Shopaholics And Other Holics

I wondered why it took me so long to discover Shopaholics the book series. When I read the first few pages, I totally couldn’t stand Becky. She was such a weakling who kept buying clothes and useless stuff. It was later then I realised there were other things we had in common.

My weakness is books. I’m always buying books and borrowing them. I borrow my husband’s library card, and I borrow 20 books at one go. Sometimes, I borrow from the public library at the same time, and borrow a lot more. Then I end up not having enough time to read them, and I just have to return them. I have bought a number of books which had not been unwrapped. My book shelves are full and I tried to bring them to my workplace and put them in the shelves, but even then, when my companies hold condemned library book giveaways, I bring back so many more and they are left unread.

Sometimes, people lack the discipline to know what they need and what they want. They think that everything is important. When I borrow books, I go for the cover, the feel of the book, the font of the book, the author, and sometimes I read a few pages to see whether I liked them. However, when I buy and borrow so many at a time, they lack the attention.

Whether it is an addiction to shopping or books, many of us have such momentary lapses of judgement. I am a bookaholic. I have a lot of work piling up and I still spend so much time on them. Other people are workaholics. It is a disguised legitimate way of caving in to our addictions. People who spend a lot of time at work say that they are doing their best to move up the ladder, to bring home the bacon and because it gives them satisfaction when they are doing well.

Look at it this way. When a student is addicted to computer games, the parents will scold the child and threaten to take away the modem, or the computer. However, this does not help much. It only spoils the relationship because the child refuses to comply with the instructions. Each time they spend on the computer, they want to move up just one more level, buy one more weapon, kill one more soldier or monster or just earn more points to buy food for the pet. Isn’t this similar to workaholics who just want to get one more promotion, one more month of bonus, one more hour to touch up the presentation?

You may say that by touching up the presentation, you will gain the clients’ confidence. By spending that one more hour or two or more at work, you prove to the boss that you can move up. This is just similar to the computer addiction, and yet, have you thought of the detrimental effects? Your relationship with your family gets affected. Your eyesight deteriorates because of that long hours of not blinking in front of the computer. You pile on fats around the waist. You keep falling sick because you refuse to rest. You are stuck in a rut because you failed to upgrade yourself or relax properly. 

Think through what you can do to cut the addictions out of your life and get a balanced life. It’s time to smell the roses.

How To Get Emotionally Charged People To Listen To You

My mother had always been a superstitious person. She always thought that whenever she made fun of something, it would happen to us. For example, when she was younger, she laughed at a person who was pimply-faced. My brother and I grew up with bad acne, and we were on medication for years. She felt it was her fault and kept blaming herself.

There was another occasion, when pop rings were introduced. One of her students licked a lollipop that was placed on a plastic ring, and she was quite irritated with her. When she came home that very day, she saw my brother and I doing the same thing. She was always puzzled why such things would happen even though she really hated them. Well, she might be on to something. That was the Law of Attraction.

When you have either positive thoughts or negative thoughts, the brain waves will transmit them to the other party. When there are enough of them, they will influence the other parties. If you are extremely close to someone, you can know what they are thinking. That’s because they will be sending out some kind of signals, and your brain waves are in sync with each other.

I have mentioned this before, about how I dealt with the difficult clients. I was in the middle of my work when the clerk came running to me, saying one client had come unannounced and he was being very insistent that he had to see me. He claimed that he had been working a few days without much sleep and he had no other time to meet me. This was the same person I spoke to the other time over the phone, and it was not a pleasant experience. So, I decided to use what I preach, and tried to think positive thoughts, that the meeting would go on smoothly. I would get the other party to see my point. I also decided to smile and block out other thoughts that could make the meeting unsuccessful.

To my expectations, the client was not as bad as I thought. I had heard horror stories of how he had lost his temper badly before, but he was alright. We talked, and he was able to open up. In fact, he asked whether I would continue to be on his case next year. I felt bad at saying something that might change, since I was considering a career change, but since nothing was confirmed, I told him that I would continue to be if there were no other changes. It was not a real answer, but he was satisfied. When he left, he even said that I was caring and helpful. Coming from someone who had felt the organisation was against him, the words carried weight.

Unfortunately, when I met with two other clients later, tears became the norm. We were sitting outside at the reception area. I met with the first group of clients there. One of them broke down and cried. She was sitting at this particular seat that was facing the greenery. After the longest time, the two left.

I had two other groups of clients waiting, and they could see what was going on. I made a mistake of getting the next client to sit at the same place, and all the negativity was still in the air. Everything went on smoothly, when suddenly, the lady sitting in the same seat as the former client opened up to me about her personal situation, and started crying. Within half an hour, I had at least two people crying.

I decided that the negativity was enough for the day, and I had to make some switches. The last party who had seen everything was sitting beside us, so I switched over when the lady left, and I changed position. The stuff we had to talk about was similar, as they had their emotional baggage and pain, but at least I tried to inject more positive thinking.

My mother knows something about how thinking affects situations, but she pinned it down to superstition. It is actually more of the Law of Attraction.

Procrastination – A Deadly Disease

What separates the great and the normal can be procrastination. It is one of the deadly diseases that prevent success. I overheard this in the staff lounge a few days ago. My colleague has a paper to submit, and no matter how much time she has, she can never finish it early. She has a friend who can get As on a constant basis, even though she will usually submit the work half an hour just before the deadline.

I’m facing the same problem now, so even though I’m given a head start to do my work, I’m still feeling the pain of completing it. I went to a café on a Saturday to do my work, but after 3 hours of staring at the paper, I got sleepy and went home. Unfortunately, the moment I got home, I simply could not get started.

I’ve also been trying to survive my work by waking up at 3 or 4 am in the morning to complete whatever work I have. I sleep rather early, because the day is exhausting, and sleeping late is really bad for the complexion. Our skin repairs itself the best between 11pm and 1am, confirmed by Chinese physicians and also Western scientists. That’s why people get dark circles if they sleep late.

Unfortunately this is not a long-term solution, hence I need to learn to avoid procrastination. I need to step out of my comfort zone and do things that I dislike. Perhaps what Tim Ferris said in his book was right. We should not have long deadlines, because we will never stick to it. Instead, do things when they are required, because we work best under tight conditions.

If we submit our work late, we hold up other’s deadlines and their work. It’s really unfair when you have such co-workers. It’s probably because of this that I feel I face a lot of stress at work. It’s a bad habit I need to kick. One way to overcome it is to start on things when we get them, so that if there are any things that demand our time, they will not hold up our progress.

I really have no idea how my colleague manages to finish his work way before deadlines are set. He is really coping well with work, and he is getting promotions faster than others. That goes to show that when you overcome a deadly disease like procrastination, you can succeed.

One thing you can do to complete task on time is to shorten the time length required. Meeting deadlines is part and parcel of academic life and working life, so do preserve and do the work that is a pain in the ass before you enjoy yourself. It is only then you can enjoy yourself without any worries.

2-Hour Preparation Every Morning

Wake up early and prepare for 2 solid hours before you start the day’s work. I heard this from two different people, John Di Lemme (a motivational speaker) and Marc Yu’s mother (Marc is a child prodigy in piano) this week, and I think it’s a great idea. I wake up early, but I spent my time on reading newspapers, eating breakfast and showering, so by the time I get to work, I arrive on the dot, and head straight into work without preparation.

John said that he would not speak to people or answer questions if he did not have the time to prepare. Each presentation or coaching session that he does comes from time spent on researching, rehearsal and preparation. He also uses the time to put himself mentally into the right frame of mind. Hence, he has pushed away engagements that require him to speak at 8am, because he cannot wake up early enough to prepare. In addition, he does not like to speak on the spot to somebody, because he feels that the time spent on preparation is very important, so that the people can fully learn from what he has to say.

Marc Yu is a child prodigy who receives homeschooling. He learns about history of music and other topics that children his age have no interest in. Science, mathematics are some other subjects he learns, so his mother needs to spend time to go through the topics for the day, and to fully prepare in anticipation of the inquisitive questions that he will ask. If she doesn’t spend the two hours to read up, then it will be wasted time for the boy. She will also use the time to plan how the lessons for the day develop.

From these two people’s experience, I realise that I have been jumping right into the day’s work without sufficient preparation. Sometimes, I meet with my clients right at the start of the work day. On other occasions, I have one or two hours to prepare before I see them. There is a difference. When I do not have time to prepare, I am able to produce a presentation on the spot, but the standard is not good enough. When I have time to prepare, I have time to read more in-depth, ask more thought-provoking questions, and engage them better. I am also in the mental mood to go through the day. This is especially important as I tend to wake up with low energy and enthusiasm. Regarding this, I’m taking steps to overcome that. Before I can do that, I must make sure that my standards do not suffer.

Some people think that they can just rely on what they have been doing for the past few years to take them through. However, there is new information in the world everyday, and it takes time to digest. If we do not set aside time to reflect, to think through the day’s events, then ultimately, our work suffers.

Since not everyone is a morning person, perhaps you can find a time that suits you. If you are able to plan your time in the office, perhaps you can schedule meetings with people later in the morning, or in the afternoon, so that you have enough time in the morning to go through your ideas, your pitches and other important things before you meet your co-workers or clients.