Have your daily life themes planned for 2013?


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You wake up early, probably get some exercise, freshen up & get ready, have a quick bite and grab your coffee on the way out to work. Then, at the office, you spend an entire 8-10 hours tackling what you came for, work. Somewhere in between, you grab a bite for lunch and if you’re lucky, get a coffee during a break. You leave and on the way back, review the day’s proceedings in your head or perhaps, brood over that nasty meeting you endured that noon or mull over how to tackle that timeline problem or resource issue, take your pick. You make it home in the evening, acknowledge your family with a faint smile and go over to freshen up and change. Next, you grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage, park yourself in the couch and hit the TV remote. Your spouse wants to share their day and your kids cozy up to you and want to play with you or need you to help with their homework, but you hardly have the energy or the willingness to spend time away from relaxing. You may force yourself, once in a while to engage with the kids or the family in activities. Or you want to get down to completing the work at hand, personal or work related, that has been lagging behind.

Bored yet? Hey, this is the regular life of an average adult. Don’t you see yourself somewhere in there? Well, its regular, its average & it can be boring. That’s where you come in. How do you go about adding the zest into it? There’s not much you can do about how regular life is structured but you can slowly but surely make amends to its nature by consciously making changes. Resolve to change your day to day life for the better in 2013, conscious change for the better. What changes, you may ask?

Think and make a list. Then, follow through with the execution of that list. For example; spend time with your family & kids, get them involved in your life and you involve in theirs. This strengthens the bond between you and cultivates positivity in mutual involvement. Instead of spending time with the TV, play a game of chess or scrabble with the kids. If there is an activity you are inclined toward, perhaps there is something that the family can contribute to. Delegate to them, no matter how small and complete together. Togetherness is key here.

You don’t want to sacrifice your TV time? Find a time that works for all and watch a favorite show together. Make it a habit to have dinner around the table as a family and discuss the day or any topics of choice together. Communication is key here.

Have a hobby and encourage everyone in the family to have one. Pursue hobby time together. Variety is key here.

Just the way you plan your career and work toward it, plan your daily life and work it. Trust me, it’s as important, if not more as your career, for a healthy home life ensures you have a happy and successful life outside the home. Find the themes you want to pursue in your and the family’s daily life, set goals, milestones throughout the year; plan for togetherness, happiness & sharing; cheer for each other while building a great quality of life. Act consciously and track progress. You will be surprised at how much more time and variety you can find within the 24 hour day. Don’t let life fleet by at its own pace and will. Take Control. Well, what are you waiting for? Get started!

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After all, you create your own legacy


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I saw an interesting facebook post by a cousin the other day. He, being around 40, concluded that he might live for another 20, perhaps 30 years which he stated turn out to be roughly 10K days. He realized its time to have a plan in place and ensure none of these days are merely wasted. Now, that’s an interesting way to look at the future; 30 years vs. 10K days. Suddenly, things seem to fall into perspective, don’t they?

One of the secrets to a zestful life is having an aspiration and a strong determination to follow through, no matter what your age. It doesn’t necessarily have to be just one or something lofty. It may be numerous aspirations, which are perhaps simple pleasures in life. Some of you, my friends may prefer to call it the bucket list.

Once you aspire for something, to plan for it meticulously, executing on that plan while ensuring you aren’t deviating from your goal, impromptu decisions to tackle unforeseen obstacles and finally, achieving what you planned to accomplish have their own unique sweetness and sense of fulfillment that each must cherish.

Change in perspective only helps put us back on track where we might have indulged in inertia for too long. I believe that such incidents or differed views only help refocus on a track previously treaded on and perhaps you meandered away from. Although, such wake-up calls are necessary, one in pursuit of a burning aspiration should never need them. Constant focus is imperative but, being human does come in the way and that’s where they bring you back on track.

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While doing this, you will time and again come face to face with your persona, will be able to review and improve upon a better self, will cross your achievements and cherish that sense of fulfillment I related before.

Not just professionally, but aim to have these aspirations in your personal life as well.

Seek to be a better parent, a better spouse, a better brother or sister, a better friend, a better you.

After all, you create your own legacy.

A little self-restraint can save you some precious “Ahs” and “Ohs”!


                                           

One would think that one can be a free soul in certain scenarios; be yourself in the midst of your loved ones, primarily your family. Well, sure. But, every situation has its own rules and tenets. After all, we are humans. How did you ever think there would be a situation or scenario where all rules could just be blown away?

In any case, what we are discussing today is about self-restraint. Every person has a unique temperament. I know “spur of the moment; say it on your face” folks as well as “duh, were you talking to me?” folks. There are those that just absorb a situation and do not react to it at all versus those that absorb, analyze and then, come out with a self validated reaction based on their experience. And, then there are those that first react and then, go on to analyze what just happened.

There are several situations you tackle every day, be it at home, at work, in a social circle or even, in your virtual world, you know what I mean, social networks on the web, your e-mail etc. With the rapid exchanges these days and a horrendous influx of information to assimilate and analyze, it somehow seems that impromptu reactions are the best way to keep on top of such daunting interactions. As tempting as it might seem, it is in your best interest to exercise some self-restraint. If an interaction is important to you, take a moment, pause, think and store your reaction away to come back to later. That “later” might be a few minutes away, a few hours away or if possible, a few days away depending on the urgency of the matter at hand. When you come back to react at this later time, you will be amazed at your self and the vast difference in your reaction then, and now. Time is a great healer and brings about the balance in your reactions, the right balance that just probably saved you a job, a relationship, a life.

I am not saying that there should not be instant reactions at all. There are situations that definitely need these to save the day or cherish a moment, but judge those and react accordingly. But, if you feel hurried before reacting or feel that your urge has gotten the better of you, STOP! And follow the wait and react approach. You will never have to cry over spilt milk!

Don’t rob yourself of life’s simple pleasures…


Of late, I have been pretty busy with work in general.  There have been several instances where I am tied down at the office and then, pick right back after I return home. Sound familiar, eh! My 4 year old daughter is a definite attention seeker. If she wants me to listen to her or watch her, she sure means it. Over the last few days, I have tried to feign attention while doing my work. She knows it the moment I try. She stops saying what she started and tells me, “Dad, Listen to me.” And until she is sure that I am listening, she will not continue.

The other day, she wanted to show me that she could jump over her mat on the floor. She jumped over and said, “Dad, did you see that?”

I said, “Hmm…Yeah, Great job!”

She replied, “Dad, Look!”

I lifted my head and looked at her feet as  she got ready to jump again. She said, “Dad, look at me….and keep looking.”

While I looked into her eyes, she jumped over the mat a few times, all the time, making sure, I was watching.

I made sure, I watched and then, exclaimed over her feat!

All the time, I was thinking of how quick the kids are to notice if you are truly attentive or not.  Next followed pangs of guilt for feigning attention that they seek and truly deserve.

It is important to plan your time judiciously between work and life and give each of these the true attention they deserve. Of course, there will be times when one will encroach upon the other, but even during such times, it’s vital to minimize and if possible, avoid inattention or neglect.

I made a pact with myself to spend some pure unadulterated time with my kids the next day. And, that was the best possible time I had with them in a long time. I learnt so much about my own kids and we had much fun together. And the best part, we bonded tremendously.

I am sure you juggle multiple roles in your daily life too. Make a decision to treat work and life with similar passion. Come back and tell me about the exciting surprises life threw at you!

 

Work Smart, not hard…


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Every time I strike up a conversation with someone, either in a professional environment or in a social setting, the conversation invariably moves towards how it’s been on the work front. Most of the time, what I hear is, “It’s been busy!” Then, the conversation meanders into how there is no time to even catch a breath, so on and so forth. Sound familiar?

And, I invariably start thinking that this has become an unconscious reaction of almost anyone, whether they are truly swamped or not. After all, work is such an integral part of anyone’s life. But, in the modern world as we know it, is any work truly “hard”. Well, most of it is not and whatever is, there are several innovations in place to make it easier to perform.

Today, it is not as much about working hard as it is about working smart. We live in a time where it’s your resourcefulness and acumen that plays a vital part in your success than sheer hard toil.

For every aspect of work where true muscle power is needed, machinery and computers have proven their mettle. When it comes to true productivity, burning themidnightoil has shown to be futile. The most productive contribution from a human is limited to about 8-9 hours a day. After that, a change in scene is required to ensure that you do not burn yourself out. There is a need to recharge and replenish for continuing your productive pursuit the next day.

It also helps to pause a moment and relook at the task ahead with a fresh perspective. Often times, you will see a different light on some other end of the dark tunnel. The modern workforce is distributed across the globe, some working virtually and some enjoying flexible schedules. These allowances have actually brought down stress levels and increased productivity. Imagine being tied to your desk working on a task while worrying about how your kids will be picked up at daycare if you can’t go. Who wins in this situation? Now, if you were able to take off for an hour to get your kids home and come back to work or if you were to take off early, get your kids home and then, continue to work from home, isn’t that a true win-win situation all around.

Coming back to the 8-9 hours you have available on a daily basis to tackle work, I think that is plenty of time to be truly productive without complaining about being swamped. It boils down to planning your work and then, working the plan. It also builds upon being accountable for what you do and showing responsibility. This will actually rub off on those that you work with. If you plan right and perform right, you should never be truly swamped or overwhelmed by work.

Today’s economy has created unique situations where many employees have taken on more than their due at work and are thankful to be employed. But, this also creates situations where they may be overwhelmed causing burnout. By nature, we try to pack as much as possible in a day. Working smart is prioritizing based on importance and urgency, planning workable chunks, setting yourself up to succeed, being flexible to accommodate your work/life balance without losing focus on either.

Now, take a moment and reflect on your own situation….

Are you working hard…..or working smart?

Do you support smart work within your team/your organization?

Aspire to Inspire…


Look around you, there are several icons in the present and the past that we look up to. There is awe, astonishment and the feeling of disbelief. There is aspiration and sometimes, this crosses the fine line of wanting to be in the shoes of the person you are most influenced by. In the present times, constant media bombardment has actually helped some personalities rise to such influence. It’s another question whether they deserve it or not. But, more important, this constant barrage has tremendous influence on the minds of both the immature and the mature.

The younger immature lot, especially are more easily influenced. And in most cases, they end up wanting to be who they admire. This can be a positive or a negative thing based on the strength of character of the one influenced. It’s important to recognize that the one you admire is just one and very unique. To draw inspiration from what they did and the success they achieved, to channel your own efforts to succeed is good. If such success is not attained, the frustration that follows and not being able to overcome it to chart your own path is harmful. This is where immaturity is seen.

Draw inspiration from those you admire, draw inspiration from their values, their character and such. Emulate and imbibe these to make a difference in your own life. As a result of this, you develop your own unique charm and your very own personality. Develop and exert this personality to achieve the success you desire. Ensure that your personality has a positive influence on those around you. First and foremost, this has a deep impact on your immediate family. Cultivate this influence for the benefit of your near and dear. Then, grow this influence as far out as you can reach. Remember, you are a sum total of your own experiences, there is no one out there like you. Live your life and aspire to influence others with the best in you!

 

Whose side are you on?


“Whose side are you on?”

A question often heard by each one of us, at home when interacting with the family, at work when interacting with colleagues or at social events when interacting with friends.

 Really, “whose side are you on?”

Each of us plays several roles in our daily life. You are a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse or partner, a colleague, an employee or business partner, a friend, an adversary, a competitor and much more. It’s important that we don each of these different hats as needed. It’s truly amazing how many roles we go through each day. And you thought you weren’t a good actor? Well, rest assured; you are a true to life actor!

In each of these acts, your loyalties differ and hence, your priorities. At home, your family takes precedence and all you do is for the family’s benefit and comfort. Even within a family; over time, different members share a premier part of you, be it your parents, siblings, spouse or children. At work, your time and action is governed by objectives of your organization’s success. On the social front, it’s the relationships you cherish with friends that are at the forefront.

There are times when each of these roles steps on the toes of another and that is when the question arises, “Whose side are you on?” When work keeps you busy and tied down beyond normal limits, neither the family nor friends are amused. Similarly, when you tend to spend more time with friends, the family isn’t happy either. And, if it’s the family taking up all the time, work and friends suffer. It’s a delicate balance that has to be kept up in order to hold onto a sane life.

You are out at work to provide for your family and yourself. When at work, you are representing the interests of whom/what you work for and it’s important that you believe in the same with your heart and soul to be effective at it. Your profession establishes your identity in the world since that is the yardstick the world has chosen to measure people by; what they do. The friends and relations you maintain are a true reflection of your core as a person. There are relationships that are a result of your work and the end result of those is just that, to propagate your work. Do not mistake them for what I am referring to here. The friends I am referring to are the ones whose company you truly enjoy, where you can be yourself and live within your own skin with no expectations on either side. Such relationships are an integral part of maintaining a balance in life. Today, in the world of online social media, you could have hundreds and thousands of “friends”, yet there is a close-knit group that you enjoy spending time with. That group helps you energize to focus on playing the other roles in your life.

Are you spending more time at work consistently? What is triggering this? Are you unable to catch up with your work? Is it now time to re-prioritize? Are you spending too much time out with friends and neglecting family commitments? Are you so engrossed with things occupying family that your work and friends are taking a hit? These are signs to watch out for since it means the balance in your life is tilting somewhere. Such tilt is bound to happen and in more cases than not, its important to have that happen. After all, each of these areas of your life is extremely important. But, it also means it needs to be addressed to set the balance right.

Simply put, work while at work, play while at play and cherish your family all through. That is the mantra of a happy, blessed and successful life!

Have you smiled at yourself lately?


It’s a tough world out there, getting up to fight the everyday battles of life, at work and at home. Sometimes, you may even feel that you are all alone in your daily battles. This is the time to take a step back and smile at you.

Smiles are magical. They can lift your spirits in a jiffy. I come back home every night after a tiring day and, there is my little 3-year-old rushing to the door as she hears the click of the lock, all smiles and wanting to hug. That just melts away the trials and tribulations of the entire day! For some of us that are far from family or caught up in the tussle and bustle of life, it’s important to find a smile. It’s as close as you looking into a mirror and giving yourself one. Seriously, how many of you actually smile at yourself each morning when you look in the mirror. If you do not, try it.  It can mean the difference between dredging through a tough day versus having a spring in your step and your heart.

A smile relaxes your muscles, the frown on the forehead just disappears and the face is at its best. Smiles are infectious. You smile and look at someone, they smile back. It’s the easiest way to pass some happiness around.

You might say, my situation just doesn’t let me even try to smile. Well, you remember that plastered smile you have seen before where you doubted the genuineness behind it. That will do. It may sound funny but that is a good start. Try it and keep at it. Before you know, you will have a genuine one on your face and this will be there to stay as you work through your issues, but now with a smile on your face! Moreover, now you are spreading it too.

Smiles helps activate the “happiness” biochemical in our bodies, a very vital ingredient for sustained happiness and a healthy and long life. Now, isn’t that a treasure to pass around to friend and foe!