Category Archives: How-to

How to// Delving into Audiobooks! Tips & Tricks!

Audiobooks are one heck of a way to get into reading, to be honest! I love that they make me free to do other household chores. I am often listening to audiobooks while I wash the dishes, water the plants, or take a walk. However, I do understand that audiobooks can be daunting for many of us, especially non-native speakers of English. So today, I’ll be sharing a few tips and recommendations and I hope you will all find them beneficial!

Delving into audiobooks!

Here are the 8 tips which will probably help you all, just as they helped me when I was starting with audiobooks!!

Delving Into Audiobooks!
Audiobooks: How-to Pt. 1
  • Begin with a light read – like a poetry collection, or conversely, begin with a fast-paced thriller! For me, it was the fast-paced thriller/literary fiction that did the job – Long Bright River by Liz Moore.
  • Often as a beginner, listening to an audiobook can distract you if you are doing something that requires you to be actively focused on it, as opposed to doing the job by mere muscle memory. That is why I personally recommend you to first start with doing such muscle-memory jobs while listening to audiobooks.
  • This tip is especially for non-native English speakers, myself being one such example. Obviously it is difficult to understand someone who is speaking very fast. As such, I would recommend you to perhaps start with 1x and then increase the speed as you grow comfortable. I personally have become accustomed to 2x now.
  • The way a particular narrator narrates the tale, can make it or break it for the reader. Of course, this is subjective for every reader, and so if you have perhaps heard someone say that a particular audiobook (that you have been meaning to listen to) is not really great, don’t simply give up. Check it out! On the same note, always try to listen to the sample track before buying the audiobook for the same reason. Check it out before you commit to it or before you completely push it aside.
Audiobooks: How-to Pt. 2
  • If you are struggling to get into a physical book, then try to read it while also listening to the audiobook. This is a way of active learning, so perhaps you can also do it for college/school/work readings.
  • Always try to look at it in a positive manner. If you go in, thinking you won’t enjoy listening to audiobooks, chances are, you probably won’t. So keep an open mind!
  • Do not get discouraged. Since it is your first time delving into an audiobook, chances are there might be a couple of misses before the hook clicks in!
  • Lastly, check out my Audiobook Playlist on Youtube where there are quite a few audiobooks. Moreover, Librivox.org is a good source to get audiobooks!

Here I am also sharing recommendations of fabulous audiobooks (based on my personal experience, as well as recommendations I have come across!) I hope you all fall in love with audiobooks too! Here’s to a happy journey into a new world!

Audiobook recommendations!
Audiobook recommendations!

Check out my latest blog posts: How I read 250+ books a year! , How to Ace Online University! , Why you should NOT use Linktree! etc.

How to Ace Online University

With the lockdown seeming indefinite now, classes that had been postponed, are back in full force with their online counterparts. While we might not have as many scheduled online classes in a day as we had at university, the pressure has been undeniable there these days. I figure it is due to the fact that for most of us, the home environment is not at all what we would like a work environment to be โ€“ perhaps it is just not conducive with all the distractions around. Being a final year student, it has become my priority to stay on top of my classwork and self-study. So today, Iโ€™m going to share a few tips with you all, ones that have been helping me stay one step ahead, of this pressure that comes with the online university lifestyle!

This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links (at no cost to you, of course! ๐Ÿ™‚)

Regular sleep and exercise!

Regular Sleep and Exercise
Regular Sleep and Exercise

A healthy mind and a healthy body are so important at this time. The basic logic here is if you are not keeping well, how do you expect to stay on top of your game? I have been working out every day so that is really helping towards a regular sleeping time. Otherwise, I had hardly any physical activity during the day so I was not tired and couldnโ€™t fall asleep at a decent hour. I would stay up with 3 or 4 am and it hampered me the next day, and so on. But ever since I have started to work out regularly, my sleeping has become so much better!

Have a planner and a daily schedule

Have a planner and a daily schedule
Have a planner and a daily schedule

A planner just makes life so much easier. For instance, the most obvious thing you can use it for, is to keep a note of your class schedule, so that you do not end up missing any. Moreover, it also helps you keep a track of your reading progress, assignment submission dates, etc. along the same lines, it also helps if you make a schedule for yourself. I like to get up early and help my mother with the household chores before I take a bath and get dressed and put on some makeup. This helps me psychologically and puts me in the study mindset. Acting as if it is a normal workday really helps. Here’s a link to buy the planner I use: https://amzn.to/2y4CD2R 

Have a designated study/workspace

Have a designated study space
Have a designated study space

I cannot stress this enough. The mind is programmed in such a way that you will inevitably fall asleep if you work on your bed. Therefore, having a separate space and going to it regularly only to work, will condition your mind into automatically starting to work. Besides, posture plays a key role in this. If youโ€™re leaning back and lazing about trying to work, chances are you probably will not be able to really concentrate. However, if you are sitting up straight, you will also be aware and less prone to daydreaming!

Take breaks

Take breaks
Take breaks

Breaks are really important to rejuvenate yourself. I have been using the Pomodoro technique for ages and find that it is really helpful. In this technique, schedule yourself to work for 25 minutes and after it is over, take a five-minute break. This is your first set, you could say. Do this three more times, so that you have done 4 sets in two hours. Take a half/one hour break now. I like to hydrate myself during these breaks. Despite the fact that most of us are at home, we often forget to drink enough water. Perhaps, going and chatting with your family members, or doing a couple of easy exercises will also be great.

Set deadlines for yourself

Set deadlines
Set deadlines

Deadlines really help me to actually get work done. When you know you have tons of time on your hands,  chances are, you will probably end up procrastinating. I usually set huge assignments in a 2/3 day schedule and work my way through well. This has worked for me. However, if this does not work for you, you can also try actually finishing the job at one go. The most important thing is, to separate the entire task into smaller ones and complete them one by one.

Make study groups

Make a study group
Make a study group

If you are a competitive person like me, or someone who is too laidback (this works either way), make a study group. I have one with two of my friends and we work well together. We set our goals for the day/week and work our way through slowly while sharing updates. In this way, if one of us actually slacks, the fact that you are accountable to the rest of your study buddies will make you want to finish your tasks. Most importantly, I would like to note here, that it is advisable to make study groups with only the classmates who you know will be serious and will not just laze about procrastinating. 

So these are a few short tips to make sure you ace your online classes. At the end of the day however, your own discipline and desire to ace are what will matter and push you. These will simply help propel you further, the main engine being your own will and determination. I hope these tips will help you.

You can also check out: How to read 250+ books a year!

AUTUMN BOOKSHELF and READING NOOK

AUTUMN-THEMED BOOKSHELF AND READING NOOK

So hey guys! How’s it going? A couple of days ago, I uploaded my second YouTube video and it was sort of a how-to. How to decorate an autumn-themed bookshelf and reading nook? This is the most comfortable place for any book lover, and for that matter, anyone, to be honest. You can watch movies and listen to music and just chill with the homies. Autumn is the best time of the year when the world is just so photogenic and the temperature is great.

I had a ton of fun doing this. So without further ado, let me share the thoughts I kept in mind while creating this setup. I hope you guys try it out too.

Autumn colours

Since I was recreating a Fall look, the colours I focused on were yellows, browns, reds and dark browns and a bit of black as well.

I tried to organize them in an order of increasing saturation. So I went from yellow, orange, red to a bit of brown, dark brown and a few purple ones too.

Autumn decoration

For decoration, I focused on three things:

  1. A background – I used my DIY page-wallpaper for this. This adds depth and texture to the whole scene.
  2. A bit of green – Yes, this is very much contrary to the theme, but rules are meant to be broken yeah?
  3. Plaques – I put up my NorthEast creator Award plaque for display as well as this beautiful peacock one, which was my grandmother’s.

The autumn-y nook

In this area, I simply put down an old mattress, covered it with a white bedsheet and then strewed some brown cushions over it. You can also throw a shawl or a warm and soft blanket over it.

Candles and fairylights!

The most easy way to make something atmospheric? Candles all the way! I lighted up a few and put them all over the area. Fairylights are the other option. You can have both or you can have either. They also render a very photogenic effect to the place.

I would suggest putting a small table or stool nearby, for your ease and convenience, and where you can perhaps put your music player, or laptop or food.

Click here to check out my YouTube video : Autumn-themed Bookshelf and Reading Nook!

Check out my review for Dear Juliet , Nordic Tales , Celtic Tales – the best books to read this time of the year.

And so, here’s how you make the best autumn-themed bookshelf and reading nook! I hope you enjoyed this post and I have a few more ideas coming up for this DIY segment of my blog! I’m excited and I hope you are too!

How to: A Bullet Journalling Guide

(This is a post succeeding Time Management and Bullet Journalling )

I decided to compare two monthsโ€™ spreads and show you all how I make and then improvise my spreads. So, Iโ€™ll be using both the September and October spreads to help you all build up your own spreads.

So at the starting, I use the square lined notebook from Amazon Basics. Itโ€™s really affordable (tagged at 299INR) and quite nice. It however also bleeds a little but since I do not use water colours anyway, it works for me. Apart from it, the most basic things youโ€™ll need are like those of every other craft requirement โ€“ pens, brush pens, colours (whatever medium you need), scissors, stickers, pictures, glitters, gum, etc. 

Cover Page

The first page to make for every month is the cover page and as you can see I chose the colour green for September and pink for October. September was also a relatively less busy month for me so I could devote more time to designing and all, but itโ€™s entirely the opposite in October. I also used green marble paper to decorate the cover page for September, and a leaf sticker that I bought from Wish. I also used a golden Sharpie that I got from amazon, and normal black pen along with a green Crayola fine tipped marker to write the calendar and quote respectively.  For October, I decided to keep it simple and minimalistic. And so for that reason itself, I went with pink because I felt black and white would be too simplistic. In this way I made a minimalistic yet non-boring spread. The stickers are again from Wish and I filled in the designs with my pink Crayola fine tipped marker.

Monthly Spread

The next two pages are reserved for my monthly spread. Having the whole layout of the month helps me with the scheduling a lot. So in September, I went with the green theme and used another marble paper, a lighter green this time, to write the month name on. To make use of the empty page area at the top, I wrote in a quote I got off the net. For me the week always begins on Monday so that is a format I use, as you can see in the pictures. You can of course customize it according to your own likings. I also always make sure to write the dates in a colour that strikes out from the surroundings and does not blend in. I have clicked the pictures in such a way that you can see the progress โ€“ the September pictures were clicked as soon as I finished making it. However, I decided to click the October spread, almost a week in so that you can see how I use it. And mind you, the monthly spreads do not always remain very neat and tidy so do not be hard on yourself if you make a mistake. As a sort of a perfectionist myself, I understand the pressure and expectations we place on ourselves. I again used a sticker from Wish, in the October monthly spread. And another quote! So adding quotes is something I like. If you want to customize that you can โ€“ just colour that area, make some doodles or whatever you want to.

Lists

In the next two pages, you can see my use of the left side to make the expense tracker. Managing my finances is something I am very conscious about and so this page really helps me a lot. I have the following columns โ€“ date, income (money I may get from others), expenditure (money I utilize, along with the reason mentioned), and savings (whatever I save that day). This is a page that has stayed common for both September and October. But as you can see, I intended to use the right side in September as a habit tracker. But I obviously instead ended up using it as a planning page โ€“ as to when I post and such matters. And I found that this really helped me a lot. So I planned to use the same thing in October, but just changed the heading to my account name.

You can also use this for habit tracking, as I used to do a long time ago; say for โ€“ sleeping, house work, laundry, studying, eating, exercise etc.

Brain Dump

And then we have the brain dump sheets. Like the name suggests, I used to write just about anything. In October you can see I used it to write my monthly TBR and also to keep a record of the times as to when I started or finished a book. So basically anything. For example, you can keep a list of the things you ordered online on a particular date and the date you expect to receive the parcel and so on.

Weekly Spreads

And now, we have reached the main point of keeping a bullet journal โ€“ using bullet points to keep some things on your mind. In October, I decided to use one page for each week. On the edge-side I wrote in the names of the days and the things to do for each day. Towards the side, I, however, made a column where I wrote the things I have to do throughout the week, because I may have to submit that particular work in the next week.

So as you can see, the Bullet Journal is all about planning and the best part is that it is totally customizable. I started with this method a few years ago and today, I honestly cannot even think of living without it. I cannot remember how I honestly survived without it before. But I guess life wasnโ€™t so hectic then.

Anyway, thatโ€™s the end of my sort of guide. I hope it helped all of you and if you have any doubts or tips, feel free to contact me at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com or drop a DM in my bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile .

Time management and bullet journaling

It is not enough to be busyโ€ฆ the question is: what are we busy about?

-Henry David Thoreau

SquarePic_2018114165116839

Just like every other person, we too get a mere 24 hours a day. How is it then that some people can cover so much work and some just about get up from their bed and have some food? The answer lies in time management.

Being able to manage oneโ€™s time is, I think, one of the greatest abilities that a person can possibly cultivate. Time is of the essence, after all. Time is knowledge; knowledge is power. As such, being able to control oneself so as to make the greatest difference possible each day, is truly a wondrous thing. So let me tell you what my take on time management is.

As a student at The Assam Royal Global University, you could say that I already have a really hectic life. Throughout the week โ€“ Mondays to Fridays โ€“ I get up at 7 and get ready and get on the bus at 8 in the morning. I study and work as much as I can โ€“ cover as many things I need to do on the day โ€“ and then in the evening, I get off the bus at 6.45 pm and immediately head off to the gym. After an hourโ€™s workout put into my daily schedule, I reach home at around 8.15 pm. This is followed by a bath, dinner and an episode of whatever Netflix show I am currently watching. At 9, I am promptly at my work table where I then start with my studying and assignments and so on. I always believe in doing things on the very day they are allotted and not procrastinating, and perhaps that is why I can currently juggle my academic work as well as my non-academic work. Apart from actually being a full-time university student, I also work in an NGO as a content creator, I have my own reviewing work for my award-winning bookstagram account (@pretty_little_bibliophile), and I also am an admin for the official India Bookstagram page on Instagram and I need to create regular content. So you can imagine how hectic it gets.

As such, I honestly really forget a lot of things, and that is why I maintain my bullet journal. It is the one thing that truly keeps me on track and reminds me of the things I need to do every day. It really helps me plan my days and the best thing is that it is customizable. There is no one way to do it because the aim of maintaining this sort of a journal is to simply make life easier. As such, I really am very dependent on my bullet journal and cannot imagine a life without it.

Lots of love,

Nika!

Please do like and comment and share your views. Also, if you want an in-depth how-to for Bullet journalling, you can check out my latest post by clicking on this link: How To: A Bullet Journalling Guide