Progress: Bio Clock & My Ideal Work Day

One of my major 2014 resolutions was to work on my bio-clock and in the process improve my time management. The ideal looked like this ……

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Since January, I have been consistently logging down my sleep and wake-up times, timings I leave the house and reach home. Initial timings were pretty far from the ‘ideal’ as above …… But the logging was useful in allowing me to monitor how I use my time daily, and from there, make the necessary adjustments via the setting of daily goals/targets. Slowly & steadily, my wake up times adjusted from 0930 …. to 0830 …. and finally hit the sweet spot  last week at 0730 to 0735 (due to Rockwills Estate Planner course).

Then just when I thought I have successfully done the adjustment and made the habit stick (and in the process ticked off 1 major item on my resolutions list) …… however due to PMS and bad mood + dislike of my current office environment in general, I have been lasping back into the old pattern of waking up after 9-plus, and not being able to have a headstart on my day as much as I would have liked. Not only that, have been skipping my Tuesday gym/workout sessions for the past 2 weeks as well due to course & PMS, and also taking a longer time to fall asleep (a definite sign that I need to make myself more busy and more tired).

So I suppose after all the good momentum, the slight down/blip that I have been experiencing this week is probably what I intended to write about earlier – taking 1 step back in order to take 2 steps forward!

Time to get back on track to my intended routine (Early Headstart, 4 Day Week In Office, Back To 2 Workouts A Week, Weekly Reading/Audio etc.) …… And will be shutting down my computer after finishing this entry 🙂

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Some Thoughts On Work Life Balance

Starting another entry on the go as I head to Bugis for a Saturday pre lunch workout!

A topic/subject that has been very close to my heart and which I have made as one of my key 2014 resolutions – Work Life Balance.

What prompted this entry was the below which I chanced on a blog earlier in the week ……

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My usual workflow habit for the past couple of years has always been to hit office (on non-appointment days) after lunch from 2pm onwards, and work late till 8pm at least (7pm would be considered early). Even earlier departure on workout/running days. So this gives me at best 5-6 hours in office, plus given the 1 hour commute to Beach Road, 1/2 day easily whizzes by without managing to do much productive work. In fact there are days where I could well possibly be more productive working from home (since 2 hours is saved on traveling).

Thus it has always been a long term goal for me to overhaul my bio-clock and sleep patterns, so that I can start the day earlier, and get more done in the day. Another motivation would be the health aspect of it, as a more ‘normal’ bed time and earlier waking hours helps me lose weight 😛

Of course the most important motivation is that I have my evenings free for work appointments, daily workouts and runs, family time, time to catch up and re-connect with friends – while still getting in 6 hours in the office on a non-appointment day.  In the past, the old me had always thought that I can compensate by staying late beyond 8pm. But that leaves me tired (after late dinner and the 1 hour commute home) and the cycle repeats again and again. The need to really change and overhaul my bad work habits accumulated over the years came acutely after my Japan trip where I had the time to think through what I really want going forward, and the life I ideally want to live. And the action plan to make it happen 🙂

What further prompted this entry also was my observation of seeing SS work late for the past week in office. Due to whatever reason, they usually reach office around lunchtime or after lunch, and are the late night owls that stay beyond 9pm. On first impression, you would think they are hardworking reps who are dedicated to their work, and have a lot of clients to serve – thus the late night hours. But from some time last year (2013) onwards, after our move back to Shenton Way, I have come to realize that it is more likely that they are not as efficient and effective as others would think they are, as versus to the impression they are giving off. So this is one thing I must never learn from these so-called achiever(s)- and also a push factor for me to change before its too late!

From there  I can understand better now why one of my clients elect to bring work home to do rather than stay late (so that he gets family time at the dinner table with his girls before retreating to his study room).  And essentially I have came around to lugging my laptop home again everyday (changed back to using the Acer document bag so that the load is lighter) in order to catch up on work (comparisons, research, email) and do my travel blogs. So no more leaving office beyond 8 to 830pm on most days. Thursday is a departure from norm as I went back office to collect my laptop after appointment – while on the way home.

As much as I should be spending more time with clients outside rather than being in office (another key motivation for the change) – the original 3 days per week in office rule as I have originally intended is not practical anymore as business activities have increased now the festive season (Christmas and Chinese New Year) is over and we are going into the last lap of the banding year. I have been diligently noting down my timings (sleep, wake up, leaving home etc.) in my little diary …… This has the effect of making me more mindful of how I spend my time. And am happy to note that I have been improving on my sleep-wake cycle and getting to office earlier. Still some way away from the ideal wake up 8am, reach office at 1030am to 11am target …… but am definitely working towards it! Hope to report my progress on this blog as I go along ……

Note: Finished this up on Sunday 16 Feb 2014 before heading out for lunch.

Getting Started Again ……

One of the most challenging things in life is getting a goal/project going – and sticking to it! It can be something simple – such as eating less carbs, sleeping earlier …… to something involving higher stakes such as a new job, prospecting in a new target market, sticking to a budget etc. ……

One of my main 2014 new year resolutions is to run a PB for half-marathon this year. The only race that I have signed up to date was the 2XU Compression Run (most likely to give Sundown a miss as I prefer to use the time to concentrate on production matters for the last lap of banding year without the distraction of training). However after being sick since before Christmas (started with sore throat and mild flu from 20th Dec 2013) …… to the irriating cough that refuses to go away well into year 2014 (until mid of last week), workouts and training runs (if there were even any at all) have to take  a backseat.

So rather than setting goals to run X km and doing X workouts per week (as per a prescribed training plan that you can get online from Runner’s World for instance), the one simple goal I had for this week was simply an easy run (at least 20 min and 2km covered) to get back into the running cycle again. No long workouts as it is usually not wise to start long after a long break from the activity (in my case, my last run was the Great Eastern Women’s Half Marathon back in early Nov!) ……

The original plan was to get a run workout in on Tuesday (14th Jan) followed by spin class on Thursday (16th Jan). Bad habit of dily-dalying, thus left office only at around 720pm. Then another bad habit of not fueling up sufficiently pre-workout (the small cheese stick from Sophies was not sufficient as I felt my stomach rumbling) – thus had to get a chicken wing at Old Chang Kee before heading to the gym to change …… Then had to take in a client phone call about some issues. Sighz ……

By the time I got changed, it was already 5 min past late. Decided to abort the plan of an outdoor run, and simply do 15 min on the threadmill instead. However after warm-up and some hip abuctors (machine), was so bothered by client’s phone call that I decided an outdoor run was necessary after all (to clear my mind and also to get training going again) ……

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Lousy statistics indeed but I guess the most important thing is that I have acheived my goal of a run (on Tuesday night) to get my running activity going again. As an analogy to life, we have to start taking action first, before taking the next step of keeping the actvity going and developing it into a lifelong habit!

Ending of with a favourite quote of mine,

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
~ Lao Tzu

Opening Up Your Mind

Back from another blogging hiatus (2 weeks) …. Somehow was not in the mood to write and/or start anything. Last week was bad, struggling greatly with bio-clock, which affected my moods and productivity at work, sigh ……

So it was a major major goal to simply just work on my sleep and waking up pattern, in an effort to bring it back to more ‘normal’ levels 🙂

To a certain extent, it is working well. Energy levels have been much better in the course of the week. With the exception of Monday (2nd Monday of the month is PPI – more on that later) ….. today is the earliest that I have left house (1115) without all that dily-dalying, should reach office around 12 and made plans to lunch with J today as well ……

Back to my intended topic of opening up your mind. A result of some thinking/reflection and to a certain extend epiphany experienced once again!

As per usual modules operati, ended up cabbing to office for PPI. PPI is a focus group where we get together every 2nd Mon of the month to share some sales and product ideas. Usually will end up spending some $$ on cab in order not to reach office too late for PPI – as versus to taking MRT ……

The cab fare to OUE Downtown Core 2 (formerly DBS Tower 2) is around $16 – $3 lesser than cabbing to Gateway East in the past, journey takes around 25min (boarded around 950, reached around 1015) as versus to 45min on the crawling MRT 😛

I consider it $$ well spent in return for knowledge and new insights gained (as versus to taking cab for frivolous stuff such as hating to squeeze in MRT despite not having to rush). For this month (September) – the topics up for discussion were SRS and Term Insurance Plans.

My blog here is not so much about the specifics of knowledge gained/re-learned. Many a time, we often fall into the complacency that we think we know it all / have the knowledge at our fingertips, thus not necessary to attend any more focus groups/trainings to learn more. However after my experience on Monday, this is definitely far from true as Monday’s session have actually opened me up to new ideas and new sales concepts ….. It is not that I didn’t know beforehand, but sometimes we lapse into the not-so-good habit of closing off our mind to ideas and concepts worth a look 🙂

Once again I’m reminded (in a good way) the importance of being humble, and open to learning. When we take a small little step back and let go of our inhibitions/mis-givings, it is amazing how having an open mind leads to new knowledge and ideas gained to be put into practice …… Similarly, I will strive to translate this important value to my clients, especially those stubborn ones who already have a fixed mindset and who are often perpetually in denial, well …… Patience Patience!

Saturday Musings Part 1: Some Fengshui Tips … Hmm

Despite the title, this is not so much a blog about my thoughts on fengshui.

Rather, I came across Lynn Yap’s entry a few days ago and felt a strong resonance with the topic – do you set a goal or target for yourself?

This is very relevant to myself and my daily work/life. To extract specifically from her entry, these few paragraphs really strike a chord with me, thus logging it down here:

Personally, I don’t set any but I do have a certain sales target that I need to achieve in a month. I set reasonable and achievable targets for myself and as like I said, I am only answerable to myself and to my own pocket.

After setting a big plan, now plan monthly then plan weekly and then daily. work and work till you earn your first million, net worth for one. Then plan and go higher till when you wake up, you found yourself at 55 or even 60 then count…….what is your net worth. Hmm……a couple of millions and very comfortable, then tell yourself, you have done yourself proud and well.
 
It’s your narrow mindset that sets borders for you and then limit how much you can achieve in your life time.

On-The-Go

Doing some random FB surfing on the go (on the way to Bras Brasah for training now) and came across the following quotes ……

你今天的选择会决定你未来的结果,所以选择会比努力来的重要。

In simple English terms, this means that the choices that you make today will decide your fate of tomorrow. So your choice is more significant than your effort. To further add on, this does not mean you don’t make effort, still need to work hard! However, it is also not wrong to say that choice is a prelude to future consequences. When we make good and correct choices, we will take the correct and necessary actions leading to positive outcome. As mentioned by provider A during yesterday’s goal setting, it is what we ‘want’ …… and not what we ‘should’ or ‘think’ ……

Another one:

Complaining becomes a habit. Focusing on the negative also becomes a habit. It’s one of the most detrimental habits you can possibly have. It can negatively impact you socially, affecting your personal happiness, but it can also subconsciously sabotage your money and success.

Thus make it a habit to focus on the positive as what we focus on is what we get. From time to time, reflect and revise as necessary ……

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2 days in a row early start. Hope to maintain this 🙂

6 Things Really Productive People Do

Got this from GoalsOnTrack

A timely reminder for myself 😛

6 Things Really Productive People Do

By Kevin Daum

Have you noticed that some people just seem to accomplish tons and still appear happy and relaxed? Here are six tips for becoming more productive.

People often ask me, amazed, how I manage to do so many things. Aside from writing two columns every week, I speak regularly, travel, create videos, manage my business, write books, consult with five companies, network, socialize, cycle, run, read, cook, sleep six to seven hours a night and have dates with my wife. Oh yeah, I watch a lot of television while hanging out with my dog as well.

Okay, I know it sounds ridiculous. But accomplishing my preferred future requires this level of activity. I have the same 24 hours in a day that you do, but I have made specific choices that allow me to make the most of every day, and still feel happy and relaxed. Perhaps these tips will help you make the most of your time as well.

1. Pick Your Priorities

Make choices about the activities in your life. With most endeavors, you can either go deep or go wide. Focus on spending time that for you is fun and productive. If you like big families, have them, but recognize up front that kids require time and you’ll have to choose a lifestyle that supports quality time with them, for you to feel satisfied. I chose the life of a consultant because I like to work with companies, but don’t want the life of a big company CEO. My choices are based on the lifestyle I want.

2. Go For Efficiency

You don’t do everything well. The things you do well usually give you greater joy and require less time. Don’t take on something with a steep learning curve if you don’t have the available bandwidth. Design your life to meet your wants, and recognize when to say no to opportunities that are outside the scope of your desires. Live your life by design, not default.

3. Integrate Your Activities

Many people go crazy trying to figure out how to spend time with friends, family, work, play, etc.  Stop trying to balance time between them all. Find ways to enjoy them in a combined manner. Build your social life around people in your work environment. Find people in your company who share common interests and develop your career around the people and activities you love. If everything is out of synch to the point where you feel pulled and stressed, a change is likely imminent one way or another.

4. Actively Manage Time-wasters

Social media, family, friends, employees, co-workers and general whiners all under certain circumstances can suck precious time from you if you let them. Budget your time for necessary activities. Make a choice to limit non-supportive interactions that don’t energize you. As for social media, it can easily be a black hole for time and productivity. Use it appropriately and sparingly as a tool to support your endeavors and social needs, but lay off the Farmville.

5. Be an Active Learner

You would think learning takes more time from you, but actually there are always new tools and new ways of doing things that can save you time on mundane tasks freeing you up for your priorities. Always be looking for a new way to gain back an hour here or there. Just try it and dump it quick if it starts to drag on.

6. Lighten Up

No need to beat yourself up if you can’t do all the things you want because you are handling other stuff that needs attention. It happens. The world won’t come to an endin most cases just because you left a few things undone. Celebrate progress and keep refining toward a happy productive existence. This is why making lists and crossing off items is a staple in any productivity handbook. Every completion is a small victory that adds up in a big way.