Thursday, December 29, 2016

My 2 essential life hacks to begin the year

I can't believe it. I'm writing the last post of 2016. In a few days, a new year comes upon us. I've always liked new years. It brings with it the feeling that anything's possible.

I'm not really a resolutions person but I do have a few new year habits.

One of the first things I do at the beginning of the year is to take a week to "fast" from the distractions of life (Facebook, Pinterest, Netflix -- I'm talking about you!) In the 7 days, I quiet down, pray, meditate, take long walks and let my spirit hear what God has to say about my year ahead. Some years He whispers a passage, many years it's only a word. I keep that word deep within me and throughout the year, I return to it for strength. And always, that word is sufficient. Why not try it for yourself as you ease into 2017? No matter what your beliefs are, taking time to clarify what's truly important to you is always a good thing. And a good beginning to all things.

Second thing I do is get a new planner. I just love cracking open a new planner at the start of the year. Reams of empty pages, all waiting to be filled with goals, projects and possibilities. And the smell of new paper ... aaaaah. Don't you just love it?

I'm a bit of a productivity nerd and have been searching for years for the tool to fit my way of working. Finally, I think I've landed on the one that does it for me. I work from home, so I need to hold myself accountable for my time, which means spending time on productive work and not busy work. There is a difference. In 2015, I stumbled on the SELF Journal (affiliate link) when they launched their Kickstarter campaign. I liked what I saw and supported the campaign. What caught my attention was their Zero-based calendar of leaving no unaccounted for time.

I've used it the whole of 2016 and what can I say, I literally know where I spent every minute of last year! It was strange at first writing down "brush teeth" or "water plants" on my planner but I got the hang of it. It made me give my day forethought -- so I can live more purposefully on a daily basis. Another thing I liked was the concept of 13-week goals (versus annual goals). It was so much easier to stay on track when I can almost glimpse the end.

Using it has helped me accomplish a big project through daily, focused steps towards my goal. You know what they say about eating an elephant? Yes, one bite at a time.

If you're frugal like me, download the free pdf, print and test it out first to see whether it works for you. I hope you like it as much as I do. I would be using it again for 2017. Definitely.

That's my two unwarranted life hacks for 2017? What about you? How do you start your year?

And before I wrap up, here's wishing you a fabulous 2017. I look forward to seeing all your great hacks in this coming year.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tidings of comfort and joy

I was prepping for the festivities when I received news of my uncle's passing, followed by yet another uncle a few days later. Two deaths within a week was hard to bear.

Though I know they are in a land that is fairer than day and that we shall meet again on that beautiful shore, but I feel their loss. So for now, I'll dim the lights, bow my head and say a prayer.

Let not my mood dampen yours though. I wish you a joyous time with family and friends. If there's anything that this time of grief has taught me, it's time is short and every moment we have together is a moment to cherish.


Photo credit: Brian Baker

Saturday, April 30, 2016

My METOD Makeover: Installation

When I was researching on the IKEA kitchen buying process, I did not find much information on the interwebs. So I thought I'd write up a bit more on it. It's a bit longer and heavier than usual. But bear with me. I believe it'll be useful for the next person planning an IKEA kitchen purchase.

My kitchen planning process

I'm old school so I used pen and paper to plan before I laid my plans down on the software. IKEA even provided grid paper here.

Firstly, I familiarised myself with the height, widths and depths of the METOD cabinets. The basic frames are as follows:

Wall cabinets:
Widths: 20cm, 40cm, 60cm, 80cm.
Height: 40cm, 60cm, 80cm.
Depth: 37cm (39cm with doors)

Base cabinets:
Widths: 20cm, 40cm, 60cm, 80cm.
Height: 80cm (with countertop and plinths, it comes up to 92cm)
Depth: 37cm, 60cm. (39cm or 62cm with doors)

There are also open cabinets, high cabinets, wall cabinets with drawers, fridge cabinets in different dimensions.

Then starting from one corner of the wall, I added the right combination of base cabinets according to the length of the wall and how I would use the cabinets. (Eg. a pull out cabinet for sauces and condiments to the left of my stove, drawers for cutlery in the kitchen island) Did the same for the wall cabinets. When I had a rough idea of how it should go I was ready to plan online.

How to use the IKEA Home Planner

You know, the IKEA Home Planner is delightful and at the same time, is responsible for my greatly reduced hair count. The learning curve was a little steep for me actually. It was laggy, it didn’t carry the full range and didn’t always do what I wanted it to. I would click to rotate a cabinet, cook dinner and come back to it and it’s still turning.

Then, I went to IKEA and watched the pros, the Kitchen Planners, use it and picked up a few tricks. After that, it played nice with me and it quickly became my favourite night time activity. Because what’s better than watching kitchen doors transform from BROKHULT to RINGHULT? Sigh ... I have no life.

If you’re using the IKEA Home Planner for the first time, you’ll need to create a profile so you can save your work. You’ll be asked to install a browser plug-in too. Once you've done that, the fun (and hair pulling) begins.

Here are 10 useful tips when using the IKEA Home Planner:

1. When creating your layout, use “3D Line View” (which is the ugly line drawing version) instead of “Front 3D View”. It loads much faster. Switch to “Front 3D View” only when you want to see how it looks in 3D.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My METOD Makeover: And so it begins...

Ever since the launch of the new METOD kitchen range, I’ve developed a major crush on it. Whenever I visit IKEA, I would open and slam the doors just to hear "nothing". (Yay for soft-closing!)  And don't get me started on the super configurable drawer dividers, fittings and accessories. All just soooo organized!

Then I go home, glare at my kitchen and sigh ...

My current kitchen is my first.

But we’ve lost a lot of love. When I moved into my apartment 16 years ago, I didn’t know very much about the way kitchens should flow or understood how I preferred to prepare food and cook. But in time I learnt a thing or two and cooked many more meals.

It’s a custom built and it’s not an awful kitchen. Not by a long shot. The white laminate doors show no signs of yellowing or chipping. It has adequate countertop space, does offer decent storage and does abide to the working triangle rule (even though I knew nothing about that then).

Layout wise, it's an open plan. Next to the kitchen is my home office. And further down, is my living room. (Not in picture) Because it's so open and the first thing anyone sees when they come through the door, it needs to at least look neat. Being handsome would, of course, be a bonus.

While the current kitchen is adequate, there are a few things that irk me.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

This 16 year old baby left home

I'm getting a new IKEA METOD kitchen!

After weeks of planning, things are finally in motion.

Yesterday, the guys came and took away my 16 year old kitchen. Installation of the new babies will only happen in 3-4 weeks, so in the meantime, it's like camping, right in my own home. It's fun finding new ways to cook and wash without a proper kitchen. Not always easy. But definitely interesting.

Now that I've pressed the 'reset' button, I can't wait to see what boots up. Hang in there with me and follow along on #mymetodmakeover.