Monthly Archives: December 2020

The weather is chilly and grey if you live in Zurich, Switzerland right now. You might have thought about going to your home country for the holidays and that might not have worked out thanks to the pandemic.

The year was undoubtedly a recipe for disappointment and mental stress in many ways. We can’t meet our families at home due to governmental restrictions but hopefully things will be better next year and we will get through this alive.

This time of the year usually feels very quiet but this year it almost feels as if time came to a halt. We (our team) thought about ways to inspire you and we came up with this compilation of books.

Here is a compilation of our 12 best books to read from our team to all those who are looking for inspiration on how to change their lives for the better.

NOTE: The inclusion of Amazon links for each book should help you make your purchase as easy as possible, though we would recommend you order through a local bookstore to support the local community. I’ve mentioned my bookstore at the end of the list. The books are in no particular order and we would be interested in your opinion on them as well.

1 – Do Over by Jon Acuff

About: When life isn’t how you want it to be, whether you still lust over your dream job or still think about taking that alternate path in life. “Do-Over” as the name suggests aids in this predominant struggle to achieve the most out of life. Jon Acuff highlights the four elements in life, which all successful careers collectively share: Relationships, Skills, Character, and Hustle!

Get that new edge in your life by investing yourself in what truly matters. Hurdles are inevitable so it’s better to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Do-Over-Today-First-Career-ebook/dp/B00LFYXE5I/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3H0T135ZQ7GR3&dchild=1&keywords=do+over+jon+acuff&qid=1607938210&sprefix=Do+over%2Caps%2C342&sr=8-1

2 – Banishing your Inner Critic by Denise Jacobs

About: You are your harshest critic, right? But how do we know when enough is enough? Banishing your inner critic helps you identify your core self, whilst eradicating the copious amount of self-doubt a person deals with. It’s time to unleash your most productive, creative, and positive self!

Denise Jacobs provides an intuitive read on how one can master certain power practices to uphold your core strength and overcome self-doubt, time to break free!

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Banish-Your-Inner-Critic-Self-Doubt/dp/1633534715/ref=sr1_1?dchild=1&keywords=banishing+the+inner+critic&qid=1607938236&sr=8-1

3 –  The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron 

About: Ignite your passion, reinvent your creativity, elevate your confidence, and burst open like your ideal self! The American author Julia Cameron guides you on the spiritual path to creative bliss. To book itself provides in-depth exercises and trusted methods to rejuvenate your artisanal self.
Link: https://www.amazon.com/Artists-Way-25th-Anniversary/dp/0143129252/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=The+artist+way&qid=1607938262&sr=8-2

4 – Give and Take by Adam Grant

About: Success is always known to be a combination of hard-work, determination, and willpower, amongst many other factors. But the main idea is the same, we as an individual must strive for it. Yet in this modern world, where everyone is interconnected at almost all points in their life, going solo isn’t the right approach. As Adam Grant aptly named the book “Give and Take”, the core message is encompassed by it. As an esteemed professor and an award-winning researcher put it “Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon”.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Give-Take-Helping-Others-Success/dp/0143124986/ref=sr_1_1?crid=28UZSJNM5AQKU&dchild=1&keywords=give+and+take+adam+grant&qid=1607938327&s=books&sprefix=give+and+take+adam+%2Caps%2C376&sr=1-1

5 – Company of One by Paul Jarvis

About: It’s not all about working big, sometimes you have to work smart! The Company of One by Paul Jarvis truly encapsulates this exact mentality. Working on what situation, timings, and ideology suit you best. At this scale, you’ll build your company around your life, and not the other way around.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Company-One-Staying-Small-Business/dp/0358213258/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=company+of+one&qid=1607938373&s=books&sr=1-1

6 – The Middle Finger Project by Ash Ambirge

About: Having a breakdown just thinking about your day? Or maybe some tyrant boss has made your way to that promotion a minefield? Well, sometimes you’ve to stick it to the man and flip the finger to the gods above. Ash Ambridge uses her humorous and fresh writing style to hook the reader on her journey of overcoming imposter syndrome. Sometimes you need to be your own hero, through all the tacky, ugly, and nasty process. The only thing stopping you is you, so kick it and live it how you want to!

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Middle-Finger-Project-Imposter-ckwithable/dp/0525540326/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+middle+finger+project&qid=1607938405&s=books&sr=1-1

7 –  Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

About: No one is perfect or can hustle through life without fear. Much like happiness and anger, it’s still an emotion at the end of the day. The author works around fear and exposes the underlying problems that may cause it. We as humans fear failure or rejection which stops us from achieving and ultimately stunts our growth. Jeffers has therefore mapped out a series of tests, to feel our fears as nothing more than an emotion.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Feel-Fear-Anyway-Indecision-Confidence/dp/B011T7KWO6/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Feel+the+fear+and+do+it+anyway&qid=1607938092&sr=8-2

8 – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

About: The Alchemist truly is a modern classic, its mystical story has inspired generations and sold millions of copies along the way. This tale of wisdom and wonder follows the journey of a boy Santiago. A mere shepherd’s boy, whose belief in his recurring prophetic dream takes him to Egypt in search of treasure.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Alchemist-Paulo-Coelho/dp/0062315005/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+alchemist&qid=1607938434&s=books&sr=1-1

9 – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

About: Elizabeth Gilbert is a household name by now, empowering much of the youth through her series of captivating books. Big Magic delves into the process of the author’s own creative perspective and her thought process. It truly is a manual on embracing and making the most of your creative side, it’s broken into six segments, each of which contains more food for thought. The six topics are as follows: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Big-Magic-Creative-Living-Beyond/dp/1594634726/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=big+magic&qid=1607938459&s=books&sr=1-1

10 – Lessons from Life by Steven Darter

About: By questioning his own decisions and reflecting on his placement in life, Steven Darter takes us on an emotional journey to find the purpose of life. Steve truly hooks the reader with his visual storytelling, combining both personal and professional experiences along the way. Lessons from Life pushes you as a person to rethink your choices no matter what age group you lie in.


Link: https://www.amazon.com/Lessons-Life-Meaning-Purpose-Success/dp/1981970916/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=lessons+from+life&qid=1607938484&s=books&sr=1-2

11 –  Searching for God in the Garbage by Bracha Goetze

About: We’ve all been into unhealthy food addictions, at times munching on just sugar and carbs. Thought of switching up your dietary habits right there and then may have popped in your mind before, here’s how Bracha Goetze a Harvard graduate decided to do exactly that. She’s kept her journey transparent from becoming an observant jew, to completely cutting of unhealthy eating, and finally beating anorexia!

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Searching-God-Garbage-Bracha-Goetz/dp/1635540887/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=searching+for+god+in+the+garbage&qid=1607938529&s=books&sr=1-1

12 – The Elegant Out by Elizabeth Bartasius

About: The Elegant Out showcases the story of Elizabeth herself, where she escapes an abusive relationship, a tedious eight-to-five job and delves into her goal of publishing a book. She puts her thought of expanding her family with a new baby aside to focus on her writing, but the announcement of pregnancies from her social circle and her husband’s unwillingness for another baby put her in a dire situation that complicates into frustration and depression. Thus Elizabeth is put in a precarious situation and must make an executive choice between separation or a baby. 

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Elegant-Out-Novel-Elizabeth-Bartasius/dp/1631525638/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+Elegant+Out+by+Elizabeth+Bartasius&qid=1607938559&s=books&sr=1-1

I hope these books will inspire you. Please note: We have added AMAZON to ensure you know which book it is. However, I would very much prefer if you ordered through a local bookstore. My neighborhood bookstore BUCHHANDLUNG HIRSLANDEN orders and delivers to your home address in Zurich during the Pandemic.

Email: lesen@buchhandlung-hirslanden.ch.

AND, if you liked this please sign up to our reader’s list here.

Christmas

The holiday season is upon us, I am sure most of us are ready for a well-deserved break from work. We all feel a bit more exhausted this year from working from home and being digital all day.

Do you also need a break from being online all the time?

We face unseen travel restrictions this year. This could lead to you being alone or with your partner and kids only this year on Christmas. While you might want to be with your extended family in (insert home country) you are holidaying in Zurich, Switzerland.

(Not the worst of places to be but it can get a bit lonely if you don’t know what to do.)

While the holidays may be a time of joy and happiness for most people, they can be quite bittersweet for expats.

Maybe you have lost loved ones around the holidays. Maybe you are no longer close with your extended family and your friends are all married with kids.

In Zurich, there is a high likelihood that you haven’t made any close friends yet. It could also be that like one of my friends you are in the middle of your next move and taking time off isn’t an option. You can check our relocation guide for ideas.

So, if you are worried a little about how to handle the holidays here are our ideas for the holidays on your own.

“The 12 Days of Christmas” – Alone in Zurich

Although technically the 12 days of Christmas don’t start until 25 December, we will approach this topic creatively. I also understand that the 12 nights are more important in tradition and mythology and it depends on which sources you read.

Here the first magic night is on 20 December “Thomasnacht”.

This year you have a good chance to have two weeks off with a small amount of vacation days or overtime compensation. Also, many Swiss companies close over this 2-week period now.

Before starting on this topic I would like to invite every reader and client who is not Christian to enjoy the fun around our holiday traditions with us. Full self-disclosure: I come from a catholic background and I live in a relationship with a non-practicing Muslim. I usually only go to mass on Christmas Eve with my grandmother, because I know it makes her happy, but this year I am not even sure I can see my family. I might just stay here with you.

Being a Christian means to me to be a good human and about giving to others and yourself. In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter what your faith is as long as you aspire to do good in the world. And if you only believe in science or the force I like you as well.

Christmas is also a time where we connect with our inner child and give this child all the love it deserves. By honoring special traditions and rituals around the 12 days of Christmas we collect the energy that we need to be supportive of each other.

21 December: Collaboration Day
No office parties this year and no secret Santas. If you are still at work, try to appreciate one of your work colleagues and give them an hour of your time in a virtual coffee session. In our culture we tend to forget to celebrate the success and value collaboration. So try to appreciate this one colleague you worked with this year and send them a hand-written thank you card after your call.

Order your Christmas menu. For example, order meat and bread in advance, so you just have to pick it up on Christmas eve.

22 December: Decoration Day
Buy a Christmas tree at Bahnhof Stadelhofen or in your neighbourhood. Put on a youtube mix or your favorite music and decorate your Christmas tree. Make a special ornament by yourself. Go offline for crafting If you have been in a work frenzy in the build up to the holidays you probably want nothing more than switching off. Tag us when you share photos on Instagram.

Also, this is your chance for last minute shopping. The big shops will probably still be full. Wear masks and support your neighbourhood shops instead of going to Jelmoli.

23 December: Catch up Day
Catch up with old friends via video chat. Being stuck in a foreign country during the holidays is never ideal, more so if you don’t have family or friends there. A luxury not afforded to pre-internet expats, but still in no way a replacement for family and friends, is video chat. While not the ideal replacement for the people you are missing, it can allow you to keep in near-constant touch and keep the holiday spirit fresh in you. In fact, this can also be a perfect time to reconnect with old friends and catch up.

Do all your laundry because you cannot wash between Christmas and New Year. We call this time “zwischen den Jahren” (between the years). I like this expression and did a bit of research.

***
24 December: Giving Day

Read a novel to an elderly citizen on Christmas Eve. I’ve never spent Christmas Eve alone as far as I can remember. You probably know that I come from a big family and I hardly find time to see all my relatives.

If I am in Zurich on Christmas Eve, I will do my grocery shopping for three days and then use the chance to read to someone. In my neighbourhood I often see lonely elderly people.

There is also a shelter for homeless people and you could volunteer there. Or check with your religious community if you can help a child with a present. I’m sure you will find a way to help someone less fortunate.

25 December: Christmas Day

After you opened all your presents you could organize yourself a walking tour of Zurich with a lovely Christmas dinner at a cozy place like Rosaly’s or Wilder Mann. Probably you could meet a few lonely hearts in Bohemia. I would probably check if I could get a ticket for the opera or the Schauspielhaus. Despite the limited numbers they seem to be open.

26 December: Boxing Day

I don’t know why it’s called Boxing Day in English. Maybe it’s time to put a few things in boxes? Or box away the calories? My grandmother calls this day “Stephanstag”. This is a holiday in Zurich and shops are closed so you could plan a spa day or go outside. For example, take the S-Train to Greifensee and walk around the lake for a while.

Later, you should go to one of the nicest hotels in Zurich for afternoon tea and sip a glass of champagne.

27 December: Skiing Day

Why don’t you go to the mountains and check out if there is a chance for a skiing day. One of the lesser known places would be Hoch-Ybrig.

***

28 December: Clean up the (Home) Office Day

If your office is open use the chance to clean up. Update your LinkedIn profile with Nabeha’s tips. It’s time to review your work year. Write down one big accomplishment for every month or check the reporting facility in our RockMeApp. Send me a summary of what you are most proud of this year.

Have lunch with a poor colleague from HR, Accounting or IT who has to work in the office and wants to get home. With a cup of hot cocoa (or Gluehwein, if that’s allowed) start to clean up your desk.

  • Throw out old files,
  • Clean up your computer,
  • Update your task lists,
  • Prepare your performance reviews,
  • Order that new work phone and
  • Pay all your outstanding invoices.

Maybe you still have personal administrative tasks to do. My advice is to use the “Pomodoro” technique to start working on the task for 25 minutes.

29 December: Wish Day

For me this will be the day where I write down everything I’m grateful for in my life and what my wishes are for 2020. Join us for “Star Wars” or pick a movie and go to KOSMOS zurich or another movie theatre you usually don’t go to. Enjoy an “apéro” at YAMAS Zurich, the little Greek restaurant with a flair of the meatpacking district and Greek hospitality.

Don’t forget to stock up on groceries. If you’re like me, you probably have an empty fridge by now.

30 December: Pamper Day

No matter what gender you identify with, we all have a need for a pamper day at least once a year. Book an appointment at your favourite spa and enjoy the treatment. PURE zurich is great for that. If you still feel stressed you might want to get a massage from Pascale at CHINADOC.

These days the Bahnhofstrasse isn’t as crowded as usual, so you could also go to the city and buy a new outfit. Maybe with style advice from Rowena Downing.

31 December: Let Go Day

Take a leisurely stroll on Lake Zurich to Zurichhorn, a boat trip or if it’s raining take the tram 8 to Hardturm and check out the furniture and design stores near Prime Tower. Go up to the bar prime tower and enjoy the view.

It’s time to let go.  With your diary write down everything you wish to leave in the old year and join me for writing and a glass of champagne at the Savoy Bar around 3 PM. If you are into it please text me so I know you will be there.

Even if you can’t party order yourself a special dinner for tonight.

1 January 21: Welcome the New Year Day

Start the New Year with sleeping in as long as you can, watch your favorite movies or bing-watch a series. Be lazy for once.

I hope you enjoyed my tips and I look forward to meeting you in 2021.

Happy Holidays!

Angie and Team

PS: Check out those great blogs for more ideas: newinzurich and girlfriend guide to zurich.

Digital Control

Presence has become increasingly important as we are always pulled in so many directions and “energy flows where our attention goes”.

We can hardly survive a day without our smartphones anymore and when we are offline or have low batteries it creates feelings of anxiety. I have an ongoing experiment where I am trying to increase my productivity and get more done by using less and less resources (money, paper, time, people). 

I would like to summarize the learning for you and you might want to follow me in this experiment.

I want to simplify my life. I am always looking for topics that are complex in our shared, multifaceted lives today and I think about how to deconstruct them and make them simple again. (In my work as a Global Mobility Expert, this is essential.)

In a MasterMind Group we are all considering getting a paper planner again because we feel that our digital tools are just not doing all the tricks. I also feel that often paper gives me a higher sense of security than an app. Obviously, I am trying to reduce paper where it is not needed but there are areas where paper just beats digital tools.

Here is our Four-Step Approach to Digital Control:

1 – Start with an App List

To write this I started an app list I am regularly working with. The app list became very long. I am not even sure I finished it yet. It’s more a toolbox now than a list.

  • Email Accounts – 4 live accounts, 2 or 3 email ID’s that I never check
  • LinkedIn –  Inbox
  • Facebook – Inbox
  • Twitter – Inbox
  • Instagram – Inbox
  • Slack – Inbox (Member of 4 channels at the moment)
  • WhatsApp, Signal, FB Chat and other chat apps 
  • Seminar Apps such as Whova, Geneva

Once you have completed your app list review my simplification principles and check which ones apply to you. Do you have other principles for simplification you wish to share?

2 – Develop Your Simplification Principles

  1. People over Robots! Any personal message is better than an automated response.
  2. Move from DIGITAL to ANALOGUE on purpose. Use paper strategically.
  3. Delete unused apps from your smartphone.
  4. Turn your phone off from 9 PM to 6 AM. Give it a space for the night outside of the bedroom. (You will still hear the alarm!)
  5. Use Post-it for visualising what is important to you. The idea is: One thought, one post-it.
  6. Say “No, thank you…” or “yes, if…” to any proposal for meetings, work and tasks right away. Commit fast and decline fast. Don’t ponder on decision forever.
  7. When asked for meetings give two options only.
  8. Always set a deadline by when another person should come back to you.
  9. Wear black most of the time. On Wednesdays add a colour. Stop ironing during a pandemic.
  10. If you don’t know what to wear because you don’t know if the occasion is formal or not, wear a black suit.
  11. Choose your social media channels wisely. You are probably on too many.
     

3 – Write your 2020 Accomplishment List

Go through the RockMeApp archive and review all that you have accomplished in 2020. Check if there are open items that you wish to close within the next two work weeks.

 

4 – Participate in our online Workshops

 

Gluehwein
Gluehwein
Christmas
Christmas