29 Jun 2014

my week #115

Exam week! Not much to say really... It's been a weird week for various reasons that I don't want to go into. Anyway, two more exams tomorrow and Tuesday and first year will be over (pending results of course).

How has your week been?

26 Jun 2014

integrating blog planning into my daily planner

Having tried to use a separate blog planner alongside my usual daily planner, I have struggled to keep it up to date. As a result, I have tried to integrate my blog planning into my daily planner pages instead to try and stay organised in the 'blog' section of my life.

Every Sunday, I do a 'my week' post and to keep track of what number I am on, I write a number in the corner of my diary pages. I've not mis-numbered any yet and fingers crossed I won't in the future (not 100% guaranteed I'm afraid!).

Each week, I try and plan to have at least one or two posts go live (usually one midweek). Sometimes, I need to make sure this goes as scheduled by writing in the blog post I intend to write for that week and usually, they are written as a 'to-do' with a check box. I try and ensure these are written in at least a week in advance so that I can avoid that dreaded 'blogger's block'. So far so good!

Finally, at the back, if I get an idea for a blog post, I add it to a list at the back of my binder. For obvious reasons, I've blurred out the ideas. So far, I've found that this list has just grown and I've barely checked any off (there's more on the other side - some of which have been ticked off) so I need to get on this list and start crossing things off. After all, how satisfying is it to see a list all checked off?!

During busier weeks, I sometimes struggle to find time to blog, but I am usually aware of when these busier periods are. As a result, I try and write two or three blog posts in one go and schedule them so that blogging doesn't feel like a chore. For me, doing things this way keeps me interested in blogging. because it enables me to blog as and when I am in the mood for it (and sometimes, I'll write two or three posts in one go!).

Do you see blogging as a significant part of your life? If so, how do you organise your time so that you blog on a regular basis?

22 Jun 2014

my week #114

This week was the last week of my first year. It is scary how quickly time flies - I remember my first day (back in September) just like yesterday and here I am, preparing to take my final set of exams which will determine if I make it to next year and the beginning of my clinical years.

The most painful thing about having exams next week and the next is that I can't see The Fault In Our Stars. It was released on Monday and my friends and I are planning to go and see it post-exams and that time can't come soon enough.

How has your week been?

19 Jun 2014

five underrated pens

Today, I thought I would share the pens that I use not so regularly but also not so rarely (I don't quite know how else to explain the frequency of use of the above pens). No Muji pens feature here (I think I gush about them a bit too much if I'm honest!).

1) Zebra Hyper Jell 0.5mm
I've actually mentioned this pen quite few times on the blog already but it's not really that well-known a pen when you compare it to other gels on the market (Pilot Coletos, Muji gels, Sakura, etc). Ink flow is brilliant and smooth, the line drawn isn't too thick nor too thin and it is so comfortable to hold.

2) Uniball Protech
Prior to my Christmas holiday in Hong Kong, I'd never heard of this pen. I came across it in a stationer's and thought I'd give it a go. Quite frankly, I'm a bit gutted that I only bought three of these pens! Ink flow is great and it makes my handwriting so neat.

3) Zebra Be pen
This pen is a needle-tip pen and would be ideal for illustrating or those who like to write with a ridiculously thin nib. I've yet to come across these in the UK yet and I just had to top up my supply of them when in Hong Kong. I don't think this pen will be everyone's cup of tea though, but for me, it's a majorly underrated pen.

4) Bic Crystal Biro
Ah, the stable and ever so reliable Bic biro. I rarely use biros and only resort to them during revision time (when I scribble, scribble and scribble in the hope that it will help things will go into my brain) but sometimes I am in a biro mood when in a lecture. Bic biros flow well and are great in an emergency tracheotomy apparently. As a medical student, of course I should have one of these to hand. You know, just in case?

5) Pentel Energel Needletip 0.5mm
Finally, another pen I have mentioned before on this blog. This pen is frequently seen in my diary pages but rarely seen in my essentials posts because I use Muji gels just as much and they are much prettier than the somewhat ugly barrel of Energels.

What pens do you think are under-rated?

15 Jun 2014

my week #113

Just over a week until exams begin, ARGHHHHHH! I've spent every free moment this week revising with friends and I am now exhausted. Today will have to be a rest day! With season two of Orange Is The New Black released last week on Netflix, I have been resisting the urge to binge watch it and have only watched three episodes so far. Pretty good going for someone who has exams to revise for and is an expert at procrastination...

How has your week been?

12 Jun 2014

my current binder set-up

I moved back into my Smythson halfway through the second term and it has taken me this long to figure out how to organise everything I need. Now that it is set-up properly, I thought I'd do a tour for you all :)

Upon opening it, you'll be greeted with a transparent flyleaf full of page markers. These page markers will be used during study when I encounter something I want to refer back to in a textbook or I may integrate them into my notes if there is something I need to go over again. There are also some dot stickers used to denote certain events in my diary.

Towards the front, I have important things I may need to refer back to from time to time. For example, the above is a page of quotes a doctor I once shadowed said to me before I commenced medical school. He was a brilliant doctor and definitely inspired me to want to do this course.

I also have some bus timetables - but they are only a rough guide as I find that buses can be ten minutes early or ten minutes late depending on the previous bus, traffic, etc. I tend to use a live bus arrivals app on my phone instead now and I check that before I leave the house. Because it takes me eight to ten minutes to walk to the bus stop; sometimes, I'll get there and the bus will be due to arrive way later than when I had tracked it at home. Annoying but that's London transport for you.

I am using a Filofax week-on-two-pages diary at the moment and it is of the white variety. I did consider splashing out for a competitor's diary but I didn't get round to it before 2014 arrived. I'm not as annoyed with the quality of the pages as I was the last time I used them back in 2010 but that may be because I've been using pens that aren't as absorbent (and thus, don't show through as much).

At the end of the diary pages is a list of books I've read so far this year. I'm a bit embarrassed about my list so far - but I've been so busy that reading is slower than it was last year and I barely find time to exercise as it is. To me, exercising is a priority over reading. Also, I've found it easy to start books but not so easy to finish them this year - maybe I'm just not reading the right books that draw me in and force me to keep reading?

I then have a load of to-do lists and within this is a survey record. I am still doing surveys and have opted to only do ones from 'invite-only' sites as their pay to survey time ratio is very good. Please don't ask me which sites these are - I'm not 100% that I am allowed to say and I'm sure you'll find some just by doing a simple Google search. Sorry!

Finally, right at the back are some note pages where I jot down random things or plan future events. Anything and everything may be written here.

I've really cut down on the things I have in my binder now and I feel that the stuff I have in it is enough for my day-to-day life. I only carry around what is necessary and if I find I haven't used something in it for a while, I'll take it out.

8 Jun 2014

my week #112

Another week down and another week closer to the summer break! Exams are so close now and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. My friends and I have started group revision and also clinical skills practice. Hopefully it will all prove fruitful as I've heard second year is much more relaxed and maybe then, my life won't be all about studying! The summer break will also enable me to blog a bit more regularly too and I'm branch out a bit with my blog topics.

How has your week been?

5 Jun 2014

my evolving weeks

I've been posting my weekly pages for over two years now so I thought I'd look back on how my weeks have changed since I first started.

First up: week 5! Personally, I think it looks quite messy and unstructured. It makes sense, because, at the time, I was writing my dissertation so my days were spent reading papers, typing up things I'd read and procrastinating.

Week 33 is up next. The level of creativity has increased but again, the weeks are bare as I was recovering from a major surgery at the time.

Week 54. I think this week is one of my favourites. It's a bit more organised and structured. My handwriting has also decreased in size - probably a good idea considering how small the spaces are for each day.

Week 82 was two months into medschool. The days are filled with uni-related stuff and the number of to-dos have decreased substantially. I think I had been using a Squid List, slotted in between each week.

Week 94. A change in inserts meant I had to change how I utilised the space available - Filofax WO2P inserts are not generous when it comes to the weekend! I've been more creative with my pen here and it seems my use of stickers has decreased.

Week 105. Sticky tabs were my current obsession here! It's a lot plainer and although there is still plenty of colour and stickers to complement the text, I've tried to use my pen to decorate rather than other extra little bits.

Have you ever looked back at your weeks to see how you've changed, or how your life has changed? I love flicking through my old diaries, and even journals, to see how my life has altered and how I have matured over the years. Sometimes, I even cringe at some of the things I read!

1 Jun 2014

my week #111

Isn't it a bit scary that it is now June? We're almost halfway through the year and I found myself thinking back to my Christmas holiday spent in Hong Kong, seeing relatives and friends - it feels so long ago that I was halfway across the world. Although I wouldn't call Hong Kong my home, I felt a bit homesick and a bit sad that it's uncertain when I'll next see these people again.

This week was all about consolidating all of the stuff I have learnt so far. Neuroanatomy is hard and I spent most of yesterday trying to put all the pieces together so that I could see the bigger picture.

How has your week been?