USE YOUR EARNED LEAVES!

Despite a fixed holiday entitlement  as per company policies stipulated by organisations, most of the employees in India often refrain from taking leave mainly due to stereotypes attached to it.A survey conducted by British Airways says “2 per cent are often concerned with the mounting load of the work while the other 26 per cent are unable to find the time to disengage from the official responsibilities. Close to 30 per cent are unable summon the courage to ask for leave, as a large share believe that two-week holidays are frowned upon or discouraged by their workplace”

Here I shall address the last reason which is traumatizing 30 % of the employee population and their families(since work life balance of the individual directly impacts the family).

Here are seven reasons why you must muster courage to take leaves at work –

  1. One must take a break from the drudgery of work. Be it a holiday or a relaxed day off at home, the rest truly makes a difference to the productivity of an employee.
  2. Some of us actually believe in accumulating holidays so that we could avail leave encashment at the time of exit. Guys, let me tell you most leaves accumulated lapse beyond a certain period of time and unless you exit in the same year before they lapse, you won’t get much benefit out of it. Additionally, a paid holiday is a day where you earn the whole amount where as in case of leave encashment, you get only basic and DA(if applicable).
  3. Often employees believe that not taking leaves will ensure the employee stays in the good books of the boss. This is the biggest myth – leaves are employees’ right and exercising a right should not depend on anyone’s perception on you.
  4. Employees burn out at a very early stage these days. This is primarily due to outrageous workloads and no worklife balance. This leaves the employee not feeling valued for all the hard work they do.
  5. Personal health and relationships is priority. It is above everything else. While most of us realize it only with age, it is better if the realization dawns sooner in our lives.
  6. Focused attention is directly proportional to higher efficiency.Dedicated hours at work ensure complete attention to the job , similarly focused attention to home and family ensure strengthening of the family bonding and personal relationships.
  7. Fewer health problems – Stress can cause a variety of issues, personal health topping the list.From the overall health and well being to serious respiratory and digestive issues, it could pose a serious threat to one’s life.

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COMPETITION AT WORK!

In the Indian society, the concept of peer pressure is seeded in our minds since a very early age. Whether you blame it on our education system or the fact that we Indians are born competitive by nature; more often than not, it does more bad than good. So, dealing with it is tough at times. Here are 7 ways how you can deal with such anxiety and juice out the positivism from it.

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  1. Competition is ubiquitous – It is important to accept the fact that competition is inevitable. One must make peace with it and utilize it as a reason to strive to work harder and perform better.
  1. Channelize it into self-improvement – This is a great opportunity to polish and fine tune one’s skills. Taking a competitive colleague as a challenge is a good chance to leverage the strength areas and plan support and training to improve one’s development areas.
  2. Showcase the best: In the process of meeting targets and deadlines, we often forget the fact that selling skills are very important irrespective of the role one handles. Showcasing the best in you to the world is a mandatory skill that every professional needs. Hence, when one sees a competition flaunting his/her work, we must step up and exhibit our talent as well.
  3. Choosing a mentor: Mentor ship and professional guidance programs are extremely critical as one grows up the career ladder. When one feels down due to an aggressive competition at workplace, it is always good to take additional support from an experienced hand who can help pave the way forward for the individual. I have seen several mentor ship programs turning around the game for critical resources in the organisations I have worked for.
  4. High on Integrity – It is often noticed that when two employees at the same level have similar competencies and skill sets, integrity is a differentiation factor. So, one who maintains integrity is bound to score better than the one who does not. No wonder, most organisations have a very strict Code of conduct and compliance policy.
  5. Befriend the competitor: It is not easy to turn competitors into allies. It requires a deep level of empathy and a determined effort to build a new bridge. If it works out, you can really get to learn and appreciate some of the good aspects of his/her challenging behavior.
  6. Identification of critical influencers: Sometimes how you gauge your career has a lot to do with whom you measure yourself against. If one closely observes the competitor, one can choose individuals who motivate and possess skills that one wishes to emulate. This is the right opportunity to identify roles models and people who critically influence one personally and professionally.

 

Competition is largely positive if one looks through the right glasses. I have personally evolved quite a lot owing to the tough competition in the corporate world. I would also love to know more about my readers’ experiences.

 

WHY CHILDREN SHOULD PLAY OUTDOORS?

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This winter has been very tough for me as far as V’s health was concerned. We struggled for nights with blocked nose, persistent cough and sore throat. I had to do an extensive research on how to deal with baby’s cough and cold , how to boost immunity and how to get rid of recurring flu. While I was not successful in the initial attempts, I learnt a lot through the failed attempts. One of the biggest myths that burst for me was that babies/kids should be kept indoors to avoid any kind of health issue. Contrary to this popular belief, there are in fact hundreds of benefits for kids who play outside regularly, it is also advised that kids should spend more than 3 hours outdoors each day. Some of the reasons why you should let your child spend time outside are listed below –

  1. Confinement breeds diseases: While rest is extremely important for the sick and we are perennially worried about our kids catching cold when they step out, the reality is virus is easy to catch in closed environments. In open areas, there are lesser chances of kids catching the virus and in open air.
  2. Emotional and social competencies: Outdoor play has brain-boosting benefits for kids, starting in infancy. It strengthens the language and communication interactions among children who play together in the park. The more they socialize, the faster their learning is.
  3. Vitamin D Levels : Vitamin D has several health benefits like strengthening bone health which is a key parameter for growth in kids. Since, most of our kids have minimum exposure to sun these days, we try to supplement through food and tablets but sunlight is the most natural and effective way of receiving Vitamin D. Ofcourse, the precautionary measures must be taken for children who get sun burns easily.
  4. Channelize energy and increase curiosity: Kids come with a huge amount of energy which has to be channelized in a productive way. Kids who are confident about their physical abilities tend to be more positive about their lives in general. When they are exposed to newer things, their curiosity levels rise up, their tendency to ask questions increases and all of this contributes to the overall energy levels of a child.
  5. Increased attention span : Green outdoor settings always appear to reduce Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms amongst children, that includes the exposure they get to natural settings through different outdoor activities.
  6. Concept of leadership and team work – Outdoor play is extremely important to the social development of children particularly for building self-confidence. In addition to it, children also get more empathetic through social play, and they develop more skills for coping with conflict. Group activities also help develop team skills and leadership/moderation skills at a very early age.
  7. Boosting creativity: Sensory inputs help boost creativity and imagination. It also helps with quick learning – we all know we learn to do by doing and there is no substitute to experience. So, if you touch the sand, you would understand the concept of coarse and fine and there is no other way to explain it by seeing or reading. Hence, we must encourage our kids to step out and enjoy the sun, grass and wide skies.

I would be so happy to receive inputs from other moms who are willing to share their experiences and tricks which have worked for them.

 

 

LEAP OF FAITH

The other day I was looking at a picture of me and V taken a few months back. It made me wonder how fast she is growing, adapting to the environment around her so effortlessly and learning new things every single day. Learning seems so easy to her now and little does she know that unlearning all of these things will get difficult with age. Today ,when I look at myself , I wonder when was the last time I accepted a change without questioning or started something new,embracing a new beginning whole heartedly. Sometimes, you just need to take a leap of faith to experience the magic of a new beginning.

Here are 7 reasons why you must take the “Leap of faith “ –

  • Listen to your inner voice : Sometimes, we just need to sense our gut instinct and follow it because often it is the inner voice which leads you to the right path instead of the external advice that you have been seeking all along.
  • Regret and no regret : If you take up this lifetime opportunity, you will not regret it later. At the same time, for all the practical reasons you might realize later that you have made a wrong choice. Take a leap of faith for the choice that you truly want, so you will not feel the pinch of regret later. Sometimes the safer route is not always the best because once a decision is set in motion, it is likely to gain more momentum. I have seen infeasible dreams turning into reality merely through grit and determination.
  • Overcome the fear of unknown: There’s always an element of fear for what you can’t see and there’s always an element of excitement and a sense of desire to chase the unknown, to follow your passion. So, make your choice, let the passion overshadow the fear!
  • Celebrate the past and present: The pursuit to your passion will never be lucid until you pave your way yourself. Be grateful for your past , present and utilize it to carve your future. Gather your experience and pick the universe’s clues to take that leap.
  • Draw inspiration :Look around for people who follow the same passion. Do you want to move to a bigger city leaving behind your settled household for a dream job? How many people in your circle have done anything close to that, how many have been successful with it?
  • Money is not an excuse : I don’t want to sound like those zillion reminders you get on your social media on how you should drop everything and go travel the world. Money is very very important but don’t let money be your excuse. Plan your savings, take time to do it and if you really want to move and take advantage of this new experience, you’ll find a way to make it work.
  • It doesn’t work out : Come back and start again. You might lose time, but the gain is immense in terms of the experience. You learn new things from new people, new challenges, new places and most importantly the new ‘you’. The risk is well worth the reward.

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The inner voice!

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