Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

Summary – Conflict management

Previously I asked your opinion on how a simple imagination of seeing yourself from a third person view can help solve marital problem. And today I will try to explain that claim.

But first, can I ask? Do you able to picture looking at yourself from another point of view? I mean visually. Seeing yourself smiling while reading on the net, or humming your favorite song, It is a very enlightening feeling.

So what does this have to do with solving problem? Especially marital ones?

This is actually the basis of “Conflict Management” practised all around the world, seriously. I actually learn this during my years of studying. Not that they specifically teached you to start closing your eyes when a conflict arises and imagine. That one is all me :).

By conflict, I am referring to an argument between two person about a matter. One thing about argument or conflict is that everyone wants to be a winner and will not accept anything less. For example, arguing about how to do a job assigned. You may have your way and you think that would be the best way to approach it. Your colleaue however disagree. He think his method is by far better and you should agree with him.

Can you guess what will happen if the both of you are equally stubborn? Yes, the argument will last eternity.

This is how conflict management solve the problem.

1) Stop arguing
Literally, you must stop arguing to solve the problem. Both of you. It’s very hard to review the problem when all we do is defending our own view. Just sit down,

2) Attack the problem, not anything else.
Believe it or not, this is where all conflict starts. Yes, people can be so unproffesional sometimes.

It may first start like addressing the problem first, Let me give you an example. There is a machine in my mill (true example) that has been having problem. The bearing kept on breaking and this cost a lot of money, about $5000. And the manager obviously asked what happened.

The supervisor immediately blame the maintenance team, by saying that they did not do proper work when installing. The maintenance team however claim that the supervisor is tempering with the machine and spoil it.

What the supervisor and the foreman should do is to stop pointing fingers and look at how to solve the problem. If only they can see themselves from another point of view, they will see how silly the argument since that personal attack argument cannot have practical solution.

A practical solution would be that from now on, anytime the maintenance team work on the installation, an engineer and the supervisor will be present to help. Also measures will be taken to stop any tempering of the machine, like locks etc.

That goes the same with marital argument. Husband and wife arguing. Both are equally egoistic and will argue to the death just to defend that ego. Maybe the wife want a maid to help her with the housework. However the husband feels that the wife is just trying to order him around by making him do this and that, so instead of agreeing to find her a maid, he just ignore the request entirely.

The actual problem is not the husband’s ego. It is actually the fact that the housework is steadily increasing in number and the wife doesn’t have the time to work on those. In the end, the wife find herself a maid just to show the husband she’s right. And the husband obviously don’t like it. So the argument will continue on, despite the problem has already been solved.

Conclusion – Most of the time, when we argue, there is always a high possibility that the argument will turn to personal attack. This should never happen. A problem is a problem. It will never be solved by attacking other people.

The textbook method of conflict management is actually to take a step backward and view the problem as a wall located in between the two people arguing. The objective should always be to break the wall instead of hurting the two people.

———— Personal Note ————
I know, it is harder to do than to talk about it. People especially during argument will do their best to win. Still, I have to consistently guide my supervisor and foreman to work together as a team instead of trying to kill each other. 🙂

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Waking up

Summary – Custom made tools

We have been here on earth for thousands of years. (A very cliche introduction, nevertheless..) And we still haven’t figure out a lot of questions. One of which is how to get things done.

We have come up with a lot of theories and practical tips to get things done. In this blog alone, I’ve highlighted a lot of tools to help. Some worth mentioning here are :

Still with all these tools, we find ourselves not really able to complete our task, or our life is still chaotic. Are the tools not effective? or the tasks are just too many and too hard to complete? Why is it, even with all the tools and tips, we still cannot be organized and finish all tasks assigned?

I seriously think that I have an answer for those questions. The fact is – all those tools were created by people, 80/20 Rules were created by Pareto, Haiku Production were introduced by Leo (If I’m not mistaken). They are of course prove to be very effective for them.. not necessarily for us.

Wait a minute, I’m not saying that we should abandon all those tools. I’m just saying that we should actually develop our own system based on these esteemed tools.

Adapt those system into our life. Make it personal by reanalyzing back the tools and make our own conclusion and formula.

Example 1 : 80/20 rules stated that we should identify the 20% vital task to do first and focus on that one. No flaw to that theory. But maybe some of us are stuck with task that all 100% of them are of equal importance. How then can we choose the 20%?

Maybe for these guys, 80/20 rules must be adjusted to include delegation of work. Delegate some of the tasks to your colleague or subordinate. Maybe improve the system by incorporating other tools like the snowballing effect (Finish the small task first and when it’s done, use the allocated resource to finish the bigger ones)

Simpler example 2 : You know you are supposed to jog daily for one whole month for it to become a natural habit. But you notice that there will always be time that you will not jog.. Even though you keep reminding yourself of the formula.

For you, I would suggest you to come up with a formula on how to restart your habit, instead of formula to force sticking to one. Make it so that if you didn’t jog today, there is a system you already established that will motivate you restart jogging tomorrow. It is so much better than you become frustrated for not being able to form a habit even though one year has passed.

Conclusion – Tools are tools. What make them work is actually you. Nobody else. And for them to work exactly like you want it, you must be able to manipulate or redesign the tools specifically for you.

– I wonder –
Do you agree?

——— Personal Note ———
I am actually in the procecss to form the habit of waking up early. Earlier at least 🙂 But somehow it is very frustrating when sometimes you just wake up late. These frustration for me is quite dangerous, because in time, I may be giving up the whole idea just to avoid being frustrated.

I then choose to construct my own system to restart the habit. How I do that is quite complex to be written here, but suffice to say that it work. Everytime I woke up late, I will just smile and say to myself “Tomorrow then” 🙂 No frustration at all…

Photo credit : D’Arcy Norman

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Empty jar

Summary – Help balance between achieving life’s goal and having fun

If you read blogs on how to get things done, almost all of them will stress that to succeed you must plan and follow your plan. That you should never do other thing besides achieving your goals.

While there maybe some truth to that, don’t you think life will be very boring if you just read books, or work the whole time?

I mean, there are always other insignificant but nice things to do. They may not be contributing to your life goal, but there are what makes living feel like living. Typical examples are like playing guitar, or cleaning the house, or laughing at jokes read etc.

But how to balance the time between working on our goals and doing these trivia stuff?

I recommend The Great Jar of Life 🙂 (Yes I made that name up.. but the concept is as old as the first jar created). What you should do is to get an empty jar, preferably made of glass so that you can see the content anytime.

The next step is to sit down and write a list of all things you want to do. Put down playing guitar, dancing with the mrs, watch one movie, etc. After you finish with the list, tear each items on the list so that you will have a paper for each items. Finally fold and put them in the jar.

The list can be anything your heart desire, but you will have to abide to these rules

  • No heavy stuff – there shouldn’t be “Solve world hunger in there”.
  • The things to do must be easy to do. Do not put “investigate a murder case” on the list
  • It can be done in less than an hour. Some exception maybe for things like watching movie, but you will have to pay back the extra time by not doing anything from the jar tomorrow.

Now everyday, fix one time (preferably in the evening) to pick one paper and just do what ever written on it.

The whole idea is to make some time for our personal pleasure or interest. If you spend your whole day doing everything inside the jar, then your whole day will serve no purpose to your ultimate life goal.

Be frugal with your time, but don’t forget to have fun a little 🙂

– I wonder –
What do you like to do when you have free time

———- Personal Note ———–
I used to love playing computer games. My all time favorite game is Planescape Torment. One of the reason I bought this laptop is to play games. My old pc just cannot support the new games requirements. However, until now I still haven’t had the time to install any games.

I guess, blogging is more fun 🙂

Photo Credit – Indigo Goat<p

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Facing fear

Summary – Only do one task at a time

Today I took medical leave. Actually I was given after I went to the dentist and had one of my tooth pulled out. Just can’t stand the pain.

Having a day off from work, I planned to clean up the house, blog maintenance, maybe start a new exercise routine, watching movie with the mrs etc etc.

That’s where I made a mistake. There’s too many things to do, and I end up just half cleaning the house and watching the movie the rest of the day:)

We always think that we have the time to do 1000 things in our days. Everything is equally important and we have no choice but to do it all. In the end, other urgent things may come or more popularly, we just do what we like, and in my case watching the movie.

How can we fix this?

If we can’t shoot for the stars, aim lower. I should have just list one thing I will definitely do today. What ever happened, this one thing must be done. In 7 days, there will be at least 7 things done. Instead of trying to do it all, I may end up NOT finishing anything at all.

However, this should not be my permanent resolution. Once I have get used to this habit, I will need to increase the number of things must be done per day. The most important thing is still to be consistent with the habit and as long as I strive to be consistent with this, I’m already on the right track.

Why I’m telling you this? Well, I too am still in the journey to better myself, and by publicly sharing this, I am committing myself to the program.

Care to join me?

– I wonder –
What one thing do you want to do tomorrow?

———– Personal Note ———–
I heard somewhere that toothache is the second most painful thing in the world. The most painful thing is delivering baby. I wonder if it is true?

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