Part 2 – How to remain guilt free on Monday mornings

monday_garfield_pic

A few days ago, we had discussed some ideas & a plan (phase 1) on how to spend few hours every weekend on interesting things which can help you in the long run. Based on the feedback received from readers, I think the time is right to begin phase 2 now. The idea is to gradually, over the subsequent phases, help you spend your weekends on doing what you like the most and in turn, feel charged up on Monday morning.

In phase 1, all that you had to dedicate was just 2 hours per day per day of the weekend, hence totaling 4 hours per weekend. The ideas were to watch a documentary, read a few pages of a book and to go for a solo photowalk.

Link to phase 1:
http://guruprasad.net/posts/how-to-remain-guilt-free-on-monday-mornings/

For phase 2, lets add another 2 hours to the existing plan and hence spend 6 hours per weekend. Continue watching a documentary (2 hours on saturday) in the weekend and read 20-30 pages of a book (2 hours on sunday).

The additional 2 hours can be spent on the following ideas.

reviews

Write a review:

Recollect how many times you have consulted the internet to check for user reviews of a product before buying, or read a viewer’s review of a movie before watching. As you would have noticed, having more user reviews for a product usually gave you a better clarity about the product, it’s usability, user experience etc. But who are those people writing reviews? They are also just customers and users like you and me, doing it so that it can help others. In a way, they have become “contributors” to the internet’s information superhighway which in turn is consumed by millions.

What is the use of doing this? As mentioned already, this way, you will be “Contributing” to the internet which can later be consumed by millions of people. Just like how you found somebody else’s review useful to help in your decision, your review might later be useful for somebody else’s decision. In a way, you can say that you are earning some positive “karmas” :)

So, how about you also becoming a contributor on this information superhighway by just spending a few mins? Think of an interesting movie you watched recently or an useful product you have been using for a while. Just spend 20-30 mins writing about it. For example, in the case of a movie, what made you feel it was a good movie? How was the overall direction, acting & presentation? What could have been better? Write everything that comes to your mind. There are no hard & fast rules about how a user review should be. You can even summarize the story if you wish (But make sure you warn the reader about “Spoiler Alert”).

Similarly, write a review about a product you have been using. When did you buy it and for how much? How is it’s reliability, performance, usability etc. Pros & Cons. Scope for improvement.

Since you are already watching a documentary & reading a book as per this plan, why not write a few lines of review after you watch the documentary?

Where to write this review? : Anywhere on the internet. In user reviews section of Amazon, Flipkart, IMDB etc. If you have a blog, you can post it there as well. If you have a facebook profile, posting it there also is a good idea so that all your friends will become aware of such a documentary/movie/book/product and so on.

origami

Practice Origami:

It might sound a bit strange. We are in a personality development programme and trying to utilize our weekends. Why did something as “trivial” a Origami come here?

Many consider Origami just as a recreational activity. On the contrary, Origami is one of the most challenging arts which when done in the right way, improves creativity, helps visualize better and at the end, the satisfaction derived out of creating a stunning origami out of plain paper is immense joy.

Thanks to YouTube and interactive websites, Origami has become less confusing & much more fun.
Following are some videos with step by step instructions & demonstrations:
http://www.youtube.com/user/AliveOrigami/videos

After you finish an origami art, be proud to show it to the world. Upload it on facebook and show it to your friends. Place your best works in origami in your living room or showcase.

What is the use of doing this? Recollect from phase 1 (previous article) where we had discussed that usually our work demands lot of analytical skills which puts undue pressure on our left brain. Doing activities like these will exercise the right brain as well and hence creates a balancing effect. It improves creativity, improves visualization skills & satisfaction after successfully finishing an origami art.

musical

3) Learn a musical instrument:

The urge to learn a musical instrument has always been there within us since our childhood and most of us would have even experimented with the “Happy Birthday” tune and showed off to our friends. After entering college/offices, we dont seem to have the time to try something and even if we are willing, we hesitate because we do not want to spend thousands on buying something which probably might gather dust in the garage. So, here is a plan. Do not buy an instrument. But try to learn an instrument. How? Technology has advanced. Most of us now have tablets (which start from Rs 3000) or smartphones with great touchscreen which can run apps to simulate musical instruments.

Now, you might say that playing on an iPad is completely different from playing on a real piano/keyboard. Yes, I agree. But there are always 2 aspects in learning an instrument
1) Familiarizing with the notes, tunes and getting the harmony.
2) Familiarizing with the instrument so that the sub conscious mind becomes familiar with the handling of it using fingers.

In the above 2 points, the one which requires real talent is actually (1), whereas (2) is just a means to an end. For example, consider your computer keyboard. You have been typing on it for years and your subconscious mind has become used to handling it in auto-pilot mode. Your mind just says “type APPLE” and your subconscious mind does it automatically for you. Now, you have an onscreen keyboard on your iPad/Smartphone as well with the same keyoard arrangement. Your mind will still work in the same way but there will slightly be some variation in the handling because your fingers must now interact with a touch screen instead of plastic keys. But the concept of typing still remains the same.

So, go ahead and download a musical instrument app (Piano app or Guitar app) and start learning the basics. There are tons of apps in iOS & Android which helps you learn it in a fun & interactive manner.

Here is a video demo of an Android app called “Pianist” in which a user can learn an instrument just like playing a video game:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnvL6zqV5rA

“Perfect Piano” is a popular Android app which has Piano as well as Drums:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gamestar.pianoperfect

Practice like this by dedicating just 1 hour per session and within 5 sessions, you will already be in a position to play some really nice songs like “Hotel California”. Show it off to your family & friends because their appreciation will help you boost confidence and motivate you to continue further.

If you love doing it for more than 10 sessions, then you can consider buying the real instrument itself because the effect a real instrument gives is much more and tremendous.

Why should you do this? Learning a musical instrument requires both sides of the brain. Since it requires lot of remembering, logic & thought process, it uses the left brain and since it requires you to be harmonious & creative, it uses your right brain as well. Practicing musical instruments for even just 15 mins have proven to boost confidence levels, helps your brain remain young and enthusiastic, calm the mind (body & nervous system as well), provide a relaxing & rejuvenating effect.

Based on your feedback over the next few days, I will plan for Phase 2 of this transformation plan and will upload the next part of the article in this portal. If you feel this article might help any of your friends, share it and if possible try to collaborate with them. If you have some suggestions, please let me know so that I can share it here and acknowledge you as well.

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