3 Steps To Improve The Efficiency Of Your Studying

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! I feel like I’ll be writing so many school-related posts this year as I approach my public exams this summer. But today, I wanted to share some of my advice of efficient studying. Let’s jump into it!

FOCUS ON YOUR WEAKEST TOPICS

Focusing on your weakest topics, or topics that you haven’t gone through much, are so important when it comes to the efficiency of your learning. I mean, there’s no point going over a topic if you got 100% on that section in previous quizzes. It will just be wasting precious revision time, and you won’t be learning anything new.

Instead, pinpoint topics that you’ve struggled in and focus on them. That way, your cumulative knowledge of the subject will go up, because you have your new subject knowledge as well as the retained knowledge. Of course, still look over what you do know – but not in as much depth.

SET A LIMIT EVERY DAY

This may sound slightly unconventional initially, but remember that more studying doesn’t necessarily mean that you will do better.

I’ve experienced firsthand the consequences of trying to study too much in one day, and honestly it’s worse than not studying at all. You can just get so burnt out and forget everything!

Instead, you can set yourself a temporal or topic limit. For example, I’m going to revise a maximum of two hours a day, or I’ll revise these 2 subjects today. That way, you know you can achieve something – but also not overworking yourself.

BUILD UP RESOURCES AS YOU GO

Sometimes you are so close to an exam or test, that it’s just not a pragmatic approach to make notes or new flashcards the night before. So, one really time-saving technique you can try, which is so simple, is just saving your resources from time’s of previous revisison.

Each small quiz or assessment you take is building you up to your end of year or public exam, so if you save them and use them to learn – you’re going to save time, and also you’ll be able to improve from how you previously performed!


Thank you so much for reading this post, I hope it was useful. Let me know in the comments what advice you would give to others!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
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Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a fantastic day!

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Evaluating The Idea Of Being Constructive

Hello everyone, it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! I feel like this whole month has been going quite fast, how are we already over halfway through January?! Today’s post is going to be on a really interesting topic – it’s one that links to positivity but the concept is kind of differing. I recently read a blog post by Writer Ravenclaw in which she spoke about Praise over Criticism – and it got me thinking about the idea of constructive criticism; which then led me further to the whole idea of being generally constructive. So today, I want to look into what it means to be constructive, how it compares to positivity, and more. Let’s jump into it!

  1. WHAT DOES BEING CONSTRUCTIVE ACTUALLY MEAN?
  2. HOW DOES BEING CONSTRUCTIVE COMPARE WITH BEING POSITIVE?
  3. CAN WE UTILISE CONSTRUCTIVENESS TO BENEFIT OUR SOCIETY?

WHAT DOES BEING CONSTRUCTIVE ACTUALLY MEAN?

If things are described as constructive, they are useful and intended to help or improve something.

Cambridge Dictionary

As you can see from one of the official definition, being constructive is used as a means to get better at something – perhaps even eventually excel at something. It’s the idea of getting feedback or improvements, and using them to change.

The word itself, constructive, and it’s connotations are used in many contexts. One of the most widely used ones being constructive criticism: critiques that work to uplift someone rather than put someone down. There’s also constructive journalism (which I’ve spoken about a few times on my blog before) which focuses on solutions rather than solely the negativity around a situation.

Even when you think about construction in everyday life. The whole concept is around building things, which is exactly what being constructive is too. Making yourself better, just like construction does to builders.

HOW DOES BEING CONSTRUCTIVE COMPARE WITH BEING POSITIVE?

So, looking from an external point of view, you may think that being constructive can be pretty much used synonymously with being positive. And, to be honest, they are used interchangeably. Although, when you deeply look into the two, you will come to realise that they can be quite different.

As we know, positivity is about optimism: looking on the bright side and focusing on the good. While this is vital to mental health and our ambitions, there is a limit. I spoke about this in depth in my post Realism vs Optimism – A Comparative Discussion, too much positivity can hurt you sometimes – because that means there’s no actions to take for change, and it can lead to toxic positivity.

While being constructive is literally built on what positivity needs to improve on. It’s about acknowledging the good, like positivity, but focusing on what went wrong and making it better.

In my opinion, I think that focusing on construction is a strand of positivity – the best of both worlds. You’re take pride in your achievements, while simultaneously learning from your failures. This also helps to break down the stigma of failure as well, something a lot of readers of this blog said that they could relate to me on.

CAN WE UTILISE CONSTRUCTIVENESS TO BENEFIT OUR SOCIETY?

We live in a society that is very negative at the moment, through toxicity on social media, high beauty standards, rising adversity; and unfortunately more. But maybe, adding a more constructive approach to our external environments could be the key to making a change.

Think about it, instead of telling someone:

‘You’re perfect at XYZ’ or ‘You shouldn’t bother trying XYZ’

you tell them…

‘If you practice consistently, then you will get better at XYZ’

Can you see the difference? The constructiveness really allows a person to build a skill by giving specific improvements and targets, rather than just saying someone is good or bad.

There’s so many directions this can be taken in, bosses can use this to train their new employees, teachers can use this to help their students (the next generation of new employees.) And people who are on the receiving end of constructive words could pass it on to others, and in an ideal world it could become a cycle of construction. Helping everyone to improve in any aspect of life!


This post was so interesting for me to write and compile, I really hope you guys took something away from it, and enjoyed it! Let me know in the comments what you think about being constructive.

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
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Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have an amazing year!

See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon Book Review

Hello everyone, it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back! So, this book review is for the first book I read in 2023. I have already done a book review this year for As Good As Dead, but I read that right at the end of 2022 – so this is technically the first! I went into See You Yesterday not really knowing much except the synopsis, I had never read a book by the author, and I hadn’t seen any promotion for it.

This book was actually kindly sent to me by publishers Simon&Schuster however I was under no obligation to read or review it. So, all my thoughts in this review are honest and genuine. Let’s jump into it!

OFFICIAL REVIEWS

See You Yesterday was published in May 2022, so it’s still fairly recent, and still kept up some good reviews! On Goodreads, it has an average star rating of 4/5 and an average of 4.4/5 on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

SYNOPSIS

Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room.

The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone—he’s been trapped for months.

When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?

MY OPINION

After reading this book, I can honestly say that See You Yesterday is now going to be a comfort read for me. The book really encapsulates a typical experience for so many young people starting college albeit having a lot of time travel in the plot. The main character Barrett starts her college experience off on the wrong foot, her first day being a disaster. But, when she wakes up on the same day again, she realises that she’ll have a lot of ways to change the day. And the way Rachel Lynn Solomon writes about her thoughts and feelings made it so easy and simple to read, and also relatable and heartwarming to anyone who feels like they didn’t have good college experiences, Barrett definitely eases the experience.

Also, the way she decided to juxtapose that simple difficulty that Barrett, and later learned classmate Miles, experienced with the complexity of time really tied the whole overall message of the book together, and makes for a great reader experience. Every small mishap they had which my have damaged their short-lived college reputation, was met with a huge discovery about time, and the loop they got stuck in, That life is so much more than your mistakes and that it’s important to see past them and still live your life how you want!

I thought that a really interesting part of this book was that the two protagonists, Barrett and Miles, really antithesised eachother in their methods of coming to terms with their situation. Barrett was an aspiring journalist, so really tried to use her investigative reporting skills by talking to people, while Miles was solely focused on fact and logic from textbooks. The two methods didn’t necessarily compliment eachother like a typical romance book, but what it did do was allow eachother to see from the others perspective (again, another moral message of this book) so when they did finally come together, their union was so much more meaningful and really changed how they acted in the final third of the book as they kept trying to solve their time loop.

One thing I really wanted to do this year, as a reader, was read more diverse stories – and this was a good starting point. There was a lot of representation in this book, Barrett was plus-sized and Jewish while Miles was also Jewish and also of Japanese heritage. One thing I would’ve loved to see was a bit more information about being a part of these communities, because we didn’t get to see as much of their personal lives as I would’ve liked, and it also would’ve just been nice for my own awareness! But, I also loved how the representation wasn’t necessarily a big deal, because in a away it shouldn’t be. Naturally, there should be people in every story representing different people from all communities – because that’s how society is, naturally diverse and there shouldn’t have to be any movement for the media to be the same . so I hope to read more books like this!

I think the overarching plot of being stuck in a time loop is so fascinating to readers – and can really make for good book conversations. What would you do if you were stuck in a time loop? Barrett and Miles have such different approaches, but it’s really a message to readers as to how they would go about a repetition of life, where everything resets after 24 hours. Both protagonists definitely change their approaches, (doing acts of goodness, living life to the fullest, finding revenge etc!) Ultimately learning more about themselves.


Thank you everyone so much for reading, I really hope you enjoyed this review – the book was so interesting. Let me know your thoughts below in the comments!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
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Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a lovely day!

Exploring The Harsh Reality Of Hustle Culture

Hello everyone, welcome or welcome back to my blog! Today, I wanted to write about a topic which, to me, has some sort of presence in everyone’s life – especially where we are now as a society. Hustle culture has been becoming much more prevalent over the last few years, particularly though the media, your friends etc. But there’s a harsh reality behind hustle culture which I want to explore today. Let’s jump into it!

  1. THE BEGINNINGS OF HUSTLE CULTURE
  2. WHAT’S BEEN A CATALYST FOR IT’S PREVALENCE?
  3. THE CONSEQUENCES OF HUSTLE CULTURE
  4. BREAKING DOWN THE TOXIC CYCLE

THE BEGINNINGS OF HUSTLE CULTURE

Hustle Culture has been around for longer than we could’ve thought of, but only recently has it been building back up again, especially amongst Gen Z – and people want to do something about it. Hustle Culture is exactly what it sounds like: always hustling. People who follow this culture pride themselves on living a work-focused life and always being on the grind, without any breaks or rest.

When you initially hear this, I’m sure some people would be impressed. On the surface, these people are working hard, they’re building their futures and dream lives. But, as people have examined this further, things may not be as picture-perfect as they seem.

The key problem with hustle culture is that it’s no longer voluntary, it’s become a necessity for new employees to retain their jobs, and most importantly for survival. There’s been a rapid increase in stress surrounding with finances or a person’s livelihood, simply making hustle culture a must. What started out as an innocent way of promoting some hard work, has turned into a vital habit that inevitably will lead to burnout and other problems.

This was seen back in 2008, when the recession forced tired employees to continue working for a stable life. Now, post-covid there’s another cost of living, and we’re seeing this cycle repeat itself once again. Something has to change.

WHAT’S BEEN A CATALYST FOR IT’S PREVALENCE?

Apart from the economic climate, hustle culture has still been relevant in our society; and social media plays a huge role in that. A major part of social media nowadays is content creation and influencer-culture. As influencers and creators share their daily lives and how they spend their time, there’s a small but consistent sense of incompetency that can build up amongst their followers. There’s even more questioning of one’s self amongst Gen Z, ‘If they’re working, then why aren’t I?’ This content can foster envy rather then support, leading everyone to believe they must work just like their favourite creator.

There’s no harm in showing a daily routine, but the problem arises when people don’t show their breaks or their downtime. If someone only posts themselves doing work, of course they’re going to want it to be romanticised as it’s going on social media, but that choice influences others to think it’s perfectly acceptable to be working until the brink of burnout.

That rest you take in life is just as important in order to reach your goals and achieve your dreams. Of course, social media is only a highlight reel – and nobody can be expected to show every part of their life. It may be that this specific influencer doesn’t take breaks, so they’re only showing exactly what they do. But that’s exactly it: the harsh reality of hustle culture. In order for this lifestyle to be seen as toxic, someone has to start showing the authenticity behind it.

So ask yourself this, if someone with a large platform always posts themselves on the grind, how is that going to look to their followers who may be of a similar age and don’t think they’re doing enough?

THE CONSEQUENCES OF HUSTLE CULTURE

The lifestyle of constantly hustling will inevitably lead to many repercussions. As hustle culture is increasingly promoted: people continuously work to make ends meet, and attempt to live up to the societal standards. Burnout is bound to be on the rise, while employee’s wellbeing simultaneously deteriorates. A study found that new young employees have said that only 7% of them have never felt stress or overwhelmed, compared to 30% for older people.

Despite the increased working levels, hustle culture even negatively effects employers. with a continuation of work at home, and a lack of necessary breaks – employees overall productivity levels are have actually seemed to decline in the workplace because they’re overworking themselves and haven’t given themselves any time to rejuvenate before they next have to work again. So, when they do work again, they’ve lost focus, and are more prone to making mistakes. As they overwork themselves again to attempt to fix them, it just becomes and endless, draining cycle.

Even statistics can prove this, in the UK around half a million people are stressed because of their jobs. The sad part is that now it’s so difficult to find a solution. We can’t pinpoint if it’s wanting to live up to expectations, or they’ve actually overworked themselves or any other cause! And in this crisis, working (in some sectors more than others) is essential, not just personally but also nationally. Raising pressure levels further, especially for young people who know that they are the future and ones who need to find the answers. The Mental Health Foundation found that 60% of young people were unable to cope due to the pressure of succeeding.

BREAKING DOWN THE TOXIC CYCLE

So when it truly comes down to it, how can we promote rest, change societal expectations and help young people cope in the current economic situation?

To me, I’d love to see more encouragement of downtime. I think we are slowly starting to see it, but I’d like to see more creators and even employers just acknowledge that with hard work also comes rest. Giving people that choice really allows them to see the contrast of no rest, and the benefits of it. Allowing them to perform their best – and hopefully discourage the cycle from repeating again in the future.

This could be through providing breaks to employees at work, or an influencer showing how they relax when they’re not doing work. These are known as Break Culture and this lifestyle is definitely a good direction to go in.

Something a lot of people have realised, is that to break the pattern they have to be direct. Not just with the people around them, but also with themselves. What this means is building an understanding with yourself to know when it’s time to stop, and identifying if burnout is there. If it is, then it’s time to be upfront with people around you regarding rest and prioritising yourself.


So guys, those are my thoughts on hustle culture. Of course, the ending was a bit more constructive and solution-based as I try to do in all my posts. If you want to see my sources, then you’ll find them linked in the most relevant part of the post. Thank you so much for reading, if you have any thoughts on this lifestyle, then please do share in the comments!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have an amazing year!

Fostering Positivity As We Look Back On 2022

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve typed that – again – and I just wanted to say that I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while without letting you all know. After my exams were over I was free to post again, but then when I went on Christmas break, I completely lost it as a priority and had a bit of a creative block. But as I’m sitting here writing this, I realise how much I genuinely miss this, so hopefully next time I take a break it will be announced! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, which leads me into today’s post.

As I’ve reflected on the past few weeks and what’s changed for me, I thought it would be fitting to look back on all of 2022 – but with you guys! I want to foster positivity, so today I’ll be talking about how I’ll look back on the year with a positive lens, speaking about the blog but it will also be quite general as it’s open to everyone. Let’s jump into it!

Actively Look For What You Wished You Could’ve Improved In

I know it’s quite peculiar to begin a reflection that is positive-centric by looking at mistakes, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense! Remember, positivity is a mindset of improvement to find joy, and you’re not going to be able to improve without looking back on some of your failures (and trust me, I understand how difficult it is to accept mistakes and failure).

So, to look back at this year positively, you can make a list of everything that you wish you could’ve improved on this year (labelling it as an ‘improvement‘ rather than a ‘failure’ helps to look at it more positively) and to create a better understanding for yourself, write your ‘why‘ next to it so that you know the reason that you’ve looked back on it and wanted to make that specific point better.

Make sure you save this list by taking a picture, or writing it in a journal etc! (I personally just did it as a note on my phone) That way, you can always remember what you want to do better so that you can, hopefully, better your previous mistakes in the coming years!

Reminisce On The Highlights

Yet, of course, the best part of any reflection (and the most conventionally positive) is looking at the highlights! When looking at the highlights, of course you can just remember the memory itself and the day. But, you can also do more.
Take a minute to think about a good part of the year (looking at a picture, just recalling a memory etc!) and try to think about what made it so good. (You can either do this in your head or write it down). I’m not talking about whether it was because it cost a lot of money or anything materialistic, I’m talking about what made the vibe so good. Meaning, was it the people you were with? The activity you were doing? A time of day, like sunrise?

Whatever it may be, pinpointing exactly what made the event so special to you can allow you to utilise that knowledge and create more happy memories in the new year! From this, you may realise you want to surround yourself with other friends, have different priories, etc!

Discuss Your Memories With Others

This is similar to reminiscing but it’s a bit more of an active role on your part. Finding someone who you’ve spent a lot of the last year with to talk about it with can really be beneficial to ensuring the next is a great success too!

They can help you in your pinpointing to figure out what made a shared memory so good. On the other hand, they can also provide another viewpoint into certain events and memories that happened during the year, which can help you understand if you made any mistakes you didn’t realise that you need to improve on. Whatever way you’re looking at a memory, ultimately speaking to someone else can give you the most positive and objective start to the new year possible!

Also, sharing memories has so many benefits in a mental and psychological sense! A study proved that sharing memories can help those with depression and reduces the chance of having it. And there are many more articles online that write about the benefits of preserving and sharing your memories with others.


Thank you so much for reading this post! I hope it was helpful, and I hope you can see that 2022 did have some great takeaways to improve on and to happily look back on. Let me know in the comments what you thought of while you reflected!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have an amazing day!

Grace Marshall Shares Her Expertise On Productivity, Burnout & More!

Hey everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! I’m super excited to bringing you guys another interview, this time I’m speaking with Grace Marshall who has 14 years experience in coaching in productivity and sharing advice with others. She chatted with me all about her ideology on productivity, avoiding burnout and her work. Let’s jump into it!

  1. INTRODUCTION ON GRACE
  2. GRACE’S BEGINNINGS IN PRODUCTIVITY
  3. GRACE’S PERSPECTIVE ON PRODUCTIVITY
  4. TECHNIQUES FOR FINDING HAPPINESS IN WORK
  5. GRACE’S WORK / BUSINESS
  6. GRACE’S IDEA OF SUCCESS
  7. GRACE’S TAKE ON BURNOUT
  8. GRACE’S ANNUAL AUGUST BREAK
  9. GRACE’S LINKS

INTRODUCTION ON GRACE

When we started our interview, I asked Grace to briefly explain the work she does, which I can imagine would’ve been quite difficult to keep brief as she has so many ventures! But, she created her productivity business 14 years ago, and often refers to her business as her ‘middle child’ as it was set up in the middle of having her two children. Along with her books, she mainly coaches and she shared that biggest problem her clients would face was that there was, ‘A lot to do, not enough time to do it!’ And that’s something she actually faces herself aswell as she describes herself as ‘naturally disorganised’ remarking that she often felt that ‘productivity picked me!’ rather than the other way around.

Photo From Grace’s Instagram (@gracemarshallninja)

GRACE’S BEGINNINGS IN PRODUCTIVITY

With that history, I was keen to delve into her first encounter with productivity and how that influenced Grace into working in that field. Beginning her answer, she recalled that she was a straight A student in school and a typical people pleaser. Going back to the idea that Grace is naturally disorganised, in school she knew that there was enough structure in place to tell her when and what to do, but when she moved to University that was the first time in her life she realised that she had to get organised.

Grace actually spent two weeks of her life homeless, when she didn’t realise that she had to apply to stay on campus during University! And she wanted to share this background to convey that she was not always good at productivity, and she first needed it in her life as a necessity in order to get organised and learn – and learning is where a lot of her productivity came from, even now. As the person interviewing her, it was really comforting to hear that her productivity comes from learning experiences too – it was nice to know that it’s okay to learn and grow!

This background was super interesting to hear, and I wanted to know how she started a business about something that came as a necessity to her. Well, Grace studied International Management at University and ended up working in a very small start up after graduating. She described this as a, ‘cutting environment’ in which she described it as learning very quickly what you’re cut out for and what you’re not, challenging the people pleasing side of her! This is what she now calls her, ‘mid life crisis in her early 20s’ which triggered her to switch careers and end up in coaching, and through talking with clients she went into productivity as that was part of their biggest problems.

GRACE’S PERSPECTIVE ON PRODUCTIVITY

One thing that’s really unique about Grace is that she prides herself on the human perspective of productivity. She mentioned to me that sometimes productivity can be seen as an ‘extreme sport’ or even a ‘cult of productivity’ where you only do something for the sake of pursuing it. So Grace’s idea was to find out, ‘What’s this actually for?’ and to find out what the productivity is in service for. Because if you don’t do this, it can lead to: Perfectionism, Busyness and Burnout.

Grace shared that as human beings there’s something intrinsic about joy and satisfaction from work. But her perspective is finding out how we can engage in that in a way that allows us to get good results but also for ‘the experience of it to be good’

In the past, Grace has looked at productivity historically. She learned that in the time of Henry Ford (1800s) productivity was about efficiency but then as we moved into the 1900s, Peter Drucker focused on effectiveness rather than efficiency.
But for Grace, it goes a step further, which is experience of it. As Grace finds that this is the only way we can be sustainable in our productivity. A question she would ask herself to discover this was:

Am I doing work in a way that does me good as well as the good that I’m doing out there in the world?

Grace Marshall

When I asked her about why this was so vital, she described it as a ‘virtuous cycle.’ Feeling good about the work we do can benefit our wellbeing but then also gives us the motivation to do more, turning into a ‘joyful cycle.’ And she’s learned this from her experiences of being a perfectionist / straight A student, focusing less on perfectionism and more on what tools she has to ‘surf that workflow rather than drowning in it!’

One of Grace’s books, How To Be Really Productive, was offering a free chapter so I knew I had to dive in to read the start. And in this first chapter Grace mentioned 3 major values that helped with finding happiness with working which were: Meaning, Purpose & Joy. In her words, these 3 things help to give some ‘substance’ to your productivity. Purpose allows you to identify what you’re working towards, working without Meaning can give a sense of the work being empty or draining, and Joy makes the experience of work fulfilling.

Photo From Grace’s Instagram (@gracemarshallninja)

TECHNIQUES FOR FINDING HAPPINESS IN WORK

Of course I wasn’t going to chat to Grace without asking for a technique that she could share, and she really brought the best ones forward! Grace is filled with these, each with their own quirky name and to fit a different purpose to finding happiness or avoiding stress.

She shared that one of her favourite yet simple things to do is to write herself a ‘Ta Da List!’ Which comprises with everything she has done in a day. The act of stopping, reviewing and reflecting to find a win really helps. Grace shared a statistic with me that stated that human beings have 3 times more positive experiences than negative ones, but we have a negative bias so it doesn’t always feel that way. So that negative experience can overshadow everything else, so Grace found that a Ta Da List balances out that perspective because you’re solely focusing on the good things. It can allow us to learn what we’ve done well so we can thrive, but can also just help with accountability on progress. Helping to further , as Grace says, ‘motivation and momentum!’

Later on in the interview, we went on to speak about burnout and recovering from it. That’s when Grace mentioned another one of her techniques called a Pick Me Up Playlist, which is another amazing concept and also solidified my hypothesis that she has quirky names for all her techniques! It’s simply noting down all the things that give you joy & energy that can help to recharge you – so then you have a menu to choose from!

GRACE’S WORK / BUSINESS

Grace’s business consists of her coaching clients as well as being an author of multiple widely read books focusing on productivity and other life challenges. When we spoke about coaching in particular, Grace said something that really stood out to me which:

Give yourself permission to explore

Grace Marshall

This is such a simple statement made by Grace, but one that’s so eye-opening to so many people. Grace did this personally when making her career switch to coaching, and now in her coaching sessions she encourages clients to treat the session ‘like a treasure hunt’ in order to discover some insight into what their next step is. And as a coach, Grace isn’t just about giving answers she says it’s about, ‘enabling them to be the expert in their life’ to create a space to explore.’ I think this is so reminiscient of her productivity ideology but is also a good reminder for us (me and you) that we should give ourselves the chance to explore and be okay with that, so we can find out what gives us our joy when being productivity.

After Grace discovered new things from working with clients for a while, she received the opportunity to write her first book. She’s written 3 since then: 21 Ways To Manage The Stuff That Sucks Up Your Time, How To Be Really Productive and Struggle. Yet, Grace thinks that she’ll always be a coach at heart and always wants to help people create the space to explore.

GRACE’S IDEA OF SUCCESS

Going back to what I mentioned earlier about the free chapter of Grace’s book, she made a very bold statement towards the end of the chapter about success.

Success is something you do, not something you have

HOW TO BE REALLY PRODUCTIVE

Grace acknowledged that most of the time, we see success as the outcome but actually we should take into account everything we’ve done leading up to that. From a productivity perspective, doing success means that you have more control over your success. Defining success in this very ‘tangible way’ can help you to see the building blocks and see success in the ‘doing’ rather than just the outcome.

Again, there was something really sympathising about this perspective on success. Grace really changed my perspective, and as someone who has public exams this year, listening to Grace was so impactful and I think she really helps everyone access a growth mindset in terms of success and how it’s a journey. One of Grace’s latest books: Struggle, has a really thought provoking quote about this.

Success is a labyrinth. Detours, dead ends, doorways, discoveries. We find our way; we lose our way. Along the way we discover guardians, teachers, tricksters, allies, mysterious keys and potent powers

STRUGGLE
Photo From Grace’s Instagram (@gracemarshallninja)

GRACE’S TAKE ON BURNOUT

When I asked Grace to talk around the subject of burnout, I knew that it was going to be quite challenging as it’s now very prominent in our modern day society. In her words, ‘We never had it to this degree 20 or 40 years ago’ and she’s right. She did share with me some theories behind what may have caused it.

One thing being we now have an increase in abundance and choice, which can result in ‘Never feeling like you’re enough, there’s always more we can be doing.’ That’s why she always advises people to start with enough, when it comes to productivity, because if we feel like we don’t have enough it becomes an ongoing journey; turning into perfectionism. Because now,

The nature of our society is always more

GRACE MARSHALL

But the key point she wanted me, and you, to take from this is that there isn’t more of you. Which can lead to stretching ourselves too much and burning out. Once that stage has been reached, she wanted to be clear that this can look different for different people – some having very clear effects (perhaps even physical symptoms) and some more subtle (which is the case for a lot of people). She prefers to refer to the latter as a ‘functioning burnout’ as it’s as if you can still function and work, but you’ve lost the joy in it. And as we’ve spoken about earlier in this interview, joy plays a central role in Grace’s productivity ideology!

For young people in particular, Grace went into quite a lot of detail at sharing the neurology behind it. When we complete a task and tick something off, we have a dopamine hit – and this is the chemical that can cause addiction. Kind of creating an addiction at getting things done, and when you’re young you can constantly be told that you have loads of potential and having this alongside the idea of abundance and choice can also lead to a burnout through the newfound addiction of getting things done and trying to make the right choice to reach that potential. But Grace also wanted to emphasise that this is also apparent in adults as well.

GRACE’S ANNUAL AUGUST BREAK

Something really unique about Grace is that every year she decides to take the month of August off from work. That’s actually the reason why this interview is being released now instead of the summer when I first spoke to Grace! I was super keen to hear about why she made this decision, as I’d never heard of anyone taking an entire month off from their work. When I asked her about this she let me in on her thought process.

Which was that if she recognised that she was constantly working, the quality of her work would deteriorate and she couldn’t come up with her best ideas. One thing that Grace explored in her book Struggle was that most natural phenomenons have cycles: seasons, hibernation, planting etc! But constant cycles can sometimes lose rhythm, and Grace wanted to restore that sense of rhythm in her work. This gave Grace her stopping point to rest & recover to fuel her her creativity and was also beneficial to her accountability and momentum.

When I asked her how someone who isn’t self employed to do this, she reminded me of the importance of actually recharging. Sometimes we can have time off, but we end up transferring all that working energy into new jobs such as house chores – and that’s not really resting. Her solution, of course, was choosing something from the Pick Me Up Playlist that we discussed previously in this interview. Doing something that can give you energy and joy, big or small, can make such a difference!


I had such an amazing experience speaking to Grace, all her advice and thoughts were so interesting – and I hoped you enjoyed this as much as I did! Let me know in the comments what you’ve learned from Grace and how you liked this new interview format. If you’d like to get in contact with Grace, just check out her links that I listed previously!

GRACE’S LINKS

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
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Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a great day!

Love From Mecca To Medina by S.K Ali Book Review (Blog Tour)

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! Today I’m super excited to be writing this post because this will be my review of Love From Mecca To Medina as part of the blog tour hosted by Colored Pages Tours. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or you know me well, you’ll know how much I loved Love From A To Z! Therefore, thank you so much to Colored Pages alongside S.K Ali and Simon Teen for my spot on this tour and providing me with the eARC via Edelweiss. Love From Mecca To Medina is out on October 18th (and in early December in the UK) so I’d definitely recommend that you pre-order it after reading this. For now, let’s jump into the post!

Synopsis & Author Information

Adam and Zayneb. Perfectly matched. Painfully apart. Adam is in Doha, Qatar, making a map of the hijrah, a historic migration from Mecca to Medina and worried about where his next paycheck will come from. Zayneb is in Chicago, where school and extracurricular stresses are piling on top of a terrible frenemy situation and making her miserable.
Then a marvel occurs: Adam and Zayneb get the chance to spend Thanksgiving week on the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, tracing the hijrah in real life, together. Adam’s thrilled, and Zayneb hopes for a spiritual reset—and they can’t wait to see each other.

But the trip is nothing like what they expect, from the appearance of Adam’s ex in their traveling group to the anxiety gripping Zayneb everywhere they go. And as one wedge after another drives them apart as they make their way from one holy city to another, Adam and Zayneb start to wonder: was their meeting just an oddity after all? Or can their love transcend everything else like the greatest marvels of the world?

S. K. Ali is the author of Saints and Misfits, a finalist for the American Library Association’s 2018 William C. Morris Award and the winner of the APALA Honor Award and Middle East Book Honor Award; and Love from A to Z, a Today show Read with Jenna Book Club selection. Both novels were named best YA books of the year by various media including Entertainment Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. She is also the author of Misfit in Love and Love from Mecca to Medina. You can find Sajidah online at SKAliBooks.com and follow her on Instagram @SKAliBooks, TikTok @SKAliBooks, Goodreads and on Twitter at @SajidahWrites.

My Opinion

Love From Mecca To Medina was kind of emotional for me as I knew this was the last time we’d see Adam and Zayneb in this book series, and let me tell you – it was so satisfying for me to read. Before going into specifics, just know that if you enjoyed Love From A to Z then you will definitely enjoy this one even more because it was even better than the first. I really felt that the level had been raised because everything from the writing to the characters was executed even better in this sequel. Which really helped for this final book to be so worth the read, despite how connected fans have become to these characters and the sadness in saying goodbye.

It really felt like this book was an evolution. Of course, Zayneb and Adam’s relationship evolved, they were now married and they were learning about some of the challenges that come with that as well as the rewards, but also these two protagonists had individually had a lot of character development in the time jump but also throughout the course of this story. Through any disconnect they had, they learned so many life and relationship lessons along the way that each benefited each other. And I really appreciated the idea of them learning from both eachother but also their own experiences because it made the story much more realistic and interesting rather than just being a romance where they relied on eachother.

Even the structure of the story had evolved, now instead of being written from the perspective of their Marvels & Oddities journals ,from the previous book, it was written in chapters based on life lessons they could infer from different artifacts (possessions) that represent something to them or something they learned throughtout the course of the story.This was such an innovative way of changing how the story was told, and I love how it represented the main plot in the story (going to one of the most historical places in Islamic history) also while letting readers know that Adam and Zayneb were in a new chapter of their lives.

The idea of making an impact was a huge motif throughout the story. An important thing to note was that Adam and Zayneb were still emerging young adults in this book, both wanting to make a difference in the world. And I think this part of the story is universal for so many readers. They both want to do it in such different ways yet both of them care about helping eachother. Zayneb wants to be a human rights lawyer and break down stereotypes about her, Adam wants to use his craft to educate those who admire it. I really loved their aspirations, it made the story so much more appealing and allows you to get an idea of where they’d move onto even after the books.

Before even reading any word, it was very apparent from the title that this book was going to be delving into Islamic History – and as a Muslim myself, I really appreciated the genuine descriptions; particularly of the pilgrimage (Umrah.)
Something to note was that I really admired how S.K Ali chose to wrote realistically about Adam and Zayneb’s experience on Umrah and shares their authentic emotions rather than just acting like everything is perfect for them the entire trip. I think this really added to their character development, and from my perspective, it allowed them to appreciate the trip and the many benefits so much more!
Everything written about it was very well researched which was really comforting as it’s so lovely to see Islamic practices portrayed positively in the media (long time readers will know how much of an advocate I am for this!) That’s why I really loved the subtle detail of adding a verse of the Quran at the beginning of a new part of the story, it was a lovely nod at Islamic History and where abouts they were in the pilgrimage.

To end this off, I thought it would be fitting to talk about the epilogue of the book – because this is probably the last scene we’re reading of Adam and Zayneb. I won’t lie to you, I was shocked by the epilogue the first time I read it because it was not what I expected. Rather than being a romantic scene between Adam and Zayneb, it was a game night surrounded by all their friends. But after I read this, I realised something. This scene represents Adam and Zayneb’s relationship, simple but content – which is why readers fell in love with these characters.

And this also represents the versatility of this series, I particularly highlighted this in the review of my first book, but their relationship didn’t have to always be romantic to thrive, the epilogue allowed me to realise that they thrived with their friendship, their faith, their adorable cat Bertha and most importantly: eachother. To me, this was the perfect way to end their story.

Other Tour Stops

So many other amazing creators have spots on this blog tour, I’d recommend you check all of them out!

Amani is sharing a playlist based on the book, and The Bookarazzi is also doing a review.

My good blogging friend Zahra (who I’m sure you’ve seen in my comments section before!) posted a mood board and other recommendations yesterday.

If you want to see other content from the tour, just look for Love From Mecca To Medina Tour tag on WP Reader and social media!

Find The Full Tour Schedule


Thank you so much for reading this post, if you’ve had the chance to read Love From Mecca To Medina let me know your thoughts, and if you haven’t also let me know whether you plan to read it! Again, thank you so much to S.K Ali, Simon & Schuster and Colored Pages for the opportunity to be on this book tour. Make sure you check out everyone else’s content!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a great day!

This post is part of a blog tour hosted by Colored Pages Tours for Love From Mecca To Medina however all opinions and views expressed were my own and genuine.

What Does Positivity Mean To Me?

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! As I head into a stressful year of school and have a lot going on, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about thinking about positivity and keeping positive during this time. I realised that positivity can mean a lot for so many different people, so today I just wanted to share my perspective on what positivity means to me. Let’s jump into it!

What Do I Think Positivity Means?

This blog is a positivity-centric blog so I’ve written countless posts on the definition and how positivity can affect other people, but I’ve never really shared my true perspective. To me, positivity is about keeping hope alive, and that’s the key message I draw from it.
I think this allows for positivity to be a saviour during the bad times. I don’t necessarily think positivity will always give you an automatic solution – but I think that it’s a really great tool that just helps you to lift your mood, even in the bad times.
I’m not saying it’s about being 100% optimistic, because it’s not. It actually helps with positive realism. It’s not a solution but it can definitely be a stepping stone to finding solutions that can realistically help a problem.

How Do I Use Positivity In My Daily Life?

Honestly, I think this blog in particular has made positivity such a normal thing in my life – but I still think I have a long way to go.

I think one way it really helps me is that it allows me to keep my mind on the present. Me and my friends tend to look ahead sometimes, especially to out public exams (which are in 7 months time!) and we speculate on negative things that could happen if we don’t do well now.
Well, positivity has allowed me to say, ‘Let’s just keep positive and not think about it.’ And it actually really helps with calming myself down and not getting too stressed.

Another thing positivity has allowed to happen is stopping negative self talk. I think once in a while, everyone says some negative things about themselves like they’re ‘So bad at something’ or they’ll ‘Never be good’ at a skill. Actually, I used to do this quite a bit! But coming in with the perspective of positivity, and my parent’s persistence, I’ve been able to change these phrases into ‘I can improve’ or even ‘Maybe this isn’t for me!’ Slightly changing your language can have a whole different impact and effect on your own self esteem – and I really wouldn’t be doing this without positivity!

How Do I Want To Implement More Positivity Into My Life?

Something I’d really like to do in order to implement more positivity into my life is to do this in a realistic way. For example, when writing my weekly goals I could include some affirmations in my planner or I could just write small note to my future self letting myself know that I can do this.
I think it’s important to add positivity into your realistic goals as it really allows for more desire and passion to achieving them and gives you more confidence in getting them done!


Thank you so much for reading this post, I hoped you liked my perspective! My next post will sort of be a follow up post – but this time with getting you all involved so stay tuned for that!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
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Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a lovely day!

Here’s Your Guide To The Blurting Revision Technique

Hello everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to my blog! If you’ll remember, I recently wrote a post on Active Recall, and how that can help you in school. In the post, I mentioned that blurting is a form of active recall – and today I’ll be getting into the specifics of it. Let’s jump into it!

What Is Blurting?

Blurting is essentially what it sounds like – blurting out information! But the idea is, you do this without looking at any of your notes prior to doing this. That way, your brain has to work harder to retrieve information (this is active recall!) That way, everything that’s been blurted is consolidated information and you’ll have a chance to identify any gaps in your knowledge.

Where Do You Start?

Start by choosing a subject and then choosing a topic within that subject. For my example, I chose Geography and then within that: River Processes.(But you can do this for any subject). I’d also like to note that it will be much more easier afterwards if you choose medium sized topics that are already sectioned off in your notes / revision guide because it will make your life a lot easier.

Then, I’d find a blank piece of paper – and blurt down everything I already know about river processes. Remember, don’t look at anything prior because the key is to make your brain work.

Once I’ve done this, I’ll look back through the notes for that subject and add in any extra information or correct any mistakes I’ve made. And I’ll highlight them to make it very clear – because the important information is the information I don’t know.

How Do You Progress Afterwards?

After you’ve finished the blurt, you just have to revise the content again. Remember, the key is to revise your weak points (the areas that you highlighted on your finished blurt) because that’s where the gaps in your knowledge are, and there’s no point revising what you’re already confident on. Remember, this helps with efficiency so working smart would be revising only what you need to revise!

Again, it’s best to do this with another active recall technique. Like flashcards, teaching someone or even a second blurt.


I hope this proved useful for any of you who have exams coming up! Let me know in the comments your favourite revision methods.

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a lovely day!

A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea And Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey Book Review

Hey everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to my blog! I’m back to posting more book reviews, and you guys know that my favourite genre is thriller, but this time I took a backseat from thrillers and decided to read a YA Romance called A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea And Tomorrow. I don’t know that many people that have read it, but I really enjoyed reading it, so today I’ll be sharing my thoughts!

Official Reviews

A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea And Tommorow is a New York Times bestselling book with a variety of reviews! 93% of Google Users voted that they liked the book along with an average customer reating of 4.6/5 stars on Amazon. On Goodreads, the average star rating is 3.82/5 stars and had an average of 4/5 stars on Common Sense Media.

Synopsis

For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.
Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.
A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.

My Opinion

Even just from the cover (and I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover), it was very clear going into this that A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea And Tommorow was going to be one of those comfort stories that you can go back to and read again. And I got this just from a few reviews, and the welcoming impression on the cover – and my expectations were reached.
The plot line was very sweet and thoroughly enjoyable. Telling the story of aspiring head baker Lila Reyes being sent to England to try and find herself again. It was quite a short, light read – but for me, I think books can be so saturated sometimes that this made for a really comforting read. The warmth and loving atmosphere you read about will definitely one I’ll be going back to read again in the future!

The idea of choice and the effects of making choices, are very prominent throughout this story. Despite Lila’s stubbornness in regards to wanting to go back home, as soon as she chooses to enjoy her time in England, new doors and avenues for her life are opened for her – prompting her to have to make even further choices. Some which are very difficult because she wants to consider all the factors, her family, what people will think, etc! And I think this is very relatable for any teenager (especially slightly older ones) reading this as they’re probably going through very similar situation in their own lives.

With the key message being, don’t be afraid to prioritise yourself. Lila goes on a journey throughout the book of self discovery, while still being afraid sometimes to make choices for herself without thinking of others. This was a huge responsibility of Orion and the rest of her friends in England, to help Lila come to terms with the fact that her future was the most important thing for her. They acted as great reminders, not only for Lila, but any readers going through similar situations.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book were the references to Lila’s heritage. Lila comes froma family with a Cuban background and she is unapologetically herself, and embraces her heritage with pride – which I love to see! She speaks Spanish in the book, she bakes Cuban food and shares Cuban traditions with others, and as someone who doesn’t know much about Cuban culture, it was so interesting to learn about.
It was also so refreshing to see a teenage character actually proud of their heritage, in a lot of YA stories, the arc comes from the main character finally learning to accept their heritage. But, from the beginning of this story, Lila already takes pride being Cuban and uses it to guide her and help her while she’s away from her family – and I love how books are now normalising diversity and characters already being proud of who they are. I only wish it could’ve been done sooner!

As well as the new people she meets in England, Lila’s family also plays a huge role in this book, despite the fact that they’re away from her for a majority of the book. Lila’s relationship with each of her family members all shaped her into who she was. Her sister helped her with business, her Abuela taught her the basics of baking and was the beginning of that chapter for her, etc! Each member of her family moulds Lila into the girl that came to England, and despite her anger at them, ultimately they were always there for her. This was so lighthearted to see in a YA book, as a lot of times there is major conflict. And while Lila and her family are not picture perfect, they love her no matter what – and that truly gives this book the ‘comfort factor’ that a lot of people seem to talk about.

If you’re looking for a quick easy read, perhaps something to boost your mood, I would definitely recommend this book – I smiled so much while reading it! I’d also like to add that they’re actually adapting this book into a movie, and they recently finished filming so when it comes out, let me know if you’d like to see a movie review too!


Thank you guys so much for reading this post. Let me know in the comments any reading recommendations or your thoughts on the book!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a great day!