Fix my busy life please

Make yourself a ‘pretty tough cookie’ which doesn’t break under pressure but becoming tougher! This gingerbread house was made by the Pretty Tough Cookie which is run by a talented young lady. Search ‘Pretty Tough Cookie’ on Facebook.

Key takeaways:
– you can fix your life the way you want, if you are willing to try;
– what works for other people may not work for you;
– keen to try new ideas and experiment on yourself;
– if you can’t change people around you, then change yourself.

In my trip last month, I met a few colleagues in a conference in Seoul and also met a few old friends in China, Hong Kong and Taipei. Some told me that they enjoyed reading my blog on Monday evenings (or Tuesday mornings in their emailboxes). Some were inspired and actually tried what I suggested in my blog. Nice. ^_<

On my way to Sydney from Seoul, I stopped over Shanghai to see an old friend. Over a morning coffee, he told me that he used to read my blogs but not any more because what I said can’t be applied to him. I was keen to help him so I had a good chat on this topic with him.

For my friend, the main reason is that his calendar is dominated by requests from other people at work and he reckons he has little control over his calendar on a working day. My friend runs his own company in Shanghai and is currently handling a renovation project for a major department store. The project itself is worth tens of millions of dollars; huge pressure to get the project done on time.

Over a short morning coffee session, he showed me his WeChat (the Chinese version Facebook Messenger) message lists and I could understand why he said his working hours were ‘dominated’ by other people. Tens of messages popped up during our coffee session. By the time we finished an hour-long catch up, his un-read messages had grown to hundreds and were waiting for him on his iPhone. I could understand what he said about his work.

Yes, I can help you, old friend. ^_< Keep reading this blog, please.

First of all, although your calendar is ‘dominated’ by a lot of things from other people, you do have a bit control over how to respond to those requests. Make sure you give yourself a break around 10.30am, 12.30pm, and 3.30pm. A 10-minute break is fine, but make sure you can escape and find a quiet place to calm yourself down. Often, a cup of coffee or tea helps. You can actually take the ‘excuse’ of buying a cup of coffee, then walk away and give yourself a break. During this break, do nothing; absolutely nothing! No mobile phone, nothing! Just enjoy your tea/coffee. This break is to re-set your brain for clarity and focus ability.

Second, try to only check your iPhone once every 15 minutes on your working day. Don’t keep checking your mobile phone because that drains your brain power and the reality is that: there will be new things popping up any time for you! Endless stuff, trust me. So, check once per 15 mins. The rest of the time, do what you should do as a project manager and talk to people to sort things out. Checking messages or emails on an iPhone drains your brain capacity to do important decisions, so reserve some capacity for later.

Third, do your morning exercises. I know you have the habit of doing morning swims. That’s great and keep going! This boosts your mental and physical strength and also gives you a good mood in the morning to start you day. You are doing the right thing, mate.

Fourth, make sure you switch off your phone after 9pm and rest well. According to the nature of a building renovation project, little things can happen during the night, so relax and enjoy your evening.

My friend, if you can do either (1) or (2) as a beginning and test it for two weeks (and trying as hard as you can to stick to it), then I believe you will fell a lot happier. If so, keep doing that for another two weeks, then these tasks will become your habits. Then, you’ve just fixed your busy life with a big smile on your face. I hope to see you reaching this status when I see you again soon in Sydney, because you promised to visit my family here. I’m waiting to see how you could improve your busy life.

Wish you luck, CT.

(NB: this blog is dedicated to CT who is a great warrior working in Shanghai and also a life-long friend of mine. I always enjoy catching up with you and feel the happiness ‘chi’ from you. That’s your biggest personal assest, so keep it and keep growing it.)

Dr. C. Richard Wu @

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