Stress? Let’s Deal With It

Do your best! And ignore the rest to deal with Stress! Image of a lady squeezing a smiley stress ball

“Its not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.”  – Lou Holtz Each and every one of us is very well-acquainted with the phenomenon called ‘Stress’ which either is a perpetual companion or pokes its nose periodically, making sure you go mentally haywire. You could find ways to deal with stress anywhere, right from the internet to the sound advice of a friend. They are all the same- exercise, meditation, getting enough sleep, reduce caffeine intake, giving up alcohol, quitting smoking, healthy diet and the list goes on. Do they work? Of course, they do! But, how about we do something different this time, like trying to change our mindsets a bit so that we bid farewell to this nasty part of our life trying to bite our minds off? The first step to a chilled out and stress-free life is to stop caring what other people think about you. No, this does not mean that you turn up really late to an important meeting and be all relaxed about it when you are reprimanded. It simply means “do your best and ignore the rest”. If you know that you have worked to the best of your capability, the job is well done. People – at the workplace or at home – will almost always find something to criticize, in spite of you putting your heart and soul into the job getting done. If they scoff, let them. If they demean, let them. All you have […]

Maximise Your Productivity To Unleash Your Potential

Image of an hourglass,Caption; Maximise your productivity to unleash your potential.

Image Credit: Freeimages “Ten years from now, do you really think all the time you spent gossiping at the water cooler or sitting in some smoke -filled lunch room or watching television will count for anything ?’’ – Robin Sharma, The Monk who sold his Ferrari. As I read through the words, it set in motion a string of thoughts of the time I spent in Coffee breaks or small talks at the Pantry. Some of us take pride in the fact that we work 12 hours a day, but if it was to be measured against Productivity, will it sum up? Towards the start of my career, I had the flaw of procrastination, especially if the task did not interest me. As a result, I spent much time dreading about it than the time it would have taken to complete. Over a period of time, self-discipline taught me the virtues of Productivity. I started my morning with a to-do list, ranked in order of priority, which set the tone for a fruitful day. I learnt to mix and match, ie doing a task that I like and going onto the other which is less interesting. Also, I learnt to say “No “for multiple Coffee breaks politely, citing deadlines. Since the major part of my day was filled with meetings, I took efforts to comb through the minutest of details that might crop up, thereby avoiding the risk of meetings running behind schedule. In my experience, I have found that […]

How involved are you in your financial planning?

Financial Planning, Image of a clock and plants growing over coins

Image credit: Pixabay Have you read Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’? In her book, the COO of Facebook, Sheryl, mentions that the division of chores at her household was traditional. Her (late) husband Dave Goldberg would handle the bills and the finances and Sheryl would take care of the kids’ activities, food and, the birthday parties etc. Dave was at that time the CEO of Survey Monkey and Sheryl is still the COO of Facebook. I for one was relieved to note that it was a traditional model they followed – he handled the bills and finance while she handled the other stuff. Because it reflected mine. And maybe, yours too? Unfortunately, in 2015, Dave suffered a fatal cardiac arrhythmia while he was running on a treadmill. For anyone, the sudden demise of a spouse is indeed an irreparable loss. Yet, anybody’s guess is that an educated and accomplished COO like Sheryl would have been able to ‘more than competently’ handle all decisions including financial ones, despite the sudden upheaval in her life. I wonder if I would be able to. How about you? Would you be able to handle the financial decisions that impact your life and those of your dependant’s ‘if’ life puts you in a spot where you need to? If you are reading this, you probably are well educated yourself, and maybe have had or still have a good job. Despite your education and career, do you make decisions on ‘where’ to invest and ‘how much’ to […]

Networking

image of humans standing in a circle holding hands... networking

Image courtesy: Pixabay The animal kingdom lives in herds. I have often wondered if the animal species was born with the innate wisdom of collectivism or they realized over a period that much more could be accomplished if we stick together than leading solitary lives. In modern parlance the same trait translates to networking. A network as we understand it is a group of people bound by a common goal, interest or ideology. Technology has made us more connected than ever. Today there are networks for all genres of people-single, married, weight watchers, vegans. We all want to belong somewhere and understand that there is much to gain from collective wisdom and experience. Networking is not only for the not so well known. Even the who’s who of the world are associated with organizations/societies like the Freemasons. From US presidents and senators, to CEOs and even notable Indians like Motilal Nehru and Swami Vivekananda were reportedly members of the Freemasons. Freemason members claim that the society gives them a sense of belonging and helped shape character. However, networking does not always have to be about following the herd so to say. We are all capable of creating our own herds. One of the not so often mentioned way of creating a herd is either to develop a skill that makes you stand out or to do something notable that is acknowledged by people, that catches their attention. One example that shines out today is that of Mumbai based lawyer Afroze […]

Get over Work-life balance… Work-life integration is more realistic

Work-Life integration - image of 3 blocks reading family, play, work

Image credit: Flickr Is your mobile phone next to you as you read this? Yes? Then, chances are that you also begin and end each day by checking the emails and messages on your mobile. Checking the mobile phone for work-related emails, messages and updates all through the day (and even when you get up in the middle of the night) is the new norm. After all, it is quite impossible to meet the boss’s expectations to be ‘on top of things’ if you aren’t connected to work. So is it time to get over the idealistic concept of ‘work-life balance’? I think so. The concept of ‘Work-life balance’ puts work and life at odds with each other, each to be achieved at the expense of the other. Not being able to achieve the ideal ‘work-life balance’ makes us dissatisfied. Often, ‘work-life balance’ seems archaic in a hyper-connected, VUCA world that demands us to be integrated with work like never before. Instead, what is more realistic is – ‘work-life integration’. Because work and life co-exist. Attending official calls even after working hours is a trade-off to the flexibility of taking your kids along with you to work whenever it is required. Work-life integration provides a sense of control to handle both work and life’s various demands simultaneously. In fact, work-life integration is happening all around us. You are likely to have witnessed working parents respond to their emails as they wait to pick up their kids from school. And, the […]

Building Bridges Through Communication

Image Courtesy: MeetingOne ‘’Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind’’ – Rudyard Kipling Working together as a team and being a team player plays a major role in smooth functioning and increasing productivity of an Organisation. Communication between Peers and Management becomes indispensable for the business. There are moments when conversing effectively seems like treading on a thin line. In an Industry that’s dominated by the opposite gender, talking firmly leads to being labelled as boisterous, whereas a calm tone earns the tag of being submissive. It is imperative to strike a balance and maintain the stance of being a professional. In my personal experience, it took a couple of experiences to set the limits and communicate assertively, yet politely. Functioning as a liaison between my Company and the Client, most of my day was spent interacting with people from different geographies, spanning across 42 countries. I learnt that the foremost task is to understand and respect the Cultural differences and communicate accordingly. For instance, I found my peers in Japan to be highly culture oriented and respectful in their conversations, while those in Turkey were extremely task oriented. I learnt to shadow their behavior and converse in the same tenor. While e-mail is an essential form of communication, over dependency on it leads to redundancy and waste of time. In case of differences, it’s best to have personal conversation than shooting strong emails. Involving people in decision making and encouraging them to talk their mind […]

Who told you more work is more productivity?

Caption Productivity - Time, Work, Health , Rest

Well, simply speaking- productivity is the result or output. But it’s a little more than result, its efficiency of result. Who told you, more work is more productivity? Productivity has many factors associated with it. Work is just one dimension to look at productivity. In fact we should consider many more aspects to productivity. Prudence of Time: Time and Tide waits for no man. Time is always hooked with productivity. Timely delivery is the key aspect to sustain any business. Hence it’s wise to be aware of time management. “Do, Delegate, Delay”- are essential elements of time management. Prioritize the job and do it right away. If you can’t do it then delegate it and get it done. In fact Dale Carnegie once said-“Those who don’t learn to delegate die young” .That simply summons the importance of delegation. Also say, if you cannot get many things done at a time, we can of course wait a little i.e. delay job and better concentrate on job at hand. Prudence of Work: The basis of the elements of time is Priority and Perfection. Always know what is important at the moment.  Higher the priority, earlier the chore needs your attention. But how much should it be done depends on the level of perfection expected. This level of perfection should be smartly decided. Always remember – Feed the Eagles and Starve the Turkeys. Not all chores require 100% perfection. In fact think on who decides standards of perfection. Always limit perfection based on […]

Money…..Matters!

Image Courtesy: eharmony A smile, a clap, a beautiful thought or a friendly gesture…..these are some of the the best things in life that are free. For everything there is a price tag attached. A dream of achieving  goal, an ambition of becoming someone, a tourist destination that is worth every penny, an asset that people would envy, a luxury that only few can afford. Money does matter!!!! But it always does not have to seem like a burden. The number of hours one can work and earn is limited but the number of ways in which money can be planned and spent is unlimited. Money comes and goes. However, Finance is what keeps track of money being earned and spent.   Saving v/s Spending: Investment is a kind of money saving technique. When a substantial amount of money is locked for a particular cause for few years, the assurance of that chunk not being spent is there. And it can further be used in future if required. Often investment in property, real estate, land, funds are good ways of stocking up money.  When it comes to spending, there are no clear rules.  Because what may seem a costly luxury to one, would be a simple item for the other.  But it would be good to follow a simple motto “Every penny saved is every penny earned”. So, spending wisely and as much as needed is a simple way of saving too.   Financial independence v/s Financially independent: Financial independence […]

Miles To Go Before I Sleep… Goal Planning

Image courtesy: cpacareermentor “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” —Andrew Carnegie A goal is not an end, but a means to an end. As humans, we are insatiable. When we attain something we desire, we yearn for more, and it goes in a loop. Irrespective of whatever the need maybe, Career, Monetary benefits or any other perks, we are set the constant question “What next”? While climbing up the corporate ladder, many dream of achieving greatness, but only a few attain it. Some drift aimlessly, wherever the wind takes them, without any set targets or goals. When it comes to Career, Goal setting is very much necessary starting from the grassroots level. There is no one universal way of Goal planning; it is left up to the Individual’s attitude and determination in achieving it. In the course of my career, I have sought help from my Managers/Mentors when I faced a setback. To fail is human, but not making a comeback is catastrophic. In a nutshell, some of the lessons I learnt are summarised below: Understand what you want in the long run. Set specific short term goals that will help to achieve the long term goals along with an expiry date. It gives immense satisfaction to look back at all the things we have achieved. It is constructive to discuss the set goals with your immediate Manager. It projects you to be focussed and ambitious, […]

Gourmetdelight, A Journey From Taj to Startup of The Year 2018

Images of Raka Chakrawarti, founder of Gourmetdelight in her store, in a round table conference, With an Award in hand for first runnerup Retail Startup of the year 2018.

“When something is important enough you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” —- Elon Musk That’s exactly what Raka Chakrawarti did when she set out to start Gourmetdelight. Having spent 10 years at Indian Hotels, she quit the organization in 2013 as Director of Public Relations for Taj and Director of Content Marketing for Indian Hotels to follow her passion – to set up an outlet that provides differentiated food items. At that time there was not much happening in this domain. There was a fledgling awareness about organic and free-range produce. Only a few outlets in five-star hotels were dealing in organic and free-range produce. For the common household awareness and accessibility to such produce was limited. The Taj group had previously explored the organic/free range food concept with its restaurant ‘Pure’, however the concept did not have many takers at that time. Raka liked the concept of Pure and wanted to do more with it. She could gauge that the tide would change and with increasing levels of awareness the Indian consumers would very soon want to know more about what they are consuming and where it is coming from. This self-awareness would create a need for natural produce and that’s what Gourmetdelight would cater to. Having spent a decade in a job she loved, shaking her comfort zone was not an easy decision to make. Raka experienced a lot of turmoil and kept pushing her decision to take the entrepreneurial plunge. Finally, […]