Selflessness, Respect and Discipline

Many Filipinos, if not all, get up in the morning*, brave the chaotic morning rush and work almost tirelessly to help themselves and their families have a better life or maintain an already good one. (*timeframe relative to people’s jobs – this also applies to those who go to work in the afternoon, evening, midnight or dawn)

This brand of filial selflessness is something that I really like about our culture. But in the midst of everything, I’ve observed that some of our basic social values seemingly get lost or are deemed insignificant compared to our individual priorities, namely respect for strangers and surroundings, and discipline. Yes, we are highly respectful to our elders and work or school superiors, but not to people we encounter and commute with, nor to the environment.

So many times have I seen people here cutting lines (or allowing friends to cut in line), shoving other people without apologizing, not giving enough space on the train for entering or alighting passengers, not following designated signs and nonchalantly throwing small pieces of trash on the ground unless there is a strict person of authority lurking around and disciplining them. Many of us have been used to such behavior that we already think those things are normal and we don’t “get in line” unless we are told to.

I’ve also experienced really bad displays of customer service that reflect the lack of basic respect and discipline. I’ve waited in line for an hour for a bus without the bus company explaining or apologizing to us for the delay.  This happened twice. I’ve said “excuse me”, or have had to clear my throat just so a couple of sales staff chatting with each other would entertain me. This has happened to me many times.

My question now is why? Why does it seem that many of us can be selfless for our families, friends and other loved ones, and selfish to everyone else?

Is it because of the dog-eat-dog-world mentality that many of us and our elders have that have forced us to care just for ourselves, families and friends, but not for those outside our social circles nor the world around us? Are we really all so angsty and jaded?

Is it because the messages that we only treat masses or services as rituals and we let our spiritual leaders’ messages on respect and discipline fly over our head after we head outside the church?

Is it because our state-sponsored basic education system previously did not cover good morals and right conduct?

Is it because many of us are enjoying the freedoms that democracy bought us, freedoms that were almost absent during the Marcos era?

I am sure that there are psychological and sociological reasons for it.  Yet despite these reasons, I think that this is something that we can still improve on and turn around.

Our country would be so much more fun to be in if we can be a little more selfless, respectful and disciplined towards others.

Lessons from Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda

Almost two weeks ago, Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda visited Metro Manila,  leaving the capital of the Philippines and nearby provinces with memories of strong, howling winds, heavy rains, floods, flying roofs, fallen trees and blackouts. Nothing special, really. Most of us living in the Philippines are used to all those things.

Broken branches and an electric post block a street

A typical sight post-Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda (Photo Source: Lilian Ramos-Yeo/Agnes dela Cruz)

What I find unusual is that despite experiencing a little more than a century of having typhoons and despite having experienced typhoons Ketsana/Ondoy and Haiyan/Yolanda, we haven’t really gotten around to developing a culture of foresight and preparation. I have to give it to Marikina for having warning sirens and for various broadcast networks for having information campaigns, but we’ve been used to having stopgap measures, to having relief drives that reflect our brand of compassion and unity and to waving the banner of the indomitable, “waterproof” Filipino spirit (as I have admittedly posted in my blogs in the past). Strength, unity and compassion are indeed good things, but I think it would be much better if we applied those principles in light of prevention instead of rehabilitation. We as citizens, could be compassionate to our fellow Filipinos by freely sharing our knowledge gained from the government and media about disaster risk mitigation and preparation and in doing so develop a preventive behavior and a more potent kind of strength that will truly unite us and help us stand upright the soonest after the storm.

Challenges and Growth

Positivity - Rising Over the Challenge - Michael Christian Martinez

Michael Christian Martinez rose to the challenge to represent our country in Sochi as the first Filipino Winter Olympian, which helped him grow as a Filipino athlete and an individual. Photo Source: Tempo

When you rise over a challenge, you grow.

I just want to take this opportunity to share the happiness and fulfillment I felt after I overcame a few challenges the past several months and few weeks:

Challenge: Sticking to a routine.

The only routine I had before was to rise in the morning, have breakfast, take a bath and start working. The breakfast, bath and work parts used to interchange until I read that routine boosts productivity and contributes to success. It has almost been a year since I adopted a more streamlined morning routine and now I’ve incorporated a exercising which has boosted my productivity even further. It takes me longer now to prepare for work, but now I’m more focused on it, making tasks easier to accomplish.

Challenge: Being more organized.

I’ve utilized planners over the past couple of years and I vouch for their usefulness, especially for a left-brained person like me who is happy with wandering and whimsical thoughts. Aside from having a routine, having and actually using a hard-copy written really helps me get my job done. But I found organization for work hard beyond the planner. So actually being able to work with a bunch of lists now and not panicking is an accomplishment for me. I’m sure others who are reading my blog can relate. I’ve still yet to learn to really organize people, but I am learning. And I’m looking forward to when I can really manage and organize lists and people.

Challenge: Thinking on my feet.

That’s something that I’ve started learning. I’ve still a lot of work to do in this category, but I’m also confident that I can think faster. Being at the moment is really key for thinking on one’s feet.

There are a lot more challenges that I’ve yet to overcome and experiences I’ll grow from. And I’m excited to jump over these hurdles.

Thanks for reading my blog! How about you? What are the challenges you hurdled that made you feel really fulfilled?

Helpful, Healthy and Yummy: Green Pastures

Last night, I had dinner with friends in this place called Green Pastures at the East Wing of Shangri-la Plaza Mall. It’s a relatively new place that has garnered rave reviews because of how good its food is, and that it is an organic farm-to-table restaurant, meaning the food that they serve come from organically-grown plants and free-range raised poultry, cattle, lambs and pigs. It’s the perfect restaurant for people who love healthy food, but do not want to give up meat, like me. And I’m big on supporting businesses that are inherently advocacy-based. Yay for farmers! Yay for Philippine agriculture!

I initially planned to order their octopus-and-bone-marrow fusilli, but since my aunt recommended that I order the 80/20 Wagyu burger, I ordered that instead. I told myself that I will just go back and order the octopus-and-bone-marrow fusilli next time.

Green Pastures' 80/20 Burger

Green Pastures’ 80/20 Burger

The 80/20 Wagyu Burger is composed of 80% Wagyu beef, 20% double smoked organic pancetta (Italian bacon), stratiacella (Italian soft cheese) and buttered brioche (bread). It came with a hefty serving of fries with dip.

I wasn’t too happy with the burger at first since it seemed bland, but it began to taste fuller and better after every bite. I finished the burger fully satisfied, then downed the fries almost completely. The last time I was that satisfied with a new restaurant was last March, after I visited Poco Deli for the first time. Other dishes we ordered were the Carbonara, Duck You!, Ricotta and Headcheese. The dishes ARE a bit pricey, but that I think is okay considering you are helping the country and its farmers through Green Pastures.

2013 was a year of awesome culinary discoveries – from Ying Ying in Binondo, Aria in Bonifacio Global City, Plantation in Makati, to Haru, Poco Deli and Charlie’s Burgers in Barrio Kapitolyo and Spatzle in the East Wing of Shangri-la. So I’m glad that I kicked off 2014 with another awesome culinary discovery. I will definitely come back and find out more about their other dishes. 

My 2013 Ylocandia Adventure Part 2 (Ilocos Norte)

After visiting Vigan, we went back to Ilocos Norte to visit the Paoay Church and have our dinner. The Paoay Church was built by Augustinian priests. They built it in such a way that it would withstand natural calamities, particularly earthquakes. Its design is known as “earthquake Baroque”. Many other churches in the Ilocos region have the same design, including the churches in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte and Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur.

2013 Ilocandia - Paoay Church 1

2013 Ilocandia - Paoay Church 2

2013 Ilocandia - Paoay Church 3

Beauty at Dusk

2013 Ilocandia - Paoay Church 4

2013 Ilocandia - Paoay Church 5

2013 Ilocandia - Paoay Church 6

A Magnificent Sight

DAY 2

The next day was spent going to one site to another, making it our trip’s most tiring yet best day. We started by going to Cape Bojeador, then Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos, the Windmills in Bangui and finally Pagudpud.

Cape Bojeador is an old lighthouse that Spanish soldiers used to man the sea. The whole place has weathered over time. The main lighthouse’s stairs have rusted so badly that you can’t climb it anymore.

2013 Ilocandia - Bojeador Lighthouse 1

2013 Ilocandia - Bojeador Lighthouse 2

2013 Ilocandia - Bojeador Lighthouse 4

2013 Ilocandia - Bojeador Lighthouse 5

2013 Ilocandia - Bojeador Lighthouse 6

The best thing about Cape Bojeador is the seascape. From atop the high hills of Ilocos Norte, I was able to take photos of rolling waves from afar. The experience of actually seeing that with the wind blowing in my hair in the morning truly started my day right.

2013 Ilocandia - Bojeador Lighthouse 7

Then we drove to Burgos’ Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. Walking towards the rock formation was a challenging yet fun experience. I braved winds that almost carried me away to get near a beautiful natural wonder that every Filipino has to visit and be proud of.

2013 Ilocandia - Kapurpurawan Rock Formation 1

2013 Ilocandia - Kapurpurawan Rock Formation 2

2013 Ilocandia - Kapurpurawan Rock Formation 5

2013 Ilocandia - Kapurpurawan Rock Formation 4

No photo can ever do justice to this sight. Ever.

 I was able to take only one photo of Bangui’s windmills  because it was starting to drizzle and we didn’t want to stay long so we wouldn’t get wet. Haiyan was battering Eastern Visayas that day, and we also got a taste of strong rains on our way to and during lunch time in Pagudpud. That’s also why we took a few photos there.

2013 Ilocandia - Bangui Windmills

2013 Ilocandia - Pagudpud 1

2013 Ilocandia - Pagudpud 2

2013 Ilocandia - Pagudpud 3

We went back to Laoag to relax after our lunch in Pagudpud, and spent the whole time there. We didn’t tour any site the day after as it was the day of my friend’s wedding. 

DAY 4

We had a little time left, but we paid Ilocos Norte’s lakay’s home a visit. It was the last site that we visited before having lunch and heading back to Manila. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Marcos loyalist or critic –  – the “Malakanyang ti Amianan” (Malacañang of the North) or any Marcos shrine is something to that you should do to know the extent of the man named Ferdie and his family’s power over the Ilocanos of Ilocos Norte, and the love that they continue to bestow upon him.

2013 Ilocandia - Malacañang ti Amianan 1

2013 Ilocandia - Malacañang ti Amianan 3

The painting on the left is a portrait of a teenage Bongbong Marcos riding a white steed and carrying a sword. It looks like a mild version of the propaganda art created by North Koreans for the Kims. Too bad I didn’t get to take a photo of it!

2013 Ilocandia - Malacañang ti Amianan 2

2013 Ilocandia - Malacañang ti Amianan 4

2013 Ilocandia - Malacañang ti Amianan 5

It isn’t as enchanting and haunting as the the first time I visited in the early 2000s. The hospital bed was gone, and it looked more like a tourist spot than a genuine historical artifact, unlike Cape Bojeador.

2013 Ilocandia - Malacañang ti Amianan 6

 

2013 Ilocandia - Malacañang ti Amianan 8

The family photos and “shabby chic” color is one of the significant changes from the last time I went there.

2013 Ilocandia - Malacañang ti Amianan 9

I honestly don’t think “shabby chic” and Marcos mix. It just doesn’t. A for effort to rebrand though! I exited the house feeling a bit more endeared to the controversial family that I am critical yet not a hater of.

 

Overall, my Ylocandia adventure was a great one, and I’d gladly go on another trip to these sites and make it even more memorable by visiting the other places we didn’t get to visit like the Sand Dunes.

I’m writing about the food we had in my next post.

Setbacks and Moving Forward

Setbacks Help You Move Forward

Image from Learn NC

As in anything in life, organizations go through ups and downs. And what makes an organization strong, and what makes it leadership work is the organization and its people’s capability to withstand major challenges and rise up from difficulties.

Numerous books, articles and talks have discussed the power of positive thinking in helping organizations and businesses reach success. Thinking positively and moving progressively is most important after going through certain setbacks, let’s say, incurring losses after a failed business deal, product recalls and legal crisis. To start, it is important to ask questions that lead to forward movement, such as, “What lessons have we learned from this experience?” and “How are we to apply these lessons?”

The first question reflects the bright side of even the worst types of setbacks. It tells us that setbacks don’t render ourselves, our people or our organization hopeless. It can make us better. A setback could just be the rubber string on a slingshot pointed upward, that pulls us back a bit, but then propels us to greater heights. I also believe that setbacks don’t just happen because of operational or organizational mistakes. There’s a deeper reason for the occurrence of setbacks, and personally, I ultimately believe it’s that Being (in my case, the Christian God), putting us through them to make us into better creations.

The second question reflects our ability to become better by following through and living out the lessons learned. It tells us that we can make the most out of anything, and move with considerable and logical speed to bring ourselves and/or our organizations to greater heights that where we were, complete with wisdom.

Where we land and stabilize ourselves is up to how much we fix ourselves to become a better organization, or person. With the help of God, of course.

What setbacks have helped you and/or your organization become so much better? I’d be glad to hear from you.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Excitement Begets More Excitement

The Key to Happiness is Excitement for the Future  (image: wordsoverpixels)

The Key to Happiness is Excitement for the Future (image: wordsoverpixels)

As I lay to sleep on my bed last night, I thanked God for the many awesome things happening around me and the world and the meaningful content I get from media, from our current projects to the developments in the Catholic community to the many thought-provoking articles on Relevant, Inc., and Linkedin I’ve read in the past months. I slept after reading through a few inspirational materials. I noticed that whenever I think or read about good thoughts, I wake up a lot better.

Thinking about and talking about the positive experiences you have and will get and new knowledge you’ve acquired begets more excitement in life. The more you are excited about life, the more life will give you reasons to be excited and the higher the chances are to be happy. I remember how my excitement over 2 projects almost a month ago lead to the acquisition of more clients. This is something that I’ve personally experienced also with friends. When we talk about the good things, then our conversations turn better and more great things happen to us.

So for whatever good that is coming to your life now, get excited and for sure, many greater things will happen!

A Life of Discipline, Responsibility and Desire

To live a Christian way of life, is to live a life of discipline, responsibility and desire.

There’s something really remarkable about the current Catholic pope, Pope Francis. For many, his words and actions may seem revolutionary due to the largely elitist history of the Catholic Church. Many people have returned to the Catholic faith because of him. Evangelicals, people from other faiths and even agnostics and atheists have new found respect for Catholics because of him. Jesus Christ is truly working through him and his disciplined and largely responsible way of living.

Living one’s faith is not constrained to the attendance of masses or Sunday services, the recital of certain prayers or complete memorization of the Bible. Praying religiously, attending masses and reading the Bible are important. But what is more important is that we truly understand the meaning of God’s Word, and consciously desire and act on that desire to live out His messages to us, most especially His message of Love, which requires so much discipline and responsibility.

I remember the day that I ceased putting images in my room, and ceased venerating saints. I realized that I had not cultivated a real faith-based spiritual relationship with the God that I worship, but the vessels used to “get to Him”, so I stored them away so I could concentrate on building my relationship with God without them. What remains with me are Bibles.

From then on, I realized that living the Christian faith requires responsibility. It requires constant self-examination, and a constant desire to be the bigger person in all situations by being more understanding and loving toward other people. It ultimately requires one to be humble and admit that he or she is a sinner, and only through Jesus Christ can he or she be strengthened to live beyond sin. For example, it is only through Christ I can find the strength to not judge and accept and love people whose beliefs I strongly disagree with.

Living the Christian faith requires so much discipline as well. To be constantly responsible, one must remain disciplined enough to keep being open and engaged, and not fall back to our old ways and prejudices. To be constantly trusting in God, one must remain disciplined  and patient, and constant in expressing gratitude and their praise, even in times of hardship and seeming hopelessness. The desire to live the Christian faith is fueled by one’s relationship with God, and even before that, the grace that God gave us. Because God loves us, we are driven to be good people to others, as much as He loves us.

I am not in any way active in any ministry, nor a student of Christian and Catholic theology. Rather, what I have written above are based on my reading of the Bible, my reading of the Doctrine of Justification, as well as messages from Catholic leaders like Pope Francis and Jesuits, as I am a graduate of a Jesuit university. I’m a simple liberal Filipino Catholic, and this is my humble belief, which I understand will be disagreed upon by others.

But this is how my eyes see my faith, and this is how I will live it.

Dealing with Negativity (People, Thoughts, Behavior)

I, for one, am a very very critical person when it comes to social issues. Issues like gender inequality, discrimination among religions, oppression of the economically-marginalized, crass elitism/conservatism, corruption and crime among politicians, and lastly, the inability of a government to truly govern rile me up. I want a better society for my fellowmen and women, and a better world. This is why I post my views on these issues on various social networks. This is also why I like it when I hear of news or see images that address these issues – stuff that help me remain hopeful in humanity like these:

Christians Protecting Muslims during Prayer Time in Egypt

Jesse Robredo’s brand of governance continues to inspire after he has gone.

But social issues are not the issue. The issue is more personal in nature. It is negativity per se, driven not by any social ill, but driven by a person or persons’ past experiences, current frustrations and fears of the future. So how do we deal with negative people, negative thoughts and negative behavior?

  • Negative people may be others, or may be us. I admit that I let social issues get to me too personally before, and that I had been hard on myself before. Two experiences this year lead me to become a more positive and better person.  One was my discovery of what is called “The Law of Attraction”, a concept made famous by the book “The Secret”. Thinking abundantly did a lot for me in terms of career and personal life. It lead me to finally rearrange my room and even revive this blog. Second is when I renewed and strengthened my spirituality by basing it on the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification by the Lutheran World Federation and Catholic Church. By affirming Jesus Christ’s saving grace as a Catholic and thereby living out the good, inclusive values taught by the Protestant and Catholic Churches, I have learned to love Jesus Christ and build a closer relationship with Him by constantly thanking Him for everything, even for the challenges in life from which He helps me pull through.  Abundant and gratitude-filled thoughts, gratitude prayers and even a gratitude book helped me become a better, more positive person. All these helped me become a positive person and curb negative thoughts. Having this “attitude of gratitude” has worked for me and so many people – spiritual or not, so you can try it out.

  • The other people I’m talking about range from those who are selfish and want only themselves recognized, to those who do not believe in our capabilities down to those who are downright jealous. There are also people who enjoy talking negatively about others.  Humanity is not perfect, and many of us have been downright judgmental or enjoyed talking and listening to gossip. But there are others who seem to really thrive on speaking badly about others. I’ve learned to deal with these people in two ways, by changing the subject, or by consciously distancing myself from them. Changing the subject worked a lot. By sensing that the conversation has turned positive or productive, the other party or parties involved.  Praying for them also helped me too. For those who deliberately put people down, I’ve learned that being understanding, patient to them and in being direct yet gentle have also helped. In doing so, you can actually focus on improving yourself or maintaining the good that you’ve been getting.

That’s all I can share for now. Share to me your thoughts and experiences on how you are overcoming or overcame negativity.

Thanks for reading my blog!

The Morning Shift

Alarm Clock design by VisualPharm

I’m slowly shifting my person from being an afternoon person-slash-night-owl to being an early bird. It’s been a little more than a week since I’ve started, ever since I had a few meetings scheduled before 9:00 AM.  I never thought I would ever be a early bird, but now it’s happening and I am enjoying it.

The experience has been good so far, as waking up early in the morning has increased my level of productivity throughout the day. And with more clients coming in, this shift is significant and advantageous to my job as a business development manager in a social marketing agency. I have more focus and I think and move faster. I am also more self-aware about the things I think, do and say.

Why a person is a night owl or early bird depends on his or her’s circadian rhythm, more commonly known as the biological clock. According to WebMD, people with longer rhythms become night owls and people with shorter rhythms become early birds. The rhythms also change as someone ages. Babies and children have shorter rhythms, teenagers and young twentysomethings have longer ones and people in their mid-twenties and above revert back to having shorter rhythms. This is why as we age, there is the tendency to become sleepier earlier. It’s a bit different for me though, since it has made me feel energized enough to continue being productive at night or to want to have more night-outs with my friends. It has definitely revived my enthusiasm for an active night life. I do still need the 8 hours of sleep so I have to end those nights a bit early though.

How about you? Are you an early bird, an afternoon person or a night owl? Share with me your thoughts on being one!

Thanks for reading my blog!

Your Judgments About Other People Define You More Than Them

Judgements

Photo: The Hope Movement Tumblr

I’ll be honest – I had the tendency to judge a lot way before, based on a person’s appearance, the books they read, the places they hang out in or  the music they listen to. In other words, I only had shallow thoughts about other people. And I would defend myself by saying, “But that’s true!”

Let’s face it, a lot of us are guilty of that tendency to be shallow. We’ve raised our eyes at people in their twenty- or thirtysomethings who openly declare their love to K-Pop, One Direction, Miley Cyrus, Ke$ha and laugh at those who read (gasp!) Precious Hearts Romances.  We would not be caught hanging out in some dingy watering hole that play Filipino jukebox hits or have Aegis or April Boy Regino. We roll our eyes at anyone who wants to go all out fashionista in the Manila heat.

For all the angst we have against the capitalist or political elite, we ourselves have the tendency to be closed off and discriminatory against anyone who isn’t part of our “ranks”, and declare our observations as truth. And we do not kid when we judge based on our preferences. Our judgments are not part of some comedy bar spiel – our judgments form what we believe to be true about other people.

But “truth” is  very relative according to one’s upbringing and personal and social experiences.  What is true to me, may not be true to him or her. What is accepted as uncool to me, is accepted as awesome to another person. What’s accepted as hip for me, is seen as over-the-top for another person. At the end of the day, these aren’t really important. Entertainment and fashion preferences don’t define you, but your behavior in terms of interacting with other people, including how you view them. Your judgments on other people define you and your relationship with them. Other things that define you is the way you deal with good opportunities and face challenges and also partly your political beliefs.

That is why I love the expressions “Walang basagan ng trip”, and “Kanya-kanyang trip iyan”. The two Filipino expressions basically mean that a person has his/her own preferences and should be left to live life and love the things that he/she likes. It connotes respect for a person and the context he or she is in. Of course there are certain limitations. Committing heinous crimes, being corrupt and doing other blatantly evil and hurtful acts are excluded.

That’s all. So before saying anything about another person, remember – your judgments about other people define you more than them.

What’s Your Next Step?

What's Your Next Step

After every meeting that we have with a client regarding a project, my team and I discuss what our next steps would be. Then, we’d undertake these steps in the next few days, weeks or months, depending on the scope of the project. This applies to both good situations and not-so-good ones.

Talking about and carrying out “next steps” or following through after something has happened or realized is equally important in personal life. However, we aren’t always solution-based in dealing with certain situations in our lives. There is a tendency for us to sit back, look at the situation in a narrow view and complain or beat ourselves without doing anything. We recognize something, analyze and then are paralyzed by the simplicity or gravity of the situation. If we see the situation as mundane – say a stack of dirty dishes – we slack off until the sink is full and there’s nothing left to use for eating. If we realize the situation is complex – like an increasing debt, low grades or a family feud – we get overwhelmed and push the problem to the back of our mind until it escalates to the point that drastic measures have to be made. Here in the Philippines, we say “bukas na lang” (I’ll take care of it tomorrow) for simple situations and for more complex ones, we use the expression, “Bahala na si Batman” (“Batman will take care of it”).  I’m pretty sure this superhero was chosen for alliterative purposes.

But we can analyze situations without remaining paralyzed. So many times paralysis happens because we are caught up with our negative thoughts or emotions. This makes situations a lot worse. It doesn’t have to always be that way.

In times of laziness or trouble, these are the things you have to do. For laziness, please start with number 3.

  1. Recognize your feelings and act upon them (without hurting others). Groan, cry, or scream if you must.
  2. Calm down and take a breather.
  3. Look at the situation and think of possible next steps to be taken. If the situation calls for more analysis and weighing pros and cons, take time to do so. If other people are involved in the situation, talk it out with him/her/them.
  4. Weigh the pros and cons of taking action/inaction. Hopefully the pros outweigh the cons. This is important because even if you think of doing something that would improve the situation but not take acting upon it seriously, you might end up doing nothing.
  5. Take action.
  6. Think positively! Don’t think of difficult situations as “problems”, think of them as “challenges”. This has seriously worked for me for the last 11 years.

If you can solve problems at work, you can also solve problems in your personal life! It’s all a matter of applying the work blueprint to your life.

That would be all! I hope my post helped!

Working from Home: Pros, Cons and Tips

I’ve always wanted to have a job that allows me to be independent and creative in terms of ideas, output and even wardrobe. I’m thankful as I have that now. What makes my job even more better is our current work-from-home setting. I’ve been working from home for more than two years now. If you are considering shifting to a company, getting a job or setting up a business that allows you to work-from-home, here are some pros and cons I can share based on my experience.

Pros

  1. Working from home fosters creativity. Being in a familiar, homely environment allows your mind to form ideas naturally, in highly unusual ways. You may think of concepts or ideas while doing things that help your mind get into action, like taking a walk around your house, cleaning your room, or even doing yoga or headstands! You can make your mind (and body) run freely without worrying about cubicles, office etiquette or just looking plain crazy.

  2. Working from home fosters independence and productivity. It is easy for someone to slack off without the constant watching eye of a supervisor, or tempting gossip sessions with office mates at the least. But once you get in the work zone – through your own initiative – things are done fast. Through working from home, you train yourself to get the job done by disciplining yourself against distractions. Once you instill discipline within, you can work anywhere – with or without distractions.

  3. Working from home reduces unnecessary stress and costs for traveling to your workplace. This applies largely to people who work in some of the busiest business districts in the country, most especially those who are working in the Makati and Ortigas areas in Metro Manila in the Philippines. Of course, it also reduces your gas/commute fee costs that come with the daily travel.

  4. Working from home also reduces costs for meals. This is important for moms and dads.  Since lunch can be prepared easily by yourself or your helper/s, and snacks are available in the pantry, you won’t have to spend double buying lunch or snacks.

  5. Working from home adds to time spent with loved ones, especially your family. Whilst many normal office-based workers wait until dinner time or the weekend to spend time with their family, you can spend it with them before settling down to work in the morning, during lunch time or breaks.

  6. Working from home allows for more relaxed downtime with yourself, your special someone or friends. You won’t have to worry meeting up with friends looking like a total haggard mess since you’re not bogged down by unnecessary stress factors.

Cons

  1. Working from home makes internal discussions/meetings harder. Well, this is applicable for people like me, from this side of the planet, since online and telecommunication connections aren’t constantly strong. You have to find a way to enhance your text-based (SMS and e-mail) communication skills, in case your phone line is making things hard, or if Skype simply doesn’t deliver. In my case, this isn’t really a big, big problem but it slows down work and productivity levels a bit.

  2. Working from home increases your tendency to slack off. This is why it is important for you to discipline yourself, otherwise, you’ll find yourself dozing off on your bed, or watching YouTube or hanging out on Facebook the whole day.

Tips

As I’ve mentioned, working from home requires discipline for it to be fully enjoyable. It sounds a bit ironic, but it’s true. Here are some self-disciplining tips that I have applied to myself:

  1. Follow a morning routine. Establishing a system early within the day will ease the flow from home activities to work. This delineates your “home” time from “work” time. Also set a time limit for your lunch hour.

  2. Have a separate room for your office, or at least position your table in such a way that the bed isn’t visible.

  3. Wear nice-looking clothes, at least the ones that you wear when going to the grocery or neighborhood/barangay hall. Don’t be stuck in your pajamas or wear tattered clothes. Sure, they may be comfy to work in, but you really can’t perform well in them.

  4. Take short hourly breaks AWAY from your computer. You have the liberty to take more breaks, so go ahead and indulge!  This is better than working non-stop for a few hours, then finding yourself slacking in the next two hours due to exhaustion. Play with your dog or cat, say hello to your kids or whoever is at home or grab a snack.

My job still requires us to meet face-to-face once or twice a week, or dress up nicely when we meet with clients so we still get to experience traffic and long commute lines and spend on food, but majority of the work is done at home. My experience has still been good so far. Still, I know this setting isn’t for everyone, and others still prefer working from an office separate from their home.

If you are a fellow work-from-home person, then feel free to share other pros, cons and tips with me and my readers!

Thanks for reading this post!

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