#2//A Good Test (Nicole)

The past week touched my nerves for a bit, and I’m embarrassed to say my limbic reptilian senses mildly emerged as the assessments rolled in.

It’s interesting how one’s mental landscape can be quite the petri-dish no one wants it to be, and a simple introspective moment can be quite the antibiotic to start afresh on an (ideally) new dish.

But it’s not a new dish, nor do I want a new dish, because I want some of those pathogens to stay behind, to remind me what I did wrong, how I defeated it, and let it be a punching-bag for me to exercise my confidence and problem-solving skills. Asking for a new dish is just an easy way out.

No one likes to get stressed out, but for me, it’s important that I remain uncomfortable all the time. One of my favourite quotes comes from the fantastic Hungarian-American Andy Grove:

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive”.

So, dearest University, give me all you’ve got.


I’ve also taken some time to explore new ways to manage my tasks in a more effective manner. I love task lists and apps, but none of them quite hit the mark, especially when some features only come from monthly subscriptions. I often find myself switching between several sites and apps, and that is absolutely wasteful of my time. So, three key things that I’ve incorporated for this week:

1. Graphical weekly task planner on a word document

  • I’m a spatially cognizant person, and none of the free to-do-list apps offer a way for me to see my tasks in a good calendar view
  • MS Word, because it’s clutter free, transfers better to paper, and I can access and edit online (via Google Drive), natively on my computer, and on my phone (via GDrive as well)
A little something I drafted up and am testing out for the week
A little something I drafted up and am testing out for the week

2. App on computer (OSX) to keep me on a current task

  • I’ve landed on FocusList
  • It’s great so far. It follows the pomodoro timing technique, gives me stats on what I’ve done, and has a nice, simple task list
  • Yes, it’s paid ($7.99), but it’s cheaper than most and gives me what I want
  • Why not just stick to a task list manager? Well, I wanted a no-frills task list that I use for the day, and simply listing out everything that I need to do for the whole month doesn’t keep things in immediate perspective
  • You can also give DoOneThing a go; it’s free, and just shows your task on the menu bar
  • Sorry windows/ubuntu people! There are plenty of free options out there for you though

3. Figure out some radio station appropriate for study

  • Haven’t found a verbal show conducive to concentrating yet; the American ones I stay tuned to—WNYC and WBEZ—are far too interesting to pass as “study radio”
  • Still sticking to NPR 24/7 All Songs Considered circa IB studying in high school


Alright, gotta study.

2 Responses to “#2//A Good Test (Nicole)”

  1. Ariana says:

    Thanks for sharing your handy task managing tips! I’m glad to hear the pomodoro technique is working for you. Like you, I too plan my task lists by the day. Seeing the actual to do list in full is far too overwhelming for me. Hope you continue to find introspective moments to keep balance in life.

  2. Raphael says:

    Thanks for those tips Nicole! I’ve just ordered a MacBook, so when it arrives I’ll be looking for some organisation apps and FocusList looks perfect! Thanks for those recommendations. But a part of me still likes ticking off a box on an actual piece of paper; nothing quite beats the feeling!
    Oh, and I find the Study playlists from Apple Music (and equivalent on Spotify I’d imagine) help me focus heaps, check them out if you’d like some music to listen to that won’t make you hum the melody instead of studying (what used to happen to me hahaha)

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