Spare Moments 

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One of the interesting concepts I learned from Laura Vanderkam’s books : 168 hours and I Know How She Does It is the concept of ‘time confetti’. 

Coined by Brigid Schulte, author of ‘Overwhelmed: Work, Love, And Play When No One Has The Time’, she explains the idea of “time confetti” – a fragmentation that impacts our health, quality of life, productivity and creativity. This fragmentation amounts to “contaminated time” that prevents pure enjoyment, relaxation, focus, and mindfulness. 

Interesting as it was, coupled with Laura Vanderkam’s excellent suggestion to keep a list of 100 dreams and activities to indulge in during our spare time, I am totally inspired to use all my spare Moments wisely. Considering that as a SAHM, my schedule revolves around ensuring other people’s schedules, it becomes even more important for me to keep energizing and progressive tasks at arms reach. Thus began the ‘Spare Moments’ posts: for accountability, commitment, encouragement and the clarity that comes from a written chronicle.

This week was full of spare Moments. 

 business-networking-and-sex-book 

  • The time at the car service station when T fell asleep and Hubs was on call. I made conversation with a fellow car owner and also read two chapter of ‘Business, Networking and Sex (not what you think)’

 four-tendencies-gretchen-rubin 

  • A friend came over to play Lego with T (an earlier promise to T that was made good 🙂). So, I got half hour to read Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The Four Tendencies’.
  • T caught a kind of stomach bug and was home with me for two whole days. While they were upsetting, it meant that I crooned a lot more than usual. So, my plans to practice singing got fulfilled. 
  • We are transitioning T to a separate bed. Hubs took charge of two days, meaning I got an hour’s worth of readibg done. I used this time by reading the Four Tendencies and a Harlequin Romance. 
  • Since, T was home and needed to be distracted from solid food, we did some great coloring, got some photos put up in her room, and enjoyed Lego building. We are in the process of making different castles from our imagination.

While these are not wonderful examples, I do feel ennerved that I spent the unexpected chunks of time on inspiring activities rather than wondering what to do or scrolling through social media.

Have you made a list of activities to do in spare time? Do you keep a 100 Dreams list? Have you read these books? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Research in the Old Fashioned Way!

Remember the days when research meant a trip to the library and poring over an armload of books. What with the new School year, T’s best friend’s moving away, our shift to a new neighborhood, missing grandparents after having them all summer, and reaching new milestones, little T is having quite a few adjustments to make. All part of growing up, yes. 

But, I am always game to learn a few new things. And what better than a good old fashioned book to do so. Teaches T that mom loves books and gives me a chance to indulge in my favorite activity and gain helpful strategies too! Win-win! 

  
This book has been on my reading list for a while now. So many of my parent friends recommended this book. Especially the really sorted, have-it-all-together ones. After even my youngest mom friend had finished the book, I decided I have to find out just where are they getting it. Turns out, the ebook version was in our library. 🙄

I am half way through the book and I love it. Even if you are not a parent who yells too much (every parent yells at some point or the other 😜), this book has very good strategies for when your child is being their most childishly annoying self.

  
This next book was a find in the Parenting section of our library. (Paperback) I am constantly bemoaning with fellow moms how our naughty darlings turn into such angels the minute they step into their schools. I keep pestering T’s teachers about tips to understand what they are doing. Almost all the amazing Kindergarten teachers I have met across continents are roughly of the same mound as Madame Gazelle from Peppa Pig. Encouraging, polite yet firm and adept at getting kids to listen, follow and blossom. 

Imagine then, what I felt when I spotted this book! Absolute delight and thrill. Again, I have read a third and already I am so impressed. I can’t wait to finish the rest.

Both these books don’t advocate blindly following the strategies listed. Indeed, they lay out the techniques merely as guidelines to be adapted to each child and parent based on our personal beliefs, strengths and values. I am so happy to have laid my hands on such wonderful texts. I look forward to sharing my detailed reviews once I finish. 

I would like to point out here, that the Kindergarten book is obviously meant for parents of 3-6 year olds. But, it does have a section for older kids and mentions how the tips can be tailored to suit kids of all ages.

I have read some amazing books on parenting in the past like ‘No Regrets Parenting’ and ‘Bringing up Bebe’. Hence, I am happy to add to my list these two books as well. 

AudioBook- Own the Room

This week’s challenge has definitely been Own The Room– the wonderful book by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Wilkins. This book was on my Goodreads To-Read list. SO, when I noticed an audiobook version in my library, I borrowed it right away.  And then trouble started.

  • I do not have extensive experience of audio books. This book has tables which I could visualize but not keep up with in the absence of a tangible cue.
  • I listen to audio books while doing mindless tasks like ironing. Not a very good idea as far as this book is concerned. It is a self-help book, that means we need to listen carefully enough to absorb and emulate. Possibly, my visual learning made it hard for me to recall and associate the tables and reference to the ACE model. I know it is Assumptions, Communications and Energy. But, when I listened while multi-tasking, it was hard to recall all three. [Just writing that line makes me feel foolish. I am chanting “I am an Engineer. I have a Bachelors Degree with Distinction. I did an online course from Wharton” as I write to make myself feel better.]

I learned an important lesson in this experience.

Just like some books are to be savored and some skimmed, audio books need differing levels of attention. Sure, all the audio books I finished have been self-help books. But, they were more anecdotal in narration while this was more case study like. Also, two principal characters from the two case studies are carried throughout the book, which I found difficult to keep recalling. The reasons are many: distraction, divided attention, audiobook beginner handicap, preference to the written word and so on. I hope to listen to this book again during the holidays in longer bursts of time. Hopefully,  I shall be able to finish and retain the knowledge that time. Until then, I shall try other audio books and learn lessons from the experience if not the book.

As an aside, I want to add that I finished a third of the book. Up to this part, it was wonderful. I simply enjoyed learning about the ACE model, the four Voice Quadrants and Signature Voice. It was just the process and comprehension that I found difficult.

Have you listened to audiobooks? What were your experiences? Leave me your thoughts and tip sin the comments below.

Reading List 

My to-read list keeps growing every time I come across a great find whether by recommendation, at the library or by chancing upon a review/ discussion.

While I don’t expect to finish by the end of the year, here is my list:

  
  
 
These are mostly from my Goodreads Books By Women list. 

I am currently reading a romance novel by Robyn Carr, the ebook ‘Eat That Frog’ and ‘Fail Fast, Fail Often’ in Paperback.

So, what are you reading? Leave me your favorites and recommendations in the comments below.

Time, Optimism and other Challenges

Time Challenge: 

This week I am reading three books to maximize my spare moments.

  • Brag by Peggy Klaus
  • Reinventing You by Dorie Clark
  • Darling, you can’t Do Both… by Kestin and Vonk

All of these were on my list of books to read by women authors and happy to note that all my spare moments are spent devouring these amazing guides.

Positivity:

While I stopped measuring my positivity, I am implementing the lessons learnt every day.

I found reading and blogging to be great boosters along with coding/ developing. So, I found a way to combine the two. Emboldened by this blog, the inspiring books I have been reading and the lessons from the Positivity measuring; that I started a new blog to showcase my professional work. I hope to apply the lessons from this blog to keep up the momentum over there too! 

Reading:

While I am well past my Goodreads Challenge, I am enjoying savoring the amazing list of books by women in the field of management and business. It is keeping me occupied and happy. Bonus: great ideas for this blog! 

Parenting:

School is close to opening, so, it’s something T and I are both looking forward to. Meanwhile our fun activities and tiny lessons and moments are still on. We sewed clothes for our toys, almost built a doll house (it was part Lego, so not made to last), played restaurant in our new kitchen set (courtesy Grandpa and Grandma!), and are giving Baby Alive all sorts of adventures. 

Intrigued by T’s love for watching toy review videos, I even got her to do her own. Not for capturing (would be great to share with grandparents) but to channel her creativity and speaking skills. Plus, we rekindles interest in a lot of our infrequently used toys.  I even conquered my ironing during that time with T entertaining me! Win-win!

Life does come with many challenges, big, small and trivial. Sometimes, they add up to a lot of frustration (like longing for the kids’ school to start) but there is always a way with a little bit of faith and effort. And encouragement: like your reading this post.

Thanks and keep plodding through those life little curveballs!

Have a great weekend ahead! 

Reading : Books by Women

I am always looking to expanding my non-fiction reading, books on business, finance, career development, entrepreneurship and the likes. But the list of books by women authors usually is limited to just a few.

Curious I decided to search for lists of books by women authors. My criteria was not books for women, but books by women! Searching through Google, Twitter and Goodreads, I found many lists ‘for women’. But only few passed the ‘By Women‘ test. 😦

To be fair, books by men are wonderful, insightful and applicable. But, I really wanted to read books by women on the subjects of career development, managing businesses, achieving success, making money. Surely, not such an arduous task. But it was!

But, I found the efforts were worth it! I found a few marvelous lists, and I am happy to report that my to-read list has now expanded significantly. In fact, I plan to plow through these lists and read away to glory now! After all, what better way to spend the oncoming cold here in Midwest? A nice cup of coffee, a good book, the little one perusing her own books (hopefully), ahh!!! The good life!

Given below are the lists I found as well as the one I built up on Goodreads:

  • Goodreads Self List : I made this list based on what I have read and been recommended. Confession Time: I am only half done on this list!
  • From Inc.com : This is the one list that comes up frequently. Interesting to note that this article was created by a man! While I can dwell on how it takes a man to point this out and carefully curate that list; I won’t. Instead, I am be delighted that men and women are equally committed to equality on all fronts and helping in our own ways! That is heartening, after all!
  • Goodreads Business List: Another find on Goodreads.
  • NonFiction for Women – This list is ostensibly for women in their twenties. I’m not! I turned 31 this month! But with 135 books, all by women; it’s not hard to find many wonderful titles (amid a few I’d call questionable) for inspiration and empowerment.
  • Indian Women Authors: This list is targeted towards women in Indian workforce. I am adding this list as I am an Indian and some of the titles in this list were recommended while I worked as a software professional.

These lists are no way exhaustive. So, please do let me know if there is any book that you found awesome and was written by a female author. Or add it to the list on Goodreads here.