Four simple ways to save time daily…

Have you ever wondered why some people are more efficient than others in their day to day performance? Why do some people get more done at the end of their day than others? I mean, we all have 24 hours in a day right? So, what makes this difference? Well, it comes down to how effectively they use their time, and how much time is wasted. Time is, by far, our most precious resource. Once it’s gone, its gone forever! Hence we should all make an extra effort to maximize our use of this non-renewable resource. Here are just some simple tips to get you started from today!

  • Leave your cell phone out of the restroom/toilet. No, seriously, leave it out! You would not believe how much time you can save by doing this simple step. Surveys showed that up to 61% of people use their phones in the restroom. And more than 31% of these stayed in the bathroom longer than necessary, in order to finish whatever they’re doing on their phones. Also consider the fact that you run the risk of dropping your phone into the toilet! I’m sure we all know at least one person to whom this has already happened. Don’t be that one, leave your phone out!

  • Focus on one task at a time. We live in such a fast paced world today, we’re all constantly trying to get a million things done at once. But, guess what? In doing so, we are actually decreasing our overall efficiency at the tasks, and end up taking a longer time to get them done. We’d actually be much better off putting our focus and energy into one task at a time. Our stress levels will decrease, as well as we’d find ourselves being generally more mindful of the tasks at hand. Refer to this article for a deeper delve into the science of multitasking.

  • Plan your tomorrow from the night before. This doubles as a stress-reducing strategy, since planning your tomorrow can free up some of your mental clutter, allowing for a more restful night. This helps save time because, come tomorrow, you don’t need to spend time figuring out your day…it’s already outlined! So, you get off bed, and immediately hit the ground running. Since you’re also less stressed, you are able to perform better at your tasks, you have more energy, and more mental space to breathe.

  • Wake up two minutes earlier every day for one month. At the end of the month, guess what? You now have an extra hour on mornings! The gradual nature of this habit is less stressful than trying to wake up one hour earlier in one go. Your body has the time to adjust to the process and ease into the change. You can now use this extra hour to get some important tasks done, or to get ready to face the world by doing some workouts/meditations. Whatever you do, just don’t waste this reclaimed time! However, try to skip the social media craze, and start the day off on your own agenda.

The last point was more of a way to claim some extra time, than a way to save time. However, these are just some simple and easy methods you can implement from TODAY to squeeze the most juice out of your days. If you have any more suggestions, feel free to give feedback or leave a comment.

Do continue to move forward.

#ForwardMovements

#OneLove

Ian

Advertisements

This is what happened when I went silent…

As most of us have become accustomed to living in an extremely fast-paced world, we often feel the need to constantly be doing something, to constantly be chatting away, as our minds approach speeds of up to 1000 miles per hour! I can safely say that I am sometimes guilty of such a frantic state of mind. Recently, I have been offered the opportunity to attend a residential off-the-grid silence retreat for four days – late evening on Wednesday through Sunday afternoon.  This retreat took place at the Colibri Creative Centre of Light in Santa Cruz, Trinidad and Tobago.

colibri
Colibri at sunset. Tucked away peacefully in the Redwoods Forest of Las Hermanas Estates in Santa Cruz, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this location is ideal for such a retreat.

So…you came here to find out what happened when I went silent, right? Listed below are just a few of the countless personal lessons and/or benefits I’ve experienced so far from indulging in four days of silence.

  1. Silence is golden. There is no alternative to such an experience. I urge everyone to commit to an extended period of silence at least once in their lifetime. An extended period can be any period of time longer than one day (24 hours). It sounds daunting now, but trust me, it’s worth it in the end. The benefits are lifelong. No amount of words can really explain the magic felt when in silence, you just HAVE to experience it yourself!
     
  2. Mental clutter can decrease your overall performance in daily life. In the midst of our modern, fast-paced life, it’s easy to get bogged down by all the tasks we have to complete, the deadlines we have to meet, the calls we have to make, and the list goes on. This retreat has allowed me the benefit of slowing down, and slowly coming back to center. As little as two days into the program, I’ve noticed that I was able to think a lot quicker and clearer than before! The mind chatter was silenced, and so life seemed generally a lot easier to handle, because more processing power was reserved for experiencing the current moment, which brings me to my next point.
     
  3. Living in the moment is priceless. Let go of past and future botherations. Life itself is happening right now. So, by constantly dwelling in the past or worrying about the future, you end up missing out on life! Whenever I find myself drifting off into past or future, I simply come back to the present by focusing on the body and the breath. It’s as simple as counting your breaths…in and out, in and out.
     
  4. Self-acceptance. I’ve learnt to be myself, regardless of social pressures. Shine, be genuine, stand up for what you believe in. Project what’s true to you and the people that’s right for you will eventually present themselves to you…gradually, but definitely!
     
  5. Disconnect, and appreciate nature. During these four days, we were surrounded by trees, greenery, fresh air, sunlight, tropical flora and fauna, and the like. We were encouraged to take walks up the hiking trail, but at a leisurely pace, so as to fully assimilate what was around us at that moment. A lasting sense of harmony and balance overcame me as I began to fully observe the natural world around me.
     
  6. Breath is key to more life! For a long time, many eastern cultures knew of the immense power that lies in the breath. In my personal experience with exploring the breath, I’ve also discovered the true potential of taking charge of your breath. In essence, if we master the breath, we can easily supercharge our bodies on demand, and productivity in our daily lives can soar to new levels! Start by simple observing the breath whenever you feel overwhelmed.
     
  7. Get physical. Connect with your body, get moving, destroy stagnation. In today’s world, even though we’re mentally very active, our bodies don’t get enough movement going! A lot of people sit for long periods of time at a desk for their jobs, and forget to get their blood flowing every now and then. My recommendation is to take at 5 to 10 minutes every day right after you get off bed, and do some stretches and some reps of your favorite workout, just to come back to center and reconnect with your body. Your day will instantly feel more manageable! Take movement breaks periodically during the day as well.
     
  8. Kill the bug of mediocrity. Grab life by the horns, and devour it! Experience every moment fully. Often times, we don’t even try to reach our fullest potential. Our minds and schedules are constantly so busy that we lose our peace of mind. As a result, we don’t feel motivated enough to get past our comfort zone and reach new heights and so, if we allow ourselves to, we can get into the habit of just getting by. Let’s get rid of this habit. Now! All these actionable tips given above can help us to reclaim our minds, bodies, and spirit…and, as such, allow ourselves to break free from a cycle of mediocrity. Take action today!
     

As always, I like to keep my articles short and sweet! Hope you guys enjoyed reading it, and I urge everyone to put action to some of the lessons listed here. The benefits are countless, and they will transcend all areas of your life!

Interested in experiencing this for yourself? You can message the Art of Living Trinidad and Tobago page on Facebook by clicking HERE and like it to keep up to date with future events. For international readers, you may visit their website by clicking HERE.

Let’s go forth together!

#ForwardMovements

#OneLove

-Ian

You can connect with me on Instagram @ian.dass, or click HERE!

Four things you can do NOW to kill the victim in you…

For many of us, there was a point in our lives where we would have, quite literally, given up ownership of our lives. We would have blamed everyone but ourselves for our current situation – especially if it was less than desirable! We would have often said things like “It’s not my fault”, “It’s his/her/their fault”, “Why is this happening TO ME?”, and countless other variations. And, as a result, we felt powerless over our current situation and, by extension, our future. But what can be done about such a mindset? Here are four things you can start today to get rid of the victim mindset.

(1) – Use positive affirmations. Every morning, as a rule, the first thing you should do as you get out of bed is have a tall, refreshing glass of water. Right after that, as the water works its magic and the sleep marks fade away from your face, the very next thing on your to-do list should be to voice out to yourself, a series of positive self-motivational affirmations. It’s best done along with some visualizations of what you want to achieve, both in the short term and the long term. They act as mental structures that can help to reinforce your mindset – hence resulting in a mentally stronger you. Some examples of affirmations that you can use are:

  • Today I take full responsibility for my actions.
  • Today I am taking at least one step nearer to my goals.
  • I take sole ownership of my life today.

(2) – Take responsibility for your own actions. Stop blaming others for your circumstances. As the affirmation said, “Today I take full responsibility for my actions.” This is an important step because in order to take sole ownership of your life, you must first take responsibility for your actions. Realize that you have the power to start today and make a better tomorrow for yourself. All you need to do it take ownership, take action, and stop believing that everyone is out their to conspire against you. Most times, it’s all in your head – which brings me to my  next point.

(3) – Get out of your head. This is a dangerous place to constantly be in, especially when it results in your negative self-beliefs taking over your life. Many times, you may get caught up in the negative things that you believe about yourself, and you allow them to control your life. This is natural, because each person is their own worst critic. However, you should learn to be easier on yourself. Allow yourself to be natural, and make mistakes – how else will you learn and grow as a person?

(4) – Work on yourself. If there’s one thing you should never stop doing is improving yourself. Everyday, work on yourself. Learn a new thing each day. Get yourself enrolled in a new class. Empower yourself through new skill sets. So what if you think you won’t be good at it? The only way to know for sure what you are naturally good at is to try new things. Explore, get yourself out there. You know what they say, experience is the one thing no one can take from you. Go. Live life. Learn. Make mistakes. Grow. Work on yourself.

And there you go, four simple things you can start doing from today to get rid of your inner victim – the inner voice/entity that sucks away your sense of empowerment and control over your own life. Go out there and put at least one of these tips to practice…today!

As always, let’s go forth together!

#ForwardMovements

#OneLove

– Ian

Rumors, and why they are poisonous…

Do you spread rumors? If yes, stop it now!

Next time a rumor arrives at your doorstep, shut it down. Right away. No questions asked. Why? Well, frankly speaking, the perpetuating of rumors is a very poisonous and unwise act. It may seem like no big deal to the ones spreading the rumor but, it can be a huge deal to the person who the rumor is about. And no, not because he/she is being too sensitive, but because a rumor that’s bad enough can actually be detrimental to a person and his/her life.

Let’s clarify what a rumor actually is. According to Dictionary.com, a rumor is “a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts.” The key words here being “without confirmation or certainty”. Essentially, if the message is not verified, do not mention it any further!

With that being said, here are a few reasons why you should, henceforth, not start/perpetuate rumors.

  • They are a waste of your time. If you find yourself gossiping casually, then you’re not using your time wisely! Time is a non-renewable resource. Once it is used badly, there’s no getting it back! So, instead of making other peoples’ lives and whereabouts your priority, use your time to instead prioritize the things that can take your own self forward. This way, everyone ends up happy!
  • You would not enjoy hearing a rumor about yourself being spread! There’s a popular saying, “Do onto others what you would have them do onto you.” This quote needs no elaboration…it speaks for itself!
  • You get only a false sense of superiority or improved self-image. Ever wondered why negative rumors spread much faster and wider than the positive ones? Well, this is simply because these negative rumors tend to make their spreaders temporarily feel better about themselves. There’s a very relevant saying that goes something like this, “Putting out someone else’s light will NOT make your own light shine any brighter.” This saying itself speaks volumes about this particular point.
  • Your authenticity becomes questionable. Have you ever came across someone who constantly speaks negatively about others (to you)? Did it ever occur to you that they may, in fact, also be speaking negatively about you (to others)? I’m sure it did, and that you’d want to distance yourself from such a person. Well, the same applies to you. Eventually, people will begin to question your intentions. At least the wise ones will! And, in the end, if you don’t stop this malicious act, your circle will only consist of toxic persons who have no real objectives or goals other than to make others’ lives their priority!

I think I may have overshot my word limit, since I aim to keep my content concise and sweet. So, I’ll just conclude by saying that you should be mindful about what you say to others (about others). Instead of spreading negativity, be a vessel of light instead. If you must say something about someone, say something that would help build them up, rather than tear them down. The next time you come across a rumor, try to stop yourself from spreading it. You’d find that you now have much more freedom and time to genuinely express and develop yourself and, as a result, you’d attract like-minded, non-toxic individuals into your life. If you are genuinely concerned, why not talk to the person who the rumor is about? Either confirm or refute the information at its source. Be an example – spread light, not ignorance!

As always, let’s go forth together!

#ForwardMovements

#OneLove

– Ian

A simple 3-step guide to getting things done…

We’ve all had those days that just dragged on without any periods of productivity, at the end of which we usually feel either overwhelmed or miserable. But, have you ever considered why you’re not being productive? Maybe you’re just being a tad bit too optimistic about the amount of time you have to complete a particular task, so you just end up leaving it to be done “tomorrow”. I know, I’ve done it before! Personally, I think that one of the main causes of this lack of productivity is that we’re, simply put, mentally overwhelmed – even though you may trick yourself into thinking that you’re not! So…what exactly causes this mental overwhelm? It stems from the fact that you feel as though you have so many tasks to complete that it’s tough to even start! Here are some simple, easy-to-do tips that you can use to get the ball finally rolling, if even a little – It will go a long way!

  1. Have a nice, refreshing drink of water. Yes, skip the coffee and go for some water instead! It has been shown that even the slightest bit of dehydration can have a detrimental effect on cognitive performance and, by extension, productivity. However, we shouldn’t need a study to tell us that, right? I’m sure we all feel great after having a good drink of water…so, hydrate yourself and get the mental juices flowing!
  2. After you’ve had your fill of water, it’s time to put pen to paper! Start by writing down EVERYTHING you need to get done within the next week or so, then prioritize by urgency – I usually get the most difficult or time-consuming tasks done first. The reason why you feel overwhelmed is that you have all these thoughts floating around in your head that it’s all too difficult to manage! Whilst in your head, the important thoughts and ideas get clouded by the many “trivial” thoughts and ideas, and this is why we may sometimes forget important tasks until the very last minute. Once everything is written down, everything is clearer and you realize that it’s actually not that much! Now, you are able to sort, prioritize and get to work! You’ll see that you were feeling overwhelmed for absolutely no reason.
  3. Now that you have an action plan, the use of “time blocks” can easily accelerate your rate of getting things done! It has been shown that we exhibit signs of mental fatigue from as early as 15-20 minutes into a particular task. I recommend using time blocks of 25 minutes of work, followed by 5 minutes of break. This is called the Pomodoro technique. The break periods should be used to refresh yourself and keep the blood flowing – drink some water, take some deep breaths, stretch, go to the bathroom, etc. This is very useful for preventing mental exhaustion. During the work periods, get rid of ALL DISTRACTIONS, and just work on whatever the task may be! If you happen to get distracted by an idea, thought, or email during a work period, simply write it down and get back to it later. Once you get used to using blocks of time to get things done, you’ll see a major increase in personal productivity. After all, time is a non-renewable resource – once it is used, it ain’t coming back – so use it intelligently!

This was a simple, to-the-point guide on being more productive in daily life. As with all of my articles, I tried to keep it short and sweet by discussing only the essentials – no frills. I hope that it has helped you, in even the smallest way, to get things done in a timely fashion. Let me just conclude with a quote that I hope will shift us all into action mode!

“Doing just a little bit during the time we have available puts you that much further ahead than if you took no action at all.”
~ B. Pulsifer, Take Action; Don’t Procrastinate!

As usual, let’s go forth together!

#ForewardMovements

#OneLove

-Ian

For a better life, here’s what NOT to do…

We often hear people tell us that in order to improve our quality of life, we must do these things, in this exact order. Well, sure, there are many things you can do in order to improve your self and your life…like stop procrastinating and be productive*wink wink*, or be more active, read more books, etc. Yes, these things are things you may do to bring about self improvement.

However, there is a very harmful thing that we are all guilty of doing at some point in our lives. It’s harmful because it takes away from your perceived quality of life, no matter how much you have, how good you are at a particular skill, or how fit you are as a person. This harmful thing is, simply put, comparing yourself to others.

Since we’re all so accustomed to doing it, it will take some practice, along with self-awareness and mindfulness to get used to NOT doing it. It’s not impossible, because it’s a learned habit. We weren’t born comparing ourselves to each other. We were socially conditioned into doing so. As such, it can be unlearned. In order to do so, we must realize that we’re comparing our “behind the scenes” to others’ “highlight reel”, so to speak. I mean, we know everything that’s happening in our lives and, a lot of times, it appears to be less desirable than what we see happening in others’ lives. Remember that others are not showing us the entire story. In essence, we’re comparing our real life (the RAW unedited file with all the errors and unwanted floor shots) to other people’s final, polished product (after they have selectively edited out the not-so-desirable pimples and scars, and applied the best filter they can find).

Hopefully, by now, you realize that this popular comparison is, in no way, a balanced and fair one. It’s detrimental to your perceived quality of life because, if you allow it to, it can prevent you from realizing that you may currently be at the place that, ten years ago, you’ve only dreamt of being! Comparison, though, is not always a bad thing. I mean, it can act as motivation for you to become a better person, or become better at a sport or skill – in the form of healthy competition. The harm begins when it prevents you from being mindful of all the blessings you currently have. Short and sweet as always, let me conclude by saying: Work towards a better you but, while doing so, be happy with where you currently are!

Let’s go forth together!

#OneLove

– Ian

Turn off the TV!

Seriously, turn the thing off!

You’ve had a long day at work/school, successfully dealt with the many current moving parts in your life, and finally ready to wind down for the evening. You arrive home, quench your thirst, freshen up yourself, and get ready for dinner. As you sit down to eat, what’s the first thing you do? I’m sure a lot of you would automatically turn on the TV. I mean, you’ve had a long day…you deserve it, right? Wrong…you deserve better!

Recently, I’ve been observing that a lot of people aren’t as mindful as they should be about many things in their lives. Television is one of those many things. For example, I see people turn on the TV as soon as they sit down. It’s as though they feel compelled to have the TV playing in order to feel relaxed, or to wind down. Most times, though, they just end up mindlessly surfing through the channels, and being fed with countless commercial propaganda along the way. I know, because there was a time when I used to do the same! However, I’ve started to slowly and incrementally decrease the amount of time I allowed myself to watch TV, until the need to watch TV was gone completely! Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with watching TV, but do so mindfully and in moderation. 

You’d be amazed at how much time you can reclaim for other tasks such as catching up with family and friends, spending quality time with your loved ones, reading an interesting book, meditation, or even a good workout! The list goes on. You’d also find that you feel more energized, free, and in tune with yourself than before. Ultimately, a feeling of increased overall well-being is what you should expect (given that you use this reclaimed time for beneficial activities, of course).

Since I intend on making most of my articles short and sweet, let me conclude now by saying: Next time you sit down to have dinner, leave the TV off! Instead, put on some feel-good music of your choice and just lean back and enjoy, while you mindfully savor every delicious bite of your meal. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed…I surely wasn’t!

Let’s go forth together!

#OneLove

-Ian

 

A Rebirth, A Renewal, A Renaissance…

It’s been a while people, a while since I’ve posted on here. I’m not gonna make the typical “Oh, I’ve been too busy” excuse…simply because no one’s really ever “too busy”. We just tend to have different priorities at different points in time.

Let me get straight to the point. I’ve decided to give this blog a new lease of life, by a fresh redesign…from the inside out! Yes, I’ll be giving this blogging thing another try…de nuevo! This time around, however, I’ll not only be doing poetry…but also articles about interesting topics such as photography, wellness, personal development, and many other interesting topics (worry not! they’ll be sorted accordingly). Here comes the rebirth, the renewal, the renaissance!

Welcome to Ian’s Creative Outlet 2.0! (edit: now renamed to Forward Movements with Ian)

Let’s go forth together!

#OneLove

– Ian

An Ephemeral Vista of a Crimson Moon

In the heavens above, she sits all too loyal,
Night after night, she basks in her alluring enigma,
Showering her light, quietly and with intent,
Like a true-hearted patriot, with each ascent.

Creating a fusillade of an uncertain mystery,
Just like she did throughout human history,
As she submerges herself into a blood-like red,
Spawning questions about our days ahead.

She comes and goes, ebbs and flows,
Like an ocean of vast conundrum,
Still to be understood by many,
Are her mesmeric unpredictable ways.


Ian Dass, Copyright 2015

Blue and White Paradise

A precious land of an unseen magic,
A land of ancient Gods and Goddesses,
So blessed, so beautifully marinated,
In the age old waters of the Aegean sea,
As whitewashed boxes contrast the serene blue,
As a calm and timeless atmosphere,
Lingers over this modest Mediterranean treasure,
Evidence of its momentous history,
A history punctuated with tragedy,
Remnants of which, today,
Manifest in an elegant, colorful array,
As each blissful day, slowly fades away.

Ian Dass, Copyright 2015