99 Facts on The Future of Business

  1. Over 40% of the companies that were at the top of the Fortune 500 in 2000 were no longer there in 2010. Change Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business
  2. By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile-connected devices than there are people on earth. Source: Cisco 2013 Technology
  3. Facebook has more than 1 Billion network users. Networks Source: Facebook
  4. By 2030, 5 billion people – nearly two thirds of global population – could be middle class. Resources Source: OECD “An Emerging Middle Class,” © OECD
  5. Typical mobile users check their phone 150 times per day. Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends, 2013 Technology
  6. Only 7% of Gen Y works for a Fortune 500 company as startups dominate the workforce for this demographic. Employment Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business, 2013
  7. Millennials are 3 times as likely to follow brands over a family member on social networks. Customers Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business, 2013
  8. 90% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. Customers Source: Cisco
  9. The amount of data stored is doubling every 18 months. Networks Source: IDC, Aberdeen
  10. 1.2 billion people were still living on less than $1.25 a day in 2010, a decrease of 100 million since 2008. Resources Source: World Bank, 2013
  11. 73% of people surveyed wouldn’t care if the brands they use disappeared from their life. Customers Source: Co.Exist
  12. The half-life of a piece of content shared on top social networks Twitter and Facebook is 3 hours. (Half-life is the amount of time it takes content to reach 50% of the clicks it will ever receive). Source: Bit.ly Customers
  13. The global rate of extreme poverty fell to 20.6 percent, less than half the 1990 rate of 43.1 percent. Resources Source: World Bank, 2013
  14. Globally, more people trust regular employees to tell the truth than CEOs (50% vs. 43%). Customers Source: Edelman Trust Barometer, 2013
  15. Newspapers have lost $40 Billion in advertising revenue since 2000. Change Source: Newspaper Association of America
  16. The average number of sources of content consumed by a shopper in a purchase doubled from 2010 to 2011 going from 5 to 10 pieces of content consumed. Source: Google Customers
  17. Worldwide, more than 3 billion people are working, but nearly half work in farming, small household enterprises, or in casual or seasonal day labor. Source: World Bank Jobs Report, 2012 Employment
  18. More than 70% of customers surveyed believe small businesses understand their customer better than large companies, know their business/product better than large companies, provide a more personal customer service experience than large companies and are more concerned about my needs than larger companies.” Source: : American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, 2012 Customers
  19. Gen Y will form 75% of the workforce by 2025 and are actively shaping corporate culture and expectations. Only 11% define having a lot of money as a definition of success. Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business, 2013 Employment
  20. 29% of Millennials find love through Facebook while 33% are dumped via wall posts or text messages. Customers Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business, 2013
  21. It is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to keep a current one. Customers Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs
  22. Networks Source: GoGlobe & Qmee Content on the internet tripled between 2010 and 2013.
  23. Wearable devices have grown by 2x month over month since October 2012. Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends, 2013 Technology Photo: Intel Free Press
  24. Social media sharing has doubled between 2011 and 2013, with Snapchat taking a large share after only 1 year. Networks Source: KPCB
  25. It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. Customers Source: HelpScout
  26. The world population has more than doubled over the past 50 years and it will exceed 9 billion people by the 2040s. Change Source: Rand Corporation, 2011
  27. The number of pieces of mail delivered by the US postal service dropped from 250 Million in 2006 to 50 Million in 2012. Source: USPS Change
  28. The percentage of companies new to the Fortune 1000 has grown from 35% (1973- 1983) to 45% (1984-1993) to 60% (1994-2003) to over 70% (2004-2013) in each of the last 4 decades. Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business, 2013 Change
  29. The amount of time parents spend with their children continues to go up in the US. Fathers have nearly tripled their time with children since 1965. Mothers’ time with children has also increased, and today’s mothers spend more time with their children than mothers did in the 1960s. Source: Pew Research Center, 2013 Resources
  30. Top 5 risks with the highest likelihood are: Income disparity, fiscal imbalances, greenhouse gas, water supply, and aging population. Source: World Economic Forum, 2013 Change
  31. 884 Million people lack access to fresh water. By 2040, at least 3.5 billion people will run short of water. Change Source: OECD Environmental Indicators, 2013 © OECD
  32. The population living in urban areas is projected to increase from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion 2050. Change Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs
  33. On average, the world has become a little happier in the last 30 years. Health care, education and income have the biggest impact on life satisfaction. Source: World Happiness Report, 2012 Change
  34. Technology Source: GIGAom, 2013 In 2010, Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson, predicted that by 2020, 50 billion devices would be connected to the internet.
  35. 80% of the top Global Internet sites are US-based while 81% of the Global Internet population is non-US. Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends, 2013 Technology
  36. US-based mobile phone operating systems maintain 88% share of all global mobile phone sales (up from 5% 6 years ago). Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends, 2013 Technology
  37. Mobile traffic as a percent of internet traffic is growing 1.5x per year (now still only 15%). Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends, 2013 Technology
  38. There are 1.5 Billion smartphone users vs. 5 Billion mobile users worldwide. Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends, 2013 Technology
  39. Tablet growth is more rapid than smartphones. (3x iPhone growth) Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends, 2013 Technology
  40. The next wave of computing is “wearables” (or “drivables”, “flyables”, “scannables”). Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends, 2013 Technology Photo: Ted Eytan
  41. The average subscription rate of mobile Internet access in developed countries as a whole rose to 56.6% in June 2012, up from just 23.1% in 2009. Source: OECD Communications Outlook, 2013 © OECD Technology
  42. 80% of data used on mobile devices is received via WiFi connections to fixed networks. Source: OECD Communications Outlook, 2013 © OECD Technology
  43. 60% of US consumers agree, “Technology has made us feel more connected” while 40% agree, “Technology has made us feel more isolated from each other.” Source: Yankelovich MONITOR Technology
  44. The average US adult spends 141 minutes a day using mobile devices. Source: Advertising Age Mobile Fact Pack, 2013 Technology
  45. The projected share of world population with smartphones in 2014 is 24%. Source: Advertising Age Mobile Fact Pack, 2013 Technology
  46. January to June 2013, global demand for smartphones rose by 66% compared with the same period in the previous year, while the market for conventional mobile phones shrank by 25%. Source: GfK Roper WW, 2013 Technology
  47. 85 percent – share of smartphones as a proportion of all mobile devices is also the highest in China. Source: Advertising Age Mobile Fact Pack, 2013 Technology
  48. Smartphone adoption worldwide is creating more and more demand for mobile bandwidth, but it won’t be a mobile broadband-majority world until 2016. Source: Mintel Technology
  49. There will be a 50-fold aggregate growth in smartphone gigabyte traffic between 2011 and 2016, with China emerging with a 10% share of this market. Source: Mintel Technology
  50. A study by the UN found that nearly 200,000 text messages were sent every second in 2010, totaling up to 6.1 trillion texts. Source: Mintel Technology
  51. GPS provider TomTom adds five billion measurement points every day. Source: OECD Exploring Data-Driven Innovation as a New Source of Growth, 2013 © OECD Technology
  52. In 2012, TomTom navigation hardware and software had more than 5,000 trillion data points in its databases, describing time, location, direction and speed of travel of individual anonymized users. Source: OECD Exploring Data-Driven Innovation as a New Source of Growth, 2013 © OECD Technology
  53. The connected home segment will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50 percent between 2012 and 2017 to reach 10.7-million shipments in five years. Source: GIGAom, 2013 Technology
  54. In the next 5 years, revenues from the sales of connected home systems will increase from $1.9 billion to $3.8 billion. Technology Source: GIGAom, 2013
  55. By 2017, there will be close to $11 Billion in revenue from 35-million homes using home automation platforms across the globe. Source: GIGAom, 2013 Technology
  56. By 2050 more than 40% of the world’s population will live under severe water stress and nearly 20% could be exposed to floods. Source: OECD “Water: Governments Must Deal With Rising Risks,” 2013 © OECD Resources
  57. The economic value of assets at risk from floods is expected to be about $45 trillion by 2050. Resources Source: OECD “Water: Governments Must Deal With Rising Risks,” 2013 © OECD
  58. Last year’s drought in the United States nearly halved the contribution of the agricultural sector to US GDP over the 3rd quarter. Source: OECD “Water Security For Better Lives,” 2013 © OECD Resources
  59. The 2011 floods in Thailand slashed their 4th quarter GDP growth by 12%. Resources Source: OECD “Water Security For Better Lives,” 2013 © OECD
  60. Services, such as business services, transport and logistics, account for over half of value creation in Global Value Chains (GVCs) in many developed countries and over 30% in China. Source: OECD “Interconnected Economies,” 2013 © OECD Resources
  61. Today, most goods and a growing share of services are “made in the world”, not just produced in just one country. Resources Source: OECD “Interconnected Economies,” 2013 © OECD
  62. Asian students account for 53% of all students studying abroad worldwide – the largest numbers of international students are from China, India and Korea. Source: Pew Research Center, 2013] Resources
  63. In 1990, girls’ primary school enrollment rate in developing countries was only 86 percent of boys’. By 2011 it was 97 percent. Source: World Bank, 2013 Resources
  64. The developing world’s cities are expected to see massive growth, drawing 96 percent of the additional 1.4 billion people by 2030. Source: World Bank, 2013 Resources
  65. In 2011, 3.6 billion people (50% of the global population) lived in urban areas, compared with 1.5 billion in 1990. Resources Source: World Bank, 2013
  66. Over 80 percent of global goods and services are produced in cities. Resources Source: World Bank, 2013
  67. 76% of the world’s 1.2 billion poor live in rural areas. Resources Source: World Bank, 2013
  68. Behavioral patterns (smoking, inactivity, drinking, etc) still the largest contributor to pre-mature death in the US. Resources Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2013
  69. While the US has the highest internet penetration (78%) it ranks 10th in new internet users from 2008-2012 behind China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Nigeria, The Philippines, Brazil and Mexico. Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2013 Networks
  70. Firms are much less likely to do e-sales than e-purchases – the percentage of businesses making sales online is lower than 20% in most countries. Source: OECD “Electronic and Mobile Commerce,” 2013 © OECD Networks
  71. E-commerce is dominated by business-to-business (B2B) sales – roughly 90% of the value of e-commerce transactions is from B2B and this has been nearly constant over the last ten years. Source: OECD “Electronic and Mobile Commerce,” 2013 © OECD Networks
  72. Asia-Pacific is expected to become the largest B2C e-commerce marketplace by 2013 (representing a 34% of total sales share against 31.1% in 2012). Source: EMarketer Networks
  73. 13% of the economic value added by the business sector in 2010 could be attributed to Internet-related and e-commerce activities. Source: OECD “Electronic and Mobile Commerce,” 2013 © OECD Networks
  74. Small and Midsize Businesses account for over 99% of all businesses in developed economies and 40-70% of value added in the economy (*but are the least likely to sell online). Source: OECD “Electronic and Mobile Commerce,” 2013 © OECD Networks
  75. Millennials watch TV with 2 or more electrical devices. Customers Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business, 2013
  76. Millennials trust strangers over family and friends. They lean on User-Generated Experiences for purchase decisions. Customers Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business, 2013
  77. 66% of Millennials will look up a store if they see a friend check-in. Customers Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business, 2013
  78. Millennials believe that other consumers care more about their shopping experiences than companies do – that’s why they share their opinions online. Source: OECD “Electronic and Mobile Commerce,” 2013 © OECD Customers
  79. 87% of global consumers believe business should place at least equal emphasis on social interests as business interests, and ‘purpose’ has increased as a purchase trigger by 26% since 2008. Source: Edelman Trust Barometer, 2013 Customers
  80. While 50% of Americans trust businesses to do what is right, only 15% trust business leaders to tell the truth. Customers Source: Edelman Trust Barometer, 2013
  81. Only 34% of workers say, “Employees [in their company] have a high level of trust in management and the organization. Customers Source: Interaction Associates
  82. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels he or she is being treated. Customers Source: McKinsey
  83. $83 billion is estimated to be lost by U.S. businesses every year due to poor customer service. Customers Source: Genesys
  84. Businesses lose $289 each year for every customer who leaves due to poor service Source: Genesys Customers
  85. 42% of global marketers say acquiring new customers is one of the top three marketing challenges facing their organization. Source: IBM Customers
  86. On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. Customers Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs
  87. In 2012, only 37% of US companies earned a customer experience index rating of “excellent” or “good.” Customers Source: Forrester
  88. 67% of US organizations say that improving customer experiences is one of their top three priorities. Customers Source: Forrester
  89. 80% of big companies described themselves as delivering “superior” service, but only 8% of customers say they’ve experienced “superior” service from these companies. Source: The New Yorker Customers
  90. In the past year, two in five consumers or more in most markets indicate that they have not completed a transaction or made an intended purchase because of poor customer service. Source: American Express Global Customer Service Barometer Customers
  91. Peer recommendations drive sales. 70% of consumer said they were influenced by a friend or family member’s online recommendation, beating out in-person recommendation (61%), online articles (59%), ads (49%), or someone they follow online but don’t know (32%). Source: Brian Solis’ Future of Business, 2013 Customers
  92. YouTube uploads are growing exponentially from 40 hours per 60 seconds in 2011, to 100 hours in 2013. Customers Source: Google
  93. Netflix and YouTube are responsible for 45% of all internet traffic in the US. Customers Source: VPNStudy 2013
  94. In Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms, India became the third largest economy in the world in 2011, behind the United States and China, and pushing Japan to the fourth spot. Source: World Bank, 2013 Employment
  95. In 2011 Mongolia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at the second highest rate in the world, measured at 15.7 percent. Source: World Bank, 2013 EmploymentEmployment
  96. The economy with the highest recorded growth rate in 2011 was the Macao Special Administrative Region of China, which grew at 18.1 percent. Source: World Bank, 2013 Employment
  97. More than 620 million young people are neither working nor studying. Employment Source: World Bank Jobs Report, 2012
  98. Just to keep employment rates constant, the worldwide number of jobs will have to increase by around 600 million over a 15-year period. Source: World Bank Jobs Report, 2012 Employment
  99. India will add a million new workers every month for the next two decades. This is equivalent to the entire population of Sweden joining the labor force in India every year for the next two decades. Source: World Bank, 2013 Employment
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9 Tips To Make Effective Decisions

It’s true that you are the product of your own thoughts and decisions. Whatever you decide on daily basis, whatever you do in your routine life is directly or indirectly linked to your future. That means you are making the foundation of your destiny with your decision and actions in your routine life. So by looking at the bigger picture, it is right to conclude that decision making is critically important for your success and achievements of lifetime goals.

Given below is the list of insightful factors which you need to considerer while making decisions.
1. Consider the short term and long term consequences: Whether the decision is materialistic or a sensitive family matter. You have to consider short terms and long terms benefits.

2. Cost Vs quality if applicable. If you intend to purchase something, consider cost, quality, warranty perspectives. Usually cheep products have less life and bad quality but is not the case always. To cope up with this, define your budget and then carefully analyze all the options which are falling within your budget.

3. Need Vs wants analysis: Are you purchasing for pleasure or it is your long term need. Remember this is a difference between pleasure and happiness. Sometimes pleasure dost not last long so you don’t want to spend a lot for the sake of short time pleasure. If you are in Need of something then consider point-1 and point-2.

4. Consider emotions: This is quite sensitive aspect. You have to put yourself in everyone’s shoes to understand his/her emotions. You don’t want to hurt someone with your decision, instead you want to keep your stake holders emotionally satisfied. Emotional Intelligence is an art; learn it by reading on internet. To understand people you have to have true sense of judging people

5. Consider Win-Win: A balanced approach in which everyone gains is always recommended.

6. Consider all options: Don’t stop your brain on one idea or approach. Think about more options. Seek advice from others on different possible solutions of the given situation/problem. to the problems which need decisions.

7. Ask for criticism: If possible ask for criticism before implementing the decision. Although it’s never too late to ask for criticism even after your decision. Feedback always helps in your future.

8. Learn to differentiate between Urgent and Important tasks. Read my article Urgent and Important.

9. Closely observe others: Think about what your friend/colleague/acquaintance did under a specific condition. A wise man always learns from the mistakes of others.
Good decisions require good analytical skills. Read some tips here to improve your analytical skills.

8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees‏

Great employees are reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, great leaders and great followers… they possess a wide range of easily-defined—but hard to find—qualities.

A few hit the next level. Some employees are remarkable, possessing qualities that may not appear on performance appraisals but nonetheless make a major impact on performance.
Here are eight qualities of remarkable employees:

1. They ignore job descriptions. The smaller the company, the more important it is that employees can think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done.
When a key customer’s project is in jeopardy, remarkable employees know without being told there’s a problem and jump in without being asked—even if it’s not their job.

2. They’re eccentric… The best employees are often a little different: quirky, sometimes irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. They seem slightly odd, but in a really good way. Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and transform a plain-vanilla group into a team with flair and flavor.
People who aren’t afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo, and they often come up with the best ideas.

3. But they know when to dial it back. An unusual personality is a lot of fun… until it isn’t. When a major challenge pops up or a situation gets stressful, the best employees stop expressing their individuality and fit seamlessly into the team.
Remarkable employees know when to play and when to be serious; when to be irreverent and when to conform; and when to challenge and when to back off. It’s a tough balance to strike, but a rare few can walk that fine line with ease.

4. They publicly praise… Praise from a boss feels good. Praise from a peer feels awesome, especially when you look up to that person.
Remarkable employees recognize the contributions of others, especially in group settings where the impact of their words is even greater.

5. And they privately complain. We all want employees to bring issues forward, but some problems are better handled in private. Great employees often get more latitude to bring up controversial subjects in a group setting because their performance allows greater freedom.
Remarkable employees come to you before or after a meeting to discuss a sensitive issue, knowing that bringing it up in a group setting could set off a firestorm.

6. They speak when others won’t. Some employees are hesitant to speak up in meetings. Some are even hesitant to speak up privately.
An employee once asked me a question about potential layoffs. After the meeting I said to him, “Why did you ask about that? You already know what’s going on.” He said, “I do, but a lot of other people don’t, and they’re afraid to ask. I thought it would help if they heard the answer from you.”
Remarkable employees have an innate feel for the issues and concerns of those around them, and step up to ask questions or raise important issues when others hesitate.

7. They like to prove others wrong. Self-motivation often springs from a desire to show that doubters are wrong. The kid without a college degree or the woman who was told she didn’t have leadership potential often possess a burning desire to prove other people wrong.
Education, intelligence, talent, and skill are important, but drive is critical. Remarkable employees are driven by something deeper and more personal than just the desire to do a good job.

8. They’re always fiddling. Some people are rarely satisfied (I mean that in a good way) and are constantly tinkering with something: Reworking a timeline, adjusting a process, tweaking a workflow.
Great employees follow processes. Remarkable employees find ways to make those processes even better, not only because they are expected to… but because they just can’t help it.

How to Develop Analytical Skills‏

In our day to day life whether official, personal or social, we have to deal with complications. Some situations are easy to handle with but other are complex which snatch the peace of mind because our brain gets stuck on how best to handle such state of affair. This is where our Analytical Skills help us.

The prime purpose for the Analysis of any given situation is to get to know the root cause(s) of the issue, to forecast the impact & to plan corrective/preventive actions strategy. So basically analytical skill is to visualize a given situation, task, project or issue from several angles in order to breakdown it into smaller steps.

Below are different situations where our analytical skills are required. I shall give advices in each category accordingly:

1) When Summarizing Large Amount of Data: In this situation, I highly recommend using Pivot Tables feature of MS Excel in order to generate reports. The Pivot Reports feature allows us playing with the data in several ways to generate multi dimensional reports. We can breakdown large amount of data in different sheets to apply Pivot Reports separately as well. Youtube is a very good source of videos for learning this skill. Pivot table can also generate reports for Trends & Forecast in two to three dimensions.

2) When Resolving Conflicts in Office:In this case, listen to all parties which are having difference of opinion. List down the positive & negative input factors & after-effects based on feedback from individuals. Make it in tabular format & review this with your manager to see which one is the best option to go for. Then call for a meeting to elaborate the overall picture based on your fair analysis & convince personnel for the option which is in the best interest of the company.

3) When Being Assigned a large project: in this case you need to make a high level agenda (High Level Project Deliverables) & then start working on WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) & then assign each task to relevant resource. While making WBS you can have a meeting with your Team Leads & other stake holders. You can consider Fishbone diagram to analyze the inputs of any task.

4) When Resolving a Technical issue: The advice here is to consult the product guide to see the possible root causes, consult the SME (Subject Matter Expert) for opinion or consult the Lesson Learnt Register. For all kind of issues resolutions, I always recommend two things. First is to take corrective action to fix the issue, Second to take Preventive Action (fix the root cause permanently) so that the issues does not keep on popping. Six Sigma’s DMAIC is recommended way for analyzing & improving. You want to learn Six Sigma, get an introduction from Google.

 5) When purchasingsomething: Let us take the example of mobile phone. When you want to purchase a new mobile you need to ask yourself: do I need touch screen, do I need wifi, do I really need to purchase new mobile, what is my budget? Do I need 5MP camera, do I need iphone or Android, and do I need 4 inch screen or less? What other specs do I need to consider. So basically you are analyzing your demands to come up with the right mobile which is to be purchased.

6) When handling family conflicts:Being a sensitive subject, this is something where you need much more than analytical skills; For each family member involved in the conflict, you have to have sense of feelings, emotions study, stress absorption power, age factor, relationship level & convincing power so in my opinion this is the most difficult part of practicing your analytical skills. You have to consistently guide everyone about ‘forgive & forget’ policy. You have to calmly listen to each party & take adequate time to analyze all aspects (as mentioned a couple of lines back) vigilantly before concluding something on the brawl.

Conclusion: Analytical skills can make your life easier in almost all aspects of decision making or problem solving; however, it’s not only the matter of considering all the options & the inputs, its matter of considering the weight of each option as well. For example, for a given situation you have two options having equal number of advantages or disadvantages so in order to conclude in such situation you have to consider the weight of each option. While doing your analysis you might want to consider the difference between Urgent & Important things.

Techniques to develop Empathic Skills‏

Empathy is the skill to understand the emotions of people and to treat them according to their emotional reaction. This skill is closely linked with the emotional intelligence which is basically analyzing, assessing and managing the emotion of oneself and others. So by developing and practicing this skill not only you resolve someone’s problems but also win their hearts.

Before you take the deep dive of empathic and Emotional Intelligence concepts, you must understand that human psychology is complex in its nature. Every soul on earth is unique; its uniqueness is dependent on several social, personal, financial and familial and circumstantial factors. Hence in order to understand the emotions of someone the above mentioned baselines have to be remembered all the times because this will prevent you imposing your personal thoughts and conclusion on someone for any given situation and hence helps you understand their unique perspective.

Now that you have concrete understanding on above concept, learn below techniques to build and enhance your empathic skills:

1. Put yourself in their shoes. Involve yourself deeply in the situation in which the person is trapped. Try to evaluate/quantify the level of stress the person is in. Ask questions to understand more but remember not to bombard the person with so many questions as you might cause more stress adding fuel to the fire.

2. Develop Stong Observatory Skills: Observing behaviors is the most important expertise while developing empathic skills. During the conversations try to read the person’s mind however avoid instant judgment and conclusion. Be fair and slow in judging people. Avoid being reactive or explosive. Constantly observe the person during your conversation and try to find the most important ‘point of concern’ which matters the most to the person. This will help understand the problem deeply and might also help you reaching the root of the issue.

3. Develop Analytical Skills: Analysis means to consider the situation from different angles and reaching to the root of the problem. This involves considering financial, technical, emotional, professional, logical and mental aspects of the situation. Also sometimes analytical skills require you to breakdown the given problem into smaller problems and then focus on the solution to each problem separately.

4. Handling the situation: Think what would you and how would you do if trapped in such tragic situation. Think if the person can follow the same methodology to fix the problem? Remember, every soul is unique so you must examine it according to the nature of the person and the circumstance the person is in. For example, you would handle a rich person trapped in the debt differently as compared to a poor person and differently for educated and less educated persons.

5. Effective Communication: Nearly all other skills are dependent on your Effective Communication skills. No matter how genius you are, you won’t add value if you fail to express yourself properly and effectively. You can read my article on how to improve your Communication skills.

6. Follow up: Don’t leave the person alone once you have helped by either giving advice or by fixing the problem. Follow up after adequate amount of time as the situation may have arisen again.

Important documents to secure for contingency‏

Keep these essential papers in place and inform at least one family member so that your heirs don’t have to run from pillar to post to inherit what is rightfully theirs.

1) Primary documents
These include your birth certificate, marriage certificate, PAN card, passport, election ID card and the Aadhaar card. Will be needed when transferring assets to your heirs.

2) Insurance details
The purpose of life insurance will be defeated if your family is in the dark. Make a list of all the policies, mentioning the name of insurers, policy numbers, insured sums and the tenures.

3) Pension documents
If you have an NPS account, mention the account number and nomination details.
Give the pension account number with your employer.

4) Property papers
All property-related documents should be in one place. If the property is mortgaged, keep photocopies.
Mention the loan account number and the latest outstanding amount. If property is insured, mention policy coverage.

5) Bank account details
Make a list of various bank accounts, giving the name of the bank, the account number, holding pattern and the nomination details.

6) Bank locker details
Mention the name of bank, locker number, ownership pattern and whereabouts of the key. Maintain an inventory of items kept in the locker and update every time you operate it.

7) Demat account details
Give the name of depository partner, demat account number and nomination details. If possible, update the details of the securities in the demat account.

8) Other investments
Give details of the PPF account and folio numbers of other post office investments. Make a list of mutual fund investments, mentioning folio numbers, ownership pattern and nomination details.

9) Loans and Receivables
If you have taken or given private loans to relatives or friends, mention the amount and the date by when these are payable/receivable.

10) Online 10 passwords
Though these are to be kept secret, keep a list for emergency reference. Mention the website, the online ID and the password.

Keep this in mind

This information is to be kept secret and accessed only if the main breadwinner of the family has either died or is in a medical emergency. Make sure to update the information regularly. How often you do this depends on your convenience and the changes in investments. The information listed above is very basic. you may want to add more details of other assets along the same lines. You may want to make an online version of this information as well, but make sure it is on a secure site.

Store your documents online

Worried that your documents are not secure? Digitising them could solve the problem. Many portals now offer to store digital versions of your documents, which can be accessed by anyone from anywhere, saving you the cost of buying and printing reams of paper.

You can make changes to the files offline and this can be synched automatically when you log on to the Net.

You can use services like Google Docs (docs. google.com), DropBox (dropbox.com ) and Windows Live SkyDrive (explore.live.com/skydrive).

The latter lets you store up to 25 GB of data for free, while DropBox provides a free account of 2 GB, which can be upgraded to 50 GB for $9.99 (Rs 560) a month.

Kleeto (kleeto.in) is an Indian company, which allows you to store 15 physical documents for a basic subscription charge of Rs 200 a year. The company collects the files from you and uploads the scanned versions that you can access. Whenever you need the original documents, they can send them to you within two to three days.

You can store your medical history on Yostechnologies.com and MyHealthRecords. in, which let you upload scanned paperwork. This lets you access the information any time and avoids wastage of money on duplicate tests if you misplace a report.

There are also apps that help organise your paperwork and make good use of offers, such as Warrantify. This app allows you to scan your receipts and warranties, and store them on the cloud. You can add information about the model, price and warranty validity. The app will keep track of the warranty period and notify you when the expiry date approaches.

Making a will online
If you are tech-savvy, you can get a will made online. A few firms, such as Warmond Trustees & Executors and Vakilno1.com, offer this service. To make a will online, you need to register with the company and key in your personal and financial information. Once the details are uploaded, the company drafts a will and sends it to you within seven days. Besides making the will, these companies help with the registration and act as executors. The cost of this convenience: Rs 10,000. However, you need to have a digital signature for signing an online will. The two witnesses must also have digital signatures.

Top 10 Productivity Tips‏

Hard work is old school. Smart work is where most productive friends to see how they get it right. Make the shift from hard to smart with our top 10 productivity tips.

1. Stop multi-tasking
Maybe you havent read the news yet, so wel tell you multi-tasking is six feet under. Its been given the last rights, buried and mourned. The idea that you can focus on more than one thing at a time and be even remotely efficient has been exposed for the BS myth it is. If you want to be productive then the first thing you want to do is FOCUS on one thing at a time.

2. Make Lists
Keeping track of the things you want to accomplish is way less painful when you make lists for daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Plus its so satisfying when you cross things off!

3. Get out of your InBox
How many hours do you waste every week with those quick email checks that end up as hour-long black holes of correspondence? Set specific times each day for checking emails, and give yourself a limit to how long youl spend each time. Every email should fall into one of three categories:
a. delete immediately
b. quick response (under 5 minutes)
c. deal with later.
*Category C should make up a tiny fraction of your emails. Deal with them at the end of your work day and get them out of your InBox before the days end.

4. Take breaks
Schedule specific breaks for yourself and stick to them. Giving yourself 10 minutes every 1.5 hours to stretch, go outside or do anything that is NOT work will give you a little brain-n-body boost.

5. Quit the chit-chat
Social hour is social hour, whether its virtual or at the local bar. Skype, Messenger, Twitter, Facebook or anything that rings, bleeps, pops, buzzes or tweets should be turned off if you want even a modicum of productive time.

6. Prioritize
What are the most important things you need to get done today, this week, this month? Do them first, when your energy is fresh. Fussing with details that dont take much brain power wastes time when youre feeling chipper. Leave those little things for times when you only have little bits of energy or focus.

7. Rise-n-Shine (early!)
When you start your day early you give yourself more time to get things done. But theres more! Once you get going (as in: out of bed), you tend to have more energy than if you slept in. (But hey, if youre aiming for (groggy and unmotivated then by all means, stay in bed til noon!)

8. Clear the Slate (or desk)
Make sure your work space is clear of unnecessary clutter and this includes your computer desk top. A cluttered space is no friend to an organized and focused mind.

9. Schedule it
Appointments, work time, fun time. Not that we want you to marry your day planner or anything, but making a basic daily, weekly and monthly schedule that balances work and play helps keep your whole life in balance.

10. File it away
When a task or project is complete, put it where it belongs. Get it out of sight and out of mind so you can focus on the next task at hand (see #8 if you dont believe us).