The Power of 10 Minutes

Ten minutes doesn’t seem very long. Until you time yourself doing something for 10 minutes.

I got the inspiration from an article, that I can’t remember where I read. It’s also partly inspired by Neen James who says, “people don’t have an hour anymore (these days), but (they) do have 15 minutes. And Neen recommends that people set the timer for 15 minutes and crank up on work.

As it turns out, 15 minutes is too long for me. Here is why: After two days of doing work or chores in 10-minute bursts, I realized that I have what I call “an overestimated sense of time”.

What feels like 10 minutes to me is actually only 5 minutes. That is great news, I guess, because by the time I feel like I have been at something for 10 minutes, it has only been 5. But that also means that I’d be “exhausted” after working for 10 minutes, because it feels like I have been working for 15. My mind would wander off before the timer buzzes.

So I have been timing myself as such lately, and seem to be doing pretty good. I haven’t reached my desired level of productivity, but I have been able to finish tasks and cross them off my list — thanks to this method.

I’ll keep you posted on how it is working out for me after a week. Watch this space!

UPDATE! (Saturday, 2 May 2015)

I haven’t been timing myself of late because I get so overwhelmed by work that I don’t have time to reach for the phone or even go to the online timer. But a Korean YouTube vlogger reminded me of the benefits of timing myself  because she bought a timer to time herself studying — so I am keen to start again. In fact, I just set the timer for 1 hour for my laundry. It should ring any minute now. Three minutes left to be exact. Later!

Ailee’s teary speech at the 2013 Melon Music Awards

This time last year, Ailee was on top of the world. She had just made her foray into the Korean music scene and became a runaway success. She won so many Rookie of the Year awards. Everybody loved her.

But success comes with a heavy price. Singers like Ailee make as many haters as they do fans. As the saying goes, it is the people whom you care (or used to care) about that can hurt you the most.

Ailee’s success did not sit too well with her former boyfriend to the point that he wanted to see her fall. He released a number of nude photos of Ailee taken when she was a young, impressionable teen which were then picked up by a popular yet unscrupulous Korean entertainment website. The pictures went viral and threatened to ruin Ailee’s career forever.

It worried me that that the Korean society would not be so understanding and kind to Ailee, even though the incriminating pictures were something she did in the past. I’m glad this video proved me wrong.

The video shows the crowd cheering for her as she went on stage to accept her award. Of course that moved her to tears. Last year, the bubbly girl shed tears of happiness as she received her award and shared the stage with BAP. This year, she shed tears of regret, as if something had been taken away from her.

Fans noticed that Ailee hardly smiled and had sad eyes. Her ex-boyfriend robbed her of her spirit and I hate him for that.

I hope Ailee will be able to find her strength and her smile again. She’s a fighter this girl. The fact that she even showed up at the awards show — and performed the way she did — this year just days after her pictures went viral shows that she will bounce back stronger than ever.

I consider Ailee a good role model to young people. After all, she is the Korean girl from New Jersey who used to sing in her bedroom and post videos of it on the YouTube one minute and became a Kpop sensation the next. I hope, when she is ready, she will speak to her young followers, especially girls, about the importance of not being pressured to do things to feel accepted, pretty etc.

If it can happen to a seemingly strong and grounded girl like Ailee, it can happen to anyone.

I wish you all the best Ailee! Hwaiting!!

RT @gilsmithii:…

RT @gilsmithii: Pretty much!! Crowd was the loudest by far!! RT @BrIIghtRed5: Malaysia ROCKS!! 8 hours ago

The Twitter conversation above is between the band members that accompanies G-Dragon in his solo world tour.

Frankly, I am surprised to hear from Gil that the Malaysian crowd ” was the loudest by far!!”. Like, seriously?

Excuse my scepticism, but in my knowledge, Malaysians are not known to be craziest of fans at concerts. We’re Asians so we’re pretty much a contained bunch.

There were moments during the concert where the fans just stood silently watching the montage on stage. But when they heard a song that they love, they would scream, shout, cheer, jump, sing along etc. I know because I did it.

Granted, we were particularly noisy when songs like Crayon and Fantastic Baby came on. But I didn’t think we would be the “loudest by far!!”.

But I’m glad Gil acknowledged that. He would know because he had played at all of the venues so far. I don’t think he has any reason to exaggerate or to butter up the Malaysian audience. I trust that he meant what he wrote. And I am thankful for that.



It’s easy to bitch and moan but more worthwhile to focus on what you’re grateful for


G-dragon at his solo concert in Jakarta last weekend. Photo courtesy of G-Dragon’s Official Facebook.

Tonight, one of my life ambitions came true. Ever since I became a fan of K-pop megastar G-Dragon, I’ve dreamed of seeing him in his solo concert. I got the chance to do so just hours ago.

I’ve been to enough concerts to know that things don’t always go your way and you may leave the venue with a bad taste in your mouth. Security is too tight that they won’t allow you to even take one photo; you can’t bring in your own bottled water; the girl next to you keeps on bumping into you or screams too loudly etc etc.

A friend of mine still harps on the things that ruined her JLo concert experience at Stadium Merdeka last year. Her friend picked her up late; traffic was horrendous; the venue was too old etc etc.

I could list out a few things that I wasn’t too happy about G-Dragon’s concert earlier tonight but I don’t want to do that. I’d frankly much rather remember it for the good things that happened.

So here is my list of the things I am grateful about tonight’s concert. I am grateful that:

1. Running Into The Sun brought GD’s solo concert to Malaysia. Australian fans have been waiting for Big Bang to come and do a show in their country for so long. So I’m thankful that Kpop idols come to Malaysia all the time.

2. I got to see GD clearly without resorting to the jumbotron. I didn’t stand very near the stage but I could see him clearly enough. I’m also thankful that despite the humid weather, my glasses didn’t fog up or get greasy from my own sweat that I was able to see GD clearly.

3. I can hear. Enough said.

4. I didn’t faint or feel faint despite the heat.

5. No emergency cropped up to foil my plan to attend the concert that I had been anticipating since more than a month ago. Not even the worsening haze.

6. It was an excuse for me to meet Nate and share our love of Bigbang again. It’s always nice catching up with her in person after chatting/tweeting etc on a daily basis.

The point I’m trying make here is that it is easy to bitch and moan about things that go wrong. But, trust me, it feels 100 times better to focus on the good things and be grateful for them. Try it!

How to be less angry and bitter (part two)

Sometimes I forget that I ever had a blog. But then the occasional notification email from WordPress in my inbox about someone leaving comments on my old blog posts jogs my memory.

What fascinates me is the fact that it is always the same blog post that capture their attention. It is this one on how to be less angry and bitter.

If you read the post, you will notice that I didn’t exactly offer any magic bullet. Still, what I wrote back in 2007 still strikes a chord with netizens.

This convinces me that there is so much anger in the world we live in today. But I take solace in the fact that people are looking for ways to stop being angry and bitter.

Those who know me know that I am 95 per cent of the time a cool cat. It takes a lot to get me riled up. It’s one of my traits that I am proud of.

But everyone needs help. And what I find helpful has been this particular blog called Tiny Buddha. I am a Muslim and I certainly have my own ways of finding peace through prayers etc. But this website has definitely helped me put things into perspective when I need it.

I hope it will lead you to your “magic bullet” for being less angry and bitter.

Organised ideas are ideas implemented

I thought this would be really useful for everyone. We all have brilliant ideas that were lost or forgotten because we failed to jot them down or organise them well.

Here’s a great article on how to make sure you keep those ideas and actually act on them.

Organize Your Ideas…
and Then Start Implementing Them
by Maria Gracia

Do you have so many ideas floating around in your head that you are having trouble keeping track of them? Are you having trouble knowing where to start? Here are some ideas to take away the feeling of chaos and help you to organize and implement the wealth of ideas you have.

1. The first thing we need to do is get all of these ideas out of our head and onto paper. Don’t worry about organizing it yet, just do what is called a `brain dump’. Write down every idea–don’t try to do more than get them out of your brain and onto paper.
2. Once you have gotten your ideas down on paper, it’s time to start to categorize them. Your categories will be specific to you and your situation but could include home decorating, home improvements, craft projects, social activities, family vacations, business projects, and so on. Don’t try to do anything more than brainstorm categories for now.
3. Now that you’ve listed your categories, use different colored highlighters to mark each category a different color. Once you have a different color for each category, it’s time to start going through your list of ideas. Decide which category you think each idea fits into, and then highlight it with the corresponding color. Don’t worry if you have ideas that don’t fit any of your categories. We’ll deal with that next.
4. For those ideas that don’t fit your existing categories, let them be your guide for additional categories. Some additional categories might include self-improvement, health goals, etc. Self-improvement may include continuing education, learning a new skill or hobby or completing a college degree. You can make your categories as broad or as narrow as you choose. Making them a bit broader eliminates having too many categories.
5. Your categories can now be transferred to a notebook, index cards, folders in your file cabinet, or on your computer or PDA. With the color coding on your original brain dump page you should have no trouble listing the ideas in the correct category. Remember that this is for you–so make it work for you.
6. Now that you’ve categorized your ideas, it’s time to start implementing them. Some of your ideas can be moved to a daily or weekly `TA-DA’ list. Now you’ll notice that it is a TA-DA list not a To-Do list. TA-DA is what we say when we complete something. It’s a simple way to change the way we think. The connotation of To-Do is undone. The connotation of TA-DA is DONE!
7. Are some of your ideas a bit more complex? For example, if one of your ideas is to redecorate your bedroom, you will need several steps to complete it. It may seem a bit overwhelming, but if you break these ideas down into small steps, you’ll have every one of them on your TA-DA list before you know it!
8. Are some of your ideas longer term goals like completing your degree? Start by not only listing the steps required to complete them, AND include a time line for completion. Many times we put off doing something like this because we want to wait for available time. Something will fill that time regardless, you might as well fill it with something that will help you to accomplish your goals. Decide that it is important, and do it.
9. As you work through your list of ideas in each category, don’t cross them out as you complete them. Instead, highlight each one as it is completed. When we look at a list of crossed out items, it makes it hard to see what we have completed and what is left to be completed. A list that has some items highlighted however is an instant upbeat and bright note of TA-DA items.
10. Think of your categories as living documents. As living documents they will change as you complete items and as you add new ones. You are also able to adapt your category system to best suit your personality and your personal organizing style. This is your document, make it work for you.

Rediscover yourself by doing nothing at all

Last weekend was my first non-working one in three weeks. Although I made sure I have more than six hours of sleep every night, I fell ill last week – with flu and fever. Staying in bed was no an option so I took some medicine and stocked up on tissues and forged ahead.

Although I was feeling much better last weekend, I wasn’t really up for doing much. I wasn’t mentally and physically exhausted but I wasn’t motivated either.

So I threw cautions to the wind and did nothing for 48 hours.

Well, when I say nothing, I mean nothing work related.

I stayed at home as my husband was away on business. I helped in the kitchen on Saturday, watched an old film on television with the family -– just basically spending time with them.

On Sunday, my fever returned for a bit and I whiled away my time watching a reality tv programme featuring members of SHINee, a Korean pop group, on YouTube and learning one of their old hit songs in Japanese (because the pronunciation is much simpler than Korean). I also put away the laundry and cleared up the living area of my room.

Doing absolutely nothing (work related) -– on a weekend, mind you – is absolutely difficult for me. It consumes me with guilt.

I always have this idea that spending a few hours on work in the weekend will help me strike off more items on my to-do list quickly.

But focusing on work on a weekend doesn’t give me “peace of mind” either. I would also have a nagging feeling that I shouldn’t have to work on my days off.

I try to complete my tasks during the work week but it’s not always possible. There will always be new deadlines, phone calls, interruptions, meetings, training etc

It’s tempting for me to work on the weekends because there are less distractions. More often than not, I do get a lot done.

But there is a danger in this too. For one thing, your mind never gets a break from work which will lead to burn out, no matter how much rest/sleep you get.

It’s tough to be creative – and a lot of jobs require creativity – when you’re constantly “producing”. When you don’t let your mind have a proper break, you will no doubt produce results but they might start to look the same.

When you’re constantly “producing” seven days a week, your product will be as creative as something churned out of a production line.

I felt better about “wasting away” my weekend after reading this post titled The power of doing absolutely nothing.

Although I feel a little guilty for indulging in 48 hours of “me” time, I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel good. Frankly, I feel refreshed, inspired, brand new. I’m not completely well physically – I’m still coughing from the flu and fever earlier last week – but I feel mentally clear.

The fact that I’m blogging again after MONTHS(!) means I’m inspired to go back to doing things that I love doing but “felt like a waste of time”.

I’m glad the last 48 hours of “doing nothing” has allowed me to reconnect with my true self.

I might not have another full 48 hours to spend “doing nothing” in the future but I will remember to “lose myself in the moment” more without feeling guilty of the endless to-do list.

Try it! Who knows, you might rediscover yourself again.