I started on this 1-year of Mindfulness Training on Friday, 29 Sep 2017. 100 days got over on Sunday, 8 Jan 2018. I thought that I would go over my goals and see how much progress I have made.
It is late night as per my standards – around 1030 PM. But I want to post this update when I am still in this beautiful place called Kotagiri, a hillstation in Tamil Nadu. I came here to spend a few days with my family as the kids have gotten holidays for a local festival and I had absolutely beautiful time here – I am so grateful for this episode of reflection and rejuvenation that is granted by my Loving Lord. I have come here 2-years back and I can sense how much more blissful this time the journey/stay has been and I attribute a part of this experience to the mindfulness training.
Though we are away from home, we were treated to homestyle food and excellent hospitality at this little cosy cottage named Moonshadow. What an apt name for the resort as we got to see the wonderful waning crescent moon and its shadow showing us the full-circle of the moon which is not easily visible – We got to see this wonderful sight right from our balcony and we got so much joy in watching the sunrise and sunset together as a family!
Now let us get on to the progress update…
It is 10 PM on Sunday night here in Geneva and I just returned to the hotel after meeting with my old friends. It has been a fantastic week – packed with a lot of activity, but calm and mindful. I feel that I am a very different person in these 7 days that I have been here – I could sense that there is something different about me. I seem to have more energy and I feel more connected to the Creator. This week of positive snowballing,I guess, started with the flight from Chennai to Dubai and then Dubai to Geneva.
2 weeks ago, the Islamic new year started and I was thinking about whether I need to build any new habit in this new year. Normally, I am not a person who sets goals for habit changes only at the New Year, but I do it throughout the year. If I see a need for a change in any area of my life, I work on it immediately and over time, I have had hundreds of habit changes, some easy and some hard. Some have become permanent habits and some still require upkeep. As of now, I am actively tracking around 10 habits on a daily basis. But as I was reflecting, I realised that there is a mother-habit, if I can call it that way, that can make all other habit changes easy and it would also have the highest impact on me and the people around me – that is the habit of mindfulness. Continue reading
Many of us watch TED talks and other educational videos that take up good bit of our time. We can watch many of these videos at a slightly higher playback speed so that we can get through the content in less time. This feature existed in video players like VLC on Windows and MPX player on Mac. Hence, I download the videos to my computer to watch them at a faster pace to save time. But many of the Youtube videos can’t be downloaded easily. Hence, I was looking for a way to play Youtube videos faster and I was surprised to find that such an option is available by default now.
You might wonder “What? The curse of knowledge? Did I read it right?”. Yes, you have read it right and we are not talking about knowledge as a blessing, but knowledge as a curse. This is a popular concept and an extremely effective tool to improve any aspect of your communication – writing, presenting to others, talking and even writing a simple email. Let me explain.
Please recall a situation in your life in which you were interacting with an expert in a field that you didn’t know much about. Did you understand the expert’s language? How did the expert make you feel? Let me talk about a situation that I have recently encountered. Before reading this story, it would be better if you know that I am engineer running an IT consulting startup.
I was talking to an accountant about some transactions that I have to do in my accounting software to comply with the Swiss regulations for filing my company’s financial statements in Geneva. He told me that I have to debit this account, and credit that account and blah…blah… and it went straight over my head. I said “What? What? Can you please repeat that slowly?”. He repeated it not once but multiple times.
Tip 1 – Minimize the Ribbon quickly
When Microsoft introduced the Ribbon interface in their Office 2007 version, lot of users were unhappy that it takes up so much screen real-estate away. I hated the Ribbon interface and over time, I have gotten used to it. When you are editing a document whether it is Excel, Word or Powerpoint, it is helpful to have the Ribbon fully displayed. However, when you are presenting a document or just reading it, it is good to have more screen real-estate by getting rid of the Ribbon temporarily.
In a lot of meetings I attend, I see people scrolling up and down to see a few more lines whereas minimizing the Ribbon could have helped them to avoid scrolling. If you are sitting with a group of people of review any Excel, Word or Powerpoint, you should consider minimizing the Ribbon.
It is actually quite easy to do and there are 3 ways to do this:
If you use Adobe Acrobat Reader to read PDF documents, one of its annoying features is that it does not remember the last page read. If you are reading a long document like a book and close the document, you will be welcomed with the first page of the document the next time you open the document. One day when wading through the options available in Adobe Reader, I found a setting hidden deep inside the settings page that would allow us to reopen a document to the last viewed page. I have been using this setting for a very long time and found it to be very useful for long PDFs. Continue reading