29 October 2015

more focus, more productivity

in line with my previous post, and deciding that it is high time I practice some ways to improve my focus and hence productivity, I am going to try the following tips I came across from here and random online reading. 

-five more: instead of giving up when I am tired, frustrated or bored, I will work for five more minutes, edit five more sentences, read five more paragraphs etc. apparently, stretching your mind to do more works in the same way as stretching your muscles.. I totally learnt this from doing yoga, so am excited to try it out on my mind. (and coincidentally, the church sign I spotted yesterday told me ‘do a little more than you think you can everyday). so there. 

-‘wide angle’ versus ‘telephoto’ focus: sometimes I really need to focus on the text on my screen only, and crowd out everything else. at such times, it is recommended to use your hands as blinkers (U), which will not only work in the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ manner, but will also teach my brain that every time I do that, it is time to switch to telephoto focus. 

 -20 minute time slots: apparently, our ability to sustain attention on a particular task is an average of 20 minutes at a time. So I should set this time to get serious work done, and then take a five minute breather. Much better than random breaks and only five minutes of serious work at a time :P

I am excited to start with these three steps. If you have any other tips that work for you, do share! 

19 October 2015

busy versus productive

I came across two good pieces on being busy versus productivity: 'The busy trap' and 'Busy: A badge of honour or a big lie?

While 'The busy trap' refers to an extreme trend, I do think that a lot of times we choose to be busy because we are worried that if we are not fully occupied, our lives may be trivial, or we may have time to reflect on how unhappy we really are. When I first moved to India, being busy was important. I needed to work, to be productive, to feel good about myself, to not dwell on the fact that I had just left my home, family and friends, a whole three decades worth of memories behind.. I cannot remember how many times ‘stay busy’, ‘keep yourself occupied’ have been said as rallying cries in conversations with friends and family. I think this level of busyness is okay, is good for you in fact.

These days, though, just taking care of my toddler twins, my home and doing my part time work is leaving me feeling too busy. So many times, I find myself telling people that I just don’t have time to call or message anyone. I annoy myself at times by repeating this.. but honestly, the tiny amounts of free time I have, I use it to read books, surf the web, or message people that are important to me. The thought of using my free time to make duty calls (or other mundane tasks like cleaning the fridge) is distasteful.. 

I used to be very good at daydreaming.. i could sit for large amounts of time just thinking or imagining.. i miss those times. I can barely spend more than 15 mins in the bathroom now without one or the other twin banging away on the door..

What I have noticed is that too much busyness leads to multitasking, and that is bad for productivity. I have never been so great at multitasking.. focusing on one thing at a time is the only way I can do anything well. I am ecstatic that studies now seem to show that multitasking is not good for you; that we are not wired for multitasking in the first place!
 #microblog mondays

16 October 2015


We don’t wear shoes in our house. And we live in a country where there are many many places that require you to remove your shoes outside, including doctor clinics, shops, temples, mosques, certain schools/extracurricular classes, and so forth. 

When the twins see pictures of people wearing shoes indoors in their story books, they immediately question this, ask me if this is a ‘bad boy’ because he is lying on his bed with his shoes on, or why the grandpa is wearing shoes while watching tv. 

And so begins the explaining of different cultures, different customs, of difference

I know there is a movement to have more diversity in books, for children to be able to relate to the characters that they read about. This is not a bad thing, but I do not recall ever having this issue myself.. I read a lot, and my childhood books were all roald dahl, judy blume, enid blyton. The lack of diversity never bothered me; I was always excited to read about these kids in a different world from my own. I wish the same for my own children. I want books to be their escape, their keys to new places and concepts and traditions (particularly since they are growing up in a place with little ‘difference’, unlike my childhood). 

In the end, the human experience is universal; it is just the environment that differs. 

12 October 2015

cheesecake judge

last night, i was sadly telling a friend that i felt like a failure because my yoghurt cheesecake did not turn out brilliantly. she replied (among other things), that i should not judge myself by cheesecake recipes. totally rational statement. it is what i would perhaps say to someone else in the same situation. and yet, when it comes to my own life, it is the cheesecake that wins/judges.

i seem to have so few accomplishments these days. anything work related is not seen at home, so it is of no consequence really (except to me, and i don’t count). what matters, is how many yummy meals i can make, how many stains are removed from laundry, how clean and tidy the house is, how chubby and well behaved the kids are.

the one friend i have here, does not know exactly what i do at work, she does not know that i read books (let alone that reading is a lifeline), or that this blog exists. i need to make some changes in my life.. for my own sanity..


06 October 2015

too much

my brain feels dead today. the heat is zapping any left over energy from taking care of the twins and the home.. seriously, how do single parents manage?

i read 'minding frankie' by maeve binchy some time ago, and i loved how she described an entire community helping this single father take care of a new born baby.. and the fragility of the timetables and phone numbers and so on..

i adore my kids, and am super thankful to have them in my life, but sometimes i just want to not have so much responsibility and stress. the constant loop of they-are-not-eating-enough-healthy-food-they-are-overdosing-on-milk-why-are-they-always-sick-how-do-i-stop-them-from-hitting-and-kicking-eachother-when-will-they-not-be-cranky-after-a-nap-why-are-they-scared-of-sitting-on-a-horse-ad infinitum is driving me nuts :(

i need a pause button.

#microblog mondays