Thursday, February 28, 2008

Inspirational Quote - Its Benefits To Self-Improvement

There are times when we are down and restless. We may encounter difficult events that put us down, and maybe, out. The pace of life is getting more demanding and challenging. We need to muster whatever energy we have at times.

But we do know that life is not always a downward trend. It is like a roller coaster, having its up and down at different periods of our life. If we are able to roll over the hard period, we will see "sunlight" finally.

However, how do we ride over these difficult times?
How do we improve ourselves during this low periods?

Though there are many ways or techniques to boost our morale, not all are suitable. We need to find those that suit our needs and situations, and are simple and easy to fuse in, given the already tough times.

Quotes, the inspirational and motivational types, are the simplest to pull up our mode at this crucial period. They are easily implementable. And they are not time-sensitive. They can be used anytime.

Quotes can be put up anywhere where we can see them. They serve to remind us of our directions and goals. They keep us going. They give us the added energy to push on mentally.

For desk-bounded working people, quotes can be installed into the screen-saver of the computer monitor screen. "Post-it" notes written with inspirational quotes can pasted onto wall of cubicles that we worked in, or even the side of the desk or drawers.

Those working at home can have them pasted at the fridge or doors of rooms. They can be framed up and beautified as in learning institutes.

Where to get these quotes?

You can get them from books, and also the internet. There are aplenty. You can also customised them to suit your taste. You can create book marks using these inspirational quotes.

To sum it all, inspirational quotes are good if we want to improve ourselves and ride through tough times. We need intrinsic, as well as, extrinsic motivational inspirations sometimes to help us achieve goals in life. Quotes serve this extrinsic factor well. And best of all, they are mostly free!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Time Management Strategy- How Knowing Your Most Effective Time Can Save You from Time Deprivation

You have an internal clock that you are born with. When you try to fight and work against your internal clock it’s an uphill struggle that dramatically reduces your productivity. The simple truth is that when you try to work against your internal clock it takes you much longer to accomplish the task at hand, and you are much more likely to make frequent mistakes that cause you to have to do a lot of reworking. Working against your internal clock is a poor time management strategy.

If working with your internal clock is a good time management strategy how do you know what your internal clock is telling you? It’s just a matter of identifying your peak times for different levels of activities and tasks. Once you know when those peak times are you can schedule to tackle your projects when your internal clock is best set to handle the task.

What time of the day do you have the most mental energy? This is the time of day when you can stay focused on the task at hand and really get down to work planning and problem solving. This may be first thing in the morning, right before bed, or some other time throughout the day, but when you recognize when you can think the most efficiently use your time management strategies to schedule your activities that require the most mental energies at those peak times.
What time of day do you have the most physical energy? Do you need to get out and stretch after a long day at work? Whenever you find that you have pent up physical energy throughout the day, it’s during those times that you want to plan your physical activities.

What time of day are you most creative? What part of the day do you find your thoughts turning to new ideas or new ways of doing things? That’s when you should be scheduling time for your creative tasks.

When are you most tired? Ideally if you find that about mid-afternoon you are just fighting to stay awake this is a great time for you to schedule a mid-afternoon nap. Unfortunately, if you work for someone else your employer may not understand. But you understand that during this low energy slump is not the time for you to start high energy projects.

Would you like to learn more about your time behaviors? Try this Time Management Analysis and find out where your opportunities for improvement are.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

How To Save Time

There are many time management articles or information to be found anywhere. There are wonderful stuffs. I like them personally. However, recently, I came across a conversation between two persons in the train and found it enlightening to share it here.

How do we save time? This is the key question.

Yes, we can have it saved by many ways. Plan the daily activities, cut-short the tea break, organised things properly, use electronic gadget for reminders, etc. The list can go on with good intention, of course. But what is the concept that we must be aiming at?

The concept is to save the SECONDS ( or minutes included). Though we like to save hours or even days of effort, we must have the determination to start with the seconds. This "seconds" will accumulate to minutes and hours finally.

The saying "Every seconds count!" is true to the core here.

Strike to save the bit of seconds, and slowly this will transform into good habit to save more.

The logic is simple, right? Start small but grow big.

This concept is nice and easy. It will not be that tough going if we start with the seconds as opposed to starting with the hours (for example).

Therefore, to cut this post short and save you time, save whatever SECONDs you have.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Inspire Yourself Through Imagination

Our brain acts like a sponge. It can absorb many information. But as we grow older, we tend to relax and go into our comfort zone. This relaxation slows down the activity with the brain. Maybe physical part of the body relates to the slowing down of this mental exercise. But to continue with this "comfort zone" situation is a inefficient way to self-improve and keep up to date. You will be outcasted in no time especially in this, nowadays, fast-changing society.

I have, however, discovered an enjoyable activity. It is to imagine. It inspires the mind to test the limit of convention. Imagination can be done anytime when in the relaxed state.

Just pick up any item, be it a picture or hard item, and look at them with another perspective. See if there is another usage for it. See if they represent another meaning. Do not limit your thoughts. Just let it flow with your dreams or unguided thought. Close your eyes if necessary.

You can imagine flying in the sky at times. You can imagine swimming deep within the ocean searching for yet to be found fishes. You can be riding a supersonic vehicle round the world or into outerspace.

What you are doing with imagination is to generate ideas. Ideas that may give you new light to a problem. Ideas to a new product may be discovered. This imagination stretches the mind and make for an active brain. Even when no new solution happens, at least, you had your fun flying and swimming.

Why be limited by our physical being? Imagine and stay mentally active. Pick up a book, a picture, see a movie, take a bus to nowhere and imagine. Who knows, wonders may happen!


To Clear Our Thoughts, Clear Our Surroundings

There are times when I was confused about what to do. I was lost as too many things have to be handled and deemed important. All streamed in at the same time! My mind screamed with questions like "How?" and "What next?". I can't prioritise.

Does this situation sounds familiar?

If the answer is yes, please read on. You may gather some tips as self-improvement.

We, as human, pick up information through our senses. The inputs received by our brain may be relevant or otherwise. Those that are irrelevant serves no purpose and would mess up our thoughts. Therefore to reduce these unnecessary inputs, we have to remove the chances for receiving them. This is the key step to clear our thoughts. Only then can we decide which task to select as our "number one".

How then can we reduce the chances to receive the un-needed inputs?

Clear our surroundings!

At the workplace, we can practice good house-keeping. Clear our work desk to get rid of untidy piling up of documents. Arrange whatever necessary to give a tidy desk. This clean desk message clears our mind for clear thoughts. With clear thoughts, our mind will be in a better state to decide what is proper. We will not be so easily confused to the extent of confusion. Form the habit of clearing the work desk at the end of the working day before you leave for home. The next day, you will have a clean and nicely arranged desk to start the day of. It has a positive impact on your brain. At least the untidiness is not there to disrupt.

At home, we can organise and keep things in their proper place. Locating them, when needed, will not be a chore. Hunting high and low for anything is not only frustrating but stressful. Save time for better thinking by cleaning up. To start off, you can past reminders on the wall or doors. This constant reminders will ultimately form into good habit that will lead to a clearer mind. Or at least you feel better as an organised person.

Other small stuffs that can be a nuisance are your drawers, your bookshelf, your cars, and even your carrying bag. Arrange the material within them, and the sight of a neatly handled containment that you use daily will give you a definite clear mind for thinking.

Therefore to have focus and undisturbed thoughts, clear the surrondings you live in. The clear visual impact will serve you good.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Attitude, Education, Network

Self-improvement means to improve ourself continuously. There are however, some basics guides that we need to follow to better ourself. The title I have selected for this post represents the areas we need to focus our attention on.

The first area to emphasis ourself, for a start, is ATTITUDE.

This is a key element for the next 2 areas. Without the proper attitude, nothing significant happens. Poorly completed work or assignment will be submitted if attitude is not proper. Be serious and respect each work given or to be completed. This is the basis for anyone to move on. If we do not possess correct attitude, we only drag with us a burden of problems to be solved later on (by ourself or others).

Next area is EDUCATION. This may not mean formal classroom education, though that is the best option, if available. We need to seek being educated to our highest academic level. With knowledge and skills picked up, we can then contribute to any organisation and society. We may aim for short courses when full-time job does not permit us to study full-time. Always go for knowledge as they enable us to decide better.

The last area is NETWORK. As we grow, we know more people. People becomes our contact in the working life. They may help and advice us along the way. They are exposed to other areas that we may otherwise lack in. They give us another perspective to a view, at times. Selecting friends for networking is important, as they reflect who we are. People view us through our contacts. Are we reliable and efficient? Are we pro-active or passive? These can be reflected in the people we mix with. We need to know our purpose before defining our network of friends.

Though these 3 areas are nothing surprising, they takes effort and time to master or achieve. Be discipline and mindful of their merits. Self-improvement is a simple word but has strong impact on anyone. :D

Small Little Things Matter

Early in life, we are taught to behaviour ourself. We are told what is right and what is wrong to do. We are instilled with good habits and attitude. We are also taught good study skills. We are exposed to many good things.

However, some of these are self-discovered. Some children are not as privileged as others. They learned through experience. They picked up good habits as well as bad habits. They learned to experiment with the process and checking on the outcomes. They grew positively over the years if they understood the purposes of what they picked up. Others may move in the opposite direction, picking up wrong habits and attitudes, and not being able to differentiate proper and improper conduct.

Many a times, the final outcome came from many small little things we do. The accumulation of these supposedly minor steps led to habits and attitudes that mould a person's character.

Those who take things seriously, whether small or big, enable them to continually improve and succeed. In whatever, we do, we do it to the best of our ability. This is attitude.

If we are not able to wash a cup properly, can we wash a bowl or a pan? How about washing a car manually? Small little things matter. Learn small but grow big.

If we are not able to write neatly, can we expect others to read our works? It reflects on the person if work is done in an undesirable manner.

If we cannot differentiate between sand and soil, can we build houses? Nobody will trust us if we dare to build the house!

Small things matter. Do them well for the sake of not to complete the task only, but to instill good habits in us, to fulfill whatever in mind, with our best effort. Only then can we move on to do bigger things.

Therefore do not take things too lightly when they are small or insignificant upfront. They do matters.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

When Things Doesn't Get Moving

The mind controls most of the tasks we do. External factors do matter. But if we are able to filter these external factors, we have to deal only with our internal factors.

Examples of external factors that affect our mind:
  1. Our superior
  2. Our family members
  3. Neighbours
  4. Counter staffs
  5. Technology
  6. Noise
  7. Lighting
  8. Colour

Examples of internal factors that influence our mind:

  1. Mood
  2. Energy level
  3. Attitude
  4. Past experience
  5. Knowledge base
  6. Education level
  7. Self-confidence
  8. Self-esteem
  9. Self-discipline
  10. Determination

Even if we can identify the factors that decides the outcome of any tasks taken, we have to address an important issue before-hand. This is the skill of "Positive Thinking".

What is this "Positive Thinking"?

It is the ability to think in good sense and see negative event in positive light. Those who are able to see opportunities in setbacks, reap quality results that re-inforce past experience. They see failures as feedback and use them to revisit and revise their strategy towards their goals.

Focusing on positive issue removes the mental space for negative issue. As time goes by, the person practicing positive thinking moves towards success and those that do otherwise become more of a loser. Things get done (and easily) when the mind focuses on what is possible instead of what is NOT possible. Alternative directions or solutions materialise when we think of what can be done. These positive thinkings and actions make things happen.

Only when we start off positively, the external and internal factors can then be quickly identified and stress upon or filtered off to set us in the pursuit of our dreams.

Therefore, when things does not seem to get moving, focus on the possibilities. Train the mind to twist towards "good stuff". Find ways or methods that remove the obstacles along the path and chances are that the outcome will be the one we desire. It is all in the mind and we can control it.

Is It Wise To Hate?

I believe everyone do not like to hate anything. Hating drains our energy and makes us unhappy. The hating spoils our mode and day. But why do we still hate things at times? We are human afterall, I believe.

What is the implication if we hate?

Hating forces us to attach our mind to the object that we do not wish to have. It goes opposite to our desire. The more we hate an object, the more it stays connected to us.

How not to hate?

We cannot don't hate. However, we can choose to forgive. Once we choose to forgive or seek understanding of why the negative event happened, our mind disconnects from the object and "cool" emotion sets in.

We have to constantly remind ourself of the negative impact hatred has on us when event forces us to hate things. The below are some tips:

  • We can momentarily move away from the site in question to cool down.
  • We can steal sometime to analyse the situation.
  • We can move any object that trigger us away from our sight since "Out of sight" means "Out of mind".
  • We can take a deep breadth as more energy is absorded during the process.
  • Smile and think positive.
  • Forgive and forget.

The list is not exhausive, but I believe they are good enough to suggest ways to lengthen our life. We live in a beautiful world, why bring "hate" into it? Learn to remove hatred from our life.

Mental Expectation Upon Giving

Many a times, we are tuned to the notion of getting something back for effort rendered. This may be for extra work done, or favour given out. We may be asked to contribute one way or another in many areas including monetary give-out also. And all these are done in ethical understanding. Nothing wrong and nothing fishy.

However, we still, unknowing, feel the expectation to be rewarded. Sometimes we do get them, but other times, we got nothing. Even a simple verbal acknowledgement is absent.

How do you feel in this circumstances?

If you feel sad or disappointed, there are ways to minimise this feeling.

How did this undesirable feeling comes about? And how to avoid it?

The answer lies in that, as long as we long for rewards upon giving, we are trapped in a mental state of being appreciated. We expect "rewards" that is controlled by others. We are now not in control. When we are not in control, and do not get what we desire, we will definitely get frustrated. This is a fact of life, and also natural human behaviour.

Therefore, to avoid and minimise, if not eliminating totally, we should train ourself to give without any expectation of returns. This is similar to the motherly (or fatherly) love that parents endowned on their kids. It is a one-way giving and is done willingly. How do they feel? Most of the times, just the sight that their kids are healthy and happy satisfies them.

Giving without expecting return enables us to be balance mentally since we are not attached to any matters outside our control. Whether the person gaining our contribution returns our favours or otherwise is out of the question when we expect nothing. We will feel happy that we are able to contribute and make others comfortable. This is enough to reward us. Understanding this intangible benefit improves our self-being and is enough to move us higher into self-control and self-satisfaction.

(Do, however, note that not all cases make sense to give without returns, as doing that means pure stupidity. This may be for job done. Be clear of what is the contribution and the importance of its returns. Practice prudence.)