Increasing efficiency: get organized

Getting organized is not easy. By organized I not only mean getting your room straight but also your digital and professional life. It is very tempting to be messy because students having “don’t give a damn” attitude are considered cool. I get that. But it will not help you in the long run. When the time comes, you will blame yourself and regret not putting your affairs in order. Sooner you realize this truth, the better. Start today and get organized.

Set goals

dreams

To get anywhere, you must know where you are going. Ask yourself what you want to be in 5 years? Note it down. Break down your goals into yearly bits. Decide what you want to be by next year. What are your dreams? Put deadlines. Break them down into monthly and weekly to do lists.

Start with your room

Always have a tidy and clean room. Creative energy gets blocked by clutter and you are unable to concentrate. Sort out all your stuff and throw away or donate whatever you don’t use. Here are some tips to declutter your room:

  1. A golden rule of thumb is to throw away anything you haven’t used in a year. Of course it excludes collectibles and stuff with sentimental value. But do not cling on to things that get you down.
  2. Make three piles of clothes: one you like and wear often, one for the classy and the ones you saved for special occasion and one for the ones you want to donate. Throw away the rest or recycle. CLOTHES
  3. Make a rule: for every new piece of clothing you buy, remove an old one from your closet. Donate, recycle or throw it away.
  4. Make a place for everything you keep. Do not have a miscellaneous area. It is a trap. If something doesn’t belong anywhere, there is no use keeping it.
  5. Have your supplies ready. It is frustrating to trying to find a pen that works among a bunch of used up ones. Throw away stationery items you can’t use.
  6. Do your laundry once a week at least.
  7. Clean your room at least once a week. dust, vacuum and wipe off the surfaces.
  8. Check regularly to see if you have expired cosmetics, medical supplies and food; throw them away.
  9.  Make your bed first thing in the morning.
  10. Make shopping lists any time you need something. Do not buy impulsively.

Declutter your laptop and phone

  1. Delete the very old messages and update contacts. At least once a month.
  2. Make folders and put things in them on your pc/laptop. Start with your desktop. Keep minimum icons( I keep only 4) on the desktop.folders
  3. Delete songs and movies you don’t like. Everything is available online and you can always download them later if you need. They take up a lot of space.
  4. Keep backup of your personal documents, photographs etc. both online and in DVDs/ Hard drives.
  5. Declutter your inbox. If you have like 200 unread messages, put them all in a new folder named Archive_date_of_today. Sort them later. Do not keep more than 20 emails in your inbox at a time. Empty the inbox every sunday.
  6. Unsubscribe from online newsletters, promotional offers and other emails you do not read but think you might.

Submit assignments on time

No explanation needed.

Check your progress

At least once a week, check if you  are on track. Are you working towards your goals? Are your actions in accordance with who you want to be in a year or two? Stop wasting time. If you are losing track, get back. Stop the activities that don’t add to your efforts of reaching your goals. It is ok to take breaks but do not procrastinate.

Being tough on yourself makes life go easy on you. A cliche but true. Be tough, be organised, be determined. Aim for excellence. Success will be at your footsteps. Good luck!

Find your personal legend-4

Hey there! As my regular readers know, I’ve been posting about finding your personal calling or your “personal legend” since last few weeks. Today is the fourth post in this series. (You can check out previous posts here)

DREAMING Versus DOING

As I said last week, actually trying out something is very different from dreaming about it. You think you like to do something but if you do it consistently and regularly, you might feel differently.

dreaming vs doing

 

Take my example. I thought I liked photography to the extent that I would make a career out of it. I decided to explore career opportunities in wedding photography. Turns out, professional photography is more about getting clients and post processing than actually clicking pictures which I enjoyed. I volunteered at one of my cousin’s wedding and the pictures turned out horrible. I couldn’t keep up with the demands of his parents and the wedding ceremony was moving pretty fast. Moreover, there were a lot of people who wanted their pictures clicked and I was the only photographer. I couldn’t take the pressure.

I believe that somebody else who is used to dealing with crowd and pressure of missing out important moments would have worked wonderfully in my place. The job wasn’t that tough but I didn’t like it. I decided not to pursue wedding photography anymore.

 

Where I failed

I wasn’t prepared enough

To start with, I didn’t have a good camera. Yes, I didn’t. How could someone be such an idiot as to forget the most important thing? I was overconfident. I thought my camera was nice enough. I was afraid if I bought a new one and failed, I would lose my money.

I didn’t research on what kind of rituals will be performed. I thought I knew how an Indian wedding goes. However, when I actually had to be there, I realized there are a lot of small ceremonies and customs I had never paid attention to.

I didn’t interview bride and groom beforehand. I didn’t know what they want. The bride didn’t know me well and thus wasn’t comfortable around me. It was a major factor of ruining their couple photographs. Getting to know the couple before the wedding will acquaint them with you. Once people are comfortable, they give natural and memorable shots.

I didn’t have any previous experience 

This point can be ignored as I was just trying out. It wasn’t supposed to be that great. However, I wish I would have started small with simple assignments before taking a wedding shoot.

Keeping up with the circumstances

When I took this opportunity I had some idea of how difficult the job will be. However I failed to prepare myself for the unseen circumstances. The crowd and the poor lighting, it was a nightmare. No matter how detailed your plan is, something will definitely go wrong. In my case, everything went wrong.

 

What I could have done

First of all, I could have borrowed a good camera from a professional. I knew some professionals and they would have lended me their camera. But I didn’t ask.

Secondly, I should have researched. I should have interviewed and spent sometime with the couple. I should have prepared a list of the rituals so I would knew what to expect.

Lastly, I should have practiced with smaller assignments first. I should have gone to another wedding and clicked pictures without the pressure of me being the only photographer.

 

What I learned

It is this kind of real life experiences that let you discover more about yourself. You discover the particular aspects of something you actually like and can do under pressure. You may even discover new interests. I discovered that I should not be overconfident but I should always believe in myself. sometimes, taking a few deep breaths is all you need when you are under stress.

Conclusion

I assume you are working on your interests. If you already found something which clicks, congratulations! But if you have not, keep on trying. A week is a very small time to judge. Take more time. Keep on looking until you find something you both enjoy and get something out of. Something will go wrong,  make a plan nevertheless. You might fail, try again. Change your approach, change your strategies.

The important thing is not to succeed, but to discover yourself.

Find your personal legend-3

Hey there! As my regular readers know, I’ve been posting about finding your personal calling or your “personal legend” since last few weeks. Today is the third post in this series. (You can check out previous posts here)

Last week, I asked you to gather basic information about the field of your interest. For example, if you want to become a lawyer find out the necessary qualification and where/how to get it. If you want to be an athlete, find a coach/training academy.

The next step is a big one. I think the best way to know whether you can do something is to actually do it. You never know if you never try.

3steps

the next step is to actually try it out

Yes. Do it. Whatever it is that you want to become, imagine you are already there and act like one:

1. Is there an internship available in the field you are interested in? Can you apply for it?

2. Is there a part time job available? Does it capture the essence of what you think your ideal job would be like?

3. Do you know the subject well enough? Join an on-line course or take a class in your local community college.

4. Is there some kind of competition being held? participate.

try

I think you get what I’m trying to say. Find a way to do what you want to do. It doesn’t matter if it is small or it doesn’t pay. Your job is to find out whether you actually like this kind of work or is it temporary fascination.

So, today’s tip is to try. Try a number of things. Keep on trying until you find the one thing that clicks. Best of luck!

Travel more: Invest in experiences

 

Travelling has been a part of human civilization since the beginning. We travelled in searched for better food, favourable climate and habitable places. As human beings, we always crave for something “new”. We need new experiences to build a better version of ourselves and to make more sense of things. Travelling makes you more open, humble and strong. You never return as the same person who left. Travelling makes you richer.

We all dream of vacations/trips to exotic places. However for some of us, these vacations are supposed to be in the future; when our life will be settled and we can “afford” a vacation. As time passes, family and career become more and more important and we keep on postponing our dreams of travel. It makes me sad to see people abandoning their dreams.

For all I have learned, dreams are possible only in the present. Life is unpredictable and not all of us get the life we dream of. Being young is a blessing. Do not postpone your dreams, act. If you wanna go backpacking Europe, plan it this year itself. You won’t have as much freedom as you do now. Being a student, you have almost no responsibilities and your body is more likely the fittest it would ever be.

Today I want to say: TRAVEL. As much as you can. Go to places you have never been before, preferably alone.

Please share any travel tips you have in the comments below. I would love to get feedback!

Find your personal legend-2

Hey there! As I promised you last week, I will help you find your passion and dream career. This is my second post and I’m picking up from last Tuesday.

Last week I asked you to make a list of your interests and possible career profiles you can think of. I also suggested you to consider the opinions of your friends while making the list. It is a tiring job I know. I did it too. Here is my list:

Nanotechnology, Photography, Cryptography, Computer science, Writing-blogging, Management and business, Web design, Cooking, Astrophysics, Law.

I sincerely hope you have your list with you now.

Prioritize the list

skill_time_interest

Consider 3 factors:

  1. Skill level: how much you already know and what skills you require to pursue the career choice.
  2. Interest level: Is it something you are passionate about? Would you do it just for fun knowing that nobody will pay you?
  3. Trial period: Is there a way you can try out the given job for a short time period? like an internship or part-time job maybe?In other words, is it feasible to try out now?(More on it next week)

My prioritized list:

  1. Nanotechnology: interest+skill
  2. Photography: interest+feasibility
  3. Astrophysics: interest+feasibility
  4. Computer science: skill+feasibility
  5. Writing/Blogging: interest+feasibility
  6. Cryptography: interest
  7. Law: interest
  8. Cooking: interest+feasibility
  9. Web design: interest
  10. Management & Business

Ask questions

When you are settled with the broad field(s) you think you can work in, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does it require some special knowledge or skill set? e.g. being a scientist would require you to study the subject in a lot detail. You need to do a Ph.D first. Are you prepared for those long hours of study and lab work?
  2. Does it require physical fitness? Suppose you want to be a firefighter. Are you fit to do the job? Both mentally and physically?
  3. Can you meet/contact some experts in the selected field of interest? They can give you an insider’s view of what the work actually would be like.

Build Skills/Knowledge

What if you have no contacts and no prior knowledge?

  1. Join online classes or local community classes on the subject.
  2. Collect as much information you can get through the internet.
  3. Find out email addresses of some experts working in the field you are interested in. Drop them an email and ask what you want to ask. Most people love to talk about their jobs.
  4. Research about the companies/agencies offering jobs in the area you are interested in.
  5. Read books about the subject.
  6. Get fit. Both physically and mentally.

In summary,get as much information as you can about the career you want to pursue. Find the gaps and skills you are lacking in and try to fill in these gaps. The goal is not to become an expert but to have a basic idea about the subject. It doesn’t matter what kind of job you’ll actually be doing, you only need to understand the basics for now.

Once you know the fundamental aspects of the career you are interested in, you can move on to the next step. More on that next week!

Read the story of a girl who chased joy . She chose the road less travelled. She followed her bliss.

This is simply awesome. I could connect with her experience. I know the crossroads. I know about the road less travelled. I know the fear. I know the bliss.

I have only one thing to add-” No one discovers their destiny. Your destiny will discover you-it will find you, provided you have done the preparation and inner work required to seize the opportunity when it presents itself.” Not my quote! It is from Robin Sharma. But it summarises what I want to say. I leave you with this quote today. See you on Monday!