Showing posts with label creativity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label creativity. Show all posts

Creativity:How you can bring it back in your life?

Do you consider yourself a creative?

In this video we talk about how we can bring back the creativity in all of us and we don't need to be the replica of the person sitting next to us.

So, if you are reading it in office, home or cafe- please know that we can still be creative in small ways. Let me know what you think.

Enjoy the video:)







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)




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)



Why is creativity important in agile?

Majority of teams and organizations believe, agile is about ceremonies and productivity and leveraging the flexibility by forcefully changing requirements and showcasing books and authors on how it has been done.

 In ‘Building the Agile Business’, author and digital strategist Neil Perkin describes an agile business as being ‘velocity x focus x flexibility’. In other words, a business that is focusing its efforts on moving in a clear direction, but that also has an in-built ability to adapt and change course if and when necessary…..Taking an agile approach enables brands to test new ideas early on and to adapt easily to changes to ensure maximum success. 

In most scenarios this over used buzzword has also created myths around it that very few can differentiate with reality. Like doing stands up doesn’t make you an agile team. An organization isn’t Agile if only teams are forced to change without telling them why the change is happening. It only leads to bitterness.

There are the supporters and the naysayers who argue over whose agile (implementation) is better. They quote authors and books and bring out snippets of blogposts and argue their case. In all this chaos, I have barely seen teams question what they do and why they do? Why the change?
Creativity often ignored isn’t considered as mainstream thought process in resolving real time problems. The flexibility or adaptability in Agile is sometimes taken as a license to leverage it without thinking.

While certain outlines needs to be adhered, creativity or free thinking can always help resolve problems even when it revolves around process. The most creative individuals are those who can see the things that everyone else misses. 

Looking at data trends in an agile team can tell you where lies the core problem, to put an end to mechanical retrospectives and really finding ways to get the team talking needs creativity and to eventually see what’s working and what’s not and to better the team is about thinking differently.


So, should we incorporate in Agile training's about the need of looking at a set of problems  and thinking how to resolve by adhering to your team culture, by encouraging team members to come up with a new set of solution, bring the team together in discussing collaboratively and telling that it’s not about the tools, it’s about you. Bring you to the table, bring your ideas, disagree when required and respect the difference of thoughts. 

(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Creativity- How to bring it back in your life?

Who do you consider to be a creative?

Are they people who have the freedom to pursue their art, are they people who value their freedom- freelancers and artists? What about you? 

All of us are creative as a child, as we get trained more and more in our schools we all fall for the mundane, we forget who we are and become what we are expected to be.
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Creativity as it seems comes with a price, in her article Nancy C. Andreasen, who is the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and the former editor in chief of The American Journal of Psychiatry talks about creative people having it either passed on via generations or have higher rates of mental illness “The creative subjects and their relatives have a higher rate of mental illness….The most-common diagnoses include bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety or panic disorder, and alcoholism. 

There could be extreme cases of eccentricities involved for a lot of creatives, however in regular life to extract more satisfaction from life creativity is of utter importance. It could be an author who breaks into the publishing scene and takes the world by storm like J. K. Rowling., it can be content creators who look at life differently and are able to replicate that in their content and gain huge followers through the social media platform, it can be poets like Rupi Kaur whose poetry has been in controversies but has rightly brought in the young generation in touch with themselves through words and not selfies.

So, where is creativity for you and me while we are part of regular jobs?

Image result for creativeWell, creativity still needs sustenance and that could mean the fact you have a job is a good thing.  You are free to spend here and there for things you love to engage in like a local pottery class or take a class or travel. Creativity isn’t limited to a certain profession any longer. And as it turns out “depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handlethe task.”  


So creativity is not only a breath of fresh air it’s actually good for the brain health. Multiple ways we can still encourage ourselves to be creative:
  • Find out what interests you, mind mapping is a great technique to find out what you like
  • Learn/practice something new – It’s said that creatives are better self-learners than learning from others by being spoon fed. If you are looking for great deals, find out the offerings/giveaways of bloggers as well. You might get a month free or sometimes courses half off. 
  • Find the time for yourself (self-care), sabbaticals might not be for everyone however why not try remote working once a month and use the time for commutes to try out something new..
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect to start with, its okay to fail. I struggle with this a lot because I feel I have to be at par with the best. Over the years I am okay to try out something new even when I know its not at its best. 
  • Stop thinking about what others think while you plan a solo vacation. Do things what interests you. Here are 12 habits of successful creatives.   
(Pic courtesy: Google Images)



Finding your Purpose (Ikigai): In your Work

What does a job mean to you?
  • Is it a way to earn your paycheck? 
  • A way to find out your calling? 
  • Or is it your life’s purpose

If you are struggling to figure out what’s your life purpose, the Japanese concept of Ikigai explains it all

If we are fortunate enough to match up our purpose with the jobs we have, life can only be amazing.

If you are trying to match it up here are 5 tips:
  • Find out what you like to do. Try Mind Mapping
  • Once you know your Ikigai, try internship positions/volunteer
  • Try reading up/taking courses on the subject matter (like from Coursera ). Having a degree will only add up to the chances of finding a job in that domain
  • Revise your resume. Don’t send resumes that cater to all types of jobs you are thinking about, it will make you look less serious to the one you are applying for. Customize your resume line by line for the job.
  • You will know when your job matches your Ikigai- it’s probably also your hobby. You enjoy waking up and heading out for your job. 
This can be you as a newbie or someone who continuously grows and evolves your interest might have just changed. As they say, you are never done finding purpose in your work

(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Mind Mapping: What are you good at?

If you belong to a certain domain or hold a fancy job title- does it mean that’s the only thing you are good at? Or that's your life calling for the next thirty years?

Did you know that more than 70 % of the workforce is disengaged from the job they hold- this cannot be true if you are truly inspired by your profession. So, may be the job you have isn’t what you are interested in anymore because you figured they are other things you are better at.

Meet Anisha, who has a comfortable job and has been in it for a while till she woke up one day and felt she wasn’t being recognized for her loyalty and the long hours of work. she isn't drawn to her job anymore. She’s looking for something that excites her ...  So, what does she do- she joins the disengaged workforce.

So, how can you figure out what you want to do or better: what you are really good at?

Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a toddler and think of what you wanted to be when you grow up. I wanted to be a teacher. To me that was the power figure- in control of a class of 60 students. That seemed a coveted position to hold for me.

Over the years as we grow and environment shifts and changes happen, our interest changes, skillsets take shape and we find a job.

Ten years later- is that what you still want? How can you navigate your career to ensure that its synced with your interests?

So, let’s try mind mapping- no fancy tool or budget required.

  • In the center place yourself ...  think of anything you like to do or makes you happy and start writing/sketching. Write as many as you can. Against each idea, see if you are still doing it (example- poetry- I published a coffee table book or I have a diary full of poems written and hidden because I think my friends will laugh at me and call me sappy). Rupi Kaur self-published her first book of poems in Amazon and it went to become a NYT best seller.
  • When you have sketched everything you can think of, add 5 more. Once you start thinking, it becomes easy.. Now see how you can take each of these ideas and keep thinking deeper- what does it mean to you. For example if you mentioned “creating” – you can mention writing blogs, clicking pics, creating travel vlogs, writing articles for magazines, becoming an author. Once all are done, take a different color pen and look for patterns. Common things that have surfaced- it could be similarity in the main ideas/categories or it could be sub categories within the categories- mark them.
  • Can you see the trend now- what you really like to do- in most cases you can also see a profession shaping up? Against the profession/interest you found- try adding ways on how you can achieve it or make money from it. That can lead to clarity- if this is something you want to take up as a profession, or you want to prepare for it (like take certifications) or talk to friends or references who are already in the profession of your choice.
  • That’s your calling. You don’t have to give up your job and go for it but if it does make sense- think about it. Think how you can try out this opportunity. 

This can be a wonderful way to find yourself back and be inspired again. So, did you find what you are good at?

(Pic courtesy: google images)

Dumping the Black Bag


Image result for inspired

I don’t think I was listening. I am pretty sure I wasn’t. I had hit a block and nothing was getting me out of it.
It was mostly tiring- the juggles of work and life. I almost quit. I was uninspired.

I am an INFJ and I need my personal space and time- that’s how I recharge.

Disruption helped. I just gave away a lot of things that had given me a structure- I needed to find my way back. So, I lost the structure.

Here are 5 ways to find your game back:
  • Find your groove- Find what you really like to do. It could be things that relaxes you the most or things you did when you were a kid and wasn’t pressed for time. Things change, you might just need something new now.
  • Be inspired- Use a gratitude journal, you can shift your bitterness by being grateful by just trying it out regularly. It gives you an instant mood booster.
  • Create a space for yourself and maintain it- It should be comfortable and pleasing whether it’s your home or work, add personal touches and reminders that make you happy and comfortable.
  • Have reminders- In formats you prefer- it can be post its on your desk, notes in your phone, jewellery that reminds you of how far you have come and where you want to be.
  • Look for good content- In books, music, art or friends. Be in the space which is full of life, happiness and creativity. It will inspire creativity and thoughtfulness in you.
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When you feel you are slipping, get back on the grip. It takes time and the shift isn’t overnight. Have the patience. Let it be.

Finally, when you are ready- dump all your worries in the big black backpack and let it go. Replace with something nice and wonderful and just be happy. 

When you are happy- the real you will shine through and you will be unstoppable.

(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Change your life: Rewire your brain

Success could be about innovation, about practice, about determination. One thing that will be the common denominator is how you wire your brain to get to your desired state of mind.

Good news is your brain changes with you or may be you change because your brain is constantly changing.

There’s a traditional saying that the mind takes the shape it rests upon; the modern update is that the brain takes the shape the mind rests upon.  For instance, if you regularly rest your mind upon worries, self criticism, and anger, then your brain will gradually take that shape – will develop neural structures and dynamics of anxiety, low sense of worth, and prickly reactivity to others.  On the other hand, if you regularly rest  your mind upon, for example noticing you’re all right right now, seeing the good in yourself and letting go…then your brain will gradually take the shape of calm strength, self confidence, and inner peace. (Source) 

“As your mind changes, your brain changes; and as your brain changes, your mind changes.” Hanson explains how neuroplasticity is accomplished:
  • Busy regions get more blood flow, since they need more oxygen and glucose.
  • The genes inside neurons get more or less active; for example, people who routinely relax have improved expression of genes that calm down stress reactions, making them more resilient.
  • Neural Connections that are relatively inactive wither away; its a kind of neural Darwanism, the survival of the busiest, use it or lose it.
“Neurons that fire together, wire together.”  This saying from the work of Donald Hebb means that synapses – the connections between neurons – get more sensitive, plus new neurons grow, producing thicker neural layers.

It’s said that practice makes it easier for brain to highlight on the same function over and over again, making that part of the brain easier to access. That’s why it’s said cab drivers who need to memorize the city maps to get their license, have that part of their brain bigger than the rest.

Turns out more struggles and obstacles you have in learning, better your brain learns.

And if you are looking for inspiration to keep your new year’s resolution going, here’s a tip- physical exercise is good for the brain because it helps create new neurons.



To read similar articles- read Finding your Zone and How to Keep your Life in Control .

If you like visual representations, click here

(Pic courtesy: Pinterest) 


Why is creativity good for you?

Experts argue that getting into a state of flow can produce substantial happiness, the kind that lasts longer than the pleasure we get from eating a good cookie.    

According to Matthew Swan, MA, Registered Art Therapist, “Through creativity, we often find answers to our problems.” He says when we’re stuck, it helps if we can step outside the box and find another way of doing something. To be successful at this, we need to do things outside of our normal, everyday routine and to make connections between things that we had not thought about before. In fact, the creative process is the act of making these new connections.  

The link between creativity and better mental and physical health is well established by researchSo, while if you consider yourself someone who is creative naturally, chances are you are happier and that means better at work.  

Robert Epstein explained in a Psychology Today article how challenging situations can bring out our creativity. Even if you don’t succeed at whatever you’re doing, you’ll wake up the creative areas of your brain and they’ll perform better after the failed task, to compensate. 

In 1954 the first flotation method was created by John C. Lilly, a neuro-psychiatrist, as a way to create sensory-deprived control groups for his experiments. Being inside the flotation tank takes your brain from highly conscious alpha and beta waves to solid theta waves—the kind you would normally have right before falling asleep and just after waking up. Normally we only experience these theta waves for a few minutes, but having extended theta periods helps us to visualize better, often giving us vivid mental images. Sensory deprivation helps in reducing anxiety, stress and even chronic pain.  


So, like everything else, creativity can bring you happiness and in return give you the much soughted after peace or grounding of you self that can actually help you catapult your career forward. 

If there’s one thing you should focus on this year, it definitely has to be making yourself happier and the rest will happen automatically. If you are looking for more ways to make your brain happier, read this.  





(pic courtesy: Pinterest)

Best of 2016: Moving Foward

2016 has been a tough year for me, it has tested me in every possible way and yet I am thankful that I have survived. The  journey taught me a lot and I thought I will share with you some of my favorite things I have discovered last year that I intend to carry forward with me to 2017.



I have realized being organized helps me declutter and empty up my head space and it's a big relief. So, I have spent the last 2 months doing exactly that- sorting out my brain.

Here are some of the things I have enjoyed, I hope you like them and let me know what was yours.

Best Apps
  • Evernote (productivity and organization)- I use this to bookmark links or upload documents primarily for work or blog.
  • Big Basket (online grocery- India)- saves me from the traffic in Indian roads. 
  • Canva (design and content creation)- I use this for creating posters and banners that I use in the blog or in my social media channels.
  • Pinterest (visual board)- its the last thing I browse before bed, I love beautiful things (or pictures)
  • Omvana (meditation) - I discovered it very recently after reading the Code of the Extraordinary Mind
  • Noteboard- chrome extension (efficiency and productivity)- good place to jot down my lists and goals plus I like the feel of a cork board.

Best Gadgets
  • Garmin Activity Tracker (physical fitness)- if you have read my post on 5 Years- Thats how long it took you know what I am talking about. This helps plus I love the reminder to Move!
  • Wireless speaker/headphone  (music, phone calls)- I have carried it with me when travelling to cient sites. When you are contantly living out of a suitcase it helps to have a familiar routine, even if that means listening to a familiar soundtrack. 

Best  Blogs


Best of SIPM Posts





Pic Courtesy: pinterest
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Top 3 Books for 2016

If you have been with me reading the blog or checking tweets and watching the occasional pop ups in Instagram, you will know that I read for work and pleasure. This year has seen me get back to it more than the last two years. 

So, if you like to red or looking for a last minute gift idea, you can check out these 3 books which I think have had the most impact on me. 



·    The 193 pg book focuses on the benefits of maintaining a checklist through various industries. 
·      A surgeon from NY, the book The Checklist is not about just to do lists. It’s a brief list that helps critical decision making in sensitive situations like the operating room by saving lives or during investment decisions or in aeronautical situation (mid air crisis).
·        
The reason I liked the book is because:
§  It’s a simple idea that’s so well researched that it makes you think that we should all implement more checklists in our work places and homes to save ourselves from complications.
§  He talks about how the checklist that was created in John Hopkins hospital that raised a possibility that people talking to each other  a minute before starting the operation was a strategy to foster team work which lead to higher success rates. 
§  It made me think that the basics of any project management should be about certain checklist like its focused a lot in Agile with the ceremonies and DOD (definition of done) and exit criteria’s all set to actually ensure that everything is in its place and chances to miss it is reduced thereby ensuring the quality of the potentially shippable product.
§  It’s a book that will make you think and has take away's that you can actually implement in your work. It also provides you with enough case studies that will allow you to make a strong case with the right set of data that you will need to get buy in from your team or management to get the checklists implemented. 

If you need an awakening of your mind and soul, if you want to grow more, need a way to organize your thoughts and dreams, want to be happier....this is what you should be reading. It shook me up literally. ·It’s a must read and will be my staple on the bedside table for the next few month definitely.          

  • 223 pages excluding the glossary and others, this book will help you understand your expectation from life and how to get them. Book talks a lot about the realities that the author faced as he tried to build his own business that thrives successfully now.
  • He gives example from his own life and multitude of other people like Dalai Lama, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Tony Robbins on how they look at success.
  • My favorite in the book is chapter 5- where he talks about the structure that’s split into 8 sets of qualities that we need from life and for me thinking the way he has laid it down was life changing. I really knew the actions I had to take to grow more personally and professionally.
  • This is a book that helps you look inside you, fix it... so you can fulfill your dreams outside.

·         This was an impulsive buy in airport because I was looking to read something while I was on vacation for my son’s 2 birthday this August. I don’t think I have ever thought of sleep so much in my life till I started reading this book. I will be honest, I am not much of a sleeper, I like to stay awake more than I like sleeping. I have in the recent years also been very sleep deprived; I call it the Rio Effect. The book surprised me with the health benefits and the link to better decision making and yes now that I try to sleep more I do see the payback myself.  

  • ·We all know sleeps important, but the author breaks the modern myth of going sleepless and how cool it is especially for youngsters and showing why and how it’s important to achieve our goals.
  • It talks about medications, health issues, and extra cost to government dealing with health crisis that can all be reduced just by sleeping.
  •  It also talks about how from Warren Buffet to Satya Nadella all emphasize about sleeping and its bond to good decision making and the effectiveness and efficiency.
  • If you like informative and well researched book like I do and the topic is something you can relate to- it’s a good read.
For me I can connect the dots of the take away of the 3 books- I think resting the mind to work and function better in a structured way through checklists will make me happier and give me better value for the time invested in doing it. And happiness will ensure I work through my challenges better and have the capacity to fulfill the dreams.

Pic courtesy: Google and Soma Bhattacharya
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The Art of Failing

I have failed a lot. That made me afraid of being a failure
.
And there have been quite a few times when I have been called one. I have recently realized that my journey in life have been paved through my failures and because I have failed I am doing what I do now.

 Suddenly I have realized that failure shouldn’t be negative and depressing. It’s part of rethinking and making better decision. 

Like I started this blog when I wasn’t sure what to do career wise, I had a difficult time finding a job and I just wanted a space where I could journal all my learning’s. I honestly never thought anyone other than me would be reading it. I turned the blog into a routine which means I was writing even during my worst of struggles and that kept me sane. It was a positive energy for me when a lot of things weren’t.

If you have read about the Lizard brain, you will know we refrain ourselves from doing things that make us a success. I am not a psychologist, however I can tell you that for me sometimes it’s true. I feel the things I should be doing and then I don’t. I don’t know why. For example, I have been thinking of writing about this for more than a week and I haven’t written. I am not sure why.

 I have been trying to get back to reading and the last few purchases (of books) have been really life changing and I wanted to share it with you. But then I thought, hey why not be more satisfied with my work and try out another medium- vlogs. I would love to bring you in my life and have a face to face conversation once in a while and do I did vlog. It was an epic failure, the video was too long (around 15 minutes) and I wasn’t sure how to edit. By the way if you are curious I vlogged about my 3 top favourite books in 2016.  Anyways, I don’t think I will be putting up that video which means I will have to re-record it.

So, why this post? Its almost end of the year and I wanted to check in with you and tell you that its okay to be where you are. I hope you are happy with life, however just in case if you are struggling think what you can do to get off the struggle. What will help you get there? Don’t get too bogged down with bad days or failures. And always help someone whenever you can. 

And don’t get scared even when you fail, try to keep up with your plan and keep at it! Everyone fails.



(Pic courtesy: Pinterest)

This is How I work- Laurens Bonnema

Laurens Bonnema is an Agile Management Consultant with Xebia and an expert in sustainably aligning business and IT to improve the results of IT projects. He also helps people (re)learn how to visualize their ideas through sketchnoting, graphic recording, and videoscribing so they can communicate those ideas more effectively, help each other to solve problems, and have lots of fun.
For the past 17 years, Laurens has served in almost every role in IT. Even Project Manager! More about Laurens’ work at Xebia can be found here. Want to know more about sketch-noting, graphic recording, and videoscribing? Hop on over to www.bonnema.ink.

When do you wake up every day? What’s your alarm set to? 
 My alarm is set to 5:55. Most of the time, that’s also when I wake up.
Tea or Coffee? 
Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.
Any rituals to set the tone for the day in the morning? 
After I wake up, I drink a glass of water and meditate for 10 minutes. When time permits, I read a few newspapers on my iPhone before getting out of bed. If not, I hit the shower, get dressed and go downstairs to grab some breakfast. Over breakfast, I look at my calendar to get a feel for the day, and check my Sprint Backlog to select the three most important things I want to get done today.
When do you feel most productive?
I feel most productive in the morning. That’s when I get most of my work done. After 12:00, my energy tapers off. I usually experience a small burst of residual productivity around 21:00. But between 12:00 and 21:00, I’m mostly on autopilot.
Where do you work?
Work is where the client is. For me, that’s usually in or near one of the main cities in The Netherlands: Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Utrecht. But I’ve done assignments in Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, and India as well.
Three must have items on your desk
 If I could pick only three items to have on my desk, it would be my Leuchtturm1917 Whitelines Link notebook, Montblanc Meisterst├╝ck LeGrand fountain pen, and Apple Macbook Pro.
What do you listen to while working?
To concentrate on work, I listen to classical music. Mostly Mozart. When I need less focus, I switch to podcasts. At the moment, the Tough Girl Podcast by Sarah Williams is my favorite.
What are you reading currently?
I’ve just finished “Your Press Release is Breaking my Heart” by Janet Murray and am currently reading “Verbaal Meesterschap (Verbal Mastery)” by Remco Claassen. Remco is one of the most celebrated public speakers in The Netherlands. Next up is “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday.
How do you organize?
I use Scrum to stay organized and productive. I have a Product Backlog spread out over several Trello boards. Every two weeks, I select items from those boards and put them in Todoist. That’s my Sprint Backlog. Every day, I select the three most important items to get done from Todoist. Some days I do more, almost never less. I don’t distinguish between personal and client items. When I did, the personal items never seemed to get done. Now, I have a nice work-life-swirl going that suits me much better than work-life-balance.
Any hacks you prefer for work?
 Learn something new! And start teaching it to others as soon as you’re somewhat competent. It will keep you engaged, fresh, and enthusiastic. That translates to all the other stuff you do. Even the stuff you don’t like as much.
What are your favorite gadgets?
At the moment, my favorite gadget is my iPad Pro. I love it! It’s a wonderful drawing tool that also functions as a powerful tablet. Highly recommended for anyone getting into digital drawing!
What apps can you not live without?
 It’s a bit of a list I’m afraid, but I’ll try to keep it brief and limit myself to the eleven iPhone/iPad apps I rely on the most that aren’t time-wasters: Mail, Trello, Todoist, Calendar, Fantastical, Buffer, Overcast, OPTIMIZE, Headspace, Adobe Draw, and Concepts.
Any new addition to your routines?
The newest addition to my routine is guided meditation with Headspace. I’ve been meditating for years without guidance, and I love the way Headspace makes it easy to stay focussed. I’m still a bit on the fence about it though. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll discover I prefer unguided meditation after all.
Also, I’m trying to make habits of exercise and writing. Mostly failing at that so far. So tomorrow I’ll try again!
How do you recharge?

Reading. Nothing gets me relaxed faster than reading a great novel. That, and sleep of course.

(Pic courtesy: Laurens Bonnema)