Free Download: Simple Goal Setting Planner

If you are reading this blog, the goal is to ensure your are your best version.

This means, here you are encouraged to grow, be yourself and find out what the best in their domains do and how they work. 

Pick up your vibes from success stories and articles here and none of them really stick for long unless of course you have your own goals pinned up in your mind.

So, I thought why not we take this journey together- me and you and the journey through the remaining months of 2018 and see what we can achieve. 

Here’s a planner for you that will help you focus on your goals. The goal setting planner can be download it right here (no email required) and its FREE! 

How you can use the planner- this is one way of using it. The planner has 3 pages when you download. 

  • Page 1- is for your Month, your goals and your motivations (12 copy for a year)
  • Page 2- is your Daily Planner (so you can print 30 copies of it if you want one for each day)
  • Page 3- is your Monthly Retrospective , where you peek into your achievements and spill overs every month(1 for every month)

I hope this helps you plan better and keep it handy with you everyday. 

(Pic courtesy: Pinterest)

Not a Regular Post (heart to heart talk)

Sep 17, 2018 | | 0 comments |
If you have been reading this blog for a while I am sure you have noticed that there have been a few changes in the blog. If you are relatively new to the blog, very grateful that you stopped by and decided to be part of this community.

As you know I have been writing this blog for the last 10 years ( to read my first post- click here) and I don’t have a team, I do it all alone. So, when my schedule gets busy am sure you notice the posts stop or are barely there. So, if you are still there as a reader I cant be more thankful for being so kind and understanding that sometime it gets difficult for me to sustain the posts. 

The blog started as a hobby, as a means for me to vent out my emotions, my failures and sometime success. For the last 10 years I have continued this and started another and this year I have realised the even with all things happening around me wether its moving or having my kid I still love coming back to this blog and writing. The free time that I once had is limited now, and I genuinely want to continue. 

So, the thought automatically was- what next? Can I really do this seriously enough where I know I can sustain the blog and every other expense doesn’t need to come from my pocket (like the domain, hosting, hiring a designer or developer when I need to)? Coincidentally I was the same time reading blogs and income reports of so many bloggers who are successful at generating their income from their blog and creating something of their own. 

Last month was the first month, I wanted to try. The design of the blog was changed- it was very simple. Then there was decluttering, followed by adding new sections. The goal was simple to ensure the blog gave more value to the reader. It wasn’t just for me anymore, it was being created for you. 

Last month I had my first ad in the blog, I have never put one before. I wasn’t sure if it would be taken positively by you, I gave it a shot because I had to try. I don’t know how many advertisers I will have…. What I do know is I try my best to work with a brand that adds value to the blog and helps me sustain as well. 

I also got into Affiliate Marketing for the first time, it was exciting to be working and learning with amazing people and the fact that all income reports coming from blogs mentioned affiliate marketing income was the highest sources of income. I am trying and hence some ads in the blog now. 

Before everything else, its the blog and the content that needs to be created consistently. I also have a master sheet for my blog right now, for the first time in my ten years of blogging because I am trying to remember multiple things that I am doing and also plan a little ahead so I don’t miss a post. 

The focus of the blog has also gone through some major changes and I rarely write about Project Management right now. This is because I don’t work directly in Project Management any longer. I currently work as an Agile Coach. I have noticed over the years that apart form my interests in the domains I have worked in, I have always loved reading about personal development, psychology and similar things. And no matter your domain and job title these are things that everyone reads or should know to be successful in their career. My focus has shifted for the blog and it mostly focuses on personality development and I like the fact that the writings can be much more personal, so are the interviews. For me its fascinating to see people grow through the years and what they did to achieve that than knowing their specific titles and not the story behind it. So, I do hope that you will like and enjoy this new shift. 

There are mostly three posts happening on a week- Monday, Thursday and Saturday. This also means my twitter presences has a dipped a bit, theres now Instagram and YouTube happening. If you must know I use my social accounts for different purposes, not always to promote the blog. 

Twitter is mostly for me to read the latest articles and researches coming out. My article round offs which I also recently started are mostly sourced from there. Instagram is my creative outlet and a visual diary for me that shares my real life and behind the scenes; like I posted about the tomato blooming in my balcony garden… something I will not post in twitter. Youtube is a scary venture that I recently started to shift my mindset, when you focus on learning something new the energy is more focused than trying to sabotage ways of not doing it. I enjoy watching YouTube, I love creating so it was a natural match (in my head). Filming and editing and actually publishing it is scary because I am always thinking that no one will watch it :)

Are you still reading, well theres another thing coming up very soon. And thats the SIPM Executive Club Membership- its a newsletter that you can sign up by clicking here (you get a special offer when you sign up for the next 20 days only) you get to know about anything new thats coming up, you also will be the first to be notified about offers and discounts when I work with other collaborators. You will not be spammed and can unsubscribe at any point if it doesn’t suit you. 

I feel refreshed and energised; now that I know I really want to work towards this blog to the point where I can sustain it independently. I hope you share the excitement and let me know how you feel about this shift and this journey. 

I wanted this post to tell how how thankful I am for you to read my blog  and support it everyday....I just had to tell it to you. 

(Pic courtesy: Google pic for the first one, rest by Soma Bhattacharya)

This is How I work- Dhaval Panchal (Executive and Agile Coach)

Experienced Executive Agile Coach and Organization Design consultant - Dhaval Panchal is founder of Evolve Agility, a Texas based coaching and training consultancy. Dhaval is ScrumAlliance Certified Enterprise Coach® (CEC), Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST), Certified Agile Leadership-Educator (CAL-E). Dhaval Panchal is actively involved in local Houston Agile community. Dhaval has led large scale Agile transformations for companies in Oil & Gas, Banking, Insurance, Gaming, and Medical business domains. He has more than 17 years of Agile implementation, coaching, and transformation experience.

When do you wake up every day? What’s your alarm set to? 

I do not have a fixed time for waking up every day, but there is a pattern. I workout two or three times per week. I get up early by 5:30 am on workout day and other days including weekends, I wake up later at 7:00 am. 

2. Tea or Coffee? 

Both, but my preference is black tea.

3. Any rituals to set the tone for the day in the morning?

I like to sip on my tea, before I am ready to think through rest of the day. I like working out early in morning, so by 8:30 am, I am energized and ready for rest of the day. I also have long commute (40+ m) and listening to spotify playlists feels good to get oriented for day.

4. Where do you work? 

I work at client site, or at my home office. 

5. What do you listen to while working?

At client site I am mostly leading workshops or working with teams so I am listening to people.  When I am working at home, I listen to songs on Spotify. Choice of music varies greatly on my mood. My default is Sufi Qawwali, and at times when I need to concentrate I prefer Hariprasad Chaurasia, his mastery of flute is flawless. I have a few curated playlists that have songs from hip-hop, Bollywood, reggaton, country, pop, heavy metal, Jazz etc..

6. What are you currently reading?

I generally have two or three books that I am reading at any time. Unlike while at school, my personal reading habits are for pleasure. Currently, I am reading 
1) Influence: The psychology of persuasion
2) Godel, Echer, Bach : an eternal golden braid
3) 1Q84 

7. How do you organize your work life?

I use a kanban board, and have post it notes hanging from my desktop monitor. It is very important for me to make a list of all tasks that I want to complete before I start working. This simple step takes me less than a minute, but it helps me to let go of worry and focus on task at hand. I also have a timer on my computer, where I typically set 25-45 m timer that allows me to stay focused for that time. I force myself to take a break, by walking around or some thing different, I am not always successful.

8.Any hacks you prefer for work? 

A few:

#) Never send long emails. If necessary call or talk to your email recipients first. Face to face conversations, or even on video conference/phone are far more fruitful than exchanging emails.
#) Listen more, talk less.
#) Don't blame others and circumstances.
#) Expect that I will make errors and trust that I will learn from them.
#) Show up on time, don’t make others wait. 

9.What are your favorite gadgets?

#) Jaybird BT headphone, these have lasted me many years and are very good, especially when I am working out. you have any must have apps in your phone?

# ) Twitter : I spend lot more time on this app than I should.
#)  Mail & Calendar

11. Any new addition to your routines? 
Don’t think I can fit any thing else in day to day.

12. How do you recharge?
Playing & goofing around with my children, long motorcycle rides, and reading books.

(Pic courtesy: Dhaval Panchal)

If you enjoyed this, you might also like another This is How I Work with Linday Scott of Arras People.

Happy Weekend

Sep 8, 2018 | 0 comments |
Hello you all, I hope you are happy in your current space. don't forget to get some sunshine this weekend and if possible make plans to travel. 

This pic is from my travels last year. Have a wonderful weekend!

(Pic courtesy: Soma Bhattacharya)

Staying Positive When going Through Change (Personal or Professional)

Change is supposed to make us feel uncomfortable because of the unknown factors of moving to a new job, site or life makeover.

In this video, I try to talk about it and provide tips on how you can ease into the process and turn it into a positive event.

If you like what you see, feel free to like and subscribe to my channel.

if you like to read more about positive change, click here.

Staying Positive: Blogs I Read Every Week (Pt 2)

My reading list has evolved over the years, right now for 2018 I have had big goals and one of them was to turn around my attitude towards life. Be definitely more positive and see the potential of things I can achieve. My reading list obviously is very important because of I want my subconscious mind to keep on thinking positive thoughts. 

So, here are some of my favs:
  • Techmeme - Every single morning this is the first thing I read except weekends (because on Saturday and Sunday I don’t open my laptop first thing in the morning). This one obviously is everything tech and how the industry is doing. Apart form the fact that I work in IT, I sort of like following the industry, its my way of getting the news to me. 
  • The Financial Diet - So, I was introduced to the channel via YouTube, however the website has a very different vibe. It publishes tons of posts by real people living real lives and I love the variety it brings. I definitely love the stories it brings about individuals and since the style of writing is very personal, I really enjoy these writings. This is mostly my lunch read.
  • Natalie Bacon- She wrote an article for Financial Diet and I checked her website and was hooked forever. Apart from the fact that she writes about her career and how she is a blogger making 6 figures, she also interviews people who are dong the same. And that for me is so positive to meet these people virtually who are creating their own dream life and to know thats so possible.
  • Penelope Trunk - I have been reading her blog for years now, she apart from being a celebrity blogger is the only person who can come up with topics that no one can even think about  and she knows her links. The amount of research that goes into her blogs is amazing from someone like me who also writes. Talking about something that seems very casual and then building it up with tons of research from such credible sources is absolute bliss to read with a cup of tea. 
  • Tim Ferris - This one I am sure every reads or knows about. I almost forgot about the website for a while and then came back to it again and love hearing interviews of these amazing people. And all of them are so good that you should literally binge on this, heres what I heard this weekend and its life changing for me  If you have ever thought if aggression should be part of your repertoire, specially if you are a women, you should listen to this one. You can thank me later. 
  • Chalkboard- I adore how going through his website makes me feel, its more like a relaxed vibe and the feel along with the amazing photography erases away the dark thoughts easily. If you also are remotely interested in well beings, self care and health trends, you will absolutely like this. 
  • James Clear- Its a recent find and if you like reading articles for value and understand more about yourself and habits and changing the current status to a better version of yourself, this is what you should bookmark. 

This is what consists of my list, if I remember something else, I will update it at some point. 

My reading list if you have figures out by now doesn’t include project management and agile and the reason being is I consciously keep the work reading list and casual reading list separate. This is more of a personal reading list. 

For someone like me who really enjoys reading and have always done it since I was in school, I prefer it over watching television or going to movies. My idea of a perfect day would be to be me in the couch with uninterrupted reading time with a cup of tea. And if you need research to nudge you to read more and how it changes the brain, heres something for you 

I am always for looking for some great read, so if you have something in your list thats been life changing - leave me a tweet at @Soma_b 

(Pic courtesy: Pinterest)

Happy Weekend: Giveaway (10% Off Coupon)

Hello there, I hope you can take some time off today and relax.

If you are looking for updating your certifications for learning, adding to your resume or looking for a new job, try the 10% off coupon. 

You can use the coupon for both the trainings via SprintZeal. 

1. PMI- ACP (6755 students currently enrolled)
2. Scrum Master (2737 students currently enrolled

Offer available till Sept 30, 2018.
(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links)

The Art of Scheduling: What it can mean for you

Schedules have always been part of our life, since the day we started school. 

And over the years things have only become more serious. If school wasn’t enough, we took up dance lessons and basketball practice sessions over weekends and felt occupied and busy and we were all okay with it because thats how everyone’s schedule look liked. Full….gasping for air. 

In college we just kept on adding more- more hours dedicated to studies, projects, internships and then job…. and now you are just rushing from one meeting to another, meeting friends over weekend, trying to slip in a yoga class and spend evenings at the gym and things never stop. Your phone is constantly beeping with notifications.

So, schedules or rather management of schedules have always been an integral part of our life. 

Schedules primarily do 3 things:
  1. Ensures we remember to do things- define objectives
  2. Help us move things around based on the prioritization- scheduling software of some form
  3. We end up actually doing it- if its on calendar it must be important.

If the only calendar you manage is yours, you can use your phone calendar for reminders, google calendar for your online scheduling, sticky notes and a whiteboard for tracking your own projects. Depending on what works for you, scheduling shouldn’t be complicated. 

So, there are benefits ofcourse around scheduling  even if you are simply doing it for yourself:

1. Cal Newport, MIT grad and professor at Georgetown University is one of the leading supporters of something called the  “fixed schedule discipline”. Cal showcases how he manages to only work from 9-5 (plus a little on Sunday morning) to manage all (don't underestimate what all means here, till you have read the article) of the things he has on his plate. If you are want to read more, click here . So, obviously you can do insane amount of work without showing off your busy-ness with a well managed schedule. 

2. Scheduling teaches you to prioritise. So to make the most out of the mornings of  ultra-successful people , most of them automate as much and cut out as many non-essential decisions as possible. That way, their mental muscles and willpower are reserved for making wise choices that matter.“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”   – Obama  Read more about link of decision making and handling your schedules here . 

3. Redefining your habits will happen automatically. When you work on a schedule or are working around the schedule of many, you might have to relook at your own habits. Because Cal (from point 1) didn’t work after 5pm he had to make sure he was productive during the time he worked. He couldn’t have spent his time on social media and still end his work day at 5pm. In an attempt to redefine your habits; you are defining yourself and your purpose. Once you know your purpose , its easy to work around it or pick your priorities. 

4. Discipline/structure always helps, well at least in most cases. The power of habit is powerful enough to change your life in a good way. When you have created the structure around your work, you will be disciplined enough to know when to say No or when you take a up a project, speaking assignment or new client. 

A schedule only works when you have  a pre defined timeline (like Monday to Friday 10am-6pm) and you structure or schedule your day accordingly. Any software can help you work with schedules at any scale, however, the work can be only be done by you. 

(Pics Courtesy: Burst)

Resource Guru- Scheduling Tool |Sponsored Post

Save time scheduling your team, managing time off and reporting on projects.

Resource Guru is the cloud-based resource scheduling tool trusted by teams at amazing companies including Apple, Deloitte, Ogilvy and NASA. Try it free for 30 days.

Learn more about Resource Guru

Happy Weekend

Aug 25, 2018 | 0 comments |
I hope you all are having a lovely weekend! don't forget in the mad rush of life to stop, be still and always be kind.

(Pic courtesy: Pinterest)

Staying Positive: Youtube Channels and Blogs I read every week (Pt 1)

Hello there, I hope you had a good weekend.

don't know much about your weekend routine, for me weekends are the time I usually destress by detaching….this is also the time I use to learn and grow and browse and tinker.

This year is in a lot of ways life changing for me because staying positive consistently is the greatest gift I am trying to give myself. And I get my fair share of help from the books, blogs, podcasts and Youtbe channels I watch. 

So, thats what I thought I will share with you today. This is part 1 of the post. 

YouTube- This is my guilty pleasure. I pretty much have more than 50 channels subscribed to and watch them every night and mornings as I get ready to take on life. Depending on my day and mood, I will choose what I watch. There are of course some favs that I don’t miss and thats what I am sharing with you today. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Lavendaire - Eileen’s channel is all about being your best version and ways you can achieve it.
She also brings in her personal stories and has a wonderful dreamy aesthetic that makes it a wonderful experience to watch. I also love listening to her podcast. For her website click here

Kalyn Nicholson- A lifestyle blogger, Kalyn talks about her travels, lessons learnt along the way and general fun stuff  and how she keeps her self motivated and positive. Also a podcaster, she brings in positive vibes and a fun lively way to impart wisdom. Click for website here  

Pickup Limes  - Sadia a registered dietician whose channel is about minimalism, food, health and simplicity and being positive amidst it all. She recently had 
million subscribers and moved to a studio space and her journey has been amazing to watch and so is her lifestyle. For her website and health tips click here   

  1. Marie Forleo - If you need a pick me up anytime of the day, suffer from self doubt and have dreams hidden from the world- this is the channel to watch. She brings in some wonderful guests, powerful in their thoughts and wisdom that you will want to save the episodes  bookmark them and listen to them a thousand times till its instilled in you like a second brain. She defies situations and circumstances and talks about how she grew her business and how others can do as well.
Lewis Howes - His channel is all about interviews with personalities you know and don’t, however in every single interview the discussion is simple, to the point and something you can always take notes on and implement later. I have gone through a lot many of his interviews and is obviously subscribed to his channel. These interviews need attention and are best heard when you have sometime to sit down or when you commute, the meanings are lost if you are listening while multitasking- its not your background music score that you want to leave unattended. If you are looking for some more info, please click here 

Rachel Talbot- A lifestyle blogger, she is all about DIY, positivity and managing her life with family, kids, a
business she recently launched, a singer (look up itunes), her simple recipes and tending a new house. She oozes calm and happiness and positivity and her channel is my mood fixer anytime of the day. If you are trying to find content and meaning in simplicity, she is the one to watch out for. Website link is here.

Claire Marshall- I would lie is if I didn’t mention her, I watch her often. She is a beauty blogger, however she is not just an expert about beauty and lifestyle, she dabbles in wellness and talks about her own struggles to find meaning in life. I particularly enjoy her creativity and editing style, watching her independent spirit and wonderful positivity through the episodes of life. For website, click here 

Rachel Aust - an Australian who is a fitness freak, a minimalist and her unique style of filming will keep you occupied. She talks about fitness, her wellness
journey and diets like keto. I watch her channel primarily for her styling and the amount of work she happily puts in the range of multiple things she does successfully. Find her website here 

So, thats it for today, let me know how you recharge and what you like to do on your weekends.

Part 2 of the post will be about my fav blogs, so watch this space. 

(Pic courtesy: taken from the blog of the featured Youtubers)