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Managing multitasks by not multitasking

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photo from Flickr by AshtonPal
A friend asked, "Ion, how do you manage your time? You have a stressful daytime job, you have 5 blogs, you are freelancing, you have a lot of communities, church, you attend events and trainings, and you are schooling? And, you have a family with a very cute little baby. How do you get all these things done?"

I replied, "I don't have problems finishing them, challenge is how to get started. I make sure the family with a very cute little baby is always on top of the list, time-wise. Then it makes it easy to get other things started. And oh, I don't do these at the same time huh. I break the tasks into smaller chunks and I work on them SLOWLY yet STEADILY. Don't ask me about the daytime job though :-) "

A lesson from the hare and the tortoise story, I'd rather work slow yet consistent, than fast but discreet. Working slowly and steadily promises better results than trying to do things in a rush.

My typical day (and night):
  1. I get up between 4-4:30am. Every waking-up in the morning starts with a prayer, thankful for another day, for God's blessings, and another opportunity to live. This establishes my strength for the tough day ahead.
    • Yes, I get up too early. I don't want to rush in the morning. I want to prepare my things properly, have a big, decent breakfast and at times read some inspirations for the day.
    • Many times, I do my blogs in the morning as well, when the mind is fresh and free from stress.
  2. I leave home at 6am, reaches office at 7 / 7:30
  3. Stretched out at work til 4pm
  4. I reach home by 5pm.
    • Before reaching home, I make sure that my bag doesn't bring all the stress and pressures from work. What happens in the office, remains in the office. It has become easier now that the mom and the baby welcomes me with cheers.
  5. From 5, I spend time with the wife and the baby until about 9pm (sleeping time). Playing, watching Disney, playing and playing and playing. I also does some meaningful conversations with the wife, almost every time.
  6. When they're asleep, I get up around 10pm to do my other stuffs. Only from 10? Yes indeed, because when I start, I don't want a momentum breaker. 
  7. I sleep around 12 - 1230am.
My typical weekends:
  1. Our weekend starts Thursday nights with a household prayer gathering with my Couples for Christ group - a great way to launch the weekend in fact.
  2. Fridays (daytime) are exclusive for my family and household.  We either stay at home or go somewhere. At home, we switch looking out for the baby and doing the house chores.
  3. At times, lately, I get to play basketball in the morning with my CFC brothers - to keep up and try to stay fit.
  4. Then I start doing my other stuffs at night until Saturday.
Notice how I address it: My family and my OTHER STUFFS.

It's not easy at the beginning to keep up with my kind of day. But since I got the pace, it's rhythmic. Lovely! Having too much of things on my plate is a good problem I'd always take. As my friend, Emsie says, it's a blessing to be busy. I love life!

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We don't respect security guards... and that's the problem

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Problem with the society today is we don't respect authorities anymore - police officers, traffic enforcers  and even the security guards.

The job of security guards can be said as "thankless" yet their responsibilities are serious, and they are among the underpaid ones.  They are often taken for granted until only something significant happens. Especially in the Philippines, security guards at the malls and at the metro rail stations are known mainly for searching our bags for some 'unidentified' objects.  But we are forgetting, in times of emergencies, they are one of the firsts to respond. Guards also have the power to arrest suspects, detain them until police comes.

But they get no respect.

One of my favorite Filipino authors of recent, Alex Lacson, said in his book 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country, "Respect your traffic officer, policeman, soldier and other public servants."

Respect is a mark of most profound education. Respect is intellectual. Respect is more than just being kind to the person. Respect gives a positive feeling of regard.  It empowers and makes the recipient proud. It gives honor to them and to the work they do.

If you are educated, you don't just berate security officers, regardless of who started the fire.

One Guarded Moment

While I meant respect, I'm also aware that some of them commits mistake and at times doing their jobs wrong - just like any of us as well.

Back in high school, I was accused of shoplifting by a security guard - and he humiliated me publicly at the center of SM Southmall.

I went to National Bookstore to look for a song book. I was carrying my guitar. I tried to leave it at the baggage deposit counter but the attendant asked me to just take it with me inside the store because it's too bulky for the baggage racks.

I spent some time looking for the right song book but I found none. I decided to leave National Bookstore and look somewhere else. As I walked past about 2 minutes, a security guard of National Bookstore approached me, asking me where I hid and kept the songbook I "stole" from the store.

What a freak! And he's speaking in a high voice. He grab my guitar, sneak into the hole and shook it because he suspected that I put the songbook inside. People are looking at us. Imagine the humiliation? The mall security guard inspecting your guitar and your pockets in the middle of the crowd...

Foul! I said why the hell he suspected me, and he religiously followed me until I reach Storyland. Apparently, he was keenly watching me from the time I entered National Bookstore til I left. Of all people, suspecting me? National B.S.

He asked me to go back to National Bookstore to discuss his accusation further with the management. He kept on shaking my guitar and my waist for a suspected stolen songbook. Before we reach, he was convinced that no songbook was stolen. He just left and let me go.

I was upset. I did no Amalayer. I was just an innocent 15 that time.

I told my parents about it (who's also at the mall). We checked on the guard at National Bookstore and call the management. My dad confronted them civilly, saying what the guard did was totally wrong and unacceptable at all. All the management and the guard said... Amasorry.

This and other minor incidents with security guards contribute to how I regard them.  But just like us, they also commit mistakes. But that doesn't mean we have to be rude at them too. What's the point? As what writer Eric Hoffer said, "rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength."

And I say, no rude man lessen stupidity, no matter how wrong or right he is.

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Celebrating a Memorable Blooper: When Stupidity Becomes Romantic

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One stupid blooper has lead into an ideal, fun-filled, romantic relationship... I was shopping for a perfect engagement ring at Dubai Gold Souk and I decided to consult a friend about it.  After buying, I wanted to thank my friend, when accidentally I wrongfully sent the "thank you for your advice on a good engagement ring" to my fiance. I had really no idea I did. I was just thinking of her all throughout.

We met that night. She asked me where I've been, and why I'm not answering her calls. Alibi, I said I went to meet a client. Next thing, with a big grin on her face, she showed me the SMS I wrongfully sent. To my grandest shock, I almost fainted and fell down! My goodness! I wanted to cry! I just ruined the biggest surprise I was planning for.  I spoiled my wedding proposal!

It had been one of the funniest proposal I bet. On that Valentines Night Dhow Cruise Dinner, she kept on teasing me to show her the "surprise" ring right on. It has been comical. The surprise element was gone. I didn't show the ring until we're about to go. I was laughing when I asked her if she's willing to marry me even if I stupidly didn't give her a surprising engagement proposal. And then, there's calm. Wow, she's quiet. She looked at me, and she laughed hard! I am stupid I know - but she appreciated the thoughtfulness. AND SHE SAID YES of course! That's a perfect celebration into a plan that (almost) went wrong. She's the very kind of girl for me, and so I am for her.


But On that morning of Valentines, I went to the nearest flower shop, got the prettiest bouquet and I asked for as much of those fallen petals on the shop. I sneaked in my fiance's room while I know she's away, scattered all the petals I collected on the floor; placed the bouquet of flowers on her bed and left a small thought, "You redefined my life. Nothing more I could ask for. I love you." I turned off the light and hide.


All she knew my surprise was spoiled, but when she entered the room, she cried and hugged me and she was moved. She told me, "You're so sweet, now you got me by surprise!" I guess I made up from the wrong-sent SMS yeah!

Ever since that day, our life has been filled with humor. It's been fun. We always cheer up each other. And we're doing it consistently. We're on our 4th year now. My wife is pregnant for our first-born...

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How to Begin the Week on a Positive Note?

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A report says "Most of us find the start of the week so demoralising that we can't even bear to crack a smile until 11.16am."

11:16am? Whether you love your job or not, this first weekday struggle happens to most of us. Weekend feels absolutely too short. We can't just let go of being in a relaxed mode with our family, or friends.  It's really normal to feel sad and lazy to go back to work routine.

But, would you rather keep this trend than start the week right and and set a good mood for the entire work week?

Let me share how I combat that feeling. Here's my another tips. Easier said than done, I know. It's really challenging, but hey, it's just a matter of mindset. Talk and listen to yourself.  Try these, nothing to lose anyway:
  1. Enjoy the whole of weekend. Do not make it a habit to feel bad when Sunday (Saturday here in UAE) evening sets in, thinking it's gonna be work week again the next day.  The more you think about it, the worse it becomes.  Maximize the remaining hours of the weekend with your loved ones.
  2. Give yourself ample time in the morning. Set your alarm about 1 hour (and snooze) before you actually want to wake up. Give yourself an hour or more allowance before you leave. Start early.  Have a hearty breakfast.  Don't cram. Don't stress, you're not in the office yet.
  3. Listen to Music Instead of News. I know some of us would rather listen to news on the radio, waiting for traffic advisories.You would probably know that traffic is always jammed on mornings so why still care? Listen to feel good music instead - or upbeat ones if you prefer. It will help set the tone of your mind going to work.
  4. Invite positive energy. Eliminate the sighs that it's workweek again. While driving, or at least upon getting off your car, before you enter that building, look up and tell yourself, "it will be a good day, a productive week." Smile!
  5. Greet. Greet everyone a good morning. Ask them about their weekend. 
  6. Bonding. Break the ice. Invite a colleague or 2 for a coffee. You will get back quickly to your 'office mood' after the sip.
  7. Plan your week. Making a realistic week plan. This is the best time to take control of the things you need to work on to, and not the other way around.
There are surely more ways to reverse the "first weekday blues".  Those 5 had been so effective for me, though it took me ages to really get them working. I simply wouldn't want the first day to ruin the rest of the week and swallow me... At least Monday (Sunday here in UAE) happens only once a week. 

Have a great week ahead everyone!

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Government Office with the Most Holidays: Philippine Consulate

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Photo from Facebook
A little trivia: Did you know that the Philippine Consulate / POLO-OWWA in Dubai (I don't know in other cities) could vie for a Guinness World Record for the public office with the most number of holidays?

YES! They take both the UAE holidays and the Philippine holidays off. So if it is National Heroes Day in the Philippines and it is just supposedly a typical working day in the UAE- the Consulate/POLO-OWWA is off and is on holiday - not thinking about the thousands of Filipinos in need of their 'services.'

And now, based on the photo above, even the Chinese holidays. Galing no! 

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Classical Music for Baby

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We bought these classical CDs by Mozart for our baby... Studies say babies in the womb respond to music. Some say that playing soft and classical music helps the baby to develop intelligence.

So classical music for now baby. Don't worry you'll grow as a rockstar anyway.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

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What Could Push Our Local Government to Clean-up the City?

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ABS-CBNNews.com quoted MMDA Chief in their report
BOURNE! So if not for the filming of the Hollywood movie Bourne Legacy in Manila, would you initiate to clean and put orderliness in the area?

Here's to more Hollywood shooting to come! F!

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What an Excited Dad-To-Be Does

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Our baby at 3 months
I'm so excited and I just can't hide it. In 6 months, we will see our baby. We will be able to physically hug him/her. Both of us have never been this excited. For me being a dad, especially for the first time, is the most wonderful feeling after marriage.  Especially we waited for this to happen for almost 3 years.  God is really great. He provides at the right time, at the right situation.

So to my excitement, I find myself doing the following since the good news:
  1. Research articles and videos on things my wife should and should not be doing during pregnancy.  I also research about how I can help my wife (be it in any other ways)
  2. Study a lot of "How-to" like proper carrying, calming, changing diapers, pampering, etc
  3. I'm extra inspired at work and in all things I do. Wife and the baby is always on my mind. I hum, I sing while working
  4. Leave work on time as much as I can to be with my wife and our baby within her - and I'm not patient with traffic lately.
  5. I noticed that I'm spending less nowadays and the savings is growing
  6. Play lullabies and baby sleeper music during bedtime
  7. Talk to the baby in the tummy all the time
  8. During the Christmas shopping, I was already looking around for toys for our baby :-)
  9. Thinking on how to design the baby's corner in our room
  10. Keep myself fit to prepare for carrying the baby
We both have re-defined our plans and time lines to include some events for our baby

Oh what a feeling really!  I can't wait to become the best father as much as I can - a best friend, buddy, teacher and mentor.  I can't wait to raise him/her into a cheerful, beautiful and inspiring and God-centered life.  I can't wait to introduce him/her to the world.

There's only one thing me and my wife until now disputes about - who will the baby look like? :-)

Next week, I can already write whether it's a he or she, as we might already know the gender. I wish for a baby boy, wife wants a girl - can we make it any more obvious? ;-) But boy or girl is absolutely so fine.  We'll be the best parents as much as we can!

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The Misuse and Abuse of "Proud to be Pinoy" (Say Mabuhay Instead)

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The Misuse of Pride
I bet it's not only me who's sick and tired and tired and sick of the widespread misuse and abuse of the"Proud to be Pinoy" comment.

Youtube, Facebook and Twitter are the popular playgrounds where some belt out this "pride." In fact, we can be the world's proudest netizens in social media today in the way we flood the comments sections. Charice, Arnel Pineda, Apl De Ap and Manny Pacquiao are the 'suki' of the infamous "Proud to be Pinoy" comments - whatever 'Pinoy' we see in the international media, there is this pattern.

But something's really really wrong. Posters may have the right intentions, but most of the "Proud to be Pinoy" comments were really out-of-place, out-of-context and just about taking the ride, and bragging without rights.

Others take that as 'Nakikisakay na lang tayo sa kasikatan ng ating kababayan.'  It could just be a case of improper articulation or phonetics, but other nationalities find it offensive, so immature and irrelevant in fact.  It pisses them off whenever they see threads of "Proud to be Pinoy" comments... and it ignites an unnecessary racial battle. And why not? It's about the talent, and not about being Pinoy. "Manhid?"

In Tagalog, "Pinagmamalaki kong Pinoy ako dahil kay Manny, Charice etc..." Meh!

I understand we love to associate, we love to relate to any degree in fact. For every Filipino (pure or half, 1/4 or 1/8) who does great things and is globally recognized, we claim it, we're part of it. We take pride. We even trace the path to prove one's Filipino roots - whatever it takes. A trophy of one is a trophy of the nation.  That's just right and so natural, but that could really go wrong too. We are "proud of our kabayan".  Why don't we simply say, "I'm proud of you Charice" or whoever, or "Great Job!".

If Manny Pacquiao says "proud to be Pinoy," that's perfect.  He is simply proud of what he can do being a Filipino. When Bruno Mars say he's proud to be a Filipino, it sounds right. When Nicole Scherzinger says she's proud of being Pinay, it sounds so sweet too.  Apl d Ap continues to write Tagalog in every Black Eyed Peas album and he consistently say he's proud to be Pinoy. Right again. They have the bragging rights!
But us? The credit isn't ours.  Let's rather express appreciation. "We're proud of you!" sounds way better.

Why are we so trigger-happy to comment "Proud to be Pinoy?
Maybe, being in a low to mid-class in the world, or being in a third-world country invites it. We have this mindset that the world looks at us as underdogs, thus whenever a Filipino becomes a world-class fame, we're jumping into the ride. We want to prove something.  We want to change the impression of other nation about us. And so we shout "Proud to be Pinoy" when one Filipino shines bright.

Sadly, this shows we're hungry of recognition attention.  We want to tell the world that we've also got what it takes to be on top.  Especially there's not much of Filipinos who are 'big' in the world.  So everyone's a watchdog of who'll make it big next... and will be proud of themselves again being a Filipino.

Media also play a big role in the demise of the real essence of Pinoy pride. Success, achievements, dreams have been bordered within the entertainment world only (well, majority).  Media oftentimes leaves a mark that whatever the pop Westerners does, Pinoys can do as well - and that's not one good yardstick to live by.

"Wohooo! Proud to be Pinoy!" - so what are you proud of? Proud of another's success is really okay, but is illogical and maligned. You should be proud because, you, being a Pinoy has great accomplishments. In the first place, nobody should be proud of himself, Pinoy or not, if he hasn't done anything.

Instead of "Proud..." Say Mabuhay
We seem to forget what Filipinos shout whenever we win battles, whenever we're rejoicing. We shout and chant "Mabuhay!" for our triumphant compatriot. Mabuhay is our signature greeting, chant and battle cry. I know where this "Proud to be Pinoy" is coming from - we're proud of what we have, we're happy because our kababayan is a winner, is popular, etc. Then, why not simply say, "I'm proud of you, Mabuhay ang Pinoy!"

Use "Proud to be Pinoy" in its true essence.  Have reasons to support the pride. Being wowed by world-class Pinoy talents is an immature reason of being proud of yourself. Having heard the Philippines or Filipino in an international media isn't always a reason to exclaim pride. Imagine this... No Charice, No Manny Pacquiao, No Apl D Ap, or whose ever auntie-of-the-father-of-the-uncle's-cousin is a Filipino. What will be your reasons... Why are you proud to be Pinoy?

MABUHAY ANG FILIPINO!

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Leave Office on Time, Reap Rewards

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Saw this graphic virally spreading on Facebook. Couldn't agree more.
It's always been one of my principles to go to work on time and leave on time; or at least work efficiently within the schedule.  Staying at office desks beyond 8 or 8.5 hours doesn't always mean that we are hard working. Maybe, we can't efficiently utilize the working hours to do all the day's work.  Beating deadlines though is another story - but we won't need to cram til the last minutes if we have a smarter working scheme to be productive at work.

A smart worker is the one who's able to deliver what is expected of him within the schedule - and be able to leave on time. A smart worker is output-oriented actually.  A smart worker realizes the 7 things listed in the graphic above, reaping its rewards.

But never ever compromise. Don't disregard your work. Embrace it, value it, respect it. Leave on time if, and only if you can really cross-out items in your to-do list in a day.

Employers Must Realize...
The former CEO of Coca-cola, Bryan Dyson also said, "Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest."

This is what I want every employer to look at. They should encourage employees to observe the working time frame efficiently, and discourage working on extended hours. Employers need to feel that their staff are humans - they have family and friends and life outside of work too. Employers must take these 2 things into consideration:
  1. If employees develop conflicts within their relationships because of working time issues, they'd be disturbed at work. 
  2. Severe working on extended hours might cause some minor to major health disorders to some. If employees feel bad, they lose proper concentration. they'll need medical attention and they'll probably skip some days of work.
Value Our Lives
If we all neglect our precious time for family, friends and our significant relationships in general, work will also be affected.  Focus and productivity definitely suffers; and it has a domino effect.

We work, we do good at work because we are inspired by our loved ones. Let's just give them the due time and attention they deserve from us. Get a life.

Read back the 7 meaningful items listed above. They're a win-win for both your work and your life outside work.

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