The WIP folder solution..

The Situation:

-> 80 odd emails came into the inbox within a period of 10 hours and I was feeling overwhelmed!
-> Just looking at them was pretty stressful! :)


I put all of them into my ‘WIP‘ or ‘Work in Progress‘ folder. This folder is generally for all the emails that I can’t attend to at the current moment. Emails that need me to get back on action in a week, for example, get in there. This folder says ‘Rohan, don’t worry about them.. nothing too important in here that needs action’

This flows with my philosophy of Inbox Zero (which came from tips on Lifehacker) or no emails in my inbox.

The Solution

Solution was really simple eventually.

1) Put all emails into the WIP folder.
2) Take just 3 emails at a time and work on it..
3) Chugged on this for about 50 minutes and voila! I’d acted on all of them.

But, getting to this did involve some thinking. I refused to jump in to clearing them without a process..

Good learning..

The a-connect journey begins..

Firstly, I have graduated! I am now officially an Engineer thanks to having passed my final semester at the National University of Singapore. :)

This is a relief given the fact that engineering is just NOT my thing. And more so because I don’t feel too much connection with my faculty as a result of which I have no interest what-so-ever to attend my own graduation ceremony. This non-interest was tested when I noticed that all of my friends have registered for theirs.. but no, still don’t feel strong enough for it..

Having said that, I do feel the connection with NUS as such, as it was the wonderfully free environment that enabled me to pursue my own interests and learn and grow as a result.

The next step is starting out at a-connect on the 1st of July. Having just got back from a wonderful 3 day company retreat, I already feel like I’ve started but that’s thanks to a very cool team who’ve made me feel at home already!

What is a-connect?
a-connect is an elite global talent machine that strengthens the execution capabilities of a firm through our network of 1,000 top tier strategy consultants with line management experience.

We deploy people into small and large projects typically where strategy meets
implementation and YOUR success is a measure of our impact! (assuming you = client) :)

What does this mean in more lay man terms?
Imagine you are the conductor of an orchestra and there’s something incomplete about the sound. a-connect would come in and help find a solution – for eg let you know that you are missing a violinist. (That’s the strategy part – which all top tier firms also provide) and then, we also help you find a violinist (this is from our network of 1000 odd independent professionals).

I hope that helps explain it..

What am I going to be doing?
I am joining as an Associate at the Singapore office. But, given the normal track record of past Associates, joining a particular office seems to indicate least time spent there. So, I’m not sure where would be the right answer.

As to what I am going to do, I have a basic idea thanks to the retreat. The main objective in the first few months would be like any other – get trained, learnt lots and hopefully add lots of value..

I have a GMAT challenge coming up on the 29th of June following which work beckons..

Looking forward to it! :)

‘Every time you are saying yes to something unimportant, you are saying no to something important.’

Love this quote! Simply love it..

I love the fact that it tells me that any time I spend on an activity that I don’t like doing because I feel I ‘have‘ to, and not because I ‘choose‘ to do it is a waste. After all, I could rather be spending time doing something I love, or spending time with people I love..

Brilliant.. The test is going to be the execution. Can I live this?

And a very early good morning.. Have a great day. Just came back from a 4 day trip (more on this tomorrow) that’s filled me with energy and I’m all set to get cracking again.. :)

Meeting an Interesting Airport character..

It’s been a nice flight from Zurich to Dubai and interesting because of 3 things –

1) I caught 2 movies and that is a record because I always sleep through the entire flight (yes, all 80 odd hours on 4 flights to and fro from the US). And one of them, 7 things to do before I am 30 had a nice message..

2) I started writing a letter. I realized it takes SO long to write a note. It’s still incomplete as food popped by just as I was finishing a page but was very nice. I should probably write more letters..

3) Meeting the character was the big one. I met a very nice Swiss guy sitting next to me – a lawyer on his internship and taking a summer study trip to Beijing. We got along well and decided to spend some time together in transit. And that’s when we had a 3rd character join us, an Indian guy who had lived in Switzerland. This meeting was interesting for a number of reasons..

What intrigued me was his point of view about everything. He was talking with great pride about being expelled from various international schools in India (his parents sent them over from Switzerland as he was too much of a troublemaker there apparently) and the fact that he’s working at a telecom company now and how he plans to get his BBA by joining a friend’s school in Bangalore. Given the friend is the education minister’s son, he figures he doesn’t quite need to attend classes and can fly in to take his exams. As for preparation, he’s sure he can get his hands on the question papers. So, that takes care of that..

After all this, he went on about how India changed him and how he’s against western attitudes and way of thought. He obviously had a lot to say and after a while, we had to bid adieu and my new Swiss friend and I decided to just sit down and browse. Our Indian friend promised to be back after a smoke..

Of course, he never came back..

Maybe we were too boring for him. What hit me was just that I couldn’t wait to get out of his company. While I’ve matured (I think that’s what it would be) not to judge him or his opinions or his actions as right or wrong, I just realize that I’ve very little bandwidth to spend time on things I don’t want to do.

I just love the quote I read the other day ‘Whenever you are saying yes to something unimportant, you are saying no to something important!’. I guess this will be a good morning quote soon..

And its true, I am enjoying typing this out and learning from the incident.. :)

It’s been a busy few days but lots of learnings coming through.. very soon! :)

Slow and steady..

wins the race..

We had an a very innovative fun activity. We had to come up with an advertisement in 3 hours time – a proper 30-60 second ad..

And it was SO much fun. It was a big learning curve for me as I played Director and I’d never done that before and it was lot of fun storyboarding and working with Walt, the cameraman.

The funny part is that we spent close to to 1 and half hours just brainstorming! 2 teams were done in 30 mins while we stayed, debated, argued, fought for etc.. and boy, it was quite a long process. We almost gave up, but that’s just about when we agreed on something and started on it..

The other team (there were 4 in total) took slightly longer than us and we were almost freaked at this point as we had started really really late! And guess what.. our team came 1st and the other team came a close close 2nd (settled on tie breakers).

Our story lines were extremely simple, conveying a simple idea with lots of humor and that won it for us.

It was quite a lesson for me –

1) Think.. and then act..
2) No point in hurrying. The important thing to focus on is quality. :)

The Greatness Guide by Robin Sharma – Idea rich!

One of the disadvantages of having an archaic phone whose headphone cords don’t work is you can’t listen to audio in places with close proximity to public. As a result, I had to take a book along and thank god I took this one..

3 things that struck me:

1) The book is ‘idea rich‘! Lots and lots of ideas in byte sized chapters (no more than 3 pages). Every page has a nice little anecdote and a quote that makes for very entertaining read. Who says management books can’t be page turners?

2) I found the book to be very very reflective. It caused me to stop at many points and actually think of what I would do in situations, what I am doing right now, whether what I plan to do makes sense, whether I am actually focusing on the priorities etc. Every once a while, it is nice picking up a book like this. I have jotted down a whole bunch of new ideas to reflect on in the next few days, a whole bunch of quotes(like the Anita Roddick one today morning) to share on this blog and what’s more, I think I’ve found a new blog to subscribe to. If his blog is anywhere as close as his book, it should be well worth it!

3) We’re all destined to be great! Let’s just not shrug, make excuses and look for alibis. Our schedule tells the true story. What are we REALLY spending time on? A schedule never lies.. are we setting ourselves up for greatness?

There’s enough out there for all of us. So, let’s start pulling each other up! :)