The famous writer nearly burnt all his work — here’s why you’ll be glad he didn’t.

I’ve always loved my local book exchange.

Tucked away in a dark corner of the tube station, the wobbly shelf is always flooded with used books. Normally it’s all poolside fiction, but sometimes, you glance over as you fly by, and spot a treasure you could swear was put there specifically for you.

Getting my hands on Franz Kafka’s Diaries was one of those moments. The seconds couldn’t pass fast enough for me to grab the nearest dirty seat in my carriage, and start reading.

Consuming the words he never intended to see the light of day is strange in…


A step-by-step guide for self-help skeptics.

Like many others, I used to be skeptical about meditation. I had an app on my phone reminding me to be still for 10 minutes every day, but I struggled.

Somehow it felt like a waste of time. There were so many other things I’d rather be doing. What was the point of sitting cross-legged at the edge of the bed?

I struggled because I didn’t know how to meditate. I didn’t know it was actually possible to take control of my mind.

Then, everything changed.

In a cruel cocktail of events I lost 3 people who I loved —…


Courage is not the absence of fear.

The other day I’ve cut my own hair following a random YouTube video. It doesn’t sound like such a big deal. But if you’ve done the same in quarantine, you know how scary it is to do the first cut. And the second. And the third.

It reminded me of something Elizabeth Gilbert famously said:

Fear is boring.

It should be saved for true emergencies only.

We mainly deal with two types of fear.

The first is your primal fear, which takes care of your self-preservation, and which you absolutely need. …


Minimalism doesn’t have just one definition — you can make your own rules.

I have been a raving fan of The Minimalists ever since their book Everything That Remains gave me the final nudge to quit my corporate job in 2017.

While waiting for the release of their new documentary Less Is Now, I returned to the coffee-stained pages of that book. The faded highlights in sections I’d marked surprisingly brought back vivid feelings. This book once helped me realize a change was possible.

And it also reminded me of what minimalism is not.

Minimalism isn’t about echoing rooms, empty cupboards, or worrying if owning ten t-shirts is still minimalist. Forget about rules…


And how most people habitually train their brain to resist focus altogether.

Sometimes my brain can be frustratingly irresponsive, even when I do everything right. I close the door to my study and leave my phone on the other side, along with the cats. I close all browsers except for Soft Murmur and prepare my notes.

Yet my brain just won’t focus. And soon I find myself distracted by the only thing I didn’t hide or remove, like the overflowing camera roll unwisely iClouded to my laptop, or dust on the top bookshelves.

And ironically, it was also through procrastination that I discovered Cal Newport’s book Deep Work some time ago. In…


Love stories need buildings that start them.

My local London council is about to bulldoze the theatre where I met the love of my life.

The Coronet is an old giant. Built strong and solid around a brownbrick railway arch in 1879, many original art-deco features are still preserved in the main auditorium. Charlie Chaplin, who once lived in our area, used to perform here. Later, the theatre was converted to a live-music venue.

There’s nothing wrong with it aside from being a little tired. Ok, it would need spritzing up. But the fact is, the building is so strong it even served as a shelter during…


Build a strong incentive for the week, every week.

Somewhere in the vast universe, an alternative realm exists where everyone loves Mondays. They wake up with a smile, do a little dance, and accomplish everything they have set out to do, without it even feeling like work.

Most of us can only imagine what life would be like on that planet.

One of the greatest human minds once said: “A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.” It only takes one look inwards to know Albert Einstein was right.

The perfection of means is for the most part a lifelong effort. But removing…


Boosting their traffic can help save lives

A cat sitting on top of a pile of newspapers, against a yellow city wall
A cat sitting on top of a pile of newspapers, against a yellow city wall

What could possibly be better than cute cat blogs?

Cute cat blogs that help cats.

With cat videos forever basking near the top of the viral content pyramid, the entire world loves to be entertained by these amazing creatures to no end. But true cat lovers care about more than just entertainment. We want to see every cat in the world looked after and happy. We want a world where no animals are left hungry and alone.

As per the latest estimate, 10 million cats live abandoned or stray in the UK alone. …


Productivity’s enemy can be creativity’s best friend.

Avoid, avoid, avoid.

It’s all we ever hear about procrastination. Learn to stop. It kills your time. It kills your focus. It’s a distraction. And when your deadline is just around the corner and you need to deliver your absolute best work, procrastination feels like the number one dealbreaker for sure. It is certainly the worst enemy of productivity.

But most people forget about the other side of procrastination. The one with benefits. The kind of procrastination that helped people like Oscar Wilde, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles Darwin, or even Albert Einstein create their mindblowing work.

But wait, how could…


What to do when your willpower pool dries out.

Make it a habit, they said. You have tried. Make it fun, they said. You have tried. Just push through with it, they said, and boy you have tried.

But your motivation pool is not infinitely full and inviting. The levels fluctuate, the water gets muddy. The struggle gets real.

You are not alone. Many people become advanced avoiders after first trying extremely hard to make exercise work. And if you are not already a happy exercise bunny who jumps out of bed excited to grab the running shoes (how I wish I were!), your willpower alone might not be…

Martina Doleckova

Minimalist with 4 rescued cats and a maximalist book collection. Left a safe 9–5 in scientific publishing to live my life. Fan of alternatives.

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