You might have struggled last year, or maybe achieved the goals you’ve set, but there’s always room to improve. There are many ways to become a more productive Filipino! Ang Japanese naay term ani: Kaizen, or continuous improvement. You have a responsibility to be better not just for yourself, but also for your community, family, and the future generation. Here are my suggestions:
Five Ways to Become a More Productive Filipino
1. Dive Deep into Your Filipino History and Culture
You might be wondering how learning about your background relates to productivity. Learning about your Filipino background is empowering. It can boost you confidence to know where you came from, what your ancestors have done, and the strength they demonstrated to survive in difficult circumstances.
Did you know that there was a 20-year old Filipino general during the Philippine revolutionary war and Philippine-American war who defended our country. At such a young age, he led men to battle and won many. See, that’s one empowering historical fact.
Sign up for a Filipino history and culture class at your local community college if they offer it. Be proactive and find Philippine history and culture resources online. If you search Filipino history on YouTube, you will find tons of videos. I found this video explaining the history of the Philippines in 8 minutes.
Learning about Philippine history gives you a broader perspective of your life. Check out the book History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos by Luis H. Francia, a contemporary author and historian of the Philippines. It’s a very concise and fascinating history books about the Philippines. I have a newfound admiration for our people after reading.
2. Tackle a New Skill, or Improve an Existing One
We, Filipinos, love to learn and to be challenged. We have very curious minds. But, because of the many obligations we have to our family and work, we often don’t have the time and money to pursue other interests.
The World Wide Web has given us the opportunity to learn from renown academic institutions. Check out English for Career Development taught by language specialists at the University of Pennsylvania and provided by Coursera. It’s FREE! You can also download the Coursera Apps to learn on the go.
I also recommend learning business and economics. Understanding how business and the economy work is very useful in navigating your way to success. The How to Start Your Own Business course provided by Michigan State University through Coursera is an excellent introduction. It’s also free!
A lot in life revolves around financial decisions; like, where to invest your money, when to buy a home, how much loan to take (or not take), etc. The University of Florida has a free Personal and Family Financial Planning course. Master financial planning and be in control of your money and your future.
3. Join a Group and Increase Your Connections
“Network, network, network!” That’s what my supervisor used to tell me as a Counseling Intern. He said, “you can read all the books in the world and earn degrees, but if you don’t know key individuals, you will have a very challenging career ahead.” I went into networking overdrive mode thereafter. I visited all the Student Services offices at my campus and built relationships with the managers and directors.
Nowadays, it’s so much easier to meet people and create a solid network. You can join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn organized around special interests, or join meetup events at sites like Meetup.com. Once you’re a member, you can develop relationships with others.
The Filipino-American Professionals based in Anaheim, CA, for example, has 480 members according (from www.meetup.com). They do lunches/dinners, sporting and cultural events, festivals, outdoor activities, and more. If you are in SoCal, you should sign up and join one of their upcoming activities!
4. Focus on One Thing at a Time
We now live in a world of never ending distractions. Social networking sites are vying for your attention and money. They are like double-edged swords, helping you connect to the world, while also dividing your precious time and attention. You must be disciplined and have a clear sense of priority. Many people including myself, however, don’t have the discipline to tackle sustained distractions on social media sites.
I’ve learned that the only way to fight encroaching distractions is by eliminating them. Uninstall unimportant/unhelpful apps. Remove the flat screen TV from your bedroom. Isolate yourself in order to finish a project. Those are just a few sacrifices others have made to get things done.
You can eliminate distractions by learning to focus on one task until completion before starting a new one. The ONE Thing by Gary Keller expands on this idea of focusing on one thing. The book provides a ton of insight and wisdom. My favorite idea in the book is the “focusing question”:
Read the book summary by Samuel Thomas Davies.
The last thing you want is to start something only to put it aside and feel unaccomplished. Whether you are finishing History of the Philippines by Luis H. Francia or attending an event with your Filipino meetup group, give each activity your full attention. Be present until the event is complete. It’s one of the hardest things that I have to do, but I continue to pursue doing one thing until completion, because it feels so rewarding after.
5. Learn to Think in Terms of Maximum Return
Return on Investment (ROI) is a business term, but very applicable to all aspects of life. Yes, be efficient by focusing on your ONE thing, but be effective by making sure you get maximum return (or reward) from your efforts. Learn to think in terms of getting the most out of your time, effort, and money. Don’t waste time on things that don’t give you maximum value.
Whatever you do from here on out, ask yourself first: is what I’m doing now maximally help me in the future? Whether it’s creating more money, connections, lasting joy and happiness, or more opportunities, do tasks/activities that give you maximum benefit.
Then, after you ask the ROI question, ask the focusing question to focus your tasks: what’s the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
I encourage you and your friends to practice one or two, or all five ways to be more productive. I can’t guarantee anything, but I’ve observed my students and friends who practiced them, and they are happier!
What are you currently doing to be a more productive Filipino this year? Do you have a unique and interesting idea you want to share? Feel free to comment anytime.
You might also be interested in reading my minimalist New Year’s Resolutions