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?

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Better Work Management, Better Productivity

Better Work Management Better Productivity

Image Source: under30ceo website

There are three things that I gave up this year that allowed me to work better. I’ll list them down here and if you find what I’ve done doable, then you can follow what I’ve done.

The three things I gave up were multi-tasking, making long and unrealistic to-do lists and finally, working at a pace unfit for me.

Let’s start with multi-tasking. I would do a lot at the same time before, thinking that was the right way to accomplish as much as I can. I was wrong. I would be creating documents, perform administrative tasks and looking for prospect leads all at the same time. Also I allowed myself to end my work hours late, just so I could finish everything. I never really got anything substantially done, and would feel stress and tired at the end of the day. I allowed myself to get in that stressful cycle that many people allow themselves to get into, based on the notion that it is the norm in the business of marketing and communications.

The reason why I multi-tasked was because of the second thing I gave up: the long and unrealistic to-do lists. Ever since my first job, I loved seeing my calendar packed with tasks. Again, it was because of that “big-city-busy” mindset that I had. If there was something non-urgent pending, I would put it there, even if other heavier tasks were on hand. Those non-urgent tasks pended for a long time, with some left unattended to completely.

Because of trying to do things at a fast work pace, I sacrificed the quality of my work before. In addition, I was always panicky and disorganized. Having a to-do list and multi-tasking so much just to check off everything on that list left me more disorganized than organized. I thought something was really wrong with me since I couldn’t cope. Then I started reading a slew of articles on productivity and success a little earlier this year and that’s when I realized that the two things I had been doing – multi-tasking and having long to-do lists weren’t exactly right, even if they seemed normal in terms of business practices. Also, having a slower pace wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

The first thing I stopped was multi-tasking. I still had a long to-do list, but I performed the tasks there one by one. When a colleague or client would text, call, e-mail to request something from me, I would finish the task at hand before responding. For my colleagues, I would inform them that I was doing something, and that I would get back to them when I’m done.

The next thing I did was learn to create shorter to-do lists. I’m still in the learning process, but the shorter lists have gotten me more work done. They have helped me regain focus, especially on the bigger things that our organization is striving for. In addition, I numbered the tasks according to priority.

The last thing, which I just started doing, was to move at a pace that fits me, with no feelings of insecurity or guilt. I can say that the work I have done are substantially better, because of my focus on the tasks at hand. And oh, my work table looks remarkably neater now!

There are still times when I have to work past the prescribed work hours or work faster than the pace I have. But being more focused in my work management has lead me to cope with these instances better. While this has worked for me, others might like working at a fast pace, with more tasks. To each his/her own. It just so happened that the above things I changed worked for me.

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!

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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