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Barcelona: Probably the Best City in the World!

Barcelona: Probably the Best City in the World!

There is nothing objective about this article. I love Barcelona and anything that I write about this city can only ever be positive. Of course, I have known tough times in the city too, but she always draws me back. I’m pretty sure she always will.

For those who have not been fortunate enough to ever visit Barcelona before, I hope these words inspire you to go for the first time. If you’ve already been, hopefully, this will make you want to return. Whether it’s your first time or your tenth, Barcelona will never let you down.

The Barrios of Barcelona

In the fifteen years that I have been lucky enough to call Barcelona my home, I have lived in well over 20 different apartments and in almost every neighbourhood (barrio) within the city.

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The Born was and still is one of the places a lot of tourists and students head to when they visit Barcelona today. The squares of Gracia are also a classic and often many people’s favourite memory once they leave the city.

In recent years, however, a lot of previously unheralded neighbourhoods have become a lot more interesting and exciting. Poble Sec and the nearby block of streets known as Sant Antoni have bars and restaurants to keep you entertained all day, and this is definitely one part of the city that I feel most comfortable in these days.

The Raval was my home for years and will always be a place I go back to. It might feel a little bit wild for some people’s tastes, but it is still one of the most authentic slices of real living, breathing life to be found in the centre of the city.

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The Architecture

You cannot write about Barcelona without talking about the architecture. His masterpiece, The Sagrada Familia, remains a work in progress, but Antoni Gaudi is the still Barcelona’s favourite son. Gaudi’s influence on the city is immense, with both visitors and residents alike forever in the debt of the great man for leaving such a magical imprint over so much of the city.

The buildings all over the city are impressive, but it is not just these structures that make Barcelona such a welcoming place. The old city planners who decided to grid the city in blocks deserve special mention for making this place so easy to navigate and the sheer number of open squares that just invite you to sit down for a second and take it easy under the sun are really something special.

Add into the mix all of the fantastic buildings that home some of the city’s best museums, and the cathedral and all of the beautiful churches, and it’s pretty impossible for you to not leave this place feeling inspired.

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The Culture

Barcelona is unique in that it is perhaps the best-known city in Spain, but for many residents, this is Catalunya, not Spain. This conflict is still an ongoing and open one, but the history of the story behind this sentiment, or its reverse, is very much a part of what makes life in Barcelona so interesting today. We are in Catalunya, but we are also undoubtedly in Spain, and in many ways, this contradiction is what seems to fuel a lot of the artistic passion within the city.

From the Picasso Museum to the fantastic National Museum of Catalunya (MNAC) up on the side of Montjuic, Barcelona has something to offer the tastes of all culture vultures. This vibrant culture definitely doesn’t stop with art either. Food, sports, film, music, literature, and anything else that plays into a great city’s cultural heritage can be found in the amazing melting pot that is Barcelona.

The Diversity

It is perhaps because the city is so conflicted in terms of history and its place within Spain that so many people from outside feel so at home here. The Catalans and the Spanish may fight over whom this city really belongs to, but for us outsiders, we can simply take pleasure in being here.

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Of all the cities I have visited in Spain, Barcelona is the most diverse both in terms of its visitors and the residents. It is a Catalan city. It is a Spanish city, but it is also a Filipino city, a Pakistani city, an Arab city, and a home both permanent and temporary for people from all over the world. It is where you can come for the best party ever, but it is also one where you can find yourself and make a whole new life.

As a young man from Manchester who had never lived away from home before, Barcelona stole my heart. I’m certain that it did the same thing to at least one more person today and that it will do so again tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that. Don’t take my word for it, go and find out for yourself.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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