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Archive for the ‘Time Management’ Category

8-one-change-at-a-time

With exams around the corner, it is inevitable that students and often their parents feel the pressure of managing the study time tables so as to perform well. That is also the time when time pressure, the accumulated backlog of studies and the need to overhaul one’s life suddenly begins to overwhelm all the stake holders in this game. A similar situations crop up in our life off and on and the need to overhaul our life is the one common constant irrespective of which phase of life we are in. In trying to overhaul one’s life, the cardinal mistake we make is, thinking that we can overturn all the bad habits we have imbibed over the years, overnight. Just as you and I took nine months to be born, just like a year takes twelve months to change and a day requires 24 hours to be completed before a new day begins, we have to patiently work on small changes in our attitude, style and behavior before the effects of transformation are visible.

The four essentials for transformation are:

Deciding to change – This is the first step in bring about any meaningful change in one’s life. Until one decides to change, the status quo would always seem impossible to change. Excuses, rationalization and reconciliation with the existing situation would constantly nag you into succumbing to the status quo. Decide that you need to change your habits, your style, adopt a different strategy E.g. You know you have to spend more hours studying. You will find enough reasons why you are unable to do so and rationalize your decision for not being able to change and finally reconcile that you are a mediocre student. The same holds true for those wanting to lose weight but not being able to get themselves to eat healthy or exercise.

Planning the change – Once you decide to change, the key is to spend some time planning how you are going to bring about the change and be the change you want. Many of us fail in this step simply because we visualize that implementation of the plan is impossible. If you can outline the map to achieving what your goal is, you would at least have a clear agenda to follow. E.g. Having a clear time table to study is the first step in ensuring you are able to do justice to each subject that you have to study. Those subjects requiring practice or additional study, however much you dislike the subject, must be allotted more time.

Implementing the change – This is the toughest part of the process of transformation. At this stage you are attempting to move away from all that you felt comfortable doing despite knowing the consequences, to disciplining yourself doing unpleasant things, in the hope that it will give you good results. The tough part is beginning, the tougher part is motivating yourself to continue but the toughest part is keeping the momentum going. The trick is to visualize the small changes, mentally see yourself inching yourself forward towards your goals and occasionally noting how much you have progressed and how closer you are to your final goal.

Being patient – This is the most important virtue because without it, one would be tempted to give up. Patience comes from self belief, from charting out progress and being reasonable about your expectations at every given time line. Occasionally you could be slipping as per your plans, at other times you feel your pace is slow and many times there seems to be no motivation to pursue your plans. Remember the number of times you fell of your bicycle before you managed to master it or the number of times you felt you were drowning before you learned to swim. The lure of the eventual goal must be so encompassing that you become patient enough to trudge along despite all the obstacles that come your way.

Try these:

  • Try to play a new sport or pick up a new hobby. Notice how you take time to gain expertise, despite your possible talent in that field.
  • List out 3 changes that you want to bring about in your life. Outline what is stopping you from doing it. Plan and implement the plan to bring about the change.
  • Challenge yourself to overcome a constant criticism that you often encounter either from your spouse / child/ friend / colleague / well wisher.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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13-27- Two simple steps to make each day countPause for a moment and look back at the days gone by. Do you get the feeling that you could have a lot more if only we could re-live those days again? While regret for those days gone by wont help us now except to trigger a realization, we can make the best of today and the days to come that we will be fortunate to experience and enjoy. The trick lies in finding a way to wake up with determination and to go to bed with satisfaction.

So how does this mantra work?

A firm determination will …
Spark the desire for accomplishment
Fan the fires of enthusiasm
Light up the way ahead

When you go to bed with satisfaction you
Revel in the pleasure of achievement
Move closer to your cherished goals
Enjoy the bliss of sound sleep

ELSE

Without determination you will…
Be indecisive and anxious
You will a lot of incomplete tasks on hand
You will tend to give up at the first hint of trouble / difficulty

When you go to bed dissatisfied …
You will fret and fume over the wasted day
You will be left with too many irons on the fire and be stressed
Life will seem labored, insipid, stressed and painful every single night.

SO

To be determined
Have written down SMART goals (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Time bound)
Be organized and time conscious
Find a strong motivation to start and finish the task.

To ensure a satisfactory day end
Review the day before going to bed; enjoy the success of the day and work out ways to cope with the tasks left undone
Break down major tasks into smaller specific goals
Ensure your full quota of sleep and a clear conscience is said to be the best pillow.

Try this:

Make a list of the following

  • The tasks that you hate but which is unavoidable
  • The one task that is relatively easy but you constantly not doing it on time
  • The tasks that you enjoy doing the most
  • The one task that you would like to delegate to your best friend

Write down your reasons/ excuses for

  • Not doing the TRY THIS tasks in the previous post
  • Indulging in what you are constantly criticized for by family and or friends and or colleagues
  • Not making a sizeable financial contribution to your favorite charity
  • Being less successful than what you think you are capable of

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog
www.poweract.blogspot.com

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At the outset let me thank all my readers, blog followers and well wishers for your encouragement, feedback and support over the past two years.

Let me also wish each one of you a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2012

“Clothe with life the weak intent, let me be the thing I meant.” John Greenleaf Whittier

Every individual resolves to make at least one resolution during the New Year, which he/she hopes to faithfully adhere too during the course of the year.  In reality many of us actually have more than one hope, expectation, resolution that we secretly aim to achieve. The overwhelming majority of us, unfortunately end up with regrets and excuses for either completely abandoning most of the resolutions or vainly attempting a few. This is invariably followed by a temporary fervor to once again make a fresh set of resolutions and a short lived attempt at it. Are there ways and means to help one achieve one’s resolutions? Outlined is a 5 step method to go about making resolutions that can be achieved.

Think carefully write clearly. Resolutions are nothing but goals ones sets for oneself. Obviously therefore one must think carefully, ponder insightfully and commit wholeheartedly by writing down the resolution. Many of us have a vague notion of a goal e.g. make more money or get a good job or enhance my savings. The adjectives only obfuscate our real desires. Instead make the resolution more tangible so that one can visualize it clearly. Spell out the money you want the type of job and work environment in mind or put a number in real terms or as a percentage of income that one seeks to save.

Allocate a time slot for each resolution. If for example one wants to increase the savings then one needs to carefully record expenses or find alternatives to increase income. This cannot be done as a casual exercise but can be achieved if it is well entrenched in our regular routine.  A fixed time allocated to record expenses will bring about the disciple also to collect bills as well as make you think twice before you actually spend. Similarly one would explore alternatives to enhance income only if one seriously sits down and explores possibilities.

Make a commitment aloud. This does not mean shouting from the roof tops (this can also help too) but refers to ensuring that the written goals are keep visible so that one is often forced to look at it. Maybe a copy of it can be pasted on the mirror on your room or a small list put in your wallet or the list is put on your computer as a start up icon that pops up on booting. An alternative is to actually share some of your resolutions with close friend and well wishers who can keep reminding you of it off and on.

Never let slippages become excuses. For various reasons, despite ones best efforts one may not be able to faithfully adhere to the time slots allocated. Many of us take that first slippage as a fatal failure and let tardiness and casualness overcome us. This is a fatal mistake. Never let such slippages bind you in its clutches. Instead be aware of the slippages and make a determined effort to double your efforts next time around. E.g. If you plan to learn a musical instrument and because of a bout of flu you were forced to miss a week of class do not give up completely.

Inbuilt a success acknowledgement. Every individual needs to relish every success that comes ones way. The same holds true with the small victories and the large triumphs that involve ones numerous resolutions. If we have shared our resolutions with others and we share the progress too then the sharing itself gives one a high and more often than not the congratulatory responses adds to ones elation and reinforces ones resolve. Other times take stock of one’s progress and visualize the distance one has travelled to achieving ones goal.

Remember: “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”  Benjamin Franklin

Try this:

  1. Here is a PPT that was shared with me which gives you some Positive Thoughts to keep in mind this New Year 2012. You can make this your first resolution for the New Year. Think about the positives
  2. Jot down 3 resolutions each, under the following heads
  • Personal resolutions
  • Career related resolutions
  • Social commitment resolution
  • Financial oriented resolutions

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. Thomas Jefferson

Many of us spend a lot of time pondering over the future and going around in circles confused and fearful about our fate. We shy away from finding out answers to some fundamental questions like

  • Who am I and how do I hope to shape my future?
  • What do I want to do with my life?
  • What are those values and qualities I cherish?
  • What are the fears that torment me?
  • Who are the people I can depend upon?
  • What are my yardsticks for success?
  • How do I go about achieving success?

Obviously there are no easy answers that will emerge in a jiffy but if we dismiss these questions as impossible to answer, the questions would keep lurking n our mind and torment us thereby impeding our productivity, happiness and peace of mind.

The answers to all the questions seem hidden, obscure and / or elusive but in reality they are merely packaged within the individual personality that you are. If you want to discover it, you would need to see yourself as a package doing the rounds in a game of ‘passing the parcel’ where a dimension of you is subtly revealed when you are vulnerable, exploited, hurt, abused or manhandled like the parcel, by those you interact and deal with. When every layer of the parcel is peeled out and you delve deeper and deeper, suddenly the parcel opens up to throw up a surprise gift ‘YOU”

The practical way out to discover yourself now is to unravel the real you and that can be done when you Act with Purpose, Ponder with Insight and Accept the reality with Grace.

Act with purpose : While our formative years were by and large guided and molded by parents, elders and teachers, our dependence on them will reduce as the years go by and we grow up to be mature individuals. Hopefully we would have accepted sane advice and guidance and focused on our values, education, manners, career choice etc. when we begin to furrow our own path our upbringing should discipline us make choices with positive purpose. The learning both formal and informal, our intelligence, our experience, the feedback we receive, the risks we take, the options we avoid are all partly subconscious but largely a purposeful goal driven activity. In effect we never idle away our time or waste our resources but act with purpose to achieve our goals.

Ponder with Insight: Of and on we do tend to look back and wonder about the twists and turns in our life and occasionally we would lament and rue some mistakes and lost opportunities and also be pleased about those right moves we made. Often we will keep analyzing the present, keep attempting to improve up on the existing and make efforts to learn, improve, adjust and adapt to the changes that we experience, perceive or imagine.  We would simultaneous also look ahead and with the wisdom of past experience, the knowledge of the current trends and the applying our commonsense and foresight, ponder with insight and plan for the present and future. Without realizing we would have discovered some key competencies, some harsh realities and the real facts about ourselves.

Accept the reality with Grace: Where we fail is in accepting the reality of our personality. We would need to enthusiastically accept our strengths, our abilities, our talents and our potential and leverage them to raise the bar of personal excellence. Tougher still is the challenge of accepting the reality of our limitations, our weakness, our insipid temperament and our irrational fears which curb our risk taking,  restrict our horizons and expose our inadequacies.  Once we learn to accept the reality of our personality with grace we would have discovered the secret of how to find happiness within ourselves.

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.  William James

Try this:

How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (1 being very poor and 10 being excellent) your abilities on. Now ask your spouse or sibling or close associate to do a similar rating for you. Compare the results.

  • Managing your time
  • Taking decisions
  • Interacting with people
  • Handling crisis
  • Being creative

Download the attached file Human Emotions  and from the list of emotions list out 5 Positive Emotions and 5 Negative Emotions that are typical of you. Now for emotion that you have listed give a suitable example from your life to make sure the emotion has been experienced by you. Next take a print of the file and show it to the following people and ask them to outline those emotions which in their view are applicable to you. You may make some revealing realities about yourself from the replies of others.

  • A family member (preferably a sibling)
  • A close friend
  • A colleague
  • An old school chum
  • A new acquaintance (they have to judge your emotions based on your interactions)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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Dear Friends,

Today’s post is very different from the normal posts. I am taking this opportunity to share with some salient features of this blog and to update you about how it has shaped up over the last year and a half. For me, the very thought that I have managed to last so long in my quest to share with you some Inspirational and Motivational content is both  an exhilarating feeling and a humbling thought. Exhilarating because this blog has achieved a milestone of over 70,000 views and 500 followers in this realtively short span of time.  A BIG THANK YOU to EACH of you who visit the blog and especially for the 500 odd ardent followers of this blog. I am humbled by the realization that but for your encouragement, this blog would never have reached these milestones.  A special thank you to the many followers, who have given their comments, rated the blog and passed on the links to friends and contacts.

In January 2010 when this blog began, I kept an ambitious target of writing every single day. The first few days were heady for in the initial enthusiasm I was able to keep writing daily. Reality soon hit me hard, when within a few weeks, the effort became laborious, the ideas stopped flowing and the rather forlorn thought that no one was reading my blog became a big dampener. Fortunately for me a few colleagues, some friends and surprisingly a number of strangers soon signed on as followers and then overnight I felt responsible to ensure that they were given their daily fix of Inspirational and Motivational inputs. I am proud that in the first 365 days I managed to write for a good 340 days or so and some of the days I didn’t post was simply because I was overseas then.

This year 2011, I have cut down my posts drastically. The strain of writing everyday was a wee bit too much and once I had proved to myself that I could write every single day, the challenge was missing too. More importantly, there have been other commitments that have taken centre stage and so the blog has had to bear the brunt of it. I am not too disappointed though primarily because I also got some feedback that there was reader fatigue since the daily posts saturated their ability to imbibe the contents, attempt the Try This and experience the learning. I also noticed a steady drop in feedback and rating which to my mind also signaled an overdose of the blog. However there have been a few ardent fans who have kept inquiring why I have cut down on the blog posts and they have reinforced the belief that my work is not in vain. The sudden spurt in followers over the last couple of months has also been very encouraging. I shall definitely be writing the blogs, perhaps twice a week.

I would welcome FEEDBACK from each one of you about the blogs, my sharing today and would welcome both bouquets and brickbats if any. I would urge you to continue to patronize the blog, spread word about it to those who you feel will benefit from the contents and be assured that I shall continue to pontificate as before.

I take this opportunity to Thank Each One of YOU once again for your support, patronage and appreciation  of both www.actspot.wordpress.com and www.poweract.blogspot.com

Wishing each of you success in your endeavors and in having a fulfilling life filled with love, happiness and contentment.

Warm regards

B.Jacob

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”  Jim Rohn

Discipline holds the key to both our progress and our self esteem. This is because unless we are disciplined we can rarely harness our full potential. Subsequently when we look back if we experience more regret than the pleasure of achievement we find it hard to forgive ourselves for it. In effect we botch up the possibility of pulling up our socks and salvaging the rest of our potential because we are brooding over what is lost and cannot be retrieved. Similarly self esteem flowers when the mind and body can savor the fruits of discipline in terms of success and achievements .

The challenge of being disciplined is managing to be clear, committed and conscientious. A simple illustration about the comparison between disciplined people (like those in the armed forces who are in excellent physical shape) and the average citizen (who is often overweight and sloppy) would bring home the point about the criticality of discipline in a person’s life. With this example in mind lets us analyze why each of those 3 C’s have such a major bearing on our life and our happiness. Clarity of purpose is often the first stumbling block. Part of the problem stems from the fact that we have ample choices and our natural inclination is to take the most convenient option. As a result we spend time in rationalizing our wrong choices rather than in discerning the right option. Even more dangerous is the tendency to be uncommitted to our choice because we are still not really convinced that we got that right. Most students if quizzed on their career choice are unclear about it for their heart might be in something that the head says will not meet societal and parental approval. E.g. A brilliant student opting  to choose fine arts or dramatics or music as a chosen field of study is certain to find a lot of well meaning friends, relatives and teachers gently but firmly persuading him/her to reconsider the decision. The net result is a very confused person ultimately pursuing what is essentially forced upon. Without clarity, self doubt keeps the person confused and leads to indisciplined effort / work ethics.

Irrespective of the fact that a choice exercised was done whole heartedly or thrust upon a person, once he/she begins to traverse that path, there is no option but to be commitment whole heartedly. The difficulty here is that many a time the heart will rebel, the mind will waver and the spirit will droop, particularly when way seems long, winding and dark. The challenge in commitment comes from inside ourselves when we are tempted far too often to throw in the towel. Team sports offers us the vivid example of how, many an aspiring player toiled in hope, faith and pluck before they made the cut. Of course there would be many more who would have been left along the wayside but succeeded in using the learning to carve a niche elsewhere.  Commitment is the glue that marries the clarity of purpose with the conscientious approach that would ensure that success is a real possibility.  To be conscientious involves toil, sacrifice and pain. It forces one to repeatedly hone ones skills, if possible keep improving and at the very best achieve perfection by regular repetitive rigor. This can be summed up by the phrase’ Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle’.

 Remember:“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”    Lance Armstrong

 Try this:

  1. Outline the 3 most important New Year resolutions that you really want to achieve. Alternatively make a list of 3 important things that you want to achieve.  Work out a plan of action and put it down on paper. Starting now go on implement it. (eg. If I plan to lose weight and want to start walking at 6 am from tomorrow, right now I will set the alarm for 5.30 am)
  2. Attempt the following
  • Threading a needle (try to improve your timing also)
  • Put 5 consecutive 3 pointer basket ball shots. (later  try this from different angles)
  • Attempt to burn a piece of paper using a magnifying glass and natural sunlight.

(If you only read the TRY THIS and do not attempt it, ask yourself why you lack the discipline to effectively use the learning from the blogs; is it lack of clarity about the purpose of the exercises/  you don’t want to take on the commitment / you find it hard to be repeatedly attempt and fail)

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com 

You are also invited to visit our weekly Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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This time like all times is a very good one if we but know what to do with it  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last night, I was deeply disappointed that I ran headlong into a writer’s worst nightmare ‘the writer’s block’ and after pottering around for more than an hour attempting to get going with the blog I simply quit. Funnily enough I enjoyed a good sleep but on waking up was racked with pangs of guilt on not writing the blog, suffering the ignominy of being idealess and I suspect more depressed at the blow to my ego. However as the day wore on it occurred to me that the experience of the previous night was not entirely wasted; after all I was subject to the painful realization of my own limitations; having made the decision to give up and go to sleep my dilemma was resolved and I enjoyed blissful sleep; and on waking up I was glad to rediscover my competitive drive. That time (yesterday when I stared for an hour at a blank screen attempting to write)  just like the present moment that I am writing and this moment that you are reading this post are all equally invaluable provided each of us is doing exactly what was/ is required.

Our successes or failures in life are nothing but net effect of the time we spend fruitfully minus the time we waste in doing things that either we ought not to do or should do at another time. Look back at our own student days and reflect on how much effort we put into studies and how much time we spend in day dreaming, hanging out with friends, sleeping, watching movies TV partying etc. It is not as if to suggest that the latter activities are to be avoided but definitely they must be restricted for each of us is fortunately or unfortunately privy only to 24 hours of the day. A good test to understand how much time we utilize productively is to ask if we have any regrets. The more the regrets the greater the waste of our limited time. Ask if you have taken time out to smell the flowers as you traverse the paths of life. If you haven’t then soon you would realize the frustrtionof having the time but squandering it.

Another test to find out if we have made good use of our time is to answer the question’ what will I do with the last 10 minutes of my life?

Ask if you would end telling yourself the following

I will go around telling those whom I love that I love them passionately

I will go around pardoning all those who hurt me

I will go around seeking pardon from those I hurt,

I will loosen my purse strings and liberally give out to charity etc.

Some questions that will haunt you then are

Can  I do all this in 10 minutes?

Should I have not done this all the time?

Why did I waste my time on frivolous things when I should have spend more time with loved ones?

Was my life worth whatever I achieved?

Will someone really grieve for me?

Remember:

Happy the man, and happy he alone,

He, who can call to-day his own:

He who, secure within, can say:

“To-morrow, do thy worst, for I have liv’d to-day.”

Try this:

  1. Ask yourself right now if this is the right time to read the blog. If your answer is yes then go on and read a few more blog posts including the weekly post at www.poweract.blogspot.com If your answer is NO, then stop reading and slot a time to read and henceforth make it a point to read these posts only at that time.
  2. Any time is perfect to do the following. Ensue that you practice as many of these as often as you can.
  • Smile
  • Thank
  • Apologize
  • Praise
  • Reflect
  • Appreciate
  • Pardon
  • Pray

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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