family, Happy thoughts, home, inspirational, powerful

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.

 

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inspirational, M1d valley, me, money

Why I’m avoiding shopping malls

I was supposed to meet my sister today. She wanted me to come with her to the travel fair in Kuala Lumpur.

Something came up and I couldn’t go but I told her that I could at least see her somewhere in Subang Jaya.

She told me that I don’t have to go out if I don’t need to because she has a friend with her.

I was already dressed at the time and contemplated going to the mall in SJ anyway.

But in the end, I changed my mind and decided to stay at home, re-watching the parts in Winter’s Bone which I missed because I dozed off last night.

Staying at home yet again on a weekend is such an achievement for me. Why? It’s because I have consciously tried to stay away from shopping arcades for a while now.

I have a few reasons for doing so. Financial is definitely the most compelling one.

I believe it’s impossible not to spend when you are at a shopping centre. Your spending begins the moment you start the car engine (think burning fuel) or take any other mode of transportation to get there (think bus or cab fare).

If you drive there, you are likely to park your car. While some department stores offer free parking, most charge you.

Once you’re at the mall, you are bound to spend on something. If you’re not going to buy a new pair of ________, you are most likely going to have a meal there.

If you’re watching a movie, you’ll be paying for the tickets and the snacks too.

That’s all well and good — IF you spend on things you REALLY need. Scratch that. IF you actually need to buy something!

If you’re anything like me, you treat a shopping mall as a hang out joint. After all, you favourite cafe, restaurant or book shop is IN a mall.

Freelance journalist Clarissa Tan said it best in her article To Shop, or Not? (Reader’s Digest, Nov 2010, pages 15-16): “it seems that our default venue for every activity (nowadays) is the mall — it’s where we shop, eat, watch movies, bowl, arrange to meet friends, have a romantic date or just generally lounge around”.

So no wonder it is so hard for us to avoid frequenting malls!

But who says you have to go out AND spend money to hang out?

I know it seems much “cooler” to be seen with your laptop or iPad, sipping or nursing a cup of java at that gourmet coffee shop.

But would you be less cool or have less fun hanging out with your friends at your apartment, cooking lunch or dinner together and ending the day with a movie in your own living room?

How about a gossip session with a friend over a strenuous power-walking session? You can have breakfast/tea after and then go home and get a nap or something. (You do need to catch up on your sleep!)

Ever thought of going to the library to borrow a book or curl up with your own book on your weekend?

I had to go to my local library on a Sunday morning for work once and I saw people at the library, reading, doing homework and studying BEFORE 10am! On a SUNDAY!

I was so inspired that I vowed to wake up early on Sunday to go to the library! (Of course that has yet to happen… but “it’s the thought that counts”)

My point is, we don’t HAVE to go to the mall to have an eventful weekend. We don’t need to REWARD ourselves for our five or six days of hard work, with a trip to the mall. Because, let’s face it, most of us consider going shopping as a “treat”.

It’s fine to reward yourself now and again, but EVERY weekend? REALLY??

I think we would all be much happier if we avoided the malls more.

For one thing, we won’t feel bad for ourselves for not being able to afford product A because it’s not staring at our faces. We would also save money and time — finding parking is such a waste of time!

So the next time you have a strong urge to go to the mall “because there is nothing else to do”, take a deep breathe and ask yourself, is there anything else you can do to fill your time?

Do you have a book that you’ve been meaning to finish? How about that long-lost friend you have been meaning to call? Does your closet need rearranging?

If you really have so much time in your hands, let this girl give you a few ideas on how to kill your time. She’s a real inspiration. I’ll leave you here with this video. Watch and be inspired!

SuziemcleanThanks for visiting my blog! If you like what you just read, feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter. You might also like to check out my older stuff and my other blog. Thank you so much and see you soon!

blogs, inspirational, mobile phones

How to blog better and more frequently

A few days ago, I vowed to blog every day — or as often as I can, which could mean once a week — which is my way of keeping a daily journal.

So what better way to do that than to join WordPress.com‘s new experiment in blogging motivation? (Click here for some background on the initiative)

The Daily Post is always there to offer some suggestions if I ever run out of ideas or topics to write about. Most people would prefer to write on matters close to their hearts but I think that blogging based on someone else’s question is mentally stimulating. It is similar to answering questions in a job interview — some will throw you off guard but it makes you pause and think nevertheless. Not having a scripted answer can do the brain good.

I can bet that work will gladly come between blogging and I 🙂 but I have given myself one less reason to say that I do not have time to blog.

I just downloaded WordPress for my Blackberry so I can squeeze in some blogging while having breakfast or when free time pops up.

Well wish me luck!

If you’re on WordPress and would like to join this little experiment, just follow the instructions as written here.

This blog post has useful tips and links on improving your writing/blogging technique, so be sure to check it out!

Well, I’ll see you soon!

P/S: Check out my new blog post on Happy Weight.

great assignment, inspirational, job, music, updates

I was nervous but the butterflies flew away

Oh looky… Sesame Street turns 40 this week!

That means the SS gang is not that much older than me. (For the record, I’m 31) Yikes! But I love SS. I learned English watching the show.

Anyway, I felt like blogging again today but I’m going to do it real quick because I do have a deadline to meet tomorrow.

Now I haven’t forgotten what I wrote in yesterday’s post. That I’d prefer to wake up early to meet a deadline than do work at night.

But I think I have to make an exception tonight.

I’ll just spend an hour on it tonight — promise! I really must do as much as I can because I have an appointment at 1130 hours in Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh. So I had better make sure the copy is ready by the time I reach the office. I really hate missing deadlines.

Which reminds me; I forgot to pass the cover photo to the graphic artist. I forgot to do it because it wasn’t on my Ta Da list — figures! But then again I didn’t see him today either. Oh well. I’ll just consult the boss and let her choose which one she likes.

Because this is a super quick story, we would have to settle with what we have. When we’re not so pressed for time, we normally go for illustrations. But we can’t be perfect all the time, now can we?

Initially, I was really nervous about completing this story because of its pretty rushed. But thanks to some extra information the organisers emailed me today, I’m much calmer now. I just need to focus. And for an added boost, I’ll need some kick-ass soundtrack playing in the background 🙂

Ok. Blogging time is up. Next: hot shower. to wash the day away.

Till next time!

 

 

 

 

 

books, drama, family, inspirational, relationships, sister

On to another book

Maybe this is a bit premature but I’m just about 10 pages more to finishing Light On Snow (Anita Shreve).

This is my first Anita Shreve book and I have been curious ever since I read the review in a magazine about three years ago. I got this book as a birthday gift from my sister this year.

I don’t know about other people but for me, this book engages me in waves. Sometimes, I’m really engrossed, and at other times I don’t think very much about the writing nor the plot.

But I noticed that I love reading about the relationship that 12-year-old Nicky developed with Charlotte, the 19-year-old unwed mother. Somehow, to me, Charlotte is the character that I remember most. I actually had to go back to the book to check on Nicky’s name. Not that she is a forgettable character. I think Nicky is so taken by Charlotte (charlotte this, charlotte that) that I think it rubbed off on me 🙂

Finishing this book means that I now have to decide on which book to read next. I think I should finally attempt Three Cups of Tea which my sister lent me early this year (or was it late last year?). TCoT is a bigger, thicker book so carrying it around will be more difficult. But I can always read it before bed, even if that means only reading two pages a night before I pass out.

Well, at least that’s better than not reading at all, ey?

friends, inspirational

Supermom

A former colleague is in austria to do her doctorate. She’s a young mom with a young son and another baby on the way. What’s amazing about her is that she’s doing it all alone there — studying, going through her pregnancy — sans husband and son.

She recently wrote a very touching entry in her blog and I feel compelled to share with her this anecdote.

Not too long ago, I interviewed a woman deputy vc. We were talking about her new post and somehow the topic deviated to children and working moms. I think it started when she asked me if I was married and whether or not I had children.

Well, anyway, she told me that one of the hardest things she has had to do was leave her family to pursue her studies. This was probably in the late 80s and her daughter at the time was below 5. She told me that she remembered being incredible guilty about it, not to mention missing her family like crazy.

But her little girl is now all grown up. One day, as she was helping her daughter clean her room, she found a card she had sent home to Malaysia when she was still studying. The card brought back all the memories and she started crying.

Seeing her cry, her daughter said: “Mommy, it’s okay. I’m all grown up now. It’s okay”.

She thought her daughter would never forgive her for leaving. But the truth is, her daughter didn’t even remember that she had gone for that long.

I have only respect for Che Sabb. She’s setting a good example for her children. She’s showing them that women in the 21st century can do it all – become a mom, pursue their education and careers etc.

She’s doing it all for herself and her children’s future. Think of it this way, how many people can say that their mom has a PhD? From Austria, no less?

So, hang in there Che Sabb. Dani’s going to be fine and you’ll pull through and come back to Malaysia with the initials d and r before your name 🙂

business trips, child, cosmetics, dinner, food, friends, great assignment, Happy thoughts, inspirational, job, lucky, me, technology

Post Hong Kong

I’m back people!!!

My working trip to HK was — in short — successful, inspiring and memorable. I met really nice people there, was wowed by the efforts of the teachers who attended the forum and amazed by the sights and sounds of Hong Kong.

There were nine of us from Msia — 3 media reps, 3 moe reps, 2 ms reps and 1 teacher/quarter-finalist. Most of us had only met for the first time at the airport. Having gone for the regional event in Hanoi in April, I was already familiar with the 2 MS reps and teacher. It turned out that one of the media reps was formerly from BH in JB (hansolo, I’m sure you know who she is because she left the company a few months ago to work in KL). We had met each other perhaps a couple of years back but both of us couldn’t remember what assignment or occasion it was. We became fast friends anyway.

We left Msia at about 9.30am. That meant leaving the house at about 6.15am to check in by 7.30am. I had omellette and watched Baby Mama on the plane. I really recommend this movie because it is funny as h3ll!! I laughed and cried watching this movie — the guy sitting next to me probably thought I was crazy. If you’re into spoilers, read all about Baby Mama here.

I could relate to the movie because I’m trying for a baby myself. It hasn’t been particularly easy for me so this movie, about a successful business woman who’s trying to have a baby alone at 37, hits a chord with me. Tina Fey and Amy Pohler were both hilarious and excellent actors. I knew that they were funny from the Saturday Night Live days but I never knew that they could do drama as well. Believe it or not, the movie was categorised under Drama under the Movie on Demand list. The script is brilliant at mixing hilarious moments and touching ones all in one scene.

I loved the film so much that I recommended it to the former BH girl but too bad the movie was removed from the play list on our flight back to Msia. I wanted to watch it again but because it was no longer available, I decided to watch Wall-E. The missing narration makes it a bit boring but I still think it’s a sweet movie. I must be really hormonal then because not only did I cry watching Baby Mama, watching Wall-E go about his work all alone on Earth too almost moved me to tears 😛 I loved the movie. Well at least I didn’t fall asleep watching it as I did while watching The X-Files right after Wall-E. Not that it was incredibly boring or anything. I think I was just tired by then.

My stay in Hong Kong was wonderful. I would have loved to do more shopping but I find HK to be rather expensive. I mean, a bottle of Evian costs RM5 there. A bottle of regular mineral water costs RM3. So you can pretty much tell how expensive other things can be. It didn’t help that our hotel, The Langham in Tsim Sha Tsui is right across a Louis Vitton boutique. It was an exclusive area, so shopping around the jotel area was limited.

But Ladies Market was just four MTR stations away. I didn’t really like it there because I found the bargaining process really tiring. Some of the proprieters are rude — they just shoo you away. But I managed to get the usual souvenir stuff — fridge magnets, t-shirts etc — for not-too-bad prices. The t-shirts were of good quality so I’m happy with that. I wanted to buy a bag for myself but I ended up with a pair of flat shoes instead. It was for RM32. I’m happy with that because it looks good with my jeans.

I loved watching the young women in HK. They dress really well, very trendy with their calf or knee-length boots. HK this time of the year is slightly cooler than in Malaysia and less humid too. You don’t need a coat or anything. You’l be fine with your t-shirt. But if you were to wear your jeans and t-shirt, you’ll look slightly out of place in Tsim Sha Tsui area where the girls were shorts, dresses or pretty blouses with skirts and boots. Sure, there will be people in just t-shirt and jeans but they’re mostly guys 😛

Books in HK are pretty expensive too. If you think your RM34 paperback is pricey, wait till you have to fork out RM45 for the same paperback in HK! I’m never taking book prices in KL for granted anymore. Of course, I’ll buy them online so I’ll get a 30 per cent discount.

Sasa in HK is cheaper (certain items) and bigger. I almost bought a Sasa-brand lengthening/volumising mascara for HK$98 (98xRM0.46= about RM45) but decided against it. I didn’t really need it. I already have my Maybelline mascara that does the job for less than RM40. Never mind that I still think about it now (I think I’m in love), enough to make me want to go to a Sasa store and see if they sell it here too. But I bought 3 miniature perfumes — Eternity (15ml) and two Burberry Weekend (5ml) — for RM50 from there. Not bad eh?

All this talk about shopping makes you wonder whether I did any work at all in HK. Of course I did 🙂

I was there to cover an international forum for innovative teachers and met teachers from 60 countries who are not short of inspirational. If all these teachers were to work in one school, that would be one heck of a brilliant school. These are teachers who worked outside of office hours to create games, movies etc to enhance their teachings. You will be amazed by what these teachers can do. Some of these schools are rural ones that have no Internet access at all. Yet the students learn with the aid of technology everyday.

I really want to do justice to the article which I will prepare in the coming days. I hope I will do a great job at it.

Anyway, after spending four solid days in Hong Kong, staying at a 5-star hotel with great breakfast and company, it still feels good to be back in the comfort of my own messy room and table writing this entry.

Oh, that just reminds me of something. I need to register the free MS Office One Note 2007 software I got from the forum online and also check out Piggley’s blog. Piggley is the mascot of a school in rural Nothern Ireland. From his blog, I could see that he had a whale of a time in Hong Kong. Read all about him here and also notice how Piggley asks the students to look up some information on Hong Kong and its culture. This is the kind of learning that these teachers are promoting. Fun, isn’t it?

Well, I’m signing off too. I wish I could have done a day-to-day blog like Piggley but to tell you the truth, the Internet charge was too expensive and I frankly didn’t have the energy to even switch my laptop on at the end of the day.

Anyway, see you soon!

P/S: No pictures yet. I’ll probably transfer some photos tomorrow and I’m also waiting for some REALLY good pictures from MS representatives. More of that next week I guess. I’l probably upload them on FB. Later!