Tag Archive for: Productivity

Passion drives motivation

Passion is a powerful force behind all entrepreneurs.
Without it, people give up easily when times get tough.

Smile, You’re On Camera

A man smiling for the camera

By Fiifi Dzansi

‘Smile, you’re on camera’ was a sticker I saw stuck to a vehicle’s dashboard.
A smile brings sunshine to any photograph.

With the widespread of digital tech, we’re all on camera.
CCTVs hang around city spaces and in front of homes, giving us a constant stare.
People can take photos of us without our knowledge.
We’ve willingly handed over the keys to our privacy to the tech companies.

It’ll not be an exaggeration to say that the internet knows us more than our parents ever will.

Absolute privacy is a luxury most of us can’t afford.

Wherever we are, whether in public or in a secret corner of our home – it’s safe to say: “Smile, you’re on camera.”

Deadlines Can Bite

Checking the time for a deadline
By Fiifi Dzansi

Deadlines are dreadful.

We dread them for two reasons:
Suddenly, we must come to the end of a project we’ve grown so much affinity for.
Tight deadlines inject our veins with so much stress.

To deal with the stress associated with very tight deadlines, try to avoid them. At least for the most part of your life. Also, make it a point to complete projects ahead of the deadline. So they don’t sneak up on you. Work a little faster than usual.

New Year Resolutions Are For Losers

New Year Resolutions Are For Losers

By fiifi DZANSI

We are here again.

The end of the year.

The number one thing on most people’s minds is how to make the next year better. Hence the new year resolutions. 

What makes it a worrying situation is that many are now going to reflect on their lives to see what went wrong and rectify the mishaps.

Then there’ll be a long list of usually elusive goals for the future. In the end, dreams will be left unattended to and many more set for the future.

We treat a new year as if it’s an entirely new universe, where we step to and rediscover ourselves and uncover the unknown.

There’ll be many prophesies of goodwill and stickers proclaiming a bountiful beginning clinging to vehicles everywhere you go. But if such proclamations really worked, there’ll be fewer poor or unfulfilled people left on the streets.

What makes the matter worse is many believe someone needs to hold their hands to cross into the new year. Some would pay hefty sums for a prayer that promises them good fortune in the new year.

In truth, a new year is just another day. It’s another Monday, Tuesday… you get the point. Nothing dramatic is going to happen. You’re not crossing the red sea to the promised land. Your current situation may even get worse.

See, we are not in a time machine that will spew us out into a different era.

Stop stressing about the new year. It’s nothing special.

While writing this article, I checked my timeline on Twitter. And the majority of Africans are all about resolutions, grandiose proclamations and some lowkey prophecies for the new year.

On the other hand, Americans, Europeans, and others are going about business as usual. Many of them understand that the new year is just another day.

But don’t get me wrong. 

We need to plan for the future. Anyone who doesn’t would live an aimless life. The way we go about it makes the difference. 

Every day allows us to start on a clean slate.

I have a Goal-board that I use. It’s divided into four quarters, with each quarter having its goals and three months to accomplish them. It’s all broken down into little daily tasks.

Each day, wake up with a heart full of gratitude. Count your blessings in the morning. This helps to drive away bad energy and inject you with the will to face the day. Plan what to accomplish in the day and go conquer mountains.

Find a peaceful place to reflect on your life at the end of each day. Be open about it, and don’t sweep anything under the carpet. Be grateful for your achievements, no matter how small they might be. The stuff that didn’t go well, find a way to resolve them.

Put one foot in front of another. 

Keep your goals doable. 

Break them down into chewable bits.

What have we talked about?

Don’t wait till the end of the year to start planning your life. Every day is a new life, a new year (if you wish to call it that).

Life is a daily affair.

Make each day count.

Attributing Success Of An Ewe To Juju Is Not Funny

Attributing Success Of An Ewe To Juju Is Not Funny

By fiifi DZANSI

23rd November 2021.

Keta Senior High Technical School (Ketasco) made it to the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) finals. They strolled past Wesley Girls SHS and Tamale SHS in the semifinals. 

Twitter went boom! Amid the drama, there were claims that Ketasco had the aid of Juju and ancestors such as Togbe Agorkoli and Togbe Tsali – two mythical characters. 

Agorkoli was a vicious king who made life wretched for his subjects. Compare him to Hitler, and you may be right. 

How could such a chap (who’s dead anyway) back a school to glory in a science and maths quiz? 

Blogs swiftly screenshot the tweets for their articles, calling them “hilarious reactions” in the NSMQ. 


The youth dispersing this may be having fun.

But those seemingly unharmful tweets go beyond kidding around on a virtual platform to entertain others.

It’s really a lingering problem we have all failed to solve – Tribalism.

Every now and again, I have to face this harsh reality of life.

I came back to Accra in 1995, after spending over 10 years in the Volta Region (People from the Volta region in Ghana speak Ewe and are referred to as Ewes or Voltarians). In my first exams in Junior Secondary School form two, I placed first in Ga, a language I could barely speak.

Some of my mates attributed my academic success to Juju. I heard they went to a ‘prophet’ to reveal my deeds to them. Such a cowardly step was a mere excuse to keep lazing about.

After a meeting, one evening, An elderly man among us had a phone call. In the beginning, he spoke with a hum, then somewhere in the middle of the conversation, we heard him say, “Hey, how can you leave your building to a Ewe man to look after? He’ll kill you and take it!”

There was an overpowering silence among us.

We were shocked to the core over such a thoughtless statement coming from a grey-headed man.

It hurts that I have to go through this stigma or hear about the predicaments of others.

The unfortunate thing about it is, you don’t choose your tribe – you inherit it. And there’s nothing you can do about that.

Long ago, rumours spread through the entire county, accusing Ewes of soliciting the help of their ancestors and gods to kill others or make their paths prosperous.

If this were true, that Ewes have the support of their gods, the Volta region would’ve been the most developed in Ghana.

But it’s not.

Pupils study in dilapidated buildings in some parts of the region. Poverty is prevalent. 

These are just two infinite examples.

Not everyone from this region dabbles in Juju, or worse, have ‘native insurance.’

Like all other places on Earth, people have their prefered religion they subscribe to. It’s a freedom of choice.

Don’t go flipping pillows in the Volta region in search of idols. You might not find any. 

Such generalisation – pressing people into such a tiny box is sensitive and leaves scars that cannot heal.

There are reports of people denied employment because they come from the Volta Region. Others also lost relationships.

This is tribalism in plain clothes in broad daylight, in a country that rides on the fictitious banner of peace. We blame Westerners for racism. We join the #BlackLivesMatter movement from here. Yet, we overlook this divisive act. And pretend everything is ok.

Back to Ketasco.

Well, after cuddling the nation’s heart, they failed to lift the trophy. In our hearts, they’re the winners. Though they came without a glamorous history as the other two finalists, they fought with dignity and gave hope to us all.

Ketasco made history as the first SHTS from the Volta to make it to the NSMQ finals.

For Ghana to move forward in peace without hypocrisy, we need to blur the line between tribes and allocate resources to develop all parts of the country without favouritism.

Also, take a note from my parents. My dad married from a different tribe, and they gave me a name from another tribe. Mom learned Dad’s language and culture and vice versa. 

This courageous act instilled tolerance in us and paved the way we treat others in the future.

COVID: South Africa Is Being Punished For Identifying Omicron

COVID: South Africa Is Being Punished For Identifying Omicron

by fiifi DZANSI

There’s a new variant of COVID-19 on the block. It’s Omicron.
Scientists say it spreads very fast. But we need a little more data to know what we’re actually up against.

Omicron was first discovered by scientists in South Africa. This is an effort that deserves worldwide applause. But it’s not meant to be.

Unhappily, South Africa is taking blames for bringing it to the world. Many naive news outlets are reporting Omicron to originate from South Africa.

If South Africa has such sophisticated health facilities to discover this new variant and alert the world of it, they must be honoured. And praised for working with the world without covering up vital information that could help save lives. Also, it means their health system is at par with the so-called developed world.

The stigma results in some countries placing travel bans on South Africa and several others from southern Africa.
This action is primaeval.

We’ve been living with COVID for two years. Leaders have experimented with various means to subdue the situation, such as total lockdowns, travel bans and many others. However, the most effective measure to date is vaccination.

Again, this sort of draconian action would deter others from disseminating any new information regarding COVID, knowing the consequences awaiting them.

It may be why China wasn’t forthcoming with information when COVID emerged from Wuhan.

They tightly kept a lid on all information and punished those who dared to speak out. The world condemned such an act, calling it undemocratic and inhumane.

Vaccines have proved very effective so far, with WHO pushing everyone on the planet to get a jab.

Regrettably, African countries are still struggling to secure vaccines for their people.

Most developed nations are hoarding the vaccines.
Their primary focus is on the well-being of their citizens. But covid is a pandemic, a world tragedy. Until everyone gets free from it, we are all not.

These stingy nations should be ashamed of themselves and bury their heads in the sand with profound apologies.

COVID is not an African disease like Ebola or Malaria. Where the world could turn its back and move on as if nothing happened. Our health is interrelated.

So the travel ban on South Africa is unfounded.
It will only choke out the country’s economy.
Omicron is also detected in the UK, Italy and Germany.

It’s not a South African disease.

Going forward: the world needs to encourage nations to be honest and willing to share valuable information without the fear of repercussion. Travel bans, closing borders wouldn’t do much to curb the spread.

We need to understand that COVID is part of us. Therefore, we have to continue washing hands and wearing masks.

Vaccines are effectively playing their part. And soon, we’ll have a variety of treatments for COVID.

You’re Not Self-Made

You're not self-made

By fiifi DZANSI

Certain people are often referred to as self-made billionaires.
On the surface, it means they did not inherit their wealth but worked had to earn it all.

Is it reasonable to say someone is self-made?

I find it awkward that there’s such a thing.

No individual makes it on their own. The wealthy have loyal employees and right-hand people who work hard, probably harder, each day to churn out great ideas that make businesses boom.

Some people give you a push along the way through various contributions.
And they deserve acknowledgement as contributors to your achievements.

On another side of this, some call themselves self-taught.
Self-taught artist, musician, poet etc.

Meaning they teach themselves how to do this stuff without going through the formal education system.

Again, can you be self-taught?

It’s a definite No!

Everything we know on this planet, we learn from others.

No matter the sort of education you have – be it formal or informal – someone teaches you.
You read books on a particular subject. That author, in this sense, becomes your teacher.

Perhaps, as an artist, you observe, carefully, the techniques of Kofi Amoah or read books on legendary painters like Picasso, Van Gogh, among others.

These people are your tutors who lead you to discover your path.

Education in our time is changing.

Instead of sitting in front of an old, bearded professor who probably has lost touch with the current world, some young folks decide to learn on their own.

They watch YouTube tuts, Ted talks, take courses on Coursera, read books, and get mentored by professionals.

I learned most of my trade on my own. I work hard to be the best version of myself.

Does that make me self-made?

I dare not say yes.

Because that’d come across as preposterous, arrogant and parsimonious. And disappoint those who stand by me through all the struggle.

Let’s Share The Same Canteen

By fiifi DZANSI

I had an internship with a renowned textile company in Ghana years ago.

It was a dream come true. I learned many design practices and principles from this institution.

However, something upset me.

The canteen. This is what happens there.

Management has a different canteen from the junior staff including the factory workers. Though the management and senior staff work in air-conditioned rooms and don’t do much physical work, their lunch was posh and more nutritious.

Factory workers, however, will plod their way to the canteen each afternoon and eat a meagre meal. It feels like a US correctional facility.

But logic dictates that people who do much physical work need to eat big.

So they can continue to be productive.

When management uses the same canteen as everyone else, it promotes good work-relationships.

In addition, management sees firsthand what the concerns are and learn how to improve working conditions.

Lastly, this action proves that everyone has value – whether you’re the cleaner or the boss.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær Is No Longer At The Wheel

Ole Gunnar Solskjær leaves Manchester United

By fiifi DZANSI

Ole Gunnar Solskjær left his post as Manchester United manager. And I’m highly delighted that it happened, finally.

But it’s not for the reasons putting others in a jubilant mood.

I’ve followed football for over twenty years, and I’ve never seen a football manager trolled, abused and humiliated by some supposed fans, like Ole. To the extent that every weekend, all you see trending on Twitter is either #OleOut, #OleOutNow or #OleIn.

Avoiding Twitter became the only choice I had. The bitterness and hostility against the man became intolerable if you cared about human dignity.

Nobody merits such prejudice.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is a Manchester United legend. In the prime of his football career, we called him “the baby-face assassin” and “the super-sub”. He contributed immensely to Utd’s treble in 1999, a feat that remains a fantasy for the EPL’s football elite.

Outrageously, many forgot his achievements as a player and rather trolled him as someone without brains.

On top, Ole was a caretaker manager at Utd and showed glimpses of what the team lacked post-Ferguson – when the previous past big-name managers left the club in tatters.

The two-legged Champions League games against the star-studded Paris Saint-Germain was nothing short of brilliance.

It became evident that he – someone who has never won a trophy as a manager in the Premier League – could bring the Utd spirit back. Something many yearn for after Ferguson’s departure.

Even with his lacklustre CV, he succeeded in attracting some big names, including Cristiano Ronaldo.

These accomplishments, too, have been instantly disregarded by people who know nothing about football.

I admit it.

He had flaws. Many of them. The team with a cluster of stars failed to shine. Their performances week after week was shameful, to say the least.
And he’s not won any trophy with this squad, with all the millions he spent.

Ole didn’t live up to some people’s lofty expectations.

Those self-centred and myopic Utd fans and pundits failed to judge him using his own performances as a football manager.

He became manager of Cardiff City – a team battling relegation – in the premier league. He was unable to save them.

This is the only part of his managerial history his critics chose to remember. Forgetting that he helped Molde -the Welsh club – win their first league title in their 100-year history.

Remember this.

He managed to place Utd at 3rd and 2nd positions on the league table the previous seasons.

Great achievements.

Manchester United have been trophyless for years. So they need silverware to fill the vacuum on their shelves before they are overgrown with cobwebs.

It’s understandable.
And that’s why they let him go.

The club showed him enormous respect, and so should everyone.

Quality Fades

By fiifi DZANSI

Product quality wanes after some years.

A new company’s focus is quality.

This stage is dedicated to crafting a good name and seeking customers.

Owners invest resources experimenting and putting something breathtaking on the shelves.

Customers at this time, too, require something different and fresh.

Queues would form at the door every morning before the shop welcomes visitors.

When a business is young, it has nothing to lose compared to titanic corporations, so it’s more natural to try something new and pump up the quality.

Immediately they grow beyond the neighbourhood, small businesses realise they can’t maintain such high quality at the same price.

Also, resources may not be available to sustain such ambitions.

Then, they cut down on the quality.

After buying products that lasted a decade – consumers soon have to buy newly improved stuff each quarter of the year.

Quality becomes a choice.

It fades when no longer a priority.