Predictably, my first column in today’s Deccan Chronicle newspaper focuses on useful tools to help achieve our life goals.
Here’s the full article.
The month of July means that half of 2013 is over and the second half has just begun. Now might be a good time to dig through your New Year Resolutions list that you wrote long time ago. Chances are, most of items remain unscratched. Fret not, for you have some wonderful life productivity tools to help complete your list of resolutions.
The first step in achieving one’s life goals is to write them down. 43things.com is a very good place to do that. It shows other people who share similar interest and better still, people who have successfully completed the goal. The site lets others cheer you up and helps you to finish your goals in a positive manner. www.43Things.com
It’s amazing how much time we waste in digging for the same information. Request for our profiles, sales proposals, product information etc can send us scurrying back to our emails or wade through folders to get the latest version. WittyParrot has a nifty, drag and drop tool to quickly send across the correct information. Its available both on your PC and the cloud. www.WittyParrot.com
The trick in achieving your New Year resolutions is to do the everyday tasks well. Among the plethora of To-Do-List tools, Wunderlist stands out as the best because of its simplicity. It’s a great way to list down all the tasks, set deadlines and scratch out the ones completed. With a very nice mobile app for both Android and iPhone, it seamlessly syncs between your smart phone and computer. www.Wunderlist.com
They say that if you can do a certain task continuously for 21 days, it forms a habit and sticks with you for life. However, it can be hard. How would it be if someone can hold you accountable? 21Habit is a site where you invest your real money, equivalent of 21 US Dollars (about Rs.1260). Every day, when you finish that task, you get one dollar (Rs.60) back in your account. Miss a day? It gets transferred to a charity. www.21habit.com
Wishing you the very best in reaching your goals.
Kiruba Shankar is a digital entrepreneur, author, teacher and a farmer. You can write to him at Kiruba@Kiruba.com.
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“Should you write a book?”. A great article for wannabe authors by @GuyKawasaki. Just read the first 5 paras. http://t.co/WQIcoD9nEE
“To me a book is a message from the gods to mankind; or, if not, should never be published at all.” Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley
Over the years, dozens of people have asked me what I think of their idea for a book. My response is always the same:
Imagine you’re in a Barnes & Noble bookstore (let’s hope there are still bookstores when you read this) or you’re on the home page of Amazon. You see novels by Isabel Allende, Jonathan Franzen, Daniel Silva, Anne Lamott, and Lee Child. Over in nonfiction there are books by Stephen Jay Gould, Malcolm Gladwell, and Clayton Christensen. And maybe there are a few vanity tomes by the CEOs of large, well-known companies.
In this sea of choices, why should anyone give a shiitake about your book?
Many would-be (and some published) authors cannot answer this question because they’re focused on a different one:
How will I benefit from writing a book?
Their answers to this other question include: “It’s good for my visibility.” “To make money.” “It will help me get speaking gigs and consulting engagements.” “It’s good for my company.” “It will make me a thought leader.” Any of these reasons may be true for the author, but they are not relevant for readers.
Think about this:
How often do you peruse Barnes & Noble or Amazon while wondering how you can help an author achieve his or her personal goals? Your answer, like mine, is probably “never.” I’m happy for authors to earn lots of royalties, but that’s not why I buy their books. I’d bet the same is true for you, too. Let’s examine the good and bad reasons to write a book.
Good Reason 1: Enrich Lives
The first good reason to write a book is to add value to people’s lives. Both writer and reader benefit when a book enables gains in these arenas:
• Knowledge. Science books explain how the world works. Business books explain management techniques. History books explain events of the past. Books like these spread knowledge and expertise. Example: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White.
• Understanding. Both novels and nonfiction can help people understand themselves and others. They can provide tools and techniques to foster greater awareness and comprehension of their lives. Example: Light in August by William Faulkner.
• Entertainment. Novels entertain people by providing adventure, fantasy, and out-of-the-ordinary role-playing. Some people want to be heroines. Some people want to be spies. I want to be a Navy SEAL. To each his own. Example: The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
• Laughter. Some books brighten people’s lives with humor, mirth, or sarcasm. For me, there’s Fran Lebowitz’s Social Studies and Alice Kahn and Whoopi Goldberg’s Multiple Sarcasm. Another example: Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander.
Stop reading and answer this question: Will your book add value to people’s lives? This is a severe test, but if your answer is affirmative, there’s no doubt that you should write a book.