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Yang-May Ooi - Tiger Spirit
Writer ¦ Speaker ¦ Actionista
Writer ¦ Speaker ¦ Actionista

Yang-May Ooi - Tiger Spirit's posts

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2 Novel Ways to Boost Your Productivity

To boost your productivity, don't focus on one thing, suggests creative actionista, Yang-May Ooi, but try doing two things at once. READ MORE VIA LINK BELOW

#productivity #writing #writingtips #toptips #writers #creativity #focus

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An intriguing and evocative new video trailer for Yang-May Ooi’s memoir Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes 

We are delighted to unveil this new video trailer for Yang-May Ooi’s memoir, Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes. It features photos from the book as well as some from Yang-May’s personal photo albums which we hope evokes the mood and themes of this…

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Bound Feet Blues author and performer, Yang-May Ooi, has launched a new website and blog at The new site brings together all her creative interests and projects into one space. Yang-May writes: I will continue to blog about my memoir…

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Make Friends with Your Procrastination
Procrastination is our enemy, many self-help guides tell us, and we are urged to deal with it through metaphors of violence and war – we are told to “battle” procrastination, “beat”, “overcome” it or “break through” it. But – a kinder, more friendly approach may in fact be more productive, says creative actionista Yang-May Ooi.

Make Friends with Your Procrastination

In today’s busy, go-getting world, we tend to see procrastination as something that holds us back or slows us down. It is an enemy to our hopes and dreams, a block against our ambition. So, received wisdom tells us, we must fight procrastination as if at war with it or psych ourselves up like boxers in the ring ready to beat it to the ground.

In my thinking, all that such a warring mindset does is make procrastination into a bigger monster that looms ever darker over our life.

But what if we make friends with our procrastination instead of fighting it?

Hanging Out with Your Mate Procrastination

Think about times when you’ve hung out with your friends over a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Or you’re at the park watching your kids play on the swings and you chit chat away about nothing much. Or you’re at the pub passing a cosy evening with your mates, maybe half watching a game on the big screen TV.

Those times are fun, aren’t they? Relaxing. Energising. You laugh. You feel good about yourself and your friends. You feel good about life.

So, what if, instead of resisting whatever it is you are procrastinating about, you just hang out with it for awhile, as if it were a friend?

Maybe you are putting off working on your novel. What if you take out your notes and half written chapters just to have a glass of wine with it? Or maybe you’re an artist and stuck on a piece of work. What about just leafing through your sketches for that painting or sculpture as if you were strolling on a walk with a friend? Perhaps you have a presentation to give and you really don’t want to think about it. How about just opening up a blank Powerpoint slide and kick back in the sofa as if having a pizza with your mate.

Spend time with your project, whatever it is. Like two old guys sitting on the stoop on a hot summer’s day, shooting the breeze, watching the world go by. No agenda, no time pressure. Just hanging out.

Do the Work – Or Not

Read through your notes. Or the text you’ve written so far. Lay out your sketches across the floor and look at them. Let your mind wander around the topic of your presentation.

Do nothing more. Just hangin’, baby.

You may get some further ideas for your story.. You may see how you could tweak a sentence or a shape in your sketches. You may think of a few topics you could cover in your talk.

Jot them down. Fiddle with your sketch. Note some bullet points on a slide.

Or not.

There’s no need to do anything active if you don’t want to. Let those ideas and thoughts just float about if you like.

Just hangin’, baby.

And when you’ve had enough, whether you’ve done anything active or done nothing at all,  pack it all away and get on with the rest of your day. No pressure. No regrets. No “should’ves” or “could’ves”. You just hung out with a friend, that’s all. And in that slow, easy way of friendships, your relationship with your project has been deepened and enriched.

Just make a date to hang out again.

How “Just Hangin’, Baby” Worked for Me

I usually find that if I do this “hanging out” with a book I am working on, while I am reading through my notes or the text I wrote last time, I might see amendments I can make. So I tinker with my text. As I tinker, I am slowly immersing myself in the world of the book again. I start to see how I can move the story along after the text ends. So I type the next sentence. And then the next. And the next.

Or not.

And if not, I simply sit with it all for a bit, maybe staring into space, maybe scrolling or leafing through stuff. Just hangin’, baby.

Then, I pack it all away and do something else. But always making another date with my dear friend to come back and hang out some more.

That is one of the techniques that helped me write my various books – including my 120,000 word memoir Bound Feet Blues in five months while running several big transactions without a hitch in my City career during 2015.

Just hangin’, baby, helped me achieve something pretty daunting as if I was just shooting the breeze.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

So, make friends with whatever project it is that you are finding difficult. Spend time with it. Get to know it. Just like a new friend. And as with all friendships, the more time and goodwill you spend on it, the more rewarding that relationship will become. Soon, you’re likely to be working on that project with a more positive energy and outlook. And probably be done with it sooner than you would have thought possible.


Fearless Productivity is a Tiger Spirit project on how we can work sm…

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How to create time for anything
So you want to write a book but somehow you never find the time. You have a creative passion you long to pursue but your day job gets in the way. Don’t wait, creative actionista Yang-May Ooi says, you can do it right now.

How to create time for anything

Many people have said to me, “I would really love to write a novel but …” There’s the job and the kids and all those things they have to do. I see the longing in their eyes. Here the wistfulness in their voice. Maybe one day… after they retire, when the kids are grown, when they’ve paid off the mortgage… one day….

If that strikes a chord with you – whether you long to write a book or pursue another creative passion – let that one day be today.

We think that we don’t have time. But we have as much time as we want. It’s about knowing how to create it.


I was working in a corporate role in the City where I was responsible for £5bn worth of assets.

In January 2014, I started writing the script of my solo theatre show Bound Feet Blues. I had no knowledge of the theatre world and no formal drama training. In under two years, by November 2015, I was stepping on to the stage at a theatre in London’s West End on the opening of the full production, supported by an internationally renowned creative team.

In early 2015, I was also writing a 120,000 word book, also called Bound Feet Blues. It took me five months and was published to co-incide with the opening of the show.

How did I achieve all that while also maintaining my corporate role?

I created time.

Here are my top three principles for creating time:

1. Ask for what you want.

I’ll come clean – I was working four days a week. Efficient use of time means that I am really doing five days work in four. So this leaves me one day for my creative career – and the weekend and evenings, of course. Many years ago, I asked my employers to downshift in order to focus on my writing  – and they agreed.

Many companies will consider such a request these days but you will need to make a business case to make sure that your work is covered. Think creatively – could you work from home, create a job share or try out a part-time arrangement for a trial period?

2. What are you willing to give up?

Over the long term, I was prepared to give up 20% of my salary in exchange for time for my creative career. It has been time that has given me a sense of fulfillment, joy and purpose that no money could ever buy.

In the short term, while I was writing and developing Bound Feet Blues over 22 months, I was prepared to give up mowing the lawn, cleaning the house and other chores. A temporarily dirty, messy house and garden is not a huge price to pay in exchange for time to focus on an extra-ordinary creative opportunity. I have also had to cut down on seeing friends, going out to the theatre, weekends away. But I knew it was only for a few months and I made sure to keep in touch with friends and family by other means such as phone calls, emails, Facebook and Skype.

Think about where you could make a few changes that would make the most difference to your time. Start small – could you take cheaper holidays over the next two years so you can downshift? Could you ring fence one evening a week for your writing or creative project?

3. Enlist the support of your friends and family.

I asked my partner to help me create time. Together we came up with ways we were willing and able to trade tasks. She would do more of the cooking and most of the local errands like going to the butcher – and I would repay her in kind after the show’s run ended.

Talk to your family and friends about your dream to write that novel or pursue your creative project. Ask them what their dream might be. They may not have the same creative urge as you but either way, together, work out ways they can help you or you can support each other in creating time. Can someone take on the grocery shopping while you do the laundry? Can others take charge of the evening meal and washing up one evening a week so you can write? What could you barter them in return?

And when you have created time, Do The Work. Don’t check emails. Don’t go on Facebook. Don’t tidy your desk. You have had the guts to ask for what you want. You have given up things that you value in order to create time. Your family and friends are helping to give you this time. Don’t let that all come to nothing.

Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes, the memoir by Yang-May Ooi, out now at all good book shops

Do The Work.

That last biggy is not so much a principle as the foundation of everything.

So for 22 months, I wrote and rehearsed and worked hard to bring the full production of Bound Feet Blues into being with director Jessica Higgs and the creative team. I also wrote and wrote and wrote to finish the book. And I headed off to my corporate offices four days a week and worked hard there, too. It was exhausting and stressful at times. But it was al…

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“Would you write your novel if no-one would read it? Would you paint a picture that would never be seen? Would you dance even if no-one is watching? Creative actionista Yang-May Ooi discusses what we can learn from The Death Valley Ballerinas about being creative for yourself whether or not you have an audience.”

Are you looking for a Creativity Coach? Someone who can help you stop procrastinating and take action on your creative idea? Contact Yang-May Ooi ¦ Tiger Spirit UK ¦ Writer, Speaker, Actionista

"...start by visiting Tiger Spirit and reading, listening, watching (perhaps joining me for a webinar).

Our community is here to serve your creativity, providing practical help or just cheering from the sidelines.

I am here to coach, help and support, focusing and lighting the way for you.

So join us. Read, listen, watch or talk. It is time for your creativity to step up; time for you to feel the Tiger Spirit and release the Actionista in you."

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“In our Western imagination, there is a romantic image of the artist as somehow special and apart from the rest of us – who is chosen to suffer in order to create great art. Writer and creative artist, Yang-May Ooi, asks what we can learn for our daily lives from this myth.”

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Writer and creativity coach, Yang-May Ooi, offers some top tips on how to express your creativity in life and work:

“What is your part in creating your world?

We each have a part in creating the world we live in. Whatever we bring into the physical or mental space around us is our creation.

At home, do we create a space and mood at meal times that brings the family together or pushes them apart? And I mean beyond the food on the table. Do we create an environment of openness, curiosity, acceptance? Or one of hostility, silence and distance?

At work, as managers and bosses, do we allow our staff space to create and innovate? As professionals and other workers, do we take the initiative to create solutions? How do we affect the mood in the office – negatively with our moaning or positively with helpfulness and good cheer?”

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Yang-May Ooi, writer and creativity coach, wrote her memoir Bound Feet Blues in 28 days - what is her secret for her super productivity and fearless creativity? Watch her video and find out... Yang-May Ooi, writer, speaker, creative actionista ¦ Creativity Coach at Tiger Spiirit UK
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