Crunchy-Top Blueberry Muffins
Photography by Mark Burstyn Image by: Crunchy-Top Blueberry Muffins <br /> Photography by Mark Burstyn
This stylish notebook might just be hottest organizing accessory of the year.
Everyone is supposed to have 24 hours in a day but for some us, it feels like there must be a rip in the space-time continuum. How else can you explain being constantly busy but having nothing to show for it? If this sounds familiar, learn how you can make the most of your time with our five fave productivity tips.
1. Write it down
Billed as "the analog solution for a digital age," the Bullet Journal is a diary, to-do list and catch-all for all your random thoughts. Developed by Brooklyn-based designer Ryder Carroll, this trendy organizing method involves writing down quick, memory jogging statements rather than complex entries. Use it to organize your tasks by day and month pages, keep tabs of books you want to read and things you want to buy or create new lists whenever inspiration strikes. An indexing system allows you to quickly find what you're looking for.
2. Plan your time
Sort of like HIIT for your to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique involves working on your tasks for a short, timed cycle of 25 minutes. With no distractions allowed, it’s great way for those with short attention spans to focus. Take a 5-minute break before starting your next 25 minutes of work and, after four of these cycles, you're rewarded with a longer, half-hour break. Sound a bit too structured? Maybe that's why it works—it was voted the most popular productivity technique by the readers of lifehacker.com.
3. Try a tech-savvy solution
The If This Then That app might be the closest you'll ever come to a personal assistant. Got any apps on your phone? Automate their functions by using If This Then That statements, or as IFTTT calls them, “recipes.” For example: get an early morning text when the forecast calls for rain, use it to get coffee going without getting out of bed (using a programmable outlet) or tell the family you're on your way home (with an email triggered by your location app once you've left work).
4. Go KonMari on your clutter
While organizing trendsetter Marie Kondo’s method of minimal living has been criticized for being a bit too twee, an organized, uncluttered home can be key to increased efficiency. "In most cases, things that function well are inherently neat and clean," says Clare Kumar, a professional organizer based in Toronto. It's not hard to see why. Simply owning less makes it easier for you to find what you need and streamlines your decision making (no need to choose between your 6 pairs of jeans, for example), saving you time that can be better spent elsewhere.
5. Let it go
There'll be days you can't get to everything. Your work presentation sits unfinished, the house is a mess and dinner was takeout (again!). Instead of stressing out, try to cut yourself some slack. "Our bodies burn out when stuck in fast-forward," says Carl Honoré, an expert on the topic of slow living. Sometimes the best way to be productive is to take some time out to recharge. So curl up with a good book, take a long bath, or enjoy a glass of wine...guilt free! After all, there's always tomorrow.
Between 3 and 8% of women have PMDD, a severe form of PMS with depression-like symptoms.
"For the three days leading up to my period, I was suicidal, anxious and irritable. I'd have fits of rage; I felt unglued. Then, I'd get my period and I'd be fine," says Jennifer, who asked us not to use her last name. Her psychotherapist suggested PMDD two years ago as a possible cause for her mood swings.
PMDD is like PMS's bigger, badder sister. It's another way of saying very severe PMS, says Dr. Samantha Saffy, a psychiatrist in Vancouver. In order to get a PMDD diagnosis, you need to experience the disorder's depression-like symptoms—mood swings, irritability, anger, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and a decreased interest in usual activities—more months than not. They should occur in the week leading up to menses, then improve after your period starts.
It can be difficult to get a diagnosis. Jennifer had been to three physicians with no luck. But just knowing PMDD exists might be helpful. "Often, being aware of your condition through education can help ease symptoms," says Dr. Tanya Tulipan, a psychiatrist specializing in reproductive mental health in Halifax. "If you know that certain days of the month will be more challenging for you, you can plan around them to minimize stress. Healthy habits such as getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly and eating healthily are known to ease symptoms, too." Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness can also help, but "if none of these strategies works, your family doctor can suggest an antidepressant that you can take continuously or even just for the week that you have your symptoms," says Dr. Tulipan.
Photography by Maude Chauvin
Gastronomes have long considered Montreal one of the most exciting culinary destinations in Canada. It's ridiculously easy to eat your way through the city, sampling the best bagels, smoked meats, poutine, artisanal cheeses and, due to its strong culinary ties to Europe, decadent chocolate treats. If you're the type to choose dessert over dinner, take note of these must-visit picks—you'll thank us later.
1. Chocolats Andrée
This beloved family-owned workshop and boutique first opened its doors in 1940. The timing was risky; the Second World War was underway, and the boutique's founders, sisters Madeleine Daigneault and Juliette Farand, depended on their clients for the sugar they needed to create their sweet masterpieces. But Daigneault and Farand were savvy, and the company prospered. Today, Daigneault's granddaughter, Stéphanie Saint-Denis, is the proud owner and operator, and she still maintains the sisters' commitment to traditional methods of chocolate-making. You won't find any conventional heavy machinery there; everything is prepared on-site in a tiny kitchen and workshop, where the chocolates are all expertly dipped by hand. You can also pick up nougats, caramels and beautifully shaped marzipan to satisfy any sweet craving.
Chocolats Andrée, 5328 Park Ave., chocolatsandree.com.
2. Cacao Barry and Callebaut Chocolate Academy Center
Get a hands-on lesson—and a sneak peek into the world of chocolate-making—at the Montreal location of the Chocolate Academy Center, founded on more than a century of chocolate-crafting tradition, with centres across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Pros can sign up for courses, which teach the skills needed to craft such confections as trendsetting treats, and even technique-specific master classes. The general public can enrol in pre-Easter and pre-Christmas classes to learn how to make holiday treats.
Photography by Maude Chauvin
Cacao Barry and Callebaut Chocolate Academy Center, 4850 rue Molson, chocolate-academy.com.
3. Chocolats Privilège
Of this chocolate boutique's six locations across Quebec, the Atwater Market outpost, which offers the charm of a small-scale chocolatier in the big city, is our favourite. Stop in to sample its unique truffle offerings, such as basilic et citron vert (basil and lime) and noix de coco et coriandre (coconut and coriander), and don't forget to pick up its can'tmiss product: a "bean-to-bar" chocolate. Most chocolatiers invent delicious sweet treats but don't produce their own chocolate. Chocolats Privilège's beanto- bar chocolate, on the other hand, is prepared in-house, with every step—right down to importing, roasting and grinding the best cocoa beans—handled by the staff.
Chocolats Privilège, Atwater Market, 138 Atwater Ave., chocolatsprivilege.com.