Shift your mindset from productivity to mindfulness, and your life will improve.

I’m a big believer in the efficiency of habits, which is why I’ve spent the better part of a decade trying to make desirable behavior automatic.

Did I succeed? Umm, no. I’ll leave it to Tim Ferris and James Clear to hack their own behaviors because mine is about as compliant as a spoiled sloth.

Over the past ten years of conscious efforts to change for the better, I haven’t accomplished much in terms of habits, although all that effort combined resulted in a better lifestyle.

I can’t say I completely failed at habits. I’m on a healthy diet, I…

I’ve always failed at time blocking. When I found I was in “obliger rebellion”, I found better ways to approach my work.

A woman in round-framed sunglasses and a striped shirt strikes a pose with her hands on her head.
A woman in round-framed sunglasses and a striped shirt strikes a pose with her hands on her head.

Most of us looking to improve our days aren’t business moguls. It’s not like our schedules are so jam-packed that you can’t throw a needle in there. It’s not like we need help figuring out how to fill every waking hour with highly productive activities.

What we need help with is getting started and staying committed. Working on what’s meaningful. Feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Most of us are average. Before you get offended, you should know that being anything less than extraordinary isn’t that bad. …

Intense focus may be the answer to our work-life imbalance.

When I told one of my colleagues I was leaving my dental career to work remotely as a freelance writer, he replied:

“That’s nice. I’d love to work for a couple of hours and sip cocktails too. But I have three kids to feed.”

He wasn’t ironic. But clearly, he was missing the picture. Ever since I started freelance writing, I’ve felt like work-life balance is more unattainable than ever.

I feel like all I do is work. And when I’m trying to take a moment for myself, I’m thinking, worrying, and feeling guilty about work.

Of course, I wouldn’t…

By leveraging my writing and editing skills

Exactly one year ago, I was burnt out and ready to change career paths. After dedicating half of my life (17 years) to medicine and seeing my physical health and sanity slowly deteriorate, enough was enough. I had to find something else to fill my time, preferably something just as financially lucrative as dentistry.

But was that even possible? I was ready to become a beginner again, even if it required a massive cut in my income and a very steep learning curve. Long story short, I delved deep into the blogging and content-creating world.

At first, I focused all…

I constantly pushed its limits and got sick and burnt out in the process

My therapist gave me full permission to hang out in my comfort zone for the time being. All I have to do now is work on whatever I’ve been doing and resist the urge to push any boundaries.

I’m not going to lie — this is hard for me. I feel like I’ve been stuck with the foot all the way down on the gas pedal for so long that I don’t even remember how else to be.

Stepping out of our comfort zone has been glorified by the self-improvement industry for so long that we’ve come to associate stability…

Failing to predict our own behavior can put a dent into the best of plans.

Has this ever happened to you:

You identify a problem in your life — say, gaining lots of weight over a short period of time. It’s starting to impact your everyday life in negative ways; it brings you down and affects your health.

You decide, no more. You do your research, devise a meticulous plan, shop for ingredients, and stock your fridge with healthy food. “Present you” is having a field day with all the preparations and excitement for your future transformation.

A few days go by until Monday comes along. Because, invariably, all plans start on Monday.

“Monday you”…

Don’t let their fears hold you back

I know how it feels. Doubtful, disapproving comments coming from “well-meaning” family members or friends can feel like a punch in the gut.

You’re already doubting yourself, beating yourself up, and feeling anxious about your plans being too outlandish. You fear that you’re not good enough. The last thing you need is more negativity.

Deep down, you know that your loved ones only have your best interest at heart. You understand that their behavior is nothing more than an expression of their own fear of the unknown. …

I wish I could wash away my feelings

I enjoy designing bathrooms for some reason, so when the time came to finally create my own, I designed my bathroom to be the ultimate shrine of tranquility.

Light blue-gray tiles with lavender tones frame a refurbished cast iron bathtub from the 70s. The wood-like tile floor creates a pleasant contrast, complimenting the century-old wood beams in the ceiling.

A large round moss picture hangs on the wall, beside a round mirror of the exact same size (because I’m slightly obsessed with symmetry). …

#2 We mellow out like fine wine

We love to say that age is just a number, and that’s partly true. Age doesn’t necessarily make us better people, and even if we learn lessons along the way, it doesn’t mean we always apply them.

I’m in my mid-thirties, and I’d love to say that my better judgment and discipline are at the core of everything I do, but they’re not. I’m out of shape, I procrastinate, get anxious, and sometimes cope in unhealthy ways while trying to navigate this messy thing called life.

But at least I feel like I’ve evolved in certain areas — like emotional…

How my stats look like after doing the bare minimum

I suffer from shiny object syndrome, it’s clear by now. Consistently writing on Medium not only requires a lot of dedication, you actually need to believe you’re going to “make it”, otherwise you’ll give up and start chasing other things.

And what does “making it” on Medium mean? Well, it can mean whatever you want it to, but if you’ve clicked on this article, you’re probably interested in the financial side of the platform.

Just like me, you’ve probably been mesmerized by the unicorn writers that are earning thousands of dollars after just months on this platform and promise you…

Adriana Sim

Writer, blogger & freelancer | Orthodontist switching career paths and figuring life out through storytelling | Follow at

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