Tag Archive for: development

Seven Rules of Haiku Productivity

I had blogged about haiki productivity and the zen habits website before. As a reminder to me, here are the rules of haiku productivity:

One Goal: you lose focus and energy when you have more than one goal at a time so limit yourself to just one.

Two Times To Process Email: restrict yourself to checking email only twice a day, and it will not control your life.

Three Most Important Tasks: choose three most important tasks for each day and focus completely on them. If you try for more, you might not get them all done.

Four Batch Tasks: aside from the three most important tasks, give yourself four smaller tasks and batch them together at one time, usually 30 to 60 minutes at the end of each day.

Five Sentence Emails: keep emails to no more than five sentences.

Six Posts: limit yourself to reading only six online postings from other websites.

Seven Minutes Of Wasted Time: whenever a task is finished, take seven minutes to do whatever you want.

Achieve Your Childhood Dreams

This was an inspiring lecture given by Randy Pausch at Carnegie Mellon. He is 47 years old and he is dying from pancreatic cancer. With just a few months left to live, he provides his own insight into achieving your childhood dreams.

[google 362421849901825950 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=362421849901825950&hl=en]

Haiku Productivity

I came across ZenHabits, an interesting site focused on achieving goals, productivity, being organized, Getting Things Done, motivation, eliminating debt, saving, getting a flat stomach, eating healthy, simplifying, living frugal, parenting, happiness, and successfully implementing good habits.

My kind of website.

His post on Haiku Productivity, the fine art of limiting yourself to the essential, was an experiment that he conducted to allow himself to focus on fewer, more important things.

You can read his post here.

An Hour A Day

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, at the request of various U.S. agencies and Health Canada, released a report in 2002 which recommended doubling the amount of physical activity previously advised – from a minimum of 30 minutes per day to 60 minutes per day – balancing energy intake and expenditure, and minimizing intake of saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fatty acids.

The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association just updated their recommendations. They recommend 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. Vigorous intensity workouts only need three 20-minute workouts a week.

They use a system called Metabolic Equivalents minutes (METs) to calculate energy expenditure. The new guidelines suggest accumulating 450 to 750 METs per week.

Just one ride on my bike generates 750 METs. Another reason to keep riding.

Benjamin Zander

I was in a session with Benjamin Zander for about two hours yesterday. He is a world-renowned conductor. He has served the Boston Philharmonic since 1979.

He is also co-author of The Art of Possibility, a book about professional and personal transformation.

Somewhat difficult to put into words the experience of listening to this man. At one level, he was immensely motivational, creating a sense of hope and optimism about the journey of life. For example, he reminded me that all of life’s context is essentially invented. We choose to respond to life through three perspectives: resignation, anger and possibilities. The adult world is full of resignation and anger. Very few people live in the world of possibilities.

At another level, he caused me to think deeply about my personal life. In a way that I have not done in about twenty years.

Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions

Looks like most North Americans are in a rut when it comes to making, and likely breaking, new year’s resolutions. The same resolutions keep coming up year after year.

The most common resolutions are:

  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Exercise
  • Lose weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Enjoy life more
  • Quit drinking
  • Get out of debt
  • Learn something new
  • Help others
  • Get organized

I use the break between Christmas and New Year’s to review personal goals and objectives. And I assess the year past and plan the year coming. As such, I do not make any resolutions. I write out specific goals: what do I plan to make happen and by when. My goals and objectives are broken out into the following categories:

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Finances
  • Fitness
  • Personal Development
  • Career

I review where things are on a monthly basis and I treat the goals and objectives like a performance review.

I took this approach from Covey’s book: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Works much better for me than making the same ad hoc new year’s resolutions year after year.

Effective Leaders

I was talking to a friend today about different leadership styles. I have encountered people who claim to be leaders and they only know one style of leadership: the dreaded autocratic style.

This style is one in which the manager retains as much power and decision-making authority as possible. The manager does not consult employees, nor are the employees allowed to give any input. Employees are expected to obey orders without receiving any explanations. The motivation environment is produced by creating a structured set of rewards and punishments.

The manager never recognizes the employees. Never says thank you. And always takes credit for their work.

For the autocratic leader, everything is about them. They use “I” and “Me”. What they achieve as an individual is all that counts. They do not build teams. They exploit their employees.

I’ve seen this style at play in churches. I suppose the selfish leader gets confused about the divine call. A calling to serve becomes a calling to command. And, if anyone challenges the commander, that person is labelled as trouble and pushed out.

Peter Drucker had this to say about effective leadership:

An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now most commonly used. Harry Truman did not have one ounce of charisma, for example, yet he was among the most effective chief executives in U.S. history. Similarly, some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I’ve worked with over a sixty-five-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They ranged from extroverted to nearly reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from generous to parsimonious.

What made them all effective is that they followed the same eight practices:

  • They asked, “What needs to be done?”
  • They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
  • They developed action plans.
  • They took responsibility for decisions.
  • They took responsibility for communicating.
  • They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
  • They ran productive meetings.
  • They thought and said “we” rather than “I.”

Vacation Time

Vacation time is different from work time. These are the differences for me:

  • I can go to bed when I am tired and I can wake up when I have had enough sleep.
  • No emails. Well, okay, I have checked in a few times, but at my leisure as opposed to Blackberry screen sucking every few minutes.
  • There is no calendar and the day is not marked by a fixed schedule of meetings.
  • I can play video games with my sons whenever I please. Ghost Recon on xbox 360 is getting a lot of airplay.
  • I can read books during the day.
  • Getting things done. I have finished several items from my job jar and I have this unusual sense of accomplishment.
  • Spontaneity. If an ad hoc activity presents itself, I can go. Yesterday, my oldest son wanted to go to the Apple Store. No need to book something in the calendar 3 or 4 weeks out.
  • Personal freedom. I do not live by a clock.
  • And, I do not spend 2 or 3 hours a day in a grinding, mind numbing commute.

I have been doing some reading on the Middle Ages and serfdom. Wikipedia defines serfdom this way: Serfdom is the forced labour of serfs, on the fields of the privileged land owners, in return for protection and the right to work on their leased fields.

For what it is worth, here is one perspective on the new serfdom. A radical view and it does not reflect my own thoughts on the nature of contemporary society. Unfortunately, I do see some evidence that our modern system looks similar to an old system. I seem to notice it more when I am on vacation time.

A comparison of freedoms between the serfs of the Middle Ages and the average person of today reveals striking similarities. Personal freedoms once taken for granted have been so thoroughly negated by those in command they are now increasingly meaningless. Life and death control over humanity has been refined with the advancement of technologies promoting disease and destruction, as well as the willingness of governments to use these technologies, as they deem necessary to maintain superiority or instill fear. Our system of elected representation has now become so corrupted; it no longer serves the needs of people, but has instead furthered the erosion of the basic rights it is sworn to protect. The once free market economic system has been manipulated to become profitable only for those already holding power and wealth, while offering a lifetime of labor without appreciable gain for the vast majority of participants. Our educational systems have ceased to teach the skills necessary for success and individual thought, but are now serving as mind control training camps for the next generation of slaves.

Under the new feudal system, the masses are placated using numerous methods. Television, video games, popular music, and professional sports provide mind-numbing distractions. Alcohol, drugs and gross immorality further numb the general population to the harsh reality of our condition. Subtle, as well as overt forms of mind control are also used to discourage any resistance that would otherwise instinctively occur. Fear has been used to cement controls and implement greater restraints of freedom. Now that we have arrived at this new serfdom, few individuals actually recognize it exists, since they have been controlled, misled or distracted.