Less (can be more!)

The only thing I liked about this book is its potential to show vulnerability in different shades.

I do not think it is fair to describe Arthur Less as a failed novelist, he was rather a struggling one. The story is about a struggling novelist in his 50s. He has been living with his partner, Freddy for 9 years. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail – Freddy is now marrying someone else. Less wants to avoid the marriage – attending it would be too awkward. Avoiding it may make him look like a loser. To keep himself busy and out of the city during the wedding, Less accepts all the Literary invitations that were kept pending all this while and decides to travel globally.

‘Less’ did he know that this trip would be a roller coaster ride, and he will experience a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of insecurity, and a lot of reality. (Happiness is not bullshit)

Character

The protagonist, Arthur Less is portrayed very well. He is smart, talented, adorable, and filled with emotions, fears, and insecurities. He surely isn’t living a fairy tale life where everything is white, perfect, and shiny but is racing against his own self in reality. He is insecure, he is dealing with a mid-life crisis, and certainly emotional about all the romantic relationships and partners he has met to date.

All the other characters too (including the famous poet Robert) – are shown perfectly. Right from the description of how they look to the detailing of how they feel – their emotions, insecurities, fears, and thoughts, everything is served well and is palatable.

Story

I liked the book but I somehow feel its more of a character-based book than a good storytelling one. The story lacks relatability and the ability to give its readership a major takeaway. The story gets a little confusing and you have to re-read it to grip the gist. Also, how many of us really have that kind of privilege and money to run away from problems and travel the world? Is it a good lesson? I am not quite sure.

Disclaimer: I picked up this book because it was labeled to be ‘funny’ – The book would make you smile in a few areas and pockets, but it definitely isn’t a funny book.

Though the book tried to focus on “Everything gets fine at the end”, but however the book had a lot of pockets filled with sulking, no good solutions, and letting go of things just randomly.

The only thing I liked about this book is its potential to show vulnerability in different shades. Every chapter will take you on a journey to Less’s past of incomplete and insecure memories which is pure flesh reality and not a fairy tale with dwarfs or glass slippers to make everything okay in a jiffy!

I wish there would be a little more to this book that would help readers not just understand problems that Less is facing, but could relate to it and take away something that inspires them to grow or do better. This certainly isn’t a bad book but lacks the direction needed and is def not a Pulitzer award kind of book. I think Less could have been a little ‘more’ than what it is now.

I am not you, and that’s okay!

No one holds an upper hand over the other person. No two people are exactly the same; how we act, think, and communicate… who are we to decide who is better than whom? And why are we competing instead of celebrating the differences that make us more human than ever? If two people thought the same moves in chess, it would make it a lame game to win, wouldn’t it? The way we have been raised, the things we believe in, and the way we look at things can never be the same. It is unique. It defines you. Even identical twins are not the same person, are they?

And even though we are so different, we are all tied in a thread of similarity. That is why we connect on so many different levels; still, we have something diverse that fills each other’s spaces. We are all customized. So, do not degrade differences; celebrate them.

Which is the best time of them all?

Everyone has a few hours on their day when they are the most productive or when their minds work better. For most people, it is the first few hours in the morning, and it is advisable to capitalize it correctly.

Everyone should know what time of the day they are most productive. Some people love pulling an all-nighter, while some love to make most of the dawn. Analyzing when your mind works the best is essential for batching your task and getting most of the work done.

Always use these productivity hours to do the work that requires careful planning, thinking, and writing. Careful planning helps you save time to plan your day well and end your day early. Also, it is beneficial if you track your time and journal it to know how well you are using it.

A bad mood can get you really cranky and worked up. Sleeping well and having an excellent personal relationship (a result of work-life balance) helps you sleep better and plan your work for productivity hours better. And not to mention, helps you stay bright and positive, instead of sluggish and cranky.

Try to Identify clogs – Some people and things are just not right for us. They are, as
my dear friend always terms, ‘Toxic,’ to our system, and we must identify them and limit how much they can take away from our lives. Learn to prioritize what’s positive for you and start drawing borderlines. If your time is spent where it is unnecessary, it also leads to frustrations and lousy day organizing, which in return diminishes productivity.

There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first and knowing when you work the best. Productivity leads to incremental growth and kicks you up a notch.

It is good to be a sleepy head

Sleeping is underrated. On a personal level, the average sleeping hours in my circle is 5 hours. There is a direct relationship between sound sleep and productivity. If you sleep for 7-8 hours every day, you may experience an increase in your productivity levels. Taking a nap every once in a while also helps you boost your productivity levels. Like our laptops, our brains also need to restart well. 

There is a common myth that sleeping those extra hours on weekends would cover up for hours lost on weekdays. This is just like staying hungry and then eating at once; still not healthy.

In fact, I personally believe that oversleeping makes you lethargic and lazy. Getting the right amount of sleep is necessary.

Another thing that is an excellent contributor is having a fixed sleep time pattern. It is unhealthy to sleep at different hours on different days, and advisable to have a well-planned sleep-wake schedule.

Though sleeping may not always add to your productivity, especially when you are always sleeping on your desk during work, just kidding… However, sleeping right can never go wrong!

Having a daily date night with work?

People often misunderstand productivity as rigorous hard working hours instead of lean, smart working hours. The importance of rest, sleep, and mental breaks have always been looked down on. People often think that to achieve something, we need to put in many hours of work and ultimately strike out our family or personal lives.

But, what if I told you that your overworking could cost you your life? What if I told you that all that you are working for, may have a zero outcome at the end. And that, for better productivity, work-and-personal life goes hand in hand? Does it, though?

Let us find out why having a daily date night with your work is not suitable for your relationship with work, life, and loved ones!

Japan is known as a country that never rests. Right from the employers to the political leaders, Japan has been refusing a healthy work-life balance. This has, in a literal sense, caused deaths. Japan literally has a term called Karoshi, which means death by overwork, which has been pretty high in Japan for a long time. The brutal work culture has caused lesser holidays, higher work hours, and high work pressures, causing strokes and heart attacks. The problem seemed so severe
that some Japanese companies had to personally go and tell their workers to go home at the end of the workday. The term is not just casual, but also a word added to the dictionary. 

According to a BBC article, some employees take zero to two days off per year.
“While Western society is individualistic and non-hierarchical, Japanese society is collectivist and hierarchical,” explains Hiroshi Ono, professor of human resources management at Hitotsubashi University, who specializes in Japan’s work culture. “Thus, many people refrain from taking a holiday because their bosses do not take a holiday, or they are afraid that it will disrupt the group harmony.” For tech workers, Hideyuki – like many Japanese workers – not taking holiday leave is a normalized part of working life. “It’s natural not taking holiday leave,” he says. “I’ve never thought about the impact on my family, health, or wellbeing. The deaths soon caught the attention and were put on the agenda of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as reflected
in the government’s new Work Style Reform Bill, which was passed by Japan’s national legislature in 2018, which contributed to the modernization of the Japanese work culture. (Source: BBC)

The thumb rule of investing 10,000 hours in practice is something we all remember if we have read Outliers, written by Malcolm Gladwell. There are a certain number of things we put on a strike list as a huge compromise. One of them is again a perfect work-life balance. Sure we need 10,000 hours of practice to excel, but we also need a mental break, healthy sleep hours, and other core skills and strategies that go along with the practice hours. What good will hours of practice do if you have not put in rework hours and analyzed your threats and weaknesses?

Though many concepts will lead you to work your ass off, shop-till-you-drop kind of approach, it is always better to figure out what works best for you.

We are always connected to our work. The little device you carry in your pocket
welcomes work calls, updates, work messages, and emails around the clock. You are always updated and thinking about work in some way or the other. The compounding stress that accumulates from a long-lasting workday is destructive. It can not only cost you your personal relationships but also harm your physical and emotional health. This also means that while you succeed in specific work areas, you are failing big in managing your life.

If you are the boss, be open to a little flexible workplace, if you are an employee, pitch your HR for one. I have seen the downsides of being hands full of work, and here is how you can make your life more than just work!

  • Give more importance to sleep
  • Focus on your personal life on the same level as your work life
  • Know your productivity hours
  • Add workout hours to your daily schedule
  • Do something that interests you (Develop a hobby)
  • Take mental breaks whenever required
  • Prioritize whats truly important and positive for you


Always remember, Self-care is often mistakenly called selfish. 
There is nothing wrong with self-care. People are made to feel guilty about caring about themselves, for choosing their own self over others. Putting yourself first is not wrong. Self-care is mandatory; otherwise, the flights would never suggest wearing that oxygen mask first before helping others! You can always give in to others, work, and other things if you give in to yourself first. 
Do not pressure yourself to achieve perfection, and always give a lot of importance to your personal time, just like you do to your work hours! Prioritize your health, and don’t forget to unplug!

Say no to a daily date night with work and stop getting your work home.

One last tip, before I leave you to manage your work-life balance


The things-to-do list can be intimidating. It can get frustrating if you can’t keep up to it, and let us all agree, nothing falls in place perfectly on time. So, while scheduling and planning well are essential, it is okay to go a little easy on the list. If you have other ways of achieving work-life balance, do share in the comments section below!

The cost of letting go

Life is made up of choices we make. If we are choosing to spend time reading a book, we are choosing not to invest that time into something else, such as working out or catching up with friends. Everything you plan to do in your life, no matter how big or small, comes with an opportunity cost. 

Now, what exactly is an opportunity cost? 

Opportunity cost is the value of the choice that was given up during the decision-making process. It is basically the cost of not selecting the next best alternative. Unfortunately, it is something we tend to neglect.

The coffee you order, the meetings you set, and the projects you accept are consuming slots and time that you could have given to the next best alternative. We need to analyze which one gets you more value to the table. 

Values may be monetary in business and economy, but when you talk about real life, you get to choose your value factor. 

For example, Imagine you are working on a project relentlessly for five days. The project involves all-nighters and at least five espresso shots to begin with. Now, all that can add value to you over the weekend is unwinding. In such a scenario, choosing to moonlight may not add value to you compared to choosing a day of staying back home and relaxing or going for an outdoor picnic. 

In life, you get to decide what value you assign to your opportunity cost, what matters the most, what you would rather be doing, and the best option to ply right now. 

The best way to deal with opportunity costs is prioritizing. Know what you should be doing instead. Is what you are choosing really worth your time, or would you rather be doing something else? What is adding value to you at this hour? Is it long-term or just giving you happiness at the moment?

Self-love disclaimer:

You cannot do everything at the same time. No matter what you choose, you will let go of something while in the process. Though understanding the applicability of opportunity cost is essential, it is also important to not be hard on yourself. It is okay to sometimes go with the flow, choose not to choose, and let things go. 

Don’t drain yourself in the process, but also consciously decide how you wish to spend your time. After all, Time is money. Isn’t it? 

Why content?

On a Sunday morning, do yourself a favor. Take a break.

Go for a walk to the nearby park, meet your friends for brunch, go for an early show and watch the latest release, take your partner out on coffee, go for a drive, buy some takeaway dinner, and give in to the hot chocolate cravings.

An ideal day, isn’t it?

Now, do us a favor. Observe.

The book you purchased after reading its blurb, the menu you ordered from at brunch, the ambiance you appreciated with your friends, the instructions on the hot chocolate box, the attractive box that made you buy it, the signboards along the way, the device you are reading this on, the chair you are sitting on, and the list goes on.

Everything in our life is primarily inspired by two things: Design and Content; both are driven by purpose. Someone did not just happen to make a chair or a signboard or add a blurb to understand the book better. Every piece of content, right from the tiny disclaimers on your cereal box, to the copy and content on your blogs and campaigns, to the Starbucks wall menu, is wrapped to solve a purpose. To solve a problem. Problems are why you have forks to eat noodles or speed breakers to slow cars, or why you have a headline separate from the body text. Good design and content are just solutions.

The Word Marvel (TWM) is an effort to string the world together with good content. Get, set, and explore!

Every business has its own focus points. Entrepreneurs are losing out on their valuable time. Reason? Micro-management and Multi-tasking. Sure, it is good to multi-task, but the need of the hour is to focus on one thing. Content clutter is a real thing, and brands are striving to express their tonality through design and content.

We got your back. You are just one step away from finding a solution to all your content needs.

Breaking the Deja Vu of Content creation

It is a typical weekend afternoon, and I am scrolling through social media platforms at the comfort of my couch. We are blessed to have the world at our fingertips, but with the clutter of information and mostly repetitive content, we go back to thinking if it is really a blessing? Most of the content creators out there are doing the same thing and not differently, so whenever we see their content, we know it is something we have seen before. It is like Deja Vu of content creation. 

Why we create what we create? 

The online world is so full of content in various forms, selling products which 100 other entrepreneurs are trying to sell, copy cat formulas, same trends, the more the content, the lesser the chance of being visible. At times like this, creating content to sell is not only pushy but is a wrong strategy. 

People no longer want to buy from brands; they want to buy from people. They want to buy from thought leaders, from people who care to inform, educate, entertain, explain, and provide round-the-clock service and support. No one wants a shop experience anymore. Everyone wants to be a part of a community. They want to purchase from a brand that has shared beliefs. Customers are built over time, and the best way to develop trust and loyalty is through the right content strategy.  It is all about addressing the pain points of your audience and giving them a solution. It is about listening to the customer and unbarring their changing desires. 

Have you been street shopping at a lane that sells identical products for the exact cost? If you observe carefully, you will see some customers knowing exactly which shop to go to for their purchase. They get down from their vehicles, cuts past the crowd and noise that tries to call them to their stores, and lands exactly at the shop they want to buy from. Why? Can we all agree that customer experience is an intangible service that every brand, no matter how small or big, needs to provide? Some brands do little things that catch the audience’s attention, and thus they slowly create their own customer base. 

Content creation is all about giving your audience an experience that makes them believe in your product or service. It can either be by educating them, or giving them fun content that they can share among their community, or being available all hours for support and assistance. 

In the process of doing this, we need to create content that adds value and justifies the time spent on your post or page. 

Here are 7 quick tips for content creation – 

1) Understand your brand. Know what will work for you and what won’t. What do you want your brand personality to be? Do you need an influencer, or will your brand do better without it? 

2) Create a content strategy that will help you set content goals and also understand your buyer’s persona. Each content that you publish should have a purpose. 

3) Understand your buyer’s journey and create a plan according to it. Typically a buyer goes through three stages – Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. The AIDA model helps you recognize and understand your customer’s stage and enables you to create a strategy accordingly. 

You can have many blog posts to create awareness and have product trials when you think your customers are in a decision stage. 

Pro tip: While planning content, don’t miss out on creating a sheet that has your content planned according to days, keywords, buyer persona, stage, and also include key metrics like engagement to gauge which content is performing and which needs more work.

4) Don’t be afraid to experiment. Do things differently and creatively.

5) Always be on watch! Identify new opportunities to educate your audience. 

6) Be fun and real 

Pro tip: Research thoroughly. Start with a SWOT analysis for your brand to help you know the Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Apart from Swot, always track your competitors – See what they are creating, what is working for them, what is not working for them, etc. Sometimes learning from other’s experiences saves you time, effort, and money! 

7) Be everywhere and explore beyond online as well. 

Bonus: Three questions to ask yourself while creating content – 

1) How can I do this differently to add more value? 

2) What problem will this piece of content solve, or what is the purpose of this content? 

3) What else is possible? 

Remember, It is crucial to break through the clutter and have your own identity, whether it is for your brand or you. Build an audience with the right content strategy; create a family, not just followers!