TED Talks: Top 5 Inspirational Talks You Should Watch

Ok! Let’s begin with a confession. I am addicted to YouTube. I spend a couple of hours on YouTube every day, mostly watching auditions of singing or talent-based reality shows, or I watch mom bloggers (or vloggers, in YT slang). It’s my way of decompressing. Now, most days, I go through the videos guilt-free, but often I talk myself out of it. While YouTube indeed is a great source of entertainment, I find it lacking in content that is educational. Enter TED Talk.

Now, for those of you who have never seen a TED video, here’s the deal: TED is an annual conference where influencers from various fields share their experiences, learnings, and visions. Given the popularity of the original conference, nowadays, several local bodies and institutions are hosting their own scaled-down version. This helps open the doors to more influencers, achievers, and visionaries and makes the content more local. While I have never attended one of these conferences in person, I consume their content by the kilo!

So today, I wanted to share five TED Talks that I absolutely adore. The theme of these talks vary widely but the common thread is “inspirational” and “perspective-changing.” I hope you will enjoy these talks as much as I do.

Now listen, before I begin, let me warn you this is a long post. Not long because of the length of the post but because the five videos I am listing for you will take you approximately 1 hour to watch. I recommend you set aside some time But worry not! Remember I mentioned Pocket in one of my earlier post on organization apps? You can save this post to Pocket and watch it later at a time and place of your choice. Alternatively, you can pin the below image to your Pinterest boards and revisit whenever you want. Do give it a try!

TED Talk Mom Chakra Inspirational Wellness

Okay, let’s begin!

Disclaimer: All synopses are from the TED website.

TED Talk #1: Louie Schwartzberg

Nature | Beauty | Gratitude

Direct Link

Duration: 9:39 minutes

Synopsis

Nature’s beauty can be fleeting — but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.

TED Talk #2: Isabel Allende

How To Live Passionately, No Matter Your Age

Direct Link

Duration: 8:16 minutes

Synopsis

Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a few wrinkles—but she has incredible perspective too. In this candid talk, meant for viewers of all ages, she talks about her fears as she gets older and shares how she plans to keep on living passionately.

TED Talk #3: Elizabeth Gilbert
Success, Failure, and the Drive to Keep Creating

Direct Link

Duration: 7:14 minutes

Synopsis

Elizabeth Gilbert was once an “unpublished diner waitress,” devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

TED Talk #4: Nancy Etcoff
Happiness and Why We Want It

Direct Link

Duration: 14:14 minutes

Synopsis

Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff looks at happiness — the ways we try to achieve and increase it, the way it’s untethered to our real circumstances, and its surprising effect on our bodies.

TED Talk #5: Gary Greenberg
The Beautiful Nano Details of Our World

Direct Link

Duration: 11:58 minutes

Synopsis

When photographed under a 3D microscope, grains of sand appear like colorful pieces of candy and the stamens in a flower become like fantastical spires at an amusement park. Gary Greenberg reveals the thrilling details of the micro world.

Did you manage to get through the list?

No? Well, here’s what you can do!

Save the pin below to your Pinterest board. 

TED Talk Mom Chakra

So tell me, friends, do you watch TED Talks? What are some of your favorite Talks?

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5 Things to be Grateful For Every Day + Bonus Download!

Earlier this week, I traveled with my son to visit some relatives in another city. It was a tough trip for me because, throughout the four-hour-long journey (one way), my almost-four-year-old son was fidgety and wanted attention (my husband couldn’t join us due to work deadlines). Now, if you are a parent or a caregiver, I am sure you understand how exhausting it is to entertain a child for four hours continuously while on the road and then again for two days+nights and another four-hour journey back home. I was ready to pull my hair out several times during this trip. But in the end, the only thing that stopped me in my tracks was reminding myself about the purpose of our visit. You see, I am at an age where most of my elderly relatives are at a really advanced age and are experiencing failing health. Some of them had not even met my son because my husband and I were too busy with work to make time and meet them (Awful, I know!). So, this year, we decided that one of us is going to take a step back from our crazy work schedules and focus on other important things, like relationships. And so, this trip was undertaken especially to ensure that my son gets to meet his extended family he has never met. While the trip in itself tested every ounce of my patience, I am grateful I had the opportunity to make it happen anyhow. Gratitude makes it all worth it.

Upon returning, I got thinking about the concept of practicing the attitude of gratitude. One of the secrets to finding peace and happiness in our lives is to be grateful. It’s a scientifically-proven fact that gratitude increases not only your emotional health but also your physical health. After all, thoughts that do not revolve around gratitude veer towards negativity and consumes you. That can never be good, can it now?

So, in today’s post, I want to share things I am grateful for every day. But I want to spread the word to everyone I come in contact with. So, if you stay till the end, there is a bonus download for you 🙂 Let’s begin!

5 Things I am Grateful For Every Day

5_Things_To_Be_Grateful_For_Every_Day_Gratitude_Pinterest_Mom_Chakra

1. Family and Friends

Where would I be without my family and friends? And I put family and friends in the same category because my true friends are nothing but the family I chose for myself. These are the people I love the most; people who hold me up when I am down and out; people who hold me down when I let success go to my head. These are the people who taught me what it is to love without asking for anything in return except love and respect. These are the people who taught me values that make me a good person. These are the people who taught me life skills so I could help not only myself in difficult situations but also help others who are facing a similar situation. These are people I turn to when I need advice. These are people who will be with me until the end.

2. Shelter

A roof over our heads is the safest place on earth for me. I am thankful that we have been able to own a house at our young age with all debt paid off. It’s truly a blessing. As our son grows, we may or may not upgrade to a better and bigger house in the future, but at this moment our house shelters us not only from the harsh tropical environment but also provides us peace when the public cacophony rises outside. This is where we retire to at the end of each day to either celebrate our achievements or to lick our wounds…or, let’s face the truth, to vegetate on the sofa every often. It’s where we prepare food to nourish our bodies; it’s where we spend quality time with each other; it’s where we have meaningful conversations and pass on our values to our son. It’s where we entertain our loved ones; it’s where we discuss our dreams for the future; it’s where we reminisce about the past. It’s the place we call HOME.

3. Food and Water

It’s an uncontested fact of life that food and water* come only next to clean air when it comes to the basic sustenance of human beings. I am grateful that we can put food on the table every day. It breaks my heart to see homeless people (especially children) go without food so often. When I can, I try to carry some food and water in the car to give away if I come across a homeless person. It is my hope that every country in the world will find a way to provide food, water, and shelter to every family on our planet. If you are in a position of God’s grace, please do not hold back from helping the less fortunate. Pay it forward as often as you can.

* Have you read my earlier post on the benefits of drinking water and 5 tips to stay hydrated? If not, do give it a read 🙂

4. Education

When I say I am grateful for my education, I don’t just mean the education I received in school. Obviously, without that foundation, I would not be able to make decisions and think rationally about anything at all. School education has given me the ability make choices that were not swayed by the heart; it has allowed my family to earn a decent paycheck and provide for others. However, the education that I gain by meeting other people, or when I am exposed to new life situations is priceless. It’s a blessing to be in a position of enriching my life every single day. But more than all of that, my biggest blessing is being able to apply my education to help my child (and sometimes, friends and family) resolve problems and become a better person.

5. Work

If it weren’t for the formal and informal education we were exposed to, my husband and I couldn’t have afforded to own a house and put food on the table. It’s because of our education that we landed jobs that help us keep up with the ways of the world. It has allowed us to put our child in one of the best private schools in our neighborhood. It’s allowing us to look after our aging parents at home. At another level, our jobs have also allowed us to learn important life skills–well, important in today’s world, at least–such as networking, teamwork, analysis, problem-solving, creativity, etc. And of course, our jobs have allowed us to be friends with some wonderful human beings. I know there are many people who believe colleagues should not be brought into their personal lives…but my husband and I are not from that school of thought. Most of our closest friends today are people who are/were our colleagues.


So, those are the five things I am grateful for every day. But that isn’t all. There are hundreds of more things that I am grateful for. I try to find something new to be grateful for every week, if not every day. It forces me to look for the positives and let go of the cynicism and negativity that often comes with age. But unless I force myself to weed out the negatives, the positives will not find any room to grow in my life. Practicing gratitude is a habit that needs to be developed and nurtured.

Scroll all the way down for a FREE bonus download!

But before that, if you found this post helpful, please consider sharing this post with your friends and family. It could be your good deed of the day 🙂

One way of sharing share can be pinning the following image to your Pinterest account.

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My friend, what are you grateful for? Do you find a reason every day to be happy about? Do you express your gratitude? If you do, congratulations! You are in a forever-self-healing mode. Spread the word. But, if you don’t, I would like to help.

It’s bonus time!

I have put together 31 gratitude prompts to last you an entire month. 31_Gratitude_Prompts_Mom_Chakra

Trust me, once you are in the habit of being grateful, you will find newer things to be grateful for every day. You will no longer need a prompt sheet to recognize and express your gratitude. I urge you to take the first step and see the immense positive aura that will surround you. Go ahead, give this a try!

Productivity for Moms: Top 5 (Free) Apps to Help You Stay Organized

Ah! Productivity and Technology–two of my favorite areas of interest—and, when these two come together, I can spend hours absorbing information related to them and then several more hours telling others about these. You can tell I am passionate about these two subjects!

The other day I was visiting a friend and we got talking about paper vs. digital planning. We agreed both of us love paper planners over digital planners—I like to write things down; typing does not hold the same motivation. Then, our harmless conversation things started to move into the “tech-bashing” zone, and it got me riled up. Look, there is no denying the analog world will always be more charming than the digital world, which is evolving every day. But, we also cannot deny the ease of the digital world. Worse still, I believe we cannot give up on the digital options without even giving them a fair trial.

So, in this post, I will share some of my favorite apps that help me stay productive and organized. These apps, in conjunction with my other tips on productivity, is sure to give you a head start.

So are you ready? Here we go…

Top 5 Free Productivity Apps For Every Mom

Productivity Apps for Moms: Top 5 (Free) | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-at

Please note this post is neither sponsored nor do I have any affiliate links added. I am simply sharing how I stay productive with the help of certain apps. These are what I use and recommend. However, what works for me may not work for you. So, I want you to understand the use of each of these apps and then choose to either give these a try or to find similar apps that serve the same purpose but are more suited to your preferences and/or style.

1. Google Calendar

Productivity Apps for Moms: Top 5 (Free) | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-at

Who hasn’t heard of Google Calendar? It’s the king of productivity, in my opinion. You can carry your life in this one little app. I was introduced to GCal while I was still working full-time. The organization I was working for was brave enough to switch from the industry standard Microsoft Outlook to Gmail for Business. Now, Gmail does not come with an inbuilt calendar like Outlook, so naturally, we switched to GCal as well. Though we were all reluctant when we made the switch, GCal has now become an integral part of my planning and scheduling process. In addition to my work meetings, I schedule all my travel dates, social events, birthday/anniversary reminders, my son’s school events and even my blog post schedules on Google Calendar. Events are easy to create and modify on GCal. Any spillovers or postponed events can be easily moved to another date by simple drag and drop action. For events that require travel, you can even integrate estimated travel time and the destination address on Google Maps (another favorite app of mine, but not really a productivity app except that it may help you plan for your travel time and destination).

2. Google Drive

Productivity Apps for Moms: Top 5 (Free) | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-at

I’ll be honest. I started using Google Drive very recently on a serious basis. Before this, my only experience with GDrive was to access shared documents for my job. But once you start using it, you know it’s a great tool to stay organized, thus helping your productivity. It helps that you can mirror the Microsoft Office suite on Google Drive—you have the option to create documents (MS Word), spreadsheets (MS Excel) and even presentations (MS PowerPoint). But what sets Google Drive apart is the ability to not only share documents online but also allowing live editing. For example, if I write a blog post on Google Docs sitting at home, I can share it with my husband who is on the train back home from work. He can access it on the go and review it on the go. You will say you can do that by emailing your native MS Word document and the recipient can review it on the go. But I bet you cannot view the review happening in real time. Told ya =) It has saved me so much time to be on a live document review with my clients. Both of us access the document and run through it together. Changes are suggested and implemented then and there while some major changes can be noted for future implementation. Similarly, you can create and share project plans, schedules, presentations etc. I even track my home projects, budget, utility services on Google Drive.

3. Pocket

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I have been a long-time user of Pocket and it is one of my favorite apps…ever. As a busy mom (and even before), I will often come across articles that are interesting but I have no time to read then and there. What’s the next best option? Bookmark it! Pocket does that for you and much more. You see, your bookmarked article will be added to your Pocket queue (on the web or on your phone depending on how you have it installed). The article will, thus, be available to you whenever you have the time….even if you do not have a data connection. What’s more…it gives you the option to select your “view” – whether you want to read the article in a mobile-optimized format, or you want to read it in its original web format. But can I tell my favorite feature of this awesome app? It’s the editorial team-curated list of articles that have been doing well around the world. On your own, you may not have known about these articles but Pocket makes sure you never miss out. Instead of spending your precious free time on mindless YouTube cat videos, why not use Pocket to access and read some brain-stimulating information.

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4. Evernote

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I am a big consumer of information. I am also a compulsive planner. Evernote helps me do both on one platform. In a way, I started using Evernote to save articles for future consumption…until I discovered Pocket. So, while I still save articles to read later, I use Evernote more as a brain dumping platform, mostly geared towards this blog’s content, but also certain social events. For example, I planned a Christmas party To-Do list on Evernote last year. Additionally, I also use it as my shopping list because I do not want to carry a notebook that adds weight to my handbag. The To-Do list can be created as a checklist and you can check off items you have already bought or done, as the case may be. Isn’t that great? Another great feature of Evernote is the Notebook and Notes distinction. You see, you can have individual notes about whatever stuff you want to list, but you can also have a broad-level notebook (think of it as a category) under which you can organize your individual notes that fit the category. For example, I have a notebook named after my son. In that notebook, I have individual notes on planning his birthday party and the Christmas party I mentioned before. The options are endless. It’s up to you how you want to organize your Evernote.

Remember: being organized is the first step to being productive.

5. Scanner Pro

Productivity Apps for Moms: Top 5 (Free) | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-at

This is a mobile-only app but it is a lifesaver! So many time. I don’t know about your country, but here in India, one needs to produce their photo identification very often. I have been stuck in situations when I didn’t know I needed to submit copies of a certain official document and did not have it on me when needed. Scanning apps, like Scanner Pro, came right to my rescue. You simply need to take a photo of the required document and the app saves it as a scanned copy and allows you to email the “scanned document” to the concerned party. It also comes in handy when you have to fill a physical form. Fill it, scan it, email it. Done, done, and done.

And here’s a Bonus App

LastPass

Productivity Apps for Moms: Top 5 (Free) | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-at

How many websites do you visit in a week? 5, 10, 15…? More? Now tell me this: how often do you read and hear about the news of some website database being hacked and data of thousands and millions of people stolen? At least once a month? It’s a scary time to live in. But it is also a time where most of our life is managed online. Most of us now bank online, make reservations online, and share much of our personal data with a third party. Agree? Now, unless you have a brain that can store 50 passwords (some of which need to be updated at regular intervals), you should definitely give LastPass a try. LastPass is a tool that helps manage your passwords for hundreds of websites. If you do not pride yourself in coming up with strong passwords, LastPass can even generate one for you. So, you don’t want to spend time scavenging for your passwords. Over time, you would have saved a significant amount of time and energy. Whether you choose to give LastPass a try or not, I want you to remember these two points:

  • Do NOT write down or type out your passwords anywhere—online or offline. It is just not worth it!
  • Do NOT use the same password for all your website logins. It’s a hassle but it’s important.

Before I sign off, I want to ask you—my dear readers—a few questions: have you used any of these apps before? How is/was the experience? If you haven’t used any or all of these apps before, would you like me to do separate in-depth posts on each them, and share their features and functionality and most importantly how I use these tools personally? Leave a comment with your feedback.

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Sleep Faster and Better: Top 5 Tips for Get a Restful Night’s Sleep

Hello, sleepyhead! What’s keeping you awake? A newborn baby, too much coffee, a high-profile impending presentation, a thousand emotions bottled up inside of you? Or perhaps, you lay awake reflecting on the past, or worrying about the future. No matter what your reason is, we need to address it. Because you know, sleep deprivation is not only a hindrance to your daily productivity but it can also affect your health and wellness in an adverse manner. Studies reveal that not getting enough sleep over an extended period of time can lead to serious health issues, including high blood pressure and heart attack.

Top 5 Tips to Sleep Faster and Better

How to Sleep Better | Mom Chakra | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-9S

So, what should you do? I have listed five tips you should try for faster and better sleep.

Tip 1: Add Physical Exercise to Your Daily Routine

How to Sleep Better | Mom Chakra | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-9S

But you already knew that, did you not, my dear reader? Physical exercise tires you out thereby increasing your body’s need to rest. If you have not done anything even moderately physical during the day, your body is left with unspent energy, which in turn does not allow for a deep sleep. But, remember to leave at least a two-hour gap between the end of your exercise session and the start of your bedtime ritual. Why? Because physical exercise gets your blood flowing and energizes you–something you want to avoid if you want to get a better quality of sleep.

Tip 2: Avoid Daytime Naps

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All of us have different sleep requirements. While some of us can function well with just five or six hours of sleep, some others (*cough*) may find even 10 hours not enough. But hey, you know, we can not spend all our life sleeping. We need to get out of the bed, no matter how tired we feel, and get on with the day. If you are not well-rested, then the exhaustion will deter you from completing necessary tasks during the day. And we all know the result of unfinished tasks piling up.

Now, to combat this exhaustion from sleep depravity, some of us take day time naps. But hear me out. Unless you are a sleep-deprived parent of a newborn, an infant or a toddler, or an elderly or sick person, you should avoid day time naps. Instead, adjust your night time sleep routine.

Now, I know there are many gurus who advise taking day time naps, but remember, those naps are called power naps and typically last between 15 to 20 minutes. So, if you must, please go ahead and grab a short nap during the day time. But remember the time limit of power naps to ensure you are not turning your nap into a deep sleep. This is because when you take long naps during the day, it reduces your sleep requirements at night, and you are back to square one.

Tip 3: Develop a Healthy Bedtime Routine

So, let’s assume you exercised and avoided the day nap successfully. You now need to prepare for the night time sleep. Develop a routine comprising of the following three habits to ensure you can fall asleep easily.

Limit Alcohol and/or Caffeine Intake

How to Sleep Better | Mom Chakra | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-9S

This isn’t rocket science, my friend! There’s a reason why many of us start our day with coffee. It stimulates the brain in a way that takes away the feeling of tiredness. I won’t get into the science behind this, but if you are interested, you can read about it here. So, coming back to coffee, you need to limit your daily caffeine intake (caffeine also includes aerated drinks) to no more than 2-3 cups, and definitely not within 6 hours of your scheduled sleep time. So, for example, if you go to bed at 10 PM, make sure you consume your last cup of coffee no later than 4 PM.

Monitor Your Food Intake

While you may already ensure not going to bed while you are still hungry, you need to take care of the opposite end of the spectrum too–do not go to bed stuffed. Have you noticed how uncomfortable you get when you overeat? Yeah, you will neither be able to do chores nor sleep. What good is that? So make sure you are eating healthy but also monitor your portion sizes. While you are at it, cut out those snacks upon which your day is built. Reduce your salt, sugar, and processed food intake. Hydrate yourself by getting enough fluids in your body. Here’s a post I wrote to help you stay hydrated.

Practice Digital Shutdown

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The digital world is as addictive as coffee. It is also a necessary inconvenience. It keeps us connected to the rest of the world and apprises us of the world happenings. But it also limits human relationships within the confines of the digital world. So, let’s all agree it is necessary for us to engage with the digital platforms. But for the sake of your health and wellness, limit your usage, especially late evenings. Here’s why: we all know the lights emitted from the gadgets interferes with your sleep cycle. That’s why manufacturers are designing their phones and websites to function on a “night mode” but I am not sure how effective that is. Additionally, let’s assume the “night mode” works and you settle into your bed and switch on your phone. Remember this: digital platforms are created in a way that will keep you bouncing from one event to another, never really allowing you to switch off. Suppose you decided to catch up on the current affairs of the country at bedtime. You read one article, and then you find the “You may also like…” bait. Then, you may want to check your email one last time. Uh oh, an important email from that important client. Your response can wait until tomorrow, but since you are anyway awake, why not reply now. Next, let’s check Facebook, Twitter, and oh yes, Snapchat and YouTube. Before you know, you would be 1.5 hours past your scheduled bedtime. So do yourself a favor and disengage from all gadgets at least 1 hour before your bedtime. Allow your body to wind down.

Tip 4: Prepare for the Next Day

Before you head for the bed, you need to prepare for the next day in whatever little ways you can. If it means writing down your To Do list for the next day or packing the lunch bag, just do it. It will be one less thing to worry about in bed and the next morning. Developing this habit not only help you sleep better at night, but also save you a lot of time when you wake up the next morning.

 Tip 5: Write Down Your Thoughts

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How often have you found yourself unable to fall asleep because your mind is racing, worrying about an impending presentation the next day? Grab a pen and paper and write down what’s causing you to toss and turn. What are you thinking? What are you worried about? Writing it down is proven to mimic the act of sharing worries with a friend. It’s a great way to release the bottled up emotions that are a cause for your sleeplessness. Writing it down will also allow you to “see your thoughts” and help you analyze them.

So, there you have it. My top 5 ways to help you sleep faster and better. But you know what, there is another added benefit: sleeping faster and better will make it easier for you to become a morning person. Now that’s what I call a win-win situation.

Let me know in the comments your tips to sleep faster and better.

Until next time,

Sleep well, my friend.

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Water: The Life-changing Magic of Drinking Up!

Back in school, we all learned that our planet comprises 70% water (though with the whole global warming threat, I wonder what the percentage shift will be 10 years from now). It’s a sweet irony that the inhabitants of this wonderful blue planet–humans–are also made up of primarily water.

Water is not only the main constituent of cells and tissues in our bodies, it is also present in various life organs, such as the brain, the heart, the lungs, and the kidneys. Water is what helps flush out the toxins from your body; it is what helps keep your brain ticking.

How to Drink More Water Every Day | www.momchakra.com | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-D

Don’t you think water must be somewhat of a magic potion? Well, guess what–it is! Studies have established the benefits of hydrating our bodies on a regular basis. To understand these benefits, let us first take a look at the consequences of not consuming enough water. Here are just five of them:

  • Constipation: Water hydrates and lubricates the life organs of the human body. It also helps move the food from your stomach to the large intestine (colon). When the body does not contain enough water, it starts to dehydrate these organs. When the body is dehydrated, these organs go on survival mode and start absorbing whatever water they can find. The colon soaks up all the water that is made available to it while leaving the food waste (stool) dry and makes it difficult to pass. So, please drink plenty of water to relieve at least some of your life’s “hardships” 😉
    Note: It is imperative to note though that water alone cannot relieve constipation; equally important is the intake of dietary fiber and adequate physical exercise.
  • Toxin Build-up: Related to the aforementioned consequence is the build-up of toxins in your body due to dehydration. When bodily waste is not moving in an appropriate and timely manner in and out of the organs, toxins start to accumulate. In the absence of enough water, the kidney is unable to filter the toxins from your blood and urine. Over time, this compromises your immune system and affects your health adversely. We don’t want that, do we now?
  • Headaches: Certain headaches (including hangovers) are a result of dehydration. As with every other life organ, the brain is also made primarily of water and requires water to function properly. When your body is dehydrated, the brain shrinks, triggering off the neurotransmitters signaling pain. In addition, dehydration also lowers your blood volume. As a result, your brain receives less-than-optimum oxygen blood supply, thus triggering a more intense reaction (pain).
  • Fatigue: With reduced supply of water in the body, the life organs work extra hard to maintain their functions. This takes a toll on your energy deposit and causes fatigue.
  • Calories!: Drinking water satiates your thirst but adds no calories (unless of course, you are adding artificial flavors or sweeteners to it). A trick many weight watchers swear by is to drink half a glass of water 30 minutes before their meal. The water fills up the stomach and prevents them from overeating. Now that’s a side-effect I am willing to suffer.

Now, flip these aforementioned consequences (there are more!) on their heads, and you are face-to-face with the wonderful benefits of drinking enough water every day.

This begs the question:

How Much Water Should I Drink Every Day?

To be honest, there are quite a few recommendations floating around the internet. The most-accepted one is the 8 by 8 rule–drink eight 8-fl. ounce glasses (approximately, 1.8 liters) of water per day. And trust me, it isn’t as difficult as you think. As long as you promise to not give up. In fact, I have put together a simple tracker to help you track your daily intake of water.

Sign up now to receive your personal daily water intake tracker in your inbox!

It’s downloadable and it’s free!

How to Drink More Water Every Day | www.momchakra.com | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-D

Now, let’s get to the crux of the matter, shall we?

How Can I Meet My Daily Water Intake Requirement?

aka

How Can I Stay Hydrated?

aka

How Can I Drink More Water?

It does not take a lot of effort to take care of yourself once you put your heart to it. Here are five simple ways you can add more fluid to your diet every day.

  • Set goals: Make “drink 64 fl. oz. water” one of your daily goals. Set alarms on your phone. Or, how about those awesome smartphone apps that help you track your water intake. If you are a physical notebook kinda person, add “drink 64 fl. oz. water” to your To-Do list on high priority.  Or, use sticky notes reminding you to stay hydrated around places you spend most of your time–your office desk, your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror…the options are totally up to you.
  • Build it into your daily routine: Adding the daily essential tasks–such as drinking enough water–is the easiest way for you to stay on track. Setting goals is not enough unless you work towards achieving these goals. So, once you have set the goal of staying hydrated, remember to build it into your daily routine. For example, keep a bottle of water on your night stand. As soon as you wake up in the morning, drink it up! Keep a reusable water bottle in your handbag, on your desk, in your car. And then throughout the day, set alarms on your phone to remind you to drink water.
  • Include other sources and forms of water in your diet: Drinking water need not be a boring habit. Personally I love it in its purest form. But for those who do not enjoy drinking plain old water–they can eat their water! There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that can help you keep up with your daily fluid requirements. These include water-rich foods, such as iceberg lettuce, watermelon, cucumber, pineapple, etc. You can include these foods in your diet in various forms. For example, if you can not bring yourself to drink the recommended 64 fl. oz. of water every day, drink up at least half of the amount, and for the other half, substitute with water-rich foods. The only catch is that it will be difficult to track your water consumption.

Before you go, don’t forget to download your free daily water intake tracker!

Work-at-home Moms: 5 Productivity Tips

I am a work-at-home mom. Every time I mention my work situation to family or friends, they say, “You are so lucky! You can stay at home and earn money. I wish I could be a work-at-home mom and earn my salary sitting in the comfort of my home.” Well, I agree. Staying home, earning money, and watching my kid grow is a blessing. But I also tell my family and friends, my work-at-home situation isn’t a bed of roses…work-at-home moms have to be really smart and disciplined to save their sanity.

PRODUCTIVITY TIPS FOR WAHM | MOM CHAKRA |

When I was working in my corporate job, we were encouraged to follow Eisenhower Decision Matrix, which is a very effective tool to help you identify and prioritize tasks that are truly important and/or urgent. To this day, I use it to manage my day-to-day responsibilities and especially work-related ones.

Today, I want to share with you the process I have devised for myself based on this wonderful time management tool. As with me, I am sure other work-at-home moms can also greatly benefit from it. Without further ado, let me show how you can adapt the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to make your day more productive as a work-at-home mom.

Step 1: Identify the Time Suckers

This is the number 1 tip for work-at-home moms to be a more productive professional or businessperson–identify the time suckers.

Before anything else, identify the time suckers in your day. From your To-Do list, which tasks are neither important nor urgent? Ask yourself, is it really necessary to check your personal Facebook profile during your work hours? Or, do you need to sort through your email spam folder every day? These kind of tasks are simply unnecessary–and going by the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, are neither important nor urgent. These are simply time suckers. They do nothing but distract you and pull you down. Do yourself a favor and eliminate these time suckers from your To-Do list. That, my friend, is the first step towards eliminating overwhelm and being productive.

Step 2: Prioritize Tasks

After you have identified and eliminated the time suckers, it’s time to work on the remaining tasks. First, you want to identify tasks the tasks that are urgent but not important. These are tasks that are due soon but do not contribute significantly towards your long-term work goal. For example, maybe you have to go for a conference two weeks from now. Now, you could spend one hour trying to find the best deal, or you could hire or request someone to do this for you. And you, on the other hand, can use the one hour you just freed up to work on something important. In other words, you need to delegate tasks that are urgent but not important.

Step 3: Schedule Your Day

Now you are left with two types of tasks–those that are important but not urgent, and those that are important and urgent. I am sure you know the difference between the two terms, but just to reiterate for clarity sake:

  • Urgent tasks are those that help you achieve your long-term work goal, and are due on an immediate basis. Not addressing these tasks immediately may result in missed deadlines or lost customers.
  • Important tasks are the other tasks that help you achieve your long-term work goal, but is not due immediately.

It is essential that you clearly distinguish between the two, otherwise, you can misconstrue an ‘important’ task as ‘urgent,’ which will eat into your hours. So what’s the solution? Schedule the ‘important’ tasks in your calendar for a more appropriate later time while the urgent tasks take up the more immediate calendar space. For example, if you need to email your project status to your client, it is an important task but not usually urgent. You can schedule a time in your day when you can draft and send an email to your client with the requested updates. Maybe that time is 2 PM every day. On the other hand, an article that is due today is an important and urgent task that you should address before taking up other ‘important’ tasks.

Step 4: Hold Your Work Hours Sacred

So, now you know how to follow Eisenhower Decision Matrix to design your work day to be more productive. The matrix can help you achieve your short- and long-term goals and make your day more productive.

In addition, I recommend establishing routines in and around your work hours. There is no denying that routines help bring semblance to your day. For a work-at-home mom, it is important to distinguish work hours from non-work hours. When your day begins and ends within the same four walls, it’s easy to lose the distinction. But if you design routines that will help you ease in and out of your work day, it will bring more satisfaction and fewer frustrations. So ensure that you hold your work hours sacred.

Decide which hours of the day you will work, and stick to those hours. Do not be distracted by any personal chores or whims during these hours. It may take some trial and error before you can settle on your best hours for working, but when you find that sweet spot, stick to it. For example, perhaps your best time to work is while your children are away in school. Use those hours to complete your work tasks. Do not get sucked into the social media whirlpool or picking the grocery. Remember, everything in its own time.

Step 5: Set Aside Time for Self-Care

Lastly, in a previous post, I mentioned how, as moms, we don’t take the time for self-care. How many times have you used your work break to run an errand? You might say “I am a busy mom. I do not have another time to run these errands!” I understand, and it may even be true for some of you on certain days. But if you don’t use the break to nourish your mind, body, and soul, you will soon run out of the motivation. Say to yourself, “I am already a super mom. I do not need to pack in more into my day.” You know what I say to myself though? “I may not be a supermom or best mom. But I am a good-enough mom. And that’s okay!”

Remember this: You are doing a wonderful job raising your child. And boy! You also work-from-home. Like others say, “it’s the best of both world.” But it’s easy for this world to fall apart without the necessary discipline. I wish for you a fruitful and blessed personal and work life.

I would love if you can share some of your tips as a work-at-home mom.

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Productivity Tips: Top 5 Ways to Slay Your To-Do List Everyday!

Productivity — don’t we moms love that word?!

Consider this: it’s early morning. You are full of hope on this beautiful day. You sit down to write down your To-Do list for the day. And it grows. And grows. You better get a head start on the day. It’s going to be a wonderfully productive day. Before you know it, it’s evening and you are only halfway through your To-Do list. You reflect on where all the time went. Well, you know it as much as anyone else where it all went.

Don’t we all want our days to be productive? I know I do!  But as moms, we often tend to bite off more than we can chew. Because, you know, there is just so much to do. It’s not that you cannot do it, but remember some of the items on your To-Do list may need to tackled on another day. This really isn’t a race, so please allow yourself some grace (unintentional rhyming in play ;-))

Top 5 Productivity Tips | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-B

So how can we become a little more (or a lot more) productive?

Here are my Top 5 Ways to Be the Productivity Queen

Productivity Tips- Top 5 Ways to Slay Your To-Do List Everyday!

 

Productivity Tip #1: Eliminate Distractions

No surprises there! When you are distracted, nothing gets done. Would you believe it’s taken me 5 days to finish writing this article ? Yes, this article that you are reading! I was distracted. We are in the middle of moving houses and I have a preschooler on spring break, and you know how that boat sails. So, I would sit every day in the middle of all this chaos and try to finish writing this article. And I would be either called away to either supervise something or by my child. It was very frustrating to not see any progress as far as this article goes. “My blog is going to suffer and I will NOT let that happen,” I said to myself. So, I ensured everything that can be done in the new house is done and then I requested my mother-in-law to care for my child for two hours while I finish my “work.”

So that was an example of “offline” distraction. The best way to tackle this type of distraction is to remove the source of it until you are ready to get back to it. But remember, in today’s age, “online” distraction is also a real thing. I know I get distracted by Lord Google. I will log in to research for my post and things to well for about 15 mins and then I find myself hopping from one site to another and soon I find myself reading or watching something that is just not related to my original query. Or, how about the time I wanted to check my Twitter feed and soon I had spent 45 minutes not only checking the feed but also click on the various links that people had shared. How would you handle these distractions? Well, if you are strong-willed and disciplined, maybe you can chide yourself every time you get carried away in the virtual world. But, if you are anything like me, consider using a productivity application like Cold Turkey, which is a free productivity program that can be used to temporarily block websites that you find getting distracted by while working. Cold Turkey offers both free and paid versions, but for me, the free version works well enough.

Productivity Tip #2: Identify and Work During Your Peak Hours

Okay, so you have dealt with the distractions but still can’t find yourself getting any work done? Perhaps the hours you are working are not really your “peak hours.” Let me give you an example: I am sure you must have read a few articles highlighting how people who wake up early are more productive. Apparently, it’s true. They get more done because they start early and usually do not have any distractions around at that early hour. But hey, no matter how hard you try, if you are not naturally a morning person, it may be very, very taxing for your mind and body to change its natural cycle. So, it is important to recognize your body’s natural rhythm and schedule important work during those hours. Now, I understand it may not be possible to schedule every important work late in the evening (for night owl mommies), but try and pick your battles. Remember, not everything needs to be done today!

That said, if you would like to give this “becoming a morning person” phenomenon a try, here is a post I wrote earlier listing my top 5 ways to become a morning person. There is no harm in trying, right? After all it is a scientifically-proven fact. Good luck!

Productivity Tip #3: Break Up Your Work

While we are on the topic of picking your battles, remember it’s about winning the battles, not the war. How often do you have a big house or work goal you need to accomplish…and one week (or, one day!) before the deadline, you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that needs to be put into accomplishing this goal. Many of us make this mistake of trying to tackle the giant and win the war. But if you simply plan ahead, break your goal into smaller tasks, and schedule these tasks accordingly, you will not only be in control of the situation when the big day comes, but also you will have the satisfaction of checking off the smaller goals. Now, that’s being productive!

A very popular tool to draft goals is to follow the SMART goal methodology. When you follow this methodology, you break your bigger goal into smaller goals that are specific, measurable, agree-upon (or attainable), realistic, and time-bounded.

Top 5 Productivity Tips | http://wp.me/p8zbJC-BSo next time, you find yourself working towards a big goal or project, break it up into smaller, easily accomplished tasks.

Productivity Tip #4: Prioritize High-value Work

Now that you have identified your peak hours  and broken down your big goal into smaller, achievable tasks, it’s time to prioritize. Take a look at the small goals (or even your everyday To-Do list). Is every task listed there equally important? Perhaps. Then, ask yourself, will accomplishing each task give you the same amount of return on investment? The most likely answer is NO! Let me give you an example: you have slogged yourself over the gas for two hours to prepare a feast for your family. At the dinner table, you notice your family reaching for 1-2 staple dishes while the fancy dish you spent one hour preparing lies mostly untouched. Was that productive? Was it really worth it? You might as well cook your dinner in one hour and utilize the remaining one hour working on something else that is more valuable….like your body or mind. Learn where to draw the line. If your family is being fed nutritious food that can be prepared in 30 minutes, why would you want to spend two hours over the gas every day? Save the feasts for special occasions so your efforts are appreciated (and consumed) more.

Many of you must have heard of the 80:20 rule, also known as Pareto (here’s a very well-explained article about the 80:20 rule). Pareto charting is a very popular business principle, which we used frequently during my corporate stint. It is a principle to identify the high-value 20 percent input that will help achieve the 80% output. Tasks that are not high-value or of any value at all must either be delegated or eliminated. Think about it.

Productivity Tip #5: Take Breaks

The most important point to boost productivity. As moms, we want to be a superwoman, but please believe when experts say that breaks are necessary. It’s natural to get carried away and trying to do strike off every item on your list at one go. The sudden burst of energy and improved productivity may lead you to expend more energy than your mind and/or body may allow. The adrenaline rush will inhibit signs of exertion but soon you will find your brain fogging up. It is, therefore, important to take regular breaks while working on finishing your To-Do list.

A very common productivity technique doing the rounds is the Pomodoro method. This method introduces a time factor in your work day by dividing your work day into several chunks and breaks. It is up to you to decide the duration of the work windows and the break windows, but the developers of the Pomodoro technique recommend working in bursts of 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. After four Pomodoro windows, user is expected to take a longer break of 20 minutes or so. Personally for me, working in 90 minute windows followed by 15 minute breaks work the best. I schedule my break times into my calendar so that impromptu meetings can be avoided.

Now, taking breaks is half the battle won. But there is also the matter of how you utilize that break time. Washing dishes or dusting the furniture during the breaks does not count as “break.” Please be mindful of why you are taking the break and ensure you utilize the time to relax your mind and body.

So, there you go. Five ways you can boost your productivity. I hope you will give these a try.

What are some of your productivity tips? Please leave a comment to share. I would love to learn from you.

Until next time,
xo

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