Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Productive Break from the Office

I have just returned from a workshop that was organized by my company. "Planning, Organizing and Managing Time and Resources" is what the workshop was named. The title is self-explanatory and if you ask me, the workshop was about things that I already knew. However, as a human being, we tend to ignore certain aspects of our lives, which require immediate attention but are ignored out of our sheer ignorance or, simply, out of laziness. For me, this workshop was a great help since it made me recapitulating things that I had forgotten.

Well, I am not really going to write about what we talked about in this 2-day training session (unless you guys want me to). Most of us are aware of the 80/20 principle and the Time quadrant matrix, two tools that are excessively used across the world to analyze our lives (personal and professional, both) and bring about a change. Both these tools primarily talk about increasing our productivity, which is what our main goal is.

However, I will not get into the concepts (which simply means that I will leave out the boring details). I'd rather talk about things that were interesting and truly made me think. In simpler words, this post is not dedicated to the session entirely but contains issues, problems or solutions that are a clear reflection of what my own introspection has yielded over the years.

To be honest, this workshop made me admit that I do not have a long term goal in life. I mean, a real goal. And very frankly, I don't think any of my close friends have one too. A real goal. Something that you really, with all your heart, want to achieve. I have come to realize that the most common mistake that people do (including me) is that we do not align ourselves to the goals of the organization we are working for. I mean, there has to be a link. If you look at it from a different angle, imagine yourself in your manager's position and question yourself whether you really want to be in that position. I know a lot of people would have a positive answer to it,just  like me, but is it possibly the right track to achieve that goal. Simply put, our personal goals should be in sync with the organizational goals. Sometimes, our own goals are nothing but a derivative of the organizational goals, which is fine, I think.

To understand the link between your personal goals and the goals that are expected of you, it is important that the goals be clearly defined, and documented, if necessary. It is very important to know what you want from yourself and what the company exactly and precisely wants from you (and if the expectations are exactly articulated in the manner you would want to deliver).

Once the goal has been decided, a set of actions must follow.

One of the biggest challenges that most of us face is to strike a balance between our personal and professional lives. Really, it is very difficult to do that. It requires a lot of time management skills.

But as a word of caution, if you overdo with the time management thingie, your goals might somewhere be lost in the maze. To support this theory (or concept), I have a story to share. Well, I was told that this story is hypothetical but I think I could relate to it in a number of ways. "There was one a couple - a husband and wife, leading their normal routine life. The husband was very organized and did everything on time. He was never late for his appointments. And he followed the same in his personal life. Like a good husband, he would always come back home on time. The wife was simply the opposite. She took her own sweet time in whatever she did. And this made the husband unhappy. Once, the husband and wife decided to go for a movie. Being calculative and keeping a buffer travelling time, the husband was ready and out waiting in the car. The wife, on the contrary, took her own time choosing her dress with concern, did a little bit of make up, wore a nice pair of shoes to go with the outfit and eventually came down by the car a bit later than expected. This made the husband very angry and he scolded her for being disorganized and not punctual at all. What happened. They fought and the evening out ended in a disaster."

See, here the point of going for a movie, essentially, is that the couple must spend a few happy moments together to make their weeded life a success. The goal is not to watch the movie (most of the times) but to enjoy the time that they get to spend together. Their married life would have to face the repercussions, if they end up fighting after the movie. The ultimate goal is not achieved. They might as well have stayed back and not gone for the movie in the first place. 

What was required here was that both of them understand each other's needs and adapt themselves to each others preferences. The husband should understand the wife's weakness but he should also not force his behaviour on her. On the other hand, the wife must at least live up to the expectations by keeping a buffer time herself, if she knows that she would take extra time to get ready. She must understand what it means to keep somebody waiting. They both must work and re-design their goals and take the necessary actions towards it.

So basically, these goals are not only useful in our professional lives, but also play an important role in our personal lives. A few years back, somebody in my family taught me a golden rule - "Every change that you make in your life must be measurable

Therefore, every step that we take towards achieving our goal must be calculated. Of course, there a few distractions and external factors which are not in our control. But leaving these unpredictable circumstances, every step you take would be a step closer to the goal. 

Disclaimer: At the end of the post I realized that majority of the things written out here are not from the trainer's mouth. Every word here is my own and you are free to agree or disagree to it. I still have a lot more to say but I didn't want to make the post too long. I could write about it some other time, maybe. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A much needed hideout

Sometimes I wish I had a small little hideout away in the woods or someplace secluded. No, not in a house which would be filled with 10 odd people. A place away from all the hustle bustle; far from the city. A place so far that I would have to drive miles away to reach there. A place where I can be alone and can spend my time thinking. A place where I can be what I am. It would be just me. Nobody to knock on my door. Nobody to bother if I ate or not. Nobody to check if I needed something. Just me, alone with my own self. A small room with 4 walls (and a lavish bathroom).

Well, if you leave my present scenario out (I'm upset for a reason I can't figure out), I think everybody should have a little space of their own. Wouldn't it be nice to just stay away from the world when you truly want to be alone. A place where you could enjoy your solitude. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could just switch between your home and that little secret space of yours. 

A place like this

Or maybe, someplace like this. So quiet that you could hear the gushing water

A place away from the city - A drive that itself would rejuvenate you

Wouldn't it be great?

I wish I owned such a place. 

And I wish I wasn't afraid of ghosts, who somehow find their way and haunt me, especially, when I am alone. 

PS: I still wish that I had a secretive home!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I too expect something in return

Fathers Day!
Mothers Day!
Grandparents Day!

I wished all of these respective people on days that are entirely dedicated to them. I wished because I consider them a part of my life. I wished them just to make them happy. Even when they weren't near me, a simple phone call or sending across flowers was always my top agenda. Not because I wanted something in return; rather give them a part of me, my own self. And didn't I feel happy. I did.

But every year, Children's Day and, more specifically, Daughters Day is ignored.

Shouldn't the daughters be expecting something in return? If such days are celebrated, then they should be done equally. I do not want any gifts but a considerate blessing would do wonders.

I am super angry right now. I have already goofed up enough today. I do not want to say another word.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

When the green grass is actually a shade of grey

Years have gone by but our country is still a male dominated nation. Perhaps, I am wrong in making a generic statement, but this male dominated society persists in its most cruel form. People still think like they used to a hundred, maybe two hundred, years ago. Their lives may have changed but what has not changed is the way they look at it. And this black dungeon society has been very clearly portrayed in the Shoaib Mansoor film, Bol. 

The central theme of this movie, though is based on the increasing demand for a male child, however, it does reflect the male dominance and the consequences that women have to face as a result of their egoistic nature. Ever since I remember, a zillion movies have been produced and another zillion books written on this aspect. We, as individuals of the next generation, claim that our lives have changed and male dominance is a thing of the past. Well, I don't really deny this fact, however, I am not ready to give in to this argument as well. 

Men and women, both, claim that today we are more educated and such rust-like traditions no longer exist. Everybody talks about women sharing an equal status with men in all walks of life. I do not say that discrimination against women, exists. But sadly, women still do not have a say in the day-to-day-discussions. Sometimes, it is not because our country is a male dominated society. It is because women have agreed to be dominated by men. 

I am a woman too. Perhaps, I would not have agreed openly if given a chance. I say that men have changed and they see women with respect. But deep inside, I know that if a similar situation arises, wherein I would be expected to give in to the male dominance, I gladly would. Infact, I have done this a thousand time before. I have seen other women doing it. I still see men behaving like they control women. And I still see women, allowing men to control them. 

Maybe it is the rule of the nature that men are born to speak while women are born to listen. 

The movie, Bol, is about a man in Lahore who wishes that a son be born to him. He keeps getting his wife pregnant and girls are born one after the other. The family's financial condition keeps deteriorating while the hungry stomachs keep increasing. One fine day, the family is blessed with a son, but the father later realizes that the child is actually a hermaphrodite. As a result, he grows to hate him. The father in this movie is a perfect example of a man dominating his entire family. He doesn't allow his children to go out of the house. His eldest daughter is rebellious and, therefore, too outspoken for him to tolerate. They often get into conflicts. And if she ever wins an argument, she is thrashed black and blue. 

I don't know if such things are still prevalent in our country and the neighbouring ones too. Perhaps, the downtrodden still wish for a boy to be born so that a member to earn money is added to the family. Daughters have always been a liability. 

Even in today's world, women, at some point or other, let men dominate them. Time and again, their own existence is questioned. Even in the tiniest of situations, women curse themselves and take the blame for anything that goes wrong. 

Why is it always the woman's fault when things turn sour in any relationship?
Why is it that the woman has to keep quiet even when she is not wrong?
Why is it that she has to suffer silently, knowing that her man is the one who ought to be blamed?
Why is it that her life and death depend on someone who is not God?

Like, I said before, we are an educated lot and the grey norms of the society that once existed are no longer the supreme drivers of our life. We may not be following them like they were followed but somewhere they exist in our heads. Menfolks somewhere deep inside have that male dominance remaining while woman still feel inferior.