Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Long lines can get the better of even the most well-dressed ladies sometimes. Here's something I saw on TV as I waited in line this morning at the US Embassy. I already saw it before, but it's nice to be reminded!

I just love how the man holds it in and says "Hi" back. :-)

Monday, October 10, 2011


dol-drums. n. a state of inactivity or stagnation.

Right now, I am reading The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster which I borrowed from my book club friend Judie. Such a funny book... I can't believe I've never come across it before. Ah, the indignation hehe.

Here's an interesting conversation in it that I want to talk about:

"Well, if you can't laugh or think, what can you do?" asked Milo.
"Anything as long as it's nothing, and everything as long as it isn't anything," explained another [doldrum]. "There's lots to do; we have a very busy schedule--"
"At 8 o'clock we get up and we spend
"From 8 to 9 daydreaming.
"From 9 to 9:30 we take our early midmorning nap.
"From 9:30 to 10:30 we dawdle and delay.
"From 10:30 to 11:30 we take our late early morning nap.
"From 11:30 to 12:00 we bide our time and then eat lunch.
"From 1:00 to 2:00 we linger and loiter.
"From 2:00 to 2:30 we take our early afternoon nap.
"From 2:30 to 3:30 we put off for tomorrow what we could have done today.
"From 3:30 to 4:00 we take our early late afternoon nap.
"From 4:00 to 5:00 we loaf and lounge until dinner.
"From 6:00 to 7:00 we dillydally.
"From 7:00 to 8:00 we take our early evening nap, and then for an hour before we go to bed at 9:00 we waste time.
"As you can see, that leaves almost no time for brooding, lagging, plodding, or procrastinating, and if we stop to think or laugh, we'd never get nothing done."

Those are the Doldrums talking to Milo, the book's protagonist. It got me thinking about how it's so easy to waste time and still think you're so busy. (Of course, the doldrums here really aimed to get nothing done, but that's beside the point.) It happens when a person tries to go about the day without any particular plan in mind; instead of accomplishing things, one ends up with a list of half-done tasks (half-baked ideas?).

Distractions are a fact of life, and in the workplace, you can have more than a fair share. But the trick to accomplishing much is not to get rid of the distractions (because that's impossible), but to learn to prioritize. It's probably common sense, but here it goes: understand first which tasks are urgent, which are important, and which are both, and schedule your day accordingly. Master a good work ethic, and you'll bump into the doldrums less and less--or not at all!

Have a fruitful week, everyone!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Getting revved up for 'the daily grind'

It's Monday! First day of the week--shouldn't we all be up and about first thing in the morning? With energy! gumption! pizzaz! POWER!

Not all Mondays are so powered up. Actually, most Mondays are sluggish--people call the condition "Monday blues," which I presume gives rise to concepts like "weekend hangover" and cartoon characters like the Sourpuss in Patrick McDonnell's Mutts Comics.

But just because Mondays get bad rap from other people doesn't mean you should treat your Mondays the same way! Start the week right; get up on time and put on a smile--and this small thing determines the success of the week ahead. Here are things I find helpful in getting good work done during those first hours of the work week:
  1. Make a routine and stick to it. You know how some cars won't start and run well without a warm up? It's the same with people. So make a routine that acts as a warm up for you. Here's what I do: a) Do something to look fresh and awake--put on makeup! b) Clean the office desk by clearing away the things you don't need and wiping dust off computer. c) Make a to-do list and promise to accomplish everything in it that very day.
  2. No to "Just 5 minutes"! Sometimes, we feel we need a break. Maybe just a few games of Angry Birds, or 5 minutes on Facebook. Just posting one little thing on Twitter. But those five minutes can easily turn to 20 or 30! Next time you get the urge for a 5-minute break, do something that ends naturally like getting a drink of water, eating a banana, or picking out some easy thing to do from your to-do list (like calling somebody to set a meeting?) and accomplishing it first just to break the monotony. If you do this, you can be sure the "just 5 minutes" will really be just 5 minutes--and you can finish more things.
  3. Watch the clock. Counting the minutes may be a bad habit, especially if you're just waiting till the go-home bell rings and you're off the hook trying to look busy. But if you really make yourself busy, if you really set yourself to finish the tasks for the day, you'll need to watch the clock differently! Try to accomplish your list before 5pm or 5:30pm (or whatever time you're supposed to be finished) so that the few minutes you have left before the bell rings can be used to plan ahead.
  4. Don't forget to pray! Without this, your work will just be that: work. But if you pray and offer all the work you do for the people you love, then the work becomes something special. Plus, if you keep this in mind, you then won't be able to bear leaving that work poorly accomplished--after all, you don't give gifts that are second-rate! :-)
Happy Monday!