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Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ Reminds me to Listen to My Heart

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’

I have read mixed reviews about Paulo Coelho’s most famous novel “The Alchemist” some call it life changing while others find it too simple. For me it is a very much needed reminder to listen to my .

Today we are too busy planning big tasks and conquering battles in every field of our life. Work life balance is become our biggest fantasy or something that has lost its way in the past. In our crazy hectic schedule were very duty is performed like an impossible mission a smooth read like “The Alchemist” takes us on a journey to find the treasure of our life.

It forces us to calm down and look around for messages from the higher self mentioned in the book as omens. We are too busy to run like a hamster on its wheel whole day 5 or 6 days a week and the rest days at the end of the week are spent to regain the energy to fight the never ending war next week then next and so on.

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” — Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)

Paulo Coelho reminds us to understand where our heart is. What is it longing for? In what does it feel happiness? Where ever your heart takes you, you will find your treasure. This can be actual in form of wealth, relationship, happiness or anything that you earn after finding your calling and respecting your heart’s cravings. Find a peaceful place, stay calm, breath very slowly and deeply, close your eyes and try to quite your mind. Now try to listen to your heart. What do you think it is interested in? What gives it immense happiness and satisfaction? I am sure you know it till now but if you are confused a meditation exercise can help.

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.” — Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)

Most of us cannot follow our heart because of fear. Fear of failing or fear of disappointing others, fear of the unknown or fear of moving out of our comfort zone. As a part of being a grownup we lose our child like curiosity, our sense of adventure, become restless and get scared of dreaming big.

As a grownup we try to fit in the surrounding and try to follow some rules even if they do not benefit us. When we suppress our heart desires for a long time it stops communicating with us. Our heart is our only source to connect with the higher self or the wisdom that runs the whole universe. Don’t suppress its voice to make someone else happy.
Your calling or interest is a big part of your destiny. Understand the language of your heart and something magical will happen. Life will become smoother and sweeter. The resistance you face in your daily grind will become weaker making it easier for you to enjoy the journey called life.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” — Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)

If you are looking for a way to connect to your heart’s desire this book can help you by taking you on a journey you will never forget. You want to go on that adventure again and again and who knows may be it will encourage you to find your own adventure.

The Great Indian Litterbug – Monkey See Monkey Do

The Great Indian Litterbug – Monkey See Monkey Do

The Great Indian Litterbug – Monkey See Monkey Do


Last month I went on a weekend outing with a bunch of friends. We were a mix of all sorts married, single, newly married, about to get married and a couple with a kid. Stuffed in 3 cars we drove from Mumbai to Panchgani and most of the group was cranky because of the long drive and also because we got up early.

The only parents in our group knew how to keep the kid quite. They were carrying a big bag of goodies with them. All kinds of junk food from sweets, chips, biscuits, namkeens everything a person on diet is not suppose to eat was in that bag. I named that bag a dentist’s nightmare but didn’t share it out loud with the group. Yes there were a couple of crayons in the bag with a sketch book but the child was least interested in art. He would not even look at the wrapper of the treat he opened. Just gulp it down and go for another.

The parents were non stop giving him treats packed in all kind of wrappers. He was unwrapping one and throwing it in the car. When I asked him why he is throwing the wrappers here and there he told me because the window is closed. I looked at the mother and she was least interested. As long as he child was eating he was not bothering her and she was catching up with her sleep in the car while the apple of her eyes was playing garbage tornado.

I picked up the biggest bag which was a jumbo size chips bag and started collecting wrappers from all over the car. I told the little boy to put his next empty wrapper in that big chips bag so that we can dispose it properly in a dustbin at the food court where we were planning to stop. He simply replied “No!” and threw the wrapper at me. The parents didn’t try to discipline him and I had no idea how to handle this situation. I could barely keep my cool.

The sun was rising and we took a break in Lonavala at a tea stall near the highway. The kid got out of the car with his precious bag of goodies and I got down with the garbage. When I was going to throw the bag of chips in the dustbin near the tea stall, he snatched it from me ad started throwing the garbage everywhere on the side of the road. The stall owner yelled out don’t do that it will attract monkeys. I looked at his mother and she nicely told him to stop and sit in the car which he ignored. She was even buying him more treats at the stall.

The stall owner was right, garbage did attract monkeys. They came in numbers and we all held to our belongings because they are famous to snatch anything they can. After realising that the wrappers were empty they came closer to see if we had any food on us. The boy with a big bag of treats got their attention. They all rushed at him and he screamed and ran towards his father. The gang of monkeys followed him. His father picked him up and started shooing then shouting on the monkeys. His mother also ran for the rescue.

Everyone in the group was trying to find something to scare the monkeys away. They were not budging. They had their eyes set on his bag of treats and were not leaving the poor family. Someone yelled throw the bag away…far away. The father pulled that bag and threw it as far as possible. Monkeys ran towards the bag and finally we could see the family. They were scratched, slapped, scared and the boy’s t-shirt was torn a bit. They looked like they have been through hell and this all happened in just few minutes. So quick that we could not even react.

When everything was quite again I went to the shaken boy and said, “you know if only you would have let me thrown your garbage in the bin”. He looked at me in tears and said, “I am sorry. I will never throw garbage here and there again.” The mother was shocked. It was his first “I am sorry” statement. The family was changed on their way back home. I wish every Indian learns the lesson of not being a litterbug at a young age. Let’s stop being so ignorant and arrogant. Let’s keep our country clean. It is time to change our image. I am highly impressed with “The Great Indian Litterbug” initiative taken by Times of India and of course by “The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” by our Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This article is especially written for the “The Great Indian Litterbug” campaign by Times of India and Indiblogger.

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20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 3

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 3

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 3

In the last two parts (20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy Part 1 & Part 2) we saw 10 tips that can turn around our life by improving our time management skills. In this post we are going to see some few methods that can help us become more productive and get a firm grip on our success by getting time on our side.

11. Interruptions: We cannot avoid disturbances while we work. The phone will ring several times, someone might like to come and talk to us about something happening in their life or some technical causes that can bring your work to a complete halt. We simply cannot avoid interruptions but we can minimize their impact on our work. We cannot do much about the technical pauses other but Mr. Tracy gives an easy tip to minimize our phone calls or chatting with visitor time. Mr. Tracy tells us to make a habit to stand up for every call or visit. By standing up and talking on the phone you do not get loose track of time and reflect the urgency to keep the call purely work related. You remind yourself to keep it short and also about getting back to work. Do the same with a walk in visitor and that person will not take much of your time.

12. Key Result Areas: While planning for a day’s work one should have a complete awareness about their Key Result Areas. Answering following simple questions can help us understand the important areas or tasks that are vital for us.

. Why do I get paid? (Or) Why am I on the payroll?
. What are my bread and butter?
. What are the goals or core functions of my job?
. Will it critically affect my goal if I miss any of the tasks?

We should give priority to these areas and spend reasonable time on them. If any task that you normally do does not qualify as your Key Result Areas then we should spend less time on them gradually eliminating the task for good.

13. Batching Task: Another very effective tip from Mr. Tracy to manage time. We can effective segregate our tasks into batches. This is taking the To-Do list to the next level. Make batches of tasks that go together. Assign specific time frame for these batches. Like if you like to check your mails after lunch or first thing in the morning then set aside checking mail, answering them and filling up your calendar and related tasks that you do every day for that specific time. Concentrating on one batch of task at a time helps us improve accuracy and reduce panic.

14. Neatness: It is not a secret that organizing your desk or office can improve your productivity. Mr. Tracy tells us that neatness can actually increase productivity by 20 to 30 %. Spend your first few minutes to make your workplace tidy before you start for the day. You can use the simple TRAF method to separate things in your office.

TRAF stands for Toss, Refer, Action and File.

15. Chunks of Time: Just as we make batches of time you can simultaneously separate chunks of time as 60 mins, 90 mins, an hour or 2 hrs. As per the requirement of the specific task assign chunks of time for that task while planning your day. When we allot a concentrated blocks of time for one important task we tend to complete that task within time. This helps us make a very effective use of time.

16. Transition Time: Never forget to keep aside an hour or so for learning. Mr. Tracy tells us if we need to earn more, we need to learn more. Sharpen your skills daily. Make yourself irreplaceable. Learning is forever it should not stop after getting a degree.

17. Telephone: Telephones are mostly interruptions as we discussed in the 2nd part of this series. Limit your time to less important calls. If you have to make calls assign a work batch and chunk of time daily to make calls. Stand while you make calls this will help your body with a much needed stretch.

18. Punctuality: Successful people value time and are punctual. If you agree to reach on a specific time then respect that agreement and it will build up a positive reputation for you. There can be many reasons for being late sometimes though it is always good to be punctual more than being late.

19. Work Simplification: We tend to do the same or similar work over and over again. Our core task is mostly repetitive. When we do the same thing many times we naturally find out ideas that can shorten the time span or simplify a process. Organizing things needed for the job can improve speed.

20. Say No: Many people fail to turn down requests from colleagues. Doing a favor to someone once in a while is good relationship building but if it starts happening frequently then you should not hesitate to say no.

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20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 2

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 2

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 2

In the last post we discussed 5 tips for Time Management from Brain Tracy. For those who really want to master the art Mr. Tracy has given some more tips. Some or all these ideas can help us improve our productivity.

6. Deadlines and Rewards: Mr. Tracy instructs us to maintain deadlines. It is my personal experience that I work effectively if I have a set time limit to complete a project. Deadlines give us a sense of urgency to finish what we start. It is convenient to prioritize our projects as per their completion date. To make this effective give yourself a nice fully deserving reward after completing a major project with set time frame. Rewards work – carrot is always better than stick.

7. Time Log: If you have trouble completing projects in time. Then to understand your weaker areas it is a highly recommended technique to maintain a record of time spent on every small task you do. With the help of this you can do self analysis and find out where most of your time is used. Mr. Tracy tells us that successful people keep records of time in minutes while others in hours or even days. Start with whatever you are comfortable with. It may feel tedious to record time of every little thing you do but once you find out where most of your time is getting used or wasted you can make some serious changes that can result in achieving most of your goals.

8. Procrastination: Procrastination is my biggest weakness. I struggle the most with starting of any projects especially the important ones. I am learning to get over this using few tips from Mr. Tracy such as understanding the difference between urgent and important and choosing important over urgent whenever possible. As we saw in the part 1 of this post the 80:20 rule can help us in spending more time on important tasks. Developing a ‘Do it Now’ attitude can create a sense of urgency for important tasks.

9. Delegate: Appointing someone to complete a task sounds good. If you are a perfectionist you’ll find it difficult to accept the work done from others until you make some suggestions and changes in the output. This can result in rework and end up losing time. One must learn to let go on little things and focus more on the bigger picture. Don’t fuss on unimportant issues or tasks. Do not waste productive time on things that can be done by someone you can hire. Think through what you want done, pick the right person, check, review, inspect and be on top of it till it is done. Once you find the right person for the right job maintain a good relationship keeping your future projects in mind.

10. Meetings: When I was working in a bank I noticed that the meetings were highly productive whenever someone from the top management was present in it. These meetings had a set agenda with PowerPoint presentations, time spent on every slide of the presentation was predetermined. Everyone had printout of the presentation so no one generally suggested to go back on any previous slide. In absence of some high ranking manager the meetings had a trend to go not as per plan and end up taking more time than scheduled. Why did this happen? Simply because successful people value time and they never allow themselves or others around to waste any. You don’t have to reach to the highest position of your career to get serious about your schedule. Start getting serious of your schedule and you will start climbing the ladder towards success. Do not waste time in meetings, have a purpose for the meeting, meeting is an investment, agenda or list of things to be discussed be present in such a way that it helps you and all the participants.

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20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 1

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 1

20 Best Time Management Tips from Brain Tracy – Part 1

Everyone tries to plan their whole year in the first week of the year. I don’t need to tell you about the importance of Time management. Though we all know the importance we still find ourselves struggling to maintain our organizer and catch up with the planner.

Brain Tracy is the well known for his time management training and seminars. He is the success coach who inspires professionals all over the world. I have studied his work and found these 20 tips that can be helpful for us manage time in a better way. Next time when you plan for something big and important or you just try to fill up your daily organizer I hope these tips come in handy.

As per Mr. Tracy ‘Time management is life management,’ he is so right about it. Let’s make this year fruitful with the help of these simple suggestions from one of the world’s best coaches.

1. Goals:

First step to make any success is to be clear about your goal. The finish line should be fixed in your mind. This can be a Personal, Financial or my favorite Self Development Goal.

Brain Tracy gives us a hint to find out our deepest desires. Try to answers following questions without thinking if it is possible or logical or anything negative. The right answers have to be from your heart.

. What one thing you will do if you know you will not fail?
. If you just won a million dollars?
. What will you do if you have just 6 months to live?

Your desires are hidden in the answers you give to above questions. Try using them as inspiration while you make those goals. Give yourself a deadline after all we are trying to tame time.

2. Plans:

Once you are sure about your goal – planning is the next part. We all are good in planning, executing them is the whole another story. Take your time at this step as a solid plan can help us achieve our goals considering all our strengths and weaknesses. As we are trying to get our hold on time management so put strict timelines on every stage of your plan.

3. Priorities:

Priorities make or break our life. Every day we choose to give time and energy to matters that are important to us. Most important issues get more attention. We need to learn how to prioritize everything we do to support our plans and goals. Mr. Tracy recommends keeping a habit of making a list for the weeks work in advance ideally on the weekend before or if you like to make daily plans make the list every night before sleeping. Again timeline is important so try to incorporate it in your list.

4. Analysis:

Prioritizing your to do list can become easier if we apply the 80:20 rule. Say you made a list of 10 tasks now as per the rule find the most important 2 and first finish the top 2. Give 80% of your time to the most important task on your list i.e. the task that can make a direct impact on your goal.
You can remind yourself the importance of time management by asking these questions;

. What is the most valuable use of my time right now?
. Most valuable use of my time?

Important things have values in future. Unimportant things may look useful now.

5. Concentration:

Focus is the key to success. Hence the 5th Time management tip is to concentrate on the single task at hand. I am not a fan of multitasking. Trying to give the complete attention to a single task will assure the success. Focusing our mind on one important thing is always better and must I say easier than juggling many. Concentration reduces rework and saves time so it is a must for time management skills.

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