Weekly Update #1: The Short List

Last week, in my first ever update since quitting my job (let’s call that update #0, since it wasn’t exactly a weekly update), I reassured my dear readers (that’s you!) that I’m still alive, and shared with you some of the issues I’ve been struggling with since quitting my job (namely, deciding on what to do with my life now that I don’t have a job).

In this update, I’d like to present you with the list of projects I will be committing myself to for the time being.

But before I share the list with you, I’d like to say a word or two about productivity and focus:

Most productivity (and career) experts will tell you that a “short list” of more than one project can scatter your focus and lead you to work on a suboptimal level. If you truly want to achieve great things, then you must focus completely and wholeheartedly on a single project. Anyone transitioning into entrepreneurship knows how difficult it is to get a side business going with a day job to drain your energy and creativity.

In many ways, this piece of advice is sensible, and I can definitely see the advantages of focusing on a single project.

But I don’t think such an approach will work well for me. If my main problem since quitting my job was narrowing down my options, reducing my decision down to a single option is akin to motivational suicide.

Working on two projects at the same time can accelerate the progress you experience with a single project. How? Because alternating between projects can help you maintain your motivation and prevent you from experiencing boredom and frustration. The mini-accomplishments you experience in one project can encourage you to experience similar accomplishments in the other project. If you were stuck with a single project that isn’t going anywhere, you would soon hate your life and everything in it!

Many people who start a business while working a day job find that the extra work they put in to their embryonic business actually gives them more energy and motivation during their day job than not having a business to look forward to at all!

I believe working on several projects at the same time can be very rewarding, and I will be sharing with you some of my observations about this issue and ways I plan to succeed with this approach.

I should also make it clear that the level of balance I will be experiencing in the months ahead won’t be ideal. Starting a business (and not having a job) is an emergency situation, which calls for a personal state of emergency. This means that it’s sensible to go temporarily out of balance while trying to make necessary progress in my Professional life area.

For now, I will present you with my list of projects, but will leave further discussion about my decision for choosing these projects for next week:

Spa Business: My sister has been running a spa for over a year now. I haven’t been actively supporting her in this endeavor, but will now be more involved in running the business with her

Customer Experience Consultancy: One of the issues I feel extremely passionate about is improving the way businesses treat their customers. Little attention is given to how customers perceive companies based on their overall experience with these companies. I have many ideas about this issue, and plan on starting a consultancy business to help companies better serve their customers, and help customers enjoy life without having to experience the frustration that comes with poor service!

Personal Growth Map: This blog is a high priority for me. I love the field of personal growth and I love writing about it. I intend on writing more over here and producing products that bring clarity to this field, especially with regards to life balance and genuine growth

Online Shopping Site: I am working with a friend on creating a shopping site that allows people in Kuwait to compare prices between different stores and finding products that more accurately match their needs. Most e-commerce sites in Kuwait are limited to single stores, and do not offer the services we would like to introduce

Teaching/Training: One of the most common recommendations I get from people is that I should go into teaching. I don’t plan on teaching in a school, but I’ll be applying for teaching positions in universities and training institutes, where the working hours are flexible and few.

This is my current list of professional projects.

I’ll be telling you why I chose these projects and how I plan on moving them all forward in future blog posts!


The Right To Be Upset

The people around us and the circumstances we face can make us feel upset, angry, frustrated, depressed, annoyed and any other possible negative emotion humans can experience.

And when we experience these emotions we tend to latch on to them.


Because we believe we’re entitled to experience them.

We have every reason to experience them.

We have the right to experience them.

If you ever thought you had the right to be upset or angry or depressed, then you know what I’m talking about.

But rather than holding on to your right to be upset, ask yourself the following question:

“Do I deserve to be upset?”

If you don’t (and you don’t), then you shouldn’t insist on being upset.

Sure, someone you know might have done something to hurt you, but do you need to continue hurting yourself? Do you deserve to subject yourself to such hurt?

Rights are intended to lift us up rather than pull us down. When they end up pulling us down, we can choose to abandon them. We have the right to a miserable life and the right to be ignorant and the right to be poor. But it doesn’t mean that we need to exercise these rights.

The same principle applies to our emotions. While we may have the right to be upset, we shouldn’t exercise that right when it damages our lives. We don’t deserve to be upset and to linger in that feeling.

I sometimes find myself latching on to feelings of anger and frustration, but then realize that I can’t afford to waste my emotional energy on such feelings, and to compromise the opportunity to be happy. I realize that the negative feelings I’m experiencing are within my control and I can let go of them as soon as I let go of the idea that I have the right to experience them.

Don’t insist on upholding your right to be upset. You don’t deserve it.


Don’t Be Alarmed, I’m Still Alive

It’s been six weeks since I quit my day job (and wrote a blog post over here!).

If you’ve been wondering whether I’m still alive or not, I hope this post will reassure you that I am. And I certainly hope you’re not disappointed! 😛

The past six weeks have been full of lessons for me that I can’t possibly share with you in a single blog post, but will be covering in many posts in the days ahead.

I would like to begin posting weekly updates of my progress, as well (thanks to my friend Gavin for the suggestion to post personal updates!).

The biggest challenge so far has been deciding what to commit myself to. I have many interests and I’m surrounded by many opportunities. Since this is the first time I get to decide what to do with my life, it’s been difficult for me to find something to focus on (side note: my last job was actually my first job out of university, and it was the first job I applied for in Kuwait. Besides, I wasn’t really conscious of the possibilities I can pursue in life when I first applied, so didn’t get to explore the many, many options available).

From personal experience, and from my study of balance and productivity, I’ve come to realize that you cannot make the most use of your time and energy if you lack clarity about what you are doing, both in the long-term and in the moment. Therefore, for the past six weeks I have been out of balance and unproductive. Whenever I sit down to get some work done, I begin to question whether the task at hand is the best use of my time at the moment. Since I wasn’t clear on what I wanted to do in the first place, I couldn’t answer the question, and would end up rethinking my plans for the future.

I managed to boil my options down to a short list, but the question of whether I’ve made the right choice or not haunted me.

What I realized from this experience is that I’ve spent more time and energy worrying about what I should be doing, and whether my choice is right, than on making progress with any of the options open to me. This seems like a massive waste of time and energy. Besides, clarity doesn’t mean you can predict the future. It means you’re clear about what you want to do now and in the future. The future might very well throw at me a fact I am not currently aware of, which will get me to change course. But for now, given the choices available to me and what I feel passionate about, I will stick to my short list and commit my time and energy to moving these projects forward, rather than worry about how correct my choice is.

So what is my short list, I hear you ask?

I’ll leave that for next week’s update… 😉