IN THE AFTERLIFE

No, no, this isn’t a preachy sermon about how you should prepare for life after death. Well actually, this is about that except its not your afterlife I’m asking you to prepare for, but for those you leave behind.

Life has no surety. Death, however, is a certainty. We can get any number of insurances and jeewan bimas but nothing can ever prepare us for the final moment of death, not even when science has quantified the days, months, years of our lives. It’s hard to accept that all this skin, sinew, these memories, these people and their love that we have, all that we cherish, will be lost to us. But its harder for those we leave behind because they face the void created by us. And since we live in a material world, material matters do affect families hard. Enter family feuds, frozen bank accounts with no nominees, property wars, divisions of men over matter. Cheap it may sound, but these realities of life after the death of the dearly departed is what families are left to grapple with over and above their grief.

Why not make life a little easier for them? Why not leave them with a Will that clearly defines ownership and management of your assets?

I can see you shaking your head. You’re saying:

  • I don’t have that much property;
  • My spouse knows all that I have;
  • My bank accounts have nominees;
  • My children are too good to fight over the property after I’m gone;
  • I have a portfolio/asset manager who will know what to do, or worse still,
  • Meh, I’m still young and healthy!

All these are valid statements, even the last one, but a Will does not take care of just your monetary assets, it pronounces your wishes on all your assets, yes, even your collection of books or shoes or your kitchen utensils that your bank/portfolio/asset manager will not concern themselves with.

I have my mother-in-law’s example to assert my point. My father-in-law died at the age of 55, at the height of his career, within three months of being diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer. Needless to say, since it was sudden, his family couldn’t prepare for his departure, emotionally or otherwise. She was left with two years worth of struggles over bank accounts that had no nominees, some properties under his own name with no rights of joint ownership in the name of my mother-in-law, no mutation instructions about immovable assets, no power of attorney (POA) giving her authority to manage the assets, no knowledge of where or how his mutual funds were invested and a vacation notice from the government to vacate the government lodgings they had, all this while her two sons were still in school… and she herself was unemployed. Every time she approached a bank or a government authority she was asked to produce a valid will, a succession certificate, letter of administration or a POA, neither of which she had. So the general law concerning succession took over and we all know how long that takes! She suffered a lot because he would always tell her – there’s still plenty of time left to plan. I’m sure had he been alive he would have never wished such hardships on her.

A few figures for you to consider –

Not long ago, Daksha, an NGO that analyses the performance of the judiciary, published a report that said that out of all criminal and civil matters pending in courts in India, 66% were property related matters and 10% of them were family feuds over property*.

In my personal experience as a lawyer, land matters typically take anywhere between 5-50 years to resolve, sometimes even longer. A person’s next generation could be born and die within that kind of time-span. One family dispute I was involved in took as long as twenty years and that too only in the lower courts, and the parties were still willing to appeal to a higher court. The amount of time and resources such court cases waste is staggering! Besides, in India, if you die intestate i.e. without a will, the laws of succession (in case of Hindus, Parsis and Jains, it is the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. Muslims have personal succession laws and Christians are covered by the Indian Succession Act, 1925) take over and they take a mighty long time to settle property on the rightful heirs.

Executing a will is thus not a futile exercise, especially when your assets are huge. It is a document that centralizes your assets and your wishes regarding the management of those assets in one document while avoiding legal tangles, delays and family feuds. A little planning at your end could ensure that your assets reach those you wished to bequeath them to at the right time.

In India, under the Succession Act, 1925, a will is defined as a legal declaration of the intention of a person with respect to his property, which he desires to take effect after his death.

Anyone of sound mind, not under the influence of intoxicants or under distress, over the age of 21 is capable of executing a will. Even a disabled person. More importantly, in India, it isn’t necessary for the will to be executed on stamp paper or registered even. Sure you can do that, it’s good practice. But even if you write –

“I want all my property to go to my children in equal parts,”

over a piece of paper, signed in your own hand before two or more witnesses, this bit of paper will also be treated as a valid will. But don’t do that. Seriously!

You can change your will as many times as you like in your lifetime, but once you die, your last executed will becomes the final word on your wishes.

A few things to consider before making a will –

Legal Advice: Consult a lawyer if you’re unsure about the legalities of certain types of assets, especially if your assets are many. Drafting (writing) a will is also an important aspect of making a will, one that you may not be well-equipped to do. Hence, consult a lawyer. There are sites online that offer you templates to make wills online and help you with other legalities pertaining to wills.

Avoid Duplication: There can be only one will at any given time. Try to include all your known assets in that single document because eventually only your last Will shall be considered your final will. Having too many copies related to different assets will defeat the purpose of making a Will. You can keep updating your will from time to time but ensure that each time you do so, you clearly mention that the last will stands revoked.

Minority of Beneficiaries: If you wish to bequeath something to minors (below the age of 18), appoint guardians on their behalf for the bequest.

Right Executor: An executor is someone who declares your will to your family and ensures that bequests in the will are properly disposed of. Appoint a person who is considerably younger than you, is capable and trustworthy for the job. Execution (the process of declaration and distribution) of wills is not required to be done before a court of law, but you could request for a Magistrate or a public notary from the authorities**.

Above all declare that you are making the will in sound mind, without duress or coercion, and in full control of your mental capacities.

There are no guarantees that making a Will will necessarily mitigate all legal issues and family problems arising therefrom, but you would have done your part in ensuring that your obligations towards your family have been fulfilled. You wouldn’t want them suffering or fighting amongst each other, I’m sure. Which is why you must invest in some time towards making your will.


** Importance of will and some essential points to be considered while making a will, Jagao Investor, November 14, 2010.

Image Source: RobVanDerMeijden for Pixabay.

 

DEALING WITH PROBLEMS

Problems are inevitable. Everyone has to go through problems in their lifetime. Sometimes the problems are difficult enough to make us feel giving up what we are doing. We feel nothing is going right and therefore ‘I should quit’. But is that really a solution? 

Well, there is only one solution and that is to never lose hope. However one can avoid problems to some extent. Though one or another problem might keep raising its head, one can do a few things to keep problems away or deal with them. 

So what can do? Well, here are the tips:

  • Working rather than building expectations: Humans can never stop building expectations. Even if they don’t work they will have huge expectations. There is actually no problem with this but the problem arises when our expectations aren’t fulfilled. This can put us into stress, anxiety and may give birth to unexpected problems. So if you want to avoid any problems, work for it. That will surely help you.
  • Doing self-analysis: We know what we are capable of. Before getting into any work, make sure you analyze your capacity. The work that you might think is easy can be tougher and therefore you need to be prepared for that. Self-analysis will help you to avoid problems that you may incur while doing any work.
  • Thinking about the consequences: Whatever work you do, you must think of its consequences. As it has been said, ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’. Therefore one must think before acting.
  • Seeking help when needed: We need help at different stages of life. So one must not keep things to themselves when in need of help. It is good to ask for help. When you seek help, you will be able to tackle some of the problems.
  • Saying ‘no’ when needed: Saying no can be rude but sometimes it is good to say no. Especially when you are unable to fulfill somebody’s need. For example, if you have important work at home and if your colleagues ask you for dinner, then it is better to say a polite no. As you need to be at your home. If not, you will be inviting problems. 

Well to solve problems one needs to think rationally and working accordingly. But if you think the situation is baffling and you can’t divide your attention then it is better to prefer the one with the highest priority. This is indeed the best ways to deal with problems

HOW NOT TO PROCRASTINATE AND DEAL WITH TIME

black and white photo of clocks
Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

Strengths – We all are born with one or the other strength- all we need to do is discover it and nurture it for your betterment.

In my childhood, I was the laziest person I could say. People underestimated my own strengths which they neglected. When I started my job, again it was crucial for me to manage my time to handle everything from a job to home. Time swept by and it was time for much more responsibilities. This is when I realized I need to find time for many more things to do. With two kids, I was literally hanging on the minute hand of the clock to manage my time. At times I even wondered if I could grab much more time – but 24hours remained just 24 hours with no more or no less.

It was time – that I wanted to manage and yes I found ways to handle it in a much more effective way.  Here I am sharing with you the tips that have worked out and helping me do my things correctly.

  1. Do not panic: Most of us tend to lose time, panic a lot. Panicking is not the key to managing. Hence it is important not to panic even when we are unable to manage. Usually the times I ended up panicking, I lost track of everything I was doing and had to begin everything from scratch.
  2. Be Prepared: As the famous saying “Time and tide wait for no man ” – It is important to engrain in our thoughts that nothing waits for us. Hence it is important to harness ourselves before the tide arrives. Like if you are planning to cook something in the morning for kids lunch boxes, pre-plan everything like cutting vegetables or grating or keeping things ready that can save your time. Mornings can be quite tricky at times and trust me I have gone through all the worst part before I arrived at the good one.
  3. Let go:  Keep in mind that you cannot control time. Learn to flow with it, which is the best way to handle time. At times we might lose the grip of it, then learn to let it go. One way you won’t repent over the loss of that time and then get back to your tasks or routine.
  4. Plan Plan and Plan: This is the only thing that helps you manage your time. Like usually when it is Sunday, I can always choose to take a rest and chill, but most of the time I choose to plan my things for the week like preparing the batter for the whole week, that will make my breakfast planning instant- otherwise I end up browsing quick recipes. Even all the washing clothes and arranging the week’s uniforms for my kids are also planned ahead. I guess most parents do it.
  5. Be an early person: Nothing keeps you organized than being early, which gives you plenty of options to change your plans. Sometimes, I plan things and at times, I am left with no option to do it but try something else in its place. In such cases to buy time, it is important that we are quite ahead of the time.
  6. Multitasking: This is something that I feel buys me much more time to relax. Whenever I am in the kitchen cooking, I put the clothes to wash in the machine and once I am done with my kitchen work, I will be done with washing too. In this way, I get much more time to spend with my family or find some “Me -time “. It might not be easy to multi-task at times, but yes it’s worth trying. 
  7. Take rest, when exhausted: A break is much more needed for anyone. Do not strain yourself, but ensure you do things correctly. Most of us take up all the things together and then finally end up doing nothing. Hence it is important to find time and take proper breaks at regular intervals.

Tips might not work all the time, but there is always a way to nurture it into your lifestyle. I included these in my lifestyle and customized them according to my needs. All this comes with lots of patience and practice. It might not look easy at first, but gradually we become accustomed to it as a habit.

Try not to procrastinate on your tasks, which will lead you to deal with a bulk of it later.

So these are some tips, o f a busy working mother, of two kids, who have to manage time like a pro. I might not be a pro, but I do my best to be one.

So folks – Never lose hope, just gear on!!!

MEET THE PROCRASTINATION QUEEN

OMG look at the time!

I still have so much to do.. Where did the time fly.. Why does it always happen with me….

Hi all meet the procrastination queen.. Yes. That’s me. Give me a dead line and I will wait for the last possible time to meet that dead line. No I don’t do it knowingly it just happens. In my defence I would say that it was never the case that I didn’t do my work. My school / college work was always complete and I was in the good books of my teachers. But I was constantly swaying between a state of complete inactivity and burst of frantic or frenzied activity.

This was the story of my college days. I must say I have come a long way from that. Now being a homemaker and mother I am much more organised (Need to set an example for my kids  …) but still I am far from perfect. Even today, one day before the project submission at my kid’s school you can see a glimpse of the former me and my children, running around trying to complete the model or project on time.

To a certain extent I guess it happens with all of us. We tend to put off work or chores that are uninteresting and boring. But what has to be done – has to be done. So finally we end up doing it hurriedly and in a haphazard manner.

Does it really help to procrastinate? Actually no. If there is something in our to do list that we are just delaying doing, its always there in the back of our mind. A small nagging feeling that does not go away even though we try hard to ignore it. All we are doing is increasing our tension.

And then when the work is over we have that guilt feeling of not giving our best to it. And a small regret that had we done it systematically we would have done a better job. Like even today I carry the regret that had I been more serious during the last few years of my school life I would have been an engineer today like my sister. I would also have a proper career. It was never the case that I didn’t have the brains or capacity it was just that I was lazy. Didn’t want to put in extra effort. And that habit of doing the thing at the last moment was my nemesis.  I had that typical Indian ‘Chalta hai ..’attitude. Never took my studies that seriously.

So guys my learning here is that no matter how boring or uncomfortable the work assigned to you is do it when the time is there in your hands. However much we try to ignore it the work never goes away rather it keeps becoming a bigger monster every time we sneak a look at it.

I really admire the people around me who have mastered the art of time management. I am learning from them. As I understand it’s the best to tackle the most uncomfortable or difficult task first this way we won’t have any excuse to procrastinate. Make a to-do list and start ticking it off systematically. Remember the clock keeps ticking and soon very soon we would regret our decision to procrastinate.

GO ON ACHIEVING LIFE’S BEST

Learning to set smart realistic goals and working hard to accomplish them marks the character of people who aspire to taste success in everything that they do.

A life without goals, is the life of a wanderer who keeps on moving in all possible ways having no particular destination in mind. It is just like an octopus on roller skates – moving for sure, but having no sense of direction. Without set targets, life loses objectivity and meaning and becomes dull and drab.

A life replete with lofty unrealistic goals creates a ripe field for stress, anxiety and depression. Dreaming big is not wrong. But, those dreams have to be backed by setting realistic targets and striving to meet those targets. Setting unrealistic goals, renders them unattainable.

After the wonderful lessons on goal setting throughout the week, there is indeed nothing new and novel to be served on the platter. Some quick points to remember –

G – Genuine goals ensure success. If you have been consistently scoring around 65% in your exams, set a target of 75% at an initial stage and work out a plan to reach there. Don’t aim for 95% and sit with your head in your hands wondering how to score that high.

O – Optimistic approach propels the mind. Believe in your potential and hone up your skills. Push aside all thoughts that threaten to divert you from working towards your goal. Brush aside negative company and destructive criticism.

A – Analyzing the pros and cons keeps surprises away. When you set your goals, be sure to analyze the possible roadblocks and the imminent consequences. That way, you would have a fair idea of what to expect and what to not.

L – Living your goals every moment ensures that you are on track. Putting up visible reminders and having people around who would wake you up to your set targets will keep you moving ahead.

S – Start small, aim big. Accomplishing a series of small goals leads to attaining the ultimate bigger goal. A hungry stomach doesn’t become full by putting the entire plate of food into the mouth. Small bite-size pieces, chewed and swallowed overtime make the stomach full. So, start by setting short-term goals.

Life’s best is at your doorstep. The way you set your goals and focus on attaining them would define and refine the purpose of your life!

WHY DON’T MOST PEOPLE SET GOALS?

There are many reasons why don’t people set goals. Some of them are mentioned as under:

1. PESSIMISTIC ATTITUDE: Some people often have a pessimistic view towards life. They only look at the negative side of everything rather than the positive ones.

2. FEAR OF FAILURE: Before trying to attempt something, some people often give up thinking, “What if I don’t make it?” People feel subconsciously that if they don’t set goals, they can’t fail. But they are failures nevertheless… for, having no goals is the sign of failure.

3. FEAR OF SUCCESS: Low self image or fear of having to live up to their success causes some people to fear even their success.

4. LACK OF AMBITION: Our limited thinking prevents our own progress. There was a fisherman who while fishing used to throw the big fishes back to the river and keep the small fishes for himself always. A man watching this unusual scene asked the fisherman why he was doing so? The fisherman replied, “because I have a small frying pan.” Most people never make it in life because they are carrying a small frying pan i.e limited thinking.

5. FEAR OF REJECTION:  Some people are worried of what other people will think if they are not able to make it. They are scared of being rejected and criticized by their family, friends, relatives, neighbours, etc.

6. PROCRASTINATION:  We all procrastinate at some point of time in our life. But procrastination only leads to build negative attitude and leaves us in a regretful state of mind. Some people practise procrastination by hiding behind high sounding words saying, “I’m analyzing”. And six months later they are still analyzing. What they don’t realize is that they are suffering from a disease called “Paralysis by Analysis” and they will never succeed. There is still another breed of people who procrastinate by saying “I’m getting ready”. A month later they are still getting ready and six months later they are still getting ready. They are suffering from a disease called “Excusitis”.

7. IGNORANCE OF GOAL SETTING: Some people have no one to encourage them to set a goal. They think they can be successful in their life without even setting a goal. But they ultimately end up in failure and start blaming their fate.

Are you thinking the same way and not setting your goals ahead?

Arpita Dutta

7 LITTLE KNOWN GOAL SETTING TRICKS

Lesson 1: The most important rule of writing your goals down is that you must follow if you want to achieve success.


Most of us already know that it is vitally important to write your goals down.The simple mechanical act of writing makes your goal visible and tangible.That’s no longer just a thought! Now it’s a commitment. But there is one rule you must follow to succeed that very few know.

It’s not enough to write your goal down…

… You have to describe it in complete detail!

Make it as specific as possible.

Compare: “I want to buy a new home” and “I want to live in a new two story gorgeous Victorian style home with 4 spacious bedrooms, luxurious living room with a fireplace and hardwood floors. I will enjoy my large backyard with swimming pool and patio…”

 “I want to make a lot of money” is not the goal. It’s just a wish.

“I want to make $10.000 monthly with my business by July 1st.” Now that’s the goal.

fountain-pen-1053697_1920After writing your goal down in complete details don’t forget to make it visible! You can write it on a yellow note and stick it on your computer. Or even better-print it so it would fit 4×6 picture frame, then frame it and put it on your desktop. You can also print it on your business card and put it in your wallet. Try to surround yourself with little reminders. This will help you to stay focused on your goal and create a clear mental image of what you want.

Lesson 2: The one question you must answer before you take action.

There is one question you must answer before you start achieving your goal. Failure to answer that question will result in lack of motivation and failure to follow the plan. Take a piece of paper and answer this question in writing:

WHY do you want to achieve your goal?question-mark-1026527_1920

No, not just because “I want”. There are reasons behind your dreams, usually dozens of them. And if you realize why you want to reach your goal, you’ll be most likely to follow your plan till the end.

For example, why would you want to lose 15 pounds in 2 months?

  •  To look good
  •  To feel good about yourself
  •  To fit in your favorite dress
  •  To impress your spouse

List every single reason. Try to imagine all the benefits. The truth is that the longer the list, the stronger your motivation will be. Read your reasons first thing in the morning. Even better, frame them and hang them on the wall. It will keep you focused and motivated.

Lesson 3: How to trick yourself to finally get started working on your goals and stay on track until the goal is accomplished.

I’ve heard this hundreds of times.

“Think Big!”

“Dream Big Dreams!”

“Make Your Goal As Big As You Can Imagine!”

run-1013729_1920So, okay… I’ve written down my BIG, almost out-of-reach goal. After all, I don’t want to underestimate myself. I know I can do this but…But often after a full day at work I’m just so exhausted…to start working on my big goal. I don’t have enough energy for BIG goals. So I make a dinner, watch TV, do the homework and think “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

But tomorrow never comes.

Every evening I’m too tired to work on my goal. Day after day I’m feeling more and guiltier. As weeks pass by I’m getting more depressed….Have you ever been in this situation? If yes, there’s a small trick that will help you to get started no matter how big your goal is. Every night write down a small task for the next day. Make it as tiny as you can. Something that would take 10-15 minutes. Let’s say your goal is to lose weight and you decided to work out every day for 30 minutes. You could write down your assignment: “Do one exercise for lower abs 10 times.”

Yes, just one exercise, just 10 times. It would take you about 3 minutes. The secret is that the most difficult thing is to get started. Once you got started you’ll 95% most likely finish the whole 30 minutes work out! Even if you just do one exercise for 10 times, it is better that nothing. You wouldn’t feel guilty and depressed  you’ve fulfilled your assignment! And if you do more you’ll feel even better! The trick is to give yourself a really small task: To make a phone call, or to read one page of a textbook. And once you get started you will actually find out that you won’t mind doing more than you planned!

Remember, set big goals, but make your tasks small.

Lesson 4: One simple yet powerful technique that drives you into action every day and helps overcome procrastination.


writing-427527_1920Unfortunately very few recognize the astonishing power of personal success journal. It takes only 10-15 minutes a 
day to write down your achievements and the tasks you’ve accomplished. But these 15 minutes a day have the power to transform all your life.

Success journal motivates you: By writing down your achievements you will be able to feel the progress. You will see how by small steps you’re moving closer and closer to your goal.

Success journal eliminates temptation: It will be easier to resist temptations since you know that you have to write down what you have done tonight.

Success journal simplifies your life: Things become much simpler when they are written down. A journal makes you more tolerant of life’s distractions.

However you should be aware of three rules of keeping a success journal:

  1. Write only what you’ve done: Don’t write what you still haven’t done and what you have to do tomorrow. List only accomplished tasks and achievements.
  2. List even small things: Everything counts! A phone call, a chapter of a textbook or your decision to pass by the chocolate cheesecake…
  3. Make it a daily habit: Don’t skip days! Even if you’re exhausted make sure you write at least 1-2 sentences in your success journal. Even if the only thing you did was thinking about your goal.

I urge you to take a notebook and start to list all your completed tasks. In 30 days you wouldn’t possibly be able to live without it.

Lesson 5: The secret formula that helps you define the perfect moment for working on your goal.

clock-1060458_1920Are you waiting for a perfect moment to work on your goal? Are you sure you will be able to recognize the perfect moment when it comes? There is one simple formula that instantly tells you the perfect time to start achieving your goal.

The perfect moment = NOW!

Yes, right now, this very second is the ONLY perfect moment to start working towards your goals. No, it’s not tomorrow or Monday or the first day of the month. Right now. Don’t waste your life waiting for a perfect conditions or perfect opportunity. They don’t exist. Use what you have, start right now, never ever procrastinate! Have you ever noticed that all the successful people are very dynamic? They don’t lie on the couch…waiting for the perfect time to start doing something. They get up and DO it. If you’re still trying to put things off and make excuses to do it later, in the next lesson you will learn how to overcome procrastination and become a person who loves the thrill of getting things done.

Lesson 6: How to stop putting things off and convert yourself from procrastinator into productive, effective person who loves the thrill of getting things done.

Are you the person who always puts things off and promises himself to do it later?

Then this technique is for you. Next time you catch yourself trying to put important tasks off, take a piece of paper and answer three simple questions.

  1. Where you are?
  2. What do you want to do?
  3. How you will feel while doing it?

While writing down what do you want to do you will already imagine yourself doing it. And it won’t be very difficult for you to get up and do it.

dreams-1015613_1920Let’s say you’ve been putting off organizing your closet. You always find more important tasks to do and it’s never enough time to clean it and put everything in place. Just sit down, take a piece of paper and begin writing: “It’s Saturday, 3:45pm. I’m sitting in the living room couch, drinking tea. I want to organize my closet. It will only take me about 1 hour and I will feel energetic and satisfied that I finally got it done. My closet will be clean, everything will be sorted and in place….” Just as you’re writing it

you feel the desire to get up and do it. Because you want your closet organized, you want to feel satisfied and you’ve already imagined yourself doing it.

Remember, all you have to do is to answer three questions. Where you are, what do you want to do, and how will you feel while doing it. It’s a very simple technique but it works like a magic!

Lesson 7: The one simple technique that will make any boring task a pure fun and increase your productivity by more than 125%!

Do you know how to turn monotonous boring task into fun? Make a game out of it!

folder-1016290_1920For example, time yourself and keep trying to improve your time. Let’s say you have to peel 20 potatoes. Challenge yourself! Set a record of how many potatoes can you peel in 3 minutes. Then try to beat your own record. Or you can time yourself to see how long it takes you to peel one apple. And beat your record again! The good thing is you will always be a winner. You can turn any boring task into fun game. Just use a little imagination! This simple trick has proven to increase productivity by more than 125%! Use it and you’ll notice that you’re getting more work done in a less amount of time.

So that’s all from my side in this edition. Enjoy your weekends, achieve your goals, and don’t forget to have fun!

Author’s Bio: Sulagna Dasgupta has been writing about self-improvement and relationships for more than 5 years. Her websitewww.loveinindia.co.inis India’s first dedicated relationships & marriage blog, also offering FREE unlimited anonymous relationship counselling. Her mission is to facilitate more open thinking about love & relationships in India in the long run.