Posted in learnings, Life, Life Hacks

Must have apps in your smartphone

Free time gets you thinking and sitting at Udaipur airport got me thinking of how these apps/ tools have made my life so easier.

Since time immemorial tools have played an important role in one’s growth and the growth of the civilization. Some of the first tools used by men were made of stones and were used for getting their food in the wild. Civilization progressed and we discovered and invented various tools to make our life easier.

In this present internet age, the meanings of tools have further enhanced. Some of the tools or so-called apps that I use to manage my day to day life are given below:

  • Evernote

This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Thanks to Amal for introducing me to it. It helps me in getting things done. The search functionalities, its chat feature, notebook feature, tags feature etc. helps me in organizing a lot of my professional and personal things. It also helps me to record my blog ideas so that I can dwell on them later. This app at least saves and hour of my time every day for sure.

  • Settle up

This has become the one-stop shop to manage all my household expenses. We live in a shared flat and in that setting attribution of expenses in a right way is one of the most important things to keep peace in the house. This app has saved numerous fights for us and helps keep all our expenses clean and simple.

  • Walnut

When you want to manage your personal expenses and investment walnut saves the day for you. It helps me in managing my extra cash judicially so that I can track and get maximum returns on the same. This helps me to know my balances and investments at one place.

This is the latest addition to my list. This is also called a brain gym. This helps me in increasing my cognitive abilities. Improve my reasoning, coordination etc. I used this religiously once a day to keep my mind open to possibilities. I have literally paid a good amount for this.

prak brain score

  • Quora

I find this better than people as I get pinpointed answers to almost all my queries and those are real experience of people rather than paid content that I get on google. Recently I started answering a lot of questions myself on Quora. I make sure I give at least 2 answers a day on questions where I have experience.

  • Linkedin

I think one should also have a equal professional presence as they have on social media. It shows a lot about your character. This helps you to build your professional presence over a period and helps us to become credible and an influencer.

  • Whatsapp

One of the best tools to communicate to teams, family, friend. I think it has become a necessity in todays life. It is fast, responsive and solves an important problem of fast and efficient communication.

  • Goibibo

I tend to travel frequently and booking hotels, busses and flight is like every day’s work. Here Goibibo is a savior. This becomes one stop shop for all my travel needs. Till now I never had a bad experience with them. Hope it stays that way.

This is not on my phone because I work there. It is there because it has helped me time and again during my dentist’s treatments, during my mom’s illness etc. This app has always given me a near perfect suggestion on which doctor should I visit.

  • MI-Fit

Last but not the least my fitness freakishness holds me to this app. It helps me to keep a record of my physical activity through band and hence I get motivated to open it every day and make sure I achieve my target

Now if you see closely above apps/ tools solves daily schedule, Expenses, Personal Finance, Knowledge, Professional visibility, keeping in touch, Travel Needs, Medical emergencies, and Fitness.

A short study on why users uninstall apps. Please share your thoughts on the same.

What else do you need to manage in your day to day life please share it in the comment section? I will use it myself and update the article.

Posted in Experience, learnings, Life, Philosophy

The Cost of an Indian Wedding

In Indian culture, as soon as the child is born, the planning for one’s wedding starts. The family start’s gathering gold/ possessions right from the day you are born. They do this killing a lot of their own ambitions and aspirations. Now, this is also one of the costs which a family pays in an Indian wedding. Throughout the childhood gathering of possessions continue. Somehow Indian people find a huge satisfaction in possessions and not in experiences. This continues till the education of the child is done and then starts the saga of getting one married. Hence, the cost of marriage can be equated as:

Cost of Marriage (CoM) = Cost of possession + Lost opportunity cost + Lost aspirations + Amount spent in marriage

Cost of possession

We buy anything for a purpose which gives us instant gratification. The touch and feel of that possession give us a very satisfactory feeling. After a while when this feeling wears off comes a state where we should keep up those possessions (gold, house etc.). The cost of possession is the cost of maintaining those things for their life. A gold ornament will need a bank locker, considering the risks involved, A house will need maintenance time and again etc.

Lost opportunity cost

Now when you buy anything, it is at the cost of something else. In typical Indian family where people buy a lot of things planning for future for their children they lose out on many other things in life, the cost of which is huge. Now, you could have invested that money made much more and made everyone happy. But patience is not a virtue of Indian people. A 4000 Rs a month in a mutual fund for 20 years can reap more than a crore which can make everyone’s life very easy and fulfilling.

Lost aspirations

I had to travel to new places but I didn’t have money for it as I took that gold ornament set for my future daughter in law. Now, this thing called marriage leads to a loss of a lot of loss of aspirations for the family. The future that is not even certain. We don’t know what will happen next moment but we easily do things for like 10 years down the line killing a lot of aspirations of our own which could be life changing.

Amount spent in marriage

This is the most stupid thing various Indian families do. They will take a loan and get their son/ daughter married. Why? Because I should keep up that status in society otherwise what will people say about me, because I have only one son and I want to do the best for him, because marriage is only done once in life and no one has an intent of the second one, because this is the only thing we live for are some of the lame reasons you will get. All of this for what? Living your life in debt for the people who will not even remember it next morning.

After reading this do you still want to get married in those big fat Indian wedding types functions, considering what all your parents have been through? Don’t you want to give them back something which will at least make up for those costs that they have paid knowingly or un-knowingly and make you happy about doing something good in life?

Please leave your thoughts in comments,

Posted in Experience, Interviews, learnings, Life

Interview – Bankers life post demonetisation

bankers life

My dad has been a banker for last 30 years now. Since I started understanding, it has at least been 15 years. During initial days’ things were different as it was a semi-government bank. But, soon things changed and my dad was a part of one of the largest private banks in India. The life of a banker has always been about patience, hard work, dedication, managing expectations, etc. Banks manages people’s dream (money) and hence bankers become so important in people’s life.

In the month of Nov’16 government took a huge step to demonetise. Since then the life of a banker has taken a toll and the pressure is felt by their families. Since this decision dad used to leave home by 7:30 in the morning and will not be back before 09:00 in the night.

A single branch of a bank, in general, caters to 10,000 people and after this historic decision, all of them started flocking to bank on a regular basis making everyone’s life at bank difficult. Below is the first-person account of what happened in the next two month.

The night this was announced, he gets a call from the office to be there by 6:00 AM. Standing instructions for all of them were to make sure every customer is taken care off. They were told that it is an opportunity for the bank to build a brand and increase their current and saving accounts. They were also told to make sure none of the people in the bank of their area are involved in any illegal activities. This was a double edge sword, if this was pulled off in a proper way then it would boost bank’s business and if not it could destroy.

Dad says, “First thing we used to do after reaching bank was huddle up and discuss the problems at hand, how to serve our customers, any important updates and defining roles of who would do what for the day.” Some would manage the queue, some would just walk around and talk to people and clear their doubts, some will be managing cash and so on.

People were panicking and that was the worst part. People were depositing cash, withdrawing cash and were also exchanging old notes. Now as there were 3 transactions per person it was becoming tougher. We had to keep up the sanity of data and for the same, we had to make sure that the money we take to match the numbers on computer or we had to make up from our pocket for the shortfall. In general, we would do about +/- 1000 a day and that was manageable.

Now there are always some people who would want to take advantage of the situation and we also had some cases. A person with 1000 Rs trying to deposit 4000 Rs. A person with no money just filling the form and submitting, A person exchanging more than designated old currency in a day coming at different times etc. All this was done assuming that bankers are under pressure and they will give in. But that was not the case. One of us would just move around and do the random audit to tally that are transactions are in place. We were making sure we have all the necessary documents so that we can have a look later.

We saw people coming in busses with one person distributing them old currencies to the tune of 4500 Rs exactly and they come to the bank to exchange. We confronted some, some of them left and others had their own explanations. We did whatever we could to make sure that people do not misuse. In this process, we had to tell a lot of people to leave the branch.

We also had to manage ATM withdrawal lines and the same was done by one of us in turns. We would keep a live check of balance and when we find something suspicious we would make sure we confront people. People started coming with multiple debit cards and do multiple transactions. To make them do only one transaction was the toughest part. We had many fights with people on the same. But all of this to make sure that everyone gets equal chance and we are not biased.

There were many instances where we were asked to cross the line. People coming with bags full of money and making direct offers to us, people coming to open new bank accounts in bulk, etc. We had to make sure all the people in the bank are on the same page and we do not slip at any point in time.

Managing the cash in bank was a different headache altogether. We didn’t have our own chest for keeping money and had to take trips to nearby branch every 2 hours in a van with a security guard to put the extra cash generated in the process. This had to be done very carefully. Some of us would do only thing throughout the day.

We were not reaching home before 12:00 in the night and we have to come back by 7:00 anyhow. Sundays were also not the holiday for us as we had to do other paperwork to make sure things are in place.

Over these 2 months, we had a lot of incidents where people were fighting among themselves and with us. People wanted their money and they didn’t care about us. Almost everyone will talk about how this move was good for the country but when it came to personal level everyone wanted to make their money safe at any cost.

On the other hand, RBI rules were getting changed so fast that one of us had to keep a tab on the same and adjust everything on each notification from RBI. The toughest part for me was to keep the moral of my team-high in midst of all this. People in my team wanted to quit their jobs in those times as they were not able to take that pressure. But we just had to make sure we have each other’s back.

We were not having proper food, we didn’t have time to step out of the bank. A lot of us lost a bit of weight and you could see pressure and stress on our face. We tried curbing it cracking occasional jokes, helping each other out as much as we could. But some things were not in anyone’s control.

We played along and now after 6 months of the process, things are looking to be back on track. This was once in a lifetime experience and we had our share of learnings about consumer behaviors, our colleagues etc. We were happy that we were playing a part in nations building, that being our single source of motivation.

(All the views expressed here are my own and has nothing to do with any particular person or a bank)

Posted in Experience, learnings, Life, Philosophy

Importance of wasting time

wasting time

There is always so much do and achieve in one’s life. We always keep running around with the feeling of getting things done from the endless list of to do’s. There is this culture of making one feel all productive and even a second wasted is looked at terribly. But what we don’t realize is, in this type of life where all we care about is getting things done all the time, becomes dull and monotonous and hence you need a break to rejuvenate, hence need of me time, lazy time or rather say wasting time becomes fulfilling and utmost important.

What we, the today’s generation do is spend long hours on thinking how to spend time well. Irony!! Isn’t it. And here we miss some important moments with our family and friends.

The problem that we face today is that everyone is conditioned about chasing productivity so much that we think the break time can be better use in striking off the no. 9 from the to-do list. We don’t sleep, go for a walk, read etc. whenever we find time from our so-called productive schedule, we end up thinking and planning about what to do next and hence feeling guilty of not putting the current time to the best use.

Instead, what we actually do is sit like a zombie in front of our laptop and have a sense of working but not actually working. Hence we neither contribute to our work nor your happiness.

There’s an idea we must always be available, work all the time,” says Michael Guttridge, a psychologist who focuses on workplace behavior. “It’s hard to break out of that and go to the park.”

The downside of this is blank stare at the computer while working, opening facebook while pretending to work, etc. The think we tell ourselves, this is multitasking and I am not wasting any time but in reality, we are far from doing the basic work even, forget to multitask.

The idea of eating and drinking at the desk is not good at all as it doesn’t help in gathering our thoughts. Instead, we should go for a walk to coffee shop, cafeteria, etc. Here, we miss the physical and mental benefits of spending time with ourselves.

This is not to say we should not work hard or not complete the assignment. The truth is, work expands to fill the time it’s given and, for most of us, we could spend considerably fewer hours at the office and still get the same amount done.

Sometimes activities like going to the gym can be weighed down by the sense of responsibility as we must reach office before anyone. Surprisingly, we start watching movies and shows in fast forward to get the summary. This was meant for fun but we start doing it like work hence taking the fun and pleasure out of the activity. We then think that we had the fun time but with no actual benefits of wasting that time.

“Wasting time is about recharging your battery and de-cluttering,”. Taking time to be total, gloriously, proudly unproductive will ultimately make you better at your job. But it’s also fulfilling in and of itself.

At the end of the day, all of us need to have some off time doing things we like and want to do. We should think this time as time well spent as you gain a lot of focus and not as unproductive time. 

 

Posted in Experience, learnings, Life, Startups

Fear of Appreciation

appreciation

A simple thank you by your boss, or a small token of remembrance do wonders to the moral of employees and helps create a cohesive team. This helps a team go that extra mile and deliver great results. Everyone like being appreciated and we have enough good reasons for it, like:

  • People think that they are being valued
  • They think that someone is seeing them
  • They think that people like them
  • It deepens a sense of meaning to the work we do
  • It connects us to the work we do

Now here comes a tricky part for the people who have to appreciate. When, where and how much to appreciate, where to draw a line so that it doesn’t become normal. Appreciation should always be something which should be earned and no something which is a daily thing. If it becomes a daily thing then people tend to take it for granted and the purpose of it is lost.

In today’s competitive and fast paced world everyone tries to give their best in professional life. People extend their limits and try to do things never done before, now this requires appreciation but, when this becomes a day-to-day thing, for a manager it becomes difficult.

I would like to share a real-life story (names changed) on the same. Mr. Mohit was a very hard-working person and he always used to go an extra mile to get things done. In the first phase of his career, he excelled and people appreciated him very much. But with every appreciation he got his aspirations increased. For his manager, he was always a star performer and he never gave any objective feedback to him on how he can go to next level. Now when appraisals came Mohit had very high hopes as he always thought he was the best and there was nothing to improve. During the process, the manager was in fix about how do I make sure he feels rewarded, but I cannot promote as he lacks these three things which were never told him before.

This is precisely every people manager go through. Once this happens a “Fear of Appreciation” creeps up in any people manager’s mind and they become vary of appreciating people till they think something extraordinary has happened which in turn sometimes hurt people who even after so much effort I am not being appreciated.

The way out of this is not stopping appreciation but in addition, an objective feedback to the team from time to time helps the team grow and make sure that the expectations are realistic.

Posted in Experience, Life

Travel Experiences – Gate 15 B Bangalore Airport

Setting up desk at the airport is fun.

desk at airport

Laptop, mobile, biscuit, mobile and headphones all set for a fun ride for next 1 hour. The ritual of calling mom in the morning starts and we talk about random things.  The talks always start from how is work and life and then moves to what happening in the family. I don’t take life very seriously but my mom and dad take it way too seriously. I respect that because of what they have been through in last few years. My point is always to calm them and then make sure that I put my point forward.

So, a lot of people on the floor today as there is a long weekend and everyone wants to have fun. A lot of people are on laptops and mobile. What the world has come to where each one of us is on mobile. I am sitting here since last 30 min and this is what I see.

A foreign national sitting on the tab and emailing someone at the office. I reached out to him asking him where he is going. He said that I have a conference in Delhi and I am going for the same. We then got talking about how long he has been here and what I heard was an interesting story.

He came here in 2014 on an adventure trip to do hiking in mountains of Bangalore. He stayed here for 2 months and scaled every mountain. During this time, he got in touch with people from the ashram and he started going there. The ashram taught him a lot of patience and love. When he was back to Germany, the only thought in his mind was to come back to India. He then started finding opportunities in India. He was then working for a car manufacturer. During the same time, their company wanted to start a business in India and he volunteered. Given his experience with India, he was sent here. When he came to India he went straight to the ashram and spend 6 days there. A lot of miracle stories of the ashram is what he told me about how they could bring the best out of you. How to meditate? I learned a few tips from him, which I will share later on the blog. But talking to him made me realize that how important it is to make a conversation and learn from people around you.

So, I then thought of going ahead and talk to a student who was on his mobile. I just directly asked him if we can talk. To my surprise, he welcomed me. We then started talking I was awestruck to know that he is a founder of a company which is earning 10 lacks a month in profit with 2 employees. This was it, we got along very well. He then showed me what he did. His company works in the agriculture sector, where they are developing tech which can help farmer increase productivity of crop per area of land. They do it by optimizing manure content, irrigation, type of crop wrt seasons and modern measurement equipment. I then share my last year project on robotic irrigation and he instantly asked me if we can work together. Here I was on a trip to home and got an awesome opportunity to make an impact. We exchanged numbers and then talk started about my work at practo and other projects. It was fun talking to him.

One thing is proved today that a lot of interesting people in the world and if you don’t talk and shy away from people you are missing on a lot of things in life.

Today, I got to know about an ashram and an entrepreneur who is changing the lives of many. So, when you get a chance talk to people, learn from them and move ahead.

 

Signing off, Boarding Call, Home Calling !!!

Posted in Experience, fitness, learnings, Life, Weight Loss

Avoid these night-time habits that helps you gain weight

weight

You’re not sleeping enough

New role at the office, exam time, a fulltime gamer etc. can be a reason not to sleep enough as there is something to achieve something in life. But going all the way can hurt us very badly in terms of health.

  • Metabolism slows down, as the digestion is at its peak when we sleep and when we don’t it ads to body fat.
  • Sleeping less means more time in your senses and hence more eating.
  • You are already tiered and hence you will not be able to work out well thus you lose on losing out body fat.
  • It increases your cortisol level. “Cortisol is made by the adrenal glands. Cortisol levels go up when the pituitary gland releases another hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Cortisol has many functions. It helps the body use sugar (glucose) and fat for energy (metabolism), and it helps the body manage stress.”
  • Going to bed past midnight makes you gain more fat because it’s not the natural body cycle.
  • You will want to eat something early in the morning.

Hence let’s make a habit of increasing our sleeping hours to a minimum of 6-8 depending on your day. Go to sleep as soon as you feel sleepy. If you feel upbeat by the end of your day, try to include some physical exercises.

You overeat at dinner and sleep right after the meal

Fight with someone you love, stress at work, party etc. a lot of things can make you eat a lot of un-necessary things at dinner. Now, this is bad as you are going to sleep after that without much of physical activity.

  • The digestion of heavy food at night happens slowly as it takes more time to break down the complex things that just went down your throat.
  • Watching your favorite soap diverts your mind and makes you eat more so just one thing at a time.
  • Just sleeping after meals will get more fat accumulated and you can have digestive problems

Hence, having a light dinner high in proteins and fibers in a small plate talking to family and friends. Then take a walk or set the home right so that you have at least 1.5-hour gap before sleeping.

Having an oil filled, spicy and fried dinner

Cannot resist those French fries, burgers, etc. at a party. Just remember that you don’t have time to burn them off.

  • Too many calories mean more fat accumulated as you will mostly hit bed after that
  • Spicy food leads to poor digestion and increases in heart rates which are not good for one’s health.
  • Uneasiness and not a great sleep are some of the consequences to face.

Spicy food is good for speeding up your metabolism. Eat it, if you like it — maybe just not at night. For dinner, you can have smoothies or fresh fruit, all kinds of salads or high-protein foods. But in small portions, of course!

 

You have a sweet tooth, do a lot of snacking at dinner time, alcohol and love eating it before going to bed

Chocolates, Shakes, Sweets can be a breaking point for many. Many of us broke our resolution because of this.

  • White sugar and flour transform into fat cells if not burned and hence creates that belly that you have, yes right there!!
  • Snacking leads to over eating and you consume empty calories
  • You then become hyperactive and will not be able to sleep as the body now has more energy.

For dessert, have some fruit. It’s like healthy candy that won’t hurt your waist. This solves your sweet and snacking problem

Eating less dinner is great and helps loose

Oh!! Yes, today I skipped dinner, I have to burn less and will lose weight is the concept many people have in mind.

  • It doesn’t help you lose much weight because skipping meals slows your metabolism and hence helps in accumulation of fat.
  • It aids more hunger to the next meal that you will have and you, in turn, end up eating more. It can cause anxiety and you will have the problem in concentrating.
  • You lose muscle tissue, and your skin gets loose which then becomes impossible to lose.

Even if you don’t have time for a decent lunch or dinner, at least try to eat a piece of fruit which helps you to get rid of all the things said above.

 Can’t live without checking my phone

She/ He messaged me and I must reply otherwise it will become a big fight and we stay glued to the screens.

  • Blue light, emitted by those gadgets, affects health and sleep., Radio frequency waves also cause sleep deprivation and thus creates a lot of problems

Turn devices off at least one hour before bed. Read a book or listen to relaxing music instead.