What to do When there are Too Many Things to Get Done

My To-Do list for today is longer than my arm. I am swamped with work and have so many deadlines to chase. And it is making me all panicky! I have been up since wee hours of the morning and haven’t accomplished anything of importance. I am finding it really hard to focus on one thing and am not even able to prioritize. And this is when I have a list of things to do right in front of me.

One moment, I want to do X task and I am abandoning it the next moment to look at data for a client presentation. And then there are constant beeps from my phone about the End of Season Sales SMSs, Retweet messages, Likes and Comments on a post from Facebook, emails, whatsapp messages and all this cannot be ignored, right! As I type this, the buzzer of my washing machine has gone off, which means that I need to rush to take off the wash load and put it out for drying before the Sun God goes and plays hide and seek with the Rain God! I am constantly looking at the watch, as the house help has not turned up as yet and it is way past her regular time. If she does not turn up and if I end up doing her work too, I will be seriously derailed from the work timelines.

And then, I have to write this post too, as I am co-hosting #MondayMusings with Corinne, for the first time. This post should have been up at midnight last night, but the grey cells and the fingers refused to coordinate and hence, a blank document stared at me for a long time, till I gave up and decided to sleep over it literally and figuratively!

What to do when there are too many things to be done and nothing is getting accomplished? This question is ringing in my head for a while now!

I am amazed that an otherwise organised me, believe me, I am pretty disciplined regarding my work , is struggling to get tasks ticked off from my To-Do list today! I am realizing that I have not done any productive work today. I am just killing time. I don’t know if this is one of those days or I am doing something wrong.

And then I came across, this infographic. It has 7 pointers that destroy productivity. From these 7 pointers, I am guilty of doing 5 things except for point no. 2 and 3.

These are simple things, and I am aware of all these time wasters, but still till I got nudged and shaken by this infographic, I couldn’t bring myself to unplug from the social media, and mute the distractions from phone and stop being a multi-tasking diva.
Marketo-Killing-Time1Image Courtesy : Source

Aha! Avoiding these simple time wasters made me complete this post in record fifteen minutes.

As you chew and digest these productivity killers, I am off to  annihilate the tasks in my list!

You all have a productive and satisfying week ahead!

What do you do when there are too many things to get done? Share your tips and experience!

MondayMusings

Join Corinne and me by writing a #MondayMusings post on your blog. Write a post sharing your thoughts on a subject of your choice. Make it as personal as possible. Use the hashtag #MondayMusings and then add your link to the linky below. Do remember to visit the other blogs linked here and begin by reading the #MondayMusings on Write Tribe and Everyday Gyaan. We would love to read your thoughts.

Acceptance is a Choice #1000Speak #MondayMusings

Good Times, Bad Times, Ugly Times… That’s Life! And such times come in everybody’s life.

We have had a phase when nothing seemed to work for our business venture. We did our best but it all back-fired. And while we were struggling to make it work, some of our ‘good friends’ left us. It was like a double blow. All this while, we believed that they were our best friends and that best friends stick by you through hard times.

We wondered how could our choices turn out to be so wrong. We became our biggest critic and engaged in self-pity and finger-pointing. We held ourselves accountable for the uncertainties and vulnerabilities that we were facing. Of course, they were our decisions… our choices…

Sooner than later, we realized that it would not do us any good to have these pity-parties that made us more miserable. We realized that all this self-blame was unnecessary and harsh. It was not helping us in any way and in fact, it was taking the wind out of our sails.

And then we came across, Deepak Chopra’s The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success, in which he Acceptance 2explains that we need to receive with open arms what happens to us, because if we fight and resist it, then we are generating a lot of turbulence in our minds. He explains that we might want for things to be different in the future, but in the present moment we need to accept things as they are. That’s the way we can make our life flow smoothly, instead of roughly.

And this made a lot of sense to us. We had already seen how it is to hold on to negativity. So, we had to opt for the second and the only option available to us which was that of acceptance.

It was time to accept things as they were. It was time to accept that all days are never the same and that things would work out, eventually.

It was a hard choice. Acceptance did not come easily to us. But when we did accept the reality, it gave us a peaceful state of mind, it made us see the positive. Owning and accepting our decisions helped us to move forward and helped us to make new and exciting choices.

Yes, acceptance is a choice.

We can complain about the rain or accept that it’s raining, find an umbrella and dance in the rain and/or sit in the balcony with a book and tea and enjoy it.

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Linking this to #1000Speak a monthly linkup on the 20th of every month, which invites bloggers to blog about compassion/empathy, etc. This month’s link up is on the topic of Acceptance and also linking it to Write Tribe’s #MondayMusings

MondayMusings1000Speak

Lessons from a Crashed Laptop

Life Lessons

9th July, 8.10 am… something unimaginable happened. My tech soul mate aka my Laptop died on me. That I was devastated,  was an understatement. I tried various plug points in the house to charge, re-inserted the battery, pressed the power button mercilessly, but the laptop refused to come to life.

I didn’t give myself the time to mourn, but simply galvanised into action. I made Sunita, my house help to rush through the chores and reached the dealer showroom where I had met-fallen in love-and finally married my tech soul mate. I thought, it must be the problem with the adapter power cable. So, I just had to buy the new one and believed that I would be re-united with my darling in a few minutes. But the service support detected problem with my laptop. Gasp!! Shock turned into momentary coma. While that guy was coolly replacing the new laptop cord in its box, I was impatiently waiting for him to revive my laptop. Finally, when he got my attention, I told him that I’d wait in the showroom, while he worked on my laptop. He smiled at me (I am sure, he must be wanting to laugh hysterically, though) and said, “Ma’am, this will take a day!” I couldn’t believe my ears. My world came crashing! I tried to cajole him to work on it faster, but he was firm.

Dejected and depressed, I called my real-life soul mate aka KG, who was out of town and in midst of some meeting. I shared the tragic and heart-breaking news with him. As I was going on and on about how such a thing could happen and how grief-stricken I was. KG suggested that I call our friend J and ask him to send his kids’ laptop to me. I called J immediately but his number was busy. While I was fidgeting with my phone and giving time to J to finish his call, he called me. Before I could say anything, he said that he is arranging to send the laptop. It took a few seconds for the brain to comprehend his words. As I was gushing with gratitude, I smiled at what KG had done. He knew that without my laptop, I’d be like a fish without water, so he called J himself and made it easier for me.

Soon enough, I had a laptop in my hands. I consoled myself and wished and hoped and prayed that I am united with my own laptop soon and started the laptop J sent me. I inserted my internet data card and it refused to work. I applied all my tech know-how to get the internet working on this laptop but to no avail. I called the customer care and spent an hour on phone with the various executives but the result were the same.  Finally, a tech support was assigned to visit home by evening and sort the issue. I thought, till he comes, let me check my Facebook, blog or surf in general on my phone. And guess what, the Murphy’s Law came true for me. Yes, everything does goes wrong all at once! The internet on phone was terribly slow and even Whatsapp messages were not getting delivered.

By this time, I was heartsick, fed-up and frustrated. I decided to snap out of this state and got ready to visit my Mom and Dad. They were thrilled to see me and the Kadhi-Chawal that Mom had made for lunch instantly made me feel better. There’s nothing like mom’s cooking to comfort and cheer you up. Rest of the afternoon was spent in chatting and relaxing with them.

In the evening, the tech support guy sorted the internet problem and I thought that the bad day was behind me.

I started writing a post for the blog and the laptop shut down on its own suddenly. It was a WTH moment! I looked at the laptop incredulously. This was the second laptop in a day that had died on me. Unlike my laptop, J’s laptop did wake up from slumber, but it continued to behave erratically. So, though, I had a laptop and a working internet, but I couldn’t do anything, not even lurk on the Facebook.

I just gave up on my tech world and entered the calm and often ignored space aka the kitchen. Next day was the birthday of our friend’s daughter and I thought of baking a cake for her.

I actually prayed before gathering the cake ingredients, that nothing should go wrong now, given the bad day that I had had since morning.

And… nothing went wrong!

I  graduated from making the regular tea time cakes to an innovative cake, that day. Yes, I made this gravity defying cake. Isn’t it cool!

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The Gems are  a little less in this picture, but I bought more and added to the cake later which gave it a well full of Gems look. The birthday girl loved her gift and all the others at the party were in awe of it too.

So, for a day and half, I was forced to refrain from using laptop and internet. I realized how dependent and addicted I am to my gadgets and that I share a very unhealthy relationship with technology. How miserable I was when my laptop crashed. How weird it was that if the internet was not working, I didn’t know what to do with the laptop. Without my phone, I’d be restless. Though I wouldn’t be expecting those earth shattering or momentous emails or messages on phone, but every message notification makes be go and grab my phone.

This day and a half made me realize that though gadgets have become an integral part of our lives, but there’s more to life than Facebook, RTs on Twitter or blog or silly messages on Whatsapp. It is important to take a break from the technology especially social media which takes away most of my time. It is important to enjoy and savor life outside the tech world. I have heard and seen a few blogging friends do the digital detox. And I think, I need it too. I think, I need to find the balance in appreciating and using technology the right way, but still knowing when to turn it off to experience life to its fullest.

I know, a digital detox would not be easy initially but I know that it would be rewarding for both me and my life.

Do you share a healthy relationship with technology?

spicysaturday

Quote Challenge : Day 3 of 3

It’s the final day of the 3 Day Quote Challenge.

This is one quote that inspires me and gets me going when faced with challenging situations.

OK-in-the-end

We all go through trying times at various points of time in our lives… a tough time at work, losing somebody we loved, an illness, a failure in a project, a bad relationship, a betrayal, an accident… These tough times can knock us down, demoralize us, frustrate us, depress us and make our life very stressful.

We may face these challenging times, for a few days, or few weeks or few months or may be years together!! But of course, these tough phases never last forever. They do pass away and give way to the good and happy times, sooner or later and the cycle of life continues. We should remember that everything will eventually turn out well as long as we do what is necessary to make the best out of every situations in our lives.

Thank you Soumya for nominating for this inspiring challenge.  And now I nominate Destination Infinity, Inderpreet and Sundari. Looking  forward to read your take on this challenge!

This is what the 3-Day Quote Challenge is all about.
1. Post one of your favorite quotes (different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own.
2. Nominate 3 bloggers to challenge them.
3. Thank the blogger, who nominated you.

Quote Challenge : Day 2 of 3

Soumya from Life of Leo has nominated me for the 3 Quote Challenge. Today, I share my favourite quote for Day 2.

ZZ1

This is something that I have experienced so many times. A kind word by a friend, a warm smile by a co-passenger or just a patient ear has done wonders to my day. It is true that one small, thoughtful gesture can make a big difference in someone’s day/life. It can can have a bigger effect than we could ever imagine.

I remember reading this on Corinne’s blog…A man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, left a suicide note “I’m walking to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” Sadly, no one smiled! This is something that will stay with me for a long long time. Wish, somebody had smiled at that man, that day!

Also, I believe in the law of karma, which says that what goes around comes around – and with kindness it really does. Research has proven that being kind to others increases our own levels of happiness as well as theirs. So, keep on increasing the karma points in your life and encourage someone who needs it, be generous with compliments, say something nice to someone, be someone’s cheerleader… and make a huge impact on someone’s life.

Thank you Soumya for nominating for this awesome challenge.  And now I nominate Genevive, Rajlakshmi and Ma’am Usha Menon. Looking forward to read your take on this challenge!

This is what the 3-Day Quote Challenge is all about.
1. Post one of your favorite quotes (different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own.
2. Nominate 3 bloggers to challenge them.
3. Thank the blogger, who nominated you.

Quote Challenge : Day 1 of 3

I am a quotes person, have always been one. Since school days I have been scribbling interesting thoughts and quotes, dialogues / lines/ passages from books in notebooks. In fact, I still have a few of the notepads and diaries with me from the good old days. Though now, I just save them on my laptop.

It is amazing that how quotations can pack so much wisdom and insights  in a few words. These are words that make us reflect on life and its nature and challenges. These are the words that have been expressed by others but resonate so deeply with us.

Some quotes stick with us forever and some validate and reveal what we believe in. Quotes usually leave a lasting impression on us, so much so that these words become a mantra for us to follow. They express the experiences of life.

I was seeing some blogging buddies  doing the 3 Day Quotes Challenge and I was keen to do it too. As I was looking up for the rules for this challenge, I got tagged by the vivacious and versatile Soumya.

For Day 1 of this Challenge, I have chosen a quote which has become my favourite mantra. Yes, it is about Letting Go! I have struggled for quite some time to let go of certain things and experiences in life. Learning to let go was not easy, but I realized that it was necessary for my own well being. So this quote is one of my favourite.

you-cant-start

This quote signifies that during our life’s journey we tend to become attached to things, relationships,  circumstances or incidents of life. We pin our happiness to these things and hold onto them for dear life. We do not let go of these attachments, even if we know that they are not good for us or not meant for us. When we refuse to accept the reality, we feel conflict in our hearts and in our bodies, which results in anger, hate, stress, fear, jealousy, discontent, emptiness…

Letting go of old things, relationships, beliefs, or ideas that no longer serve us any good should be the way forward. If we focus on what was in the past, we will never be able to see what lies ahead. Letting go’ is not ‘getting rid of’ or ‘throwing away’ of the past but putting it aside and recognising that  we are no longer attached to it. Letting go is about moving forward with hope, anticipation and excitement for positive and new things in life. So cheers to freedom, peace, contentment and love.

Thank you Soumya for nominating for this fab challenge.  And now I nominate Suzy, Elly and Swaram. Take it up, ladies 🙂

This is what the 3-Day Quote Challenge is all about.
1. Post one of your favorite quotes (different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own.
2. Nominate 3 bloggers to challenge them.
3. Thank the blogger, who nominated you.

Life Lessons from Our Dogs

cooltext1740614227Last week, KG and his team were relaxing after the hard day’s work at our farm. Suddenly, they heard loud and incessant barking of our three dogs, Copper and Carbon (Dobermans) and Nickel (Grey Mastiff). KG saw them barking and moving  around something in a circle from far. He realized that something was amiss. He rushed towards them. Seeing him come near them, Nickel ran towards KG and stopped him midway. KG tried to move ahead but our big boy wouldn’t just let him take even a step further. It took a moment for KG to understand what it was all about. There was a black cobra on the farm. Soon, it was guided to move further ahead into the wilderness. This incident made us learn a very important lesson that day.

And the more we reflected on it, the more we realized that there are so many life lessons we can learn from our four-legged friends. Sharing a few of the life lessons from our dogs…

  • Protect your territory : A stranger /first timer on our farm has a tough time entering our premises, thanks to our three canines. They are fiercely protective. They’ll fight anything to save us from any danger.
  • Let go and move on: Despite the reprimands our dogs get for polishing off the dinner that lay unattended for a while at the farm, or for biting / terrorizing some people … they never hold a grudge or harbour resentment. They forgive and forget easily and move on and are back to their loving self pretty soon.

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    Aaryan and Nickel

  • Show love in big and small ways : From laying their heads on our laps when we are sitting or never leaving KG’s side at night to barking wildly and jumping up and down when we meet them after a while, our dogs let us know we are loved every single day.
  • Be understanding : The other day, a major sandstorm caused quite a havoc at the farm. As KG and his team huddled together and waited for the storm to pass, the three of them sensed the mood and the low energy around. Without any verbal language, they understood and comforted KG and sat close to him. They know the power and importance of ‘being there’ for somebody.
  • Sizes and titles aren’t everything : Copper and Carbon are siblings and are with us since they were a few months old. Nickel came on our farm just by chance. His earlier master could not take care of him, and requested KG to take him in on the farm. Carbon and Copper were babies and acted like a team in front of the old, giant and imposing sized, Nickel. But they just took a day to get acquainted with each other and learnt to live peacefully and happily together.

    DSC_0195 7.9.2014

    Carbon and Copper

  • Be loyal and dependable : When Nickel joined us, he was sick and weak and had a big wound too. KG took great care of him and by the grace of God, Nickel recovered pretty soon.  A dog knows what and who is important in his life and sticks by them, no matter what!
  • Love unconditionally : Nickel drools and slobbers a lot. His saliva is so slimy that it takes some effort to wash it off. A cleanliness freak like me hates his sticky mess. How much so ever I try to thwart his attempts, he’d always greet me with his big wet (and sticky) kisses and wagging of his tail. He is never afraid to show how much he loves despite me being mean to him.
  • Enjoy the simple pleasures in life :  Life is fun for our dogs. They greet each day with enthusiasm and a sunny outlook. They can play with a log of wood with equal zeal as with a chew toy bought from a pet store. The way they attack food with gusto and lick their plates clean makes me wonder if we are feeding them right. A ride in the car is as fun as is the ride in the lorry truck. Taking naps and stretching is important for them. No joy is too small for them to appreciate.

Our dogs have enriched our lives, but even more so, they have taught us some of the greatest life lessons.

Linking this to Write Tribe Festival of Words #4 Day 7 for the theme Creativity and Inspiration!

tangytuesday

Mini Habits : Smaller Habits, Bigger Results

Recently, I was researching on Habits of Successful People, for our training program. While, I was scouring the internet on this subject, I came across an interesting concept of Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. I liked it so much that it inspired me to adopt it in my life too. I have started practicing it, and I must tell you that it is working well for me.

Let me share what’s so inspiring about Mini Habits.

If we were to list our goals, we would enthusiastically share the likes of :

  • Lose 25 kgs of weight
  • Save Rs X per year
  • Write a book
  • Read 100 books in a year…

For most of us, these goals may be the just the same, year after year, as we would have failed in achieving these goals.

The reason we fail to instil the new habits or achieve our goals is because we try to do too much at once. In simple terms, if our new habit requires more willpower than we can muster, we will fail. If our new habit requires less willpower than we can muster, we will succeed. The idea is not to do what we have set ourselves for, once, but doing it repeatedly, every day even when we are tired and our will power is at its lowest.

And it is here when Mini Habits start working for us.

The first step in adopting Mini Habits is to choose a desired habit or change we’d like to make—it could be exercising every day,  writing a post daily, reading a book per week, practicing Reiki / Yoga…

The second step is to break these habits until they are “stupid small,” a term coined by Stephen Guise and it is called so, because when we say the requirement out loud, it is so small that it sounds stupid.

Let me share a bit of background to a habit which I want to inculcate in myself. Despite my best intentions, awareness and health concerns, I just can’t stick to my plans of walking daily. I may go for a walk in the park or dust the dust off the treadmill at home, enthusiastically for 2-3 days, and then I am back to my excuses, till next inspiration strikes, which may take days or months to re-surface again.

So, for the first step, I defined the Mini Habit that I wanted to adopt. Yes, it is the habit of a daily walk as a way of life. The second step involved breaking it into ‘stupid small’ plan of walking for 5 minutes on the treadmill.

It sounds so simple and easy, right? For the first 2 days, I met the this daily requirement comfortably. And I was happy to achieve it. That’s because, before this, I wasn’t even attempting to walk or doing it rarely.

But soon enough, I started asking myself, “Am I ready to stop or can I do more?”. Yes, you guessed it right, I didn’t stop at 5 minutes and did more every day. Needless, to say, that I am seeing some positive changes, not only physically but mentally too. No, they are not big changes, but they are happy changes, nevertheless. This Mini Habit of walking everyday for smaller duration goes on to prove that the best way to create a positive change is through small acts repeated daily.

Stephen Guise says that we can change nearly any area of our life; and at one Mini Habit at a time, it’s easier than we think. When we remove the pressure and expectations, we allow ourselves to start.

I am sure, to be on journey of growth and change is on the agenda for most of us. And we must be making a conscious effort to be better human beings too. Here are some Mini Habits ideas that we can adopt in our lives to be better human beings…

  • Learn one new thing every week
  • Be thankful for 2 things every day
  • Read 2 pages every day
  • Blog once in three days
  • Write 500 words every day
  • Help 2 people in a day
  • Compliment one person
  • Drink one bottle of water every day
  • Eat one fresh fruit every day
  • Connect with one old friend/relative per week
  • Think of a new idea / week to help increase productivity at work
  • Clean a room/drawer/cupboard every alternate day

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle.

Linking this to Write Tribe Festival of Words #4 Day 4 for the theme Creativity and Inspiration!

Move On

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Our family friends lost their 20-something son in a road accident, few years ago. For the parents, this harsh truth of life was difficult to come to terms to. Yes, life seemed so very unfair and cruel. Their struggle with sadness, anger, hurt, pain, grief, tears continued for some more years. They took the death of their child to heart and could not cope up with their loss and succumbed to heartache and illness. Sadness fills my heart, every time I think about them.

Are we ever prepared for such changes in our life? I guess not!

We may never completely get over the loss of a loved one. They will always be a part of our life. But in the course of time, we have to come to terms with the reality – whether it is a loss of a loved one or a loss of a relationship. We have to move on, howsoever difficult it may be or howsoever long it may take. And that’s because, there is a limit to the grieving that we can do. This makes me think about something we learnt in science years ago…when we add salt to a glass of water, there comes a point where the salt will not dissolve into the water no matter how long we mix the solution.

The loved and lost ones may always occupy a part of our broken heart which doesn’t heal back up to full. That’s perfectly acceptable and normal. It’s like having a badly hurting ankle that never heals completely, and that still pains when we dance. But we dance anyway with a slight limp and the accompanying pain. What is important is learning to dance with the pain and accepting it without judgement.

Move on it's just a chapter in the past

Linking this to Write Tribe Festival of Words #4 Day 2 for the theme Creativity and Inspiration!

What Did You Learn Today?

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As parents, the first question that we asked our children as soon as they returned back from their school must have been “What did you learn in school today?”  This would have continued until their  primary school.

As they grew older, we rarely asked this question, though they were learning new lessons everyday. In fact , we never ask ourselves the lessons life has been teaching us all these years. And this is when learning never stops and there’s no better teacher than life itself. In fact, it is the best teacher. live-and-learn

Unlike school, where we are taught a lesson and then given a test, in life, we are given a test that teaches us a lesson. I believe  they call them “life lessons” for a reason. We need to experience life in order to learn the lessons. And the more life we experience, the more lessons we learn.

For each one of us, life does not follow a fixed pattern. It is like a sea, with its waves and currents that are ever changing and  that keeps changing its paths and destinations. With each new path and each new journey, the lessons it teaches are immense and diverse for one and all. Of course, we can learn from the experiences of others too.

“What have I learned?”, this is one question that we must ask ourselves, everyday.

For instance, today, I learnt that when you surround yourself with passionate people, your world changes. After all, it all begins and ends with passion. Passionate people believe and do the impossible. Their company lights you on fire and changes your reality! And am I glad that I met two such people today!!

This question, “What have I learned?” will help us to:

  • Evolve as better human beings.
  • Draw our learnings and lessons from everything that we experience.
  • Make the best of the tough times and grow from the trying experiences too.
  • Take the path of self-awareness and personal growth.
  • Focus on the positives which can be a big transformational aspect of our life.

So, what did you learn today?

Linking this to Write Tribe Festival of Words #4 Day 1, for the theme Creativity and Inspiration!

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