How to Become a Happier Person.

 

How to Become a Happier Person

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Image courtesy: © Thinkstockphotos/ Getty images

Life can get you down for a host of reasons, but it only becomes something you have to address if you have been discontent for a long time. All you need to do is change a few things around, organise your life a little better and make a commitment to becoming a happier person. Here are five things you can change to put a smile back on your face.

Find a hobby
If the corporate world is getting you down, try doing something you are passionate about. Most people live their entire lives wishing they did something they love. While it may be unrealistic to think of starting anew, you can always pick up a hobby. Start a collection of some sort and don’t be embarrassed by it. You could even pick up a new sport or devote your evenings to a good swim, the sky is the limit. Adding a sense of fulfilment other than your job, will go a long way in making your life a little happier.
Where do you start: Make a list of things you really love doing, even if it’s just watching movies. Start with two or three passions, and you’ll lose interest in the ones you aren’t zealous about.

Find a friend
Indians for centuries have had a strong support structure in the form of families. Unfortunately or fortunately, over the last couple of decades, nuclear families have become the norm. This has made the need for a support group even more. From work friends to college friends to chaddi buddies, people need others to share their ups and downs. Now, this does not mean adding more people on your Facebook page. Social scientists have found that meeting a core group of people that you know will stand by you add to your overall well-being.
Where do you start: If you find yourself too busy to meet any one, it is about time you started. Fit friends into your schedule rather than just talking to them over the phone. Engage in activities that will get your friends together, even if it means just having a cup of coffee on a Sunday afternoon.

Organise your future 
This doesn’t mean cleaning out your closet. Set yourself a few attainable goals in every area of your life. Whether it is financially, in your career or in your personal life, the idea of committing to something and watching it come to fruition can be a rewarding experience. Studies have shown that people who make short-term plans deal with life much better than others.
Where do you start: Make goals with different time frames. Start with the obvious daily ones, then have twoyear, five-year and 10-year plans. Write them down and knock them off ones you’ve completed them.

Make the job switch
Now, being absolutely content with your job might be too much to ask for, but it shouldn’t be a chore either. Most Indians spend more time at work than they do at home, so obviously it ranks high on your happiness index. The happier you are in your job, the happier you will be in life. So if you are stuck in a job you hate, maybe it is time for a change.
Where do you start: Don’t jump the gun, make a list of things that you don’t like about the job and the things that you love. You need to know whether it is your career that you are discontent with or your company. Get enough research done and also try and develop more skills so that you are prepared for any transition.

Feel healthy
Though pigging out on the juiciest burger might give you instant happiness, studies show that it is your overall lifestyle that actually matters. Exercise, a proper diet and avoiding things you know will harm you do more than just improve your physical well-being. The healthier you are the better you will feel about yourself and your life.

Where do you start: Remember that living healthy is difficult and requires a lot of work on your part. Make a commitment to eat healthy and stay fit through regular exercise. You might miss out on a few foods you crave, but remind yourself to focus on the bigger picture.

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20 Easy Tips for Saving Energy at Home

LuminaStock / iStock / thinkstock.com

 

 

 

20 Easy Tips for Saving Energy at Home

 

Saving energy is not only important for the environment, but also vital to save money on the electric bill. These quick tips are easy to implement and do not require extra “energy” from homeowners. Save the planet and increase your pocket book with any of these 20 easy-to-implement tips for saving energy in the home.

Unplug Electronic Devices
When the device is not in use, be sure to unplug it, or at least turn it off. Phone chargers, coffee pots, and lamps are easy to unplug and re-plug. When left in the socket, electronic devices pull passive power from the socket, in preparation for it turning back on.

Change or Clean AC Filters
Around once per month, be sure to check your air filters. This keeps the system running optimally without fighting through dust and dirt.

Turn the Thermostat Off…
…or on auto when you’re not home. Leaving your machine in the on position uses energy nonstop, whereas putting it on auto will keep the house cool, without upping the bill.

Tune-up the AC Device
Many companies will also give a rebate for making sure the device is running smoothly as inefficient systems lead to costly electric bills.

Add a Rug
If you have wood flooring, consider adding a rug. Carpets and rugs insulate a room’s heat, thus keeping a room’s temperature a little more regulated.

Don’t Block Air Vents
Unfortunately, the best place for your couch sometimes just so happens to be on top of the air vent. For the most cost effective and efficient air flow, allow the air to flow unconstricted instead of fight, against couches, furniture and dressers.

Gradually Increase the Thermostat
In the summer, keeping the temperature a little warmer makes it work less, resulting in cheaper bills. If you like it cooler, when you get home keep it cold, but slowly increase the temperature a few degrees before bed. In winter, you can try just reversing this, decreasing the temperature a bit over a few hours to conserve energy.

Keep the Thermostat Consistent
When heading on vacation, it’s best to keep the thermostat at the same temperature. During the winter months, keep it lower, around 60 degrees. This keeps the system working, although not hard, and avoids the risk of damage due to the frigid temperatures. In the summer, keep it a little warmer than normal, that way you’re not wasting air conditioning on an empty house.

Use Motion Detector Lights
For all outdoor lighting, at least. Instead of leaving lights on all night when there’s no movement, put them on a motion detector. Plus it helps to scare away potential intruders.

Dust the Fridge Coils
In the back of the fridge, there are some coils sticking out. This ensures the refrigerator is working more efficient without dust blocking the energy and airflow.

Keep Refrigerators at 32 to 38 degrees
If you keep it under 32 degrees, you might as well just get a big freezer. If you keep it over 40 degrees, most things will spoil (especially dairy).

Cook with Copper Pans
Copper has a very high thermal and electrical conductivity rate. Therefore, it makes for an extremely effective cooking implement. You can use lower temperatures and it’ll cook as well as a higher temperature steel pan.

Use Cold Water
While washing your clothes, be sure to use the cold setting. Not only does this avoid shrinking, but it’s cheaper than heating up all that washing water.

Turn Down the Water
While brushing teeth and soaping up hands and bodies, either turn off or decrease the pressure of the water. This drastically reduces the use of water and energy, especially with hot water.

Let Your Computer Sleep
Go into your computer’s power settings (for Windows go to the Control Panel, and it’s either under the Screen Saver options, System Security, or Performance and Maintenance), and change the display sleep and computer sleep settings. What you change it to depends on personal preference, but the defaults are rarely the best option. For all personal electronics, be sure to completely shut them down frequently; keeping them on 24/7/365 wears them down faster than they could be.

Look for the Energy Star Label
Most electronics and devices such as televisions and microwaves, even rooftops, can be Energy Star certified.  These certified models are at least 30% more efficient than non-certified labels.

Use Burner-Sized Pots and Pans
Using a small pot on a larger burner drastically loses heat. Using a large pot on a smaller burner requires much more energy to heat the pan.

Hang Dry Clothes
Not only does this completely bypass the dryer, and energy, it’s also easier on your clothes.

Turn Off Your Water Heater
In addition to changing the thermostat, while away on vacation or for several days try turning off the water heater. This saves energy while away—plus water generally reheats within one hour of turning the on switch.

Clean Full Loads
This includes dishwashers and washing machines. If you fill up the dishwasher only a quarter of the way, most models still use the same amount of water as a full load. So fill them up all the way and save some energy.

LuminaStock / iStock / thinkstock.com

Three Tips for Trainers to Overcome Anxiety about Public Speaking

 

Three Tips for Trainers to Overcome Anxiety about Public Speaking

Three Tips for Trainers to Overcome Anxiety about Public Speaking

By Etsuko Ogiso, Business Consultants, Inc.

Trainers work with groups of people to teach them new skills and develop new abilities and attitudes. This often involves giving training presentations for both large and small groups. One thing that almost any trainer will have to deal with is anxiety about public speaking. This is perfectly natural and not unusual. Every new trainer has to overcome this anxiety. Here are three tips to help in overcoming anxiety while training others.

 

The first tip is for the trainer to admit that they are anxious. Ignoring the feeling will not help. Instead, it might cause the trainer to freeze right as they approach the podium. These feelings may keep the trainer awake at night or cause loss of appetite. This is not healthy and the trainer needs strategies for preventing these feelings from taking over. There is always a strong temptation to deny the problem. No one wants to admit that an important part of a job is causing feelings of anxiety. If left unchecked, these feelings can fester and cause the trainer serious problems. The anxiety will only grow in the future if no coping strategies are put in place. The best thing is to confront the issue straight on and deal with it. By admitting these powerful feelings exist, the trainer can then develop strategies to address them. This will build confidence for all future public speaking. It will help to restore a calm and peaceful mental attitude to the trainer’s life.

Once the trainer admits that this is an issue that needs to be addressed, there are a number of strategies that can help. The first is to believe in their self and build self-confidence. The trainer needs to constantly remind themself that they have something valuable to contribute. By training others, they are helping them develop valuable skills that will enhance their lives. They also need to remind themself that their audience is interested in what they have to offer. They are coming to the training because they want to develop new skills. The trainer should remind themself of this fact often, especially when strong feelings of anxiety are present. The feelings will pass but the fact that the trainer has valuable information to present will not. This belief creates the self-confidence to move forward and dispels anxiety. It allows the speaker to stay calm. This is an important key to successful public speaking.

Another strategy for overcoming anxiety is to visualize success. The trainer should take some quiet time and imagine themself at the event giving their presentation. They should imagine how well the event is going and how much their audience is absorbing from their training. By imagining a successful end result, the trainer creates positive feelings that will dispel the anxiety. This kind of visualization is a technique that is used by many types of people. Salespeople imagine successfully closing deals. Athletes visualize themselves performing well. And public speakers imagine themselves giving stellar presentations. By visualizing a successful result, the person helps to create the conditions and confidence to bring about that result.

Giving in to feelings of fear, nervousness and anxiety doesn’t do anyone any good. It makes the trainer miserable and it prevents them from effectively delivering the content that their audience is seeking. By using these strategies to build self-confidence, the trainer can dispel these feelings and create a calm mental state that will allow them to effectively deliver the training. These tips are a great start to building self-confidence at public-speaking. There are also many other strategies that successful trainers use to stay calm and dispel anxiety.

 

Courtesy: its-innovative.com

Letting Go of Fear to Help the Creative Process.

 

Letting Go of Fear to Help the Creative Process

Letting Go of Fear to Help the Creative Process

By Business Consultants, inc.

 

According to Dr. Will Schutz, one of the most prominent psychologists and practitioners of personal development of our time, the biggest block that people have standing in the way of their ability to be creative is fear. When asked specifically in a training session about the creative process Dr. Schutz explained that fear and a feeling of conflict are most responsible for blocking the creativity of a person. What are these fears specifically? Here is a list of the most common fears blocking creativity in Japan.

  1. Fear of not being creative. It seems obvious, but the anxiety caused by the fear of not being creative (or not being creative enough) is the number one block on the road to creativity. Some people simply doubt their creativity in specific circumstances while others in more extreme circumstances feel unable to be creative indefinitely. Either way, when a person if full of anxiety the creative process naturally becomes blocked. If you’re worried about being creative, it’s almost certain to cause problems. For the best creative results banish fear and let the ideas flow.
  2. Fear of lacking rationality. In order to best share ideas with others we know that we need to present them in a logical and rational way. At times, however, it’s best for the creative process to not worry too much about being logical. Trust your ability to come up with a rational explanation when your ideas are put into practice and don’t let worrying about logic hamper the flow of ideas early on.
  3. Fear of humiliation and embarrassment. Similar to a fear of not being creative enough, a fear of feeling inadequate will compromise your ability to be creative. When we’re constantly worried about what everyone else will think, the creative ideas we seek will be buried by our own anxieties. There is a time to worry about other’s reactions, but that time is not during the early creative stages.
  4. Fear of being undervalued and even ignored. We all worry that our ideas won’t be given attention. Some of us have actually heard things like “You aren’t even in a position to make that kind of a proposal” and some of us are simply afraid that one day we might. This worry makes even the most creative of people shy away from offering great ideas.
  5. Fear of rejection. Even worse than being ignored people can be very concerned that their idea will be shot down completely. Creativity will not thrive if a person is worried about a negative outcome. These fears are magnified if a person is working outside of what’s traditionally considered practical, feasible or possible. The irony is that this is where some of the best creative ideas come from.
  6. Fear of not being appreciated. Everyone wants to be of value, everyone wants to be appreciated. When attempting creativity many people stop to ask “How will this affect the way I’m regarded? If it’s approved will I be valued more? Worse, if it isn’t will people regard me less? While these worries are understandable, especially in the business world, they cause serious blocks to a person’s creativity.
  7. Fear of failure. We all know that every idea we have carries a certain risk of failure. Even though we all know we aren’t any more comfortable with the concept. In a best-case-scenario innovative organizations would happily tolerate failure as a necessary part of the creative process. But, this isn’t always the case, most business are not as tolerant of failure as they could be, which only hampers the creativity of its fearful employees.
  8. Fear of a lack of proper rewards. People work harder when they know they’re working for a reward. They try harder, put in more hours and are able to put aside other fears because their “eye is on the prize”. Conversely, if they feel that no reward will happen despite their best efforts they are likely to lose motivation.

Which of these fear and anxieties that Dr. Schutz has identified do you feel hurt your creativity the most? Take the time to make a list of your fears, once identified you’ll better be able to overcome them and remove what blocks your creativity.

How to Improve Your Efficiency at Work

improve_efficiency

Image courtesy: © Thinkstock Photos/ Getty Images

By TNN

There is way too much going on around you and inside your mind. It’s no surprise that attention makes only a short appearance in the day and is hard to sustain. Our experts tell you how to rise above the distractions and improve your efficiency.

One thing at a time
You are working on a project against a fast-approaching deadline and your boss comes and hands you another to complete. In the middle of this, your wife calls and asks you to help out with an address she cannot find. Your target is to complete these three tasks, say, within an hour. Multi-tasking would mean you giving 33 per cent of your efforts to each of the three tasks and the quality of output will be low for all three tasks with more time spent on each of them. Life coach Captain Vinod Nair suggests you prioritise what is most important for you. “By doing so, you will be giving 100 per cent of your brain to one task at a time, focusing on it and accomplishing it twice as fast,” he says.

Fast five
Whenever you are in the middle of a task and are tempted to give up, push yourself to do ‘five more’. This means don’t switch off, instead wait five more minutes, read five more pages or work five more minutes. Doing this will help build mental stamina just as sports persons push past the point of exhaustion to up their physical strength. When your mind is finally giving up, insist on reading a book or writing a project brief or solving a balance sheet problem for five more minutes. This will build mental endurance over a period of time and help you accomplish a given task with greater ease.

See and feel, really
Artist Frederick Franck said, “When the eye wakes up to see again, it suddenly stops taking anything for granted.” Your mind may be wandering through a hundred random thoughts, but it always knows to treasure a great sight. So when your mind is far away, it will help to look around and for a change, actually see everything around you. Admire the painting on the wall, revel in the beauty of the sculpture that has always escaped your attention, or just look again and closely at a loved one you tend to take for granted. This will make it come alive in your mind’s eye. Having white noise in the background such as instrumental music will help you ignore the more distracting stimuli from your surroundings.

Recharge with eustress
Nair advises indulging in activities that boost the eustress, which is basically the good stress. “You can feel eustress after engaging in a challenge, riding a roller-coaster, watching a scary movie or having sex,” he says. Eustress doesn’t carry the same type of damage as chronic stress. In fact, in the state of eustress, energies of the mind are highly focused and organized during which you can pull off tasks with competence. What also greatly aids concentration is the glucose metabolism in the brain, which is at its peak after breakfast. Concentrate on the most important or difficult tasks during this time.

To do or not to do
Fix a time in the day for worrying. When you are about to begin a job that needs your complete attention, worries tend to float into your brain. Tackle your brain’s never-ending preoccupation by telling it what to worry about and what not. Just remind yourself that you will worry about that unpaid bill exactly at 7 pm, and not now. To-do lists alleviate your brain’s anxiety — once written, you’re free to forget them. Assign every task a strict time-span. Tell yourself, “For the next 30 minutes I will focus on formulating the client brief for tomorrow’s presentation at office,” is a better bet than worrying about the worry. That said, taking short breaks between demanding tasks helps keep your mind alert. “Even a short break of 5-10 minutes every two-three hours improves efficiency of the brain with sustained attention,” says Dutta.

Rewire your brain
Just before you start, focus on your breathing for five to 15 minutes each day and it can make a significant difference to your attention spans in everyday life.From the experiments conducted on those who meditate, Dr Varsha Dutta, consultant clinical neuro-psychologist at Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital, found that meditation increased activity in the brain regions used for paying attention and decision-making. “The experiments have shown that people who meditate, which is a mindfulness technique, are able to switch attention between tasks more efficiently than people who do not. Meditation has rewired their brain processes in such a way that their attention spans have increased more than average.”

Two hemispheres
When the communication between the two brain hemispheres is efficient, you are able to accomplish tasks with greater attention and proficiency. Scientific experiments have shown that horizontal movement of the eyes from left to right while watching a target on the move for at least 30 seconds can help improve communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Try this type of eye movement by watching a certain car move in the traffic.

Procrastination
Stop putting off tasks and errands by simply asking yourself these questions whenever you are about to postpone any work: Do I have to do this? Do I want it done so that it’s not on my mind? Will it be any easier later? The answers to these will give you an instant check on how this task will keep getting counter-productive the more you delay. And oh, the guilt of not getting it done, that will make its home in your head too.

Author: Ankit Ajmera

How to Use Mobile Apps to Increase Efficiency

how_to_use_mobile_apps_to_increase_efficiency

How to Use Mobile Apps to Increase Efficiency

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Next generation smart phones help professionals work better and quicker. Today’s working professionals, who are constantly wired in and on-the-go have found a ready ally and valuable resource in their cell phones. Next generation smart phones, fully loaded with every sort of application imaginable, are supporting professionals in working better and quicker. “The advent of the smart phone has made our lives so much easier. There are numerous mobile apps for every purpose possible which ensure that you are always wired in and in touch with ongoing projects, to the extent that you can manage entire projects from your cell phone,” explains Megha Moorthy, who works in the business development team of an IT company in Hyderabad.

The apps transcend a variety of purposes, right from networking to data transfer and storage, managing tasks and keeping updated with industry and current news. “Quite simply, it’s like this. Whatever office related task you are doing, there is an app somewhere that will help you do it faster and better,” smiles Moorthy.

Stay Up-to-Date
“The one app I simply cannot do without is the Economic Times news app. It’s extremely important to be constantly up-to-date with all that’s happening in the industry, competition brands, the business world in general, and the app allows me to do that easily,” says Bangalore-based digital marketer Siddharth Raman, who works in the alcohol beverages industry.

For those who are tired of reading dozens of different magazines and newspapers simply because they don’t want to miss out on anything, Flipboard is an excellent app. Flipboard allows you to select specific publications and news areas (for example, technology, stock markets, politics) to create your own customised news digest.

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Better Collaboration
There are countless apps available to help you stay better organisedand hence be more efficient in your work. Arvind Rongala, marketing manager at Invensis, a leading business processes outsourcing company in Bangalore, says, “I use Evernote for taking notes, maintaining a to-do list, creating reminders and archiving the same. The app allows me to seamlessly collaborate with my marketing team as well.” Rahul Shitut, who works with an organisation in the real estate sector in Mumbai, agrees, “I use Teambox extensively. It is a great help in task management. Tasks are organised under task lists for various projects. There are features that allow delegation and time-tracking as well.”

The Mint app is widely used in the professional world for tracking expenses and accounts. Anuradha Jhaveri, brand manager at a leading FMCG organisation, elaborates, “The app allows me to track all the transactions involved with my brand on a daily basis. I have set budgets under various heads and Mint lets me know if I am reaching the allotted cut-off too quickly, or how much of the budget allocated is available. You can also customise the app to know when bills are due.”

Apps also help easy sharing and storage of data. “I use Google Drive, a fantastic app from Google on a daily basis. It helps my team and I to edit and share documents within the group, keeping everyone updated of the most recent changes,” explains Rongala.

Connect and Network
Professionals are also using apps to connect, network and converse with contacts in the business world. Rongala, adds, “I use the LinkedIn app extensively to interact professionally. Additionally, we have a company page on which we post interesting topics and recent news articles. This helps us reach the right audience and achieve higher online visibility.”

Seemingly basic social apps are also being leveraged by professionals. “I use Blackberry Messenger and Whatsapp to communicate with my professional contacts. It helps work get done quickly, as it is easy to seek small clarifications or get status updates on the job at hand instantly,” explains Raman.

Efficiency and Ease
Copy2contact is an interesting app which instantly and intelligently creates contacts in your phone from texts and email signatures. This eliminates the unnecessary and tedious manual keying in of contacts and ensures that your phonebook is constantly updated automatically. The Docusign Ink app is the world’s first personal electronic signature. “My organisation uses this app extensively. It saves the effort of having to print, fax, scan or courier a document for signing, speeding up the whole process. Even if individuals are traveling, it is not an issue, as we use Docusign Ink,” says Moorthy.

For the ones engaged in the creative fields, Paper is an app which allows you to sketch, draw, write or colour-and put your ideas into images. The app is particularly helpful to explain concepts which cannot be effectively explained only through words.

Mobile apps, if leveraged properly, are a powerful tool in the hands of working professionals. It’s no surprise then that more people have turned to relying on their frequent use to be able to work better, faster and more effectively!

Image courtesy: © IDIVA.COM

How Working Women Should Find Their Way Forward

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A multi-tasking women is always a winner

HOW WORKING WOMEN SHOULD FIND THEIR WAY FORWARD

By

 At one of my motivational talks  on “Women, Work and Leadership Development” at a prominent IT company recently, I was approached by a timid young woman who stayed back after her colleagues had left, to talk about her very challenging situation. Turns out she had delivered a baby four years ago and had to give up her job so that she could raise the child. She had recently come back to work but struggled to cope between being mom and employee.

It is the same old problem that all of us women face – being pulled in different directions by the competing demands of our careers, guilt over leaving our kids so we can go to work, and the mind numbing fatigue that takes over body and soul from constantly being on the treadmill.

While most women at the talk listened, some terribly boyish young men ones and some middle-aged ones too, sat through the entire event as if none of it concerned them. Kids? Home? PTAs? What has it got to do with us, was very clearly the attitude.

My heart went out to her a bit when she said that despite the fact that this is not the first time and will certainly not be the last time that I have heard this story. Young women meets man of her dreams, marries, children come along, family responsibilities follow and before she knows what hit her, her career is on the back burner while she feeds  and burps the baby, changes diapers endlessly, and struggles to look reasonably sane while all this is being achieved.

Don’t worry too much about it. It will get better. The kids will be grown up before you know it and you will be free to pursue your own goals – I said. You have to just hang in there and keep the faith.

As a very young mother I had struggled with all of these and emerged triumphant in spirit, raring to go. Being a work- from -home journalist taught me time management, prioritisation, discipline and the merit of delegating some stuff. Supermoms and tiger moms end up burning themselves out and that is no good for anyone, especially themselves.

Admittedly I lost my younger years without any ‘me time’ – I never went to the spa, bought myself glamorous clothes or pampered myself with holidays. I know a few women who insist it cost them their marriage because who wants a hag who smells of baby vomit, right?

At a panel discussion on the journey of power women from being bosses at work to moms at home, veteran banker and CEO of investment bank Moelis India, Manisha Girotra, charmed the audience when she spoke of being terrified of having to live without a nanny at home to look after her daughter. “I might be the boss at the workplace, but at home the nanny is the boss”. Girotra spoke of guilt over missing chunks of her only daughter’s life, but said the trick is to be there for key events. “You miss some of the good moments but it does not kill you,” she said.

Capgemini India chief Aruna Jayanthi told her daughter early in life that she had a career and would not always be present for PTAs or birthday parties. Either she or her husband is present in the city at all times for their daughter and Jayanthi’s mother has been the chief nurturer since baby was three weeks old.

“If there is one country where it is easy for a woman to work, it is India. My colleagues in other countries such as France are jealous of what we have here, supportive parents and in-laws.”Jayanthi said.

Both these ladies provide crucial support so that their women employees can simultaneously fulfil their career aspirations and be primary nurturers at home.

At Capgemini, flexible hours is the buzz word, and employees can choose the hours they work to get the job done. Jayanthi herself burns the midnight oil after the child has gone to bed.

It is alright for a woman to take a couple of years off from work to raise their toddlers. “If they are confident and talented, they will always find employment. Corporates lose big time when trained talent stays at home,”Jayanthi said.

Yesteryears superstar, Sridevi came back recently from a 15- year break while she raised her two daughters and says she enjoyed the process, getting the kids ready for school, preparing lunch for them and being there when they returned home.

Both Girotra and Jayanthi insist 50% of the new recruits at the organisation are female. Capgemini provides mentoring programmes for women to seamlessly get back to work after a break.

Most women leaders who I interviewed for Leading Ladies, including Axis boss Shikha Sharma and HSBC India head Naina Lal Kidwai credited the loving support of parents and in-laws for their successful journeys.

Girotra has a useful tip for working women doing their trapeze act – Take each day at a time, put support systems in place to step in for you and keep going. Be stubborn, be strong and you will eventually master the act of being boss and mom all in one!
To Mom, with Love! This May, we at iDiva.com, are going all out to show our moms we care; and we want you to do the same! So join in the celebrations as we show you how to make this Mother’s Day super special with the best gifts for your mom, the best places to treat her, great mother-daughter bonding ideas and more. While you’re at it, write a letter to your mom to tell her how much you love her, and get featured on iDiva.com!

Courtesy: © idiva.com

The Secret to Balancing Career Success and Happiness

the_secret_to_balancing_success_and_happiness

While work is important, you should not let it encroach on personal time.

All work and no play never made a bright professional! This may be a slightly different take on a popular saying, but holds very true in the life of most professionals today. Never-ending work hours, ever-increasing work-load, being on-call 24×7, the smartphone syndrome, lack of exercise, little or no existence of a social life are the most common reasons for working professionals burning out at a very early stage in their career.

As long as you’re working, juggling the demands of your career and personal life will probably be an ongoing challenge. Consider these ideas to find the work-life balance that’s best for you.

Maintain a to-do-list: If you start your day at work by listing down the tasks on your plate, it will help you prioritize and get time-consuming tasks out of the way.  Taking a small break before moving on to the next big thing on your to-do-list works wonders and increases efficiency. Remember, late hours in office, don’t always reflect as hard-work and may be an indication of low efficiency.

Strike a balance: To be successful and happy at the same time, it is important to maintain equilibrium in all aspects of life – time for work, family, friends and most importantly, yourself. It’s all about prioritization. While work is important, you should not let it encroach on personal time. After exiting office try not to check your email every few minutes. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. Show the same amount of dedication towards quality time with family and friends as you would do at work. This gives your mind a much needed break and is sure to leave you relaxed and refreshed for the next day.

Find your calling: Work might be your first love, but what about that one hobby or interest that you always wanted to chase in your school/college days? Whether it’s pottery, gardening or a new dance form, identify and develop that interest and pursue it over weekends. By doing this you can avoid undue stress, unwind yourself and more importantly have something to look forward to over weekends.

As you move up your career ladder, always stay connected to the real world. One way of doing this is by attaching yourself to a social cause that is close to your heart. Make your weekends productive and meaningful by dedicating time to volunteering for a specific cause. Leverage your association with a social cause by displaying it on your resume. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, one out of five hiring managers in India agree they have hired a candidate because of their volunteer work experience.

It’s OK to say no: When you are already loaded with work and struggling to finish everything on time, it is perfectly OK to re-assess your current tasks before accepting a new one. If the new task is of a higher priority see what you can put on the back-burner and inform your team about it. Agreeing to take up additional workload out of guilt or a false sense of obligation will leave you with little time for self-nourishment and may affect the quality of your work.

Time away from work: Nothing rejuvenates the heart, body and soul like a little time off from work and getting away from the hustle –bustle of city life. While long vacations are mostly annual affairs, plan weekend getaways more often with family and friends. During this time away, switch-off from work completely.

It is encouraging to know that according to LinkedIn’s What Women Want @ Work survey, 93% Indian women believe that they can have it all in terms of career and family life. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance requires continuous effort as your personal and professional interests change. Periodically exam your priorities — and make changes, if necessary — to make sure you are in total control.

Courtesy: © idiva.com

How to Stick With Good Habits When Your Willpower Is Gone.


How to Stick With Good Habits When Your Willpower Is Gone.
By James.

Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpoweror motivation. But the more I learn, the more I believe that the number one driver of better habits and behavior change is your environment. Let me drop some science into this article and show you what I mean…
Willpower vs. Environment
Anne Thorndike is a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Recently, Thorndike and her colleagues completed a six-month studythat was published in the American Journal of Public Health. This study secretly took place in the hospital cafeteria and helped thousands of people develop healthier eating habits without changing their willpower or motivation in the slightest way.

How to Be Happy Everyday!

How to Be Happy Everyday!

By Nona Walia

Happiness is not about an event, a person or a phase in your life. You can have happiness ergardless of what is going on around you. But happiness does not come easy to everyone. Sometimes happiness needs to be consciously practised. Here’s how to be happy everyday!

Forecast your feeling
Being happy is all about having the guts to forecast your feelings. Talk about your moods and  then change their frequency.

Says spiritual guru BK Shivani, “Most of the happiness in life today is ‘up’ happiness, and is closely followed by ‘down’ sorrow. ‘Up’ happiness is usually induced by and dependent on something outside ourselves – a person, an event (my team won) or a substance. It’s always followed by a ‘down’ sorrow. Simply choose to be content with the way things are outside and around you. Choosing this kind of contentment means not beating yourself up emotionally, and not trying to fix others mentally or verbally.”
 
The Mood Indicator
Every one hour ask yourself, “How is my mood?” Says film director Bhavna Talwar, “Find joy in little things and overcome life’s unending obstacles with a smile. Keep doing little things that make you happy.”

Don’t watch others
Jealousy can destroy your happiness. It really isn’t the recipe for happiness. Says actor Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, “For me, it’s about living my life exactly the way I want to, on my own terms, doing all the things that make me happy.”

BK Shivani adds, “When you spend time watching others it’s too easy to become a little envious, to want what they have, to aspire to be what they are. You cannot be someone else, you cannot find real, happiness and contentment in a moment of achievement – a high yes – but not real stable, contentment. Simply be yourself – be content with yourself, accept yourself. When you are you, then you become phenomenally attractive to others and the world will come to sit at your feet and serve your every need.”
 
Feel gratitude
Ashok Chopra, CEO of Hay House believes, “The secret is simple: feel the gratitude and be grateful. It helps you live in the now. The first step is to be self-aware.” Says art critic Shobha Deepak Singh, “For me, I say a prayer of thank you ever moment. It gives me amazing peace.”
 
Don’t be dependent
Don’t depend on other people to make you happy. There’s bound to be disappointment. Says Ma Naina of Osho: “We are taught to make our happiness dependent on some event, condition, person, object etc. This is why we keep delaying our happiness until things are just right in our life. And that’s why, in order to be happy we must make our happiness a decision and not a dependency.  Connect with yourself.”

A Quick Guide on Investing.

invest2

A Quick Guide on Investing

By Team iDiva

You buy your dream shares in the stock market. You invest your entire life savings in these blue-chip companies. You plan to sell these shares for almost double their value in five years. You pat yourself in the back for being such a savvy investor.
And then boom! Five years later, the stock market crashes, people lose money, your entire portfolio loses its value and your hard-earned money is now worth nothing. What will you do now?

What can be done

If you are indeed a savvy investor then you will base all your investment decisions on the word ’diversification’. That means that when you want to put your money to work, you will not send it to do just one job.

You will put part of your money in equity that is the stock market, and part of your money in debt, that is instruments like government bonds and municipal bonds, and then set aside another chunk for real estate or jewellery or luxury collectibles like art.

Different asset classes mean you can enjoy the advantages of each asset class and divide your risk so if one class loses value, you can still fallback on the others.

How? Where? Whom?

How do you know in what proportion you can allocate your asset classes? The general rule of thumb is to allot a higher percentage (in the range of 60%) to risky assets when you are younger.

As you get older its safer to invest a higher proportion to less risky assets such as debt instruments or PPF. If you want to invest in a disciplined manner then don’t take the advice of just your Uncle’s friend who happens to know some broker somewhere.

The wise thing to do

” Do yourself a favour and go to your bank and ask for a financial advisor. ” Watch and read business news.

” Empower yourself with knowledge and know what you are getting into, without taking at face value the advice that anyone throws your way. ” Use mutual funds since they have professional people managing your money, especially if you are unsure about which stock to buy.

What they do

In the end always remember the words of Warren Buffet, the billionaire investor and the richest man in the world, ’You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.’

3 Golden Rules of Successful Women.

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When you say NO to a particular assignment, you could be saying YES to a bigger one around the corner.

3 Golden Rules of Successful Women

By Malti Bhojwani

What attracted me most to Hinduism as a child were the sculptures and images of them with all their beauty, voluptuous figures, gorgeous smiles, finery and six arms with a symbolic tool in each hand. They were able to balance it all effectively and so can we.

In my years of coaching especially women, I have found a few common traits in my own clients from all over the globe and in this article I want to share three of these common practices with you.

1. It does not have to be perfect.

Though their perfectionism may have gotten them far in their lives and careers, they shed that skin early in the climb. They learnt that “good enough” is good enough as it allows them to delegate.

The first step is to delegate the menial home tasks, like cooking, cleaning, and helping kids with homework or driving them around. Allow your partner, or husband to take some responsibilities.

Next delegate at work; invest the time to teach, coach and inspire your team and assistants so that you can hand over projects to them completely, without micro-managing every step.

Be okay with the nanny doing some things for your children. Welcome in-laws to contribute their time and love into your life. Of course you can take this to extremes, I know women, who delegate their shopping and have a personal assistant who filters their emails/calls for them as well.

Start with little tasks and see how much time you free up just by being willing to let go of everything being perfect all the time. When you free up your time by being okay with “good-enough” you will let go the need to control every single thing, and be able to focus your time and effort on what really matters.

2. NO is not a bad word.
They are comfortable saying and hearing  “no” because they know that EVERY no is a YES to something else. 

As a woman who wants to make it to the top, you have to be “thick-skinned” to hearing “no”! When you become OK with hearing “NO” to your ideas, your suggestions, your request in your personal and professional life, you will be able to be persistent. This will give you the NEVER GIVE UP attitude and the persistence that you need to succeed.

My mantra: “The more NOs I open myself up to hearing, the closer I am getting to my super successful life.”

Learn to say NO in order to say YES to your sanity!! Practice it, it will get easier – we have been programmed to say YES and the best way to re-program yourself is to show yourself that EVERY single NO is actually a disguised YES – just to something else.

When you say NO to a particular assignment, you could be saying YES to a bigger one around the corner. When you say NO to a request, you could be saying YES to a few nights in with yourself to strengthen your own connection with the Universe. Get it? What are you going to say NO to this week and what YES will that allow?

3. Spend time on yourself.

Successful women are calm, dignified and go about their seemingly hectic days with ease and grace. They have a commitment to a personal daily practice which I call the iHour. 

My personal iHour has grown into almost 2 hours now, with TM Meditation for almost 40 minutes, treadmill for 45 minutes, writing in gratitude in my TAG Gratitude Journal for 5, connecting with my mum and daughter and learning something new. I watch a TED talk or read something inspiring and aim to teach it to someone.

The iHour is the first installation I put into my day in order to get the most out of it. It is time to myself to “charge my batteries” and connect to my higher self – almost like plugging into a modem and nurturing myself so that no matter how busy my schedule may get, I know that I have already gotten what is most important to my physical, mental and spiritual nourishment in and I am ready for the day!

Just like you take a shower and brush your teeth daily without fail, (I hope :-)) practicing the iHour will become a habit as well. Look at it as the Vitamin that will keep you energised and ready for the curve alls of the day. Why would you skip it? So what are you going to put into your personal iHour?

Avon chairman Andrea Jung woke up at 5 AM and everyday used to hit the gym and still be at her desk by 8. Vogue editor Anna Wintour is on the tennis court by 6 AM every morning before work and Starbucks’ Michelle wakes up at 4:30 AM everyday to go running. Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres practice TM (Transcendental Meditation) twice a day every day.

As important as the iHour is, I am a strong, strong advocate of enough sleep. So don’t burn both ends of the candle, you will end up being cranky and losing your calmness. So ensure you go to bed early enough every night in order to wake up to your iHour! Remember, an awesome day starts the night before!