Poetry, Podcasts, & Pomodoro (in that order)

Just spent the last 20 minutes searching for apps that’ll transcribe my speech into text because I’m serious about this writing malarkey this year yet also utterly exhausted after not one but two after-school events that finished at 8pm and if I have to sit at a desk for 10 more minutes staring at a screen I will scoop out my eyeballs!

Phew. Breathe. Resume.

And then just when I was about to give up because no app seemed to accurately transcribe my Mancunian accent (what’s the deal with that?!) I finally – finally – opened the Voice recording app on my Note 10 and realised it has a built-in transcribing feature. Well.


I’m the kind of person who’ll use her phone until it’s literally on its last legs. After 4 years with a phone which miraculously survived being dropped 50 times a day on tiles, pavements, and marble flooring, I finally upgraded. I’m not saying I have a Note 10 in the Oo look at me and my swanky new phone’ sense. No. Uh-uh. To the contrary, each day consists of discovering a new feature that only solidifies the notion that I’ve been living in a cave for 4 years because ‘Technology can do this? Wow’. So far my favourite is Pen-Up – here’s my first sketch of hubby and me at Sea Line sand dunes. Lame, I know. There goes my career as an artist.

pen up sketch at sea line doha qatar


Anyhow. As you know, one of the things I’m dedicated to this year is expanding my horizons in terms of the books I read, the kind of writing I share, and in general, the literature I expose myself to. One fringe benefit of teaching Literature is the process of falling in love with poetry, all over again.

zoya kubra english teacher poetry annotation

I’m super excited, more excited than the kids in fact, about setting up a gifted & talented club where we’ll basically sit around, munch on snacks, watch Spoken Word videos and discuss poetry.

It’s been yonks since I last watched or taught Spoken Word Poetry so I had to dig deep into memory to remember I watched/heard this 11 years ago. And so this will be the first thing I share with the kiddos in my club:


In the spirit of new year, new challenges, I thought I’d take a trip over to the audiobook and podcasting world.

Audiobooks turned out to be a fail. Even when I tried to listen to Lauren Graham narrate her book (and you all know from my last post how much I love Lauren Graham) I couldn’t focus for long enough. I think it’s something to do with being brain-dead from teaching. But podcasts are my new love!

Even though my commute to work is approx. 7 minutes, I can now listen to something meaningful instead of mind-numbing jingles (sorry, Radio Olive). And I can finally listen to TED talks on a locked phone – silly Youtube. See, some things about technology stay the same regardless of how much you spend on a new phone.

My favourite podcasts so far are from the ‘How I found my voice’ series by Intelligence Squared, particularly the Elif Shafak and Benjamin Zephaniah episodes.


Finally, an update on the Pomodoro/Kitchen Timer method I vowed to try in my last post.

Ugh. Pomodoro. Damn well nearly killed me. As great as it may be, it didn’t work for me. Not because I don’t have the motivation to begin a task – I have oodles of motivation. But because I have yet to learn how to take a break. So when my 25 minutes are up, I want to carry on and so I went to work on Sunday feeling absolutely exhausted after clocking 7.5 hours of Pomodoro time on Saturday.

Seeing as my issue is not procrastination, rather it’s learning to spread chores out (over the week that is, not over 10 hours) and taking breaks in between to rest (thanks iron deficiency), I quickly switched from Pomodoro to Sectograph and let me just say, this is working great for me.

Instead of a timer going off at the end, the app sends you a reminder 5, 10, or however many minutes beforehand. It’s visually appealing as it looks like a clock face and the dials move with time, showing you just the upcoming tasks which makes everything feel manageable.

But my faaaavourite thing about this app is it’s in sync with my calendar which I already used but this app makes it….easier, visually appealing. I’m big on the visuals in case I didn’t say it enough.


So, that sums up my week of poetry, podcasts, and Pomodoro. Until next time πŸ™‚

14 thoughts on “Poetry, Podcasts, & Pomodoro (in that order)”

  1. Oh I completely agree with the phone thing Zoya, I’m not a huge fan of changing mobiles every few months. Mine literally has to die (after having it for years and years!!) and then I’ll contemplate getting a new one. I’m not a huge fan of spending thousands (can’t justify paying sooo much) on technology especially on these smart phones. I’ve even had a few people commenting on how old my phone was when I went to Pakistan on holiday last year and a half (it was an IPhone 5s 😁), and I’m always like you know what I like it as it is lol! It did die down very soon after (nazar lag gayi) but hey at least I got my money’s worth.. I’m sure this new one will be with me for quite some time before I fork more money on a new one πŸ˜‰ xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree with everything in your comment. It’s a waste of money buying the ‘latest model’ just for the sake of showing off, not to mention it’s not very sensible – environmentally or akhirah-wise. Even though I have this one I’m still using my old one and it keeps dying on me every 5 mins so I’m constantly mad at myself for not just transferring everything over once and for all. I’ve been there too with family and friends laughing at my ‘old’ phone but I don’t care πŸ˜‚…xx


      1. You’re so right. Hubby helped me buy this new model. It’s taking me a while to use it as there’s so many new features and I’m terrible with technology.. πŸ˜– But hopefully I’ll get used to it soon. Ahh yes I used to feel so conscious before but not anymore. Hee Hee 😁 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Same! If it wasn’t for hubby I would still be clutching my old phone πŸ˜‚ he told me it’s going to die any day now and just after I bought a new one, it did. I think the grief of me betraying it for a new model killed it lol! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If you are old, what am I? I recently got a new phone, but it’s not the latest from the Googlez. It was the cheapest for what I needed. As much as I joke about wanting a flip phone, I know deep down inside I’ve become too what’s the word… not evolved… Ugh, I can’t think of the word. Self-entitled? I don’t know! Help me out! I still haven’t listened to any podcasts as it’s too much work for me. When I need to turn off the radio because it sucks so often, I’ll end up talking to myself during my commute. I have however become really fond of my Garmin Forerunner… so I guess I’m not a complete Luddite. Just a hypocritical Luddite πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You and self entitled? No way. I felt podcasts might be too much work as well but I quickly began to enjoy them. Then again they’re very short and I get through them quickly- perhaps that’s why. They don’t feel like they’re dragging on and on. I’m intrigued to know what you talk to yourself about hehehe

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, usually what’s on my mind. It’s a good opportunity to vent and not share things with another humanoid I might later regret. Of course, the government is most likely listening in. But they are either way. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly good about myself, I like to pretend I’m being interviewed. But it’s usually the former.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What are you talking about?! That sketch is amazing! Imagine a whole graphic novel in that style, I would buy that!

    I’m also getting excited to write again as I’m going over the teaching materials for creative writing this semester πŸ™‚ I think I’m going to put up a post with some of the recommended reading on there as it looks great!

    I’m also not into audiobooks hugely. I struggle to even listen to podcasts unless I’m in the bath or doing dishes and can’t be distracted! Very seduced by those Sectograph visuals, will check it out x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh you’re too kind!
      Please do share a reading list, I’m looking forward to it and hopefully more posts from you this year. 😊 And feel free to share any gems on teaching creative writing too. LOL the OCD-obsessed-me loves Sectograph because I can amend the times and sessions according to stuff that comes up so theoretically I did complete everything that was on the graph (because I altered it as I went along) hahaha xx


  4. Thanks for visiting my blog – such a pleasure to read yours! I loved hearing stories from my German colleague who lived for a while in Qatar and it’s great to hear another perspective πŸ™‚ I love Pomodoro for tasks that require concentration – I use it for both my daily work and my writing and it keeps me from mindlessly switching from Scrivener or WordPress to Instagram and Reddit…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment πŸ™‚ I’ve been following your blog for a while and thoroughly enjoy reading your content! I agree – Pomodoro is great for tasks requiring concentration, it’s definitely worthwhile for writing. Lesson planning always spills over into longer hours so Pomodoro doesn’t help, I wish it did 😦


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.