• Happiness,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    The Myth Of A “Perfect Day”

    There are not many days like this. Yesterday it seemed like an out of the ordinary perfect day for me. Client #1 made significant progress in an area he was stuck for more than a decade, Client #2 got that final word on the well-deserved promotion, Client #3, while finishing up her project said she wanted to work with me for another project. By the end of the day when I arrived at the dentist’s office for regular cleaning. I jokingly said, “I am having such a good day, hope it continues”. She didn’t disappoint. After the exams, she said, “all looks good, keep doing what you have been doing…

  • Leadership,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    The Pen is Luxurious Than the Keyboard

    This year I have made a commitment – I will be more accountable to myself. I found a paper notebook is helping me in this regard. Every day/week I am jotting down what I want to focus on, what my intention is and how I am doing.  A paper and pen is definitely not the state of the art personal productivity tool but surprisingly enough it is helping me to be more mindful about my time. I now have more clarity about where I am with respect to my bigger goals (also written/drawn on a paper).  I wonder, what is the point on going back to a non-tech solution when I…

  • productivity,  Success Strategy,  Time Management

    Too Many Emails? Some Real Causes and Solutions

    In the corporate world, people often complain about too many emails. It is a modern-day challenge for sure, however, over the years I have noticed a few underlying causes and possible solutions for this common symptom. Introverts feel more pain Emails and meetings (add social media to the list) are other forms of people interaction (like big gatherings) that exhausts the introverts more. As an introvert you have developed strategies to survive in other social situations, why not get creative for this one! It’s a self-management challenge There are quite a few ways emails can be organized, filtered, searched and marked for follow-ups. How open are you to try those? If…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    Fulfilling Achievements are Good, Experiences are Even Better

    I often ask this question to my clients and class participants: Describe some occasions from the recent past when you felt excited and fulfilled. The common responses I get are, “when I graduated college”, “got my dream job”, “had my last promotion”, “had my baby”…. Interesting to note, the “recent past” part gets ignored easily. Another observation, all those listed are mostly focused on achievements and not on the activity or the experience of doing something. You can ask me why this is a problem. The problem is when we are only focusing on achievements, we need to wait (sometimes long) for those to happen again for us to be…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    Don’t Focus on the Problem – Focus on your Ultimate Vision

    Last year, an engineer, let me call him Tom, came to me. He looked very tired and unhappy. “Sharmin, I am working long days, late nights, still my manager wants me to do more, have more impact, show more leadership…where is the time…why can’t he see my contribution already! With changes going around all the time it is so hard to get anything done on time. I even wanted to change this job, but in this economy, it is so hard to get an interview even!” – Tom gave me quite a vivid picture of his life. I felt compassion for him. Not too long ago I experienced this first…

  • productivity,  Success Strategy

    Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How to Make it Work

    Found this scary stat, almost half of the American’s make a New Year’s resolution but only 8% are successful in achieving it! Also every year, the most popular resolutions are staying fit, work-life balance and personal enrichment. All these are great resolutions to improve one’s quality of life. So where is the problem? Why the success rate is so low and what can you do to beat that? This fall, one of the participants in my class set his goal to reduce his weight by going to the gym every day. The key to set achievable goals is to align it with one’s true essence. In order to help him do that I…

  • productivity,  Success Strategy,  Time Management

    The Myth of Multitasking

    Too many times I hear that you can’t survive without multitasking. Checking emails during a meeting, responding to a door knock while trying to focus on your work seems to be a common scenario at the workplace. While many times it pays off to be able to take care of multiple things at once, it would be useful to take a look at our brain to see when it is NOT the best strategy. Any kind of task that needs a little amount of analysis or decision making is processed in the Pre-frontal cortex (PFC) of the brain. The PFC is a very small and very much energy-hungry part that…

  • Living from inside out
    Happiness,  Leadership,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    How are you setting your goals, Inside-out or Outside-in?

    Last week I was describing the concept of “Living from inside-out” to my class participants in a high tech company. The example I gave – If you target to become a VP of a company that is an “outside-in” way of seeing your goal. The “inside-out” approach could be – I want to innovate, drive a product (what kind?) that I care (fill in here with why you care…) and I am willing to take risks, sacrifice my comfort to make it a success (define it using your values). Basically you are defining your intention qualitatively; you are not attached to a certain form of it. There is a good…

  • happiness quadrant
    Happiness,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    The Happiness Quadrant

    Have you ever wondered if there is a mathematical representation of Happiness? The answer is Yes! Tal Ben-Shahar, a renowned researcher in positive psychology and a popular lecturer at Harvard represented happiness in terms of the X-Y quadrant. Considering X being the present happiness and Y the future happiness, he said we need to have both of them positive to be happy. Imagine you are having a family trip to the Yellowstone National Park. You have got the time off from work, you got the money for the trip, made all the reservations and now you and your family have started the journey. It is a 12- hours’ drive, and you…

  • productivity,  Success Strategy,  Time Management

    Too many to-dos… Not enough time…Cause or Symptom?

    My friend Amy calls herself lazy as she is always running behind her infinitely long to-do list. Even when she is sitting down she feels guilty that she was supposed to do something useful.  She says sorry a zillion times as she frequently cancels our coffee/phone chats at the last moment. Seeing her hyperactivity makes me feel underperformed:). I have been wondering why we are always behind despite all the hard work? Why she feels compelled to say “Yes” to every request? Recently found some answer from this article. Saying “Yes” 1. Avoids conflicts 2. Takes less time than pausing to decide whether or not the request is truly important 3. Feels…