Archive for December, 2011

December 19, 2011

Time is so very precious. Thank you Aki.

by Priya Chandra

I’d like to officially and with all my heart thank my younger brother Andrew ‘Aki’ for house-sitting our place recently.

His generosity in coming to stay at our place meant an additional hour travelling time for him and a severe curtailment of his social activities.

Our gorgeous fur-kids

However, for us it meant peace of mind knowing that our beloved cats were being looked after in their own home by someone who we trusted to take complete care of them.

And he did.

They looked extremely happy when we got home, and they obviously took to Andrew – Xena even slept with him last night in preference to sleeping with us (and yes, her new nickname is ‘that Traitor cat’).

Andrew often says that time is ‘all’ he has to give, so he’s happy to give it. Well, writing as someone who never seems to have enough time, that is an exceptionally precious gift to give and DM and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

This post brought to you by My Year with Chris

Oh, and thanks for helping move the rooms around today too – they look great!

Christmas is a great time for thanking people – anyone you’d like to thank?

December 18, 2011

Easter eggs at Christmas

by Priya Chandra

Google.com is probably the best known way to search online at the moment. It is even a verb now – ‘just google it’ is a phrase that people use in everyday language without even thinking.

But there’s more to Google search than just finding stuff. We’ve all seen the Google Doodle where the Google logo is amended to reflect a particular holiday or event – there’s a full list of them here if you’re interested. I love these doodles – not just because of their artistic value but also because of the opportunity they give me to learn about historical figures that I might not otherwise have heard about.
Google Cat In The Hat Doodle
Image from Flickr user Casey Florig

And every so often Google search engineers develop ‘easter eggs’ – fun things that happen when you type a specific search phrase into google.com (or your local google version).

Today for example, in honour of the white Christmas so beloved of the Northern Hemisphere, typing the phrase “let it snow” (without the quotation marks) into google.com will cause virtual snowflakes to fall down the screen.

A favourite one of mine is typing in the phrase “do a barrel roll” (again without the quotation marks). It shows just how clever the Google engineers are and just what amazing things can be done on the web nowadays.

Do you have a Google easter egg to share? Let me know in the comments.

This post brought to you by My Year with Chris
December 14, 2011

Simple = Easy?

by Priya Chandra

Lots of things are simple aren’t they?

Eat less junk, eat more healthy food, exercise more = lose weight, become fit, feel better
Go to bed earlier, sleep more = less stress, feel more energetic, get more achieved
Write every day on a pre-set blog topic for 1 year = get 365 blog posts
(Just to name a few items that are currently high on my list of things to do)

But they aren’t all that easy in reality to achieve. I’m working on making my ‘simple’ activities as easy as possible but it ironically it takes a lot of hard work to achieve that.

In fact, nearly every day I am reminded that the swan – most graceful of all water birds – might glide serenely across the surface of a lake, but below the surface her feet are paddling away madly.

Swan on the Water
Image via Flickr

Simple does not equal easy.

This post brought to you by My Year with Chris
December 12, 2011

My big challenge for next year

by Priya Chandra

Staying focused. I took the step this year of becoming self-employed after years of talking about it, and flirting with it on and off for a number of years. It has been interesting and quite a significant learning experience.

Cute cat
Image via Flickr user Per Ola Wiberg

The biggest thing I’ve learnt is that I truly do have a butterfly mind when it comes to business. I can think of dozens of things I’m interested in doing, but actually staying committed to any one of those things for a long period of time, especially when it is just me providing the motivation, can be quite hard.

It isn’t that I lose interest exactly – it is more that something equally, if not more, interesting always seems to be just around the corner.

At the moment I’m actually quite amazed that I’ve ‘stuck with’ my social media and online engagement consulting idea for as long as I have. To me this shows that I’m actually quite interested in this topic, and indeed I learn something new about the topic and this area of communications nearly every day.

So there is little chance of me getting bored with this particular business idea anytime soon.

However, that doesn’t mean this is the only business idea I want to explore and that is where the focus challenge comes into play! I’ve come up with a number of ideas over the past couple of days and over the next few days I’ll be editing that list to ideas that I can actually work on over the next 12 months – not just ideas that sound good, but ideas that I can see myself and DM (along with some family members who have not yet been warned of their involvement!!) achieving some success with.

The experience of writing a blog post here every day has shown that unless I provide some external motivation and pressure – such as telling everyone via this blog that I am doing this challenge – it is too easy to lose focus and move onto the next shiny thing.

So to ensure that next year is the best year it can possibly be I’ll not only be setting goals for what I want to achieve but telling as many people as possible about those goals so I give myself that pressure and external motivation.

And I mustn’t forget to actually reward myself when I do reach those goals – or even the smaller milestones along the way. In fact, we should all be doing more of that for anything we set out to do.

It is really easy to beat oneself up for not achieving something, or go over and over a disappointment in one’s head, but how often do we actually give ourselves a pat on the back?

I’m starting to write down each day the things I feel good about doing no matter how trivial they may seem. It is something to look at on those days when I feel I just can’t do anything right and remind myself just how much I can actually do.

I highly recommend starting such a list yourself – hey, it can even be on old-fashioned paper if you want. After all, not everything has to be electronic!

December 11, 2011

Pen and paper baby!

by Priya Chandra

That is what I’m currently rocking as a note-taking device – my Lamy pen that I’ve had for about 12 years and a $1.00 notebook from the $2.00 shop.
inside notepad
“Inside notepad” by Flickr user y2bk

I got back into the habit whilst on Pacific Partnership 2011 – a notebook was a lot lighter than lugging around my laptop and it worked all the time no matter where I was.

Easy to put into my bag; easy to share with people (just show them the page or the note!); and oh so easy to find my notes again (just open the book, no internet connection or laptop battery power required).

And best of all is how old-school it makes me feel. Whenever I pull out my notebook I can pretend I am Dorothy Parker writing witty bon mots or some other keen observer of human nature taking notes on the human condition – something you just don’t get with a laptop or other digital device in my opinion.

Having said all that – this post was actually completely written on my laptop, d’oh.

This post brought to you by My Year with Chris
December 10, 2011

12 apps I can’t do without

by Priya Chandra

A twitter friend asked his network yesterday what apps (applications) people are using in general on their phones. I have no idea what other people answered but my response was:

  • 3G Watchdog – to keep an eye on my data usage
  • Newsrob – to access my Google Reader feeds
  • Note Everything – to write notes.
  • Keeper for all my passwords (and I have a lot of them!)
  • The ABC’s news app– ideal for when I want to be scared by what is happening in the world
  • Runkeeper for all those walks that I’m currently doing and finally
  • Swiftkey which is my new keyboard and absolutely amazing.

Of course I also use Tweetdeck, Gmail, Facebook, Google+ and my calendar application – Pimlical. I do love my apps!

Droid Apps Cell Phone

Droid Apps Cell Phone image from GoodNCrazy via Flickr

Not a huge list I thought but I found his response interesting. He only uses six apps as he is ‘a bit of a purist’. I didn’t ask what that meant (I didn’t want to sound like an idiot) but I’m assuming it means that he keeps his mobile phone for location based apps (Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter) as well as keeping in touch via phone and messaging.

He’s part of the Digital Generation (i.e Gen Y / Millenial) by the way which makes his response even more interesting in my opinion. I, as a ‘digital immigrant’ rather than a ‘digital native’ have filled my phone up with apps – some of which I barely use by the way – and use it often as a computer substitute when I am out and about.

I want to be able to do quite a bit with my phone – it is after all called a smartphone – and so I have downloaded apps that I believe will help me with that.

He on the other hand, as a Digital Native, has chosen to keep his phone for certain specific tasks, and filling it up instead with music, videos, and books.

It is certainly something to think about – do I really need all the apps on my phone, particularly when I barely use some of them? Or should I keep them in the cloud (the android market in my case) and only download them if I suddenly need them?

Sounds like a great opportunity to play a bit more with my phone and applications – the ideal way to spend a Saturday afternoon in my opinion!

December 9, 2011

Damn I’m doing it wrong

by Priya Chandra

I’ve decided that my original Chris Brogan challenge was not all that well thought out and so i’m going to change it slightly.

As you may recall, I had planned to write a blog post every day using one of Chris Brogan‘s Blog Topics as the catalyst. Those posts would be posted on one of three blogs – this one, Book Addict (a romance book review website) or my business consulting website (priyachandra.com).
Wrong way

“Wrong way” by Crystl via Flickr

I’ve done pretty well so far, and haven’t missed a day though some of the posts have come up online a bit late in the day (like this one for example!). However it has been a real challenge, not just the actual writing but massaging them for my different websites. And when I haven’t been able to use a Blog Topic for priyachandra i’ve had to write another blog post there as well.

So there’s been a time challenge as well which I didn’t expect. As a result I’ve decided to amend the original challenge slightly since it appears I might have been doing it wrong!

I’m going to keep doing a topic a day but it is going to be written primarily for this website. If there is a blog post topic that seems like a good fit for the Priya Chandra website however, then the post will be posted there as well.

Essentially I’m looking to work my writing muscle by using these blog topics as kick-starters without restricting what I am able to write on the business consulting website.

Wish me luck!

December 7, 2011

Someday I’m gunna

by Priya Chandra

How many times have I said that in my life? Too many times sadly and then again maybe not enough times.

Someday and Again

Photo by Old Sarge via Flickr

Saying someday intimates there will in fact be a someday – that I have the resources, the health, the intent to make it to another day. And more than that, it pre-supposes I have the imagination to foresee a future for me and my loved ones, that may be substantially different to the present we currently have, or just a little bit different – because to be honest my life is pretty good right now and there’s only a few material things that I’d change.

So maybe it is time for me step up my game – keep on saying ‘someday i’m gunna’ (though maybe in less colloquial aussie slang) and then take it that one step further and actually follow through. So that in days, weeks, months and even years to come I can look back and say – wow, when did someday arrive?

And to start with here’s a few things I’m gunna do now to make not only a better someday but also a fantastic today:

  • exercise every day
  • eat fruit every day
  • drink 2 litres of water everyday
  • say I love you to all my family and close friends whenever I farewell them.

That will do for now – don’t want to get too sanctimonious and I still have to work on my consulting business which is going to be a stepping stone to get me some of those material things hopefully!

What about you – got anything you’d like to change now to make a better someday?

December 6, 2011

What does Princess Mary think about all this?

by Priya Chandra

First a quick update on how I’m going with getting my mojo back – so far I’ve written three posts:

However today’s topic from Chris is not one that I can actually do at the moment – Interview With Our Direct Competitor (can you imagine?).

Not because I don’t have direct competitors but because I haven’t approached any of them for an interview. And to be honest I’m not sure if or when I’m ever going to approach them – there’s quite a bit of courage involved in doing that and I’m not sure I have that much courage just yet!

So I’m going to move onto the next topic which is What Lady Gaga Knows About ____ (your business – pick any celebrity. Have fun with it.).

Another tough topic but that is what I like about Chris – his topics make me think and hopefully make me a better, more interesting writer and therefore someone people know, like and trust to help them engage online.

And why does it make me think? Well I have to go outside what I personally know and apply what I think I know about a celebrity via their actions.

It makes me look at other people and assess their actions analytically rather than just reading about them in the gossip magazines and forgetting about them.

One thing that does confuse me about Chris’ topics though is his use of pronouns. Sometimes I’m not sure whether he’s using the word ‘you’ to mean me (the recipient of his emails) or to mean the person I am writing to. So I pick and choose depending on what I feel like.

Today for example I have chosen to imagine he means what does Princess Mary think about the businesses I run – a romance book review website and a blog site helping small businesses engage online.

Well I have not actually ever sat down and spoken with the Crown Princess of Denmark on such matters but having seen her work a room and read her biography I’m going to go out on a limb and say – she probably doesn’t read romances but appreciates that there’s people who do and who would like some assistance in finding new authors to read. And she is all for female entrepreneurs getting out there and trying new things – like me with my ChanMay consulting business.

Naturally if she ever contacts me and lets me know differently I’ll let you know as well!

But let’s go with – a woman I’ve never met, who has very different life ambitions, responsibilities and dreams to me, approves of what I do. Yes, external validation! Time to party people.

December 2, 2011

Getting my mojo back

by Priya Chandra

So it has been a while since I’ve written here and I feel deeply ashamed for that. Well, no actually I don’t but I do wish I’d been a bit more active here. So to make up for that I’ve decided to do some new things around here.

Firstly, you’ll have noticed that Priya Rambles is now on wordpress.com rather than Posterous. I had a great time with Posterous but as both of my professional websites (bookaddict.com.au and priyachandra.com) are with wordpress I thought I should really bring this one over as well and keep it all in the family so to speak.

Secondly I’ve decided to take up a couple of challenges. The first is based on a post from Sonia Simone of Copyblogger fame. In this post: 3 sure-fire steps for beating the content blues she talks about 3 steps for getting content out there day in and day out. So, given that my businesses are all built on content marketing I thought I might give her advice a go. In brief, and adjusted for my circumstances she says:

Step 1: Write every day – that means a post every day for one of my three online properties: Priya Rambles (here!), Book Addict or Priya Chandra. I have actually been writing every day for a while now (124 days to be exact) but that has been private writing via 750 words.com. This is a new, public commitment to create actual words that can and will be read by someone other than me.

Step 2: Capture two ideas every day. This is actually quite hard for me, I get lots of ideas every day but actually saving them is strangely quite hard for me. I think it is because they come at about 10:30 / 11pm when i’m lying down trying to go to sleep and don’t think i can capture the ideas. That has to change because trying to remember them for the next day just isn’t working.

I’ve removed 1 of Sonia’s steps because my second challenge is to Post every day either here, or on Priya Chandra or Book Addict using 1 of Chris Brogan’s Blog topics.

I currently have 235 topics from him so not quite a year, but I think that I will get a year’s worth out of this if I use some of his actual, older Chris Brogan blog posts . So very unimaginatively I’m calling this The Year My Chris Broke. Oops. no. I meant to say My Year with Chris. Although the blog posts will be spread out amongst the different websites, I’ll link them all back here just for fun and a central place to direct people.

Wish me luck!