May 20th, 2008

How To Thrive in an Extrovert World
A Must-Read For Introverts

Are you energised by spending time alone? Is your ideal celebration a small get-together rather than a big party? You, my friend may be an introvert. The good news is, you are not alone. Hello, you’re looking at one!

Class Participation - FAs a child, I found it terribly difficult to fit in. I didn’t speak much in class nor did I have many friends. In fact, my report cards were filled with notes such as, “Needs to participate in class”, “Very quiet in class” or “Too quiet!!!”.

Most of the time I did have something to say, but when called to participate I’d usually blank out. I maintained that I wasn’t shy, I just didn’t like to be overwhelmed by attention.

When I first started using the Internet more than 10 years ago, one of the applications I enjoyed using the most was the IRC, because I loved the fact that no one knew who I really was. With it I can anonymously be myself (does this even make sense?). However, I found out talking incognito to a group of people in real-time online had the same effect it would in real life — it drained my energy out.

Me on IRC vs Me in real life

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April 29th, 2008

Specify Your Ideal Job Today

My internet connection has been, to put it mildly, crazy the past 5 days (still is). I’d be typing a long and carefully thought out comment on someone’s blog and then in the middle of posting, have it disappear into the dark cyberspace, never to be found again. The whole of my Monday was spent trying to rectify this problem. Alas, according to the service provider there’s nothing wrong with the connection, and the technician who checked the modem found no fault with it either (the problem was intermittent – he waited nearly 40 minutes for the connection to drop but NOTHING happened! Grrr! ) so I’ve been taking a lot of my work offline.

Speaking of work, I can’t help but be thankful for the fact that, being my own boss, I can choose my working (and blogging) hours. I’m typing this on a word processor, at 2:30am (I’d probably post this at a random time later, when the connection is up). Yes, I’ve never been so busy in my life — as I approach deadlines, I’d be sleeping just 6 hours a day ( the past week, I averaged 5 hours a night) — but I never had so much fun and joy doing work either.

Roger Ebert - Don\'t spend your life working at a job you\'d rather be retired from\

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April 21st, 2008

Getting Work Started
A Tip for Procrastinators

Good Monday everyone!

For most of us, it is the start of another week day. The procrastinator in some of us may still cling on the hems of Sunday’s lazy, comfortable sheets but listen, no matter how adept you are at putting off work, you have to do work eventually because that is what you are being paid to do. But a tiny voice in your head says, “but the deadline is still 2 days away!” Listen to this little guy and before you knew it’s Wednesday and you haven’t done a thing.

Yes, there are deadlines for work. But there’s also a deadline for when to start work. The difference is – you get to define it. The problem? Most of us do not clearly define our “start work deadline”.

Food Clock

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March 27th, 2008

Idea Killers – 3 Ways to Stifle A Great Idea

Ideas are like seeds. They have the potential to grow into a bountiful harvest . But it takes a lot of patience and hard work before you can achieve this. Here are some of the things that might be counterproductive to the growth of a great idea:

  1. Not giving your idea a chance to grow
    You have with you a handful of magic beans, which have the potential to yield 10 times more than those already available in the market. You are excited about the prospects but then you stop and start to question yourself : Will this really work?Am I wasting my time on an unproven product?

    Magic Beans

    Idea killers come in many forms but do you know who is usually responsible for destroying most of your ideas? You. We are usually our worst critic. We are extra hard on ourselves because we are afraid to fail. But look at it this way — if you don’t even start something, you have already failed at your shot of success. When you go to a funfair, you gamble a few dollars at the coconut shy for a chance to win a big teddy bear. Why not give your idea a chance to develop? The pay-off could be much, much bigger than a silly teddy bear.

    Take a few minutes to think why your idea might work. Write down all the positive things about the idea. Picture yourself at the height of success. Done that? Now it’s time to dwell on the realistic aspects. What do you need to do to make the idea work? Do you have the commitment to see it to its fruition? Imagine your journey to success. What are your roadblocks(there will be quite a few, trust me)? What are your plans to overcome them? See, there’s a difference between being negative and being realistic.

    Being realistic means accepting that there will be humps and hiccups beyond your control, that will slow you down on your journey to success. But it also means that you are trying to find alternative ways to avoid, reduce or work around these road blocks. That’s creative problem solving. Being negative just means that you give up before trying.

  2. Sharing your undeveloped ideas too soon
    You’ve decided to planted your magic beans . You cannot contain your excitement about this new project. You tell your neighbours about this exciting new venture that could possibly make your town very prosperous. Grump asks, “So what happens when there’s a drought?” You give a weak laugh, “We’ll pray that it rains?”

    Magic Sprout

    A good idea is well-thought out . Unless you need to brainstorm with a group of people, it is best to iron out the kinks and find solutions to possible problems first before presenting it to the world. An ex-colleague of mine had a lot of fantastic campaign ideas which he tended to pitch to the boss without giving much thought to the execution. When asked about how he planned to realise his ideas his reply was always, “I’ve not thought about that”. After awhile, despite his many good ideas, he’s labeled by the boss as an “All Talk” simply because his ideas were not supported by proper research. As time went by, this guy came to accept that his views may not be as great as he thought. Eventually he stopped proposing new ideas, even if he believed they had the potential to effect a positive change in the company.The next time a little light bulb goes on in your head, take some time to analyse it thoroughly yourself first before sharing it with others.

  3. Sharing your ideas with the wrong people
    You now have a fledgling crop of magic wheat. You have toiled and tended over it with much care and dedication. You might even be able to reap the fruit of your labour in a few months. You tell your best friend, Mr. Coeliac about how good you feel about this. Mr. Coeliac exclaims, in his most ridiculous tone, “Why wheat of all things?!”

    Magic Wheat

    In the real world, it would be like trying to sell a Google-killer idea to your non-internet-savvy aunt. She won’t get it and the worse part is, she might make you doubt that there’s a market for your product/service.

    Feeling apprehensive, you divulge the news of your sprouting money-makers to cousins, Green and Know-All. Green huffs, “Why don’t you just stick to your job as tech-support? You’ll be happier there. I bet the sprouts will die come spring.” ” You turn to Know-All, “Well, sorry to burst your bubble. I planted a magic bean year ago, and it didn’t work” he offers.

    We all know a Green — the last thing she wants is to see you succeed. She likes put you down and makes sure you don’t aspire to do more than what she is comfortable with. Her statements usually sound scornful but some are smooth operators spouting niceties laced with poison. Her claims are usually unsupported by real evidence.

    Mr. Know-All is a little tricky. It may seem that he’s giving good advice out of experience, but think — there are many reasons why other people don’t succeed doing the same thing. They might not have the same drive, skill and personality. Sometimes it also depends on luck. What you can learn from Know-Alls is what not to do. If Know-All failed because of poor marketing, then make sure you put in enough in marketing to avoid going through the same route. If you’ve done your research well, and know the pitfalls to avoid, you ride to success will be less bumpy one.

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March 24th, 2008

20 Ways to Beat Monday Blues

Monday Blues BusterMonday! Monday! Monday!
So full of newness and excitement.
Don’t feel the same way? You’re doing it wrong!
Here are 20 ways to help you beat the Monday Blues:

  1. Procrastinate feeling blue. Is a gloomy cloud forming above your head? Ignore it – you’ll give your attention to it later, not now.
  2. Wear your best clothes or the cheeriest colour from your wardrobe. You’d be surprise how much your clothes could affect the way you feel about yourself.
  3. Early start - bad things happen when you are late, the tension level is high, you are in a rush, you don’t have time for breakfast, when you arrive at your office, people are shoving work into your face. It may seem like a punishment to wake up earlier on Monday but trust me, when you have enough time to organize yourself, you’ll feel like you can conquer the day easier.
  4. Treat yourself in the morning – Sit down and eat. Enjoy your food. Monday is Pancake Breakfast day for me, so I actually look forward to Monday mornings. But eat well - although it’s ok to treat yourself, make sure you eat well. I have a good serving of fruits along with my pancakes. Have enough to drink too - your malaise could be a sign of dehydration.
  5. Have a list of why you’re having the blues – you might be surprised that there will be things on the list that you can easily work on to make your Mondays better. My problem used to be a completing work from last week (very difficult to gain momentum after a weekend break) which brings us to the next point:
  6. Complete as much work possible on Friday – you’ll have less work to worry about on Monday, which lead to the next point:
  7. Have everything laid out the day before – your clothes, files, etc. Saves you a couple of minutes in the morning so that you can concentrate on other, more important things.
  8. Plan your day in small gentle steps. Apply micromovements throughout the day. You can use a GTD system or simply divide your day into of 1/2 – 1 hour chunks with a goal for each time unit.
  9. Talk to a friend – it’s most likely he/she is having the blues too. Keep your conversation short. Remember this is about taking comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone in this, not an hour-long bitchfest about XXX from marketing.
  10. Listen to happy songs – a tune can affect your mood. Let cheery, happy songs be the soundtrack to your Monday.
  11. Dance - just move that body! Jog in place, stretch, do yoga. You’ll feel less lethargic.
  12. Laugh and smile. Recall happy memories or a good joke. If you can’t think of any, do it anyway (fake it till you make it) Some research is saying that even the thought of laughing raises your endorphin (feel-good hormones) levels and a fake laughter provides similar benefits to a real one.
  13. Affirmative statements – Today is a great day. I will complete my report today. Stick positive messages around your monitor and take them seriously.
  14. Choose to feel happy. If you don’t already know, being happy is a choice, so choose happiness!
  15. Buy something new for Monday – it doesn’t have to be big or expensive – a pen, a sketchbook, fancy post-it stickers. Monday is like a birthday for me- I get a present for myself nearly every week. I got myself a sticker for $1 today.
  16. Try something new - you’d be surprise how easy it is to feel energized by doing something you’ve never done before. A new dish, a new song, a new route to work.
  17. Start working. The thing about work is, it’s usually not the work that makes us tired, it’s the thought of starting work that makes us procrastinate and go into a cycle of unproductivity. Quit thinking about starting work and just work instead!
  18. Take short breaks – too much work can be overwhelming and when this happens, it is easy for you to give up. Remember to take short breaks to recharge. If your schedule allows it, you can also take a 10 minute nap after lunch.
  19. Plan something special for Monday night – meet a friend for dinner, rent a DVD. The day will be easier when you have something to look forward to.
  20. Do not get distracted. Youtube, Facebook, personal emails. Once you allow yourself to get distracted you will be sucked into hours of time-wasting activities. If you don’t have the discipline to limit your distraction to 10 minutes, don’t attempt to do it at all. Reading blogs like this is another time-sucker so now that you’ve reach the bottom of the list, why don’t you get working! :)
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