Saturday, January 4, 2014

CC3 - Getting Things Done

There’s something I’m supposed to be doing right now this afternoon at 3:30 PM .… Oh right, I need to go and pick my Son from School. No, that’s not it… Hmm… Oh I remember now! I’m supposed to be giving a speech about “Getting Things Done” at Medley.

Good Afternoon TMOD, Fellow Toastmasters and guests. Had you been in that same scenario, where we have so much to do that we just forget what we actually needed to do? Had you been in the grocery store and have forgotten what you wanted to buy, but can remember the phone call you need to make at 4:00 this afternoon to your boss on office work. In our increasingly busy lives multi-tasking is a great tool, but sometimes everything blurs and we need to focus on what we truly need to accomplish and this is where the methodology of GTD, Getting Things Done, shines. Yes, another methodology! This afternoon you are going to learn GTD methodology, the specific steps to use as part of GTD, and how you can implement GTD in your everyday personal and business lives.
We as humans are most productive when the mind is clear and Getting Things Done is a methodology for personal productivity allowing for the organization of all that ‘stuff’ in your life. David Allen created GTD in the book named aptly, Getting Things Done was released in 2002 the idea of GTD has been brewing with David Allen since 1983 after putting together a productivity seminar. The methodology has evolved over the years and continues to evolve especially as the older models of productivity become outdated. The main principle behind GTD is the common sense concept of having a complete and current inventory of all of your commitments and activities. At a high level, the GTD process is a bottom up approach that starts with getting all of that ‘stuff’ out of your head. Once that ‘stuff’ is stored somewhere else it then provides for the ability to turn that ‘stuff’ into actions.

So how do you go about Getting Things Done?
The steps to GTD are very straightforward;
1.    Collect,
2.    Process & Organize
3.    Review and Do.
We’ve discussed the Collect step already and it’s as easy as putting everything you need to get done into an Inbox. The Inbox can be any sort of collection system from paper to e-mail. Once you’ve collected your items into the Inbox you then need to process these items, in effect emptying your Inbox. To process the item we split the Inbox into two categories, actionable and non-actionable. If the item is not actionable it either gets Deleted, added to a Reference bucket, or added to a Someday/Maybe bucket, like that trip to Hawaii! For those items that are actionable we then need to Organize them into various buckets. Before we do however, will this item take less than two minutes to complete? If so, then JUST DO IT! But if it takes longer than two minutes the item should be if possible, delegated otherwise deferred. Deferred actions are organized into contexts such as office, home, calls, errands. The next step is then to actually Do these actions based upon their context and buckets. At the office? Then what’s in the office bucket? Have some time at home then look at the calls context or home bucket. The last step is Review, an occasional review, usually weekly, of each of your buckets, contexts and projects to ensure they aren’t being ignored. This time is also spent again emptying the stuff in your head into the Inbox and then repeating the steps of Processing and Organizing and of course doing.
After learning about these steps involved in GTD some of you may be asking how you might implement it in your personal and business lives. Well as GTD has established a bit of a cult following there are a number of tools available to use. I personally utilize Outlook as my Inbox and have an app on my smartphone that is specifically designed for GTD, called Producteev, with a whole bunch of neat features. For starting out however the simplest way to implement GTD for yourself is to get a plain spiral notebook and dump the stuff that’s in your head into it. Then Process, Organize and Do! Implementing GTD relieves that overwhelming feeling and helps to increase productivity without being locked into a rigid structure. I would also highly suggest getting David Allen’s book to learn more about GTD. So why are you still sitting? Get your paper and pencils and start Get Things Done!

CC2 - Repetetive Stress Injury (RSI)

I am proud to be an IT Professional. Are you an IT professional as me? ….. Great.

Are we all aware that we are in the clutches of Occupational Hazard RSI – The Repetitive Stress Injury as we are working in front of systems in IT Organizations day in and day out?
Today, I will explore and we will learn together what steps needs to be taken by each of us as preventive actions for not being bugged by this dreaded occupational hazard RSI.  

Good evening TMOD and fellow Toastmasters.
Toady each of us need to equip ourselves with the necessary ammunition to prevent us from bugging the effects of RSI.

Today we see that for more than a decade majority of us are aspiring to be IT professional knowing little about the side effects of RSI that we would be subjected to.
Three main effects of working on computer systems are:
1.       Musculoskeletal – These are commonly called as Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) and also referred to as Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD). They can show up as discomfort in your muscles or tendons and can occur in different parts of the body such as
a.       back,
b.      neck and shoulders and
c.       Arms and hands.
2.       Eyesight effects - By using computer we can have the following eye problems such as
a.       Blurred vision,
b.      Sore eyes &
c.       Headaches.
3.       Fatigue and Stress - aspects of workload and environment such as workload and work pressures may cause stress
a.       Stress leads to physical tension which in turn leads to fatigue
b.      A fatigued person is vulnerable to further stress
c.       …and therefore susceptible to problems arising from poor health due to stress.
Now let us look the causes of some of these problems:
RSI Signs and symptoms:
1.       Stiffness
2.       Aches
3.       Tingling
4.       Numbness
5.       Swelling
6.       Limited range of motion
What causes RSI?
1.       Computer Usage - How much you use the computer.
2.       Insufficient Breaks – whether you take enough breaks during the work time.
3.       Speed and Intensity - How intensely or quickly you work at the computer.
4.       Posture and Work Station (Ergonomics) – Your posture and ergonomics of your workstation setup.
5.       Discomfort - Previous problems with musculoskeletal or eye dis-comfort using the computer.
6.       Work Environment – your workload, work pressure and stress levels leading to:
1.       Job dissatisfaction
2.       Perception of your work load
3.       Perceived lack of support from your supervisor/manager
7.       Individual Factors – your age, physical fitness and personal health.
1.       Your overall health
2.       Your physical fitness level
3.       Medical conditions that affect your circulation such as diabetes or pregnancy
As observed, both work environment and individual factors play a key role in influencing the RSI.
In Summary, I would say that we need to take every step to ensure that we don’t get entangled in this RSI and keep good health.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

CC1 - Ice Breaker - The Way Forward

As Obama said “Yes we can, yes we will do”, I say “Yes I can, yes I will do” – My journey has started with Toastmasters with Sundararaman as my mentor at Medleys and all of you have gathered this evening  to listen to my CC#1 Ice Breaker – The Way Forward.

Very Good Evening TMOD and fellow Toast Masters.

The toastmaster’s manual says “Speaking about your self is the easiest thing to do”. However, when I started to prepare for my Ice breaker speech for 4 to 6 minutes I found that it is too short a time and have realized that “It is not that easy to talk about myself”. With humble beginning I will briefly introduce myself and share some of my experiences … Very aptly Zig Ziglar said – “You don’t have to be GREAT to START, but you have to START to be GREAT and this is where I START.

I was born in a small village beside river Godavari in the state of Andhra Pradesh with two younger sisters. Mother is a home maker and father an Electrical Engineer in State Electricity Board and during his service toured across Andhra Pradesh. I have done my schooling in Hyderabad and then moved to Bangalore for rest of my education in Bangalore University for my Bachelors and post-graduation.  After my education I have chosen teaching as my 1st profession for +2 Physics and after more than a decade as 1st inflection point I moved from teaching profession to software. From programmer in software moved to Quality and CMM implementation along with ISO and currently on the Management side as a Senior Project Manager at Tech Mahindra. During this path in my career I have toured across India and also been to Thailand and United States.

All through my life apart from my studies during education and work during my employment I have spent the balance time clicking the shutter right from the Black & White days to the DSLR age all the colours of life.

During the collage days as a budding photographer I learnt developing and processing of the black and white film and also printing the photographs through the projector in the Physics Lab. As the days passed by I got myself better cameras. This was the time where I have experimented both on the Black & White as well as colour photography extensively.

With the dawn of the internet age I have upgraded equipment to DSLR. At this stage in 2009 as the 2nd inflection point I have it I started posting my pictures on the Web on Flickr with the Brand Name Photographic Collection, today I have lot of visitors daily visiting my website on Flickr. As on date I have some of my photographs selected for display in the exhibitions, requested to be placed on websites and have even got some auctioned.  Today I take every opportunity to cover events to my heart’s content.

A very important point not to be forgotten is I have had neither mentor nor teacher in Photography, I had learnt all by myself with the release of each shutter.

One of my goals right from my childhood was to be a Professional Photographer. Hopefully, I’ll achieve that in the near future. It is this again which taught me as Zig Ziglar said that “You don’t have to be GREAT to START, but you have to START to be GREAT”.

With this I hand over to TMOD.