A bullet journal is basically a combination of a planner and a journal. But really, it’s not all limited to just those two. You can doodle on it or put some to-do lists, and many, many more! Aside from those, there are really a lot more benefits to having a bullet journal.

Bullet journal vs. planner

Firstly, let’s clear up the difference between these two since a lot of people think they’re similar. Bullet journals have blank or lined pages and don’t really have any specific format. That means you can just write and put whatever you want, however you want. Planners, on the other hand, are basically more organized.

It’s really easy

One reason why people don’t get into journaling is because they think it’s too much of a hassle. But bullet journaling is actually very easy. As said earlier, there’s no specific format as to how you should do your bullet journal. You can doodle all you want, design the pages all you want, write whatever, etc. You don’t even have to go all out with it as well! You can just put simple writings, lists, ideas, and whatever.

It helps with productivity

Another advantage of having a bullet journal is that you can organize your tasks for each day. Sometimes, when you don’t put your plans in paper, you’ll end up doing too much or not wanting to do anything at all. Naturally, this will hurt your productivity both in the short and the long-term. Having a bullet journal helps you put your tasks on paper and allows you to see your progress.

You’ll know what to prioritize

It’s obviously easy to write down your tasks for the day. But sometimes you might forget which ones are more important than others. As mentioned earlier, a bullet journal is still quite similar to a planner. You can be systematic with it and organize everything neatly. Then, you’ll see how much help this provides with getting your priorities done.

It can help you track your moods and habits

Your bullet journal can also help you with daily mindfulness and self-reflection. If you know the things that affect your mood, you’ll have an easier time getting over negative emotions. If you’re one of those Singaporeans who’s lacking sleep, you can also use your bullet journal to track your sleeping habits, for example. It can definitely help if you’re trying to get enough sleep every night.

It makes your life a lot simpler

Overall, you can see that bullet journals can make many things easier for yourself. Again, it increases your productivity because it keeps you organized. You’ll know what to prioritize hence you can finish a lot of work whether they’re important or not. And you can also use it for daily reflection and stress relief.

Schools in Singapore promote mathematics and problem-solving a lot. There are Olympiads for solving puzzles and etc. and a lot of kids from different schools take part as well. Solving puzzles isn’t only for kids as well. Solving puzzles can have a lot of positive benefits to the mind. Here are only some of them.

1.  Help us sharpen our problem-solving skills.

Doing puzzles help develop our ability to think creatively and critically to come up with solutions to the problem. There are also many ways to solve a puzzle and usually, trial and error is unavoidable and should be used. This can teach us to constantly change perspectives and use different angles when we make mistakes and also form more theories and strategies to approach the given problem.

2.  Improve focus and concentration

Solving a puzzle, crossword, jigsaw, or even a Rubik’s cube, takes a lot of concentration. When we constantly play practice and play puzzles, our minds can get used to focusing on the task at hand. We could get used to putting our mind into one thing and focusing on the task at hand. Our brain also boosts the production of dopamine while we work on puzzles. This helps improve our ability to concentrate on understanding the puzzles.

3.  Improve memory

Jigsaw puzzles, particularly, can help improve our memory. It trains our short-term memory because we try to recall what the complete image would look like if the puzzle is completed. We also use our memory to recollect the shapes and colors that would go together and form even just a part of the image. Improved memory also comes as a result of the growth of new nerve cells and the reestablished connections between our brain cells.

4.  Reduces the risk of degenerative disease

By regularly doing puzzles, we keep our brains active which means it’s kept healthy and will not likely be affected by diseases early. Again, this is because puzzles strengthen the connection of our brain cells. Doing puzzles have also been seen to be beneficial as we age. It has even been found that doing puzzles can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, as both come as a result of old age.

5.  Success and relaxation

The feeling of success that you get after solving a really hard puzzle can be awesome. Even before finishing, puzzles can help clear your mind and relax. While you’re working on puzzles, most of the time you’ll be very immersed in it that you’ll end up ignoring your worries and all the stress. Puzzles promote relaxation because unlike a lot of games these days which are all fast-paced, a puzzle can always wait.

When de-cluttering your closet, you might find many shirts that either don’t fit you or simply aren’t wearable anymore, and cutting them from your wardrobe is definitely a way to clear up more space. But don’t throw them away just yet!

There’s more that you can do with old shirts without having to turn them into piles and piles of discarded textile waste. In fact, you’ve just found the perfect excuse to get started or continue your hobby of sewing and crocheting.

Here are a few ways to make use of the many shirts you no longer wear – and brush up on your sewing skills to boot:

1.  Make a yarn basket

Cutting shirts into strips and weaving them into baskets can give you a new use out of old shirts as well as clearing them out from you closet. These new adorable containers aren’t just practical – they can be adorable gifts to give friends and family on any occasion.

2.  Make a tote bag

Another way to repurpose those shirts and tank tops you have lying around is by making them into tote bags. Simply cut off the sleeves, turn them inside out, sew the bottom closed, and then turn them outside-in again – and voila! – easy bag!

3.  Make braided bracelets

Old cotton shirts can be cut into thin strips and woven together with rattail cord to make braided braceletsthat you can pair with your new casual wardrobe as new accessories.

4.  Make chew toys for pets

Love your little mutt but hate having bite marks on your footwear at home? The good news is you don’t have to spend as much effort anymore – simply take your old shirts and weave them into new dog chew toys. The best part is they’re totally washable.

5.  Make stuffed toys

With a few shirts and a little bit of creativity, you can make stuffed animals to give your kids or give as gifts to your friends for any occasion. Just grab your stuffing and your sewing kit and you basically have everything you need to get started.

6.  Make an apron

The bottom half of your old button-down polo can be repurposed into an apron, and a few extra scraps of patterned fabric can easily be sewn into it to give it just a little bit of color coordination that you’ll want to be wearing while cooking.

7.  Make upcycled pillows

Shirts with faded prints are especially great for making into adorable pillows that add plenty of personality in any room or area they happen to be in. You can even make as many as you want because of how easy they are to make.

There’s no denying that sleep is essential, but busy schedules often mean that you need to stay awake longer to finish tasks. One all-nighter isn’t too bad once in a while, but one too many and you might be at risk without even knowing it.

In fact, a habit of getting too little sleep forces your body and mind to adapt to this cycle. While this looks like a good thing at first, it’s actually not. This can lead to all kinds of health problems, like heart problems and weight gain.

This is what’s known as sleep deprivation, or “sleep debt”, and its costs on physical and mental health can be mounting over time the more time you stay awake and the less time you have for rest.

How to Know if You Have Sleep Debt

If you think you’re not getting enough sleep, try watching out for these signs that you have a significant amount of sleep debt:

  • Caffeine – Keep track of how many cups of coffee you need to take throughout the day to feel functional. The more cups of coffee you drink, the more likely you’ll have trouble sleeping at night.
  • Sugar/high carbohydrate food cravings – Just like the caffeine, sleep deprivation leads to cravings for foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates.
  • Moodiness – It’s hard to focus on anything when you’re fuzzy-headed or irritable, and being prone to mood swings is a big sign that you’re missing out on the sleep you need. This is especially true if you’re constantly feeling groggy during the day, only to still be working until the late hours.

Repaying Your Sleep Debt

Now that you know the signs and effects of being sleep-deprived, here’s what you can do to repay your sleep debt:  

  • Limit your naps – Napping during the day will make it difficult for you to sleep at night, but taking an hour or two in the afternoon to nap can supplement the lost hours of sleep for night shift workers.
  • Avoid taking sleeping pills – Unless your doctor has specifically prescribed sleeping pills due to any underlying medical condition, avoid taking them as much as possible.
  • Sleep earlier than you normally would – Remember what time you would usually go to bed at night and set your normal sleep schedule back by about fifteen minutes.
  • Prevent distractions – Turn off all screens and lights before going to sleep to allow your body to return to its natural circadian rhythm.

Keep in mind that booting your sleep cycle is a process. Sleeping in on one night or over the weekend isn’t going to bring you back to your normal sleeping schedule, but it’s a constant work in progress to improve the quality of your sleep.

As a rookie parent you might be surprised to know that there are different types of cloth baby diapers available at stores. How do you pick the right one for your baby?

Let’s check out each type of diaper.

• All-In-One. Sometimes labeled AIO, all-in-one cloth diapers are easy to use because they have inserts where absorbent material can be fastened. It’s like putting on a diaper cover at the same time with no hassle.

• Pocket. The name pocket comes from the feature between the cover of the cloth diaper and the layer that makes contact with baby’s skin. The absorbent material can be placed inside this pocket for easy use.

• Flat and Prefolded. You might see this type of cloth diaper among your mother’s old pile of baby clothes. As the name implies, this type of diaper is flat and prefolded to create several absorbent layers.

• Newborn. A newborn’s skin is very sensitive and not all of them are of the same size. A newborn cloth diaper can have any of the features listed in other types of diapers to make sure that it will fit properly without harming the umbilical cord stump.

• Fitted. Also called contoured diapers, fitted cloth diapers are ideal for parents who want an option that is easy to use. They look like disposable diapers and have a variety of absorbent materials and fabrics to choose from.

• Hybrid. A hybrid baby diaper is a combination of both a cloth and disposable diaper to make the most of the design and convenience of each. It has a reusable cloth cover and either a disposable or reusable/washable insert.

• Swim. This cloth diaper has a waterproof cover to protect the lining inside, although most of these do not have an absorbent insert. It can be worn by your baby at the pool or at the beach.

• Trainer. This type of cloth diaper can be used when potty training your child. Some styles look like regular underwear, but there are also trainer cloth diapers that are waterproof, padded, and others that are designed for heavy wetters or for overnight use.

• Disposable. This type of diaper is the most convenient to use because you don’t need to wash the cloth anymore, however, it can also be a waste of money. When looking for a disposable baby diaper, pick materials that will fit properly, have high absorbency, and is comfortable to wear. Check the parts of the diaper, such as the closure, waterproof outer layer, inner layer, and the absorbent core. If you’re worried about the super absorbent polymer (SAP) in the core, studies show that it is safe and non-toxic to babies.

When choosing between cloth and disposable diapers, it’s better to enjoy the best of both worlds. Make sure, however, that the diapers fit properly, and the diapers are effective at preventing leaks.

There are many reasons to cut back on dumping leftovers from Christmas dinners and using them for future meals. Not only is it wasteful to dump perfectly good food that you can freeze and reheat, but you also have an instant trove of food ingredients that you can cook in different ways.

Here are a few quick and easy ways you can use them up or save them for later meals:

1. Mix the leftovers into rice.
Fried rice is the standard go-to for chopped leftover meats and vegetables from last night’s Christmas dinner, but you can also mix up the recipe by adding cheese sauce and baking the mixture in the oven.

There are many recipe guides online that you can refer to for different ways on how to spice up fried rice post-Christmas dinner, which you can even have fun experimenting with.

2. Wrap and store them in the freezer.
While this may be the first thing to come to your mind with leftover food, a lot of people underestimate the power of a tightly sealed container and a refrigerator. When kept well, leftovers can actually last you for the rest of the year and can save you a lot of time and effort in cooking because you can simply reheat them.

A simple test to determine if your leftovers are still edible goes: sight, smell, touch, and taste. If it looks (i.e. presence of mold) and smells bad, throw the leftovers out immediately.

3. Embrace the stock pot.
Ham bones, roast turkey, beef, or even chicken can be made into stock that you can use for future dishes, especially when left for a few hours to simmer. While the meat does end up flavorless, all the juices are absorbed into a delicious, flavorful broth.

You can also use the stock pot and leftovers to make the stew of your liking, as well as reheat large chunks of previous dishes with added spices to taste. Once that’s done, you have a free meal that takes very little effort to cook, and it can even last you for one to two days.

The trick to using the stock pot effectively is to keep the ingredients simple and to allow the water and heat to work its magic to produce the symphony of flavors you usually wouldn’t associate with leftover foods.

However, a stock pot can also be made for many things, including cooking beans, lentils, and even blanching vegetables before adding in with other leftovers. Its versatility in the kitchen makes it indispensable for anyone looking to do other things than feed a crowd of people.

(Disclaimer: This list is compiled in no particular order.)