• Happiness,  productivity,  Stress Management

    Does Meditation, Journaling Feel Like a Burden? Try Micro-Habits

      Tim, a senior tech leader, recently spent a week at a meditation retreat. When I asked him how he was applying it, he said he didn’t have time. Stephanie, an HR Director, was treating her journaling as an extra chore. Despite its good intention, this advice industry buzzwords often feel like another thing we “should” do. On top of our already overloaded, super crammed life, such expectations create another counter-productive burden. I know these are well researched, proven practice. The only problem is we use those as vitamin pills instead of customizing it to serve our unique style and need. Recently a client, who completed a six months coaching program with me,…

  • Work from Home
    Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  productivity

    Working From Home — The Employees Are Leading The Change (Guest Post)

    Tara (not her real name) from our finance recently rang me on a late evening for online approval of a bank transaction. It was unusual because we encourage people to complete their works during regular hours. I overheard her only daughter, 4, saying something to the dad in the background. The mom was enjoying her family life, and her daughter was having fun with her dad. I felt happy for her. But she was breaching the Working from Home (WFH) policy; it doesn’t permit other members of the family in the same room. Something is amiss in the policy, then. As the world is going through the COVID-19 turmoil, the corporates everywhere…

  • Happiness,  productivity,  Stress Management

    Cultivating Resilience: Small Acts of Self-Care Goes a Long Way During These Trying Times

    It’s been a few months since we are in the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter how hard it is to accept, this is going to be a new normal for a while. When it started, we threw away our usual routine, scrambled together a makeshift home office (and homeschooling for those who have school-aged kids) as quickly as we could. But after a while, we started feeling tired, depleted, overwhelmed, and all sorts of such feelings. It was not sustainable. During a coaching session last week, I noticed that my client Claire’s energy level was lower than usual even though she was talking about a recent win…

  • Happiness,  productivity,  Stress Management

    Does Home Quarantine Feel Like Someone Gave You a Lemon? Make some Lemonade Using these 3C-s

    We all are going through an enormous challenge. Almost every country in the world is now affected by this COVID-19 pandemic. The way we know life has come to a halt. The leaders, scientists, the medical community, and all the essential service providers are working round the clock to keep us safer. The rest of us are asked to do one thing – stay in our homes to help reduce the spread of this highly contagious virus. In the corporate and businesses, we talk about change regularly – compared to the change we are going through, those seem like a child’s play. Everyone is reacting, coping, adapting in their way…

  • Personal Brand,  productivity,  Time Management

    Why You have a Hard Time Saying “No” – Look into these Root Causes

    A client of mine said she is always too busy with other peoples’ requests and she struggles to complete her own work. Her manager advised her to say “no” more often. But she doesn’t know how because helping others and being useful is a high value to her. As she and I looked into it, few scenarios came up. a. Assuming “No” will Hurt Relationships “I know I am already busy, but if I say “No” I will hurt this person. For damage control, maybe I will make time by being more efficient, by canceling the coffee with my friend or skipping my exercise.” What is the underlying assumption when you say…

  • 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…