7 things I love about my life in the US

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The weather is phenomenal. Well, we do live in San Jose, California and its weather is hard to beat with moderate year-round temperatures and up to 300 days of sunshine each year.

That’s why I also love being outside.  You can go for a run, ride your bike, sit in the sun, go for a hike, lie on the beach or jump into the pool almost all the time. I am very grateful that our girls could spent their early childhood years in this wonderful climate and had not to be bundled up in Jack Wolfskin jackets 50 % of the year.

Nature. There are so many wonderful places to see and to explore, not only in our close proximity but in all of California. Living in the USA gives you an endless pool of travel destinations for all kinds of adventures. And the US National Park system is amazing. It would probably take several lifetimes to see all the beauty of the Golden State, let alone of all the US: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Crater Lake, Denali, …. Yellowstone, Yosemite and Zion.

Diversity and open-mindedness. People here are from everywhere in the world. Approximately 190 different nationalities live in the US.  Heck, every American you meet is not actually American. They all seem to have some German in their past, are  4/15 Italian, ten other random countries, and then of course half Irish. This country is a big melting pot and especially here in the Bay Area you meet so many people from different countries. That what makes living here so easy and interesting. You are only one of innumerable people from somewhere else. This and the fact that people here have less prejudices and are very open-minded makes integration so much easier than in any other place in the US.

The people. Americans have a big heart. They are always willing to help wherever they can. We live in on of the wealthiest areas of the US and people here are willing to share. Americans run lots of donation drives and fundraising events throughout the year, especially during the holidays. They volunteer lots of hours in school, organize bake sales, help Foster kids and donate to animal shelters. Americans go a great length to build strong communities that hold together. Someone is sick? Friends and neighbors will organize a meal train for this family to support them and to show them that they care. I’ve met many wonderful people here and there are no words for how much I appreciate my friends.

Child-friendliness and service. Compared to my German people, the Americans are so family and child-friendly. I’ve never had one bad experience in a restaurant because my kids were overly active or a bit louder. Never, even not when I was about to kick’ em out of the place. Living in the US you will find impeccable service which is hard to beat even though some waiters could cut down on the small talk sometimes.

Living an expat life is naturally very different from the one you were used to in your home country. Even after a good amount of years living in California there are still things I hear or have to do for the first time. There are still numerous words I have to learn and habits or routines I have to get used to. This is the beauty of living abroad and it is the part of this life that I appreciate most. Every day you can experience something yet unfamiliar or pick up a new skill. I love the challenges, the surprises and the adventures of my life in the US.

What do you love about living in the US?

picture on the top © acc-foundation.com 

How much patriotism is appropriate?

Germans and Americans are different, just as Chinese and Argentinians or Indians and Mozambicans. As a German expat living in the US I’m always interested in cultural differences between our two nations. I already wrote about it in my post “pineapple vs. coconut”. These differences can affect communication in business or social environments like the German honesty or bluntness that is often frowned upon by Americans.

A couple weeks ago I took my two daughters to the “Kellogg’s tour of the champions”. This is a gymnastics gala where all the reigning and former olympic and world champions showed off their athletic and artistic skills in all the different disciplines of gymnastics. It was a great show and very special for my girls to see Simone Biles in action. But. Then. At the end. On a huge screen in they showed videos of former medal celebrations and these clips were divided by many gymnasts of different generations reciting the lyrics of the American anthem. Not once, but many times. Over and over again.

Oh say can you see, Oh say can you see, Oh say can you say, …   the home of the brave, the home of the brave, the home of the brave…

You get the picture. The movie was well made, but a bit cheesy and I had a hard time listening. It made me feel uncomfortable. Did you ever hear the word “fremdschämen”? It means to feel embarrassed on behalf of someone else.

So astonishingly, after more than eight years in California, I realized what I think is the biggest difference between Germans and Americans: It is their level of patriotism.

Americans are patriots and patriotism plays a big role in this country. My children say a pledge of allegiance to the flag every day at school. I don’t necessarily like that, but we live in this country and we have to acknowledge the American love of their flag and anthem. They play it before every sports game and official function, they lay their right hand on their heart and sing along. This type of extraordinary patriotism is something Germans have a hard time with. Our relationship to patriotism is guilt-ridden and very complicated. Americans and Germans of my generation were brought up extremely different. Germans were raised to feel guilty for our dark history, for everything our ancestors had done during WWII and the holocaust. Every year of my time in high school I learned that I have be humble and to do anything to seek redress for the German atrocities of that time. It was never ok to wave your flag, let alone to put your hand on your heart while listening to the anthem. You just could not do that! The only time we heard the anthem was basically at international football games and when some German won a world championship or a gold medal in the olympics. And even then you kind of felt like “Oh, is that awkward now?”

American children were and still are educated quite differently. Here, they are taught at school and home that they are desired, unique and wonderful, and that they can achieve anything they want. That is great, don’t get me wrong and I also don’t want to say that German parents don’t love their children or tell them how great they are. American children though, are raised according to the principle of the American exceptionalism, so they basically grow up to believe that they live in the greatest and strongest country in the world.

The attitude towards patriotism in Germany first really changed in 2006, when Germany hosted the FIFA World Championship and the motto was “Friends hosting the world”. The atmosphere during the whole event was exceptionally friendly and peaceful and for the first time in decades the Germans didn’t feel bad to hang a flag outside their windows, to clip one on your car or to sing the anthem. It was the first time people felt proud to be German without guilt. And ever since we are not afraid to show our flag when “Die Mannschaft” plays in an international championship. But, we will always walk on that fine line between patriotism and nationalism. We will always be aware of that and I think that is a good thing. Interesting enough though, I would more likely wave my flag and be proud of my country here in California than I’d do back in Germany. It feels easier here because so many people are from somewhere else and are happy to share that.

I’m pretty sure that multiple articles about that topic were written of very smart, intercultural specialists, but for me it was kind of eye-opening and I think it explains several of our other disparities like the blunt honesty we are known for. This trait might originate from our obligation to atonement. We have to be sincere. We should not allege that anything could be true or could be working if you feel it’s not, because that is pretending of incorrect facts and Germans don’t like to be accused of being a fraud. On the contrary, Americans have a much more positive attitude in general. An American in any business meeting has no problem whatsoever to tell some clients that everything is gonna work out just fine, because why not? We can do this! German objectivity and our propensity of being realistic and rather negative is not sensible. I’m not saying that Germans always say the truth!

Living here, I’m honestly quite content that our own children grow up with both sides of the medal. Going to an American public school, they hear what all others hear, too, but they listen to it distinctively different because they are not Americans and learn about history, in particular the German history from us. They grow up in a very positive environment that encourages children to give their best and follow their dreams.

Despite our terrible past I’m proud that my country is trying its best to help refugees from Syria and North Africa. I think everyone should be proud of their home country for their own reasons, but it is necessary to be respectful and tolerant of other nationalities. At this time I wonder, how much patriotism is appropriate?

My weekly ramble

Museum Insel Hombroich

This was another beautiful day of my summer 2016 in Germany. I went there with my younger daughter and my sister. We had a wonderful time walking the grounds of the Museum Insel Hombroich even though it was a rainy day and we got pretty wet at the end.

img_1099      img_1107      img_1118

The Museum Island is located in Neuss, is both a park and a museum combining architecture, art and nature over 62 acres of meadowland.


It was founded by the art collector Karl-Heinrich Müller (1936 – 2007) in 1987. In creating this unique ensemble of art, architecture and landscape, he was true to the principle of the Impressionist Paul Cézanne‘art in parallel to nature’.


Karl-Heinrich Müller not only collected art, but maintained close contact with artists. He converted a barn in the old park for a student of Joseph Beuys and he and other artists have been working on the museum grounds ever since.


The museum is open year-round, every day from 10 am – 7 pm in April-October and from 10 am -5 pm in November – March. The admission is 15 € for adults and € 7 for students and children 6 years and older.


Almost in the middle of the parkland is a café where you can get water, tea and coffee as well as variety of light snacks typical for the region like potatoes with cottage cheese, dark bread with butter and jam and fruits. Everything is free, but a donation is highly appreciated.


Museum Insel Hombroich is a special place, away from the hustle and bustle of the nearby cities Düsseldorf and Cologne. It invites you to an immediate encounter with art and nature.


There are no signposts in the park, you are free to roam and find your own way on these spacious grounds and make your own discoveries of art and nature alike. This freedom of mind makes this place special. It sharpens your senses.


Three Word Thursday

German-American Day


Today the National German-American Day is observed in the US.

This German-American heritage holiday commemorates the 13 German Mennonite families from Krefeld who landed in Philadelphia. These families founded Germantown, Pennsylvania on October 6, 1683. The settlement was the first German establishment in the original thirteen American colonies. This day was originally celebrated in the 19th century, but it fell out of favor during World War I. To honor the 300th anniversary of German-American immigration and culture into the United States, in 1983 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October 6 as German-American Day. Congress approved, Reagan signed and proclaimed it in 1987. It has been commemorated each year since with Presidential Proclamations.

Yesterday Barack Obama has issued a proclamation to recognize the contribution German-Americans have made to the foundation of this country. Parts of this proclamation were:

“German Americans have shaped every sector of our society. More Americans can trace their roots to Germany than to any other nation, and elements of German heritage are embedded deeply in our country’s character. German Americans have, throughout our history, proven that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths.” (…) “Today, the alliance between the United States and Germany is one of the closest the world has ever known.” Here you can read the full proclamation.

Germans brought the Bratwurst. And the Sauerkraut. We brought the idea of kindergarten. Bill Gates has German heritage. Sandra Bullock does, too. Here are some more surprising facts about the biggest ethnic group in the US.

Celebrate accordingly! anstossen

My weekly ramble

A night and a day in the city

It’s always worth to drive to San Francisco, even on a Friday afternoon when you’ll most likely hit bad traffic. I went with my three very good German friends and we had a wonderful time – 24 hours without kids, just for ourselves. We started with some yummy appetizers and a G & T at the Hotel Bar “The View” on the 39th floor where you have stunning views of the sunset, the city, the AT&T Park, the bay and the bridges.


Our next stop was the “Regency Ballroom”. The Regency is a popular and quite historical venue. It was built in 1909. The grand ballroom is a “beaux-art treasure with thirty-five foot ceilings and twenty-two turn-of-the-century teardrop chandeliers. (…) This stunning room features blonde hardwood floors, a horseshoe-shaped balcony and a built-in stage.” 

ballroom_13_blog ©regencycentersf.com

We went to see the concert of Nena, a German singer who got very famous in 1984 with her songs of “99 Luftballons”. It was her first time ever playing a full show in the US. I would say 80 % of the audience was German and Nena was obviously extremely touched by the rapturous applause and that people could sing along almost every song. She was joyful and energetic and totally engaged the audience. It was a great and special show, I had a blast.

The next morning we went to another great place in the city, the San Francisco Moma. It is one of my favorite museums here and always worth a visit.


We had breakfast in the Café 5 and walked through several exhibits, like


Anthony Hernandez (photography),


Alexander Calder “Motion Lab”,


Pop, Minimal and Figurative Art and Paul Klee in color.


And out of nowhere there were a bride and a groom posing in front of this yellow wall. They don’t look too happy, do they?


Teens and children are free, young adults (19-24 years) pay $ 19, seniors (65 and older) pay $22 and all other adults are $ 25. The annual membership costs $ 100 and is good for yourself and a guest which means it pays off after only a couple visits with an accompanying adult. Whenever you get the chance to visit the SFMoma, don’t forget to check out the Museum Store. They have a fantastic selection of living & kitchen items, books, calendars, toys, jewelry and interesting gadgets you might not have seen anywhere else before. It’s a great place to find gifts for basically anyone you know. Three of us got a “My Marquee”, a miniature LED billboard with letters and I absolutely love mine.



Check out the MondayEscapes here.

My weekly ramble

Anne & Mark’s Art Party 2016

Yesterday my husband and I went to the Opening Gala of this incredible event here in San Jose. It was the first time we went and I’m so happy we did. In this valley we live in – renowned for its creativity – it’s not always easy to find the Arts. Anne Sconberg and Mark Henderson wondered “where all the artists were.  They emptied their house, boarded up the windows, and put a call out to everyone they knew (not that many people) to come and hang their art.  They told everyone to invite their friends.  And they did it every year.  Turns out, most people don’t do that.  And there are a lot of artists out there. Their event — a One Night Stand for the Arts — exploded beyond their house, beyond a warehouse, and now headed towards the fairgrounds where they will set up shop for a week.”


Once we walked through the fairgrounds gates, we found ourselves in a different world where lots of things made you smile spontaneously. Like this lit up shark on remote-control wheels.


We spent hours walking around the galleries and the outside areas to see lots of hip, edge and cool things and an amazing range of Art of the area’s artistic community.


We listened to bands playing live music. We saw fire and aerial performances, live painting and lots of people dressed up according to the night’s theme “Through the looking glass”.


We stood in line too long at one of the seven gourmet food trucks and listened to poems of a Hawaiian writer in the “Spoken Word Lounge”.


We went through the “Rabbit Hole”, an installation in cooperation with the Lincoln High School and enjoyed a glass of wine at the “Mad Hatter Tea Party”.


My husband fell in love with wood artwork in the Main Art Gallery and I really admired these pieces, only made out of paper.


We made a wish with a star at this big light installation and walked through the sculpture garden.


And there was so much more to see…


This event is a vibrant mix from all ends of the spectrum, an “all media” extravaganza which is hard to find in the South Bay. Even people from San Francisco come down to San Jose to see what all the buzz is about and word is out that this is the best party of the year. If you live close, I highly recommend to check it out. They are open for gallery viewing today, Friday September 3oth and October 1st concluding in a closing bash featuring: “PIVOT: THE ART OF FASHION” at 8 pm. You can buy tickets here and you can find all other information on the website of Anne & Mark’s Art Party 2016.


Check out Jo’s Monday walk here.

12 tips for your next road trip

road trip  :  an extended trip in a motor vehicle

We LOVE road trips. Our preferred motor vehicle is a sleep-in van, right now it is an old, but still somewhat reliable Eurovan. We’d love to buy a newer model but unfortunately, Volkswagen doesn’t sell the model of my dreams in the US, such a shame! And it is even called “California”!! What an irony.

We’ve made road trips through the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany and in the US we’ve explored most of the big sights of California like Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Park, the Sierras, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur and so on. Our biggest trip so far was Nevada, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming (Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park) (Awesome!!). And the last one in June was NorCal and a bit of Oregon (Crater Lake Ntl. Park). So here are my personal, favorite road trip hacks:

1. Make a plan, but not a rigid one. Where do you want to go? When? How much time do you have? What do you want to see and how much time you’re willing to drive each day? If your road trip has only the purpose to get to a specific place and then drive back, you will probably drive several hours a day. Long story short, you need to be prepared for lots of driving! In order to get to see many places or sights and travel through several states you need to be willing to spend about 4 hours/day average in the car. If that’s too much for you, shorten your total route/distance or you simply need more time. Basically, plan based on your time available and your destinations with the knowledge on how much time you want to spend in the car each day. A good way to survive a day with 4-6 hours of driving is to drive 2 -3 hours in the morning, take a lunch break and find a fun activity like a short hike, a visit in a park or a dip in the ocean. Then continue driving for another 2-3 hours. Be spontaneous and flexible: Be willing to stop if you spot anything cool or to take an unplanned break if needed. It doesn’t always matter if you’ll arrive at your accommodation at 7pm or 10pm.

2. Make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip. You might think that goes without saying, but I’ve heard lots of crazy stories about broken-down cars on road trips and I think it’s always a good idea to check or have your mechanic check your car’s fluid levels, brakes, tires and anything else that could cause problems a couple weeks before your trip. Be sure your spare tire is fully inflated and that you have jumper cables and extra wiper fluid on hand. For any unscheduled emergencies you should…

3. …join a roadside rescue service. If you take enough road trips, eventually you will end up stranded on the side of the road outside East Wherever a few miles from Buford, equidistant from the four corners of Nowhere. Having that 800-number that gets you in touch with the local tow services and mechanics is going to save you a lot of hassle, and also shield you from some of the dangers on the road that none of us wishes to encounter. In the US that’s typical AAA, the equivalent of the ADAC in Germany and Europe. If you are an ADAC member traveling the US you just have to make a stop at AAA in any city in the US and get your membership card, since they do have an agreement for their services. Well, you DO need phone reception available. If not, you have to just wait for the next kind driver that stops, writes down your name and membership information and you have to believe in his trustworthiness! That’s what happened to me, alone with my girls on the way to Death Valley National Park.


4. Plan your accommodation. Camping, hotel or Airbnb? Think carefully about the kind of accommodation that complies with your needs and desires. You’re driving an RV or want to pitch a tent? Well, you need campground or RV park reservations. Plan to make these reservations ahead of time, depending on the month you’re traveling and the places you’re driving to. For quite some places in California you need to book as soon as six months in advance. You can book all State Park campgrounds on reserve america. Hotels are definitely more comfortable and you don’t need to haul all the equipment with you. Same here with the reservations though, if you don’t have one, you may spend one more hour around to find a decent place to stay. That can be quite annoying. In general we love vacation rentals, but for short stays an AirBnb might be easier.

5. Our credo is to mix it up: We always take our camping stuff, but also like to stay in hotels once in a while. Usually we stay 2-3 nights on a campground, then in a nice hotel to have a good, hot shower, a decent mattress and to enjoy a dinner that we didn’t have to cook ourselves. And after a few days of camping and savoring being dirty, our girls always love a clean room and maybe even a pool. It doesn’t have to be fancy.

6. Don’t move it every day! Especially when you’re camping, it can get exhausting to tear down your camp, set it back up and to drive a long stretch in between! You have to get in some days when you just explore the place you just woke up and to get some rest.


7. Have enough “onboard entertainment” for your kids and yourself. Make sure you have enough playlists on your phone or other devices, because especially in the US it is NOT easy to find a radio station that is worthwhile! We always make one playlist for each road trip, usually not more than 10-12 songs and play it almost every day. It sounds silly, but months later when you hear one of those special songs, you’ll be transported back to your trip in a musical way. Here you can find some must have songs for your next road trip. If you’re renting a car or RV make sure you have the right chargers for your electronic devices! Think about how much screen time for the kids you are ok with. Depending on how long we’re driving our girls can watch one, sometimes even two movies. Make sure to have other fun things to do. We always have card games, paper & markers, books and magazines or sticker books in the van. Personally, I love listening to audiobooks while my hubby takes a nap😉

8. Other important supplies: Have a few ziplock bags handy in case anyone gets car sick. And vice versa, always have a few snacks and plenty of water aboard of your vehicle.


9. Make the journey part of the fun.

  • Play games in the car like the license plate game or “I spy”. Have a sing-a long or make up your own road trip games.
  • Find special things along the way. We love to find weird sights that are on our way to the next stop like the “World’s biggest frying pan” in Long Beach, WA or the funnel wall in the Kunsthofpassage in Dresden, Germany.
  • Let the minors help navigate and scout the area. Get road maps or a Rand McNally Road Atlas and let everyone try to navigate the route. Use a sharpie to trace your route on the map as you go along. Even using Google Maps, the kids love knowing where are or where we’ll be going. Maybe they’ll find something cool along the way like Dunsmuir, CA aka “The home of the best water on earth”.



10. Everyone gets responsibilities. I usually make all the reservations and do most of the planning. My husband makes sure all the camping stuff is there and all other outdoor supplies are ready to be packed. He always insists on packing the van, too. In our case, that’s a bit like Tetris😉 My friends’ son e.g. is responsible for their cargo trailer. Our girls have to set up and take down the luggage tent, to help prepare meals and to wash the dishes afterwards. Older ones could be responsible for the travel funds and everyone has to make sure nothing is left behind. You don’t want to buy a new iPhone charger and new lighters on every road trip.

11. Keep the cooking simple and healthy. If you’re camping or staying in a vacation rental, choose easy dishes to cook that don’t require a lot of pots or pans. I’m addicted to one pan dishes from Pinterest. Use the fire pit to grill food, like meat, corn on the cob, potatoes or veggies in aluminum foil. And you don’t have to cook at all. It’s very German to have a cold dinner with just bread, cut meats, cheese and some veggies and fruit.

12. Take lots of pictures! 


Nothing behind me,

Everything ahead of me,

as is ever so on the road.

Jack Kerouac 


Here are some useful Apps and websites for your road trip:


field trip




trip advisor









And to get you in the right mood you might want to check out my favorite road trip movies:

Thelma & Louise, Little Miss Sunshine, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, The Motorcycle Diaries, Rain Man, We’re the Millers



My weekly ramble


This used to be our neighborhood. We moved to this “Veedel” (which means a city district in the local dialect) of Cologne in 2001, that was the first apartment my husband and I lived together. In November 2005 we bought our house in the same neighborhood. Both our kids were born while we lived in Ehrenfeld, so this place is a big part of my idea of home.


This summer my husband and I got to spend a day walking through these familiar streets and visiting our house and our tenants. We had a lovely, extensive German breakfast in on of our favorite places “Café Goldmund”. There we met an old friend, who plastered our whole house back in 2005 and saw a girl with a surfboard – in the middle of the city! And Cologne does not have an “Eisbachwelle” like Munich.


One of the biggest parties in Ehrenfeld is the “Körnerstraßenfest”, which takes place every year in July. It is organized by the residents of the street and there are plenty of flea market like booths, shops and cafés are open, bands play throughout the day and into the night. There is lots of dancing in the street and it is great fun.


Anywhere you walk in Ehrenfeld, you might get a great glance at the “Colonius”, the telecommunication tower of Cologne.


We walked past our old favorite bars “Lizbät” , “Die hängenden Gärten von Ehrenfeld” , and the club of my time in university “The Underground”.


You cannot visit Cologne and not have a “Kölsch”! That’s why we stopped at the Neptunplatz and sat in sun in front of the “Neptunbad” (my absolute favorite Sauna & Spa) sipping this yummy, clear and top-fermenting beer.


Germans are kind of obsessed with non-alcoholic drinks in cool, fancy bottles. Here are only two examples:


We had dinner with friends in “Meer sehen”. Every spring there is “Ehrenfeld Hopping”, when you can buy a pass and visit more than 40 bars and clubs. Really cool!


It was a lovely summer day, just the two of us and I cherish this time a lot. I love coming back to this place and knowing it’ll be always in my heart.

Don’t forget to check out Jo’s Monday walk here.


And thanks to Sarah at Extraordinary Chaos, Claire at Tin Box Traveller and Karen at Mini Travellers who just won Best Family Traveller Blogger in the prestigious MAD blog awards, the MondayEscapes link-up will continue. Check out all the cool travel blogs!


Master your own time!

Sometimes I wish the day would have more hours. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. There are so many things that we must do, should do, could do and want to do, but often there doesn’t seem to be enough time. I started a new, exciting job. My kids are back in school and their after-school activities have started again. My German classes are back in session, my husband is traveling, I want to write for this blog, I want to start a support group for H4-visa holders, but I need to cook, wash, clean, buy, take care, make happy as well. And then you also want to have some time for yourself, quality time with friends, time to work out, couple’s time and so on.

There are tons of time management apps and gadgets out there, but there are all designed to manage clock time. But clock time is irrelevant. We don’t live in clock time, we live in real time. Real time is mental, therefore we can create and manage it as we like. So I started reading about time management techniques and made a list of strategies that should help me to create more productive real time for myself.

Write it down. Make a list of the things that need to be done. I personally love “to do lists”! But making a To Do list is not necessarily a helpful time management activity. Sometimes these lists create inefficiencies and rather add to your frustration and stress in life. You have to use them right. Don’t expect to get everything done only in a couple days. Some tasks you write down and just leave them on the list without working on them right away. They are safe on your list. They won’t you anywhere. You decide what to do.


After you made your list you have to follow three steps: Read your list and take a moment for each item on the list. Then you have to:

1. Decide what’s important.  That is  probably the most crucial part of time management, especially for me. I’ve had always a hard time to decide what to do and what not. I found a few tools that can help you with the decision process and I like these four squares based on the Eisenhower Box or Decision matrix.


The decision about the importance of each task will automatically determine the next step.


2. Decide when. Label each task on your list with the time you’re planning to tackle it. Some things need to be done the same day, others in the next days and some can wait for a few more weeks or months. Decide when you want to do each one and add them to your calendar. Also plan how much time you want to spend on each task.


3. Make a schedule. A very important time management strategy is to keep a schedule. The most important time is to schedule your schedule. Take about 20-30 minute each morning to plan your day. Write down the things you want to work on and how much time you are planning for each item.

In order to finish the tasks on your daily schedule you can furthermore try to follow these tips:

Focus.  Try to focus on just one thing. If your task takes more than 30 minutes, try to work concentrated for 25 minutes and have a 5 minute break. Then start working again.

Avoid distractions.  Every time you get lost, your mind needs get back on track and valuable time gets lost if distractions keep adding up. Practice to not answer your phone. Do not answer calls or messages unless it’s a really important one or crucial for your business/project. Block out other distractions like social media, unless you use them for the project you’re working on.

do-not-disturb-please-stock-corrugated-plastic-sign-18x24When you absolutely have to get work done, especially when you have children😉 put up a “Do not disturb” sign.

Deligate. When you make your plan for the day, think about things you could asks others to do. If you have a multi-person household, you’ll need all hands on deck to get all your chores done. I just recently started to have my children do their own laundry and to go to the store and get some groceries. That gives me time to do something else.

Say no. That’s an essential time management tool, because it prevents you to do things you don’t necessarily need to do. Like volunteering one more hour at school, going to a meeting that won’t give you new information or going for a lunch with people that are not really important to you.

Reflect. At the end of the day, take a few minutes to check what you have managed to do and what you couldn’t complete or had to postpone. That will help you to make a better plan for the next day.

What are your best strategies to make more of your time? I’d love to read them, please leave a comment and feel free to share this post.

On this blog adaptRM.com you can read many more articles about time management. I especially like the article about “The Power of the 25th hour”.

My weekly ramble

Berlin – I love you

I went to Berlin end of July with three girlfriends. These were probably the best four days of my entire stay in Germany. And not only because I could do two of my favorite things in the world: traveling and spending time with the ones I love, but because I’m in love with the German capitol. I wrote about this trip before in my post Time with friends, but I decided I want to share more pictures of this awesome time and this big, cool, crazy, lively and history-filled city.

Berliner Hauptbahnhof (central train station)

views from our apartment in “Prenzlauer Berg”

breakfast at “Café Liebling”

different views of the Alex


Siegessäule – Victory column

Brandenburger Tor

Checkpoint Charlie

Heckmann Höfe

“Einheit” (unity) in front of the “Historisches Museum”

Memorial of the Murdered Jews in Europe

boat tour on the Spree river

Berliner Mauer Gedenkstätte – Berlin Wall Memorial

Gin and Tonic / Berlin at night

Mädchenitaliener / Italian restaurant Berlin-Mitte

You have to see this city once in your lifetime!

And check out Jo’s Monday walk here: