THIS IS WAR.

Swiftly and surely, yet another month is gone now. Did you have a great month, or feeling helpless that not much was done? Well there are still two days to the end of Feb, so there’s still hope! Keep going guys!

February is a short month and I dedicated the month to just piece together what I have learned and planned to do in January. In essence, it was about getting up to speed. However, as much as I tried to follow the nicely laid out plans, there is still something that is pulling me back, like a heavy rock tied to my ankle, making each move slow and difficult. I thought to myself, this can’t be happening.. i have everything in place and I should be ready to fly. Why am I still not making much headway? The eureka moment came when I was surfing the internet for more support articles on the topic of implementing GTD system and to my amazement (ok it’s really not nuclear science, but it was a big “discovery” for me!), I realised what the problem was.. Chronic Procrastination.

It was this old-time illness of mine that stopped me from where I wanted to go, and like the founder of Procrastinators Anonymous aptly said in a forum post a few years ago when he first started the site, procrastination is an addiction. It is like the website’s tagline says, the grave where opportunities are buried. It kills the motivation to get things done. I’ve always known I do procrastinate, but it was only when I had so much laid out before me and I am still not doing anything about it did I realise how bad this problem was causing me. Thankfully I belong to the “impulsive” type of procrastinator, I impulsively and immediately acted upon this, picked up a recommended reading on procrastination and made new self-discoveries. Realistically speaking, I don’t count on killing this procrastination problem immediately, but I always believe that if you know the root cause of a problem, it’s more than half the battle won. I MUST WIN THIS WAR.

So you might have guessed, February is a near 0 points against the I have initially set at the beginning of the month, but I remain determined to win back lost time. Wish me luck and perhaps some words of encouragement would be nice 😀

 

 

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February is… letting things take shape

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“Jump in. Do it. Unless you move, nothing happens.
P.S: Plans are good.. thinking about your plans is good. talking about your plans is good. But unless you act, your plans means nothing”

This week’s Godwhispers really spoke to me, and came in timely as I was re-examining my year’s plans thinking what should really be my focus for this month. Since it is a short month and since I have completed the “organise” process of getting my life back in order and control as part of my happiness project 2014, I really think I should allow some time for things to settle in and for the bread to rise.. for things to take shape. It’s a simple goal, but I believe it is not going to take any less effort in keeping it. I’ve always managed to plan but have always been a poor follow-through person so this is the big change I am going to make, and this is my focus for this month 🙂

I’m expecting myself to:
– follow my exercise plan
– follow my work plan
– follow my GTD review plan and keep everything on 28 Feb looking like how it looked on 1 Feb
– 90% adherence to deadlines I set for my tasks

I’m really going to reward myself with a big birthday treat next month if I declare success this month, because honestly, I’ve never been able to do the above consistently before. So wish me luck guys! Every bit of support counts 😉

A month in and keep going!

And Yes! I’ve finally cleared most of the backlogs of “stuff” accumulated in the work space and personal space, and am very proud of it! January was the month I dedicated to get myself to become more organized and phew, it hasn’t been easy at all! The two things that made the most difference, was 1) a bag organiser, and 2) a Daily planner.

I bought myself a bag organizer many many moons ago because I was sold on the benefits of having one – I can put the “common” stuff that I will need to bring out with me anywhere / everywhere I go into the bag organiser and just take the whole thing out from one bag to another (as you would know, women have many bags and we love having many bags. We NEED different bags for different places and different sets of clothes. There is absolutely nothing complicated about this). But this bag organiser was under-utilised until I started being focused on being organised. And here I am, celebrating a month of never forgetting to bring my keys or my bus/train pass, and I have a lip balm and a hand cream with me so I am reminded to use them everyday! Hooray!

The planner helped a lot too in my attempt to be organised. I chose to have one which shows a-day-page so I can easily put enough things into the specific hour of the day. I use this a lot to put in reminders on what I need to do on specific days as well, so I really feel much better about my days ahead and feel I’m in better control. I also use the planner in complements to my own GTD system (Refer to Getting Things Done, by David Allen). If you are someone like me, wanting to feel organised and be in better control of time, I highly recommend picking up this book and practice what it teaches as you go along the chapters. Just to share some thoughts about this book and my experience reading it, initially I really found it hard to sit down quietly to go through every single bit of my “stuff” and deciding what to do with each “inbox item”, as I really wanted to just get to DO something about it rather than go through each and everything, but at the end of the day after the struggles, I have to say I am glad I resisted the temptation to jump onto things and got everything sorted. The disclaimers in the book and recommendations were TRUE. However, as someone who doesn’t work in an office setting, I didn’t find myself needing that many dedicated reference cupboards and files, and I actually do not have physical space right now for a proper tickler file system, there are still many ways someone like me can implement a GTD system fully using other tools. The idea, in my opinion, is to just keep going. It doesn’t matter how exactly you do it, as long as you’re clear what is it you’re trying to achieve, and the tools you choose serves the purpose well. I am prepared to change the tools if they don’t work and explore new ones while keeping at it!

So I’m stepping into February with a clean room, streamlined closet, neat desk with no stray papers or receipts lying around, and no more work backlogs! I declare January a SUCCESS! (ok, I confess.. it wasn’t a 100% success, but it was a 85% at least! I’m still not being 100% on time for my appointments and GroupX sessions in the gym…. but.. i’m hoping to get some points for being honest??)

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

I kinda miss doing the photo challenge on a weekly basis, but I am also enjoying doing this sporadically while working on other projects 🙂

ImageSharing a photo of a family series I took about a couple of months ago that is one of my favourite 🙂 It’s a photo of the feet of two new parents, and their toddler of 5 months. To me this picture of their feet symbolizes our roots, which is essentially what a family is about. Our feet help us find our grounds, takes us to where we land, and supports us wherever we choose to be – just like our family.

Cheers to everyone, and for those celebrating Chinese New Year, have a great celebration and great holidays ahead!

January is..

.. about Being Organised.

“Order is Heaven’s first law.” —Alexander Pope

I have a monkey mind, which means to say, I am often jumping from one thought to another, ideas come and go, I have difficulty focusing and I am highly easily distracted. Sounds like trouble eh? It does ring trouble to me, as I recognize that many times I have a great idea, I know I can do it well, I know it’s going to be a GREAT, but I just don’t get down to doing it. Then there are the many occasions I end up slapping myself so hard for wasting an entire day not being productive and ending up with a load of backlog plus the accompanying stress.. I know this is going to drag me down, and this might just be one of my most detrimental weakness. So first up in the first month of 2014, I am going to focus on being organised.
Being organised to me means
1) having a clear plan with distinct action items
2) keeping to this wonderfully drafted plan
3) eliminate clutter
4) be on time (keeping to schedule)
5) having a alert mind
To-date I have gotten 1) done and so far so good, 2) is still going on fine.  I need to next eliminate clutter all around me including my closet, cupboards, drawers, and oh yes, my hard disks. Have been trying out a couple of workflows and still finalising on one that works best for me, but bad habits build quickly and now I have a few messy hard disks of photos to sort out.. yes you heard me right, a few messy hard disks…  It’s gonna take a while but I am gonna have to do it. I CAN DO THIS.
To be on time, is the Good Habit of the Month I am trying to build. It’s not that I am always late, but I find myself always rushing for time, always calculating time to the dot (for example, I know the bus ride takes about 10 mins, and so I leave my house 12 mins before appointment time. No buffer, just luck). So I am going to kick this, and plan to wake up earlier, leave the house earlier, and always allow buffer time. Combining 1) and 4) would inevitably lead to 2), as being on time also means being on schedule. When it’s slated time to do something, that something has got to be done..
Having enough rest (and good rest) would be how I would like to achieve 5).
It’s all very old-school I know, but I actually came up with a “timetable” for myself to guide me on what I should be doing when, and I’m hoping this will keep me neat and tidy on time management, and help me regain order in my life 🙂
Lastly, announcing the January Photo Project – Lines. Just to be in line with the focus of the month 🙂 Do keep a look out on this end of this month!
1460949_10151792489181274_834512830_nSunrise at a reservoir, taken with iPhone 4

The J.O Project – 2014

2013 has whisked past just like that, and albeit my attempts to keep my weekly photography project going, reality has hit,
and once again, I have failed to follow through it for the past one month, due to numerous wedding assignments in the peak period of December, followed by post-processing days in between shoots. My street photography companion – my OMD – has been sitting in my dry cabinet for a month already.. which makes me real sad.

However, I would like to think of this not as a failure because I didn’t complete the project up to its planned 52 weeks, but a successful attempt nonetheless. The new year brings new directions and promises, and I have decided on an all-encompassing resolution for the year:  that 2014 is going to be the best year yet.

To build a good year and create breakthroughs, I need to change. So behind this all-encompassing resolution, there is going to be an all-encompassing transformation project. So moving forward, The J.O Project is not going to just be photography centric, but it is going to be J.O centric. It is going to be an all-year long project and I am looking forward to look back and reflect on the year come 31 Dec 2014, on what an exciting year it has been!

Here’s a brief run of my plans for this blog:
1) Have you heard of the Happiness Project? It’s a popular book by Gretchen Rubin, that talks about her year-long efforts to strive for happiness through selected areas of focus, one for each month. I found the book a very good read and inspiring to see how this “Happiness Project” helped the author discover herself while staying rooted to things that mattered the most. To make 2014 my best year yet would mean something similar, that I too have to find the core to my own happiness, the things that really matter, and discover myself in order to transform. More on this in the coming posts 🙂

2) Not saying goodbye to photography, but taking the project with a slight twist. I will be embarking on monthly photography projects while keep sharing on what I learn in my photography journey. Please keep your ideas and tips coming, as your words and support have been very encouraging!

In short, I am going to be writing and posting a lot more from now on, so please give me your continued support!

Love,
J.O

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

 J.O Project Week 23

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In a tiny country and place like Singapore, there is hardly any natural sights which we could consider them grand and so we seek to build and create such sights. Gardens By the Bay in the reclaimed Marina Bay area was fully opened last year and has since became the latest tourist spot and a popular photoshoot location. Read more about the Gardens here. For me, it’s like walking into a scene in Avatar, especially during dusk when the lights on the Supertrees come on. Do come and visit if you haven’t done so yet! Most parts of the park is free 🙂

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Photos are taken with OMD EM-5 with 12-50mm lens

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let there be Light

J.O Project Week 22

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Light
noun
“the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible.”

Since prehistoric times, light has been a life enabler. With light, humans and life forms were able to find food, make food, and satisfy all basic necessities in life. As we learn to create light, days were now longer and we were able to achieve more. And with all “basics”, light could have become something we have all taken for granted, and only realize its presence and importance when it is not present or gone. To photographers, light is everything. Let us never stop in seizing the beauty of natural light, and embracing the wonders of those man-made  🙂

ImagePhotos were taken with Canon 5DMk2 with 85mm/1.2L Lens, at the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations along Chinatown

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

The J.O Project Week 20

Missed last week’s entry as I was away on an assignment, and I should be posting some photos from the assignment pretty soon, but here’s this week’s challenge!

Layers.

Each of us has our own layers that we choose to show or hide, and choose who and when to show or hide our layers to. How many of us are able to bare ourselves completely to another fellow human being? I for one, never had the courage to. And then there are also layers that even I myself dare not face..

I chose this picture to illustrate this feeling, that we all have scars, ugliness, that we want to hide. Each time we put a new coat of paint, and portray a different surface to outsiders. But no matter how many coats of paint we put on, the truth forever lies beneath.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie

The J.O Project Week 18

 

Horror movies, Halloween, Fright Nights.. these aren’t quite the words from the J.O Dictionary I must say, so when I saw the theme for this week, I was kinda stumped… and so I tried to create some eerie photos using slow shutter and all, but I wasn’t quite happy with any one of them……. Kinda disappointing!

Anyway, I’m not gonna let the week pass just like that, so I am going to post something, but it’s not a fresh shoot (-.-“)

There was this wedding which I covered, and the day started before dawn breaks. I wanted to take photos of the lovely wedding dress and was choosing a good, special spot for it, and then I decided to use the tree just outside the house. While there were some great shots from that choice of location and angle, I tried some shots with the flash and they turned out pretty eerie… haha.. not exactly the kind of photo to show on a wedding! So this is from the archives… from the unseen…

ImageEerie enough? Maybe not quite. Oh well. I have tried my best.