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5 Productivity Hacks You Should Do

Last Summer, I was taking two online classes and working 18 hours a week.

“This Summer is a little busy, but I’m keeping up.” I thought to myself.

Now, I’m laughing at that. I’m so much busier this Summer even though I’m taking any classes. Instead, I’m working on my blog, getting my ducks in a row since I graduate next year, keeping up with the demands of my club, and trying to hang out with my family as much as possible. Not to mention, I’m trying to stay informed about current events. Last year was easy mode.

My saving grace: I’m more aware of how to be more productive.

Honestly, I’m not that great at being productive, but I’m improving and doing more than I ever thought I could. Here are some of the best productivity methods I came across:

The Pomodoro Technique

This technique has been gaining a ton of traction in the last few years. Basically, you work for a set amount of time, then take a break. With this method, you use a timer to determine how long you work before you take a break. An example would be working for 50 minutes then taking a 5-minute break.

I really like The Pomodoro Technique, but it does not work well with my personality. The way I get around this is taking on a certain task and stop working with a get too distracted. Afterward, I walk for a while and return back to my work space. My head is clearer, and I take a break when it feels right.

To-do lists

Who doesn’t like a good old to-do list? It states your priorities for the day and helps keep you focused. Also, crossing out a task after you complete it feels so good! That being said, to-do lists can kill your productivity if you have too many tasks for the day. Finding the right balance has always been a struggle for me.

I’ll never forget the great advice my former club president told us. “At the end of each night, you should cross out what you haven’t done as well. That way, you will keep from dragging into your tasks for the next day.” I love that piece of advice because it’s to put unfinished tasks for the next day. The worst part is that the unfinished tasks from yesterday might not be important, yet these tasks distract you the next day

The Get Efficient Prioritization Matrix

This matrix was created by Amber McCue from Niceops.com. A good chunk of the battle to become more productive is sorting out your priorities. According to her article about The Get Efficient Prioritization Matrix, It helps you figure out the following:

* What should you outsource
* What should you keep doing
* What should you systematize

The matrix does this by evaluating how long a task takes you and whether you hate or love doing it. From there, you can see the recommendation to either outsource it, keep doing it, or systematize it.

I’m in love with this matrix because it’s so different than a lot of the productivity methods I’ve come across. I especially love how it brings outsourcing and systematization to the table. Doing more outsourcing and systematization allows you to be more productive.

Focus on your most important task

We are surrounded by distractions around us, it’s easy to not move forward on the task at hand. Jumping from task to task makes it seem like we’re being productive, but that’s a lie. Sometimes, going the “slow” way by focusing on the top task you need to do today helps you go faster.

Even though I know having only one set task for the day will make me more productive, I like thinking that I’m going to get multiple things in one day. It drives me. If that’s you too, you can still use a modified version of focusing on your “one” thing. I set 2-5 tasks for the day, and once I finish a few of them, I can add another task to the list. This keeps from creating an enormous to-do list while forcing me to focus on the task at hand.

Go with the flow

How many times have we’ve been in the mood to accomplish our tasks, yet found an excuse to not do it? Writing every day tends to be the task I neglect the most. I would get in a mood to write something, but I would just focus on another task on my to-do list. Sometimes, we’re the middle of a task when the mood to do something else important hits us. Go for it!

If you can shift to doing that task when you’re in the mood to do it, you’ll get more done and not feel like it was a burden. Maybe, you can’t stop to do the task. For example, you might be in the middle of hanging out with friends, when you feel the urge to work on a personal project. For that, I advise knowing what triggers you to get in that mood and duplicate the triggers as best as you can.

Conclusion

We’re bombarded with ways to be more productive, but we have to find the ones that work best for us. The best part about knowing different productivity methods is that we can modify the methods to fit our personality and lifestyle.

 

 

name_amber

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Promoting the Dictatorship

Today, I was told in school that “if an argument has 90% of people who think one way and 10% who think the other way, the 10% is most certainly wrong and it is not a debatable argument”.

What?

What?

I don’t even understand how someone– especially a teacher– could possibly believe that and promote that.

That teacher (whom I despise and so will never name) is literally promoting a totalitarian mob mentality wherein whoever has the most numbers always wins.  And that’s wrong.

At one point, the majority of Germans thought that Hitler was a good leader.

In the 20th century, the majority of Americans thought that homosexuality is a crime.OVM Featured Quotes

If students are told to never think outside the box, to just assume that the 90% is always right, then where in the world is this country going.  There will be no forward progress, no sense of direction, no nothing.

We will be forever stuck where just because you aren’t in the 90% you are wrong, and we will be leaving it up to this majority to determine what happens to the rest of us.  I can’t even explain to you how shocked I still am.

Not that long ago, 90%– over that– believed that being black meant you didn’t deserve a real life.

If we don’t promote that 10%… If we don’t explore our options and become educated no matter what everyone around us is saying… if we don’t at least TRY to stretch boundaries and find the truth amid a world of lies and deception… then why should we even have a voice.  What is the point.

We NEED VOICES.  We need to FIGHT.  This is not an option.  And a teacher telling students that just because they are in the minority they are WRONG.  That’s wrong.  That’s harmful to everyone who’s ever felt less than, ostracized, ignored.  That’s telling an entire RACE of people that if they’re not white they still shouldn’t matter.  That’s telling an entire SEXUALITY that they should be murdered for who they love.  And that’s telling every single human being who enjoys living in a democracy that HITLER WAS RIGHT.

No.

I cannot accept that.

We, as human beings, can think, and can promote change.  And to do that, you have to embrace the 10%, the 5%, even the 1% if that what it takes.

So no, teacher, I won’t only argue the 90%.  I’ll find where the world is wrong and I’ll do everything in my power to change that.  OVM Signoff


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Why You Should Vote in Local Elections

Out of all the things you can do to impact your life and those around you, voting is high on the list. Okay, so maybe your vote has no power when you vote against your state’s main candidate in the presidential elections. Even so, on the local level, your vote does have power and won’t be buried by your state.

Not to mention, it keeps you up to date on what’s going on where you live. Yet, a lot of people don’t take advantage of this. They wait until the presidential election to be heard. With all the benefits that come with voting locally, it’s time for us to buck the trend.

1. You have more power

First off, on the local level, you don’t have to worry about the electoral college. Second, politicians have fewer people they are trying to make happy. If they see a group of dedicated voters that care about a certain cause that cause will get more attention.

2. You become more informed about what’s going on in your community

When you start researching local politicians, you learn more about different issues or ballot initiatives. Politicians tend to have a few issues that they focus on the most. With that, hopefully, comes information on what they’ve done in the past and what they plan to do in the future.

3. You can leverage previous connections

Now, that you have spent some time evaluating what you want for the future and the politicians trying to get elected, you can connect with others. You can get others you know to help you to organize a rally, march, or whatever else you think will help. Also, there are probably local organizations you can team up with.

In one of my clubs, we have been able to reach out to a few local organizations that care about the environment. Some of the organizations try to help the environment by getting citizens to use their political power to vote for certain bills and politicians.

4. You can go to events to show your support without too much trouble

Since January, there have been quite a few marches going on. Where I live, there is going to be a March for Science event soon. Since this March is less than an hour away from where I live showing up to the event is a lot easier than if the event is in New York. Do a little digging into your causes. If it’s near voting time, there should be some rallies going on.

5. This will get you ready for the next step

Of all the things we can do to be a good citizen, voting is the low hanging fruit. You don’t have to attend any rallies or marches to become an informed voter. You can take simple steps to become informed. It’s important to vote, and the amount of effort compared to the results is excellent.

Final Thoughts

When you vote, you make your voice heard. Politicians pay more attention because your vote is what keeps them in office. Use this power to advocate the causes you care about!

name_amber

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March Wrap-Up

Hi everyone!! I’m so excited to be writing the wrapup for our first official month of running this blog.  It’s amazing to see how far it has gotten in such a short amount of time, and I’m sure that we’ll be able to make it even bigger in the next month.  So, without further ado, here’s what you may have missed in the past 31 days.

Top Posts

Author of the Month

Every month, I plan on highlighting one of the authors on this site who I think have done a great job in the past month in order to get more publicity for their private blogs, businesses, or anything else which they what to highlight!! This month, the lucky winner is Matt.

Matt joined OVM at the beginning of this month, and since then he has been loyally publishing once a week.  All of his content is well written, and you can see the passion in everything which he publishes.  Read all of his posts to date here.

Besides just being on the OVM team, Matt has his own blog: Bulanchuk’s Blog.  If you enjoy Matt’s writing style, you’ll love to see all of his self-help, ideal teenager, and humorous satire posts that he puts on the blog.

Congratulations Matt for getting author of the month!!

Our Blogging Growth

I’m excited that we now have 4 contributors on the OVM blog.  Ideally, we are looking for about 2 more people to join the team, but everyone we have on the team is dedicated and looking to help share their opinions with you.  If you’re interested in being on the team, head over and fill out the application now!

Our follower count has hit 14.  Thank you to everyone who has followed us, and please share this blog with anyone you think may be interested.

That’s all for this month.  Keep reading and make sure you check up on any posts you may have missed.

 

I Graduated! Now What?

Do you know the most frustrating thing about college? You get prepared to be knowledgeable in your field, however, no one ever prepares you for the transition to adult life after you graduate. I remember thinking that once I graduated I would find a job that paid anywhere from 45k- 50k in an entry level position. I had this idea because the median salary for my profession was reported to be about 54k. Well, that was not the case. Furthermore, I realized that I didn’t want to pursue the career I majored in. Luckily, I went to a state university so my loans only totaled about $40k as opposed to 100k-300k that a private university could set me back.

You may still be in college or perhaps you’re a recent graduate. You may even be well in your career and now looking to make a career change. The issue at hand is that preparation for navigating the job market is not provided. Did you know that on average it takes 3-9 months for a college graduate to find a job? The job market is broken and we the job seekers are suffering for it.

This is the first in a series of posts that will give you the hacks to help you quickly navigate the job market.  I will be covering things like resume best practices, how to find out what you’re good at, how to earn more, etc. You can also e-mail me any questions you have and I’ll do all the leg work to get you the best answers.

Thanks for reading, I’ll see you next Sunday.

-Nda-jiya

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The World is Slowly Dying

I’m not being dramatic in the title.  It’s true.  The world is dying, and that is a direct result of human beings thinking that they can do whatever they want whenever they want with no real consequences.  We have become an entitled race full of people who would rather throw out a plastic water bottle rather than buy a reusable one and wash it.

Our society, most especially the US, has become a society of waste, of disuse, of garbage.  And nobody is innocent.  Not the wasteful neighbor, not the recycling addict– they are all guilty of contributing to the homosapien plague that is destroying our world.

Nothing is ever going to be able to stop the impending fate of destruction and death upon the world, so why try, right?  Use that extra electricity, buy that plot of land and have the forest torn down, because it’ll happen sooner or later.  Right? Right?  No.  We can’t have that thought process.  It is that exact thinking which WILL get this universe destroyed long before the sun explodes and kills us all.

The world is dying.  But we can help slow it down.

Sure, one person isn’t going to make much of an impact, but if many people change just themselves, the world will be changed.  Saved, even.

So, recycle.  Or better yet, try not to use resources which need to be thrown out/recycled in the first place.  Buy reusable containers.  Don’t take bags at the grocery store, carry it.

Cut down on electricity usage.  Turn off lights when you leave the room, and don’t turn them on at all if possible.  Never leave the water running for longer than absolutely necessary.  Take a shorter shower.

Eat less meat.  Stop getting food that is shipped halfway across the world to get to your plate.  Buy non GMO.  Buy local.  Buy organic.  Or better yet, make your own food by starting a garden in your backyard.

Make your voice heard.  Protest anti-sustainability projects.  Protest deforestation in the rainforest, and in the soon-to-be new housing development in the patch of trees across the street.  Plant a new tree, demand a say in what happens, because no matter how old you are, it’s your world too.

Drive less.  Bike more.  Take a walk.  Appreciate the world we live in.

Use less. Love more.  Stop wasting.  Save the world we live in.

Sit less.  Talk more.  Share opinions.  Unite the world we live in.

It may not be up to only you, but it certainly starts there.  You can’t complain about the world degrading– or claim to care– if you aren’t doing everything you can to save it.

It starts today.  What will your choice be?

signoff


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Fake Friends, Like All Friends, Are Temporary.

I only have 3 TRUE friends. It might sound depressing but I can assure you I am the minority. You would be lucky to even have one. This is not including family. I cannot generalize family because everyone family is completely different. All I know is I have had too many “good” friendships that died out like a light bulb. I am just starting to accept the sad reality of friends. 95% of them are fake.

When I say fake I don’t mean they are necessarily bad people. They are just bad to you. Here are 3 subtle characteristics of fake friends that I have picked up on:

1. Always Looking For Something Better

About 2 months ago I was over my friends house with a few other people drinking a few beers and watching TV. It wasn’t the best night of my life but I think a good time is only made with good people. I thought the good people part was accomplished, I was wrong. One of my “friends” was on his phone the whole time and being an unsocial little shit. Out of the blue he gets a phone call and says “wanna go grab a sixer and come over my house”. All of my other real friends and I looked at each other like what the fuck is wrong with this kid. We gave him no contest and let him leave and drink his sixer with his other “friend”. I didn’t care, he’s fake. That was the last time I really spoke to him and he still wonders why. It’s simple, a true friend stays with the crew no matter what opportunity comes their way. Sex is the only exception.

2. Doesn’t Invite, But Has No Problem Telling.

I did this for 6 months in between 9th and 10th grade and I lost ALL of my 3 friends. I would tell them the stories of my random hookups, my crazy drug trips, and the awesome parties I would go to. All of which were heavily exaggerated. As the stories kept coming,t hey grew further from me. Eventually, I was alone, angry and addicted. When I cleaned up my act and got everything that I lost back, I asked them why they hated me so much.

“You were doing all this fun shit and we weren’t doing anything”

I wasn’t a real friend, I was selfish. I didn’t invite anyone to any event. Then I would brag about it like I was the shit when in reality I was just a lying degenerate stoner. Bring your friends, don’t tell your friends. It makes a huge difference.

3. Tough Times is like Bug Spray

When I was friendless and had to come home to an estranged household everyday. NO ONE was there for me. The only socialization I had was at school. It was pretty obvious to most people I interacted with that I didn’t have a friend group. Most rejected me for who I was and for the mistakes I made. Only 2 friends gave me a shot at redemption. They knew I had nothing to bring in terms of popularity or activities, they just liked me for me. They invited me to hang out weekend after weekend and brought me out of my slump. I will always love them for that. A friend is a friend when they like you for you. 

_________________________________________________________________

I am very careful with who I hang out with. I have seen “friends” steal from “friends”,talk shit about “friends”,and straight up hate their “friends”. I have gotten to the point where I believe most friendships have an expiration date.

My dad always says “I have no friends, there gets a time in your life where you have to grow up”. High school friends are left in high school, college friends are left in college and work friends are just work friends. I walk by former best friends everyday in school and never get a “hello” or  a “how are you”. They carry on like I was nothing in their life, and because of that, they are nothing to me.

There will always be something better, and there will always be those tough times, just notice the ones that stick around. Those are the ones that are in it for the long haul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey as a Vegetarian

It has been 6 FULL YEARS since I’ve last eaten a piece of meat, and my 7th anniversary is coming up in just a few months.  I could not be more happy with where I am in life now, and I would never go back to eating meat, as long as I have any choice in the matter (I hopefully always will, I don’t plan on being force fed).  Now, I know the decision to be vegetarian or vegan is difficult for many people, but I’m here today to share my journey and hopefully help some people who are having trouble deciding whether they should give up meat.

First off, I don’t think you ever need to make a permanent decision about anything, especially before you’re ready to do so.  Saying “I won’t eat meat” can be scary, and might make you feel trapped.  I was a 10 year old when I made the decision, and so for me nothing was scary.  If you are an adult who actually has to cook their own food, that might not be the case.  While you read this, keep that fact in mind.

  1. The First Steps

In one of the classes I was in, we had to do a project on either a future career choice, or an issue in the world.  Being 10, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up, so I decided to research animal cruelty.  I don’t know why.  I had 2 dogs, but I wasn’t particularly affectionate towards them, nor could I be described as an animal person.  But I did it.  I found out about puppy mills, factory farms, tortured cows, caged chickens, branded and broken pigs (who are just as smart as dogs), and so much more that most little kids would never even think about.  The next week, I stopped eating meat for good.  I only looked back twice– I accidentally ate a bite of a rib at a summer party (then dropped it under the table because I felt guilty and wanted to hide the evidence), and at a family party where the pepperoni looked too good to pass up.  The second time, I held strong.

2. Sticking with it

It was hard.  Really hard.  Sometimes, I would only have eggs for dinner because my parents made meat and I couldn’t eat it.  (and yes I see the irony in that but I was little).  At restaurants, I could only eat salads or pasta at many places.  I was lucky enough to have supportive parents who made my job way easier than it could have been otherwise.  I started reading books such as “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and watching all of those movies, and I was even more adamant to stick with my decision.  When I was 12, my parents decided to go vegetarian as well, and not just that, vegan.  I converted them.  Life was great.  In honor of their change, I also gave up fish, changing my pescetarian status to genuine veggie.

3. An Even Harder Change

Come my sophomore year of high school, I started learning about the health and environmental impacts of eating animal products as well.  Now, I’m a convenience vegan because of my beliefs.  What this means? At home I’m vegan because my parents are and that’s what they buy.  I get to eat the most delicious meals in existence, mostly ethnic (which is so much more available to vegs) because my mom is a great cook, and we rarely eat the same meal twice, aside from a few staple pieces.  I won’t eat eggs plain, because I do recognize the torture those female chickens are put through.  I won’t drink milk plan because of the cows and the cancer.  I try to keep to this as much as possible, and those two are a hard and fast rule.  But I still sometimes eat cheese pizza, I never pass up a dessert, and at restaurants I’m sure that they use dairy products in much of what I eat.  But I’m trying, and that’s what counts.

4. Today

Today, my hard and fast vegetarian rule no longer feels like a rule, it’s just common sense.  I never feel like I’m missing out on anything, and actually the smell of meat I associate with the smell of burning flesh.  It has become easy to not eat meat because I’m not missing out at all.  I have so many better, healthier options in front of me.  When I consume dairy, I feel sluggish and gross, when I’m not, I feel 100x healthier.  Meat, although it doesn’t disgust me as much as it should, doesn’t tempt me at all.  And I’m happy.

I realize that not everyone will have such a supportive family, or the means for cooking on their own.  But nowadays, there ARE options.  And everyone has the responsibility to educate themselves.  Do that, and the decision will be made for you.

Do you have any questions about my journey?  Do you need advice on being vegetarian or vegan? Need support?  Comment below, I’d love to talk and hear your stories!

signoff


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~Now Venture Out and Change the World~

Modern Education Sucks.

Modern public schooling has many flaws. I will list a few of the most concerning:

1. Grading

The way we are graded makes little sense to me. How could the motivated idiot who does every ounce of homework and classwork but does horrible on every test get a better grade then the man that understands the stupidity of homework, refuses to do it, and excels on every test. The process of learning shouldn’t matter as long as we learn it. If I know more on the test then the guy that does his work everyday doesn’t that make me the better student?

2.Homework

Homework should be a suggestion not a requirement. The valuable time at home to explore your interests, engage with friends and to maintain a level of healthy living (eat right,sleep 7-8 hours a day,exercise) should not be interrupted for a review sheet on why Stalin’s an asshole. However, rewarding for homework isn’t an issue for me. I don’t see why a student shouldn’t get extra credit for the extra effort. I just don’t think he should be penalized for not doing something he already knows.

3. Classroom Setup

The way the desks are set up in high school is horrible for social skills. It is like they want you to grow up with no friends. Independent classwork is the worse because not only is it pointless, it is not allowed to be done with friends (or with potential friends).  Friend groups would be a lot larger if students were forced to work and interact with people they don’t know. I know I would meet a WHOLE lot more of people because none of my friends are in any of my classes. It is considered socially unacceptable to approach strangers for some reason and because of that a lot of social cliques are often very small. Unfamiliar work groups is the answer to this problem.

————————————————————————–

The biggest problem I have with schooling is there ability to completely annihilate a kids motivation. I know plenty of very intelligent kids who completely resent school and are on the brink of dropping out because they are told there grades predict the rest of your life. Society looks down on bad grades, Colleges look down on bad grades, Opportunities look down on bad grades. There is no way you will ever get into any respectable college with a measly C average. If you don’t get into that college, you won’t get that job you always dreamed of. If you don’t get that job you always dreamed of you go to your fall back plan as a union employee. Then you spend the rest of your life in the typical middle class, 40 hour work week schedule. All because school wasn’t your thing.

Modern education is due for reformation. There are a lot of problems with the current system, kids are coming out of high school with no knowledge and no direction. This forces them to buy into there parents wishes or to go for the money, they might become a doctor, or a lawyer (or god forbid, a Communications major). These are the 2 professions that have the highest suicide rate among standard professions, I wonder why.

They say millennials are doomed. I am a millennial and I am certainly not doomed. This is not because of education it is because of my life experiences and from reading. If I didn’t go through my drug addict phase in 9-10th grade, I would be a clueless eggplant with no idea what I was doing for the rest of my life. I really do feel sorry for us millennials, we grew up in the most innovative technological time period ever and a lot of us come out of high school scared and uncertain. The worst part is, it isn’t even our fault.

 

2 Simple Actions You Can Take to Get Informed

Ever since 7th grade, I’ve been interested in learning about how politics worked. It started with taking US Government in 7th grade. I loved listening to the lectures and reading my textbook. Even so, I always ran into one major problem – class doesn’t equal real life. In real life, there are a ton of grays and a lot of dry text to read through. Not to mention, all the sound bites floating around. Every time I thought I had my head wrapped around an issue, I would realize that I knew nothing.

That and just life, in general, kept me from getting involved. I know a lot of people in my life that don’t bother with politics because it’s too “depressing” and “time-consuming.” I’m still struggling with that, but here are 2 actions you can take if you are struggling with it too.

1. Within reason, keep politics on your mind 

When you’re constantly exposed to people who talk about politics in a relatively civil matter, you start to develop options of your own, discover bias, and entertain different viewpoints. Also, it keeps politics on your mind. For me, this website and being a member of the Student Sustainability Council at my college gets me connected to others that care about politics. Whether it’s reading about how Russia’s latest actions resemble what they did in the past with China or finding out what bills I should be keeping an eye on, I know that I will leave with a richer perspective.

Now, time for the within reason part. We all know that information overload is too real. There is international politics, local politics, and the list keeps going on. What’s helped me is focusing on local politics and issues I care about. Eventually, I want to expand my horizon, but I would rather take it slow than burnout. Since I’m only tackling a few issues, staying on top of politics become less time-consuming.

2. Do a little fact-checking

These days, we are surrounded with so much information. I have found that a good chunk of the information is incorrect or not stating key facts. That being said, if I were to fact check everything I heard and read, my family would never see me again. A better approach is to start small. You want to fact-check to become a habit. To start small, I’ve chosen to fact-check at least 1 piece of information that I normally wouldn’t fact-check. So, articles are the big one for me.

Final Thoughts

These 2 actions aren’t time-consuming and keep political overload very low. They have become a part of my daily routine, and I have become better for it!

name_amber

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