Saturday, January 3, 2015

The New Year Resolution 2015: My One Word

And the New Year starts and we start our New Year Resolution.
While adamantly refused to set any Resolutions/ Goals since it the beginning of the year.
Later discovered the power of One Word as a way to reduce ambiguity and a reason to define and create a theme for the year.

And so, I chose my one word: SURRENDER

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:7

Many fail to see the opportunities that comes as blessing in disguise. We fail to recognise that problems or curses are in fact a way that God is testing our faith and belief on ourselves, on Him. It is a character-building process. The process helps us to put us back on track. It also helps us appreciate the things in life by showing us the worst possible scenario. To help us learn magnaminity, forgiveness and humility. Heard being said that those problems are way of your karma gets balanced - so appreciate the negativity because it is solving your karmic issues.

My one word for the Year 2015 is SURRENDER. I surrender my agendas to God. I surrender those that happens to me as plays of God. Kalam notes incidences of God suggesting him ways through innocent opportunities that otherwise goes unnoticed. I surrender my senses to pick up those opportunities as suggestions from God. I surrender my loyalty as an 'employer' to the organisation I work with. I surrender these 'ordinary' moments in life considering thems as opportunities to surrender my agenda for God's.

Here is my prayer/ resolution for this Year 2015:

Dear God, 
I surrender myself unto thee. 
I promise to
  • Surrender to my work
  • Surrender to the love that my wife showers upon me
  • Surrender to God
  • Surrender to the ebb and flow of life
  • Surrender to the momentum of living
  • Surrender to joy it brings, pain it harbours and the lessons it teaches
  • Surrender to one's karma
  • Surrender to the mission of my organisation
  • Surrender to the love of people around me
  • Surrender to the innocence of children 
“Good morning, This is God. I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your help, so have a miraculous day.” - Wayne Dyer, The Power of Intention
God Bless You!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Useful Printable Templates for Year 2015

Wishing my readers a very Happy New Year 2015!

With the New Year coming, we all wanted printable formats and templates to help us organise ourselves and our life. 

Here are my top 5 useful printable formats and templates for Year 2015.
You can download them as pdf files and print it out for your use, all free of cost. 

1. Calendar: Everybody needs a calendar - for work and for life. Here is a simple calendar for Year 2015 in horizontal and vertical format. 

2. Planning: 

3. Goal setting:

4. To-do list:

5. Resume/ CV: 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

5 Steps to Getting Things Done

Trying to figure out better ways to getting things done, I explored few tools and systems to increase my productivity.
Here I am detailing 5 steps - processes to getting things done.
1. Capture: Creating a list of things that needs to be done is a good start. First it takes the burden on memory. It could be as simple as list of things to do for the day or master list of things you want to do in a lifetime.
2. Categorize: I found prioritizing based on importance doesn't seem to work for me. So I suggest prioritizing based on 'urgency' (One Minute Things to Do) as 'Critical Now', 'Opportunity Now' and 'Someday later'.
3. Break: Now the list of items you have put in may be not actionable. So I suggest breaking them to an apt level so you can take act upon it. This gives clarity of action and feels that we can conquer the list
4. Do: Now this is critical part. Now that you know 'what' do it and 'how' to do it - get dirty to do it. Act upon your to do list. Ensure that the first 3 stages don't exhaust you and you have enough breath to step on the gas - now do it.
5. Review: Once in a while, reviewing the list you have done gives you motivation. I use iDoneThis to track on what I completed. I prefer to keep it at 3 things that I got done. And honestly, though I might have more 3 on my to-do list that day, I get to finish only 3 and that's ok. There is always tomorrow.

All the best for your productivity too.
And get your things done not the other way around!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to book an LPG gas connection in India?

For a new family or newly married couple who is starting a new home, one of the critical thing is to get gas connections. Here I am explaining certain procedures on how to get your gas connection from my own experience.

There are 3 gas companies in India that provide LPG connection:

  • Bharat Gas
  • HP Gas
  • Indane Gas
There are nodal private distribution agencies to supply gas connections to each locality.

Step 1: Identify the most popular gas connection in your neighbourhood. Ask your neighbour and get the connection
Step 2: You will need your ID proof, photo, residence proof (Rent agreement)
Step 3: Go directly to the gas agencies and ask for the procedure.
Step 4: Fill the form and get your connections ready

Advice: Try to get an additional gas cylinder so it serves as the buffer for you to wait for the next replacement. Usually the price ranges from Rs.7000-9000 for one gas connections. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Tiny Habits Experiment

Dear fellow traveler,

As I have just enrolled myself in the TinyHabits Weekly program for the 3rd week, I am sharing few of my successes and additional resources I am pursuing in my Habit Formation process.

1. Success with Tiny Habits: While BJ Fogg's Tiny Habits program allows for setting and tracking only 3 habits per week, I had my own long list of to do habits (however on 'After I do ___, I will ____' format). On the second week, I had success with the 3 of those Tiny Habits:

  • After I pee, I will do 2 squats
  • After I get up after lunch, I will open my fridge door
  • After I step in to my house, I will kiss my wife passionately
And yes, I am doing secretly doing squats after I pee. Opening my fridge door was intentionally to build the habit of drinking a cup of Tropicana fruit juice after the lunch. And not just the Tiny Habit, but drinking a cup of Tropicana fruit juice has become a habit. In fact, when the Tropicana can was over, my mind ensured that I buy the next set of cans so as to accomplish this Tiny Habit. And I am feeling lot closer with my wife. Except for the first habit, rest of them became natural - reason is that doing 2 squats is trying to expand to doing a full-stretch exercise routine. 

2. Getting Things Done: Have recently explored David Allen's GTD Method. Though it sounds a complicated process, I found the first and second step to be extremely useful: a. Capture b. Categorising. I am now capturing my fleeing thoughts in place, though I didn't mind it being an idea, or a life-long goal or a daily task. It just gets captured in my list. I transport the necessary into the Things-to-do list later in the beginning of the day. Naturally I categorise those I can immediately do (make a phone call & get updates), or spend a considerable amount of time (prepare the Progress report), etc. I cut down the tasks that gets completed both from my TTD list and my Capture list. 

3. Things to do list: I have been in the habit of formulating a list of things that I need to do everyday in the morning at work. I try to prioritize as much as I can (eat the frog/ get the low-hanging fruit). I check it off as I complete; if I can't I drag it to the next day of work. There are ad-hoc things that come in that may require immediate attention. I take it up, finish it and just continue to do the task on my to-do list. As mentioned before, I use my GTD Capture list to feed into my TTD list.

And thus the journey continues. 

I will share in more such experiments - both success and failure to help you guide your life. 

Warm regards,

Friday, November 7, 2014

Getting That Habit Right

For quite sometime, I have been trying to master the art of habit formation. Slowly I discovering a pattern with myself on mastering it both by experimenting on myself and reading. 

I struck goldmine when I explored and experimented with Dr.BJ Fogg's TinyHabits program. A Professor at Stanford University, USA and an experimental psychologist by education, Dr.Fogg explicitly details the way behavior change happens. 

Not only theorizing upon his new found knowledge, he also conducted a little experiment to exploit it for the benefit of others. He runs an online accountable program on his website to help you learn the patterns of forming a new habit, decide upon one and do it as part of his 1-week program (You can join it here). 

While exploiting this online program, I also explored other avenues on 'what' on habits. Concepts of SlightEdge and the remarkably similar book Compound Effect validates this assumption on starting small, making minor course correction to achieve the greater good. 

What will be the most effective and popular habits? Those followed by the highly successful, super rich, effective etc. This lead me to discover that the topmost priority for most of us were Health Habits, followed by Relationship building and Productivity Habits. 

My previous reading and self-improvement experiments (on principles developed by Dr.Stephen R.Covey, Jack Canfield, etc) lead me discover 4 key essential areas in one's life:
1. Health: aka Physical fitness, Stamina, Food habits, Weight, etc
2. Relationship: Encompassing the emotional aspect of our life - love relationship, kinship, etc
3. Productivity
4. Philanthropy
5. Spiritual

This is where I had the clash of content between the two most buzzwords in Productivity Literature - Habits v/s Goals. I discovered that clarity when I learnt about them from James Clear

While Goals define a target, a destination to be reached, Habits refer to the lifestyle behavior one needs to do practice to achieve those target. This simple clarify helped me distinguish between those and merge those to help me create that process. 

While people like Covey, Canfield helped me define the what, James Clear, Fogg helped to navigate the process of how to achieve the what.

This clearly defined I must deliberately explain you the last one which I actually searched first. The process of tracking one's progress and believe the web is loaded with such information. Tactics like - Seinfeld's Don't Break the Chain, GoalTracker apps, Ben Franklin's book on tracking 13 Virtues etc were to be considered as helping the process.

But one should remember that this is the last one in the whole process: Review & Reflection. And I don't demean it anytime soon. Though I wrongly believed that having a foolproof tracking system will help me achieve the goals, I soon realised that it may be also necessary.

Now with my 'what' and 'how' clear I am using the Review systems to reflect upon my progress over the week. For me daily tracking doesn't seem work. James Clear calls this Backward approach, where at the end of week one reflects and reviews upon the 'Habits' one was suppose to do to achieve the overarching ultimate 'Goals'. 

Again after trying out few web apps, I am contentful with an excel sheet that tracks my Habits as I decided to do. 

I am getting in form now, I am doing regularly doing exercise, got a chance to deliberately build practices/ habits to strengthen my family life, made lifestyle changes (though minor) to improve my nutritious uptake and also develop my productivity. 

I hope to share more such experiments in my later blogs. 

Take care,

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Decentralisation: a Panacea for Reform Movements and A necessity for Third Wave Development

Alvin Toffler in his book mentions five systematic effects that the Industrial revolution or the Second wave created. One of them is the system of Centralisation. He mentions about the system of ‘centralising’ power production that is depended on fossil fuels and non-renewable sources. I would like to the take the alternative view if we were to remedy the system. Instead of having a centralized power production we could have the ‘decentralised’ power production. This also reduces and takes away the issue of massive grid system and power distribution problem.

The current renewable energy sources like Solar system, Wind mills, Biogas plants could be used to materialize the vision of having a ‘decentralised’ power system.
Not just the power system, we could also imagine the possibility of having a ‘decentralised’ food production system and ‘decentralised’ sanitation and water system.
We already have the technology to implement such systems. The idea of ‘Kitchen gardens’ and roof top gardening, backyard poultry can considerably reduce our dependency on factory model of agriculture. More importantly it will help us produce healthy foods. It is scientifically proven that the small-scale farms are far more efficient in their production than large scale farms. We should learn from this.
Similarly, our city systems have massive centralized water supply and sanitation systems. If we could harvest rainwater on our rooftops and also find a way to implement a small decentralized waste water treatment plants, it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Currently, we are spending so much money in creating infrastructures for wastewater drainage systems. And a lot more money is required for the management and maintenance of such systems. But decentralization could save us completely and totally.
Besides this we are also witnessing the need to decentralize democracy, considering the fact that the concept of ‘nation’ was an invented phenomenon. Can we create a governance system where local government is given the authority to devise and implement their own community initiatives, while the central government could serve an integrating and regulating authority rather than being anything else? This was already tried out in a state-level micro-planning exercise done at Kerala facilitated by the Center for Development Studies, Trivandrum.
Similarly, in the field of management, given the extend of globalization happening at massive scale, companies are fast learning to lead their employees and manage their business as network of smaller companies, again the concept of ‘decentralisation’ in play.
We may have to seriously consider the way we manage our resources; and given the lessons learnt from the First World, it is necessary that the Third World makes more wiser decision both for its economy and common good. Decentralisation is one such way.