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Ups I did it again! – About importance of the breaks

As I and my Husband say – “It is easier to give advices, than to apply your own advices” 

During a work on the joint paper I forgot about an important aspect of my new work system – breaks after every 90 minutes of the work. Or maybe it is better to say that I ignored it. Because I had my tree planted for 90 minutes and I was counting time in my teamwork, so I exactly knew when 90 minutes passed. 

And what? And nothing.

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Jorge’s cake (a.k.a. Swedish wet chocolate cake) 

Story behind

I learned how to bake this cake from my Friend in Bremen, who learned it from his friend from Sweden. He was talking about this cake a lot of times, and I decided to learn it, and bake it for my Husband birthday. A few days before his birthday my Friend had baked the cake again with his friends. He had invited me for a “quick course of baking” (as I wrote before, I am not too much “baking person”). I had taken my notebook, and I wrote down a list of ingredients, and I was observing whole “baking process”. The original cake was very sweet, and not cocoa (in original recipe is 500ml of sugar and 120ml of cocoa). I came back to home happy that it is so so so easy cake 😀 that evening my Husband mentioned during our conversation – “Don’t buy this sweets anymore, they are too sweet for me”. I was devastated by this news, I was thinking – “I cannot bake the chocolate cake anymore, it is too sweet. What can I do? I don’t know any other cake.” In the end I found very easy recipe for an apple cake, because my Husband is a fan of the apple cake 😀 But Jorge’s cake has stayed with me forever. I bake it for all my guests 😀 Because it is the easiest and the quickest cake to prepare in the world. And it always successful 😀 Enjoy 😀

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When enough is enough? – about a literature review

It is a question which I still don’t know how to answer….
I have this tendency, and I am not sure if it is because curiosity or perfectionism, that I want to include in my writing (no matter if it is a thesis or a paper) almost all literature which exists in a particular topic. I am totally crazy with “original sources” (my students from Bremen know something about that ;)), that is why I always try to go to this very old books, and papers, and read them by myself than “cite someone who cite someone”, and rely on what other people wrote about this or that work. In the end I spend hours going from one book to another, from a reference list in one article to dozens of new pdf. downloaded, and it is like a ”never-ending story”….

And I always ask myself the question – when enough is enough?

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Reflections after one week with the new work system 

Our daily schedule looks great in the paper, so how it went during the first week…


Room for improvement

  • 90 minutes of work
  • 15 minutes breaks
  • Housework division
  • Messaging apps “off time” until 17.00
  • Sleeping hours
  • Working hours
  • Internet “off time” one hour before sleep
  • Mail use
  • 15 minutes evening meditation
  • Evening exercises

I „planted a tree” for every 90 minutes of work, and then I had my 15 minutes break. I was focused on work during this 90 minutes, and 15 minutes I devoted for a real break. What does the “real break” mean? It means to stand up from my computer, and:

  • go to do kitchen and make raspberry or camomile tea. I love this raspberry tea from Herbapol, it is the only one which I know, which contains 60% of raspberry fruits inside, hibiscus flowers, and rosa canina. So it is real raspberry tea not only flavoured black tea 😛 I always take it with me for my scholarships 😀


  • go to the leaving room to take a look on a world outside, and relax my eyes from short-distance looking, and to think about nothing, observe nature


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Pumpkin soup (Vegan)


For 2-3 people

Time of preparation – about 1 hour


  1. put some amount of rapeseed oil (maybe 2-3 table spoons) to a pot

2. put chopped 3 cloves of a garlic and 1/2 of a red onion and 1/2 of a white onion -size as on the photo – green cup is a “reference point” 😉


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Cooking – bo, nie samym doktoratem człowiek żyje ;)

“Man shall not live by PhD alone” – paraphrasing Bible quote “Man shall not live by bread alone”

Cooking is something what I love doing and enjoy effects of it 😀 When I was in Bremen and I spent a lot of time in an office, ate in Mensa, and my Husband ate at home by his own, I had special “cooking day” with my Husband. Even my Professor knew that I went out earlier that day – right after our joint lectures 😉 It was a day when we were cooking together and enjoying self-prepared food 🙂

In a kitchen I am more artist than engineer, probably that is why I am good in cooking. but not in baking, where you need to be more precise with measurements. Most of my dishes are effect of free creation as my “Pumpkin soup” this week or “Seafood pasta” when I was visiting my friend in Bremen – I go to the kitchen, or to a grocery with a general idea  what I want to cook, and then particular ingredients just come to my mind as a burst of inspiration. There are only two things which I always make according to a recipe – Béchamel sauce and Jorge’s cake (it is a separate story about the cake).

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How to implement a new work system?  

It doesn’t work like that – “I will wake up tomorrow morning and I will change everything!”

It is more like long-term and cumulative process.

I’ve started my “process of change” when I was 17 from the book “Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom” by William Glasser M.D. (more about William Glasser and “Choice Theory”, see William Glasser Institute). I understood in that moment, that my life can be different. And this “process of change” has been about all life dimensions.

The “process of change” speeded up when I started my PhD studies. I faced new situations, new challenges, new people, new responsibilities, new requirements. During my first year I attended “Breathwork” workshops by Michał Godlewski (more about “Breathowk” see the book “Rebirthing and Breathwork” by C. Dowling, and more about “Mindfulness” concept see the article “Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition” by Scott R Bishop et al.) and this technique helps me to work with emotions and previous experiences and to release suppressed emotions, feelings, memories, and free myself from living in the past, and be more conscious and grounded in present life.

Year in Bremen (I will write separate post about that) changed more than I could imagine, and to be honest – it was like a sprint right after a marathon. A lot of “processes of change” which I had started before just speeded up dramatically during Bremen-time to bring me in some nice, stable, normal, calm space/ time/ place in my life.

Huge changes comes from small  everyday decisions and consciousness in our acting.

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Good plan is a half of success

as we say in Polish.

Also Sabine Lerch underlined importance of a good plan and preparation phase. She showed as how to divide our projects on the smallest possible tasks and then plan how much time and other assets we need to invest.

My old PhD writing plan:


To organise and plan my work, and to control time spent on different types of tasks (to help myself plan similar tasks in future) I use teamworkprojects application (probably there is a lot of similar applications, this one recommended me my Husband). I can make a list of main tasks of my PhD project, and smaller tasks and the smallest one (I use free 2-project version, where the first project is my PhD, and the second one – so called “side projects”. I plan deadlines and time which I estimate to spend on the task. And  I can control my work progress every week checking reports 🙂

To be able to write this post, I needed to motivate myself to plan new version of my PhD project – Sabine would be proud of me 🙂 I divided my work on PhD into parts (chapters), and then a work on each chapter I divided into subtasks, and I set deadlines, and estimated time spend. If I work according this plan I should finish in the mid-July 2017…

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Motivation – where to find it? 

As I was taught on some psychology or pedagogy course during one of my studies, the best one is so called “internal motivation”. But how to find it?

Ask oneself a question – “Why do I want to do this?” And then just remember the answer.

It is easier to say than to do 😛

When I was starting my PhD studies I wanted to do research useful for society. Then I faced reality and I realised that not all researchers do useful research, and even, that part of them don’t care about society at all, they care only to publish enough to receive a salary (maybe it is a problem of Polish science financing system, and parameterisation). Researchers who believe that their job is “for something” are in minority. Fortunately I was lucky to meet some of them 🙂

And it was like a general motivation to start a research/ academic career. When I think about it I have also this post “How To Feel Fulfilled: Tools From Aristotle (or Ari as I call him)” of  Karen Salmansohn in my mind.

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What have I done with distractions?

During last 3 years all types of distractions were my good “friends”. Most of them were internet portals with news, with celebrities gossip, and scrolling FB a few times per day. I couldn’t start working before I read all news, all new posts on liked fan-pages etc. But the worse type of distractions using was when I was under time pressure, but in the same time I was afraid of result of my work, I was not confident enough, I was avoiding finishing it. I realised it strongly while an essay writing (to pass one course at the Polish Uni). I was so afraid of Professor’s judgement that I was doing everything to not finish that essay. I had been spending a few hours on FB. In some moment I asked myself why I was reading something on internet instead of finishing the essay and had free evening later… I understood that I was going into distractions because of some fears… I wasn’t able to face my fears and it was easier to just did something else than took the challenge. It had been shortly before “Self and time management” workshop. From that moment and after the workshop I tried to change it:

  • I decided to do not use internet in the morning, before work afternoon at home right after a work to be present, when I am with my husband
  • I decided to don’t use internet one hour before sleeping time
  • I decided to have days without internet at all (Sundays or Saturdays)
  • I decided to put away my phone during work time and not even look at it

Sometimes it was better, sometimes it was worse. The most important that I was trying to change something, and didn’t stay in the same place.

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