Monday, 13 January 2014

Development plans for the year

This is the time when you plan and want to achieve something by the end of the year. I like to plan and put things in writing to make it more concrete. So this year will be for our family's development. Our FDP is still aligned with our 3 goals: FEED your Mind/Soul, FEED your Body and CLEANSE your body.

1. FEED your soul - IT'S ALL ABOUT GOD. Aside from asking my kids to participate in the praise and worship part of church activity (well I've started to see improvement, they are now humming or reading the lyrics of the songs), I asked them to read the devotional alternately for Aloysius and Kyle and Lex listens before going to bed nightly. The Veggie tales bedtime Devos for young boys is perfect for my kids, very simple explanation and ends with a prayer.

2. FEED your mind - HOMESCHOOLING or MORE STUDY TIME.  I learned that the kids here in North America are not really interested with homework.  They are either into video games, computer/gadgets, sports and social activities. The teacher even told me that my kids are so serious, they need to have fun. Well, it's not that I don't want them to have fun, it's just that school activities come first because being smart is not achieved overnight. They also need to develop the right attitude towards studying and learning skills to prepare them for higher levels later.  I still want them to be competitive and take advantage of the good education here. Here are some of the apps and sites that I have installed on the iPads and on the computer for the kids to do aside from their homework:
Thinking blocks

Aside from that, they also do Kumon, Jump start and the multiplication worksheets I brought from the Philippines.  Or finish reading the collection of books I got from garage sales and Goodwill stores.  Hardy Boys, Harry Potter and Geronimo Stilton will keep them busy.  Everyday, they are supposed to do at least 2 activities from math, reading and writing categories.

3. FEED YOUR BODY - with HEALTHY FOOD. We started juicing. I introduced fruit and veggie combo to the kids and so far, they are liking it except for Lex who cries a lot before finishing his glass.  The carrot and fruit combo is a hit - carrot-strawberry, carrot-orange, carrot-kiwi, carrot-apple but this is a surprise, they liked the Cucumber-Celery-Apple and finished the whole glass thinking it was only Apple juice.  We are also going to record the number of water glasses we drank each day. Just to ensure that we are drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day.  Of course, adding veggie meals and coming up with recipes that will include veggies without the kids knowing or tasting them. This is a bit of a challenge because they really are carnivorous.

Kids need to go back to swmming classes or tennis classes this spring or summer.

As for myself, I need to focus on achieving the following this year:
Learn to drive and get G2 license
Start to study a designation course probably Quality, Lean Or Six sigma and be certified after 2-3 years
Create at least 3 scrapbook pages a day...or per week, hahaha. Tumawad pa.

Anyway, I need to be reminded about what the bible says, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21" and  "Commit to The Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3"  So help me God.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Managing your time wisely

One of the principles of lean management is value stream mapping. It is used to analyze and design the flow of information and materials to create a product until it reaches the customer.  In it are the steps, delays and information required to deliver the product. Delays cause losses and time is one major element.  In our actual work and day to day activities, there are many reasons that prevent us from achieving our goals or good product or service.  We are not aware of it, but the most lost is time.      Here are some of the time-wasters that I have identified and will try to avoid in order for me to be more efficient:

1.  Emails - set up your email with keywords that will automatically go to folders that you can read later on.  Important emails can also be determined or flagged.  Organizing the email is an important factor in prioritizing the actions and in achieving your goals.

2. Phone calls - view the caller ID first before answering the phone, if it's really important, they will leave a message. You can review them later on.

3. Meetings - although I know I cannot avoid this, if my presence in the meeting is only as support and not the head then I can bring my laptop and do some 'work'. It is also called multitasking.

4. People - I know I may sound anti-social here, but unnecessary talking to people in the hallways, in the lunch room and after meetings and not during break is a time-waster.  There is a time for everything and it is not considered productive time when longer breaks and gossiping are happening.

Keep control of your day by breaking it into three kinds of blocks:

Strategic Blocks - uninterrupted work time
Buffer Blocks - unplanned or lower-value tasks, time to read important emails and make phone calls.
Breakout Blocks - free time to refresh and unload stress, use this time to read emails of low priority

Be focused.  Don't get distracted.

My goal is to be more healthy this year

Who doesn't want to be healthy? But as my first born said, "healthy food tastes bland - not sweet or salty, it's just plain food". I had to find out how to get eat more nutritious food that are tasty too.  

I still have a bag of flaxseed and I was researching on how to include this in my cooking without letting my kids know.  When they hear unfamiliar ingredients in food, they wouldn't be interested in tasting it so I have to be discreet.   I remember my brother in law Irvin cooked "sisig" and he asked Aloysius to try it, my son said "EWWWW! "upon hearing the answer to his inquiry. He couldn't believe it is pigs ears and cheeks!

Now I have to copy this flaxseed recipes from the Costco magazine to remind me to be healthy not only for myself but also for the kids. I have to try these one of these days:

Country Style Flaxseed Pancakes

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup milled roasted flaxseed
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
1 1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp melted margarine

Mix first 5 ingredients. Combine egg, milk, margarine and add to dry ingredients. Stir until moistened. Bake on hot griddle.

Yield: 8 pancakes

Omega-3 Breakfast Booster
1/2 1% vanilla Yogurt
3 milled flaxseed
1 cup milk
1 cup berries

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serves 2.

Let's start the new year right by eating healthy.  Happy New Year!