Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finding Treasure -- Rimba Baca

It's not easy to find a good children library in Jakarta. I had tried googling with no success. So when I found Rimba Baca, a children library, I feel like finding a treasure.
Rimba Baca, A small children library located in Jl RSPP No 21B Cilandak, South Jakarta
Rimba Baca is located conveniently between home and Echie's school, at Cilandak, Jakarta Selatan, near RS. Fatmawati. If you knew Limma Bookstore on around 1990s and early 2000s, it had a similar ambiance, but smaller and cozier. The place is very homy, maybe because it's previously a house, with modern and simple style. Fully air conditioned, with wooden floor and small carpets. We could sit comfortably on the floor, on small single sofas or little table with little chairs.
 
The book collections are amazing! Hundreds, or maybe thousands, of books, wall to wall. The first floor is used for children books starting from babies to encyclopedia. The composition is around 60% in English, 30% in Bahasa Indonesia, and 10% in other language, including Arabic. The second floor is filled with adult and teen books. There are many unique books that I had never seen elsewhere.
 
You need to become a member and pay annually to borrow the books. But the membership is very cheap considering the price of the book. You could borrow 5 books every time you come, for 5-7 days. Or you could also pay per visit for reading and play in the art room.
 
The verdict: MUST VISIT!!! Echie loves Rimba Baca so much, she wants to go there everyweek.
 
Contact number: 021-7664517 or twitter account @RimbaBaca

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February Resolution: Work and Career

My February resolution my happiness project is Work and Career.

Why work and career? It is because:
  1. My career has been one of the important thing in my life, other than my family. For me, my career had defined me in one way or another.
  2. It's the time for yearly goal and target setting, including for the development planning. So putting work and career as focus in the month of February would be very timely.
  3. I would be traveling a few times. Since I would be spending my time alone at night, it would be best used for doing reflection about my career.
 There are 3 questions that become my focus on Work and Career:
  1. How to make my work more effective and efficient?
  2. How to build my expertise?
  3. How to build my network?
I will not get into too ambitious. I will just pick 1 or 2 specific things for each of the questions, and do every day (well... I tried to anyway...) :
  1. Process my inbox everyday. I used David Allen's Getting Thing's Done as a reference.
  2. Do 3 MITs (Most Important Task) first thing in the morning. I liked Leo Babauta's Zen Habit for decluttering your life, even though I'm still so far away from implementing any of it. :)
  3. Learn a daily lesson. There are 3 key learning area that I'd like to focus: self improvement on productivity, career development and expertise in human resources, specifically employee relation, labor relations and M&A (merger and acquisition). Every small article, page of the books or blogs I've read that day, I would consider that as learning.
  4. Share, share, share. Share what I've learn that day through discussion with friends, twitter, facebook, linkedin or blogging. 
I think these 4 list would make my February quite busy, while keeping my other list from January's resolution.

*the picture is taken from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/?CTT=97 *

Sunday, February 5, 2012

January, it was all about ME!

The month of January is over now. Time to sit and look back. Have I met my January's resolution lists? Have I been diligent enough to check every items before I go to sleep? What's work, and what's not?
 
1. Exercise regularly -- I found that I had sticked to this resolution quite diligently. I joined the classes that I found interesting. I walked in the morning either Saturday or Sunday. Yes, I missed some gym time when the workload in the office was high, but I compensated during the weekends. So I found that I'm quite good in meeting this resolution. But still could do it better.
 
2. Only eat when hungry. Only eat inspiring food. Eat it mindfully. Stop before full. -- This one I mostly fail when I'm home, on holiday. Too many good food, too many eating out. Had to admit, I could not resist the temptation. Frankly, I took this concept from Hypnolangsing. I joined their workshop last year, and I will share later on about the summary of their 5 Magic Rules. My problems in implementing this concept are: I loved to munch at any time. I'm easily tempted by snacks. I still need to practice the Abundance Mind, where you don't feel the need to finish the food in everybody's plate. So for this resolution, I will still bring it back to next month list.
 
3. To clean and care: Start a ritual before sleeping. -- Before the resolution, I was a lazy girl. I was rarely clean my face or brush my teeth before sleeping. Most of the time I forgot to put on night cream. Now, I'm quite diligent. Now, I only forgot to clean and care about 1-2 times a week. Good improvement, I said! But definitely need to be kept on the checklist, so I won't miss it.
 
4. Put on make up, before I go. Never forgot the lipstick! -- I had a habit on putting make up in the car, a few minutes before arriving at the destination. This resulted in feeling sleepy and actually slept all the way to my office. Now I made the efforts to look pretty before left the home, so that I felt more energized. It works!
 
In my January journey, I found that breaking my big goal to smaller goals, and then breaking it to measurable and achievable targets were helping me a lot. I am convinced that my big goal is achievable. Thanks, to Gretchen.
 
However, I also found that the list no matter how fancy they are, would not work if you didn't review it. My problem was that I didn't review my resolution list every day. Gretchen suggested that you have a Resolution Checklist, and you review it every night before you go to sleep. She even offered her template and her tool in the Project Happiness Toolbox. So I tried several alternatives:
  1. Printed spreadsheet. Not working. I don't like bringing a piece of paper anywhere. Kept on forgoting and end up as garbage.
  2. Spreadsheet on my computer. Not working. It's not always possible for me to open my Thinkpad before I slept.
  3. Journal book. The same with printed spreadsheet, not working.
  4. Gretchen's Happiness Project Toolbox. The internet connection is not stable and I have difficulties in updating it in my mobile phone.
So, my next task so I could implement February resolution in a more effective manner, is to find a tool, that I could access anytime, anywhere. Since I could not be separated from both my iPhone and Blackberry, I need to find the tools that running on either of the gadget.
 
Overall review: I loved MY HAPPINESS PROJECT! It's not fully working yet, but hey! It's the journey of becoming a better person that I'm looking at. And I think the process is showing a positive trending. So am looking forward to my February resolution list! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How I drag myself to do exercise

One of my resolutions is to exercise regularly. This is a very tough resolution, because:
  1. I've been away from gym for nearly 15 years (I'm not counting my 4-5 times effort during that time in subscribing to a gym, but lasting only less than 2 weeks of exercise).
  2. My idea of heaven is reading a book in my cold bedroom while munching chips and listening to a soothing music.
  3. It's tough to slip a few hours to go to gym in my tight schedule. I had to spend minimum 4 hours in commuting to and from work. It's not rare that I have back to back calls and meetings. Lots of work to do. I could not take morning class because I to drop my princess at school. I could not go home too late, because I want to spend a good small time with my little princess, before she's going to sleep.
  4. Gym is quite costly. I could spend the money for buying milk, book and courses for my little princess.
The good thing is I actually had started this resolution about 3 months ago, when my office launched an interesting program: Bye-bye Big Challenge. This challenge was targeted for the employees who were categorized as obese and would like to lead a healthier life. I said to myself: This is the time to make the change for myself. And I signed up for the program.

Since I have this target, and I have competitors to beat (I love competition), and now I also have this resolution, I set my strategy to drag myself to start exercising regularly:
  1. Subscribe to the nearest gym from the office. Good thing is my office attached to a mall that has a gym. Actually there were 2 other gyms near the office, but I took the nearest, so there would be less reason not to go to the gym.
  2. Squeeze the time for gym. Previously, in regular weekdays, I had my lunch in my desk, while working or surfing the internet. Now I took earlier lunch around 11am while working, went to gym around 12PM and come back a little pass 1PM. I also took 5pm class on Monday and Wednesday, because my daughter had afternoon course and I would be picked up late anyway. I tried to use Personal Trainer for the first 2 months, but I found it not quite suitable to my style. I didn't like being chased for coming to gym, I felt like I hadn't paid 100million debt and being chased by debt collector. I don't like having to fit my schedule to other person's schedule. So right now, I think arranging my own schedule is the best for me. Maybe later on I will think again to hire the PT. (besides, PT cost a lot... :) )
  3. Book the schedule in my calendar. I treated gym as my other appointment and calls. I booked it in my calendar, and put the reminder 30 minutes before.
  4. Find the fun in exercising. I love dancing. But after I got married, and later wore hijab since last year, I didn't go dancing anymore. In the gym, I joined 'Body Jam' class, and I'm so happy. It was really fun, and it felt like I was back to 10-20 years ago. This is a class I will not miss. When not in class, I do the cross trainer, and I watch all the good programs in the TV while training. This may not be a very good suggestion, as you're not focusing on the exercise itself, but hey... I didn't realize it's already 45 minutes on the machine. Am thinking to bring a book to while doing static bike... I also tried Yoga classes, which I had difficulties to follow, but still excited. And beside gym, I tried to schedule bi-weekly exercise with my little princess -- it's either swimming or walking on Car Free Day.
  5. Try not to pass 2 days in a row without exercise. If I knew I would not go to gym or swimming, I will walk around my backyard for 45 minutes in the morning, after morning pray. When I'm on holiday to my in-law's village, I offered to go shopping to the local wet market, and I walked for about 1km from home to the market. I even considered my weekly grocery shopping as exercise as I would require about 90 minutes to complete. 
I think the strategy works very good for me. It's not my original, I got it from here and there, including from my mentor in the Bye-bye Big Challenge and The Happiness Project. But it works... At least now I go to gym 3-4 times a week. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

My January Resolution: Myself!

I had decided that my first resolution for My Happiness Project is Taking Care of Myself!
 
I found that if I thought I looked good, I feel my mood is up. If I thought I looked like mess, then I would feel a bit low. So I made a formula:
 
HAPPY <= Good Mood <= Look Good <= Take Care of Myself
 
So, to be happy, I have to take care about myself a little bit better. :)
 
Frankly, I'm not a stylish person that have to have matching appearance from top to toe. It's actually the other way around. Most of the time I forgot to clean up before sleeping. I only have 1 pair of shoes and 1 nice bag for work. I do like putting make up, but a very basic one. Since this month, as my resolution is to take care of myself, I decided to put extra care for myself, my body, my health and my appearance.
 
So my January resolution focus is:
  • Exercise regularly, minimum of 30 minutes and no 2 days gone by without exercise.
  • Only eat when I'm hungry. Only eat inspiring food. Eat it mindfully.
  • Start a ritual before sleeping -- to clean and to care.
  • Put on my make up before I go. And... never forget to put on lipstick.
 
As a very wise lady said:  
Put on some make up, to cheer you up! 
*btw, that lady is my 62-years old mom, who still looked young and chic*

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Starting My Happiness Project

Two weeks ago, I found a very interesting book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. 

This book was accidentally found. My hubby picked me up after work, and while waiting for me, he went to the bookstore at the mall below my office. I met him there and joined him in skimming through the racks of books. 

When we're about to pay, somehow my eyes were attracted my the title of the book. The Happiness Project. It feels so familiar. When I checked on the author, I vaguely remembered that I followed her twitter account. So I checked on my twitter, and right... I had followed @gretchenrubin. Am so excited, so I just bought the book.

Later that night, I started to read... and read... and read... During the readings, I went back and forth to check on her sites, The Happiness Project and The Happiness Project Toolbox. The Happiness Project, is all about how to be a happier person. In this book, Gretchen shared about her 1-year journey of finding happiness. It took you through month by month details, on how you can set your resolution to be happier, and more importantly on how to KEEP YOUR RESOLUTION (which very difficult for me, to be honest). 

I was so excited reading this book, I could hardly put it down. You're not necessarily be a depressed person to be happier. It's a way to celebrate all the blessings that you had. I do think that I have been blessed with so many things in life by God, but in my day today life, somehow every now and then I could get grumpy and snap easily. 

This book was striking me from the moment I read it, and that night I just decided I had to start my own Happiness Project. It's a perfect time. It's January, I had not made any resolution, and I do want to be a better person in life. A person who is grateful with what she has and bring happiness to those surrounds them.

Now, am ready to start my Happiness Project! And this blog will be the witness of my journey in becoming a better, and more grateful person. 

*sitting at my dining table on the back porch, having a warm coffee on my side and my book and computer in front of me, looking at the rain pouring my green backyard. I just realized how blessed I am... And this made me happy*



Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Day - New Year - Zero Email in Inbox

January 4, 2010 is a historical day in my whole career life. As the first working day of year 2010, I found my Inbox is empty. ZERO EMAIL. This is something that had never happened in my 12 years of career life. And I have to thank David Allen's Getting Things Done for this.

I know you might think that I could just archive all email, or move it to all archive copy. But no... I had diligently review all my email from November and December 2009, and found by the end of the day I had zero email in my inbox.

As a background, I usually received around 30-50 emails per day in my office inbox; and I had never done a complete swap on my email. My habit -- a very bad one, i know -- was giving a quick glance over the incoming mails and selected only those that I thought interesting or important to answer. Sometime even if the emails are important, I had a tendency to put on hold the emails that coming from people that I'm afraid of. I was afraid to make mistakes in answering them, and the result was I didn't answer at all. I also had not filed the emails in folders. There are times that I did that, but after sometimes, I gave up.

The result of my bad habits, I had thousands of emails starting from 2004. Around 25% had not been opened at all; 35% were opened but had not been answered and 40% were answered. So how could I zeroed my inbox?

Friday, December 11, 2009

How long should I wait before getting a promotion?

How long should I wait before getting a promotion?

This is a common question coming from an employee from time to time, and specially when she had been in the same position for quite some time. Well, let me tell you, my friend. The answer is NEVER. Never wait for a promotion. Promotion is not something that were given or entitled. PROMOTION is something to be EARNED.

Based on my personal experience and what I learnt from my role models, there were 2 simple rules to get a promotion: EARN and ASK.

EARN your promotion by:
  1. Outstanding performance.
    • Meet the expectation is not good enough for promotion. It is your job, to meet the expectation. Not to mention if your performance was below the bar. Forget about promotion. Therefore, the first thing to do to get a promotion is proving that you are excellent in doing you job, that you are the expert. In addition, you should have the endurance to do it consistently.
  2. Good attitude.
    • If you do not have the corner office yet, then good performance was not enough. You have to add it with a range of good attitude. Positive energy, teamwork, initiative, 'can do' attitude are some of them. Backstabbing colleagues, complainers and spreading the negative aura are a big no-nos.
  3. Bigger than the current role

Friday, November 13, 2009

You are not a Superwoman!

"You are not a superwoman!"
That's what my mom said, a working mother with 30 years experience and still working now as a Consultant, in her almost 60 years of age, in one of leading women magazine in Indonesia.

Her insight: You need to build a support system that could run by itself when you're not around. You could not concentrate and be productive at work if you keep calling home every 15 minutes.

My mother developed a neat supporting system at home. In her previous career, she was a senior manager in food industry for 15 years. At the same time, she and her friends released almost hundred recipe books and at the same time raised 3 annoying children successful with almost no major disturbances (one of them is me, of course... :P).

How she did it?
  • Check on the resources that you have. Identify their area of expertise. Assign them to do that area. Let them handle it. Don't bug them. Reward them.
  • If there's an area that need help and no resource available, find an expert. Let them handle it, reward them. 
  • If could not find an expert, then develop whatever resources that you had, to become an expert. Put a close supervision while they're doing it. Reward them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Managing Your Boss

A bit weird? Why should you manage your boss? Isn't he the one who should manage you?

No. In the real world, you should have the skill to manage your boss, so she could better manage you. And how you could manage your boss? Here are 5 basic tips that I learn from my experience, on top of from reading several sources:

1. Get to know him and his background
There is this Indonesian proverb 'Tak kenal maka tak sayang' or 'You won't like what you don't know'.
Understand his background, preferences, work style. Customize your approach base on this understanding.

2. Prepare your ground
Never come to the meeting with empty head. Do your homework. Accompany proposals with facts. Re validate your information. Accuracy is important.

3. Argue gracefully

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