Over the last one and half a month I’ve been silent on my blog, I haven’t posted anything. But, I had not given up on writing. In fact, on a whim I started to write fiction. A project which started as a short story soon turned out into an eleven thousand worded novella. But, why did I write fiction in the first place? If you remember I started to write this blog as a test – to see if I have the discipline, drive to take on more writing projects – fiction being one of them, and finally one day I took the plunge. As a kid I enjoyed Chandamama Kathalu, Kaasi Magili Kathalu sitting on the lap of my grandfather. The promise of adventure in those stories was one motivating factor for me to start reading. As I grew up and picked fiction – mysteries, classics, drama, pulp fiction – I still missed adventure. Other than Sherlock Holmes whodunits & Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventures, nothing came close. But, it was with ‘Da Vinci Code’ that I found adventure again. The book seemed to have invented a new genre all together because suddenly the local bookshop’s aisles were filled with similar titles. I don’t want to know how much of that book was true or how much of it was false, all I knew was that it held my attention, and took me on a journey filled with puzzles, cryptograms, danger & history. I loved it. Soon, I followed it with Dan Brown’s other books and then with Sigma Series of James Rollins, Jones & Payne stories of Chris Kuzneski and with Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone. Cheap, trashy books? Say what you will, these books satiated my hunger.
Yesterday I met a friend after a very long time. After we settled over coffee I noticed he had replaced his iPhone with a Lumia. I asked him ‘what happened?’. He said, ‘the iPhone broke down. It stuttered and finally gave up. I couldn’t afford another so moved onto a Lumia. My wife wanted to sell it. We could make 5 to 6 thousand, but, I said no, it’s the most memorable experience I’ve had on mobile and I just love it. A Benz is a Benz and ordinary is ordinary. I’m going to cherish it’. I could completely understand his feeling. I sometimes just sit staring at my iPhone/iPad admiring their beauty much to the irritation of my wife. I’ve been in the Apple ecosystem for the last five years which in tech parlance equal an eternity. Why didn’t I look out? Were there no other alternatives? So many, and some too good. Then why didn’t I waver? What inspired such devotion? Was it just marketing? I look back:
We have a saying at work, ‘I need it as on yesterday’. Everyone are under the pressure of deadlines. We all need to toe the lines drawn by our SLAs. Why? Why are we all in such a hurry? Did you ever call a call center and shout at the person at the receiving side for the delay? Were you ever impatient waiting in line at your local McDonald’s? Do you order online and expect a delivery the same day? We all do right? We all have been in these scenarios. We simply don’t like waiting. We have hell a lot of things to do than wait for something. So, what do companies end up doing? Not just to be the best in customer service but also not to risk losing customers to competitors they have to satisfy the customer ASAP. No wait time. Instant satisfaction. Instant gratification. But, to do this, what do the people working in organizations have to do? Do things fast. Very fast. ‘Think on your feet’, we are told. Shoot first, question later, Bond style. Organizations value men of action. Not of thought.
We all want to get our lives in order. At one time or the other we would have had this thought. Some go beyond the thought, and put things into practice. They try to structure their time & subsequently their life. And, given the distractions and information overload we experience everyday it’s become a necessity to manage our time or risk ending up accomplishing nothing. Even if we know to which port we are sailing to, there are too strong winds to deter us from that path unless we have a strong system to guide us. Having a system to manage our time actually helps us in knowing what all commitments we have and gives us a clarity to determine what we can take on additionally. My such choice of system has been GTD. From time to time I’ve questioned this choice but ’ve always felt it to be the most logical way of time management, so, over the years, I’ve invested time and energy into developing the right system for me and painstakingly refined it. But, I still fail. I still don’t do what I’m supposed to do. I procrastinate. I laze around. Why? Did I not do things right? Wasn’t the system supposed to make my life more manageable? Then why didn’t it? Every GTDer knows even the best of the best fall off the GTD wagon at one time or the other. I examined why. The reasons fell into two categories:
- Nature of the task
- System inefficiencies
No man is an island, and unless and until you are cast away like Tom Hanks on an island, you’ll have to deal with people everyday which is not an easy task. We cannot think, ‘I’ll deal with this person like this’ and get over with it, people change in time. I’ve always had only few friends, ’cause I never believed in befriending every person I meet in life (the prospect of which is very exhausting). But, when I do find people after my own heart, I strive to build and maintain that relationship. I’ve made many mistakes in life, sometimes lost a few good friends due to my hubris and ego or just to plain stubbornness. I still stumble but ‘making mistakes & learning from them’ isn’t it the way to live. Over the years, I mellowed down, at least that’s what I like to tell myself (I can hear my ego screaming, ‘you are just bowing down to others more these days’, but if that’s the right thing to do, then probably, I should) and my thoughts on how to deal with friends/family have changed over time. This is where I stand today. I may be right, I may be wrong, this might not be the place I wanted to be, but probably needed to be. We learn from experience don’t we?
Thomas Carlyle once said, “Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.” Tools are what we use to accomplish our day’s work. When I step out of the house I do it with my bag which has all my tools. I love my them and have always been interested in knowing what tools others use. I feel what we carry in our bags can tell a lot about what kind of a person we are. In this post I examine the tools & bagis I use (to carry them).