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Learning from Big Blokes in Skirts

Learning from Big Blokes in Skirts


    So here I am in gorgeous Fiji, one of the most beautiful places on earth, hanging out with possibly the nicest people on the planet. It’s like everyone in the whole country has a PhD in friendliness. Or at the very least, a Master’s degree in happiness. You know when people smile at you and they really smile; the real deal? Not one of those half-assed pathetic grimaces that we Westerners have perfected; the pseudo smile. Kinda looks more like we have wind than we’re offering any kind of warm greeting. Nope, with these guys it’s your genuine ear-to-ear smile-fest. Man, these people are FRIENDLY!

    It’s kinda strange to go from a culture where the majority tend to avoid eye contact at all costs to one where people almost rugby tackle you to the ground to greet you and express kindness. Perhaps I need to bring a few of the locals back with me. When I’m home I feel pretty special if I get sneered at by a passer-by. Any love’s good love right?

    I know what you might be thinking, “you’re at a resort, they have to be nice to you”. Well yeah I guess, but they’re nice everywhere, not just here. I went for a run into town yesterday (away from the five star experience and into the ‘no star’ zone) and people waved and shouted at me the whole time – little kids, guys working on the side of the road, people in their houses, truck drivers. Imagine that: people being nice just for the sake of it – that’ll never catch on. I think all the shouting and waving back actually tired me out more than the run.

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    Stress Management Fijian Style

    I don’t have any stats on it, but I can’t imagine too many Fijians dying of a stress-related illness any time soon – not the ones I’ve met any way. Maybe I could enlist the help of my new buddy Joseph the gardener, who’s working (and singing) outside my room right now, to run the stress-management part of my session later this morning. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working. I wonder if he has a stress management strategy?

    I’m not sure that this audience will want to relocate to Fiji and become gardeners at the Sofitel but maybe they should. Maybe I should. Maybe we all should.

    I wonder where Joseph learned all that happiness stuff anyway? Probably Doctor Phil. Or perhaps he has the entire Tony Robbins collection? Maybe he’s read The Art of Happiness a few times. Oh, I know; he must be a subscriber to medotcom. How else could he do it? Surely he can’t just be happy right? Of course not. Probably has a great therapist. Anyway, he doesn’t make enough money or own enough stuff to be truly happy does he? Maybe someone needs to have a talk with him to tell him what he’s missing out on – he mustn’t realise. Perhaps I’ll tell him later….

    Or not.

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    Blending in.

    So, as you can imagine I have been using my entire Fijian vocabulary at every opportunity. I’m sure they are suitably impressed with my proficiency in their native tongue. In fact, at a quick glimpse I’m sure I could be mistaken for one of the locals. Were it not for my gigantic white body, my shaved head, my complete lack of cool-ness and my hideous accent, I would blend right in with the local population.

    “Bula”, I say to my new friends.

    Which is code for “I’m a stupid huge white man, trying to fit in with you very cool gorgeous people.”

    To be honest, it’s probably not working. I think they know I’m from out of town. Not sure what gave it away. Could be the way I stare stupidly at their money as I try to figure out what I’m handing over every time I buy something, or it could have been my tireless and completely pointless quest to find some skim milk; they found this most amusing. Somehow I don’t think skim milk is near the top of most Fijian shopping lists. Or personal development books.

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    Big dumb white man.

    I was at the beach just before (which is about fifty feet from my room) and Greenpeace showed up to try to roll me back into the water. It was kind of embarrassing but at least it brought some much-needed attention to a good cause.
    Heavy sigh.

    However….

    While they seem to have nailed the hospitality and the friendliness things, there are one or two areas which could probably do with just a little tweaking. Not that I’d tell them – some of the lads are quite large. Let’s just say that an advanced driver training course probably wouldn’t go astray for some of the local taxi drivers. And while we’re on the transport thing, those thirty year-old Toyota taxis with more miles on them than the space shuttle don’t really enhance the ‘overall driving experience’ either. On the way from the airport to my hotel, I felt like I was an extra in Die Hard 8 and a very old Bruce Willis was my driver. Hopefully I can collect my fingernails from his dashboard on the return journey.

    Blokes in Skirts.

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      It may also take me a while to get my head around the notion of big muscular blokes wearing skirts. The guy who showed me to my room when I arrived at the hotel was six-three (187cm) easy, probably tipped the scales at a muscular 220lbs (100kgs) and was wearing a tan (is that a colour?) skirt. Gotta say I had no urge to let him know that in my country only the girls wear skirts. No urge at all. Especially as I’m not really sure how the health care thing works while I’m overseas.

      Seriously though, if I could frock up and look that cool, I would be known as Skirt-Boy from this day forth. Probably ain’t gonna happen though. Maybe I could start ‘skirting’ around the house and build myself up to a public debut over time.
      Or not.

      Anyway, enough about my cross-dressing debut (it must be the tropical heat) I best go and do what I came here to do. I’m up in fifteen minutes.

      “Hey Joseph, can I borrow that skirt of yours for an hour or so?”
      “Joseph… where are you going?”
      “Jo?”

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      Craig Harper

      Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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      Last Updated on July 27, 2020

      20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

      20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

      Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

      If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

      1. Create a Daily Plan

      Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

      Here’s How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity.

      2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

      Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

      3. Use a Calendar

      Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

      I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

      Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

      4. Use an Organizer

      An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

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      These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

      5. Know Your Deadlines

      When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

      But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

      6. Learn to Say “No”

      Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

      Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

      7. Target to Be Early

      When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

      For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

      Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

      8. Time Box Your Activities

      This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

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      You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

      9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

      Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

      10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

      Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

      You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

      11. Focus

      Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

      Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

      Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

      12. Block out Distractions

      What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

      I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

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      When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

      Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

      13. Track Your Time Spent

      When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

      You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

      14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

      You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

      Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

      15. Prioritize

      Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

      Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

      16. Delegate

      If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

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      When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

      17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

      For related work, batch them together.

      For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

      1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
      2. coaching
      3. workshop development
      4. business development
      5. administrative

      I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

      18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

      What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

      One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

      While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

      19. Cut off When You Need To

      The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

      Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

      20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

      Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

      More Time Management Tips

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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