Wrap up the year

Year End PartyThe last few weeks of a year always seem to be a mad rush. Last week, we had our company year end party which was such a great laugh. In less than 2 weeks, we’ll celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Christmas. For a lot of expats in Dubai, this will be time to travel to their home countries and many are also thinking how and where to spend New Year’s Eve. I’m so happy that all this is sorted and I’ve some peace of mind!

Yet, as we’re getting ready to celebrate, it’s also time to wrap up 2015. Nowadays, year end is almost forgotten and few people only use it to reflect. Instead, we’re already focusing on the next year. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s finish this year first. Here’s a list of activities to wrap up in 2015:

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Overcommitment

This year, I led various projects consuming substantially more hours than originally anticipated. Some of them left me feeling exhausted. Yet, I wouldn’t let my personal life be stopped by it. Meetings with friends, participating in races and playing golf, studying for professional certifications, volunteering and travelling to fascinating destinations, you name it. I didn’t want anything to be put on hold or, worse, be cancelled.

Unfortunately, being overcommitted torments me. It makes me juggle my numerous activities and leaves me tired and frustrated. I feel bad for not having given each their deserved focus. After all, a meeting with a friend for a coffee rarely lasts only 10 minutes.

There are different strategies to avoid to being overcommitted.

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Productivity tips from entrepreneurs

This weekend, I was meeting some ex-colleagues for a delicious and relaxing high tea. It was so lovely to see them again and, as usual, one of the first question we asked each other was how the other one was. “Busy!” This seems to be the answer these days. When was the last time you heard anyone answer with “Good, keeping well, thank you”? Who’s not a busy bee?

As our afternoon carried on and we left the superficial “How are you” question, it became apparent that “busy” had all kinds of meaning. One was introducing an automisation project at work, for others, it was relocating the offices, helping their children with their homework or researching the next holiday destination for the upcoming Eid weekend. Everyone had so many things to juggle every day.

The conversations left me thinking how we use the same 24 hours in a day. Like you, I know some folks who seem to be constantly chasing the activities on their to-do list, looking frazzled about what to do and completely stressed when not achieving as much as they’d like to. Then, there are others who seem to just breeze through their day, with hardly any signs of stress or panic.

What can you do to use your 24 hours in a day more wisely? Here are some tips from entrepreneurs for you:

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Eat your frog first – 10 tips to beat procrastination

Does this ever happen to you? There’s something lingering on your to-do list. No matter how often look at it, it’s still there. No matter how much you wish it away, it’s still there. It’s procrastination of its finest and it happens to all us.

Having to write that business report, ironing the shirts or deciding when to visit relatives may make you cringe. It’s easier to wait for another day, then tackle it. How many other things can you do than the one you should be doing? It happens to all of us. Yes, also to me. Rather than cleaning my stove top yesterday (it was already long overdue), I could find everything else to do. Calling a friend, doing the weekly shopping, watching TV, surfing the web, you name it. It’s procrastination of its finest.

What can you do to eat your frog first? Here are 10 tips to beat procrastination:

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Are you benefiting from a routine?

Anybody with children knows how important a routine is for them. Ignore their nap time and you’ll have a grouchy kid for the rest of the day. In the past, routines were ridiculed as taking the spontaneity or creativity out of something. These days, more and more people are recognising the benefits of routines.

The benefits have been widely described as:

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Time savers = Life savers?

Do you ever have the feeling that time just flies by? This happened to me this last weekend. It was a fun packed one. An organising job, meeting my friends, playing a decent round of golf and finally having purchased new bedroom curtains. Luckily, I didn’t have to do any of the boring or time consuming activities. I’m very grateful for having found some time saving shortcuts, making my life a lot easier. Here are some of my favourite time savers = life savers:

  • Automate your bills and savings. Set up a direct debit or standing order and have your mortgage/rent, utility, TV and phone bills paid directly. While you’re at it, create a regular transfer on pay day and put however much you can afford to into a savings account.

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Own the Weekend!

The weekend is barely over and I’m already writing about the next weekend. Am I nuts? No, though some of my friends may question it at times. Rather than waiting for Thursday night, then debating how to spend the weekend and wasting valuable time, start thinking about it now. To me, it’s also a great motivator which carries me through the week. Are you also looking forward to some of your weekend activities?

When’s that opening of the long awaited restaurant again? Is there an artisan market which you meant to visit for weeks going on? What about this nagging home improvement list that you’ve been putting off? Do you need to complete a proposal for your business?

Follow these easy steps and you’re ready to own the weekend:

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Benefits of Being Organised

While I’m no big believer in fate, I sometimes wonder why a certain person would be sitting to me on is trip. During the NAPO a conference, I met some awesome organisers who shared different stories and insights, leaving me invigorated and energised.  On my return flight, David was sitting next to me and what a beautiful conversation we had.

Working at JFK airport, his belongings created stress for him. He hated driving or even more so being stuck in traffic. When he finally made the decision to sell his car, he could feel a load being taken from his shoulders. For him, deposing a number, well, a lot, of his belongings meant gaining freedom. “I’m relieved,” he said. “I’ve space in my apartment and can focus on the people and things that really matter to me.” For him, decluttering his life style clearly have paid off and he described him as a more balanced and appreciating person.

What could you gain from being (more) organised?

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Planning your Workday

I recently listened to a TED talk about creativity and one particular sentence stuck with me: “Write what you know about.” Well, I know how to be and stay organised. My colleagues are jokingly saying it’s in my genes. I’m German after all.

It makes me laugh. I wished it was that easy to explain. In this blog, I’ll share some of my own struggles (yes, there are times when my dining table has papers laying all over it) and also provide tips and trick which will help you have an organised life and mind.

At work, I’ve often been told I’ve high expectations or I’m trying to be perfect. Now, anyone who knows me also knows that I’m by no means a perfectionist. The high standards, maybe, I like a job to be done well and yes, I expect a certain level, fair enough. However, I’ve also learnt that I’ve only so much time in the day and at some stage, it’s good enough.

Clutter in spiritual surroundingsMany of you may be in a similar situation that you’re working with limited resources. My corporate job covers 3 continents and it’s exhausting, no matter how rewarding working with all these different cultures is. My team has gone through redundancies last year and I’m very grateful for still having my job. However, it means there’re fewer resources available and I don’t even need to ask about getting an admin helping me with filing, preparing presentations or setting up training sessions. It forces me to work more effectively and more focused. After all, I’m not living to work. I love my social life too much to become a corporate workaholic. It’s not always been easy to delegate or push back, yet, I’ve learnt:

  • Good enough is good enough and it will be okay and accepted.
  • Prioritise your weekly goals according to importance, urgency and deadlines. Then break them down into smaller to-do action items.
  • Block time in your calendar to simply work. If you are a morning lark or a night owl, use your most productive time for your most challenging and thinking tasks. Don’t forget to turn off your phone and email during this time!
  • Don’t plan 100% of your work day. There will be unexpected emergencies or last minute meetings.

How are you going to schedule your week now?

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first entry of my blog where I’ll share my strategies and insights to freeing yourself from physical and mental clutter in your business, home and mind. Let’s start creating an exclusively organised and structured business, home and life shaped around your unique requirements. Make sure you don’t miss my upcoming blog post where I’ll introduce to you SYSTEM: saving you space, time, energy, money.

Until next time,

Agni