How to stay organized with help of technology

Being organized is a necessary skill for any kind of work-related improvement or academic environment, yet everyone fails at it sometimes. Some people are lucky enough to have developed their organizational skills as a habit, while for the others, there is still hope. There are so many online tools nowadays, our job is only to find and utilize them. 

During our brainstorming stages, while studying for exams or preparing applications for work or a masters degree, we tend to have too many things on our mind. However, managing our tasks, action items for the day, or for a week can be done in a different yet useful manner.  While some of the suggestions below are used by Stella members to organize their goals and research, some of the online tools and applications are suggested by popular demand. 

Here are a few tools which we have selected: 

Some people prefer using notebooks or planners, but for those who want to go digital, there is the good old Excel Microsoft. Regardless of being considered as the thing people lie often that they’re good at on their resume, Excel can be and should be used efficiently as a tool which can help you track your progress. Some of the interesting ways it can be used include: 

  • Organize data in an easy-to-navigate way
  • Do basic and complex mathematical functions so you do not have to
  • Turn piles of data into helpful graphics and charts
  • Analyze data and make forecasting predictions
  • Create, build, and edit pixelated images (yes, creatives use it, too!)
  • Goal setting and planning process involves white paper, time, and the immense pressure of calculations, but with the use of MS Excel, this process can become more efficient, quick, easy and environmentally friendly.
  • Career Development revolves around career management. The tasks such as learning management, time management, work and life management, and goal-focused habits are very important and can be effectively practised on MS excel.

TRELLO 

For personal use, you should take advantage of Trello’s free trial.

Trello has earned a strong reputation as a tool teams can use to manage shared projects. In fact, it works just as well for individuals and families, because part of Trello’s appeal is its flexibility which you can adapt it for a variety of purposes.

This service offers mobile and web apps, and both work the same way: You create a variety of digital “cards” and arrange them in columns. Each card might represent a household chore, an item on your to-do list or a looming calendar event. The columns can represent categories of tasks, priority levels, specific dates, or any other factor you might use to arrange your cards.

You can invite teams to work with and use the calendar feature. It is a great way to make sure you’re getting things done.

For example, Stella’s team members are using Trello, or as we call it, Stello, for organizing project-related tasks, keeping track of the progress of the mentoring process, and brainstorming for future ideas. 

EverNote

EverNote is a note-taking app which keeps track of to-do lists, lengthy research, web clippings, photos and drawings, and pretty much anything else. You can also save it on all of your devices (like Google Calendar, Google Drive or Dropbox), allows collaboration both in-app and web browser form, and presents all of your data in one easy-to-navigate digital workspace so is easy for task management. (Other good option: Slack). 

MIRO 

The online equivalent of an office whiteboard is MIRO and it is a great way for personal organization, if you are a visual person, meaning you prefer visualizing your goals and tasks. Simply sign up with your email address, and you can start inviting team members if necessary to collaborate right away.

Well if all of this does not help; you can always try freedom. https://freedom.to/, literally. As written on their website: If you need to focus on your work, break a habit, or simply improve your relationship with technology, by blocking distracting websites and apps, you’ll be more focused and productive. You will develop healthier, more intentional digital habits, that give you control over your time and attention.

We hope some of these suggestions will help, however, there is a chance online tools might overcomplicate your approach to organization, that is why it is important first to take time to set out your goals. That process can be done much better with the help of an actual personal connection which supports you in setting the goals and vision for the future. Organizational skills can definitely be developed through the mentorship process. Lastly, always remember, someone else was on the same spot as you, with the same insecurities about the future, so it is for the best to seek advice, and we have plenty of womentors which are more than glad to support you.

Sources: 

https://www.creativelive.com/blog/best-apps-organize-life/
https://www.popsci.com/apps-tools-for-organization/
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How to Write a Good CV

Your CV is your story. How you tell your story matters and it especially matters who your audience is. 

A common mistake we make is having the same CV for different job applications. Another thing we often get wrong is to list chronologically what we’ve done rather than focusing on what is most important to a particular employer or university in case you are looking to continue your education.

We also tend to write everything we have ever done – after all, we put time and effort into these activities and we want to acknowledge them. But your future employer only needs to know she has the ‘right’ person in front of them for the job; they are not interested in reading a report card of life activities for each candidate. 

Here are some quick tips of how to write a good CV:

  1. Keep it short: stick to 2 pages, write in a clear font and no smaller than 11 font-size.
  2. Read, re-read, read aloud: grammatical mistakes or odd sentences can happen to the best of us but it’s a guaranteed way of not getting the job. 
  3. Contact details: Make sure you have given correct contact details and provide a professional email address. For example, Tina_tigerlover_3#[email protected] is a no-go. Open a new email account if you have to. 
  4. Good match: You must show you are up for the job so select only achievements and activities that make you a good match to the profile the employer is seeking. If you only have modest previous experiences, you can include them by linking to how that background matters in the current job. For example, if you are applying for a project coordinator position but you have only a few previous jobs as shop assistant or event organiser, you can add a short description of your tasks and responsibilities such as how you can work under pressure, you are good with people skills and you can plan long-term. It is the qualities and experiences that will make you the right choice. 
  5. Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate: If you were not the top of your class, don’t say you were; if you only got a passing score, don’t say you were excellent, etc. When we really want a job we can get carried away with ‘polishing’ a few facts. But not only is this a mistake, it is fraud. You can and should focus on positive achievements, but stay true to what you have done. 

Writing a good CV is also about having support. Stella Mentors provide one-on-one support to girls and women seeking their next educational or career step. If you want to be a mentor or a mentee, simply sign up for free at Stella.mk 

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STEM E-Talks – April 24! | Let’s Talk Science

Stella Network is thrilled to announce that its first STEM E Talks will be held on Friday, April 24, 2020. Event will begin promptly at 4 p.m. CEST and run through 5:30 p.m..

Our mission is to stimulate and sustain the interest of youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The event includes a range of speakers covering different STEM topics and connections to exciting STEM careers.

STEM E-TALKS is a FREE event for all. Pre-register for STEM E-Talks by clicking the link below https://bit.ly/STEAM-ETALKS . Anyone who submitted a request will receive an email regarding acceptance within 48 hours. Two days before the event we will send a zoom link to your mail in order to be able to join the discussion.

Stella’s First STEM E-Talk

Speakers:

Egzona Morina (Stella mentor) is interested in figuring out the neural circuitry of sensory guided motor learning.She completed her MSc in Neuroscience and Education from Columbia University in 2015. She joined the Murray lab in September 2017 and is currently working on developing a behavioural task that will provide more information about how anticipatory postural adjustments occur in motor movements, after multisensory integration. Eventually she would like to develop an anatomical map of the neural circuitry that enables these adjustments.

(https://www.sainsburywellcome.org/web/people/egzona-morina)

Marta Huelin Gorriz investigates the role of cortico-hippocampal interactions underlying memory consolidation. By using large-scale electrophysiological recording methods combined with optogenetics, she will study the circuitry underlying the spatio-temporal flow of information between the auditory cortex and hippocampus during replay.

(https://www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/research/experimental-psychology/person/marta-huelin-gorriz/)

Sarah Olesen has a broad interest in understanding the circuits underlying learning and decision-making. She is currently in her first year on the SWC PhD programme, where she will rotate in different labs in line with these research interests.(https://www.sainsburywellcome.org/web/people/sarah-olesen)

Oriol Pavon Arocas is an alumnus from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where he obtained a BSc in Biomedical Sciences, and from the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, where he completed an MSc in Neurosciences. In 2016 he moved to London to join the Wellcome Trust 4-Year PhD in Neuroscience at UCL and completed a first year of rotations. For his PhD project in the Branco group, he is combining whole-cell patch-clamp recordings and single-cell RNA. (https://www.sainsburywellcome.org/web/people/oriol-pavon-arocas)

Daniel Regester moved to the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre as a PhD student after gaining his undergraduate MSci degree in Neuroscience from University College London. At the SWC Daniel is continuing his interest in social behaviour in the lab of Yoh Isogai. He is focused on the precise neural circuit and computational mechanism that underlie the processing of social sensory information within the brain.  (https://www.sainsburywellcome.org/web/people/daniel-regester)

Federico Claudi is a PhD student in the Branco Lab where he aims to combine innate threat responses with spatial navigation to investigate decision making strategy in rodents. Federico’s novel behavioural task aims to facilitate the detailed description of how environmental factors influence decision making strategy selection at a behavioural level. This, in turn, will lead to the formulation of specific testable hypotheses about the neuronal and computational mechanisms underlying this complex behaviour.(https://www.sainsburywellcome.org/web/people/federico-claudi)

Moderator

Dr Vigjilenca Abazi One of the co-founders of Stella and a firm believer that a good mentor can contribute to positive life-changing decisions and attaining our own potential. She is an Assistant Professor at Maastricht University, does research on whistleblower protection and teaches EU law. In her latest book, Vigjilenca shows how government secrets impact democratic oversight and fundamental rights in the European Union (you can find a book copy here: https://bit.ly/2VGcXlz).

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New Stella project focusing on women’s and girls’ entrepreneurship in rural communities

Stella starts a new project “Together We Rise: Entrepreneurship by Girls and Women in Lifting Rural Communities” that will offer training and mentorship support for women and girls from the rural communities who have ideas for starting their own businesses.

The project will focus on rural and marginalised communities and will be implemented in different regions of the country. Stella Network will provide personal mentorship through the existing Women Mentorship Network, as well as trainings and networking opportunities aiming to strengthen the entrepreneurial skills and develop the business ideas of women and girls in these communities. 

Stella Network will collaborate with different ministries, municipalities, civil society organisations, and professional networks in the country in the realisation of this project. 

The project will be implemented over a period of 13 months and is funded by the US Embassy in Skopje.

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CENTAR

Stella’s 10th Town Hall Discussion was held in the Municipality of Centar, in the hall of the Brakja Miladinovci Library in Skopje. 

There were three key speakers — Dragana Karovska Čemerska, a lawyer who has worked for more than 15 years in the non-governmental sector, Mersiha Smailovic, a co-owner of a financial and legal consulting company and a human right activist, and Lura Polozani, one of Stella co-founders.

Dragana focused on the issue of discrimination in the everyday life and discrimination that women face in their careers. She emphasized the systemic problems that single mothers face because the institutions are not ready to support them and they are left alone to fight for their careers, but also to be present for their children. ‘Discrimination and sexual harassment of women in our society is already accepted as the social norm,’ she pointed out.

Mersiha Smailovic pointed to the discrimination and stereotypes that people have based on the look of the women and the way they are dressed. She spoke of many experiences where she was discriminated against only because she was wearing a burqa. She talked about the ethnic discrimination of women in the society, as well as the sexual harassment in the workplace that a lot of women in the country face. 

Lura Pollozhani spoke about the need for women to unite and fight for their rights and the ways in which they can oppose and defend themselves from the sexual harassment, as well as the legal ways to do that in our country. She noted how even if the legal system in the country was not responsive enough, women should remain strong and pursue these cases through judicial means. ‘Women should have solidarity with the other women that work with them, especially if they have a case of sexsual or any kind of other harassment at their workplace,’ she pointed out. 

The discussion continued with stories that touched the question of sexual harassment in the workplace. ’I was going through a very difficult time during my studies and my previous three workplaces. I was sexually harassed during my education, by a university professor, and I could not past the exam for years. My boss blackmailed me to go out with him for a dinner if I want to advance in my career or get a higher salary,’ shared one of the participants. ’I have never had support from my colleagues, so I could not take any of these cases to court,’ she explained.

Another story was shared by a girl that was on a work-and-travel in another country, and she worked at a café. The owner of the café constantly harassed her and yelled at her for months. She talked with his wife mostly about the harassment, but she did not get any support from her; in fact, she even blamed her for the harassment. This verbal harassment was so unbearable that she left the job after only a month.

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КОН РОДОВА ЕДНАКВОСТ

Оваа студија е обид да се мапираат пречките и предизвиците со кои се соочуваат жените и девојките во Северна Македонија во академскиот и професионалниот живот. 
Наодите и заклучоците се засновани на податоци прибрани преку онлајн прашалник и во рамките на 14-те јавни дискусии организирани во различни делови од земјата.

Во првиот дел студијата се фокусира на предизвиците во образовниот процес, а во вториот дел, на пречките за вклучување на пазарот на трудот и напредокот на девојките и жените. 
Првиот дел е воден од потребата да се анализираат искуствата и перцепциите во образовниот процес, со цел подобрување на условите за воспоставување родова еднаквост. Вториот дел, пак, укажува на пречките со кои се соочуваат жените и девојките при вклучување на пазарот на трудот, како што се пречки поврзани со институциите и пречки поврзани со патријархалните норми кои сè уште доминираат во општеството. Врз основа на наодите, студијата нуди и неколку препораки за различни општествени актери

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Veles

The last Stella Town Hall Discussion for 2018 was held on November 15th at the local community Trajko Prokopiev in Veles. The event was organized in cooperation with the Women’s Organization of the Municipality of Veles.

The key speakers at this discussion were Mirjana Trajkova, the President of the Women’s Organization, Lence Zdravkin, the Honorary President of the Association “House of Hope”, and Rukie Agic, Professor at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food – Skopje.

Mirjana Trajkova spoke about the importance of women’s associations because they help to support women in accomplishing their dreams and career goals. Women partaking in such associations have moral and financial support in accomplishing their goals. Trajkova noted that ‘through our organization we financially supported 10 start-up initiatives, with business ideas provided by our members and now we also work on their management’. For the older members of the organization they provide different activities and competitions like cooking, sport activities, and lectures in school devoted to gender equality. In the rural areas they help women mainly in modernization of the agricultural process and their education.

Lenche Zdravkin is widely known for her support and help of refugees from the Middle East who transit through the Republic of Macedonia. She explained what women refugees and their children endure, especially their struggles during their path through war zones and to their final destinations, how they survived and how they are living on the roads every day, without losing hope for a better tomorrow. ‘These women are my biggest motivation, they are proving every day that even in the toughest situation in life we should stay positive and fight for our goals for better future’- she emphasized. She shared her story, how she began to support refugees, the crucial support of her family, and how she repurposed her husband’s garage to make a storage for the things that refugee needed.

Professor Rukie Agic noted the importance of support by spouses and family as crucial for any achievement: ‘My career demanded а lot of traveling, specialization in foreign countries and absences from my home, which were supplemented by my husband working at home and raising our children’. Professor Agic emphasized the support she provides to young women starting their work in agriculture in different rural areas, and how women are successful in the manufacturing of organic food.

The presentations were followed by an open and engaging conversations with the attendees. Two young women shared their personal stories on how they were running successful business independently. A lawyer pointed to the difficulties faced with judicial cases condemning domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. There were also stories from women that worked in the army and were on a foreign mission away from home for two years. They also agreed on the importance of family support in order to attain goals.

The engaging discussion, which enthusiastically lasted for over three hours, was concluded on the note that support from family, spouses, and the community are essential for women and girls to have the possibilities in achieving their dreams.

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CAIR

In June, Stella held a THD in Strumica, organised with the support of our local partner ‘The Center of Communities of the Municipality of Strumica’.

Svetlana Mazgaloska Vucetikj, a former Member of Parliament, a gender equality coach and a mother of a child with disabilities talked about the systematic obstacles that she faced with the education of her son. ‘Support among partners is the driving force for having a success within the family, as well for building successful professional careers of both partners’- she pointed out. She emphasized that gender equality is primarily due to the traditional stereotypes developed in a society. ‘All stereotypes related to women are drawn from the tradition of the people that is very difficult to eradicate having in mind they are embedded as a social norm’- she stressed.

Biljana Bajraktarova -a teacher, a career adviser and chair of the career center in one high school in Strumica- made a compelling case that ’women must fight for their dreams and through supporting each other they can pursue every dream they want’. She agreed that traditionally accepted norms are the biggest obstacles the community faces. For example, if young married couples acquire property, the property is registered as belonging only to the man, not to the couple or only to the woman. She also emphasized that there were cases where families with one daughter did not leave all their property to their daughter but to the groom.

Participants of the event shared their own experiences. One woman faced challenges in opening her business that could have been supported through state grants. Yet her application was rejected although she had all the necessary documentation. Another participant, a high school student, pointed that parents still think of careers along gender lines whereby there are male and female professions and that she should choose to study at a faculty that will later bring a ‘woman’s job’ instead of enrolling on a mechanical or technical faculty. An example was followed by a man who had to get used to sweeping the yard while someone else was passing on the street.’ When I swept the yard and would hear someone walking down the street I would threw the broom and pretend to do something else in the yard’- he explained, showing societal pressure for men not to take over housework. The wide consensus among participants followed that there are many traditional norms adopted by the society and have negative impact on women’s educational and career development. The first step in accomplishing gender equality is to break these embedded norms. The fight has to start in the family and should continue in all other social levels.

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DEBAR

The Town Hall Discussion was held on September 26th, with a great support by our local partner the Center for Sustainable Community Development in Debar. Stella Town Hall Discussions are open for all and the idea is to create a safe and friendly environment for an open and inclusive social dialogue about the situations women and girls face in the academic, professional and everyday life in their communities.

Nora Taravari, who is a Doctor of Science at the Department of European Integration and Communications, was the first speaker. She shared her story and explained the obstacles she faced at work. ‘It is very hard to be successful when your husband is a public person, and society rules the stereotype that one women is successful because of her husband’s success,’ she explained. Nora discussed the family responsibilities and the challenges that come as children grow older. She had very difficult times as she was working in Skopje and all of her family was in Gostivar. ‘However hard it may be, if you really want something you should never give up and I am sure you will achieve that,’ she ended her presentation.

Ljupka Ljubinovska, an activist and psychologist in a primary school, talked about the bullying that young girls suffer at school and the problems they face from an young age. There are several cases where girls even in primary school are getting married, not by their will, but by the will of their parents, she stated. However, the support among the girls in her school is at a very high level, with them protecting each other and being each others’ biggest support.

The participants shared personal stories about how young women are changing the stereotype that women should only care about domestic work duties and they do not need to have a career, as well as the stereotype related to choosing partners from diverse ethnic or religious backgrounds. Young women are fighting against the stereotypes and are shaping a whole new set of community values that break with the old traditional stereotypes.

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Struga

Stella held its eighth Town Hall Discussion on September 20th at the American Corner in Struga, supported by our local partner organization, Club Kombinati. The THD took place both in Albanian and Macedonian and enabled all participants to speak freely in a language that they felt most comfortable with, allowing a better and more honest discussion.

Lidija Mojsovska, a young movie director and the first speaker in this discussion started her presentation by sharing her first short film called ‘Award’, which premiered in 2015, and has won six international awards. The film is dedicated to all mothers in the world and the sacrifices they make to provide a better life for their families. The film brings a strong motivational message to all women that they are capable to manage all problems. Lidija spoke about her inspiration, the women that work very hard to pursue their careers and take care of their families.

The second speaker was Anita Latifi, Stella’s first Ambassador. In 2005 Anita was chosen as one of the five most prominent journalists in the country. Beside her work in the Albanian Theatre in Skopje, she is actively involved in projects on democratic values, development of civil society, protection of human rights, and freedom of expression. Sexual harassment is one of the biggest problems, she noted. She gave examples of how this sexual harassment can be detected, which measures can be taken in order for women to protect themselves, which institutions are competent and need to be informed in such cases. Many women in the audience stated that the education of the men is crucial in prevention of sexual harassment in the future. ‘The power and authority that is given to men that are in decision-making positions give them the possibility to sexually harass women in their institutions,’ pointed out one of the participants. Others agreed and shared a lot of examples from their communities where they have similar cases.

A weak link in this process of protection of women for sexual harassment are the courts and the complex judicial procedures, noted by all women in the discussion. The court record shows that these cases are very hard to prove and that the current legislation is not protecting the victims well enough. The main advice was to inform their colleagues or classmates about the harassment, in order for the victim not to be unsafe, and that women in this situations should support each other, bring charges against the harasser and testify in court.

After a long discussion of two and a half hours, women noted that they will continue to fight hard and be motivated in achieving their goals and dreams. Yet, more support is needed both from a family and an institutional perspective.

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