The Key is to Focus

Category : Workplace

Have you ever experienced a state of mind whereby you’re so overwhelmed with everything that you can’t seem to be able to focus on anything as your mind is always thinking about the other thing which you should be doing instead?

As time goes on, things come to a standstill as this evolves into a vicious cycle whereby nothing is done in the end as you’re always thinking about something else.

What happened? The keyword is of course “Focus” or more accurately, the lack of focus.

I have been experiencing a lot of this lately as my team is in the process of being transitioned to a new vendor with numerous knowledge transfer sessions scheduled between myself and my fellow developers in India. Time is not only spent on the knowledge transfer sessions where I am required give an overview and deep dive into the various Business Intelligence Projects I’ve worked on, both from the technical solution and business perspective but time is also spent on the preparation for these sessions. All these are happening while it’s still business as usual.

With this intense time squeeze, I’m often caught between various business users and projects, at a loss as to who to serve first. I want to help everyone but there’s only one Soh Cheng. So I’m stuck. Should I sacrifice everything, including family, friends and weekends, for work or should I initiate change? Lately I’ve started a routine of isolating myself by plugging into my music so that I’m focused but is that really the right thing to do?

All these thoughts came up while my life flashed passed my eyes. Ok, I’m just being dramatic. But I do find myself at the crossroads once again. Decision time, what’s my next step and where do I see myself five years down the road? Do I still want to continue my current state of affairs or is my time up in this current phase of my career? I have made great friends, forged strong bonds & relationships with the ladies in my department, my teammates and business users from Singapore to Dublin. But…

This is something I’ll really need to think about as my career is at stake. Excuse me, I’m being dramatic again.

Anyway, for fellow sufferers of the above mentioned “Lack of focus” symptom, stop everything you’re doing right now. Yes, stop right now if you want to resolve this once and for all. Now,
1. Take a few deep breathes to calm your mind down.
2. Make a list of everything that you need to do.
3. Indicate the deadline and estimated time required to complete them.
4. Draft out the timeline of these items. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
5. Review the timeline, is it realistic? I’ll bet it’s not otherwise you won’t be suffering from this mayhem.
6. Plan out the things to be done, one at a time. In other words, focus, execute, complete then next.
7. Reprioritisation may be required. Face it and talk to your superior. They won’t know if you keep mum.
8. Rework the timeline if required and you’re on your way to finishing something.

I hope this helps. If not a few more deep breathes along the way may just do the trick. Cheers.

Baby keep smiling, you know the sun is shining

Category : Workplace

We are often inspired by many things (sometimes the smallest things) that we experience and encounter in life. Everything that we hear, see, smell or touch could trigger a whole series or even avalanche of thoughts and emotions within our brain and/or our heart.

Today, a song lyric mysteriously invaded my brain and started looping infinitely which brought a smile to my face as I went about my daily routine of chasing after deadlines and responding to users’ requests plus not forgetting to do some reminding myself.

That’s right, “Baby keep smiling, you know the sun is shining” from “Baby Keep Smiling” by Lou Bega. I first came to know of this singer from his famous rendition of “Mambo Number 5” which is a number 1 hit in 1999 which I’m sure many of us are familiar with and can easily hum out the tune at a snap of the finger. “Baby Keep Smiling” is a lighthearted song which seems to have the power to erase the creases from my forehead and brighten the atmosphere in the office.

Oftentimes we are so caught up with what we’re doing that we forget to smile and bring some joy to our otherwise hectic and competitive lifestyle. Since we’ll still need to do it anyway, why not do it with a smile, right? Hope this song will help to do some magic for you too. “Baby keep smiling, you know the sun is shining” 🙂


Everybody wants a piece of me

Category : Workplace

The thing with working in a MNC is that the world continues spinning while Singapore is having a public holiday. The feeling that I got when I first opened my email is, yes, everyone wants a piece of me. My team has been shrinking over the past couple of months with no new hires and guess what? The workload didn’t adjust proportionally. What’s new right? I’m sure you know what I mean.

Besides being technically involved in four to five concurrent projects, they seemed to have quickened their pace while I was taking a breather over Deepavali, the festival of lights. Ironically I don’t see many friendly lights awaiting me in the treacherous forest ahead. Bleak? I know.

So I ask myself this question, is it even possible to deliver or catch up on all the tasks and user requests on my plate without burning any evenings and weekends? If I choose to ‘sell my soul’ to my company, what’s next?

Yes, indeed I’m at a crossroad with many thoughts firing away as I go about my everyday life, building my storyboard, ideally one with abundance, happiness and most importantly – choice. Achievable? What about your life story? What have you pictured it to be and are you living it yet? If not, what are you doing (if you are doing something) towards aligning your life with your dream?

Thoughts will just be thoughts. As I wave goodbye to them followed by a few deep breathes, I returned to reprioritizing my work based on what’s in my calendar for the day. Things will take a turn for the better. I believe it will.