view of our goals also brings lots of pressure and demotivates us in the future.

Do not create goals as New Year’s resolutions, make them whenever you feel like this is what you want to achieve, and do not wait for Monday, Friday or Saturday to start moving towards them. Start now, always! And always remember to give yourself realistic deadlines, changes do not happen overnight!

P.S. When I moved to Finland, one of my dreams and goals was to go on husky rides, see Santa Claus and cross the Arctic Circle. It took me 5 years to find perfect time, money and company, but I have achieved it and my dream came true!

Cheers!

May the force be with you!

Posted in Notes: motivation & goals

How sleep deprivation kills our motivation.

It seems that in today’s way of life we never get enough sleep. The rhythm we live in is crazy and unstable, we have deadlines for work, school or just any other event. We get caught up in the process sometimes so much, that we lose the track of time. This leads to us staying up late and finishing whatever assignment we have to do in order to meet the deadlines. We do not notice how we start neglecting normal sleep rhythm, we start to feel tired and cranky, because we did not have enough sleep, and we end up in an endless cycle of sleep deprivation.

However sleep is one of the most important things needed in order to function normally. According to article by Healthline:

Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function at its best. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forges new connections and helps memory retention. Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function normally. It can also dramatically lower your quality of life. A review of 16 studies found that sleeping for less than 6 to 8 hours a night increases the risk of early death by about 12 percent.

Below you can find the illustration by Healthline, which shows the main effects of sleep deprivation on our body and overall state.

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Picture source: https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#2

As you can see, the sleep deprivation impacts us on different levels: from mood changes and loss of concentration to risk of getting ill. This whole bunch of impacts has a huge influence on our motivation. When we are tired, out of mood and energy, our motivation level drops to the bottom. We do not feel like doing anything, because we simply do not have energy to do it. This leads to us not achieving our goals/dreams and being unsatisfied with ourselves and our lives. So in the end, sleep deprivation simply leads to us being unhappy.

What to do?

Take care of your sleep routine and do not underestimate the importance of it. Find an optimal time for going to bed (usually between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.) and waking up (usually between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.). Of course, we all have different kinds of work, but even if you have night shifts, still try to have a good 7-8 hour sleep, and you will feel generally much better and much more motivated to start doing things.

Cheers.

May the force be with you!

Sources: https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#2

 

Posted in Notes: motivation & goals

How to find balance and increase productivity?

With the current life rhythm it is extremely difficult to be very productive, but in a balanced way. We are always busy, but are we spending our energy on the right things? And how do we find balance in our chaotic lives?

  • Reduce spending time on social media

According to the article by Jessica Brown for BBC:

Three billion people, around 40% of the world’s population, use online social media – and we’re spending an average of two hours every day sharing, liking, tweeting and updating on these platforms, according to some reports. That breaks down to around half a million tweets and Snapchat photos shared every minute.

2 hours per day adds up to almost 28 days per year spent on social media and that is just an average! If we want to be more productive, we need to get out of social media and be present here and now. Even if we spend twice less time, so about 1 hour per day, that would save 8 days per year!

However, not only does social media take our time, it affects our emotional state a lot. According to the same article from BBC:

A study published in the journal Computers and Human Behaviour found that people who report using seven or more social media platforms were more than three times as likely as people using 0-2 platforms to have high levels of general anxiety symptoms.

Our emotional state affects our productivity, so put the social media away and start being present.

  • Scheduling

Very often we can just get stuck in a process of doing something for a very long time, probably way too long than it is required to that task. To avoid this we need to start scheduling our time, so we do not get lost in a stuff that are not worth it. There are plenty of apps, that will help your scheduling, for instance: TimeTune, Schedul, ClassUP etc. Those can help you keep to your timetable. Also, a simple notebook and a pen will do!

  • Sleep deprivation

Good sleep is a key to success! So simple, but for some reason we keep ignoring it. There are so many things that depend on whether you sleep well or not: your skin condition, your energy levels, your appetite, your mood etc. So make sure you go to sleep on time and sleep not less than 7-8 hours.

  • Meditation

This does not have to be any lotus meditation posture, a simple walk on your own for 5-10 mins will do, or just be on your own for a while. Meditation helps you to leave the external environment and just be alone with yourself and your thoughts. Meditation helps to relieve stress and calm down. 5-10 mins per day on your own will help you to keep your life in balance and cope with all the negative things from external environment.

It is not difficult to find balance, we just need to pay attention on how we spend our time and how we feel about ourselves. Unfortunately with all the rush we forget to take care of ourselves, but this is something we should really start doing!

Cheers!

May the force be with you!

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180104-is-social-media-bad-for-you-the-evidence-and-the-unknowns

Posted in Notes: work related topics

Working in an international team: benefits and challenges.

The world is becoming more and more open nowadays. Companies become international, and boundaries are getting erased. It is more common to move to foreign countries and find a job there (that is partly my story as well). If we take US as an example, according to Seattle times post from May 2018 (1):

The number of foreign-born workers in the U.S. labor force has reached 27.4 million, or 17.1 percent of the total number of workers…

That is an impressive number, and it is only in US! Also companies have their offices around the globe, so you do not need to necessarily move anywhere in order to work with the foreign colleagues, as current technologies and internet allow to communicate and do tasks together online. So our working environment becomes more international, and while it has its’ benefits, it also brings challenges.

The main benefits of international work teams are:

  1. Experience exchange. When team members have different cultures and background, it helps to broaden the big picture. It adds new perspective to the tasks and sometimes make it easier and faster to solve.
  2. Learning about other cultures. While working in an international team you can learn a lot about other cultures, some interesting facts and behavior features.

Even though these benefits have a great value for the team work, there are many challenges, which multinational working team can face:

  1. Misunderstanding. Even people from the same country and city, who speak the same languages can misunderstand each other, when it comes to people from different parts of the world working together, it is very difficult to always understand each other. This can lead to delays during the work process.
  2. Cultural differences. From personal experience of working in the international team: our cultures affect our way of working and dealing with things. Some cultures are easier to work with, some are harder, but sometimes you can get really stuck in the work process just because you see things differently.

The only solution to the struggles inside international team at work is patience. We are all in the same boat, and we just have to “keep on rowing”.

Cheers!

May the force be with you!

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.seattletimes.com/explore/careers/immigrants-now-make-up-17-of-the-u-s-labor-force/