Monday, May 25, 2015
Sunday, May 24, 2015
For a restless soul, planning is a drag – it’s boring and a total time waste. But in fact, the benefits of planning increase with the complexity of the task.
Walking to the kitchen to pour yourself a cup of coffee may not require much planning, but creating your personal budget does. Preparing a project flow plan does. When you outline a process, you visualize your goal and the factors influencing it.
Planning helps boost the favorable factors and minimize the workflow bottlenecks. It’s where you start. So get planning first!
Divide your work in small, simple, but logically arranged tasks to be executed in a sequence. This way tracking a job’s status and debugging it become easy. Be it payroll management or throwing a party, efficiency will be your best friend.
It’s okay to take help. It does not decimate your competence. Instead, it endorses your management skills. We often waste time delivering basic tasks rather than working on the strategic ones.
For example, hiring a housekeeper leaves you with some time for family, friends, and yourself. Similarly, recruiting operations executives helps a project manager focus on client relationship management and exploring ways to grow.
Multitasking can be a real timesaver. The jobs must fit in together, though. To be honest, there is no such thing as simultaneous tasks. Some processes are self-regulatory and the time you save here can be used for other work.
For example, while your washing machine runs, you can utilize the time for any other indoor task. Alternatively, you can continue working on your workstation, while the printer does its job.
On the other hand, it is an inefficient idea to put your pot to boil, while you give your baby a bath upstairs. You may end up with the overflowing curry or your child left in the bathroom all by herself.
The trick is, correctly estimate the time a task takes. Do not try to utilize every second you have to wait for a process. Keep some buffer and you are good to go!
This age-old tool ensures twofold successes each time. Firstly, you take less time than you would if you spent time simultaneously on other things too. Secondly, you work better.
Focus can help you discover your newer limits. You not only improve the current results but also set the stage for future.
Practice hard to gain speed and accuracy. The idea is to learn or develop smarter techniques as you work.
Look for More Tricks to Work Better.
Devise smarter work methods. Be receptive to others’ suggestions. Be flexible to adopt and implement noteworthy changes.
Your ultimate goal is to work faster and better, irrespective of whose method you work on. Being rigid here is not worth your ego. Office automation is a concrete example of someone’s revolutionary idea changing the workplace scenario.
These were my steps to work efficiency. We all deserve personal growth. So breathe, work, and feel happy about your life. You can do this by learning how to work better.
The Farmer Who Lived Through Fear
Once upon a time there lived a farmer on the foothills of a huge mountain. The farmer was a simple man, religious and conservative in his thoughts. He feared God. He had a little daughter named Saavi. His wife had passed away a long time ago and it was only him and his daughter living in their small but happy home.
Each day, the farmer woke up at 4 am, bathed, prayed, and milked the cow. At 6 am, he woke Saavi up to get her ready for school. They’d have a humble breakfast together and Saavi would tell him stories from her school. She was an intelligent child and was curious about many things around her.
The farmer was always patient with her questions, answered them in the best way possible. He carefully guarded away his biggest fear from her. But the little girl would always end up asking about the mountain near their house.
“Can we go on the mountain to play?”
“No! I’ve told you many times. The mountain is not safe.”
Days passed by and summer came along. One day, the farmer came home from the fields but could not find Saavi anywhere. He checked with the neighbors but she wasn’t there either. Where had she gone?
The neighbor’s daughter was Saavi’s age. She told the farmer Saavi had mentioned the mountain in school.
What would he do now? He knew the mountain wasn’t safe. Legend said that there was a beast living on the other side of the mountain.
The farmer could not leave his little girl alone. Soon it would be dark. He mustered the courage to do what he’d avoided for 30 years. He started climbing the mountain.
As he neared the top, he shuddered at the thought of the beast, but pulled himself together and kept moving. Soon he reached the spot where he could see what’s been sneaking behind the mountain for years. As he stepped forward, he gasped. In front of him was the most beautiful lake with surrounding green pastures with his daughter sitting beside.
Why Do We Fear the Unknown
Fear happens when you’re living your life in your mind. Your mind has two aspects: one is imagination (future) and other is your memory (past). The fear of the unknown is based in the future – you’re always focused on what is going to happen.
You do not live your life based on what is, but what might be.
Another aspect is your thought. Thoughts lead to feelings, experiences and behavior. You may know that an average human being has anywhere from 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Research states that 80% of these thoughts are negative.
In its simplest form, a thought is a discrete event and a collection of visuals, sound, and words. A thought can influence your mood and action.
Turns out, if you cannot think, you cannot fear. If you were stuck in a wild forest, you’d be naturally afraid. But soon you get tired and sit down under a tree and fall asleep. Do you feel the fear while you’re sleeping? Not likely. Because you’re not consciously thinking while you’re asleep.
Some people, on the other hand, may seek thrill and adrenaline-pumping adventure from this. They channel their thoughts about fear in a completely different way.
A third way to look at it is the lack of knowledge. When you are sitting nice and tight in your comfort zone, you don’t know what lies outside the zone – in other words, you don’t know what you don’t know. Just like the farmer in our story.
Knowledge is empowering. It lets you hack fear. Learn something new and you won’t be afraid of doing it.
How to Beat the Fear of the Unknown
1. Focus on the present
When I was little, I used to be terrified of staying home alone. I would draw up all sorts of scary monster stories in my head.
As I grew up, I started to focus on the present moment. Am I OK now? Yes. Great, what do I want to do next? Read. Ok. What should I read? And so on…
Once I rearranged my focus, my thoughts about the unseen future (and monster) gradually faded away.
2. Take the first step
Are you waiting for courage so you can take action? Because that’s never going to happen.
If you wait for courage to turn up in the mail, you’ll be waiting for a very long time. Courage comes, but only when it sees you’re serious about your goal.
You need to break the cycle and take the first step. Just focus on what could be the next immediate best step for you in this case.
Two years ago, I felt the tug of doing something more with my life. I was comfortable, but I was yearning for “more meaning”. As a writer, I spent most of my days at home in isolation creating amazing stuff for clients. I was contributing through my writing in my own little way. Now I was ready to do it more directly.
It was time to go out and touch more lives and help more people. My next best immediate step was to look up courses offered in my city and study human behavior. And I did that. Took up a course. Soon I started seeing clients one-on-one, and contributing in a larger way.
3. Ask Better Questions
Humans are designed to fill gaps. If someone asks you a question, you come up with an answer. You might have one or you may not, but that doesn’t matter. Your brain wants to fill in the gap and get it answered.
If you ask yourself stupid questions, you’ll get stupid answers. If you ask yourself, “I wonder why they’ll be rejecting me”, your brain will oblige and give you some cool answers unless you’ve found the one that satisfies you (and sucks the most).
Job done. You have an answer ready before the rejection has even happened.
Now, let’s flip the sides and ask a different question:
“I wonder how I can do this even better”
“How can I make more time to exercise?”
Can you spot the difference? The last two questions presuppose you can do this, and they ask how.
Try it: Ask yourself a great question and watch your brain do its best to answer. For example, if you’re afraid to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur, ask:
“What is the next immediate best step I can take right now?”
It could be a tiny step, and that’s OK. Remember, even slow progress is progress after all.
P.S. In my case, the question I’m asking is “How amazing it’d feel once I’ve conquered my fear of a 3000-feet free fall“. I haven’t yet taken down the sky-dive ‘beast’ but I’ll keep you updated on how I go. Stay tuned