26 May 2012

On my wish list: a ready-to-use, convertible house

I'm fascinated by little convertible houses, where all space and furniture is designed to be multi-functional. I'd love to live in one.

Why don't I? Well, as with everything in life, there's some trade-offs. Not only that sort of home needs a lot of time to be designed, you also have to build most of the furniture yourself, as the commercial options are limited. (I think that my most functional piece of furniture is my sofa, that doubles as a guest bed and has storage underneath.) And let's face it, you need quite a bit of resources to make your own furniture, starting with lots of space (at least temporarily).

Well, as it turns out, there is another option: Graham Hill recently designed such an apartment for sale.

 The sofa hides a Murphy bed:

The kitchen counter expands to a table where you can sit up to 12 people! (Stackable chairs are stored behind one of the walls.) This is what amazes me the most. One of the biggest trade-offs of minimalism is the one of hospitality. Many people would feel offended if they were invited to stay in uncomfortable conditions.

Even the tableware was carefully chosen to be multi-functional!

For now, there is just one apartment of the kind, but with the rising popularity of minimalism, there will hopefully be more and more options widely available. Hopefully my next house will have lots of well-designed, multi-purpose convertible space for kids, guests, hobbies, everything.

[Picture credit]

21 May 2012

Become awesome in 366 days

It started with Jerry Seinfeld's productivity secret. Well, it's not technically a secret, since quite a few fellas  know that it is:

Don't break the chain.
 I'm not gonna praise it here. On the contrary: it's one of the productivity tricks that work the least well for me. There's always a weird day where a lot happens and keeping chains of my good old habits is really hard for me, let alone some new habit I'm working on. And when things go back to normal, I easily and happily get back on track. (Bah, as you see on this blog, getting back on some track can happen at the weirdest of times for me.)

But, there's me, and there's other people. Like Chris Strom. That guy used the secret above to become awesome in 366 days. That's how his chain goes:
Every night, I ask a question to which I don't know the answer and I try my damnedest to answer it.
Sticking to that chain for 366 days made him learn a lot and write 3 smart books (the details are on LifeHacker).

There's also yet other people. That guy doesn't need 366 days to become awesome:

However, let's leave Barney out of this - none of us can hope to be half as awesome as he is!

Chris' example (and the comments below the article) made me think. We all know it's not easy to start a good new habit. We all have lots of ways to fill our time (otherwise boredom would drive me right into the good habits' arms). We all need to rest too. You can only add so many one-hour-long daily activities (24 - to be exact). But how about 5-15-minute ones? (The number is instantly way bigger!) I know some people are for instance taking care of small children and have a hard time getting even 10 extra minutes from their day (do you know what small children can do in 10 minutes?), but not me. I could squeeze one in the morning and a few ones after work. Is it worth the shot? Will it make me even more tired, or on the contrary, energized and happy about my productivity? How many ways to find out are there? And finally, as a wise commenter on Lifechaker asks:
If I hadn't spent that time doing those small things, what might I have gained, a high score on spider solitaire?
[Picture credit]

20 May 2012


Wow, it's been almost a year... Screw the excuses, I just didn't feel like blogging. And I'm still not totally sure I do.

I thought that being funemployed would give a lot of time for blogging and that the stress of writing my thesis would encourage my to seek comfort in this diary-like therapy. Somehow that didn't happen. The thesis went as usual: it started with a feeling like "I'm writing the best thesis ever!" and ended with "I'm so tired of it! When will it be over?". Of one thing I am absolutely sure (got the Twilight allusion?): school is not my happy place. Happily, school is over: I graduated last December. I now have two masters. It's really cool when it's over.

What do you do when you graduate? You get a full-time job. (Well, depending on your industry, this my be easier said than done, but in mine, staying unemployed is more of a challenge than finding work.) That's what I did. Since it's only one query away, I'll just say it: it's at WebInterpret. (Now my physical location is only another query away - is that the way things should be? Dilemma... Can I openly write about where I am or is that an entry for please-rob-me.com? Dilemma...)

My life is so much more grown-up now. Grown-up in the sense that my party small talk involves tales of recent purchases and maintenance actions performed in my home. I come home from work tired (being tired is a common denominator for all adults) and cook and clean. When I browse the web, it's for cooking recipes. Am I interesting enough? Will I provide entertaining content? Dilemma...

Or maybe I'm just ranting too much? (Forgive me, I'm currently in bed with a cold.) Because on the other hand, I'm feeling like I'm gradually getting so much stronger. In October-December, I was just getting used to full-time work and it drained all my energy. I came home, made dinner, sat at the computer. In January, I added 3 hours of physical activity a week. In March, I was up to 6. (I still am.) Maybe it's time to add some more hobbies and interests to the mix. Maybe it's time to read, do and write more cool stuff. Let's hope it is!