Thursday, 18 September 2014

How I changed the way I write my "to-do" list

"People often underestimate what they can do in life and overestimate how much they can do in a day".

Do you have those days when you feel that you have so much things to do but not enough time?

Those days when your mind is reminding you time and again about all the stuff that needs to get done and you just can't keep up with the speed of time?

I feel this way right now.

It's been a month since university started. Classes from 9-5 six days a week, weekly assignments, projects, seminars, presentations and monthly exams. This is overwhelming and wait...I have just stated the academics part. Life has so much more than this.

So I decided to manage my time effectively and start writing a to-do list.

It backfired for like two weeks.

Do you write a to-do list anyhow, whether in the old school paper and a pen way or the modern application-on-my-phone way? If you ever had the experience writing it, you know how much it overwhelms you. It does feel good penning it all down on the paper out of your mind but when you see a long never ending list of tasks to complete in a single day, it stresses you out. You would feel that there are constantly more items adding to the list than the items striking out. This my dear friend, is not really working according to human psychology.

What did I do?

After a lot of trial and error, reading from various websites and recollecting from what I learned in various self-help books and knowing my strengths, weakness and the way I work, I came up with the following tips to write the perfect "to-do" list that would work and make me more productive.

1. Make separate lists:
As I told you,looking at the never ending lists of tasks to accomplish overwhelms you instantly and lowers your self-confidence. I overcame this by making different lists for university,personal life, blogging etc and categorizing helped me grouped various items together hence also it prevented the tasks from mixing it all up.

2. Be realistic:
You read the quotation in the very first line? I read it somewhere and I couldn't agree more. We overestimate what we could do in 24 hours. We add more tasks that we can handle, estimate the time wrongly it would take and so on. We need to stop lying to ourselves and be realistic so that we could have a smarter plan and a strategy to make it work.

3. Prioritize: 
Some tasks are more important than others. Some are more urgent than others. Some are dependent on other tasks. It is very important to prioritize the tasks so we know what to do first and which can go to the other day as well without any further problems. As said by Brian Tracy, "Eat the ugliest frog first so that you don't have anything to stress further".

Although I won't say that I could still complete my entire to-do list but using these three techniques it definitely has improved my productivity to a larger extend and if you still have to reschedule the task to the next day, it is okay. Time and practice would change that as well.

Do you write a "to-do" list? What stories do you have to tell?

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Week 1 - Part 7 (Game of Blogs)

Team Blog-o-holics entry 7, week 1

Read the previous entry by Sumi here

"Where is mumma?" asked Roohi for the nth time with tears in her eyes, but Shekhar couldn't reply anything else except that she would be here soon.  Roohi knew it was a lie. She has heard this since the past three days. She was scared. She started making "what-if" stories in her head, which frightened her even more. Her eyes swelled and she refused to eat.

She remembered the last time she saw her while she dragged her to the school. At that time,she was scared of her knowing that she forgot to do her homework. Some situations are less frightening when you look at them after they pass because now Roohi secretly prayed to god that she would do her homework every single day when her mother comes back. "Please god, let mumma come back home soon. I promise, I'll do my homework every day." She repeated several times a day. She even blamed herself once thinking the teacher told Tara about her notorious deeds in the class and it might be possible that she is punishing her. Whatever it was, the naughty happy-go-lucky Roohi who flaunted her frilly frocks now stayed locked in her room and stayed grumpy.

Shekhar never thought that the absence of Tara would affect Roohi to such an extent. Being a workaholic Tara was, she never devoted much time to her rather than dropping her to school or making her delicious meals at night. It was he who stayed at home and takes care of the home and their daughter. He did mind the gender swap in their roles but he did grew accustomed to it but when he saw Roohi acting this way, it pinched him more. The fire of jealousy in him, which he tamed for so long tried to come back. The flames slowly engulfed him, but he took himself in control and focused on Roohi whom he loved so much.

Shekhar kissed her on the forehead and told her that everything is just going to be just fine and that mumma would be here soon. He gently tucked her in the comfort of her favorite cozy soft pink blanket and started reciting her a bedtime story like every night but Roohi wasn't sleeping tonight. She had so many questions that remained unanswered, the fright in her eyes stayed her wide awake unable to get to to the realm of fairytales. "Why isn't reality like fairytales?" she thought. "Sleep now!" said Shekhar and Roohi immediately shut her eyes.

After a while, she was successful in pretending that she fell asleep and Shekhar left her room. She peeped from under the blanket and watched him leave. She then slowly tiptoed across the room and held the photograph of last summer where she went to Disneyland with her parents. She quietly went back to bed and hugged the photograph. 

Roohi wasn't sleeping. At least not tonight.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Book lover? Here are 10 things you could relate to

1. You care for the characters in the book:
No matter how much I tell myself that this is not real life, this is fiction and I should probably stop stressing about the situation they're in, it doesn't help. Whenever I read a book, even after I finish reading it, I will probably still think over the plot and the characters asking myself questions like: "why such bad things happen to good people?" or "go, go, tell her that you love her. Why aren't you?" because for me, they're real people. Don't you dare tell me that they aren't.

2. You hate movies based on books:
Because real talk. Let us just admit that those movies are no where near the book. It lost it's magic, lost more than half of the plot, lost the emotions and the feelings and the characters are not the images that you built up in your head.

3. You lose sleep:
Or skip your meal or both because you just want to read one more page and one more after till you complete the novel. You just can't keep the book down.

4. You don't loan out your books:
Who else can take care of your books like you do? You're also convinced that there are high chances that you won't get your book back and there is no way in the world that you're sharing the love of your life with anyone. You wished you could but you have lost a lot of books in this process and you don't want to experiment it further. 

5. Your friends know what to gift you at birthdays:
They know. They understand. They don't have to stress and worry about whether you would like the gift or not. A gift voucher of a bookstore and you're a happy man.

6. You love the smell of books:
Preferably older books. That musky smell has the power to turn you on. Why isn't this fragrance stored in a bottle yet? Somebody, please fund this idea.

7. Your room is full of books everywhere:
Buying books makes you ecstatic so you have an never ending supply of books that ultimately makes way into the bookshelves in your room which now also seems less. You need more shelves because there is no such thing as too many books.

8. E-books? Nah.
You hate e-books. Nothing and I repeat, nothing beats the joy of reading a paper book and enjoying the smell of the books. All you kindle lovers, do not argue.

9. You get annoyed when anyone tries to talk to you while you're reading:
That is rude. So rude. As rude as when someone tries to talk to you while you have headphones on. Can't they see that you're in an another world? So you look at them with sheer annoyance and hope they would quietly go away.

10. You love rain:
It is a perfect excuse to curl up under the blanket besides the window with a cup of hot coffee and a book. Ah! The bliss.


Are there any more things that you experience as a book reader and a lover? Share with me in the comments below! :)

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Monday, 1 September 2014

Saying "I'm fine" when you're not

There are some days in life when we don’t feel in our best of spirits. We feel let down, demotivated and alone but when someone asks us “how’re you?” We reply,

“I’m fine. What about you?”

How many times have we said the same without meaning it?

Why don’t we admit that we’re not fine and could really use a hug right now from someone who could listen and genuinely care?

Why do we try to conceal the fact that we’re humans too and we feel emotions which are sometimes not positive?

We always try to portray only the best version of ourselves to the society that we live in. We want to appear as strong individuals and make people feel that we could take up on any situation thrown at us.

But only you know how you feel and how much it deeply hurts.

The worst thing about acting strong is you don't get to express your inner feelings. You can't admit that something is affecting you and you just can't handle such strong waves of mixed emotions. So you live in DENIAL and day by day, the overload increases and ultimately it weighs you down, crushing your soul into pieces and leaving you numb.

But why do we have to lie?

If you ask me, I believe that the question "How are you? has become a greeting like "Hello". In many instances the questioner's facial expressions or tone of voice tells us that they don't have the time to hear how we truly feel and are least interested, thus we say "fine". Also we maintain an unsaid social hierarchy all the time and the people who don’t fit into the top levels are not supposed to know how we do feel. That is the masks we all wear.

So when we say that we are fine, we are expressing a socially normal response. We are supposed to be okay, so we will say so in order to move on to the next topic to talk about, to divert from the feelings that we truly feel just to be at the safer side away from the cross questioning or the judgmental eyes of many.

Even after all this, we ask them the same question.

Are we concerned about them? 

Maybe. Maybe not.

but we still ask out of general politeness and courtesy with the same tone as they asked us in the first place....

..and they reply back with, "I'm fine too".

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