Sunday, February 28, 2021

The new year lull

 Wow! Feb 2021 felt like it just zoomed past. There we were celebrating the lunar new year, and here we are at the end of the month already! Working in Singapore for the last few years, I have realized - corporate business activities tend to slow down starting last week of December and then they do not pick up much momentum till after the lunar new year. Right after the lunar new year break, businesses wake up like "Oh no, Q1 is half way through (or more!) now let's race". Work tends to get crazy busy all the way till March end. So this is now "that time" of the year.

It's been almost a year since we all started working from home. Now it has become a routine, this is the new normal (yeah sounds so cliche!) but we are stuck in this now. I was a bit more disciplined with my personal schedule in the first 6-7 months of the pandemic, but now I have more or less fallen back to my old procrastinating and lazy ways.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Motivation vs. Habit

 As I grow older, I realize that motivation is difficult to sustain and if you plan to do things because you are motivated, you generally are setting yourself up for failure. Of course, there are few awesome people out there in the world who do things out of motivation and passion, but for the rest of us a lazy weekend or a bout of Netflix is enough to kill that motivation. And then being the self-proclaimed "God of procrastination" doesn't really help me much in that aspect as well.

Over the last few years, I have realized the easiest way to work towards a goal is by forming a habit. I know I have written about habits before, but I realize I understand them better; only now. If I had discovered this trick a few decades ago, I would have been a better person. Just to give you context, I will provide two examples from my life:

My company gives me access to LinkedIn Learning. It is a treasure trove of amazing videos to learn about almost anything under the sun. Now if I set a goal like "I want to get certified in xyz", it is too far-fetched and insurmountable because of the number of lessons required to be taken and the discipline/ motivation required to study through them. However, if I set a habit like - I will listen to 15 minutes of LinkedIn Learning lessons everyday, then in a matter of 1 month, I can do almost 7.5 hours of lessons - a respectable amount of time to study a lot of things (most courses are less than 12 hours).

Another example would be my resolution to read more books. Like everyone else, I am distracted, I binge watch and then I surf aimlessly. Reading books is a boring task that requires motivation and will-power. Now how about this - at the beginning of the year make a list of books you want to read. Arrange them in this order - Jan - Book 1, Feb - Book 2 etc. Then see the number of pages in Book 1 (e.g. 300). Resolve to read 10 pages a day. Viola, you can read a book in a month.

I think forming habits is the lazy man's way towards a resolution.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021


 Since the start of the pandemic, one thing that is sourly missing is - vacations. Its been a very long time since we have taken any vacations. What this also means is that we have been working from home all the time every day in and out. I ended up forfeiting quite a bit of my leave at the end of 2020 (because my organization does not allow me to carry forward leaves). That's a tonne of rest and rejuvenation gone down the drain.

I decided that in 2021 I will take these one off, random personal time offs (PTOs). Relax and rejuvenate in the middle of the week just so that - I get some "me" time and I do not end up wasting my entitled leaves this year again. Vacations still seem to be a very distant dream.

I call such PTOs "Me-days". These are my days where I do what I want. It could be reading a book, going out for exercise or just go window shopping. The aim is to disconnect and not work and not do your household chores. I already managed to take 2 till now and lets see how this goes.

I feel like Me-days make me happy and help me recharge!