Dec 31, 2011

2011 in review

One of the very significant years for me is coming to an end. 2011 is the year where I got a special promotion - from a wife to a mother. I'm so grateful to my daughter for giving me this honor. Her little smiles make the somewhat jerky pregnancy journey worth it. The first trimester brought in a lot of expected surprises, with severe nausea and evening sickness, making me hate the sight and smell of food. As a result, I lost considerable weight and was looking weak. But the decision to quit my full time busy job as a product manager turned out to be very helpful for me to recover from this weight loss.

The ultrasound experiences were so memorable. I still remember the first scan when my daughter was just the size of a peanut. The radiologist showed me a blinking light which was the heartbeat. With subsequent scans, I saw her tiny hands and feet take shape.

The second trimester was so relaxing and peaceful. I started enjoying the sunny afternoons when I had my apartment all to myself, with the company of squirrels and butterflies who were the regular visitors to my terrace garden. My taste buds came back to form. I developed a keen interest towards cooking. I started cooking elaborate meals, trying out new dishes and watching cookery shows. My recipe books started filling up. The pregnancy "special" cravings hit me hard. I craved for sweets so much. Hubby fulfilled them by frequent visits to Adyar Ananda Bhavan.

As I entered third trimester, my gynecologist gave us a shock saying that my amniotic fluid levels were low and the baby had to be delivered pre-term. It caused a lot of stress as I was so scared for my dear baby and also the fact that I cannot have a C-section with little help around post delivery. I prayed for a normal delivery and for my baby to complete full term. That's when hubby and I decided to seek alternate opinion. This came as a blessing in disguise. My new gynecologist was very supportive and never pushed for C-section. We played the wait-and-watch game. The fluid levels returned to normal with proper medication and rest. Two days before my due date, my contractions started and thanks to the almighty, I delivered my daughter without any complications.

While the first month was very tough with sleepless nights, an unexpected surgery and many confusions on child care, I have settled down and started to have some really good times, watching my daughter play.

Apart from pregnancy and motherhood, there were also other memorable events this year. In January, my Professor asked me if I would be willing to take a guest lecture on online decision making as part of "Consumer Behavior" elective course offered to PGSEM students at IIMB. Given my interest towards the subject and the opportunity, I gave my consent. I gave the lecture in July and it was a good experience, getting back to campus. It was an interesting learning experience, coming up with this presentation and reading up different perspectives on E-Commerce in India.


As a follow-up to the lecture, my Professor suggested that we should publish an article on the concept of decision making. It was my first attempt to co-author an article for a business newspaper.

The break from a full time job has given me a blank canvas to work on. Lots of ideas and plans are in mind. I'm sure 2012 would give shape to some of them. Here's wishing everyone a very happy and joyful new year!

Dec 30, 2011

Balance the activities

A few months ago, I came across an interesting article which highlighted the fact that our day-to-day activities can be categorized into three buckets:
  1. we create something
  2. we consume information 
  3. we connect with others
These three categories need to be balanced in order to feel productive and happy.

While I was working, this balance was somewhat intact. But in the past few months, I have been noticing that this balance has gone haywire for me. The "consume" part has consumed most of my available time. The available time for myself has gone down considerably ever since my daughter arrived. Not that I'm complaining. Motherhood has been a delightful experience and is teaching me a lot which I was totally unaware of.

The limited time which I get is spent on reading different articles which people share in my social (twitter, facebook, linkedin) world and the numerous RSS feeds to which I have subscribed in Google reader. These articles and blogs give me many perspectives and ideas about startups, marketing, product management, technology, analytics etc. The information goes in but I'm not making the best use of the knowledge I have gained. Many useful articles get bookmarked under different folders - "read & review", "to process", "future ref". My firefox bookmarks is getting piled up everyday.

This continuous flow of information which I'm "consuming" is making me feel restless and unproductive. While I researched more on why I feel this way, I came across a thought provoking article on similar lines. One of the points mentioned in this article answered my question
"we want to know more about the world in order to have lesser surprises, and hence we tend to read more and more, especially if it is information that we perceive as relevant to us."
I have decided to correct this imbalance, going forward. As a first step, I have unsubscribed from many RSS feeds in Google reader. I have kept the feeds list to a minimum and will reduce it further based on my usage.

My resolution for the coming year is to "Focus a lot more on create". "Create" could be anything - writing an article, getting back to blogging, coding/learning a new programming language, podcasting, cooking a new dish, learning a new art form etc. I want to journal how I go about this creation journey.

Please comment if you have any other ideas to get the balance of "Create, Consume and Connect" right.

P.S. I'm not sure how much time I would get to "connect" with my 3 month old daughter at home but will keep my options open.

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