The timing of Chinese New Year is based on the Chinese lunar year. The symbol for the year is based on the Chinese Zodiac. January 25, 2020, Chinese New Year kicks off the Year of the Rat.

On a personal note, our Roman calendar year hasn’t started off so great for my household this year. We’ve experienced all sorts of mechanical and appliance mishaps and breakdowns. After the most recent ka-put incidents, my husband said, “This IS the year of the rat, isn’t it?! Rats, this sucks!”

I’d like to be able to blame the Chinese zodiac rat year for this string of bad luck, but that doesn’t sound logical. Being a geek who needs evidence to make sense of things, I discovered that we can’t blame the Chinese zodiac.

The symbolism of the Year of the Rat is actually very positive. It’s the first zodiac in the 12-year cycle. According to legend, this is because the rat was the first to appear at the party. On-time – that’s my style! Maybe this rat character isn’t so bad after all.

“In Chinese culture, rats represent working diligently and thriftiness, so people born in a Rat year are thought to be wealthy and prosperous.” – from China Highlights

I wasn’t born in a rat year, but I’m thinking that anyone who works diligently and is thrifty has a good shot at the same benefits as that of the Chinese New Year zodiac rats.

So, we can’t blame our repair and replacement bills on a symbolic Chinese animal. Even though we’d like to blame someone or something for what’s happening, we can’t – because there isn’t anything that’s caused these problems. It’s just a (hopefully) brief lousy stint in what we call life.

When things don’t go our way, we tend to want to place blame somewhere. But many times, blame isn’t a part of the situation. Yet the process of wanting to place blame clouds our thinking, judgment, effectiveness and efficiency. In other words, the negativity going on in our heads greatly diminishes our productivity, which causes us to fall behind and leads to even more problems.

The next time you’re having some kind of bad phase, give yourself a few moments for your natural reaction, but then get refocused on what you can control: cleaning up any mess that’s occurred, implementing preventive steps for the future, and getting back on track as soon as possible so you can leave this funk behind!

If you’d like more details about Chinese New Year and what the celebrations involve, visit the China Highlights website.

Happy Chinese New Year to you!

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead? The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits. Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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