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Better Time Management with Google Calendar

Hello everyone!  

This is V.L., a new SSL at the ICC.

As I have started my ICC staff journey and started graduate school this semester, I had to practice better time management. 

One thing I have learned is to improve by using Google Calendar as my main time management tool. 

I am not sponsored or anything, just here to share my recent findings. 

Sound interesting? Let’s get right into it! 

Google Calendar Usage Tips: 

First, don’t be afraid of the functions or the fact that you will need a calendar. All you need to know is as follows: 

1.      How to create events that will fit your schedule 

2.       How to add new work shifts, assignments, meetings whenever you get them 

3.       How to use color-coding to make everything easy to distinguish 

Again, for easy access to your Google Calendar whenever needed, make sure to pin it to your web browser! That way you get access without searching or tapping “Google Calendar” each time. 

I like using Google Calendar as it is user-friendly and helps me to instantly visualize the weeks ahead, without worrying about forgetting anything. (I trust my notes more than my brain sometimes.) 

Here is a quick shot of what a week of mine looks like (Oct.19~23).

(note: some names are erased)

Again, I did not come up with this color code from the beginning but learned from what a friend was doing. Feel free to find the way that will fit you the best!

As you may have noticed, I tend to create time blocks within time blocks, for me to know precisely what I will be doing during that day. It also helps me to practice new time management skills, such as estimating the time needed for various tasks. 

What tends to be forgotten is to also create time blocks for “deadtime” (such as public transport), as it is time where your use is limited. After implementing this method, I have naturally come to read or listen to podcasts on the train, as I don’t want to waste these two hours per day.

Knowing how your time is spent is a skill easily acquired 

Getting busier this semester was a great opportunity for me to practice better time management. As I turned 22 this year, I am aware of the value and freedom of my time as a student. How to use it is a skill I am still learning, and I hope I will be able to utilize it for the rest of my life. 

Perhaps you have always wanted a tool to rely on for better time management, and here is my secret weapon for you. Give it a try for a week or two and write down in the comments how it has affected you. I will start by simply saying that I feel less stress, as I am sure (almost) all the time that I am not forgetting any plan involving other people and myself. 

Below is a recent comment I got from my colleague, R.K., who also started to implement Google Calendar with the same methods: 

“It is life-changing!”  

We all have more time than usual right now, so let’s make a good use of it.

Have a nice day!


Food tour around Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Hi guys, today I will talk about my must-try-food in my favorite city’s most famous area which is also my hometown. A day is not enough for exploring and understanding all the delicious foods of this more than thousand-year old city but I hope that this blog will be useful for you if you just have a short time to enjoy Hanoi.

Hanoi’s Old Quarter has 36 ancient streets, after the 36 streets or guilds that used to make up the urban area of the city. The most famous trait of the Old Quarter is its areas dedicated to one specific trade or guild. Craftsmen from villages around the city used to gather in one area of their guild to sell their wares to merchants. The crafts or guilds of each area gave the names to the streets of the quarter, so that most streets acquired names starting with “hang” (“wares”), such as Hàng Bún street (” rice noodles street”) and Hàng Đào street (“peach street”).

Several of the streets are still specialized in the trade that gave them their names. Others still specialize in one specific trade, but a different one from their traditional specialty — such as Hàng Buồm street (“sails street”) which has become dominated by Vietnamese cakes and candy nowadays.

I would recommend you to book a hotel in this area since it’s very convenient to get around just by walking and most of all; almost all of Hanoi’s best cuisine is located in this area. Although the food culture of Vietnam is changing every day because of the customer’s habit, there are still many local restaurants as well as local vendors that are still super crowded. Thanks to their amazing delicious secret recipes that have been transferred across many generations, the younger generations can still experience the authentic taste of all the traditional foods. When we talk about Vietnamese food in general or Hanoi cuisine specifically, it is all about the balance of the dish. It’s like a classical song with all the instruments that make a perfect harmony. You can feel the sweetness from the bones of the broth, the saltiness of the fish sauce, the sourness of lime or a bit of spice from the fresh chili. All the flavors are dancing on your tongue and they make you miss it very soon after you finish it.

I think that everyone has been heard of Vietnamese Pho. When we talk about Vietnamese cuisine, we must talk about Pho. Just like ramen or soba, there are many restaurants that say they make the authentic Pho in Vietnam but after trying many restaurants, I would like to say Pho in Hanoi is the best and most authentic taste that you could search for. People eat Pho in the morning, at lunch or evening. You can have it anytime. There are a lot of ways to eat Pho but the best way is to enjoy it is with a little bit of fresh lime juice and some fresh chili. Talking about Pho, it’s all about the freshness and the balance of the flavor. When I went back to Hanoi for a few days after a long time, Pho is the first thing that I thought of (actually Pho was on my mind for a few days before I even went to the airport). One thing I can say is never have Pho in the airport, since it does not taste like the real one. There’re many good ones in Hanoi but these days, I believe that the restaurant shown below is the one that has the best taste of the real Pho. They have all the balance of the broth with the freshness of the noodles, beef and also the vegetables in one bowl. Especially they also have the good Quay, which is necessary for this dish. Put a bit fresh chili and a few drops of lime, then have a gulp of noodles, beef and taste some broth. This is the best way to start your day every day of the year. This restaurant usually runs out of all of their ingredients before lunch so I suggested that you should come from early morning to have the best kinds of beef that you want.

Full options of Pho

How to enjoy: Taste the broth, fix with lime juice or vinegar, chili sauce or fresh chili.

Price: ~250 yen or more, depending on which part of the beef you choose.

Recommend place: Phở Tuyết, 12 Hàng Than, Ba Đình, Hà Nội


The second dish that I want to introduce is called “Bun cha”. Normally I prefer to eat this one at home, which is made by my mom. However, making this one is very hard and tiring so sometimes I still have this one outside. After trying “Bun cha” in some restaurants, I realized that it’s the best to have it at the local vendors. The best aspect of Vietnamese food is you always can enjoy the food while provide to your body enough nutrition. “Bun cha” includes rice noodles, grilled pork, vegetables and delicious sauce. The sauce and the pork taste decide a lot of the flavor. I don’t recommend having this dish in a restaurant because they don’t make the grilled pork as fresh as the local vendors. The pork must be eaten immediately after being grilled by the chef. It can’t be too raw neither too cooked. The sauce is very important since it can decide the whole flavor of the dish.

Put some fresh chili for more flavor~

How to enjoy: Taste sauce: fix it with some vinegar or chili (more garlic if you prefer garlic). Put some noodles and vegetables into your bowl then dip them into the sauce. Take one gulp with everything (pork, noodles and vegetables)

Price: ~250 yen

Recommend place: 74 Hàng Quạt, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội.

The last one that I want to introduce today is Banh-mi. Banh mi is a typical Vietnamese sandwich is a fusion of meats and vegetables from native Vietnamese cuisine such as chả lụa (pork sausage), coriander leaf (cilantro), cucumber, pickled carrots, and pickled daikon combined with condiments from French cuisine such as pâté, along with chili and mayonnaise. However, a wide variety of popular fillings are used, from xíu mại to ice cream. In Vietnam, sandwiches are typically eaten for breakfast or as a snack. The Oxford Dictionary has already put Banh-mi as an English word: “a Vietnamese sandwich on a crisp baguette spread with mayonnaise, typically containing pork or chicken and pâté, with pickled vegetables, cucumber, and cilantro.” Banh mi is everywhere in Vietnam with a lot of options. However, if you want to try the most common one in Vietnam, just ask them for a full-option version of Banh mi (Thập cẩm). They will put everything they can onto the tiny bread so you can try all at once. I recommend that you ask the chef to give you some chili sauce to make the Banh mi more perfect.

You need to open your mouth wide~

How to enjoy: Open your mouth as wide as you can and… eat them all.

Price: ~200yen

Place: Bánh mì, 2-4 Hàng Chuối or 51 Trần Xuân Soạn.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope that you can enjoy them all someday! If you need any more information, please come and join the Vietnamese event later which will be held by the Waseda ICC ^^~~~

S.R. (Student Staff Leader)



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