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WORKSMART

Your ultimate guide to personal effectiveness

BY

SUNDAR GOPALAKRISHNAN


The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.”

Lily Tomlin



The innate quality of a deed (in thought, word and action) is that the moment it is committed, the chances of it being repeated increases multifold. We are what we do (the actions we take) and our Life is the sum total of all our deeds and misdeeds.



Copyright

You have every RIGHT TO COPY and share what you like from this book. If what you read works for you, then feel free to share it!

Nothing, but my perspective can be original, anyway!

“What you know Changes you;

What you learn Enlightens you;

What you share Transforms you!”

  • Sundar Gopalakrishnan


Table of Contents

Copyright 3

Table of Contents 4

INTRODUCTION 6

The Three Realms of Change: 7

CONTEXT - PROCESS - CONTENT 7

PART 1 9

WORKING ON YOUR CONTEXT 9

Nature of Imbalance: 11

Who needs Self Management? 12

What Can Be A Higher Context Than Ambition? 13

Can There Be A Higher Context, Still? 16

Maslow's hierarchy of needs 18

Self Esteem 19

Self Actualization 19

Self Transcendence 20

PART 2 21

SORTING AND ORGANIZING YOURSELF 21

PRIORITIZING 22

So how does one take more ownership? 23

Why do Corporations suffer from Organizational Inertia? 24

So where is everyone frittering away their Focus and Energy? 25

Circle Of Influence And Circle Of Concern 26

The Big 4: 27

1. Roadblocks and Obstacles: 28

Learn from the Mountaineers: 28

Learn from The Art of War: 28

S.W.O.T Analysis 30

2. The Problem of Vanishing Roads: 30

Filling the Generation Gap: 31

3. The Problem Of Success Or The Problem Of No Problem! 32

Lateral Thinking: 32

Apple Inc.: 33

Microsoft: 33

4 Things Google Does to Remain One of the World's Most Innovative Companies: 33

4. The Vicious Cycle of Important Vs Urgent: 35

Are you Spending Time or “Investing” Time? 35

The 4 Ds Matrix: 37

-PART 3- 39

ACTION T.N.T 39

39

SUMMARIZING OUR CONVERSATION SO FAR: 40

The Pareto’s Law: 42

The Power to Change: 44

Conquering the Inner Devils: 44

All Revolutions happen at the level of THOUGHT, first. 44

मनसा - वाचा - कर्मणा (manasa - vacha - karmana) 44

Harness the Power of Habits: 45

Anchoring Technique: 45

Start - Change - Stop 46

Getting Others To Align With You: 48

The Art of Persuasion: 48

Getting People To Say Yes! 50

50

A Chat With God: 50



INTRODUCTION

Having a Vision, Setting Goals, Planning, Prioritizing, Organizing, Managing Time etc., how important do you think, these are for you to be leading a successful and fulfilling life?

The answer, even from a school going teenager is an obvious one. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!

Is there enough information, or knowledge available to an individual in order to learn how to go about adopting these extremely important ways of living? YES, OF COURSE!

So, are you well organized, planned, and have a vision for your life and set growth oriented goals, well sorted with your priorities of life, and have managed time for all that is important to you and are leading a fulfilling life?

The answer will be not so obvious and will vary from not-at-all to a defiant yes, or it will be a doubtful maybe to a pretentious “of course”! But the honest truth in most cases is quite certainly a big NO!

Let me explain this:

Usually, if you are well sorted in personal life, then your professional career may have been compromised. Or your personal health is taking a toll as you do your best in trying to balance various demands at work and at home.

And in all the balancing acts your personal space is reduced to those fleeting moments of cheap entertainment, a drink or two at the bar, social media or to watching your favourite TV show or sport or other addictions.

Yes, you want to be good at home, good to yourself, good to your spouse, children, family, and, of course, you want to be great at work too! But, balancing all of this and doing justice to all your commitments seem impossible and anyone who claims to have got it all set right must either be a liar or a superhuman! Isn’t it?

You do not ever seem to have time or energy to meet all of life’s demands and yet there are others who seem to be able to do a lot more. How?

If you would like to be on top of everything in life and are willing to believe that it is possible for you to learn to do so, read on.

What you are about to read is nothing exceptional in terms of its contents. It has been written or said many times by different people and I have borrowed many of those ideas and concepts to drive my point that’s all.

I have tried to present my perspective using known, freely available or even cliched concepts so that you will find it easier to carry on with practicing and adapting these ideas, revising them or even researching as and when you feel the need.

All that I am trying to do here is, inspire you to take charge of your life with more energy, enthusiasm and ownership. I’m doing so because I know it can be done.

Like I learnt it, you too can learn a way of living an extraordinary life with ordinary intelligence. You don’t have to be or do anything exceptional but will be required to see things radically differently and do enough to start believing in what you think.



The Three Realms of Change:

CONTEXT - PROCESS - CONTENT

Whether it is a skill that you want to learn, develop a specific personality attribute, or bring about a major change in your life, the two factors or levels or realms that will automatically be in focus are ‘How’ and ‘What’. Most of your concerns are centred here.

How to get a career break or how to become rich and famous, how to say ‘no’, or What to say after you’ve said hello!, what do you need to do to impress your boss, girlfriend, gods and so on…

One can go on acquiring more and more information and knowledge on these 2 elements on any subject of your interest. How did he or she or they succeed; what did they do to achieve their goals, etc? We believe that if we know more our chances of success increase. There are also tons of reading material and videos available online, on a plethora of subjects.

You can invest a lifetime in researching but will any of this knowledge ensure your success?

While it is useful, and often very important to know the ‘how to’ and ‘what to’ do in order to achieve something, most people often miss out the most vital component, the 3rd element or realm.

WHY TO DO?

The ‘why’ of any goal or target is far more energising and motivating than all the ‘how tos’ and the ‘what tos’ that you can acquire. Why do you want to do it?

The ‘HOW TO’ is the ‘PROCESS’ or ‘METHODS’ and the ‘WHAT TO’ is the ‘CONTENT’ or ‘ACTIONS’ that you will need to take in order to achieve your goals.

While Processes, methods and procedures surely provide the road maps and the Contents, Actions and Activities are your Vehicles to Success, but where is the ‘DRIVE’, the fuel, the ‘ENERGY’, THE MOTIVATION that will keep you going in the desired direction? The 3rd element, the ‘WHY’ of things is the missing element.

If you take a serious look at your life and things that you desire, you will find that in most cases - You know how to do, and you know what to do; but WHY don’t you do it?

In a day of work you do lots of activities, some you are very efficient in doing and others you manage to complete somehow and yet most days end with tons that are left to be done, and an exhausted you. Why does hard work tire you?

There is seldom any satisfaction at all even from these endless activities and from the tasks you have completed. Why not?

The ‘WHY’ of life needs to be better understood and worked upon. ‘WHY?’ is often assumed to be the reason for doing something and hence it remains a very weak source of motivation. It is weak because your reasons for doing something are very often triggered by Survival alone, which is, barring exceptions, a very weak source of motivation.

A reason triggered by social, peer group or family pressures will often fail to inspire and motivate you to carry on and live that change. A weak CONTEXT is at its worst when it affects people’s careers. I have seen it happen to Jobbers as well as new Entrepreneurs and it is quite alarming.

Let us understand this ‘down’ syndrome or the Pygmalion syndrome so that you can either avoid it totally or recognize its symptoms early enough to reduce its damages.

For example, when you started your career it is most likely that you were charged with ambition and a zeal to learn and do exceptionally well. This would have quickly gotten reduced to surviving in the job on a day-to-day basis. Right?

So, ambition is a far more motivating ‘CONTEXT’ to operate from than survival.

Simply put, CONTEXT is your Emotional Health or State of Being gained through your outlook or Attitude towards a task or life in general.

The higher your ‘CONTEXT’ is the more motivated you will be.

Most people suffer from a low or poor emotional state and are unable to do what they know and lead a life of de-motivated existence. All of their knowledge goes in vain.

In Part 1 of this book we will focus primarily on building a healthy CONTEXT towards your life and profession without which all the concepts, tools and techniques for planning, organizing, prioritizing and managing time will only add to your already abundant reservoir of unused knowledge.



PART 1

WORKING ON YOUR CONTEXT

Deeds don’t change; the doer does.”

  • A Zen proverb



I have trained at least 6000 people on various concepts of Self Management. Planning, Organizing, Prioritizing, Time Management and there is an abundance of information, resource materials and plenty of apps and tools too are available online and offline too, but will knowing more techniques really help? Is the knowledge, we already possess, being put to any good use?

Each app or tool (pedometers, tracking devices, health bands etc.) enthuses one to begin with, but soon it goes out of favour or becomes a forgotten wish. This is so because learning a new method or skill and adapting it to one’s life requires something more inspiring than being better at meeting life’s current set of ‘demands’.

Did I say DEMANDS? And you didn’t even blink?

Yes, that is what is true for most people. Life keeps throwing up newer challenges, jobs and people keeping making new demands that you are trying to or struggling to meet or cope with. Every new job, or a new relationship, simply translates into a new set of demands.

There is this, centuries old article I read on Personal Management. It seems that the problem is that old! This concept is also covered in a self help book by Robin S. Sharma too titled ‘Megaliving!: 30 Days to a Perfect Life - The Ultimate Action Plan for Total Mastery of Your Mind, Body and Character,.

I have further adapted it here, to explain my perspective. It truly describes our lives, or at least most people’s lives.

The above image aptly describes the sum total of what you call life. From your cradle to grave most of it is already filled with Demands that need to be met by you in order to live/survive in this world.

The 3 Survival Demands or Needs, namely, Physical, Professional and Social, take up almost all your time, energy and attention with a few moments of joy, pleasure or happiness.

The beauty is that majority of us are absolutely comfortable in living life this way and don’t see anything wrong with it, or cannot see life happening any other way. It is so because we are surrounded by others who too are living life this way.

There are, of course, a few who try to live differently and usually end up with an imbalance in life. If they give too much attention to Professional Demands, they end up neglecting one or both of the other two.

Most of us today are suffering from various Physical, Mental, Emotional, Financial or Professional emergencies because of such imbalances.

No matter how much you may struggle or strive, I assure you that there is no way of balancing your life in this paradigm.

No amount of planning or prioritizing will help because IMBALANCE IS THE CAUSE of this situation.

In this paradigm we have already compromised our life itself and this is truly an image of imbalanced life.

Nature of Imbalance:

The nature of this imbalance stems from having reduced life to the level of just SURVIVAL and it motivates only till the time there is a real or perceived threat. Once the threat is handled and you move to a place of comfort and safety, you will become lethargic and go on to your standby or snooze mode, till the next threat shows up.

Whether you call it a threat, a demand or a need, it is all the same thing. You will forever be managing one Urgency after another and these will never cease.

Most organizations believe that in order to be more effective, their staff needs to be taught Time Management; most people think about themselves that way too. Many redefine this gap more accurately as Task Management or Prioritizing.

But what is TIME or TASK MANAGEMENT any way? Simply put, it is managing oneself to be performing efficiently and effectively in serving the Organization we work for or in whatever task you have set for yourself.

There are challenges and variables depending upon how stable or volatile the market forces are and how much your department or functions get influenced by such volatility.

So what are you busy doing? Well, most of you are busy, driven by this urge or need to survive, dealing with one urgency after another. Isn’t it?

The fact is that creating pseudo emergencies or artificial crisis has become the most popular technique of motivating people to do their work. It has become your most preferred method for managing people and their performance!

Why is that so? Is it that people have become accustomed to performing only is such situations or we now know no other method? There are pressure tactics being applied everywhere and everybody is busy trying to cope with ever mounting artificial pressures.


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