No matter where you study or work in Singapore, it’s already a given that you’re going to learn something new. Learning is a part of growing up but there are certain things that we intentionally want to learn. These may be our own interests, hobbies, and etc. That being said, you’d usually prefer to learn new things faster so you can also get better at them quickly. So, here are some things you can try.

Write your notes down

These days, many people prefer to take down notes using their laptops because it’s faster. But this will actually lead you to just transcript the notes mindlessly. You’re just typing down what you hear and not processing it in your mind anymore.

Taking notes down by hand, however, makes for more active learning. For one, you’ll have to listen more attentively. It also helps you identify the main points and concepts more carefully because you’ll have to process the information in your head first before writing them in your own words.

Avoid information overload

When you’re learning something, it’s understandable that you want to dedicate long hours, especially if you’re really passionate about it. But if you don’ take breaks, it might actually slow your progress.

This is because when we’re learning something new, our brain takes more time to process the information. If you try to digest too much information at one time, think of it like causing traffic inside your own brain. This is exactly why you zone out during a long lecture at school, for example.

Make small changes to your methods

Growing Plant Sequence in Dirt

To keep the learning process fun, it would be a good idea to make slight changes to your methods so that you don’t keep doing the same thing the whole time. This is usually what makes you less and less motivated, the dull repetitiveness.

For example, if you’re learning a new language and you’re already getting used to just speaking, try to start writing those words while you speak as well. Remember, though, that the changes you should make should only be small adjustments. If you change your methods completely, you’ll only go back to square one.

Use different mediums

If you think about it, there will be more than one way to learn something, especially in our time today. You can read books about the subject, watch videos from YouTube, listen to podcasts, and many more.

By using different mediums to learn, you will also use different regions of your brain to learn. That means you’re learning visually, auditorily, and even in many cases by touch and taste. This can be very effective because you’re stimulating your brain in different ways making it easier to process and store information.

When we say we want to start exercising, our goal in mind is usually to start losing weight and look fit. For some, it can also be to improve their cardiovascular health or just build muscle. But, not enough people know about the incredible benefits of exercise on our brains! Over the years, scientists have discovered the many positive effects of exercise on our mental health and here are only some of those.

Exercise gives a boost in cognitive functions

Probably one of the most well-researched benefits of exercise is how it actually boosts one’s brainpower. Some research, for example, has shown that doing moderate to high-intensity workouts can increase brain-derived protein.

This is a growth factor in the body known to enhance analytical skills, learning, and decision making. Exercise has also been shown to help improve memory and boost mental endurance. This means it takes longer for your creative brain juice to run out!

It also helps prevent decline

As it boosts our cognitive functions, exercising also helps one fight against cognitive decline. Of course, it’s only natural for our brains to get fuzzy as we age. But exercising can actually help in eliminating or at least delaying memory loss and overall degeneration of the brain.

Because the production of brain cells is affected as we age or because of diseases, we need to find ways to strengthen our brains. This is simply where exercise comes in! Physical activities won’t sound as tiring once you know how much it actually helps in keeping your brain healthy.

Exercise promotes better sleep

If you’re one of the many Singaporeans who still has trouble sleeping, exercising might just be for you. When you do physical activities, your body temperature increases. This is basically why you sweat while working out. After you’re done exercising though, your mind will have an easier time relaxing later in the day.

As a result of that increase in body temperature, it becomes easier for the body to return to your normal circadian rhythm. That means that your wakefulness and the quality of your sleep will be balanced.

Exercising is a great way to relieve stress

If you’ve never tried exercising before, you’ll never know how great of a stress-reliever it is. If you ask people why they exercise, stress-relief is one of the most common reasons you’ll hear.

Whether it’s jogging, cycling, hiking, boxing, or weightlifting, you’ll be sure to get rid of all the stress after a tiring day at work. Of course, the lower your stress levels, the better it is for the brain. Having ways to reduce stress will help improve your mood as well as your normal cognitive functions.

Life gets busier with every passing day: appointments need to be set, paperwork needs to be filed and finished on time, and there are more tasks piled on top of one another with varying levels of priority.

But while you won’t always be able to do away with all these priorities that come with being a responsible adult, there are tools that make it easier for you to handle them.

Here are five of these things that you should absolutely have (if you don’t already):

Planner/Diary/Calendar

There’s nothing quite as terrible as remembering an important task only too late, which is why it’s important to make sure you have a way to jot down everything you need to do within a set time. Writing down on paper rather than jotting it down on your phone also makes you more likely to remember important details.

Hard-copy calendars can also give you more benefits than the digital one in your phone. You can write down important events, like birthdays or anniversaries, and make it easier for you to remember without having to check your screen every time.

Organizers

An organized mind and an organized life starts with an organized space, and investing in extra bins to store your extra stuff is a great way to start. These containers will be especially crucial for holding things that don’t seem to belong anywhere in your home.

Be sure to label these storage containers well to keep different items in the right places and prevent them from mixing and jumbling together.

Mail/Junk container         

No matter how frequently you de-clutter, having a busy schedule always means the junk will eventually start piling again, whether it’s in the form of mail (i.e. bills payments, etc.) or actual junk, like used bottles or tin cans.

Just like having separate organizers for your closet or kitchen, having these dedicated containers for all kinds of things at home keeps the clutter in one place and makes it much easier to dispose of them when you need to do some general cleaning.

Your own personal space

Perhaps the best thing you can do for your own good is practicing self-care, and that means having both the time and space not just to rest, but simply to be in. Whether it’s your entire HDB flat or simply your own room, it must be a place where you can be calm and think without any distractions.

Once you have this particular space, make it truly yours by adding things that help you stay calm especially during tense or stressful times. This can be a few scented candles, a bookshelf, or even a throw pillow.

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.