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December 26, 2017 – 12:52 pm | No Comment

This Week 7’s (12.14 – 12.31) Affirmation: Mindfulness – I will reach for mindfulness each day.
Date – 12.26.17
B-Book 44: Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
The key message in this book: Often we stop dead in our tracks …

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Submitted by on December 26, 2017 – 12:52 pm No Comment
This Week 7’s (12.14 – 12.31) Affirmation: Mindfulness – I will reach for mindfulness each day.

Date – 12.26.17
B-Book 44: Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
The key message in this book: Often we stop dead in our tracks just when we’re about to start achieving real success. Instead of just going for it, we can overthink our actions. Take the time you need to identify your enemies and allies along the path to your goal, and stay focused. Remember that challenges are just an opportunity to grow stronger; you can defeat resistance if you remain completely dedicated.

 Actionable adviceDon’t let fear overcome you.

Fear kills passion. When you feel the urge to abandon your work, take a step back and try to quiet the chattering in your mind. Focus on the joy and satisfaction your work brings you, rather than on the fear of failure. Conquering this fear is a major step toward always working with passion

Click to read more

 My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  –

Stubbornness also helps you stay dedicated to your work, especially in difficult timesSteve Jobs

  • Certain things help you move toward your goals, while others get in the way.
  • Ambition and self-awareness are the real keys to achieving any goal, but they’re always under threat by a common enemy: resistance
  • Resistance manifests in a number of ways. When you’re working on something meaningful that you have real passion for, but find yourself bogged down by self-criticism and doubt, that’s resistance setting in.
  • Any activity that requires a lot of energy and time can draw resistance. Actually, the more important an activity is to you, the more you’ll have to fight the resistance that acts against it.
  • Passion and dedication are strong allies, but they aren’t the only ones. Traits that we tend to perceive as negative – like ignorance and stubbornness – can be allies too,
  • Stubbornness also helps you stay dedicated to your work, especially in difficult times – Steve Jobs

Excessive preparation, overthinking and working without a clear structure are all barriers to completing your goals

  • Have you ever had a great idea, but failed to put it into practice because you spent so much time preparing for it
  • Let’s look at some strategies for avoiding this counterproductive habit.
  • Excessive preparation and overthinking prevent you from getting things done, so learn to resist them.
  • It’s better to act first and reflect on it later, especially when you’re starting a new project. Start focusing on doing work, not thinking about it.
  • So if you’re a writer, for example, action means putting words on the page, whilereflection means evaluating what you’ve written the next day. Don’t try to do these two things at the same time; instead, create productive schedules and structures for yourself.

Overcome creative blocks by confronting the enemies within you

  • It’s normal to hit a block now and then when you’re working on something creative. Most of us lose confidence when this happens, but there are ways to overcome creative blocks
  • When you hit a wall, stay calm and remember that it’s always possible to get past it. Recognize that there’s an enemy force that’s actively working against you and your dreams.
  • This enemy isn’t hidden within your boss, your children or your spouse – it’s insideyou. It’s in your head and only you can defeat it, so don’t place blame on the outside world.
  • But remember that just because this enemy is inside you, it doesn’t mean that it is you. You haven’t done anything wrong yourself; it’s just resistance trying to block your true creative self
  • When resistance appears, it forces you to ask two questions of yourself; only one answer to each of these will allow you to go on with your personal pursuit.
  • The first question is, how badly do you want this? If your answer is that you’re just in it for the money, fame or power, you simply won’t succeedYou must be completely committed to pushing yourself toward your goal, which is why the only answer to this question that will allow you to push on is “totally committed.”
  • The second question is, why do you want this? It’s alright if you want something just for the fun or beauty of it, but your answer should include something along the lines of, “because I have no choice.”
  • Only this kind of profound dedication and determination will push you to do what you really want

Finishing your work and overcoming fear and crashes make you stronger

  • At some point in your career, you’re almost certainly going to face the Big Crash, a major obstacle you have to overcome. Perhaps your computer suddenly crashes and takes your unfinished novel with it, or maybe a major problem in your personal life pushes you off track
  • Crashes can be extremely difficult and demanding, but they can be of benefit to you in the long run. A crash forces you to figure out what is and isn’t working in your project
  • But resistance is often strongest when you’re about to finish a project and have to push through it
  • The good news about overcoming struggles like this is that the more problems you overcome, the easier they’ll be to overcome in the future. Crashes ultimately help us become wiser and stronger

This Week 6’s (12.17 – 12.23) Affirmation: Rest: I will get 6-hours of Sleep each Night!

Date – 12.21.17
B-Book 43: Doing the Right Things Right by Laura Stack
The key message in this book: As an executive you are responsible for the environment in your company, and for the performance of your team. You are their leader, but you’ll find productivity only when you act like you’re a part of the team. That means establishing goals, being respectful and, perhaps most importantly, looking out for the team’s (and your own) well-being

 Actionable advice:  Don’t overthink it.

The next time you need to make an important decision and you’re torn between several options, don’t think too much. Simply compare the possible benefits and repercussions of every action, ask yourself what’s best for your team and business, listen to your gut – and act.

Click to read more

 My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  –

Leaders must set the right kinds of goals and communicate them effectively to the team

  • As a leader of a company you are like a captain of a ship.  You must steer you company clear of icebergs and to do so you have to follow certain best practices:
    • 1. Goals: Set clear goals and align team with overall company mission. Goals give focus and provide sense of purpose; purpose -> productivity.
      • You have to make sure goals align properly.  Properly alignment prevents time wasting on projects that don’t advance the company.
    • 2. Communication: If you’re not clear and specific about what your team should be doing, there’s a good chance you’ll waste time and money on ineffective workers who are unsure about how they can be useful.
  • Make sure everyone knows exactly how they’re contributing to the goal.  And provide both written and verbal instructions to ensure there’s no misunderstanding

A leader must be willing to adapt along with the changing marketplace and act on their ideas

  • Change: some people love it and some people hate it
  • whatever your personal preference might be, as a leader, you need to be willing to adapt and change with the modern world if you hope to keep your company profitable.
  • Inevitably, the companies that refuse change, and insist on playing by the same old rules, are doomed to fail.
  • By embracing new ideas, you can also attract new clients and keep your company looking fresh, modern and relevant.
  • And when it comes time to implement a change or execute a decision, a leader must do this with confidence.
  • Results are what matter most in business, and there are no results without action. And action, of course, requires a plan.
  • So, once you have a good and thoughtful plan – and a policy for what to do if it doesn’t work out – act on it! Even if it turns out to be a dud, it’ll probably prove better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all.

To do excellent work, a team must have the tools they need and be properly motivated

  • Another practice for successful leadership is to create an open work culture that allows your team to be as efficient as they can be.
  • If you’re uncertain about how to properly motivate someone on the team, don’t be afraid to ask what kind of task he or she might find particularly challenging. Another tip that can increase efficiency is to reward team members who come up with ways to save time.
  • Simplifying how your team can get things done and removing any obstacles that might be in the way is another important part of any leader’s job.
  • A successful team is one that is able to perform at its best. It shouldn’t have to wrestle with outdated software, a slow internet connection or faulty computers and printers.
  • Keep an eye out for unnecessary paperwork or redundant procedures that might be slowing things down. Sometimes, the way things are being done can create problems.

There are many ways to motivate your team, and it’s also important to establish mutual respect

  • Motivation is what gets your team to be passionate about their work. It’s what will make them dedicated workers who can tackle the most difficult tasks
    • When your team is motivated, you’ll find there’s nothing they can’t do, whether it’s handling endless requests from the fussiest of clients or being creative enough to launch an app that makes learning calculus fun.
    • So it’s the leader’s job to motivate their team and get them to care about the work they do.
  • There are many ways to motivate your team:
    • It is important that each person understands his/her work is important
    • Avoid micromanaging
    • Celebrate accomplishments
    • Earn your team’s respect. At the heart of a successful company is a feeling of mutual respect between the team and its leader.
      • To establish this, you must first show them your respect, which you can do by regularly asking for their opinion and never dismissing their concerns.
      • And to solidify their respect, always keep your promises and show solidarity by putting in just as much hard work as you ask of them.

To be efficient, prioritize your work, don’t overload on data and remember to take care of yourself

    • One of the most challenging aspects of a leader is finding time to manage your team without neglecting all the other work you have on your plate.
    • This is where prioritizing comes in. To sort out your work and make sure you’re doing what really needs to be done, adopt a triage mentality and rank your tasks by how important and productive they really are
    • There are also disruptive activities that can seriously hurt your productivity, such as checking your email every few minutes. Every time your focus shifts, you disrupt your workflow and waste time, because you then need to re-focus your attention back to the more important work.
    • Another key practice is knowing when to cut off the amount of data you let in.
    • Don’t forget to take care of yourself.  With so much going on, it can be easy to forget to prioritize your own health.  So remember to take breaks, have fun and get enough sleep.

Date – 12.19.17
B-Book 42: Learn Better by Elrich Boser
The key message in this book: By putting in the effort and focusing on learning, almost everyone can become an expert or master in almost any field. But to do this you’ll need to invest the time and use some tried-and-true strategies. Just remember these six steps: value, target, develop, extend, relate and rethink. With these methods, you’ll be well on your way to better learning.

 Actionable advice:  Space out your learing

The next time you’re studying for an important exam, make sure to split your learning into several sessions. You certainly know the frustration of spending an entire day studying only to find, just a few hours later, that you’ve already forgotten almost everything. To spare yourself this frustration and learn more efficiently, you need to break up your learning into small achievable goals and spread it out over time, instead of trying to learn everything in one sitting. Your brain needs breaks to store new information, so go ahead – take one!

Click to read more

 My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  –

Learning is easy. You just need the right tools and strategies

  • Learning ability is not predicated on innate intelligence; you can drastically improve your learning by using a few learning strategies
  • Some strategy include:
    • Learning the mechanics of a particular action and execute it many times
    • Self quizzing – repeatedly recalling and testing yourself on what you have been taught. Help new ideas stick in long term memory
    • Use earplug to block out external noise

If you can find meaning in your study, your learning is going to get better, fast

  • Learning can be made more effective by using the 6 steps of learning:
    • Step 1: Value –  If you can make the skills or knowledge you’re learning valuable and meaningful, you’ll be much more driven to take initiative and persevere.  So if say you don’t like statistic, but you have to take it, find value by doing a bit of historic research or something to make it fun.

You’ll need to set small, specific goals to master a skill, but first you’ll want to be sure of the basics

  • Newton discover gravity when an apple fell on his head, but we all can’t rely on happenstance – breakthroughs come from –
    • Step 2: Setting Target – If you can make the skills or knowledge you’re learning valuable and meaningful, you’ll be much more driven to take initiative and persevere
    • But there’s more to mastering a skill than breaking up your goals. You also need to build up some background knowledge before you begin. That’s because it’s difficult to really grasp a new subject or field before you’ve gotten a handle on the basics.

When it comes to learning, the importance of feedback can’t be overemphasized

  • Being evaluated by an audience is a fantastic way to improve.
    • Step 3: Develop -that is, to hone your skills by getting feedback. After all, when you’re learning, you often don’t know in what areas you need to improve. Someone else’s perspective is bound to help in the long run, even if it feels like it’s slowing you down at the time
    • Another way to improve is to decrease error rate by monitoring and recording your mistakes.

You can improve your learning by immersing yourself in your field and making things visual

    • You might think that renowned writers, artists or scientists were born to succeed in their respective fields. But, in reality, geniuses are forged in the crucible of continuous learning.
      • Step 4: Continuous Learning –  you’ve got to extend the knowledge you already possess, if you aspire to reach the highest echelons; you’ll have to constantly improve your understanding of a given topic you want to be expert in.
      • A further technique you can use for deepening your skills and knowledge is to visualize images with your mind’s eye.  The famous rooms in a castle technique can be employed here.  You can also use humor or anything that mark the emotion – scariness.
      • Through the simple act of visualizing, you too can benefit and learn the concepts and facts you need in your chosen field.

Understanding relationships between concepts and practicing different approaches to a skill makes for better learning

  • It’s said that the best way to master a new skill is to practice it over and over again. But the problem is that practice alone isn’t actually all that efficient.
    • Step 5: Relate – you’ve got to relate; you have to develop an understanding of the relationship between concepts.
    • Example of Psychologist Charles Judd and the experiment throwing darts at underwater target.  Those with understanding of refraction could improve but those without simple had no idea.  It didn’t matter how much practice, they lact the conceptual understanding.

We can eliminate overconfidence by reviewing our knowledge

  • Have you ever refuse to ask for help with directions, choosing rather to drive around in circles because you believe you know how to get somewhere
    • Step 6: Rethink – review your knowledge – to rethink – and thus prevent exactly this sort of mistake.
    • Overconfidence leads to mistakes on a fairly regular basis. People usually overestimate their past performance and familiarity: they think they’ve learned more than they really have, and so expect to perform well in the future.  Custer had this problem
    • Reviewing your knowledge and understanding helps you to deal with overconfidence.

Date – 12.16.17
B-Book 41: Living the 80/20 Way by Richard Koch
The key message in this book:  The 80/20 principle says that 80 percent of what we want is generated by 20 percent of what we actually do. In other words, if you figure out what you want and focus on what makes you happy, you’ll be able to create more with less.

 Actionable advice:  Make a list of things that actually matter to you and then focus your energy on them.

Doing so will prioritize your happiness and fulfillment. And it has an added benefit: When you focus on yourself and what you really want, you stop wasting as much energy worrying about what other people think of you.

Click to read more

 My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  –

Working all day, every day makes you less productive. To achieve more, you need to do less.

  • The story of how computers evolved matches a wider trend in human activity: doing more with less. And in fact, the history of agriculture followed a similar path
  • Over 300 years ago, close to 98 percent of the labor force harvested food. Due to technological advances, today in developed countries only 2 to 3 percent of the working population is involved with agriculture. And yet we grow and harvest more food than ever!
    • This is the driving force behind the 80/20 principle: the best 20 percent of our efforts produce 80 percent of the results. And by applying this principle everywhere, we can transform our lives.
    • We tend to believe that if we spend as much time as possible working, we’ll be the most productive. Yet if you apply the 80/20 principle, you would realize that the best way to achieve more is to work less!
  • If you have a project to do within a week and you give yourself the full time, you tend to procrastinate, if instead you say to want to complete it in under the 80/20 rule – 1 day, you will work more diligently to get it done and move on to other things.

To follow the 80/20 principle, set a destination, chart a route to get there, and then go for it!

  • So first, pick a destination: Where do you want the 80/20 principle to take you?
  • Reflect upon your dreams, goals and objectives. Ask yourself, “What’s the best 20 percent of my life on which I’d like to focus?
  • Once you’ve selected a destination, you’ll need to find the best route, or how to get there.
  • Take time to figure out how to concentrate on these areas with least effort, but best results. Remember, there’s never just one path: think outside the box!

Focus your attention on your happiness islands: what is it that gives you the most pleasure?

  • Most of us live in awe of time, feeling like we don’t have enough time to do the things we want.   The 80/20 principle can take care of this.
  • If you dedicate yourself to working harder for a shorter period of time, you’ll find your work improved and your free time expanded.
  • To do this you have to find your happiness Islands (times you feel most creative and happiest) – these will help you to improve productivity.
  • So ultimately, when you let go of your notions about the scarcity of time and start working intelligently, you can achieve miracles

Use the 80/20 principle to invest in the long term to earn big, or save incrementally to reach a goal

  • As you may know, 20 percent of Americans own over 80 percent of the entire country’s wealth
    • Many following the same 80/20 logic to earn their fortunes, in that they realized you can use a small amount of money to produce unbelievable returns.
    • They relied on the effect of compounding (when profits are put to the task of generating more profit) to grow relatively tiny amounts of money into large fortunes.

Instead of trying to please everyone, concentrate on the relationships that matter the most

  • In the modern world, relationships matter. But many of us overextend ourselves. In our desire to build strong relationships with everyone, we end up pleasing no one.
  • Since 80 percent of our relationship satisfaction stems from just 20 percent of our actual relationships, to lead a happy life, we need to concentrate on the few relationships that actually matter, such as the ones we have with our romantic partners.
  • But to have a strong relationship that supports your happiness rather than undermining it, it’s important to ensure that you and your partner agree on a few basic values.
    • Some 50 percent of marriages end in divorce! The best way to avoid this fate is to choose your partner wisely. If you don’t agree on the basics from the outset, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put into the relationship later on.

Things will not make you happy. Stress certainly won’t, either. Simplicity is the key

  • When it comes to living a good life, simplicity is key
  • The basic components of a good life, put forward by the Epicureans are,  food, shelter, clothes, friends, freedom and thought.
  • If you want to follow a similar path, cut out everything in your life that doesn’t make you happy.

This Week 5’s (12.10 – 12.16) Affirmation: Rest: I will get 6-hours of Sleep each Night!

Date – 12.13.17
B-Book 40: Thoughts Without a Thinker by Mark Epstein
The key message in this book:  Both Buddhism and psychoanalysis can shed light on the ways human beings suffer. A major focus of both traditions is an attachment to the idea that a “self” exists, which, in many cases, is the root cause of mental illness. By practicing Buddhism, you can can find freedom from suffering and a sense of calm in your mind.

 Actionable advice: Allow yourself to feel pain

The next time you feel sad, don’t try to push the feeling away or deny it. Instead, realize that such emotions are a natural part of being human. During such painful moments, you have access to your innermost truth and are able to see how you are clutching to the illusion of self, causing yourself to suffer in the process.

Click to read more

 My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  Buddhist Wheel of Life – Snake, Rooster , Hog – desire anger, delusion, 3 poison,  freud, eros and thanatos, delusion black house , perceive self naturally – wrong, concept of no self, ego observe self, baby recognize self from mother, inflated and deflated sense of self, child force to act out of authentic nature, can’t scream when want to, true thoughts and feeling suppress – narcc and depression results, buddhist can help to detach from self, through meditation and compassion, med experience thought and feeling, bird’s eye view, med fellls the sensa and without attachment, compassion – put needs of other before your own,  unmask truth, metaphor of the Hungry Ghosts, hunger, desire, delusion, in west, loneliness leads to craving attachment, east child smothered by large family, bud notice emotion without judging them, toy provide transition for kids, mindful is about force self to stay in body without thing about future and past, stay int he moment, brush teeth focus on taste and feel, mind and body single entity, mindful through breathing, focus on breath – stay present,

Buddhism and psychoanalysis have a shared emphasis on common feelings

  • The Buddhist Wheel of life places desire, anger and delusion right at its center, represented by a green snake, a red rooster and a black hog, respectively, all of whom are biting each other’s tails.
  • The three animals, and the feelings they represent, are at the center of this wheel because together, desire, anger and delusion all prevent us from understanding our true selves.  They are known as the 3 poisons and are root of all suffering
  • Freud’s psychoanalysis, Eros and Thanatos represent the same concepts as the snake and rooster in Buddhism.  Freud said that while Eros and Thanatos are innate to all humans, we repress them; and that repression was the source of suffering

We delude ourselves into believing such a thing as “the self” exists

  • In Buddhism, delusion (represented by the black hog) is said to prevent us from perceiving ourselves accurately. In psychoanalysis, it is the underlying cause of a variety of behavioral disorders, such as dissociative and split personality disorders
  • A misunderstanding of the self is central to both Buddhism and psychoanalysis. But in Buddhism, the true nature of the self is a difficult concept to comprehend. It depend on understanding the concept of no-self.  You can come it through meditation where you use the ego (separate from self)  to objectively observe self, thereby attaining enlightenment.
  • The psychoanalytic perspective points out that baby comes to realize his separateness from its mother and needs to reconcile this difference; if it has problems doing this, it can result in a false conception of self.

Many common, yet painful psychological disorders are caused by an inflated or deflated sense of self

  • As children, we’re often expected to behave as our parents desire, which often implies acting against our authentic nature.
  • Because of this tension between one’s true nature and social self, a person’s sense of self can become entirely warped; example: we have to be quiet when we want to scream
    • In this way, we learn that being accepted means appearing to be someone we’re not – someone who is better, smarter, stronger or more confident. In the process, we suppress our true thoughts and feelings.
    • The result can be deep-seated psychological trauma due to years of inflating and deflating our sense of self.
    • Narcissism and Depression are possible symptoms of this trauma

Buddhism can offer relief from mental illness by freeing you from the self

  • Buddhist practice can enable you to transcend your attachment to the self.
  • Buddhist scholar Herbert Guenther explains that emptiness can help you free yourself from attachment, but clinging to emptiness as a goal is damaging.  But regardless of whether reality is a void or you truly exist, Buddhism offers a life path that’s free of attachment to such ideas.
  • This is accomplished through meditation and compassion. The first technique is designed to quiet your mind and enable clear thinking. When in a meditative state, you can experience your thoughts and the sensations of your body without feeling attached to them. In other words, meditation offers you a bird’s eye view of your experience.
  • This is accomplished through meditation and compassion. The first technique quiets the mind and enables clear thinking. In a meditative state, you can experience thoughts and the sensations of your body without feeling attached to them. Meditation offers you a bird’s eye view of your experience.
    • By practicing meditation for long enough, you can come to understand how the self is truly empty by nature.
  •  When you behave with compassion (a central facet of Buddhism – Dalai Lama), you instinctively put the needs of others before your own. That necessarily means keeping your ego from taking over and avoiding narcissistic behavior.
  • So, while psychoanalysis works to root out the true self, Buddhism is primarily concerned with unearthing the delusion that such a thing exists. Its end goal is the unmasking of this truth and the understanding that the true nature of the self is simply emptiness

Westerners feel an unstoppable hunger, while Easterners struggle with humility

  • The metaphors of the Hungry Ghosts is also used to illustrate Buddhist Wheel of Life. Ghosts have big stomach and pinhole mouths; never satisfied.
    • Symbolically, their hunger can be seen as a combination of anger, desire and attachment, a type of suffering much more common in the West than the East
  • Western society driven by capitalism sees mother not really connecting with children as they oftentimes have to return to work soon after birth. The child grows up with a feeling of loneliness and abandonment and as a result craves attachment.
  • In the East on the other hand, families are usually large and the individualism is sacrificed for the good of group.  This results in a feeling of being smothered by society and responds by developing a inflated sense of self-regard.  They see themselves as better than others – humility needed.

Buddhism can help you live with your emotions

  • Buddhists notice their emotions and feelings without judging them, and psychoanalysis can weigh in on this as well
  • Freud:  Humans babies are happy since mothers, without judgement, take care of them. Growing up toys provide a transition that mothers did in our imagination – helps us to cope emotionally
  • Buddhism teaches that by the Buddhist practice of bare attention to your emotion (observing your emotion non-judgmentally) you can learn to deal with and live with them. Looking at emotions from a meditative standpoint, you will be better able to live with them.  Example of Sid and his girlfriend

Practice mindfulness to feel grounded in the present and overcome suffering

  • Mindfulness is about training yourself to exist in the present moment by focusing your attention on your body and breath, rather than the thoughts that constantly threaten to pull you into the depths of your own head.
  • Mindfulness is a great tool to stop excessive worrying about the future or to avoid replaying painful experiences in your mind.
  • The key is to feel grounded by remaining in your body. The Buddha found that humans feel alienated when our minds and bodies are in conflict, which is why it’s so important to stay in the moment
    • For example, when brushing your teeth in the morning, you could let your mind focus on the sensation of the brush and the flavor of the toothpaste, rather than racing ahead to all the things you have to do at work that day.
    • By doing so, your mind and body will function as a single entity, which will make things feel more real and less alien.
    • You can also practice mindfulness through your breathing. In fact, most meditative practices, regardless of the tradition they come from, involve the breath in one way or another. A focus on breathing is an excellent way to stay present.
  • Mindfulness is the first step to moving beyond the emptiness and suffering of living with a false self in mind. Staying focused on the present will put you in touch with your senses and reveal what is real in the current moment

Date – 12.11.17
B-Book 39
: 10 Days to Faster Reading by Abby Marks Beale
The key message in this book:  For most of us, reading training ends in elementary school, which means our adult reading habits are seriously outdated. If you want to get the most out of reading, you’ll need to re-learn how to prioritize, preview and speed up your reading in order to keep up with the fast-paced world.

 Actionable advice: Take a break every 20 minutes

Research shows that, while reading, people can only concentrate effectively for about 20 minutes at a time, so don’t overdo it. Give yourself a five-minute break every 20 to 30 minutes so your brain and eyes can rest. And don’t read for more than an hour before taking your break!

Click to read more

 My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  You don’t have to remember everything you read, write down important things, don’t daydream when you read, don’t regress when you read, don’t subvocalize, don’t speak what you are reading it slows you down, have a purpose for what you are reading, ask yourself why you are reading this, why do you need it, preview all nonfiction material, read a few introductory paragraphs, read subheadings, read first sentence of each paragraph, focus on keywords, – longer than 3 letters, focus on thought groups, will require using peripheral vision, develop it by practice – quickly look at a group of words – look away and try to remember them, read between the lines – just look at the top of letter, force you not to look at the words and getting stuck admiring the words, use indenting method, draw a line half inch from the start of the sentence and half inch from the end, your peripheral will pick up what’s on the sides, use finger to guide you eyes down the page (much like your eyes watching a fly), put your finger to the left or right or in middle if the paragraph is narrow – like in a newspaper,cover already read material to prevent regression,

People put too much pressure on themselves when they read

  • You don’t actually have to read everything in a book or newspaper to understand 
  • You don’t have to remember everything you read to get something from the material.
  • Try writing down the crucial information (electronically or on paper)

Becoming a more efficient reader is as easy as kicking a few bad habits

  • If you do something enough times, you form a habit around it, and the same goes for reading
  • A common bad reading habit is passive daydreaming. While we read, we’re thinking about a million other topics, none of which are related to what we’re actually reading
    • Turn this inefficient noodling into active mind wandering – a type of thinking that connects the information we’re reading to our own experience.
  • Another inefficient habit is regression, that is, rereading what you’ve just read. To avoid regression, try covering the text you’ve just read
  • Finally, lots of people subvocalize as they read, mouthing along to the words they read or mentally whispering the text. Normally, the brain can process up to 400 words per minute, but when we read at “talking speed,” we only read about 150 words per minute.

You can reading faster by taking shortcuts

  • First, have a clear purpose in mind and a sense of responsibility for what you read. This will help both with organization and concentration
    • Choose what to read and what to skip over by asking yourself:
      • Why am I reading this?Throw away old stuff if they are no longer timely.
      • Why do I need this information? It can be for a test, a meeting or even to help your child  in school.  If your kid’s getting good grade don’t waste your time.
    • So, before reading any material, ask yourself these two critical questions; if you can’t find a good answer, don’t read it.
  • Second, pre-view all nonfiction material before actually starting to read in order to get an idea of what it’s about, as well as which parts will be relevant and interesting to you
    • Begin by reading first the first few introductory paragraphs to get an idea of where the intro is heading.
    • Next, read the subheadings, titles and subtitles that are usually larger and bolded.
    • Finally, read the first sentence of each paragraph in order to get a better idea of what each section is about.
    • Pre-viewing alone will give you a big portion – 40 percent, in fact – of the material’s key information.
  • Third and final step is learning actual speed-reading techniques

To speed up your reading, try only reading the keywords

  • The first technique involves focusing only on important words and skipping over the rest. Finding keywords, which are the more important words in a sentence. Typically, they are longer than three letters and carry meaning.
  • Another strategy is to stop your eyes on thought groups instead of separate words. Imagine phrases as being separated by slashes: By looking for / thought groups, / you force your eyes/to move forward faster / while maintaining / good comprehension
    • Comprehending the whole phrase at each stop will require you to use your peripheral vision. You can train your peripheral vision in a number of ways, such as by quickly glancing at phrases and trying to repeat them. Or, if you’re in a traffic jam, you can quickly glance at the license plate of the car in front of you and try repeating it aloud
    • Don’t be surprised if your eyes feel strained as you practice these strategies, they’re just getting used to a new rhythm. The more you exercise your eye muscles, the better

Other techniques you should try are “reading between the lines” and “indenting.”

  • One way to overcome the habit of subvocalizing is to focus on the white space just above each line. This way, you can still see the top half of the letters and can thus easily understand them without becoming fixated on the words themselves
    • The idea here is to move through the words without getting stuck on any. You can do this more effectively if you aren’t looking directly at the words themselves
  • Another strategy called the indenting method involves using your peripheral vision. Instead of placing your eyes at the beginning of each line, try aiming them half an inch inside the left margin, and then stop reading half an inch before the right margin.
  • By not focusing on all the words, you reduce the number of potential starts and stops that occur while glancing over the lines. If your eyes are stopping seven or eight times per line and you can cut it down by only one stop, your overall speed can increase by more than ten percent!
    • To help you get used to starting a line after it actually begins on the page, draw vertical lines about half an inch inside both margins. This way, you know exactly where to start and stop your eye movement.
  • Re-learning a skill that you already have can feel frustrating. Just stick with it! It’s natural sometimes to get worse before you get better, and the rewards are definitely worth the frustration.

Use your hand or a pen to lead your eyes and create fast reading habits

  • Eyes naturally follow movement. For example, when there’s a fly in the room, your eyes notice it immediately.
    • Pointing and moving your fingers can be used to guide your eyes more quickly through a text. Simply place your finger to the left or to the right of a line, and as you read across the line, move your finger slowly yet steadily down toward the bottom of the page.
    • When reading narrow columns like the kinds found in newspapers, you can place your index finger in the center of a paragraph just under the line you’re reading. Move it either straight down or in the shape of a snake as you read across a line in order to guide your eyes
  • Next, cover the text you’ve already read in order to avoid regression. One way to do this is by using the business card method; another requires only using your hand. Make a fist with your left hand, and sticking your thumb out to the side. Then, just place your hand horizontally or vertically over the text you have just read
  • These methods might be uncomfortable or even embarrassing, but they also help you develop fast reading habits. Just like training wheels, you can let them go once you no longer need them.

This Week 4’s (12.3 – 12.10) Affirmation: Rest: I will get 6-hours of Sleep each Night!

Date – 12.5-6.17
B-Book 38
: The 5 Invitations by Frank Ostaseski
My Thoughts so far: I started this book a few days ago after reading a wonderful book by Haruki Murakami (1Q84).  I came across Frank during a talk he had with Sam Harris, another excellent writer and all around great and smart person.

I have gone quite a bit into this book, but was struck by the instructive force this book is and ways in which it is essentially a template around which one to start to think critically about  here is a summary I lifted from Google Books:

The key message in this book:  ‘The Five Invitations’, an exhilarating meditation on the meaning of life and how maintaining an ever-present awareness of death can bring us closer to our truest selves. In his thirty-plus years as a companion to the dying, Frank Ostaseski has sat on the precipice of death with more than a thousand people. A renowned teacher of compassionate care-giving, Ostaseski has distilled the lessons gleaned over the course of his career into a powerful and inspiring exploration of the essential wisdom dying has to impart to all of us about how to forge rich and meaningful lives.

Click to read more

Notes:

  • Pain + resistance = suffering
  • Pain + acceptance = peace
  • There is no letting go without letting in
  • We confuse love with attachment.  Attachment distorts our – with impermanence
  • I love there is no separation.  Love breeds love
  • Grief is a slow deep process of the soul
  • Loss last a lifetime
  • When we suffer a loss, we reach for models to fix; there are no shortcuts
  • Time alone does not heal. Time with loving attention heals
  • Grieving the loss of someone we love is like been thrown in a raging river of powerful and conflicting emotions that pulls us down beneath the surface of our lives into the dark waters where we cannot breathe. Frantically we try to escape the whirlpool of this inner journey – surrendering we feel ourselves carried forward by gentle currents to a new destination.  Emerging from the water we step ashore with refreshed eyes – we enter the world in a new way.
  • Bring your whole self to the experience

The journey through grief is the path to wholeness

  • In grief, we access parts of ourselves tha twere somehow unavailable to us in the past.  With awareness, the journey through grief becomes a path to wholeness.  Grief can lead us to a profound understand that reaches beyond our individual losses.  Every time we experience a loss we have a chance to experience life at a greater depth.  It opens us up to the most essential truths of our lives: the inevitability of impermanence, the causes of suffering, and illusion of separateness.  We begin to appreciate that we are more than the grief.  We are what the grief is moving through.
  • In the end, we may still fear death, but we don’t fear living nearly as much.  In surrendering to our grief, we have learned to give ourselves to life.
  • In allowing ourselves to experience grief we allow ourselves to start living

Compassion is not something we possess but something we access.
Breathing – can you rest your mind in the gap?
When fear speaks courage is the heart’s answer


Date – 12.4.17
B-Book 37
: Start Where You Are by Pema Chödrön
The key message in this book: You won’t live a meaningful and joyful life by avoiding your weaknesses, ignoring your demons and creating barriers to pain and sorrow. A full life is one that accepts all emotions and takes the bad with the good. It’s all part of being alive. Meditation can help you live with life’s pain and suffering, and by doing so, you’ll become a more powerful and compassionate person.

 Actionable advice: Don’t cling to happy memories, pass them on.

The next time a happy memory comes to mind, instead of lingering in it and living in the past, take a deep breath and pass that happiness on to someone who needs it more than you do. Perhaps even your worst enemy.

Click to read more

 My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  Meditation – living in the present, don’t avoid the present, focus on the now, two step – focus on breathing, you can drift but come back to breathing, meditation can let you see better parts of life, it gives you the chance to choose, meditation helps you to reach the state of emptiness, emptiness helps you to control anger, we chose to be angry, emptiness can help you to deal with death, embrace it, accept pain and sorrow, buddhism is about celebrating highs and low, let yourself feel the pain, you need the experience of bad and good to grow, don’t run away from suffering, be comfortable with your full self, be accepting  of your weaknesses it makes you stronger, don’t repress your feeling, be familiar with anger and sadness, be close to your demons, we all have our narrative, but  let go of them, they are not you, they can limit you, there is nothing to be embarrass about, be brave to let go of any limitations, leave your storylines behind,  make meditation a daily part of your life, don’t separate yourself between you and other, it will cause more pain, breath in and out , by breathing you are opening your heart and sharing your goodness.

Meditation can help bring peace of mind by keeping you focused on the present.

  • Meditation is all about celebrating and living in the present moment – the now
  • All we ever have is the present moment, we do a pretty good job, however, of avoiding it. We get bogged down in regrets about the past or worries about the future. The more we focus our mind on the now and keep it off those hypothetical worries and regrets, the more content you will be.
  • There are two steps to practicing shamatha-vipashyana meditation, and the first is to focus on your breathing.
    • This simple practice will help you live in the now. And since this is your only reality, it should be the center of your awareness.
    • While doing this, keep your mind from wandering to your worries and regrets.
  • Everyone’s mind wanders to happy or sad thoughts. You may drift off to contemplating your to-do list or an annoying event from yesterday, but all you need to do is recognize this as normal thinking and bring your attention gently back to your breath.  Don’t punish yourself or try too hard to prevent these thoughts; return attention to breathing

Maintain a joyful mind by not taking life so seriously and by looking for ways to shake things up

  • It’s fair to say that most of us make a big deal out of our lives and often feel it’ll be the end of the world if we don’t do this or that. Just imagine how less stressful life could be without these added pressures.  Happily, meditation can help you get there.
  • Meditation will help you to see each day in a positive light and every moment as an opportunity to live in the now.
  • It also enables you to proactively choose to be joyful. Life is just a collection of little moments, and you can choose how you meet these moments: with a heavy burden on your shoulders or with joy in your heart.

Free yourself from judgments by embracing emptiness

  • The ultimate spiritual goal of Buddhism is called nirvana, which is often translated as “emptiness”.
  • Reaching the state of emptiness, means we’re free of judgments and labels like good, bad, happy or sad. These disappear once we realize the ultimate goal is emptiness.
  • Recognizing the freedom in emptiness can also help you control anger – Zen story of man disturbed by approaching empty boat. He shouts of nothing.
    • We make up our own reasons to be angry, and we constantly put obstacles in our own path. Most of what happens isn’t intrinsically good or bad; it is us who ascribe these unnecessary labels.
  • Embracing emptiness can also be helpful in times of death.
  • Two individuals Jack and Jill  both died slowly but in very different ways.
    • Jill had a deep fear of the emptiness, so she fought against it desperately, spending each day crying and frightened. Her ego refused to accept emptiness.
    • Jack, on the other hand, embraced the emptiness and became increasingly cheerful as his body and mind slowly faded away. Since he knew the fundamental nature of reality is emptiness, he was not resistant to it and passed away happily.

Build strength and compassion by accepting pain and sorrow

  • Many who come to Buddhism for the first time think they should embrace emptiness by closing off their minds or by ignoring pain.
    • But such techniques are little more than tricks that can be achieved with a bit of meditation practice; it’s a big mistake to think that they are the whole point.
  • Buddhism is about celebrating both the highs and lows of life. This happens by acknowledging and feeling both positive and negative emotions but also learning not to grow attached to them or to try to avoid them.
  • Let yourself feel the pain. If you don’t allow yourself to experience the bad with the good, you’ll never grow and learn how to deal with these inevitable emotions. So if you hope to be resilient and wise, the only way is to experience it all
  • Those who care the most are those who have felt suffering up-close. And those who run away from suffering will inevitably end up becoming less compassionate

Strength comes from embracing your weaknesses and demons

  • Some self-help books tell you to start each morning by looking in the mirror and saying things like “Today I’m going to be a better person.” Don’t do this.
  • Instead, learn to be comfortable with yourself and become familiar with your strengths and weaknesses;
    • Having a deep understanding of your weaknesses will make you stronger
  • According to Buddhism, there are three weaknesses called the three poisons: they are craving, aversion and ignorance. They reveal themselves when we cling to things we like, run away from things we hate and ignore everything else. They’re at the root of our worst behaviors – jealousy, ignorance, hatred, apathy, violence and addiction
  • But you shouldn’t repress these feelings. Instead, allow them to arise and use them to better understand yourself. Be familiar with what makes you angry or sad and where these emotions come from so that you can accept yourself for who you are. The only way to do this is by getting close to your demons. Once you stop avoiding them, they will soon go away.

Strength also comes from breaking free of your fixed narrative and not being afraid of looking foolish

  • We all have our story that explain who we are, our desires and longings.  But what if we just let go of them. It would free us up to be whatever in the present moment.  This would be freeing because we would no longer worry about looking foolish or being embarrassed by some expectation created by some narrative we have of ourselves.
  • Story of Juan’s retreat and listening to the out of key Buddhist master.  It showed how brave the out of key master was for singing so terribly without any problem.  It awoke deep emotion in Juan to see such braveness.  The master had no such limitation on him and it showed Juan he did have to either.
  • Storylines are also a way for us to lie to ourselves, even when it comes to meditation.
    • When you start meditating, you might feel the need to tell others how much you’re benefiting from it, even if you’re not

Buddhism can make you strong enough to help others, even your enemies

  • By making meditation part of your daily life, you’ll be moving toward a clear-mindedness and a greater awareness of those around you. Remember, being present means coming to terms with suffering, especially that of those who need help
  • But it’s best to stop thinking in the strict terms of helper and helpee.
    • If you see yourself as a saintly helper trying to care for others, and the people in need as being somehow below you, you’re effectively erecting barriers between yourself and others. This added separation will only cause more pain
  • With tonglen breathing, you breathe in the undesirable – pain and suffering – and breathe out the desirable – strength and happiness
  • If it sounds strange, it’s probably due to the Western idea of only letting in good things and rejecting anything unpleasant. But this is an important part of Buddhist meditation, and by practicing it, you are sharing your goodness and happiness with the world while letting go of your selfish desires.
  • In a more advanced practice, you can also breathe in the pain of those you hate and send them your positive thoughts as you breathe out. With this practice, you’re also opening your heart so you see things from their perspective, understanding their demons and how they may have suffered in the past.

This Week 3’s (11.25 – 12.2) Affirmation: Rest: I will get 7-hours of Sleep each Night!

Date – 12.1.17
B-Book 36
: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
The key message in this book: Zen meditation isn’t about achieving something – not even happiness. Rather, it’s simply bringing awareness to your breath and gradually learning to be fully present for every daily activity without any distractions.

 Actionable advice:  Let go of your notions of good and bad.

People tend to believe that there are good things and bad things, but this conception is very limiting. Whether something is good or bad isn’t relevant. What is relevant is being able to do an activity without passing a value judgment on it. This is the simple pursuit of peace.

 My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  The lotus posture is an important position, life and death does not exist,the essence of Zen dissolves time and space, following the air between the world and you, end of duality, no there, the breath is the only thing, time and space does not exist, idea of time breakdown, we just have this moment, most don’t even notice the beating of their heart, no boundaries, no duality,  the movement of the breath is all that there is, idea of our self , time and space do not exist, it is better to observe than to control, step back and observe, don’t try to control other behaviors, intervene only when danger to self and others, let your thought come and go – go back to breathing, practice  adversity in meditation is similar to adversity in life  intensity of the struggle waves diminishes over time, allow things to pass through you, excellence is not the aim, perseverance is what Zen is all about, Zen is about bring quietness to your mind, Zen is not about achieving things, only the act of meditation is important, quieting the mind, zen is a practice of pure activity, don’t attach thought to it, be absorbed totally by what you’re doing at the moment, only our action is important in the moment – now.

Click to read more

The Zen meditation posture is a practice unto itself but also has a deeper symbolic meaning

  • The posture Zen practitioners adopt when meditating promotes spirituality in and of itself.
    • Taking a certain posture actually constitutes the entire practice, the sole aim of the practice is to sit in this position
  • The lotus meditation posture also has a symbolic meaning that relates to the relationship between life and death.
  • This concept of nonduality is essential as it applies to every aspect of the Zen worldview. Therefore, “life” and “death” don’t exist. Rather, life ends while remaining eternal. You die, yet you do not die. The body and mind dissolve but remain.
  • Such seeming contradictions are unified by a single, harmonious idea, which is the essence of Zen.

The Zen practice of breathing makes us aware of our true nature while dissolving time and space

  • Most people don’t notice their hearts beating, yet it’s tremendously beneficial to observe such basic life processes. That’s where Zen breathing cultivates an awareness of our true nature.
  • It involves following the air as it is inhaled into our bodies and then exhaled back into the world. By noticing this process, we see that the world is one unified whole, free of boundaries.
  • This practice teaches us to let go of duality and the idea that there is an “I” and an “other.” In Zen, all that exists is the movement of the breath, which comprises our Buddha or true nature
  • Zen breathing goes further, dissolving the feeling of time and space. After all, when the world disappears, along with ego – the ideas and memories we hold of ourselves – time and space cease to exist. There’s no longer a specific hour on a clock, and there’s no specific room in which we’re sitting.
  • While we might believe there is a specific errand we must do this afternoon, the very idea of “this afternoon” is merely an arbitrary concept. In fact, we will run this errand after doing or not doing some other things that simply happen one after the other. In this way, just like our breath, the minutes slip by without any differentiation between them.

In life as well as meditation, it’s better to observe than to control

  • Most people experience their best ideas when relaxed into a state of flow
  • Instead of attempting to micromanage the world, step back and observe what happens without your interference
  • We might try to control other people, forcing them to do what we want, but attempts fail practically every time – all while wasting a great deal of effort
  • Instead of attempting to guide their behavior to where you’d like it to be, simply watch and intervene only when they are a threat to themselves or others
  • In life, as in meditation, control holds us back. Oftentimes, when we meditate, we attempt to control our thoughts and prevent them from existing – doesn’t work.
    • Instead, you should wisely allow thoughts to come and go, observing them as they do so. The only proper effort here is to return the mind and concentration to your breathing.

The adversity you encounter in meditation feeds your practice

  • While meditating, it’s not uncommon for people to grow tired, emotional and discouraged. But actually, all of these responses are good; encountering adversity in meditation helps you grow.
  • Every struggle you face on the way to mastering your body are merely thoughts in your mind.  Like waves in the sea, they arise and recede over and over. Every time you overcome such a wave, it feeds your practice and, over time, the intensity of the waves diminishes. By using this adversity to nourish your practice, you can make progress quite quickly.
  • This means simply concentrating (passive – non-resistance) on your breath rather than on attempting (active – struggle) to calm your mind.
  • Prepare yourself to continue focusing on your breath forever, without the expectation of sudden relief. As time passes, you will find your effort becoming more precise and less strained

In Zen practice, excellence is not the aim, and the worst students are often the best

  • In Zen, excellence is not the goal, but rather patient perseverance.
  • The intention of Zen is simply to practice without worrying about how difficult or effortless that practice is
  • in Zen, the worst students are often the best. Since these students must overcome much greater adversity, they often undergo intensive practice, cultivating skilled, disciplined minds.

Practicing Zen isn’t about excitement or achievement

  • Practicing Zen isn’t about excitement.  It’s about bringing focus to our daily routines and the actions we normally perform on autopilot, like eating, cleaning, working and talking.
  • Zen endeavors to maintain a feeling of quiet and happiness in the mind, rather than one of excitement and stimulation.
  • The practice of Zen isn’t geared toward reaching a result. This is hard for us to grasp. When we engage in an action, the goal is to achieve something else, like fame, recognition or money.  But for Zen, the intention is to do things without seeking any extra achievement.
  • Only the act of meditation is important.

Zen entails discovering pure activity, which is, at its core, an act of giving

  • Have you ever taken a long walk to relax, only to find that you were lost in anxious thoughts the whole time?
  • It’s just one example of how frustrating it can be when thinking prevents you from living. Zen is a great tool for overcoming this dilemma. That’s because Zen is a practice of pure activity
  • The goal of Zen is to purely engage in an activity without attaching thoughts to it.
  • Each time you worry about what other people might think of you or your work, or whether the task you’re undertaking will be successful, you drift away from the purity of what you’re actually doing.
  • the aim of Zen is to be entirely absorbed by the thing you’re doing in the moment. As you complete this activity, and begin the next, not even a trace of the previous undertaking should remain in your mind
  • Zen acknowledges that true activity is a gesture of giving.
  • We are not separate from the divine, and whatever we believe ourselves to create is actually the product of a larger divine consciousness.  By realizing this, we can come to understand how little it matters that our creations are recognized, applauded, or even have material value.
  • When we engage in an activity without such preoccupations, all our activity becomes an act of generosity. It’s just another of the many benefits of Zen. However, there’s a catch: if you engage in this practice to achieve such a sense of generosity or any of the other things Zen can offer, the practice won’t work.
  • Therein lies the mystery of Zen; it eludes simplicity and cannot be encapsulated into a simple statement of right or wrong

Date – 11.29.17
B-Book 35
: Mindset by Carol Dweck
The key message in this book:  People with a fixed mindset obstruct their own development through their belief in innate talent and their fear of failure. On the contrary, people with a growth mindset work hard and train hard to ultimately realize their potential to the fullest. By confronting our own attitudes and ideas, we can develop a growth mindset.

The questions this book answered:

How do people differ in their mindset?

    • Our mindset shapes whether we believe we can learn and change and grow – or not.
    • An individual’s abilities are set in stone in the fixed mindset.
    • Growth and development are possible in the growth mindset.
Click to read more

What impact does our mindset have on our behavior?

  • People with a fixed mindset seek approval; those with a growth mindset seek development.
  • The fixed mindset sees failures as disasters; the growth mindset sees them as opportunities.
  • People with a fixed mindset avoid difficulties; those with a growth mindset relish them.

Can we change our mindset?

  • Our mindset is often strongly influenced by the role models we had as children.
  • Anyone can adopt a growth mindset and make the impossible possible.

 My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  Fixed mindset is not the way to be, the growth mindset is the way to be, growth mindset see problems as challenges to be dealt with, seek approval, gm grades don’t define them, practice , makes perfect, put energy into better themselves, don’t  look for approval for  others, Iacocca vs Gestner approach – fixed vs growth, focus on shared development, FM – you can’t learn from failure – Sergio Garcia, make excuse or don’t analyze weakness, they are finished product, Jordan had GM,  he pressed to improve himself, gifted people should try just as hard, mindset devel begin at birth, parents and teacher have a outsize effect on children mindset, bad teachers think ability is predetermined, the brain can be trained, fixed mindset is comforting, so it is hard to get rid of.

An individual’s abilities are set in stone in the fixed mindset

  • People with a fixed mindset believe a person is, by nature, either intelligent and talented or stupid and incompetent, and will stay that way.
  • People with a fixed mindset think that employees who are not perfect from day one never will be, so it’s best to let them go quickly.
  • People with a fixed mindset believe they can only do things they show a natural aptitude for – that practice certainly does not make perfect.
  • Since they are quick to judge themselves and other people as being good or bad at something, they assume others are judging them all the time, too;  they tend to feel the need to show how talented and smart they are every chance they get
  • They believe their entire personality is at stake: one slip-up could be enough to brand them as incompetent fools for life. They constantly seek approval from others to protect their egos and confirm that they really are as great as they think they are

Growth and development are possible in the growth mindset

  • When children with a growth mindset are given a difficult math problem to solve at school, they jump to the challenge and want to do more problems just like it at home. They recognize that the more problems they solve, the more they learn
  • The sky’s the limit when it comes to life’s possibilities for children with a growth mindset
  • Sure, their grades reflect their status at one moment in time, but these kids believe they can learn more with hard work, dedication and perseverance.
  • Whether music or sports, writing or drawing, they practice relentlessly and are quite aware that it is only through practice- failure – that they can improve their skills.
  • In their relationships, they encourage their partners to continue learning and working on themselves.
  • People with a growth mindset welcome problems and see them as challenges, not insurmountable obstacles. They willingly put their energy into bettering themselves and the world around them.

People with a fixed mindset seek approval; those with a growth mindset seek development

  • Lee Iacocca’s good instincts paid dividends early in turning around Chrysler, but he started resting on his laurels, looking for approval from other, building his image.
  • Iacocca exhibits a fixed mindset. He classified everything as either “good” or “bad,” and felt others scrutinizing him, labeling him as a winner or a loser. And because he wanted to be a winner, he tried to appear as intelligent and talented as possible instead of finding ways to improve the company.
  • Lou Gestner came into IBM to find the fixed mindset.  Everyone was trying to do what was best for themselves; thus, the company was not meeting customer needs.
  • To change that, Gerstner broke down the company’s hierarchies and emphasized teamwork, rewarding employees who supported their co-workers.  He opened up communication pathways to include himself, so he as accessible to everyone.
  • Gerstner’s growth mindset enabled him to create a new work environment based on teamwork and development. The focus moved away from individuals’ success and towards shared development. Based on this concept, he was able to bring about lasting success at IBM.

The fixed mindset sees failures as disasters; the growth mindset sees them as opportunities

  • People with a fixed mindset do not believe they can learn from their mistakes. They see a single failure as evidence that they will be losers forever: one defeat negates and devalues all past successes – Sergio Garcia on a bad streak would fire his caddies and blame even his shoes
  • In order to preserve whatever little self-confidence they have, people with a fixed mindset make excuses, cheat, or lose interest and look the other way. They do not seek help or analyze their weaknesses, and they certainly do not try to get better by practicing. They see themselves as a finished product – not a continual process.
  • Unlike Garcia, Michael Jordan had a growth mindset. Rather than finding fault in his teammates or the court’s floor, he looked for ways to improve his own skills and game.  He fluffed many game winning shots, but instead of excuses, he practiced and ended up a winner.
  • The solution is incredibly tiny goals.  The main threats to willpower are – effort, perceived difficulty and fatigue.

People with a fixed mindset avoid difficulties; those with a growth mindset relish them

  • When people with a fixed mindset are faced with a difficult situation, all they can see are risks, because the more time and energy they invest in something, the fewer excuses they have if they fail.  They believe in the enormous power of natural talent: gifted people should not need to try so hard.
  • This way of thinking makes it impossible for people with a fixed mindset to better themselves without questioning their own talent – and so they avoid difficult situations. They do not want to potentially make a fool of themselves. The violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg exhibited this behavior.
  • Christopher Reeve did not have this mindset.  Totally paralyzed he underwent a strenuous exercise program and define the odds by moving his upper body again

Our mindset is often strongly influenced by the role models we had as children

  • Mindset development begins at birth. Babies come into the world with a growth mindset: they want to learn and grow as much as possible each day
  • The adults in a child’s environment – usually his or her parents – play a huge role in determining whether the child maintains this desire to grow or eventually adopts a fixed mindset. Simply put, parents set a mindset example for their children.
  • Parents with a growth mindset encourage their children and urge them to continue learning, whereas those with a fixed mindset are always judging their children, telling them what is right or wrong, good or bad.
  • Teachers are also very important role models and influence children’s mindsets.
  • There are many teachers who believe that a student’s performance is unchangeable – that good students will continue to do well and weaker students will always get Cs or Ds. Weaker students will develop a fixed mindset as a result.  I personally experienced this in highschool and my with my son in elementary.
  • Our mindset is not entirely predetermined. It can change as early as childhood when we adopt the mindsets of our role models.

Anyone can adopt a growth mindset and make the impossible possible

  • Nobody has to be a victim of her surroundings when developing her own mindset. The brain can be trained like any other muscle: if we want a growth mindset, we can teach ourselves to think that way one step at a time
  • It is important to understand that a fixed mindset is not easy to kick. It has likely become an emotional crutch over the years: it protects us from failure, creates recognition in the eyes of our parents and partners, and boosts our self-confidence. It comforts us time and again, so getting rid of it can be extremely discomforting.

Date – 11.27.17
B-Book 34
: Mini Habits by Stephen Guise
The key message in this book: Instead of trying to motivate yourself to achieve daunting goals, take things one step at a time. By building up a routine of positive mini habits, you’ll give yourself the chance to enjoy small successes every day, while making real progress toward your true aspirations.

Actionable ideas from the book: Get inspired!

Want to create your own mini habits but feeling stuck for ideas? Why not check out minihabits.com for some inspiration. Once you’ve selected two or three habits, don’t let yourself forget about them – stick a reminder on the fridge or above your bed. Then, perform those habits for a week and watch as you become more energized!

Click to read more
My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  Our lives are governed by habits, stress forces us to resort to habits, bad habits can be changed, they are only neutral pathways, just repeating the actions, strengthens the connections, you cannot make an informed decision about everything, the basal ganglia is the culprit, it overpowers the Prefrontal Cortex, PFC gets tired easily, willpower is the key, motivation is good  but it cannot do it all, strengthen willpower with mini habits, by building up willpower you get to the end, don’t try to do it all at once, the enemy of willpower – effort, perceive difficulty and fatigue,  mini habit gives you ways to achieve goal, by using mini habit, it gives you control and help you mentally, choose habits wisely, ask why are they appealing, mini habis should not be daunting, they should be extremely easy, remember to get habit cues – things that tell you when to do perform your habit actions, go for 100% mini habit, record your mini habit, all thoughts have stronger presence when you write them down, aim for boring, boring means it is a habit, that is good, 

Most of our lives are governed by our habits

  • Ever had the autopilot feeling – showering, brushing teeth? – mind blank. These are tasks that have become habits, we do them automatically; 45% of our behavior are habits.
  • We’re especially prone to falling into habitual behaviors when we’re stressed – tired, overwhelmed or under pressure
  • Why does stress affect us in this way? Well, stress is often the result of being unable to make certain decisions
    • With habits we don’t have to make decisions. They are pre-programmed into our daily life. When stressed and incapable of making a decision, we resort to our habits.
  • Bad habits can be changed – habits are nothing more than neural pathways in the brain. They get thicker the more they’re used, and deteriorate when neglected. You create your own habits simply by repeating activities until they get easier and easier.
  • If you want to start getting up earlier in the morning, the first few weeks will be a struggle because those neural pathways are still weak. But soon enough, your brain will strengthen the connection between waking up and getting straight out of bed, while the habit of rolling over and going back to sleep becomes weaker and weaker.

Our brains feature a powerful habit-forming system

  • If you had to make and informed decision about everything, can you imagine grocery shopping – it would take forever.
  • The section of our brain (basal ganglia – BG) is responsible for repetitive programming.  Consider selecting a flavor at a fancy Gelato shop – we often just choose vanilla
    • Why? The repetitive program kicks in and we go for it.  That neural pathway is strongest.
    • Another reason we go straight to email or facebook when we turn on our computer or phone is based on the same concept
  • The basal ganglia is often so strong, it overpowers the prefrontal cortex: section responsible for conscious, reasonable decision making: . Unlike the BG, this part of our brain takes long-term consequences of actions, as well as abstract concepts like morality, into account.
    • But the prefrontal cortex has one major flaw: it gets tired fast.
  • So while you might reason against the bowl of icecream all day, eventually the PFC throws in the towel and BG steps in the breach – icecream.good.icecream.

Willpower, not motivation, is the best tool for creating good habits

  • Motivation is, of course, a good thing – but we are usually most motivated to do the things we really like
  • Motivation has its pitfalls, especially because it fluctuates according to how we feel. On a morning when you feel wonderful, it’s easy to do a set of 20 push-ups before breakfast – but it’s not so easy when you’ve got a hangover!
  • Additionally, motivation actually decreases the more we do something because it gets boring. I see that with my workout.
  • Motivation frankly isn’t enough to help you build up positive habits. Luckily, there’s another tool that is far better suited to help us create change in our lives. Instead of weakening with repetition, this tool can only get stronger – Willpower!
  • Every time you create a new positive habit, such as meditating each day, you flex your own willpower muscle. You can use this muscle for other activities too.
  • Willpower, unlike motivation, is dependable. You can build it up, and once you do, you can rely on it.

Mini habits are the most efficient investment for your limited willpower

  • Don’t try to eat the whole elephant in one bite – just take small “mini” bites; because if you do, your willpower will buckle and you will fail.
  • The solution is incredibly tiny goals.  The main threats to willpower are – effort, perceived difficulty and fatigue.
  •  Picking an easy goal eliminates the perception of difficulty and will unlikely fatigue – this is the comprehensive cure for a weak will power.
  • Mini habits gets you moving – you will need less willpower over time (Newton’s Law) – The greatest hurdles is going from inertia to mobility,
  • With a mini habit that helps you start small, you can be sure to start smoothly. In fact, you might even find out that you can achieve more than you set out to do!
    • Example: you might decide to do five push-ups, even though you only set a goal of doing one.

Mini habits have a whole host of additional benefits

  • By doing things that you were never brave enough to do before, you can see how mini habits boost your self-esteem.
  • Mini habits provide you with the unique opportunity to experience success – rather than failure – several times a day. When you set goals that you can easily fulfill, you’ll feel great, no matter how minor your achievements were.
  • Don’t aim to become a famous pop star tomorrow; instead, just practice the piano for five minutes each day – I will take this to heart for my guitar lessons.
  • Mini habits are also great at making you feel like you’re in control; We like to make our own decisions, which is what makes us happiest.

Plan and develop your mini habits carefully

  • First, choose your habits wisely. You can start with a list of habits that you’d like to have at some point in your life.
  • Next, ask yourself why are these habits appealing; this is to ensure that you’ve got the right motivations; habits should only be informed by what you really want to achieve
  • With a list of motivated habits established, it’s time to create mini habits to match. If you want to learn
  • If your mini habit is so small that it sounds silly to you, that’s great! That’s exactly how they should be.
  • Mini habits shouldn’t be daunting at all. They should be so small that you can incorporate several of them into your daily routine, starting out with two or three per day. After you’ve determined your mini habits, define and write down your habit cues.
  • Habit cues are signals that remind you it’s time to perform your mini habit. Say you want to do a yoga pose before breakfast; the time of day, or the fact that you’re getting hungry, could be your cues to engage with your mini habit.

Monitor your progress and don’t forget to reward yourself

  • Mini habits are easy to achieve, so you shouldn’t just aim for a 95 percent completion rate – go straight for 100 percent. The simplest way you can avoid skipping or switching your mini habit is by recording what you do, so be sure to write everything down.
  • All thoughts have a stronger presence in your mind when you write them down.
  • Whichever method you choose, it should be something you look at every day. This way, you can keep reminding yourself to complete your habits, maintain your progress and even build up more positive habits along the way.
  • If you manage to exceed your goals, pat yourself on the back, but remember to see that as a bonus, and not a signal to push yourself harder.
  • But what if writing just 50 words feels boring? Well, that’s good! This signals that your mini habit is a bona fide habit. It’s something you do automatically, without any resistance to complete it. This is something to celebrate, so reward yourself
  • Remember, it’s not just the goal that your habits lead to that’s important. Developing a daily routine that is full of helpful rituals is something you can be proud of too

This Week 2’s (11.19 – 11.25) Affirmation: Manage Energy, Minimize Distraction, Focus on Priorities!

Date – 11.25.17
B-Book 33
: Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
The key message in this book: By using radical candor, you can become the best possible boss. Radical candor helps you listen and express genuine care for your employees. It also allows you to directly challenge your staff members in a constructive way to which they’ll be receptive. This makes leadership a collaborative and personal process that brings out the best in everyone.

Actionable advice: Have a growth plan for your employees.

Don’t just think of your staff as people who are only there to do what you assign them to do. Think of them as individuals on a career path and work with them to develop a plan that keeps that career on track.

Click to read more
My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  Managers should care about worker and challenge them, talk about more than business, employees must be candid, being honest opens up lines, be open and  honest. good working relation is highly personal, being candid may not seem to be open and available, radical candor is a delicate balance, give good feedback, don’t cherry coat it, be honest, so you can grow your worker, being honest and direct doesn’t mean being mean, choice between asshole and nice – be the asshole, ruinous empathy, some jobs are tedious, don’t sugar coat it, if  it is boring it is, don’t fire someone if you can help it and certainly not before you have implemented radical candor – do everything to improve, effect on team, consider outside opinion, practice colab leadership, your job as a leader is not to tell people what to do, give team time and space to develop idea, allow for health debate,  the 2 ways of listening – quiet listening, and loud listening,, support the dreams of you staff, 

Radical candor develops strong and beneficial relationships between managers and employees

  • At the heart of radical candor are two principles: a manager should personally care about their employees and challenge them in their work
  • The first step is to become more than just a coworker by establishing personal relationships that prove you genuinely care. This means opening up, sharing and talking about more than just business. Contrary to what some may think, a good working relationship is a highly personal one.
  • A good manager must also be willing to challenge their employees when they’re not meeting expectations.
  • This can be difficult for managers. Being candid and direct doesn’t always feel like friendly and caring behavior. But as we’ll explore further, challenging your staff to be their best is indeed the hallmark of a boss who truly cares.
  • By being honest and direct with your employees, you’ll find that new lines of communication readily open up. Staff will be quick and willing to accept your feedback, and they’ll feel free to offer feedback regarding your work as team leader
  • When you’re radically candid with your staff, they’ll become radically candid among themselves, making a healthy, productive and efficient work environment.

Radical candor is a delicate balance between being direct and honest while not offending

  • Even when your intentions are positive, there’s a delicate skill to providing guidance and criticism while coming across as helpful, rather than mean. And this is exactly what radical candor can achieve
  • Example of feedback after speech – shows us how radical candor gets results by being open, honest and direct.
    • Boss didn’t let the overall success of the presentation discourage her from pointing out how it could have been even better. And she didn’t wait to provide feedback, either, which allowed Scott to immediately improve her performance
    • Boss was honest and direct about both the positive and negative aspects of the work, and didn’t sugar coat anything. This ensured that the point was received and wasn’t mistaken for a personal attack.

Radical candor avoids the pitfalls of overly aggressive, lazy and fearful management

  • Being honest and direct does not give you the right to be obnoxiously aggressive.
  • Radical candor is about expressing care for your staff, as well as being open and direct. When a boss humiliates an employee with their criticism, they create enemies, destroy morale and cause people to quit their job
  • If you have to choose between being an unpopular asshole who tells it like it is or being a friendly boss who can’t be critical of your staff, choose being unpopular. In the long run, it will be better for business and everyone involved if you are clear and honest. Radical candor is the best however.
  • As boss, avoid – manipulative insincerity (telling her, the presentation was good went it was terrible) and ruinous empathy (don’t say anything because you don’t want to hurt her feeling after a bad presentation). This is about not caring or challenging your employees to help themselves grow. It usually stems from being a lazy manager.
  • When a boss refuses to be critical of an employee whose performance is deteriorating, that employee will only grow more incompetent until the manager is forced to fire them.  Being honest is always in their best interest.

Bosses shouldn’t manufacture a false meaning for a job; they should provide professional development

  • In reality, some jobs are tedious, and it isn’t the manager’s role to make them appear otherwise.
  • Being radically candid means that you’re honest and don’t sugarcoat things to motivate your employees.
  •  There’s no need to feel you must solve your employees’ existential dilemmas.
  • Superstar employees need to be challenged and permitted to grow quickly so they can move up the corporate ladder and reach their full potential
  • Rockstar employees offer a steadier presence, and they will be great as long as they’re given the stability and time to excel at the job they’re given.

Firing someone is a troubling experience, so be sure to take every consideration before it happens

  • Any manager will tell you that firing people is one of the hardest parts of the job
  • Not only are you taking away a source of money, but families can lose health insurance, and the whole incident can cause all sorts of marital strife.
  • You need to consider three main points before a firing takes place
    • First of all, every effort should be made to help the employee improve their performance – use radical candor – be direct and honest
    • Second, consider effect the employee has on the team. If the person is an annoying/demoralizing presence, then it makes sense to let them go
    • Third, consider outside opinion. If you have any doubts, it’s good to bring in an impartial third party and get their opinion on the matter.
  • No one wants to be involved in a firing, but there’s also a good chance that the departing employee needs to find a job that better suits his skills.

Managers shouldn’t tell people what to do; instead, they should practice collaborative leadership

  • The right way to see leadership – your team is a great opportunity to collaborate with talented individuals.
  • Nevertheless, many managers mistakenly believe their job is to tell people what to do, which will only lead to problems since leaders make mistakes.
  • Practice calaborative leadership:
    • The first step is to really listen to what the people in your team have to say. When you do this, your team will feel safe to speak their minds and have the kind of discussions that lead to brilliant ideas
    • The second step is to give your team the time and space to develop their ideas. Otherwise, they can end up being shot down before they ever have a chance to be clearly understood.
    • The third step is to allow for healthy debate so that the best ideas are presented and agreed upon.
    • The final step is for you, the manager, to persuade other company executives that your team’s idea is worth pushing forward. Then it’s up to you to execute the idea and make sure everyone gains valuable insight from the results.

Depending on your personality, you can listen quietly or loudly

  • The first thing you should know is there are two ways of listening, and you should practice the one that suits your personality.
    • On the one hand, there is quiet listening, which suits leaders who prefer to let others do the talking. Stay quiet until they are finish.
    • Loud listening, on the other hand, is good for leaders with a more confrontational personality.  You have to encourage challenging your idea
  • Listening to your employees is key to promoting an effective and creative team.

To support your employees, have honest discussions that reveal their true motivations

  • Managers should support the dreams of their staff and help them approach those dreams in a realistic fashion.
  • To do this, you must first talk (and listen) to your employees so that you understand their aspirations, and they know that you are personally invested in helping them get on the right path
  • To understand your employees’ dreams and identify important motivators (Spirulina farming), use one of three kinds of conversations.
    • The first is the life story conversation where the employee tells you everything leading up to the present day, and you try to find their motivating factors.
    • The second is the dream job conversation, where they describe their biggest career desire
    • The third is the 18-month plan conversation, where they look into the immediate future, and you identify everything that can be done to keep them on the right track
  • By following these guidelines, it won’t be long before you have a team of highly motivated individuals working together and achieving great things

Date – 11.23.17
B-Book 32
: Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath
The key message in this book:  Staying healthy isn’t just one decision; it’s dozens of little decisions every day. You don’t have to reinvent yourself to get in shape and increase your chances of living a long and healthy life. Start by eating a lot of protein, avoiding excess sugar or carbohydrates, limiting stretches of inactivity and taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can. Finally, get enough sleep and make sure it’s the right kind of sleep. A lot of little changes taken together can make a big difference.

Actionable advice: Eat fruits and vegetables with dark and vibrant colors.

There’s no shortcut for knowing the healthiest foods, but going for dark, vibrant fruits and vegetables is a good rule of thumb. Eat anything green, like broccoli, spinach, kale or cucumbers. Red and blue fruits like apples, strawberries and raspberries are also highly nutritious.

Click to read more
My Stream of Consciousness from this book: Most people don’t start taking care of themselves early, they wait for a doctor to declare something is wrong with them.   it is not easy to live a health lifestyle, 90% of population could live longer, exercise is essential, think deeply about food, is the food good for you – think about it.  quality is better than quantity, avoid potato chips, limt time of inactivity, don’t sit around, it is essential, sitting more than 7 hours a day is bad – sitting cause cholesterol to precipitously rise, sleep is essential, top performer get more than 8 hours of sleep per night, sugar is a health hazard, watch all the food you eat,  watch process food for sugar content, sugar has no nutritional value, cigarette and sugar are similar, sleep is instictive, efficient sleep is essential.

Small lifestyle changes can have a big impact and increase your chance of living a longer life

  • A lot of people don’t start taking care of themselves until their doctor utters some fateful words, likely along the lines of “You’re out of shape,” or “You’d better start shaping up if you want to make it to your retirement.”
  • Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy. It can be hard to say no to a can of soda or a larger portion of fries, but resisting these temptations will bring you great benefits. The sooner you start treating your body right, the better your chances of living a long and healthy life.
  • 90 percent of the population could live to be 90 years of age or older simply by making some important lifestyle choices.
  • Even if you have a genetic tendency to be obese, for example, exercise can reduce that predisposition by up to 40 percent.

Pay attention to every bite you take: eat more proteins and less empty carb

  • You have to think a lot more deeply about your food if you really want to be healthy.
  • There’s one question you should ask yourself before you take a bite of anything: Is this a net gain or a net loss in terms of nutritional value?
  • People go on diets assuming they’ll reach a specific end point. For example, they might hope to lose ten pounds by avoiding carbohydrates for two months. Diets are thus short-term; they’re not enough for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Also, the quality of what you eat is more important than the quantity. Don’t just rely on counting calories – there’s a lot more to food than that.
  • Processed meat should be last on your list of proteins.
  • Some foods should always be avoided, like potato chips, which have over 20 grams of carbohydrate for each gram of protein!

Limiting the time when you’re inactive is even more important than exercise

  • When it comes to staying active, going to the gym every two days isn’t enough; you have to limit your inactivity, too.
  • Reducing your chronic inactivity is even more important than doing short exercise sessions.
    • In fact, a 240,000-person study by the NIHealth found that adults who spend the most time seated have a 50 percent higher mortality rate; even exercising 7 hours a week wasn’t enough to reduce this.
  • If you sit for more than six hours a day, your risk of death increases at a rate similar to the risk of smoking or being overexposed to sunlight. Your good cholesterol drops by 20 percent after just two hours of sitting – and you’ll start burning calories at a rate of only one per minute!
  • So try to be active in your daily routine by adjusting your habits. It’s more effective than irregular exercise and it’s easier too!
  • People who watch over four hours of television per day are more than twice as likely to suffer a major cardiac event.

Getting enough sleep is a crucial part of staying healthy and productiv

  • Few people get a proper amount of sleep these days. Sure, we’re all busy – but sleep is one thing you should never neglect.
  • Studies have shown that losing just 90 minutes of sleep decreases your alertness by one-third.
    • Think of it this way: who would you rather have fly your plane – a well-rested pilot or a pilot who stayed up all night studying landing techniques?
  • Top performers get an average of eight hours and 36 minutes of sleep each night
    • The average American sleeps only six hours and 51 minutes on weeknights. Sleep is a vital part of reaching your goals, so don’t write it off as a sign of laziness.

Sugar is a serious health hazard and should be treated like a controlled substance

  • Cigarettes and sugar are more similar than you think in terms of the harm they can cause the human body.
  • The average person consumes their own weight or more in sugar every year. Added sugar in processed foods is always unnecessary – healthy foods like fruits and vegetables already contain enough natural sugar as they are.
  • Added sugar is only there to give your food extra flavor; it doesn’t have any nutritional value and it’s dangerous to our health. One Harvard University study found that sugary drinks contribute to 180,000 deaths every year!
  • Your brain gets excited and releases dopamine when you eat sugar, in the same way that it does if you smoke a cigarette. And like cigarettes, the more sugar you eat, the more of it you crave

Quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep

  • Sleep is an instinctive act and we all do it, but it’s still something you can improve.
  • Since it’s such a fundamental part of your health, it’s important to sleep efficiently. Efficient sleep is the time when you’re really sleeping, and not just tossing and turning in bed.

Date – 11.21.17
B-Book 31
: The Memory Palace by Lewis Smile
The key message in this book: Our brain has an enormous capacity for memory and it goes largely unused. By utilizing spatial memory and building a memory palace we can unlock this potential. This technique can make a memory champion out of anyone: in just 15 minutes you can retain more information than most people can memorize in an hour.

My Stream of Consciousness from this book: Your memory is a muscle; it can be trained, connect things and images to a physical space, use your spatial memory remember facts, we use our spatial memory every day, you can train it, we are fighting against evolution when we don’t use it, we can connect factual info to name and place, create mental picture of a physical space – we call it a memory palace – it can be you house, turn memory palace into a short and silly story, start with something jarring, ex. of Obama, the Magna Cart

Click to read more

Your memory is like a muscle: you can strengthen it through training

  • Think of your memory as a hidden muscle. Like other muscles, it can deteriorate if neglected. Perhaps you think that only the smartest and brightest have the ability to retain knowledge and recall facts. But the truth of the matter is that the potential muscle power of memory is strong in all of us.
  • So what kind of training can you do to drastically improve your memory?
    • The most effective tool for remembering information like names and dates is to connect them to an image or place. This technique takes advantage of our spatial memory, and the crazier the image the better it works.

Your spatial memory is old and powerful – use it to remember virtually anything

  • Do you ever wonder why it is you can remember every street and corner shop of your hometown but seem to forget the details of your shopping list the moment you put down the pen? The answer lies in your spatial memory
  • You use your spatial memory every day to remember important places and find your way home from work. Without it we’d be lost, constantly forgetting where we are and how to get to our destination.
  • It was more important to remember where to run to safety than to remember, for example, long lists of names.
  • This means nowadays we’re actually fighting our evolution when we try to remember those long lists of names and numbers
  • By training your spatial memory to meet the demands of the modern world you’ll find that you can in fact connect factual information to familiar physical places. And with some regular exercise you’ll be able to hold onto those names and numbers forever.

Use a mental image of a familiar place to improve your memory

  • One way to expand your memory is to create a mental picture of a physical space that will act as a structure for your memories. Let’s call this space a memory palace
  • You can use your imagination to turn your own house into your personal memory palace, or maybe the familiar path from the bakery to work. As long as you are very familiar with it and can clearly visualize it, your memory palace will work
  • Now, to turn your memory palace into a memory powerhouse we just need to add a story, and the crazier the story, the more memorable the images and information will be
  • As you move through your memory palace, each room should contain a short and silly story that will connect the information you want to remember to the room in question.
  • Start with something jarring – President Obama waking you up and telling the Magna Carta was established in England in 1215
  • It’s best to take a moment and imagine this image as vividly as possible. For the memory palace to really work, you have to use your imagination and see things in your mind’s eye.

Use your memory palace to remember Shakespeare’s most important play

  • The use of vivid imagery to remember Shakespare’s plays.

Date – 11.19.17
B-Book 30
: The 5 Choices by Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill and Leena Rinne 
The key message in this book:  As long as you’re willing to change, you can become more productive. It’s not about working longer or harder, but rather about working better and concentrating on what’s important. And also, it’s a matter of taking care of your body and mind, so you have the energy to be productive.

Actionable advice:   If you’re feeling overwhelmed by email, take an hour to organize your inbox.

Archive the older messages and sort the rest. Then set up some automatic filters to handle the sorting for you in the future. That way, you won’t become overwhelmed again.Make sure you exercise and eat well, even when you’re busy.

It’s tempting to let your exercise routine slide when you’ve got a lot going on. But that oversight will backfire. Extraordinarily productive people take care of themselves and create time for daily wellness.

Click to read more

My St
ream of Consciousness from this book: Organize your tasks each week, use the pause-clarify-decide method, set achievable goals to stay on trock, big rock-small rock analogy, design a plan you can stick with, MTL is a must have, streamline your work so you don’t waste time, manage your energy, eat and sleep, do rewarding work, (charity), move your body – get physical and maintain connection with people

To be truly productive, focus on important but non-urgent tasks

  • To avoid distraction, organize your tasks using a time matrix, a productivity tool consisting of four quadrants, each accounting for a different portion of your time.
    • Q1 includes important, urgent work – Emergencies and last minute requests
    • Q2 consists of time spent working on important tasks that aren’t urgent   <== Focus here
    • Q3 time is for work that’s urgent but not important – checking email
    • Q4 time you waste doing pointless shit
  • We do our best work in Q2. It’s where we can focus and think, instead of simply reacting to whatever comes our way.
  • To stay in Q2 use the Pause-Clarify-Decide method to determine rationally whether the task is important.  Don’t open every email

Be productive and complete important work by defining roles and setting achievable goals

  • We should spend most of our time focusing on important work. But what is important work, exactly?
  • This depend on what your focus is on a particular day – define goals for each role title and then set out a statement that you can use specific tasks to achieve.
    • Role: Professional Web Developer | Role Statement: I will strive to be an excellent WebDev by building 2 service applications by Fall 2018
    • Set achievable goals to stay on track and timeline to check progress

Create a schedule to complete important work in the upcoming week

  • Big rock – small rock analogy; clearing the big rock is fastest, but uses up lots of energy, going the small rock route takes longer.
  • The way to optimize is to start by designing a plan you can stick with – Master Task List – track important tasks for the week ahead
  • Put the big rocks – the top 3 things you want to achieve each week say and then fill in the gravel with less important (priority things)
  • MTL also allow you to get stuff out of your head and on paper/coputer
  • Also set aside time to plan too – each week and each day.

Streamline your decision-making process so you can focus on what really matters

  • How do you streamline and optimize your decision making process:
    • Link your calendar and contacts, with your tasking list so that you don’t spend a lot of mental energy moving things around.
    • It is important that you have good flow between these separate parts.

The most effective productivity system is useless if you aren’t taking care of your body and mind

  • the best way to look after yourself – and especially your brain – is through energy management
  • Our brains only take up two percent of our body mass, but consumes 20 percent of our energy. We need to make sure you have enough energy to feed your brain!
    • We need to eat properly and get enough rest – we need to manage our energy level
  • Beyond the physical requirement of food and rest, we can refill our energy stores by:
    • Doing rewarding work – like charity
    • We have to get physical – we have to move
    • We need to maintain strong social connection with people

This Week 1’s Affirmation: I will seek to gain strength in the quiet moments!

Date – 11.17.17
B-Book 29
: Your Brain at Work by David Rock
The key message in this book: It is a common misconception that, if you aren’t delivering your best work, you should simply try harder. Often, however, the brain just needs more fuel and rewards to keep going. The reason for this is that your brain gets tired and distracted easily, and is strongly rewarded by status, certainty and control. So, for your brain to work optimally, it helps to eliminate day-to-day distractions, find out ways to have more choice and autonomy in your life, and, most importantly, train your ability to reflect on your thinking..

Actionable advice: Identify and eliminate distractions

Recognizing and then dismissing everyday distractions is important if you want to stay focused. So, next time you have to do work that requires active thinking, remember that your performance will benefit greatly with your mobile phone switched off and a closed email program. This way your brain won’t have to use its limited energy on thinking about the missed calls and all the accumulating unread mails. What’s more, if people learn that you only answer your mails during a limited time window, chances are they will send you only the most important mails.

Lower your expectations.

A good way to maintain a positive frame of mind is to actually lower your expectations just a tad. Next time you catch yourself getting overly thrilled by the thought of getting a promotion or any other kind of reward, try to push aside the urge to get too excited. This way it will be a pleasant surprise if you actually are rewarded, and won’t be as painful if you aren’t as lucky.

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My St
ream of Consciousness from this book:  Don’t burn the midnight oil,do one mental thing at a time, prioritizing drains the brain mental energy, turns task into routine – requires less energy, prevent distraction like computer and phone from taking over by vetoing, we need norepinephrine-dopamine balance to be focus and effective, insights are important, go for walk and meditate to use the unconscious, insight is depends on the unconscious mind, take break from conscious thinking, observe our own thinking – mindfulness, it forces you to think about your now, it forces you to come back to now, focus on where your are now – i.e feel the sensations of sitting in the chair, reappraisal – use humor to shift the perspective, regulate expectation – dopamine levels, getting a reward goes up, not it falls, pay attention to your expectation so you can control them, relatedness and  – friends are important – oxytocin,  frees up brains to plan and strategize, we can trick brain into status, winning argument or that you are better – dopamine and serotonin go up, cortisol drops, you can trick yourself into status, find a place that you better that other in, don’t try to change other person by feedback, they have to see it for themselves, get them into a conducive, reflective frame of mind. Do this by reducing anxiety and increasing any positive feelings and sense of autonomy they may have, you have to raise their status,

Your ability to think well is a limited resource, so conserve the resource at every opportunity

  • We all know what it’s like to “burn the midnight oil.” The later we work into the night, the less we’re able to think clearly
  • We use a massive amount of energy in all our daily interactions, this fatigues our ability to think clearly. This indicates that our capacity for active thought is limited
  • Performing more than one conscious process simultaneously is more taxing; this results in quick performance decline – don’t do more than one mental tasks  at a time
  • We have to conserve the brain’s energy for only the most important tasks – not phone calls and emails.
  • We must prioritize certain tasks above others. But be aware that prioritizing is itself a task that drains energy, so ensure you prioritize when your mind is alert and fresh.
  • Another way to conserve energy is to turn tasks into routines, as these can be stored as patterns that won’t require you giving your full attention to a task.

Our attention is very easily distracted, but there are strategies for staying focused

  • Whenever we’re distracted, our attention is diverted, and refocusing that attention takes time and effort
  • We don’t just have to deal with external distractions, we also many internal distractions: the constant stream that surface into consciousness and impair our focus
    – Every time we try to resist being distracted, we decrease our ability to do so. This is because self-control is a limited resource
  •  How can we maintain our focus when we’re surrounded by potential distractions?
    – You have to prevent those distractions from seizing our attention by develop the habit of “vetoing” those behaviors that distract us.
    – This requires us to turn off all communication devices whenever we need to do any kind of active thinking.

Optimal mental performance requires just the right level of arousal of your brain

  • For us to be alert, our brains require exactly the right level of norepinephrine,
    – This chemical is triggered when we’re scared. Fear activates our alertness, and alertness is a crucial part of being focused
  • For our interest to be aroused, our brains need just the right amount of another chemical: dopamine.
    – Dopamine is triggered whenever we experience something new or unexpected, which means it’s an important factor in our becoming interested in something.
  •  For our brains to function at their peak, it’s crucial that the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain are just right: not too high, not too low

Insights make it possible to overcome mental blocks that limit you to the same small set of solutions

  • Have you ever had to deal with a challenging problem that demanded a creative solution, but were simply unable to get past a certain point? You hit a wall
  • Often, the only way to break through this wall is through insight – a perfect solution that seems to suddenly appear out of nowhere, and which recombines what we already know in a brand new way.
  • We do not arrive at insights by logical reasoning, but rather we simply, and suddenly, find ourselves on the other side of the impasse.
  • Insight depends on the unconscious mind, which frees us from the established logical thought processes that can obscure other possible solutions.
  • Insight is more likely to arrive when you’re not using your conscious mind to solve a problem.
  • Arriving at Insight and breaking mental impasse: Take break from conscious thinking about the problem – take a walk, meditate; give problem to the uncoscious

Mindfulness can help you focus by actually changing the structure of your brain

  • Improving the way your mind works, and thus increasing your ability to focus, first requires that you’re able to observe your own thinking. This process is known as mindfulness, a concept that also refers to living in the present, having a real-time awareness of our experiences, and an acceptance of what is
  • Those who practice mindfulness – have far more control over what they pay attention to.
    – For instance, if you take a day off from a stressful job to spend a day at the beach with a good friend, mindfulness will help you to notice whenever your focus slips from the wonderful weather and beautiful scenery onto the pile of work you have to slog through the next day.
    – Once you observe this tendency in your thinking, you’re then able to shift your attention back to the present moment and the great day you’re having
  • by practicing mindfulness regularly, you can actually alter the structure of your brain.
  • Among the many ways to practice mindfulness is periodically focusing your attention on physical sensations and incoming stimuli – perhaps the feeling of the chair you’re sitting on – just for a ten seconds or so
  • The more you practice, the better you’ll get at noticing your focus shifting from real-time awareness of your experience to the mind’s distracting chatter
  • practicing mindfulness will increase the strength of those areas of your brain that handle mental control and attention switching.
  • You just have to take the time to focus on your sensory experiences.o

Feelings of certainty and control are very rewarding to the brain, and you can activate these feelings yourself

  • We’ve all experienced uncertainty and lack of control, and the deep emotional responses they trigger.
  • The strong emotional response we experience when we lack control and autonomy actually stems from our appraisal of the situation.
  • We can change our appraisals and, by doing so, transform our emotional responses
    – This process of choosing to interpret a situation differently is called “reappraisal,” and there are many benefits to it.
    – One kind of reappraisal is humor: it shifts the perspective and can transform one’s experience of a situation from gravely serious to funny and lighthearted.
  • So, by reappraising you can better manage the strong emotions generated by the lack of certainty and autonomy.It’s important, in the early stages of your hustle, to know exactly what sort of trajectory your business is on..

Regulating your expectations is key to a general feeling of happiness

  • Why do unmet expectations make us feel so bad? – Dopamine
  • If what transpires exceeds our expectations, our brain’s dopamine levels increase, generating our interest and desire
  • expecting a reward, like a pay raise, but not getting it causes our dopamine levels to plunge, and this results in us feeling something very similar to pain.
  • It follows, then, that to maintain a positive mental state we have to manage and regulate our expectations
  • The most effective way to do this is to get into the habit of paying attention to your expectations. This will allow you to consciously adjust and lower them, so that you enable your expectations to be exceeded.

A feeling of relatedness to others and a sense of being treated fairly are primary rewards for the brain.

  • We often don’t think our feelings of relatedness to others, and of fairness, are crucial to our physical survival, but, actually, they’re as important as food and water.
    – For our brains, friends are as necessary to our wellbeing as food
  • When we feel connected to others, relating our thoughts and emotions with theirs, our brains release oxytocin, a neurochemical that produces a sense of pleasure.
  • Studies have revealed that people are less responsive to stress if they have plenty of rewarding friendships. This lack of stress frees up the brain’s resources to deal with planning and thinking, and even reduces the chances of heart disease or stroke.
  • A sense of fairness is very important to our wellbeing, as it can be even more rewarding to the brain than money.

We are wired to feel rewarded for increases in our status, and can trick our brains into status rewards

  • If you’ve ever gotten a kick out of winning an argument, spent money on clothes from a designer fashion store, or even felt good about meeting someone worse off than yourself, you know that feeling an increase in status can trigger a sense of reward.
  • This is because when we perceive an increase in our status, we get a positive emotional response: our dopamine and serotonin levels (chemicals essential to happiness) go up, and our cortisol levels (an indicator of stress) do down.
  • But a sense of our increased status doesn’t just make us feel happier; it also improves our ability to think. That’s because the high levels of dopamine and serotonin increase the amount of neural connections we can make per hour, which means it takes less effort to process more information.
  • How can you increase your status:
    – Find a niche, any niche, where you can feel superior to other people – for instance, funnier, richer or more intelligent.
    – You can even trick yourself into feeling superior. The benefit  is you can increase your status without pissing other off.
    – One way is to increase things that others don’t really see – he is good at math…keep practicing to get better.

Feedback rarely creates positive change in others; instead, try helping them arrive at their own insights

  • Have you ever tried to change another person’s thinking? We often believe the best approach is to give that person lots of feedback, but giving feedback actually doesn’t help improve performance. Instead, real change can occur only when the other person sees his errors for herself.
  • The reason that giving feedback is so ineffective is that is tends to make people extremely anxious.
  • Instead, a better approach to facilitate change in people is to try to guide them towards their own insights regarding the problem
  • To do this, you need to help people to get into a conducive, reflective frame of mindThis can be achieved by reducing any anxiety and increasing any positive feelings and sense of autonomy they may have
  • Let’s just work together and see if we can find a way to rescue the situation.”
  • By doing this, you raise the other person’s status because you’re implying that they are capable of good ideas that are worth exploring.
  • Another way to help others arrive at their own insights is to reward them for giving feedback to themselves

Date – 11.15.17
B-Book 28
: Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau
The key message in this book:  Absolutely anyone can create and launch a successful part-time business. It doesn’t require much time, money or effort to start one, and it doesn’t mean quitting your day job. A side hustle is a great idea. It gives you an extra paycheck, but without the terrifying risks of being a self-employed entrepreneur.

Actionable advice: Create a workflow for your side hustle.

When working out how your customers will purchase your product or service and receive what they’ve paid for, it’s useful to write a list of processes that need to take place along the way. This list of processes is called a workflow. When you make this master list of activities, actions and next steps, you should consider:

  • How will prospective customers learn about your idea?
  • What will happen immediately after the customer registers for or purchases what you’re selling?
  • What else needs to occur in order for the customer to purchase and actually get your product or service?
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My St
ream of Consciousness from this book:   Side hustle freeom,  invest not too much, energy and time, feasible, profitable, persuasive, does it motivate me, earn money is it doable in a short period of time, project profit, price – pitch – promise, price should include call to action, offer must have sense of urgency, color red suggest urgency, you need a website, social media profile – twitter and facebook  , payment system, provide value by responding to need, empahsiise beniefit, appeal to emotions, reach out to supporters – families and friends, mentors, influences – blogs, customers – ask , identify what your are doing wrong and do more, if you think your idea is good but people just don’t like it yet – drop it, if you are making a little money – identify what you are doign well and do more

A side hustle provides a form of job freedom that absolutely anyone can attain  

  • A side hustle can be defined as a profitable business venture that operates as an adjunct to other paid work or employment. No more than the bare minimum amount of time, money and effort should be invested. It shouldn’t be a big deal.
  • A side hustle gives you a taste of entrepreneurship, but without all the risks of going it alone

Strong ideas for strong hustles arise from careful questioning and a bit of math

  • To get going, it’s important to recognize that hustle-worthy ideas share three qualities. They need to be feasible, profitable and persuasive.
  • If you can answer yes to the following three questions, then the idea is feasible. Does your idea motivate you? Will it earn you money? Can it be accomplished in a short period of time?
  • An idea is persuasive if your customers can’t say no.
  • So once you’ve got some feasible, profitable and persuasive ideas, you’ve got to do some basic math. You should calculate the projected profit of each hustle with this equation: “anticipated income minus anticipated expenses.
  • You should calculate the projected profits twice. One should be a conservative projection, the other an optimistic one, depending on the predicted strength of possible outcomes.

Transform your side hustle idea into an offer with a price, a pitch and a promise

  • Once you’ve got your idea, you can turn it into an offer. Every offer includes three elements: a promise, a pitch and a price
    • The promise is a bold statement that tells customers how they’ll immediately profit – that is, how you’ll change their life. Jake promised “The most awesome guitar lessons in the universe.”
    • A pitch tells customers all they need to know, with no irrelevant details. Jake’s pitch was “The typical goal is to have fun (always first and foremost), as well as learn the instrument, all while maximizing efficiency so we meet your goals.”
    • Your price communicates the cost, and should also include a “call to action.” A tag like “phone this number” or “click this button” should do the trick. It needs to be easy and obvious.
  • The best offers also create a sense of urgency. Your potential customers need to think they want your hustle immediately.
  • A good way to do this is to ensure you respond to queries from customers quickly and efficiently.
  • Another technique for communicating urgency is to use the color red. Highlighting words like “now” or “today” works wonder

Your side hustle needs resources. Make a shopping list and prioritize what’s required

  • First, a website. This is your online home, and a content-management system such as WordPress can make setting it up easy.
  • social media profile. You needn’t be operating on every single platform – just one or two should be fine – Facebook and Twitter
  • Scheduling tool to focus your efforts on your hustle
  • payment system. Be sure to have an invoicing system, PayPal account or shopping cart on your website before you launch
  • Once you have these four elements sorted out, you should prioritize providing more value and generating more money. Value is best improved by responding to customers’ unspoken needs. 

Sell your side hustle effectively by understanding its benefits and involving the right people

  • So what can a side hustler learn from the Girl Scouts? Well, they sell so many cookies not just because the cookies are scrumptious but because people know that they are.
  • When you’re selling a product or service, you’ve really got to emphasize its merits. Lead with the benefits. You might tell customers that your product will make them happier or their lives simpler and better. Ideally, you should connect with people’s emotions.
  • Once you’re able to distill your side hustle’s benefits, you should reach out to four types of people who can help you along the way. There’s no need to do your solo side project alone.
    • First, find supporters. Most likely this means your family and friends – people who can contribute in different ways and support your efforts
    • Second, seek out mentors. These are guides or experts who can give you feedback and advice.
    • Third, identify influencers. These are trendsetters who’ll spread the news about your product. Trusted authorities, like reviewers or bloggers, are generally best for this.
    • Fourth, locate some ideal customers. These people are perfectly placed to evaluate products and respond to questions you might have with honest and detailed answers.

Identify what’s working best in your side hustle. Then do more of it

  • A business is never in stasis. It’s either on an upward trajectory – or it’s sinking
  • It’s important, in the early stages of your hustle, to know exactly what sort of trajectory your business is on.
  • Once you’re up and running, ask yourself a simple question: is your venture making money? There are three possible answers.
    • First, you might find you’re far exceeding initial expectations. Fine, that’s great. You’ve obviously got to keep going.
    • Second, you might think your original idea was good, but people haven’t latched onto it. It’s difficult to admit it, but that’s the time to cut your losses and move on
    • Third you’ve found your idea hasn’t completely gained traction, but as it’s making a bit of money it doesn’t make sense to pull the plug.  If this last option sounds familiar, identify what are the things you are doing right and do more of it drop the rest.

Date – 11.14-2017
B-Book 27
: The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
The key message in this book:  Less is more. By focusing on the essential, we achieve our goals with less effort and give ourselves the flexibility we need to lead a fulfilled life.

My Stream of Consciousness from this book:   Get your priorities straight, ask the important questions, what are the important things, what are my goals, focus on your priorities, invest time to ask the important question,, limit  wasting time on unimportant things, let other know what’s important to you, change your habit – change you life, work on one habit at a time, take care of the most important things first things in the morning, consistency is the key, failure is demotivating, habit is at the heart of change, goal setting is easy,  achieving them is far harder, set up goals with sub goals, only work on 3 projects at a time, focus is the most important, no multitasking, it wastes time, live in the now, start everyday with the most important tasks, make task small – you will do them, the big tasks don’t get done, define the 3 MIT’s each day, do them early and make them close to your goals, minimize time spent on email, only read them twice a day.

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If you want to concentrate on what’s necessary, get your priorities straight..    

  • If you want to concentrate on the essential, you have to figure out exactly what things are essential to you
  • How can you tell what’s essential – by asking the following:
    • What are my values and goals?
    • What’s important to me? What do I love?
    • What has the biggest influence on my life?  What things have the biggest influence in the long term?
    • What do I really need? What are just desires?
  • You can also ask yourself
    • What are my main goals?
    • Which of my obligations are really essential?
    • Which of my projects match up with my long-term goals?
    • How much email do I really need in my life?
    • What possessions do I really need?
  • If you know your priorities, you can judge how important all your tasks, projects and other obligations really are. It’s worth investing time to gain a clear idea about these important questions

Live your priorities: make and be clear about decisions.

  • Limiting ourselves allows us to focus our energy on the important things in life. In other words, we can stop wasting time and energy on things that aren’t actually worth it
  • The point of this is actually not to restrict ourselves; rather, by deliberately setting limits, we free up time and energy to do important things and get rid of the unimportant ones.
  • We have to also make sure other people understand that our time is limited and our priorities are clear. In this way, the people around us appreciate our time and energy, and stop bothering us with unimportant things.

If you want to change your life, change your habits.

  • If you want to make a lasting change in yourself, you have to learn to form and develop new habits
  • That works best when you limit yourself to working on one habit at a time. Just work on one each day
  • And if you force yourself to write a progress report every day, the probability that you’ll work on the new habit every day increases.
  • Habit that produce positive change in life of many people include:
    • Only checking emails twice per day (struggling with this, but I am going to get there)
    • Taking care of the day’s three most important tasks every morning
    • Doing five to ten minutes of exercise every day – got this down; maybe a little too much
    • Eating fruit every day (hmmm… will have to work towards this)

Develop your habits slowly but surely

  • Consistency is the key to creating habits. And you’re most likely to achieve consistency by starting small and slowly working towards your goals.
  • If you want to acquire a new habit, the smaller you start, the greater your prospects of success. Because big changes often lead to failure, and failure is demotivating, causing you to want to ditch your plans
  • Changes are most successful when you work consistently on one new habit.
  • Habits lie at the heart of change – and consistency is the secret ingredient to creating new habits.

Focus on one success at a time: think in goals, sub-goals, projects and tasks

  • Setting goals is easy; achieving them is far harder.  We need energy, focus and motivation – but they are in short supply
  • That’s why we’re most likely to achieve something when we focus exclusively on that one specific goal.
  • In order to come a step closer to achieving your main goal, divide it into several smaller sub-goals that can be achieved in shorter periods of time
  • By achieving a sub-goal every week say, you come a small step closer to achieving your main goal every week.
  • For the work of the sub-goal, you can create concrete project with concrete tasks to work on.
  • Choose no more than three projects and don’t begin any new projects until these three have been completed.

Stay focused – live in the now and concentrate fully on every task

  • Focus is your most important tool.
  • When doing your tasks, stay focused on the important, the essential. The most effective way to start your day is to take care of the most important task, then the second-most important one, etcetera.
  • While working on one task, concentrate completely on that one task. Multitasking and constant interruptions make you inefficient.
  • Keep a notebook or a piece of paper nearby at all times so when spontaneous ideas and other disturbances come up you can jot them down and keep it moving.
  • We should practice being focused entirely on that one particular activity. This type of concentration is like meditation and helps us to live in the now and enjoy it.

Start every day with your most important tasks

  • We don’t do projects – we do tasks. And doing so effectively requires us to concentrate fully on one task at a time. Multitasking doesn’t work.
  • In order to avoid procrastinating and multitasking, make your tasks so small that you can take care of them quickly, e.g., in a half an hour. It’s always the big tasks that end up not getting done because the obstacle of getting started on them is too enormous
  • In order to avoid procrastinating and multitasking, make your tasks so small that you can take care of them quickly, e.g., in a half an hour. It’s always the big tasks that end up not getting done because the obstacle of getting started on them is too enormous
  • One particularly effective method is to define the three MITs – or Most Important Tasks – that you should take care of first thing in the morning before tackling other tasks. By doing the most important tasks at the beginning of the day, you can ensure that you’re a small step closer to achieving your goal – regardless of what happens during the rest of the day.
  • MITs should be as closely related to your goals as possible and help you get a step closer to achieving them. You’d be wise to define your daily MITs a day in advance so you can get started on them first thing in the morning.

Boost your efficiency by minimizing the time you spend on emails

  • As with many people, you probably spend too much time reading and writing emails. But usually it doesn’t help you achieve your goals or even have anything to do with them.
  • That said, try to minimize the amount of time you spend on emails – only read your email twice a day

Date – 11.13 .2-17
B-Book 26
: Two Awesome Hours by Josh Davis
The key message in this book: You can harness at least two awesome hours of effectiveness every day by following five simple strategies: recognize your decision points; manage your mental energy; stop fighting distractions; leverage your mind–body connection; and make your workspace work for you. This way, you’ll provide yourself with the psychological and biological conditions you need for top performance.

The key message in this book: Work it out!

Next time you feel as if you’re having a brain meltdown, and your focus has left the building, step away from your desk. Exercise is what you need. And remember: the gym is not the only place where you can exercise. Be creative! Simply going for a walk in the area in which your office is located, or running up and down the stairs for a bit, will help you feel more mentally agile, focused and – last but not least – ready to take on the most important work of the day.

Click to read more
My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  I must consider my routine, I might be wasting time, consider decision points, must improve productivity, manage mental energy, I have been juggling too much, got to fight off distractions, turn off notification and pop up windows, tidy up desk, go back to use pomodoro, got to time my exercise better, carbs are good for focus, fat is even better, need to drink lots of water, need better lighting, get rid of clutter from my desk, get up and walk around to maintain focus.

In order to become awesomely effective you have to consciously recognize your decision points.     

  • Over the course of each day, you engage in all manner of habitual tasks. Think about how many times in your life you’ve hopped out of bed, gotten dressed, scanned your emails and attended weekly meetings without a second thought.
  • In these cases, we often switch off and go into automatic to get through our daily routines. Rarely do we stop to consider whether our routines make sense. It may be that your daily tasks are causing you to waste a great deal of time and energy without even realizing.
  • Decision points are those moments in times when a given task is completed or interrupted. At a decisions point, you have the opportunity to consciously choose what you do next.
  • By consciously considering your options here, you’ll be better able to make a decision that benefits you and your productivity the most. As you become more aware of these points in time between tasks and make fewer impulsive decisions, you’ll be able to become more effective with your time.

Managing your mental energy will bring you one step closer to being awesomely effective.

  • It’s rare to have just one task to do at a time. In order to keep all of our responsibilities fulfilled, we’re forced to juggle them. Should you sort through your emails? Or should you prepare for today’s meeting? It’s important to choose wisely, as you only have so much mental energy to use.
  • Unfortunately, the juggling act itself can reduce the amount of mental energy available to us by causing mental fatigue. This happens when we overwork ourexecutive functions, which are the parts of our brain that help us manage, regulate and control.
  • Making several decisions, even those that seem unimportant or routine, can also deplete our mental energy more than we realizeOther activities commonly known to be mentally fatiguing are switching back and forth between different tasks, project planning and scheduling.
  • Start by recognizing the tasks that tire you out the most, and refrain from performing them right before you need to give your best effort.

If you want to be awesomely effective, you have to stop fighting distractions.

  • Nope! Our brain has adapted to become distracted and refocus when changes occur in our surroundingsDistractions are perfectly natural. With that in mind, we’ll be better able to manage their negative impact on our work.
  • Computers and smartphones being the biggest offenders. Even though we love and appreciate all that those devices can do for us, they also hinder our focus and productivity. That’s why turning off their distracting features, such as notification sounds and pop-up windows, is a great place to start.
  • You can actively enable mind wandering by engaging in an unrelated and cognitively easy task – like tidying your desk or making lunch – after having focused on a difficult problem for a certain amount of time. You can also allow passive mind wandering, by letting yourself drift off, becoming aware that you’re distracted and returning to the task that needs your attention. Both approaches offer your brain the break that it needs to solve problems effectively.

A healthy body is a productive body!

  • We all know that exercise is vital for good physical health. But if that’s not enough to motivate you, you might be interested in the positive effects it has on your mental performance, too.
  • Another study found that physical exercise sharpens your focus.
  • Therefore, it might be a good idea to reserve some time to work on your important projects just after you’re back from the gym. But what if you have no time for exercise?
  • Luckily, there are also certain foods that will increase your level of effectiveness too. Consider, for instance, carbohydrates and fats: Research shows that immediately after eating carbs, you’ll experience improvements in your ability to focus.
  • But it’s short-lived, and other executive functions may decline after only one hour. Surprisingly, fats might be more helpful than carbs. One study showed that certain fats are likely to improve several executive functions – even three hours after eating.People who are dehydrated will experience more fatigue and difficulties with maintaining focus, so drinking water is also crucial if you want to lift your level of effectiveness. 

Fine-tune the noise, light and objects around you to create a powerfully productive workspace.

  • Are you one of those people who needs complete silence while working? Do you worry that music and background noise will sabotage your concentration? In fact, noise such as intermittent speech and music inhibits your ability to perform your best at work.
  • Also, certain types of light actually boost your productivity. Both blue light and bright white light positively affect your ability to stay focused, and they can help you combat mental fatigue.
  • But if you aren’t able to improve the light source in your workspace, there’s still one more factor that you can control to make a world of difference: clutter. All those notes, unfiled papers and free samples fight for your attention, and thereby decrease your ability to focus on your most important work.
  • Being unable to move around is also detrimental to your productivity. If you’ve got room to get up and walk around every now and then, you’ll be surprised at how much you can sharpen your focus, and return to your work in a more effective mind-set than before.

Date – 11.12 .2-17
B-Book 25: The Power of No by James and Claudia Azula AltucherThe key message in this book: We make countless decisions each day that have drastic effects on our lives. We must learn to say no to the things that damage us so that we can say yes to health, abundance and happiness.

My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  Choose life, don’t choose bad habits, rid yourself of negative or abusive people, spend time with people  who give you positive energy, don’t ignore what you don’t like, choose your personal story, don’t conform to other’s expectation, say no to scarcity, appreciate the things you have, realize you have a lot, say no to noise, be aware of the noise around you – shut off the news, give full attention to those around you, discernment, compassion, health, go on a gratitude diet – focus on the good things in your life.  Focus on all 4 areas of your life – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual
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Saying no to bad relationships leads to health and true love

  • If you want to get the most out of life, you should choose life.
  • Choosing life means not pursuing habits that quite literally cause you to die, like poor nutrition or smoking. By abstaining from harmful foods and smoking, you are less likely to die from heart disease or lung cancer, and will have chosen life.
  • Another way to choose life is by ridding yourself of negative and abusive people. Say no to those who drain your positive energy or stir up feelings of guilt or fear. It frees up your time and energy, that can be directed towards your inner circle.
  • List all the people you engage with at least five times per week. Then rate how these encounters make you feel on a scale from one to ten (ten being the best).
  • Start focusing on the people you’ve ranked higher than eight by spending more time with them. Spend less time with everyone else on your list, and distance yourself even farther from those ranked lower than five.

Saying no to other people’s expectations empowers you to follow your dreams.

  • It’s time to stop doing things you don’t want to do by using your assertive no. If you ignore what you really want and keep doing things you don’t want to do, you may begin disliking the person you are trying to please or disliking whatever it is you are doing for them.
  • Not only does the assertive no help you avoid the unpleasantness of doing tasks you don’t care for, you can also prevent other people from feeling bad for making you do things you don’t want to.
  • Think about the last time someone was helping you out when you knew they didn’t really want to – maybe they were helping you paint your house or babysitting your children. Did you really appreciate their help?
  • You don’t have to conform to other peoples’ expectations. You are unique; choose your personal storyline, one that fits your unique wants and needs
  • When you listen to these personal inclinations and start exploring your interests, you’ll simultaneously increase your mental muscle as well as your appeal to other people.
  • Enthusiasm is attractive! And when people like you more, they’re more likely to trust both you and what you say, as well as enjoy your company.

Saying no to scarcity and noise allows for abundance and silence.

  • More food, more money, more gossip – nowadays it seems like everyone wants more of everything. 
  • Saying no to scarcity means shifting your attention away from what’s missing and towards the abundance around you.
  • One way to focus on abundance is to count the blessings in your life. The important thing is simply to perceive and recognize the palpable lack of scarcity in our lives.
  • By focusing on abundance, you also enrich your life. This goes beyond the optimism of seeing the glass as half-full; rather, you realize that there is plenty of water, that you won’t die of thirst and that you should be thankful for the water.
  • You should also say no to noise – everything that impedes you from being at peace with yourself and the universe. The idea is to replace noise with silence.
  • Try to be aware of the noise in and around you, like negative thoughts that fill you with fear or regret, or troubling news reports. Just switch the news off.
  • Besides a more peaceful state of mind, silence allows you to listen with an open heart. Try giving your full attention to everyone around you for 24 hours.  Be with them in silence and make them feel like they have your attention.

Learning to say no allows you to say yes.

  • The power of no is derived from three elements: discernment (the ability to perceive the abundance in your life), compassion (the basis for listening with an open heart) and health (abstaining from the things that harm you).
  • But implementing these three elements can be difficult.
  • Start by listing all your problems – your cheating partner, your neighbor’s loud parties or your stagnant job search
    –  then list all the good things in your life, from breathing fresh air to having a roof over your head.
    – Then go on a gratitude diet: Start each day by thinking about ten things you are thankful for. This will help you focus more on the good in your life and say no to the bad.
  • To get the most from the Power of No, you will need to involve all four of your “bodies”: the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual.

Date – 11.10 .2-17

B-Book 24Nobody wants to Read your Sh*t by Steven Pressfield
The key message in this book: A good story doesn’t require clever wordplay and flowery prose. Instead, it’s about creating a powerful, well-structured story that has a meaningful theme and characters with depth and nuance that reflect that theme. Whether it’s exciting, dramatic or romantic, by working hard and being well read, you can reflect on your own experiences in life and use structured narratives to create something people will love to read.

Actionable advice: Work your way through the resistance.
Click to read more

If you are asked to write a short novel in three months, you might throw up your hands in despair. But when it comes to writing, time is not the problem; the problem is the resistance we have to following through with our tasks.

This resistance takes the form of saying it is not possible and that you can’t do it, and not trying as a result. Instead, just sit down and write the short novel in three months. The first draft may not be perfect, but at least you completed the assignment, and it may lead to something amazing down the road.


My Stream of Consciousness from this book
:  You are your life director, change is not easy it requires discipline, examine your reason for being, what are you personality traits, create statement of life purpose, break down vision into goals, and goals into tasks, push beyond your comfort zone, affirmation in the first person, connect with vivid image, close eyes and imagine, color, sun, sound,

DEEP CONCEPTS

Nobody wants to read your shit, unless it’s exceptionally good.

      • You are the director of your own life.
      • So if you want to start seeing improvements in your life, you need to change your responses.
      • No one says that change is easy. It requires discipline, persistence and some experimentation.

It’s hard to find success in the writing business, but an apprenticeship can teach you lessons and build contacts.

      • What if you’re not sure what personal success would look like for you? Relax – you’re not alone.
      • One of the first steps toward personal success is to examine your reason for being: why are you here on earth? The life purpose exercise can help you discover this.
      • To find your purpose, identify two of your strongest personality traits; describe the way you interact with others; and then imagine your ideal world. Once you have done this, combine these

Whether you’re working in advertising or writing literature, you have to have a concept

      • How do you push beyond your comfort zone toward achieving your vision? Two practices – affirmation and visualization – can help you.
      • Affirmation starts when you state your goal as if it has already been realized, in a complete sentence. The most effective affirmations are in the first person, are positive and to the point.
      • Once you’ve crafted your affirmations, connect each with a vivid image of your affirmation, called a visualization.

In advertising as in fiction, defining the problem or the theme is the first step toward creating a story

      • Rejection is just a speedbump on the road to success. If someone says “no,” just keep trying until someone says “yes,” while keeping in mind your next step.
      • On your road toward your dream life, you need to excel at what you do. An important principle to focus on is to become an over-achiever. Don’t be afraid to keep trying, and work your way
      • Perseverance is the key to success,

Reading and writing are important to finding your voice, but great writing comes with maturity.

      •  Do you have any projects you’ve abandoned or left half-done? Do you need to clean your closet,or finish last year’s taxes? These small things can take valuable energy from achieving
      • It’s better to have five completed projects than 15 half-completed projects.
      • One useful method is to schedule a completion weekend, where you take time to clear your slate of all unfinished business. Be clear and decisive: either do it, delegate it, delay

Most stories follow a three-act structure, unless you’re aiming for an epic narrative.

      • To succeed, you need to stem, if not eliminate completely, your negative thoughts.
      • Yet if you look deep enough, self-love is often found underneath self-criticism. You might think, “I’m fat and lazy,” but if you examine this thought, what you’re really saying is, “I’m scared.”
      • So stop judging yourself and start talking to yourself like you know your real value!

The first act hooks the audience, the second act highlights the villain and the third act delivers the climax

      • Having personal resolve is crucial on your path to success, but you can’t walk that path on your own. Highly successful people always have others to inspire or mentor them along the way.
      • One thing you can to do is to create a support group. You can do this by gathering a so-called mastermind group, a supportive circle of people with whom you can share ideas and
      • Consider identifying six people with whom you are close, and hold scheduled conferences or Skype calls where each person takes 15 minutes to pose questions. For you to get the most

Support others, and they will support you in return. Create meaningful, honest relationships!

      • To get the most benefit out of your support network, you must first lay a solid foundation of honesty and appreciation to build meaningful relationships.
      • Telling the truth can be scary. But we must tell the truth if we are to create and foster our connections with others.
      • In addition to honesty, appreciation of others is often undervalued in relationships.

Great actors are attracted to complex characters and important themes

      • Most of us think that wealth is only about money, our assets or possessions. However, it’s much more than that: wealth also contains intellectual, human and civic facets.
      • Aside from tangible assets, see how your relationships, health, morals and habits connect with how you create wealth. Also consider your education, your reputation and your skills.
      • Many financially successful people consider their human and intellectual assets to be more valuable than their financial assets, as health, happiness and relationships form a foundation

Nonfiction follows the same basic rules as fiction, and both rely on a strong theme

      • Most of us think that wealth is only about money, our assets or possessions. However, it’s much more than that: wealth also contains intellectual, human and civic facets.
      • Aside from tangible assets, see how your relationships, health, morals and habits connect with how you create wealth. Also consider your education, your reputation and your skills.
      • Many financially successful people consider their human and intellectual assets to be more valuable than their financial assets, as health, happiness and relationships form a foundation

Day 292 – 11.9.2017

B-Book 23The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
The key message in this book: You can achieve your greatest ambitions, but it takes some know-how. Following and practicing the principles of success will equip you to reach your personal and professional goals and live your dream life.

Actionable advice: Cross off a nagging task on your to-do list, today.

It may be as simple as filing some papers or getting your car’s oil checked, but completing a neglected task, even if just one per day, will make a huge difference toward achieving your more ambitious goals.

Ask someone you admire for 15 minutes of their time.

Find someone who has achieved a dream similar to your own and ask for 15 minutes of their time per month to advise and mentor you. The worst they can say is “no,” and in the best case, you might find a person who will be an invaluable resource in helping you live the life you want.

Click to read more

My Stream of Consciousness from this book
:  You are your life director, change is not easy it requires discipline, examine your reason for being, what are you personality traits, create statement of life purpose, break down vision into goals, and goals into tasks, push beyond your comfort zone, affirmation in the first person, connect with vivid image, close eyes and imagine, color, sun, sound, feeling smells, the more sensory the better, be persistent, practice your affirmation daily, keep trying,perseverance is the key to success, schedule completion weekend, do it, delegate it or dump it – also with relationships, forgive – write truth letter, think positively, self love is always beneath self criticism, build your a team of mentors or support group, get a list of 6 or so people you can conference with each week, each should have a skill, get a mentor, ask for 15 min per month from a mentor, help others and be honest and truthful, appreciate others, and be authentic, wealth is more than just money – it has intellectual, moral, and civic facets, offer time to worthy cause.

DEEP CONCEPTS

Enough complaining, no more excuses: You are responsible for the course of your life.

      • You are the director of your own life.
      • So if you want to start seeing improvements in your life, you need to change your responses.
      • No one says that change is easy. It requires discipline, persistence and some experimentation.

Finding your purpose in life will help you better define what success means to you

      • What if you’re not sure what personal success would look like for you? Relax – you’re not alone.
      • One of the first steps toward personal success is to examine your reason for being: why are you here on earth? The life purpose exercise can help you discover this.
      • To find your purpose, identify two of your strongest personality traits; describe the way you interact with others; and then imagine your ideal world. Once you have done this, combine these into a statement of life purpose.
      • The next step is to create a vision – a mental picture of what your perfect future looks like.
      • Once you have your vision in mind, break it down into smaller goals that are ambitious, specific and tangible
      • Defining a goal for every part of your vision will narrow the gap between your current reality and ultimate success.

When you visualize your dream, you should be able to see it, smell it and feel it, as if it was real

      • How do you push beyond your comfort zone toward achieving your vision? Two practices – affirmation and visualization – can help you.
      • Affirmation starts when you state your goal as if it has already been realized, in a complete sentence. The most effective affirmations are in the first person, are positive and to the point.
        – I love driving down the highway in my new yellow Lamborghini” is far more effective and precise than saying, “I want a new car
      • Once you’ve crafted your affirmations, connect each with a vivid image of your affirmation, called a visualization.
        –  To do this, close your eyes and imagine your affirmation in as much detail as you can. If your affirmation is, “I enjoy relaxing in the sunroom of my villa in Madrid,” visualize the colors of
        your house, the furniture in the sunroom, and so on.
        –  
        Add sounds, smells and tastes to your mental picture. What does it physically feel like to sit on the couch in your sunroom? Can you hear the sounds of the busy street, or birds singing?
      • The more you fill your visualisation with emotions and sensory details, the more intensely you’ll feel it, giving you more power and momentum to reach your goal.

To succeed, be persistent, never give in to “no” and don’t forget to practice, practice, practice

      • Rejection is just a speedbump on the road to success. If someone says “no,” just keep trying until someone says “yes,” while keeping in mind your next step.
      • On your road toward your dream life, you need to excel at what you do. An important principle to focus on is to become an over-achiever. Don’t be afraid to keep trying, and work your way toward your goal one step at a time.
      • Perseverance is the key to success,

Clear your slate of unfinished business or projects: do it, delegate it, delay it or dump it

      •  Do you have any projects you’ve abandoned or left half-done? Do you need to clean your closet,or finish last year’s taxes? These small things can take valuable energy from achieving your larger goals.
      • It’s better to have five completed projects than 15 half-completed projects.
      • One useful method is to schedule a completion weekend, where you take time to clear your slate of all unfinished business. Be clear and decisive: either do it, delegate it, delay it or dump it.
      • This “cleaning up” is not only applicable to tangible stuff in your life, but also to your relationships.
        – To move forward, you need to forgive. Forgiving doesn’t mean doing someone else a favor, it means that you have let go and released tension for your own benefit.
        – One effective technique you can use to help you forgive someone is to write a “total truth letter” to vent your anger. Write down things that have angered you, and you’ll notice that
        acknowledging your pain and grudges is the first step toward forgiveness.
      • If your work is well-organized, you can achieve more in less time.  A bunch of task lists is pointless if they are not organized and can become overwhelming.
      • Simply by organizing your work into a system that places all your to-do tasks in one location where you can keep track of them, you won’t feel overwhelmed.

We are our worst enemies when it comes to believing in ourselves. Think positively

      • To succeed, you need to stem, if not eliminate completely, your negative thoughts.
      • Yet if you look deep enough, self-love is often found underneath self-criticism. You might think, “I’m fat and lazy,” but if you examine this thought, what you’re really saying is, “I’m scared.”
      • So stop judging yourself and start talking to yourself like you know your real value!

Building a support team chock-full of successful people can help you reach your goals

      • Having personal resolve is crucial on your path to success, but you can’t walk that path on your own. Highly successful people always have others to inspire or mentor them along the way.
      • One thing you can to do is to create a support group. You can do this by gathering a so-called mastermind group, a supportive circle of people with whom you can share ideas and challenges.
      • Consider identifying six people with whom you are close, and hold scheduled conferences or Skype calls where each person takes 15 minutes to pose questions. For you to get the most value from these sessions, each group member should excel at a skill you wish to learn, or have achieved a goal you covet.
      • Another powerful way you can find support is to identify a mentor.
      • Even though it’s tempting to ask advice from friends or coworkers, it’s far more useful to ask people who’ve already achieved what you want to achieve.
      • You can get the ball rolling by writing an email to someone you think would make a suitable mentor, and ask if they could spare 15 minutes per month for you to share ideas and ask questions.

Support others, and they will support you in return. Create meaningful, honest relationships!

      • To get the most benefit out of your support network, you must first lay a solid foundation of honesty and appreciation to build meaningful relationships.
      • Telling the truth can be scary. But we must tell the truth if we are to create and foster our connections with others.
      • In addition to honesty, appreciation of others is often undervalued in relationships.
      • But crucially, be as authentic as possible. You shouldn’t hide the truth when it needs to be told. But also remember to honor and thank the people who support you.

Being a “wealthy” person means so much more than just having a lot of cash in the bank

      • Most of us think that wealth is only about money, our assets or possessions. However, it’s much more than that: wealth also contains intellectual, human and civic facets.
      • Aside from tangible assets, see how your relationships, health, morals and habits connect with how you create wealth. Also consider your education, your reputation and your skills.
      • Many financially successful people consider their human and intellectual assets to be more valuable than their financial assets, as health, happiness and relationships form a foundation for lasting financial success.
      • Another factor that will add to your personal well-being is to offer your time to a worthy cause. Helping others has a remarkable effect on keeping us content and satisfied in our lives.
      • To get the most out of what life can offer, you need to become “wealthy,” which means so much more than just having financial assets.

Date – 11.8.2017

B-Book 22Ready for Anything by David Allen
The key message in this book: If you want to be more creative and productive in your personal or professional life, then you have to prepare yourself. This involves using techniques to free up your “psychic RAM” as well as developing the mental flexibility to effectively shift your focus to wherever it’s needed at any given time.

Actionable advice: To get things done in a team, put someone in charge.

In a team, if the responsibility for a project is distributed equally among team members, no one person will feel that they’re in charge. Consequently, nothing will get done – not on time, at least. But if you ensure that one team member is made responsible for the whole team’s outcome, the chances that important tasks will be actioned increase dramatically.

Be organized but flexible.

Don’t try to manage every little aspect of your work, as this won’t make you more productive. Instead, it will consume too much of your precious time and energy – resources that are better used elsewhere. Of course, you do need to have an organizational plan, but it should be flexible at the same time.

Click to read more
My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  Creative work requires lots of mental horsepower, mental ram is at a premium, capacity is limited, we must clear our ram, don’t keep in head, you might lose it , information stored is ram is badly organized, writing down is important, it makes us focus,  layout our volume  of tasks, we will then have to prioritize based on goals, prepare for difficulty ahead, plan ahead, best time is during the planning stage, plan for interruptions, delays brings pressure, organization is conducive to creative work,  the ore organization, the more creative, managing every aspect can be counterproductive don’t waste time on the simple and mundane, don’t get rigid and too detail, break large projects (book) into small action steps, improving team communication will help with productivity an d creativity, make sure the entire team undtaansd sharing information and what time expectations are.

DEEP CONCEPTS

Having too many things on your mind will hamper your creativity.

      • Creative work requires lots of “mental horsepower.  A creative act requires that you keep in mind – and evaluate – many different considerations simultaneously.
      • Effort depends on us having a kind of mental “storage space – for most of us, this space is at a premium.
      • All of the information that will be relevant in the short- to mid-term is stored in what we’ll call a kind of psychic RAM.
      • The capacity of psychic RAM is limited. Keeping a lot of information at once will result in your RAM becoming too full to process any new ideas – your creativity will suffer.
      • We must find a way to clear our minds of such information.

To maximize your creativity, don’t keep all your promising ideas and plans in your head

      • There are also other reasons to stop trying to store all your ideas in your head.
      • First, if you don’t set down an idea when it comes to you, it may very well be unavailable when you need it
      • Older information might be deleted to make space for new information.  Your best idea could be nudged out of your RAM by a newer, far more mundane one – like, “buy milk.”
      • Information stored in your RAM is badly organized, so you might find yourself unable to retrieve that great idea when you need it.
      • There’s more to writing ideas down than keeping them safe: writing also helps us to define and evaluate them
      • The process of writing the idea down in complete sentences forces us to structure it more clearly and helps us to see any faulty conclusions we may have made

Being aware of your job, goals and current tasks will enable you to make good decisions about the work to come

      • Simply being aware of the tasks you’ve committed to will help you in your decision. Writing down any current duties and projects
      • It helps you to see clearly how much time and energy you’re already investing, and thus whether there’s enough left over to give to a new project.
      • If you’re aware of your commitments, you’re in a position to consider the possibility of dropping certain tasks, or delegating them to someone else so that you can make space in your life for an attractive new project
      • If you’ve listed all of your commitments, and are now fully aware of them, you’ll still have to decide which activities are more important than others. To prioritize in this way, you need to attain clarity about your job description and goals. Then you can determine the importance of the tasks in relation to a particular reference point.
        – Is this project leading me towards my ultimate goal (working only on things that are important towards goal achievement – don’t waste time)

The best plans prepare for difficulties and interruptions ahead of time

      • No matter your area of work, every project you plan will involve its own set of risks and difficulties, such as bad weather, or an investor who pulls out, and so on. However, it is often possible to prepare for things that might go awry.
        – The best time to deal with potential obstacles is while a project is still in the planning stages, and not when it’s already underway.
        – On any project, delays and interruptions are to be expected. So, if your timetable doesn’t allow for such interruptions, every unforeseen event will result in your project running
        behind schedule.
      • Scheduling tasks on the day of execution runs risk of delay and brings unnecessary pressure.  A good timetable will accommodate such delays and prevent major problems
        from arising.

The right kind of organization will help you to get things done – and do creative work

      • At first glance, it may seem that productivity-management rules and routines simply aren’t conducive to creative work – but they actually are.
      • If your work is well-organized, you can achieve more in less time.  A bunch of task lists is pointless if they are not organized and can become overwhelming.
      • Simply by organizing your work into a system that places all your to-do tasks in one location where you can keep track of them, you won’t feel overwhelmed.
      • The more organized you are, the more time and available psychic RAM you’ll have to be creative.
      • you should immediately complete those tasks that you’re sure won’t take longer than two minutes. Doing this frees your mind and enables you to spend time on more important things.

Putting too much effort into organizing your life can keep you from getting things done or being creative

      • As we’ve seen, getting organized can be extremely beneficial. However, managing every aspect of your life down to the smallest detail can be counterproductive.
        – You have to remain flexible
      • First, instead of increasing your productivity, an overly elaborate system will consume all of the energy and time you need for the actual work.
      • Second, trying to tightly control and manage every aspect of your work and life can make you inflexible and impede your creativity.
        – If your management system is too detailed and rigid, you might fail to seize a great opportunity.
      • A rigid system might also damage your creativity – example of formulaic fiction writing

To reach your long-term goals, translate them into short-term action steps

      • In our everyday schedules, there’s simply no time slot large enough to accommodate a big project. Writing that novel, for instance, will take a massive amount of time
      • However many small moments of free time exist throughout the day – between those tasks, and after the working day is done
      • The answer is that single “action steps” towards that long-term goal can be easily slotted into one’s schedule.
        – To get started, you could break down your novel project into action steps, such as finding a title, creating a rough structure, or even writing just one page per day. Compared
        with attempting to tackle the whole project at once, each of these steps will take only a very brief amount of time.
        – Once you organize your project and time into manageable steps, you will find that, suddenly, the work of writing the novel fits snugly into the slivers of free time you have

If a team isn’t getting things done, improving team communication may help

      • Ideally, a team should be far more productive than a group of isolated employees.
      • Sometimes, however, teams fail to cooperate productively.That’s when it might help to be on the lookout for communication problems.
      • In order to coordinate its activities effectively, a team must exchange information effectively.
      • One solution for such a team is to train members in their individual communication responsibilities.
      • The best method for overcoming this problem is to make clear to each team member how valuable clear and prompt communication is to the team as a whole. They should be made to understand how important it is to share information regarding when a particular task will be done, or indeed whether it can be done at all.

Date – 11.7.2017

Book 21The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
The key message in this bookNo matter how insurmountable they may seem, there are no problems in your life that cannot be overcome by the power of positive thinking. By staying calm, gaining perspective, nurturing your faith and focusing on positive outcomes, you will have the power to create a happy, healthy life.

Remind yourself to stay motivated. Write a note to yourself such as: “The difficult times are only mental. I think victory – I get victory.”

Click to read more

My Stream of Consciousness from this book
: anxiety is huge, change your circumstances by changing your thinking, visualization – good brings positive, the opposite with negative, we all want to be appreciated, show others you like them and who they are, they will like you back, there are those who you are or will be challenged to like – try to like them anyway, no situation is hopeless, you can find a way, negative thoughts and isolating yourself leads to defeat, we have limited time use it wisely, use meditation to clear your brain, your attitude is key, change your attitude to control your surrounding, sleep is supremely important, don’t’ watch news before going to bed, think positive get positive results, the opposite is negative, it is natural to worry, thinking negative is a habit, rid your mind  of negative thoughts before going to sleep, they sink deeper, make choice to be happy, sleeplessness stress and headache, unhappiness is a choice, don’t expect the work, self fulfilling prophecy, practice positive thinking , your subconscious can be trained to positivity, you might not find the answer on the first attempt, mind and body is inextricably related, we must take care of both, vast of mind lies beneath the subconscious, you have to believe in your physical and spiritual healing and that requires faith.

DEEP CONCEPTS

Believe in yourself: why self-confidence leads to success

      • Feelings of anxiety and inferiority are like a modern plague – if you feel inferior, or suffer from negative thinking, then you’re more likely to experience negative outcomes.
      • If you have self-confidence, then you have the power to shape your life the way you want it.
      • But if you want to change your circumstances, then you have to change your thinking instead of passively accepting your situation.
      • One way to do this is by visualizing the possible positive outcomes that you want for yourself, and then visualizing your problems. By comparison, they seem smaller and more easily solvable.

Give and take: how caring about others will make them care about you

      • The desire to be appreciated is fundamental to our human nature.
      • We need companionship, and yet so many care only about themselves.
      • You must realize that the reason other people don’t like you lies within you – it’s your attitude.
      • When you think positively about others, show them that you care about them and what they do, who they are, etc., then they will want to be friendly with you in return.
      • You will of course find some individuals who are not easy to like. Yet even they have hidden positive qualities you can discover if you put in the effort.

Not alone: why you shouldn’t face your problems on your own

      • Do you ever feel like you can’t ever truly take a break because no one could do your job as well as you can? That without you, everything would fall apart?
      • While it certainly might feel that way, this kind of thinking is actually an illusion; no situation is hopeless. Just imagine – there are people who have overcome “every conceivable difficult situation,” and even when they felt hopeless, they found a way to carry on.
      • Negative thoughts, hopelessness and isolating yourself lead mostly to unhappiness and failure. You can combat this with reminders to focus on the good, by doing things like keeping motivational notes that highlight the power of your positive thoughts.
      • We have only limited time to solve seemingly infinite problems. Trying to solve everything leads to haste, tension and a lack of concentration.
      • You can combat this stress with prayer or meditation to reduce tension.

Attitude: why your own thoughts are the key to overcoming your problems

      • Have you ever felt totally overwhelmed by all your problems? While some of them might be real and pressing, such as debt or disease, it’s yourattitude toward those problems that is of the ultimate importance. Debts take time to pay, and diseases don’t disappear with the wave of a wand, but you can change your attitude in an instant.
      • If you live your life with a focus on positivity and the search for inner peace, you’ll have enough energy to overcome your perceived problems.
      • While this might seem trivial, our sleep is of the utmost importance because it refreshes our energy. Sleeping with “an earful of trouble” – for example, by watching the news while dozing off – will lead to a restlessness that prevents you from tackling your problems.
      • Your world is nothing more than the thoughts you have about your life experiences.
      • If you think positively, you set up positive forces that bring with them positive results. Thinking negatively, on the other hand, brings negative results, and this negative thinking can even affect your physical health by making you ill.

Don’t worry, be happy: how you can overcome the destructive and unhealthy habit of worrying

      • It’s only natural to feel worried or insecure.
      • Thankfully, worrying is a merely a “habit,” and habits can be overcome. This particular habit is one that is especially worth ridding ourselves of, as it is the source of many physical and psychological diseases.
      • And yet, breaking the habit of worrying is surprisingly easy: simply believe that it is possible to free yourself from it! If you can imagine a worry-free life, then you can live it
      • All of these techniques will have one thing in common: they involve the practice of draining your mind, i.e., ridding your mind of oppressive, negative thoughts. This is especially important before going to sleep, as that’s when our thoughts sink deeper into our subconscious.
      •  It’s not enough to simply drain your mind; you must fill it back up again, this time with positive thoughts to replace the negative ones; you must keep at it by practicing every day if you want to achieve positive change.

Give yourself a break: why you need to make the choice to be happy

      • It’s no secret that modern life can often be hectic and over-stimulating. As a result, sleeplessness, stress and headaches have become common for many.
      • Many people destroy themselves emotionally and physically in their attempts to keep up with the swift tempo of modern life.
      •  The unhappiness that we experience because of these conditions is not a given; it is a choice that can be made, or reversed.

Never lose heart: why you should always try to see the positive even when facing problems

      • Have you ever been totally unprepared for an important meeting? It’s a horrible feeling, isn’t it? It’s certainly important for us to prepare for possible obstacles, but when we expect the worst, even only theoretically, then we’re more likely to experience negative outcomes.
      • In fact, when you focus on the worst possible outcomes, you stop the powerflow, thus cutting off your ability to handle obstacles.
      • How we handle these obstacles is determined by our attitude. If we believe them to be manageable, then they will be!
      • And we can solve every problem this way because there are no unsolvable problems. You must simply practice positive thinking and see the possibilities available to you.
      • Surely your subconscious is telling you that there are problems you cannot solve. However, your subconscious can be trained to be more positive. One way to accomplish this is by changing the way you express your possible life outcomes, focusing on the positive aspects and not the negative ones.
      • Often there is more than one solution to a given problem, and you may not find it on your first attempt. With a clear mind focused on the positive, you stand a much better chance of finding them.

The Bible: how faith can help you solve your problems

      • No comment…

Body and soul: why faith should be part of every form of therapy

      • We know that the mind and the body are intricately related: that when you experience stress, for example, it can manifest as physical pain.
      • Not only must we take care of the body, but also mind and spirit.
      • While the conscious mind “may suggest sickness, even death,” the vast majority of your mind lies within the subconscious. If you “let the picture of health sink into the subconscious,” then “this powerful part of your mind will send forth radiant health energy.”
      • Positive thoughts can lead to healing and health, but only when those thoughts are actually genuine. You have to actually believe in your own physical and spiritual healing, and that requires faith.

Date – 11.6.2017

B-Book 20:  Manage Your Day-To-Day by 99U and Jocelyn K. Glei
The key message in this book: By paying attention to our natural rhythms, we can maximize our energy on our priorities and rest, exercise or do other hobbies when it’s in tune with our rhythm. Sometimes, despite what we feel like doing, we just need to focus to complete certain tasks we don’t feel like doing.

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My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  Develop daily routine that matches your body rhythm, do your most important work when your energy is best, get at least 7 hours sleep per night, work no more than 90mins at a stretch, work regularly and you will get inspiration, even when you are out of it, practice focusing your energy, find ways to strengthen your willpower, working on flossing can help your willpower elsewhere, focus on one task at a time, unless one task is simple, multitasking is inefficient, watch your use of technology, they steal time, consciously think about your action, watch your posture around computer also,watch your breathing around computer, technology has us at its mercy, use your spare time to just free think and let your mind wander, it helps with creativity, don’t strive for perfection they can block you from being creative, don’t wait for the ideal moment,  relaxation and a hobby can boost your creativity,  exercise and get great rest

DEEP CONCEPTS

Develop a daily routine that matches your body’s rhythm.

      • If you’re like most people, then the first thing you do when you get to the office is check your email
      • Our bodies follow what’s called a circadian rhythm, whereby our energy levels wax and wane throughout a 24-hour periodThese rhythms cause us to be more effective in the morning and we should therefore reserve that time for important or difficult tasks.
      • Responding to emails or phone calls in the morning causes you to use your most effective time working on other people’s priorities; when you finally get around to working on your own projects, you’ll find yourself fatigued and less efficient.
      • If you’re like most, you should devise a routine that allows for at least seven hours of sleep every night, rather than relying on an extra cup of coffee.
      • Studies have shown that we can maintain peak function for only about 90 minutes at a time. 

Working frequently is the key to an effective work routine.

      • Doing creative work when you aren’t feeling creative can be difficult. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the luxury of waiting until we’re in the right mood.
      • Essentially, if you work regularly, then you will get regular inspiration.
      • By making it a habit to work every day, you bring the project into your daily life, and allow yourself to find inspiration even in completely unrelated situations; ideas can pop up when you least expect it.
      • Working regularly will greatly reduce the pressure that comes with creative work.
      • Even when the inevitable hurdles come up, like when a source takes too long to respond or an editor rejects your draft, you’ll be less stressed, because you’ll know you have enough time still to complete it.

Practice focusing your attention regularly and ignore negative distractions.

      •  Like most people, you struggle with focusing on boring or unpleasant tasks. Unfortunately, we can’t ignore those tasks simply because we don’t like them. Two great tips to help us work through those trudging tasks:
        – First, find ways to strengthen your will power at work by training it in other areas of your life.  Put simply, adopting even small routines such as regular flossing can help you avoid the distractions of the workplace.
        – Second, you can replace any non-work related negative distractions with positive ones and then reward yourself when you’re successful in doing so.

For maximum efficiency, stick to one task at a time.

      • If you’ve ever tried getting serious work done while watching your favorite TV show, then you must have realized how inefficient that style of work is
      • We are only able to do so successfully when one of the tasks is simple and automatic, such as walking.
      • When both tasks require our attention, then we switch our attention from one to the other, which is both time consuming and ineffective. For example, while we can walk and talk simultaneously, we can’t talk and read.
      • So, the next time you want to try and juggle more than one task at a time, keep in mind that it won’t actually make you more productive. Quite the contrary: your work will be even less effective.

Be aware of how and why you are using technology and social media.

      • Most people absentmindedly pick up their smartphones, surf the web and check Facebook for no particular reason, and this is especially true for social media.
      • We tend to habitually log onto social media whenever we’re bored, looking for a distraction. The problem with this is that we never know when it’s time to stop and move on to something else.
      • Parallel to this, you should consciously think about how you’re on the computer, including your posture!
      • Our behavior in front of the computer or smartphone screen can be highly detrimental to our health.
      • For instance, when gazing into a computer screen, we unconsciously hold our breath or breathe in a shallow, unnatural way, which in turn contributes to stress-related diseases.

Technology is supposed to assist you – don’t let it control your life.

      • Smartphones, laptops, etc., were invented to make our lives easier and more pleasant, yet, it sometimes feels like we live in a science fiction movie, totally at the mercy the technologies that we ourselves create!
      • Smartphones are so conveniently sized that it’s easy to take them with us everywhere – all you need is a pocket to keep yourself connected at all times.
      • We can’t resist using technology if it’s available. If you want to be more effective, you’ll have to turn it off!
      • Having a smartphone or a computer screen right next to us when we’re trying to focus is like sitting next to a plate of delicious cookies when we’re on a diet. In other words, it’s hard to resist.

Creative blocks happen to everybody, but there’s a way out

      • What do you usually do when you have a bit of spare time? Likely, you don’t spend it sitting around doing nothing, right?
      • But you ought to! Having time in which you “do nothing” is essential for becoming and staying creative – especially if you’re stuck with a creative block.
      • Being alone and letting your mind wander can bring back your creativity. This feels quite counterintuitive, but it’s true: if you think about nothing in particular, you will necessarily become more aware of your thoughts and surroundings, which then provide a great source for creativity.
      • Set aside a certain time in your day to simply let your mind wander without focusing on anything in particular. If this feels difficult to you, then start by thinking about what you’ve learned and what your immediate plans are and then let your mind wander from there.
      •  Striving for perfection can also lead to creative blocks. Indeed, some of us are never happy with our accomplishments unless they embody perfection – but honestly, this rarely ever happens.
      • Stop being a perfectionist and let creativity be your guide!
      • If you’re a perfectionist, then you surely know how difficult it is just to start a project, waiting impatiently until that ideal moment when you’ll get the most amazing ideas.
      • A far better approach is to start your projects immediately, even if you don’t feel like it. This way, you’ll have something to start with and improve upon later. Even if you don’t feel creative right at the beginning, you’ll soon see your creativity kick in.

Relaxation and a new hobby can boost your creativity

      • As we’ve seen before, creativity isn’t something that you can just will into motion. Luckily, there are things you can do outside of work to boost your creativity:
      • If you take time to exercise and get a good rest, you’ll find that you are more creative afterwards.
      •  Rest and sleep are important ingredients for a productive lifestyle.  By the same token, they are also essential for generating creative ideas.
      • Hobbies, too, are a good way to find unexpected inspiration.

Date – 11.5.2017

B-Book 19Fail Fast, Fail Often by Ryan Babineaux, Ph.D. and John Krumboltz, Ph.D.
The key message in this book:  No one likes to fail. But fear of failure can hold us back from amazing opportunities. Taking risks and learning from the inevitable failures along the way allows us to live much more rewarding lives.

Actionable advice: Make a fun map

If you want to maximize the fun in your life, chart where you typically have the most fun, in addition to places of medium enjoyment, and your least favorite places. Then start frequenting the places you rated highest and minimizing trips to the lowest-rated places.

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My Stream of Consciousness from this book: You don’t’ have a perfect plan, don’t’ be afraid to take action, don’t fear failure, find happiness in present moment, success come from ceasing opportunity, make sure fun times outweighs negative, draw upon positivity, make a fun map, encourage failure it helps you to improve, appreciate the journey, being a beginner means being bad – don’t worry about it, welcome failure – it is an opportunity, traditional school dampens curiosity,  let your curiosity go like a kid, break your tasks into small bits, pushing for the highest is not necessarily the right thing, consider your options before jumping into a career,  try to do a  a test run, the people around you id extremely important, don’t think in terms of network, think in terms of community, commune with people around you, reciprocate,

DEEP CONCEPTS

Fulfilled, joyful people make things happen rather than waiting for them to happen on their own

      • Many people think that in order to achieve their goals they need to have a perfectly formulated action plan. But such a plan is unrealistic and, failing to achieve one, many people are afraid to take action.
      • This outlook on life is known as the not-yet approach: we want success and happiness, but we’re so afraid of failing due to the lack of a perfect plan that whenever it’s time to say action, we say “not-yet.
      • However, we should reverse this mindset: we should find happiness in the present moment, not wait for a future event to bring us happiness!
      • In addition, we must realize that success does not come from planning; it comes from seizing opportunities when they appear.

Leading a fun life will inevitably spawn happiness, but it can also result in something less obvious: success

      • Of course, we all want to have more fun. But how does fun lead to success?
      • For starters, seeking out activities that we feel we will enjoy can open up new opportunities
      • However, to reap the full benefits that new experiences offer, you need to ensure that the amount of fun in your life outweighs the negatives.
      • Psychologists have discovered that you should have at least a 3:1 ratio in happy vs. unhappy experiences
      • The positives don’t need to be huge; you can simply take a long walk with your friend or enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace to draw in positivity.
      • One way to help you discover what you enjoy is to make a fun map of all the places you frequent. Then, make a list of these places and rate them by level of enjoyment. 

Failing often provides a fast, surefire route to success, even if it isn’t always fun

      • Most people don’t enjoy failure and try to avoid it, but, we should actually encourage it. Why?
      • Trial and error, and the failed attempts that inevitably result, often lead to swift improvements in your skills – quality group had no failures to learn from, so it never improved.
      • Many companies and individuals have used failure to launch themselves to prosperity.
      • Failure spawns individuals’ growth, but also company growth.
      • Try. Make mistakes. And learn from the failed attempts.

Appreciate your journey as a beginner and embrace the lessons that failures teach

      • the reason we’re afraid of starting something new is that being a beginner necessarily involves being bad at something compared to more experienced people, and we don’t want to look bad.
      • First of all, fear of failure often single-handedly promises failure.
      • By stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and what to do differently next time.
      • Instead of avoiding failure, welcome it. While some things don’t work out, you are missing out on unbelievable opportunities by not trying at all.

Reclaim your curiosity to uncover new and exciting things about the world around you

      • Traditional schooling dims our naturally inquisitive disposition: we learn to only study correct answers to questions, not ask new ones.
      • Because of this schooling, we continue to cultivate an attitude of fear about the world well into adulthood.
      • We need to quell these insecurities and embrace our curiosity, letting our inner child run free.
      • Like Jobs, let your curiosity take over and start questioning the world again. Asking “why” will help you grow as a person, no matter your age.

Have ambitious goals and then break them into smaller ones to manage them

      • While it’s important to strive for big dreams like starting your own business, it’s crucial to think big and act small.
      • From a young age, we’re told that success comes from having ambitious goals. As children, our parents push us to aim for the top, like to earn the highest grades in school. However, this tendency could actually have harmful effects as you grow older.
      •  Breaking up large goals into smaller milestones makes them easier to achieve, because you can stay motivated as you complete each small step
      • Instead of trying to achieve a big goal all at once, we should take it one step at a time

Despite other’s expectations, don’t jump into a career until first considering your options

      • Would you get married to someone with whom you’d never been on a date? Probably not. The same goes for your career.
      • Many people actually follow a prescribed career path they decided upon without trying it out first, and remain in jobs they hate against their better judgment.
      • Because we don’t know how we will like a job until we do it for a while, we should always give jobs a test run before dedicating ourselves to them.
      • Let’s say you were fascinated by horses growing up. This doesn’t automatically have to lead to a career as a veterinarian. Maybe you accept an internship at some stables and find that you still admire horses, but aren’t drawn to working with them.
      • If you don’t like the job, don’t be afraid to keep trying new things until you find one that makes you happy.

You can’t get very far in life unless you have a community to support you

      • Did you know that the people with whom you surround yourself have a huge influence on your behavior?
      • That associative effect is why you should cultivate an encouraging, supportive community. A strong, supportive community was behind Steve Jobs’ success.
      • So instead of thinking in terms of networks, start thinking about communities.
        – Business people talk about networks, but this implies contact only when you need something from them
        – Instead, cultivate a interdependent community builton reciprocation.
      • How do you commune instead of network
        – correspond with a wide variety
        – cultivate relationships with people who encourages you
        – reciprocate if anyone needs help
      • Get out there and meet people from all walks of life. It will enrich your life and theirs.

Date- 11.4.2017

B-Book 18The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
The key message in this book:  Nothing is set in stone. Your habits, mind-set and personality traits are flexible and subject to change. Once you realize this, your life can start changing for the better. To help facilitate this change, use the five-second rule, a simple tool that can help you adjust your “default” reactions, one five-second decision at a time. By changing the way we make decisions, this relatively small act can add up to redefine who you are, how you feel and what you do with your life.

Actionable advice: Reframe your anxiety as excitement.

Next time you’re feeling nervous about something, such as a job interview or speaking publicly, don’t tell yourself to “calm down.” Instead, say, “I’m excited!” Anxiety is a state of physiological arousal and you can flip it around to make it positive instead of letting the fear pull you in. When you tell yourself that you’re excited, it provides a valid positive alternative that allows you to stay in control.

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My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  Life becomes uncertain without the crutch of religion gone, promise of afterlife gives meaning, people struggling to make sense, feeling emptiness, moving towards stimulants, desensitizing, addiction, lack of meaning, unfulfilled, chasing empty goals, consumerism, chasing happiness, children being taught to chase happiness through good grades and good job, don’t covet , need to take highs with the lows, change perception, adopt the right perspective, don’t try to control everything, be present in the moment, don’t bemoan the past, life is a long river, ride it out , don’t resist and try to go back upstream, stay cool and ride it out, or you will drown, your mind and body is the same entity, unlock your full potential, slow down the nagging of your brain, inspiration comes when you slow down your brain.

DEEP CONCEPTS

As the power of religion and social norms diminishes, life becomes more uncertain

      • Do you ever feel anxious or insecure because of a lack of fulfillment in life? You’re not alone: this feeling is more common now than ever before.
      • Not long ago, the average person’s life was guided, or at least influenced, by the strict doctrines of religion. It might sound counterintuitive, but these strongly held beliefs about morality and the afterlife actually helped people feel more fulfilled
      • The promise of an afterlife is especially groundingand reassuring.
      • The devoutly religious can remain positive through the worst hardships because an infinitely blissful afterlife awaits them.
      • The twentieth century saw societies around the world moving away from many religious concepts -people were struggling to make sense of the pain and suffering of life
      • Deprived of the meaningful narrative provided by religion, many people felt an inner emptiness. And so, in an attempt to fill this void, more people turned to stimulants, like drugs, partying or overwork. These methods can provide distraction from the bigger existential questions kicking around in the back of your mind.
      • But what this constant stimulation is really doing is desensitizing you.
      • It can also lead to addictive behavior.
      • We are chasing down more and more stimulation to make up for a lack of meaning in our lives.

Consumerism promises happiness but leaves you unfulfilled

      • Have you tried to convince yourself that you’ll find happiness once you get that promotion, buy that fancy new car or own that perfect house in the suburbs? Many people spend their valuable time working toward such goals. And many find only emptiness once they achieve them.
      • This is the essential problem of consumerism: the chase for happiness is never over.
      • We start down this path at an early age. Children are told they’ll find happiness by getting good grades in school and going to college; then it’s going to graduate school; and, finally, getting a well-paid job with a good pension for a happy retirement.
      • But what do you do once you have that comfortable job and nice house? You covet your neighbor’s nicer car or that bigger house down the block. And so the anxieties and the hunt for happiness continue.

There is no pleasure without pain, so stop worrying and let go of negativity

      • It’s completely natural to want to experience the joys of life. We want the highest highs without any of the lows. Unfortunately, though, life just doesn’t work that way.
      • In order to really appreciate the intense pleasures of life, you need to process the painful parts, too.
      • You can change your perspective and stop looking at either emotion as being positive or negative. Instead, think of them as temporary events. You can then recognize pain as simply being a necessary part of life.
      • For instance, just as the agonizing feeling of thirst can lead to the sweet satisfaction of a glass of water, you can only savor the best moments once you’ve experienced the worst.
      • If you adopt the right perspective you can reconcile yourself with life’s ups and downs and insecurities. You can break the cycle, let go of the worries and stop trying to control everything.

To truly experience life, have awareness in the present moment

      • Many people are disappointed with life not because of what they’re doing but because they’re fixated on what they need to do or what they regret not having done.
      • So, instead of planning out the future or bemoaning the past, focus on the experiences of the present.
      • Life is like a long and powerful river. From time to time, there will be some rapids. All you can do is ride it out. Resist or try to get back upstream, and you might drown. Stay calm and ride the waves, and the river will carry you to a safer place.
      • this is exactly how your mind works. It wants to give in to the emotions you are experiencing. It’s only when you try to resist or escape these painful emotions that anxiety takes hold. If you embrace frightening emotions and experiences, the tensions will subside.

Understand that your mind and body are the same entity

      • We spend so much time in our head that we lose touch with what’s going on elsewhere in the body. But constant cogitation subordinates the wisdom that our body and subconscious has to offer.
      • Once you recognize that mind and body are one and the same, you can unlock your full potential.
      • One way to facilitate this process is to allow yourself to fully engage with your environment and slow down the constant analytical nagging of your brainThis will allow your mind to subconsciously process information that can lead to creative breakthroughs.
      •  Inspiration tends to come out of the blue, when we aren’t consciously seeking it
      • And tapping into the wisdom of the unconscious mind can work for all aspects of life.

Date – 11.3.2017 (196)

B-Book 18The Now Habit by Neil Fiore
The key message in this book: Nobody is born lazy. In fact, putting off work – procrastinating – mostly has to do with learning a negative attitude towards work as children. Since it’s something learned, procrastination can also be unlearned by a changing our mind-set.

Actionable advice: Schedule your work around your “play”.

Rather than trying to squeeze in life’s most enjoyable moments wherever you can find space in your work schedule, try instead to structure your work week around the things you actually enjoy. This way, the time you spend working is limited and therefore has to count. Plus, you have the added benefit of not having to sacrifice play for the sake of work.

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My Stream of Consciousness from this book:  Procrastination can be caused by dull work or fear of failure, unclear goal, humans aren’t lazy, we don’t procrastinate about things we like, we learn that work is not fun at an early age so we put it off, our self esteem is linked to work so we put off working to protect it, in the west work = self esteem, perfectionism leads us to procrastinate, high performer just get it done, become a producer – I will start, cut out the inner conflict, producers have clear goal, focus in one direction, integrate relaxation in your work life, chronic procrastinators is similar to workaholic, they end up worrying about not getting things done or working too much they don’t enjoy the fruits of their labor, break tasks down into manageable units, if the goal is nebulous we put it off, chop work into small manageable tasks, take short breaks, start with a small chunk, unschedule technique, chop your day into 30min increment of focus work, fight off distraction have a piece of paper or a small book to write down niggling ideas and thoughts, get them out of your head, lock the door.

DEEP CONCEPTS

Procrastination is a strategy to avoid fear of failure

      • Usually, we procrastinate on work, that is, when there is a certain task we’re required to perform 
      • These tasks are all significant and not part of your routine. You don’t procrastinate going to the bathroom or answering a colleague who wants to take you to lunch, but you might put off starting an important presentation.
      • In fact, the types of tasks we procrastinate on usually have three important characteristics:
        –  First, when you want to do a good job on something so you can live up to others’ and your own expectations
        –  Second, you find the work dull. It’s no fun and getting started
        – Finally, it’s unclear what qualifies as a “good job”: you simply don’t know how to live up to others’ expectations and deliver
      • When faced with these kinds of tasks, the inevitable consequence is a choice between two options
        – If you start working on the task, you spend your time on something boring, plus you risk failing and disappointing both yourself and others as well.
        – If you don’t start working, you can avoid this boredom, uncertainty and the fear of failure.

We’re taught to dislike work and fear failure

      • Children that aren’t working hard enough simply need to be pushed harder
      • No, this understanding of procrastination is just as simplistic as it is wrong. In fact, there are many examples that demonstrate that humans aren’t born either lazy or lacking in drive.
      • Consider all the things that you actually enjoy doing – How much motivation do you need to do those things?  everyone has certain things they can do without procrastinating, and without the threat of discipline or the lure of a reward.
      • we learn at a young age in school that “work” is no fun: in fact, it’s the opposite of “play.”
      • Second, we’re instilled with unhealthy perfectionism. We feel very conscious of our performance, that we need to do the best – because otherwise it implies that we “weren’t trying hard enough.”
      • So it’s natural that most people find work unpleasant:

Our self-esteem is linked to work, and procrastination helps protect it

      • Each and every human being wants to be valued and held in high regard by others.
      • In fact, we employ many strategies to combat any threats to this desire to protect our own self-esteem
      • In the Western world, this is complicated by the fact that an individual’s self-esteem is usually strongly linked to their work and work accomplishments.
      • Since they’ve learned that work is the main source of self-esteem, it’s quite natural that most people are driven by a rather unhealthy perfectionism.c…

Adopt the anti-procrastination mantra: “You only learn when you fail.”

      • One of the key ingredients of procrastination is perfectionism: no matter what we do, we always tell ourselves that the results must be the absolute best they can be.
      • In the face of this overwhelming pressure to perform well, we lock up, meaning we do nothing, instead of starting our work and facing this challenge
      • However, many high-performing people don’t do this; they don’t fear mistakes or setbacks, and instead just get cracking.
      • In fact, if you never try, then you never get better. Only people who try and try again are constantly improving their skills!

To become a producer, change your self-talk from “I must” or “I should” to “When can I start?”

      • The typical procrastinator experiences a specific inner monologue, which is dominated by an inner conflict.
      • This permanent conflict is like two horses pulling in opposite directions: one horse pulls you towards the task that “should” or “has to” be done; the other away from it because you “don’t want to.”
      • However, it is possible to overcome this conflict and change your inner monologue, transforming your role as a powerless victim into that of a producer – someone who doesn’t just have to get things done but actually wants to and produces results.
      •  Producers have a clear goal in front of them that they want to achieve.
      • Positive self-talk makes you focus your energy in one direction: now both horses can pull you in the same direction rather than sabotaging your efforts because of some needless negativity.

To be productive, integrate relaxation and play in your everyday life

      • Procrastination is a vicious cycle: once you start delaying your work, the guilty feeling of having to catch up on everything later accumulates into a larger and larger pile of guilt.
      • Such a lifestyle means you never really have time for true relaxation, real play or a private life you can fully enjoy.
      • Strangely, chronic procrastinators share the mind-set of a workaholic: both groups always feel that they have a ton of unfinished work waiting for them and that they don’t have any time to rest and relax.
      • As a consequence, they end up spending all their time either working or feeling guilty about the time they spend not working.
      • Producers don’t do this. Instead, they set aside significant amounts of their time for their private life, holidays, health, real relaxation and play.
      • In fact, guilt-free play and relaxation are absolutely essential for anyone who wants to become a high-performing producer.Another surprising fact when it comes to our habits is that rewarding good behavior, which might seem like a positive thing, can actually make enforcing good habits trickier.

If you want to make a task less threatening, break it down into small, manageable units

      • Usually the hardest part about work is getting started.
      • But why is getting started so hard? Usually because the task itself seems so large and insurmountable that we can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
      • In the face of these lofty, nebulous future goals, we tend to procrastinate and do things that offer quick rewards, such as checking email, surfing Facebook and so on.
      • So what’s a simple strategy to overcome this tendency?
      • Easy: just chop your work into small, manageable tasks that can be checked off the list in no time at all.
      • In addition, you can boost your motivation by following those small tasks with small rewards, such as short breaks where you relax or take a quick stroll.
      • So don’t focus on finishing a big task; focus instead on getting started: Start with the first small chunk and forget about that vague goal in a distant future.

For stress-free productivity, try “unscheduling.”

      • One simple technique to make your work week both more pleasant and more productive is to employ the Unschedule technique for time management.
      • The primary objective of this technique is to get as many short (around 30-minute) periods of uninterrupted, focused work into your day,
      • By structuring your day into many short, focused units, you not only get a whole lot more done but also enjoy a shorter workday.
      • Unlike in a normal work planner, you schedule the pleasant things – not the work units – in your calendar. They build the framework that you will use to structure your work days.
      • First, your life is not just work! You get to enjoy many other pleasant, non-work-related things as well.
      • Second, the amount of time you have to get things done is limited, so you’d better make good use of it!

To fight off distractions, always have a piece of paper or a notebook within reach

      • There seems to be an infinite number of ways of getting distracted on the job:
      • We tend to let these little interruptions steal our focus away from the task at hand, no matter how important what we’re working on. Instead of finishing our work, we let our minds slip.
      • These distractions, internal and external, are unavoidable: ideas and other thoughts will always pop into your mind, and chatty colleagues will inevitably come by to talk to you unless you lock the door or keep a pistol on your desk.
      • Just grab a piece of paper, a notebook or whatever it takes to create a little list, and collect every little thought and anything else that might otherwise distract you.

Date – 11.2.2017
B-Book 17Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

The key message in this book:  You can create and maintain good habits, as well as steering clear of bad ones, by employing some simple strategies: Distract yourself, use treats instead of rewards, know what sort of person you are and make your good habits convenient!

Actionable advice:  Make a if-then list.

This consists of making a list that says “if Y happens, then I will do X.” It’s a sort of plan that stops us from having to make those knee-jerk decisions which often lead to poor decisions. For example: “If I finish work early, then I’ll go running.”

Set up for a new habit ahead of time.

To make new habits as easy to establish as possible, set yourself up. For example, if you want to go running in the morning, lay out your running gear the night before.

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My Stream of Consciousness from this book:
Know thyself, upholder, questioner, obliger, rebel, making decision is hard, put it on calendar and put it on automatic, monitor your action to change your habit, change during a major change, it easier if you make an action easy and convenient – to become a habit, make it fun – habit, don’t struggle against temptation, anticipate and minimize, resist temptation, moral licensing, distract yourself, it take about 15mins, shift to something fun and light, pairing is also a good technique, give yourself a treat every now and then.

DEEP CONCEPTS

In order to take control of your habits you must know thyself

      • Upholder, you find it easy to respond to your own and others’ expectations –  if going to the gym is in the calendar, you will go even if the weather is terrible, or she’s tired from work.
      • Questioneryou scrutinize what’s expected of you and comply only if they make sense to you.  A Questioner wanting to start a gym habit can benefit from exercise apps or other data sources, because when he sees statistical proof that he’s losing weight, he’ll be more motivated to stick to his gym routine.
      • Obliger, you have no problem meeting expectations when they’re imposed on you, but you find it difficult to impose expectations on yourself.
      • Rebel, you resist all expectations, whether they come from you or other people. Authenticity and self-determination are your guides 

Using a calendar and monitoring your habits will make creating and maintaining the good ones easier

      • The simple truth is that for us humans, making decisions is hard.  That’s why you have to take decision-making out of the equation.  If you have to make a decision everyday about it, you will end up missing days, just take the decision out of it.  Just put it in your calendar and don’t think about it.  
      • Start monitoring your behavior.  Keep a journal or write about it.  Buy a pedometer to count how many steps you take each day.  We have the desire to consume things in units of one, like one hamburger or one pizza, no matter how big the portion.  To monitor this behavior get a food journal.
      • One 2003 study showed that the average American takes around 5,117 steps per day, which is only about half as many as we need to stay health

New beginnings are great for introducing new habits

      • Changing our habits is notoriously difficult because our daily routines are so ingrained in us.
      • But when a major change occurs in our life –  our routines suddenly change, or even disappear altogether. Such times are ideal for creating new and better habits
      • Divorced men, for example, often gain weight; conversely, women tend to gain weight after marriage.
      • So why do major life changes make it easier to adopt new habits? Starting afresh alters our perspective on life and makes it easier to create new routines.
      • As a single parent your priority might be generating enough income to ensure your children are provided for and will be able to attend college.  Children leave the nest and there’s no more tuition fees to cover.  Moments like these can shed new light on life and are often an optimal time to begin forming new habits – rock climbing, travelling etc…

It’s easier to positively shape our lives when we make good habits convenient and bad ones inconvenient

      • Let’s face it – most of us are pretty lazy. So if we want to maintain our good habits, we need to make them as convenient and easy as we possibly can
      • Say you want to start socializing more. If you have to go to the trouble of making arrangements and calling your friends every time you feel like socializing, you’ll often end up by yourself because you can’t be bothered. If you join a group on the other hand, this will make things a bit easier.  Another is hide cookies and leave out apples
      • Another great way to make something easier is to make it fun

Safeguard against temptation and don’t use excuses

      • Research has found that we spend around a quarter of our waking life struggling to resist some kind of temptation. It is no surprise then that often our success in adopting good habits or ditching bad ones depends on our ability to resist temptation.
      • How can we do this effectively?  We can start by anticipating and minimizing our exposure to temptation. Doing this is essential to breaking bad habits.  The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” is often useful.
      • Resisting temptation is also the key to maintaining good habits, for we’re often tempted to come up with excuses to avoid them.
      • One of the most oft-used loopholes is the Moral Licensing Loophole, i.e., when we treat ourselves to something “bad” we do something good.  I will eat two pizzas because I am gonna workout.

It’s easier to form good habits when you find the right distractions and learn to work without the promise of rewards

      • When it comes to refraining from bad habits, distractions can be a real blessing.
      • So the next time you feel the need to fight off unwelcome thoughts and cravings, try to distract yourself.
      • Everyone knows that trying to suppress your thoughts or cravings will only exacerbate them, so a far better approach is to shift your focus. That is, to distract yourself.
      • Research has shown that if we learn to move our attention away from a craving, it will weaken within just 15 minutes.
      • Research indicates that distraction as a strategy functions best when we shift our attention to something fun and absorbing, rather than something stressful or arousing.
      • Another surprising fact when it comes to our habits is that rewarding good behavior, which might seem like a positive thing, can actually make enforcing good habits trickier.

Pair good habits together, and give yourself a treat now and then

      • We’ve seen how rewards aren’t always useful when we want to stick to our good habits. Luckily, there are other approaches we can use. One is called pairing.
      • Pairing is simply taking two activities, one that you enjoy doing and one that you want to do but find a bit more difficult, and making them dependent on one another. This makes it easier to keep up good habits.  Like running (Audible and running). Also, placing your medication at your desk
      • Creating new habits, like working out more, eating less or giving up smoking, can be hard. It’s therefore important to give yourself a lift here and there without encouraging the need for a prize to keep up the good work. The solution is to treat yourself now and then.
        – The difference between a treat and a reward is that you don’t earn them, they’re just something we give ourselves.
        – The main thing is that it’s a spontaneous gift, rather than a planned one, and it’s not given in return for any pre-determined accomplishment.

Date – 11.1.2017
B-Book 16: Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte
The key message in this book: We needn’t lead our working and private lives in accordance with outdated ideas and old-fashioned beliefs. Instead, we can change our personal lives, our workplaces and our society at large to create less stressful and generally happier lives.

Actionable advice:  Find a quiet place and meditate every day.

Combat feelings of being overwhelmed by practising mindfulness or meditation techniques regularly. They require just a few minutes of your day! Meditation is a proven method of finding a center and listening to your mind and body that can helpyou gain perspective and peace, regardless of your work or social situation.

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My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book):  No free time, overwhelm, women feels it more so, Americans are chronically overstressed, some stress is good, permanent stress is not, prefrontal cortex gets smaller as you stress, amygdala get larger – stress, fight, flight response center, industrial revolution has us on the go ever since and we are still running, Amercian work the longest ours , american workplace is inflexible, stress breakdown willpower, old stereotypes persist, this leads to stress for men and women who move outside general roles, flexible working hours is the future, working at home  adds to productivity, Denmark is great at breaking down gender stereotype, spend time practicing mindfulness, do what is within your capabilities, med and practice mindfulness, learn to experience the body and mind in the present.

DEEP CONCEPTS

Parents are stressed, with no free time and too much to do. Mothers are especially overwhelmed

      • We all know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed. Balancing work and private life is hard enough even when you have no dependents, but more so if you’re a parent with mouths to feed
      • This sense of being overburdened is particularly prevalent among women
      • A study performed in 2004 asked mothers with children under six if they could say they often had any free time. None of the women in the study said they did!
      • Lack of free time has led to high rates of stress and anxiety in the United States – Americans as a whole are chronically overstressed.

Too much stress can physically harm our brains, and cause us to lose control of our emotions

      • Feeling stressed or anxious for short periods of time has actually benefitted humans throughout our evolution, sharpening our senses in times of threat.
      • However, permanent stress caused by feeling overwhelmed on a daily basis is not beneficial. In fact, permanent stress actually damages our brains.
      • People who felt constantly overwhelmed had a prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain associated with sophisticated behaviors, such as planning, self-control and reasoning) that was actually smaller than of those who led less stressful lives.
         – Moreover, the amygdala – the most ancient or “primitive” part of the brain associated with feeling fear, aggression and anxiety – correspondingly grows in size in people who are constantly stressed.
      • High levels of stress experienced by so many people can have an aggregate effect on society.
      • A stressed workforce, for example, is far less likely to be productive or conscientious.

The industrial age inspired greater productivity; yet since then, workers have never slowed down

      • We know that stress is bad and anxiety can hurt us both emotionally and physically. But how did we as a society get to this point of being so overwhelmed?
      • Industrial Revolution play a part in our transition to a more stressful world – workers had to work harder for increasingly extended periods of time. Since then, such working habits have more or less stayed the norm, at least in the United States.  Americans work the longest hours in the industrialized world,
      • American workplaces are rather inflexiblewhich can cause tension between work responsibilities and home life.
      • The American workload has also increased since the beginning of the information age.
      • David Allen says that trying to decide what to pay attention to during a working day can lead to decision fatigue, which in turn creates a gnawing sense of anxiety.
      • This constant stress breaks down an individual’s willpower, making it more difficult to curb interruptions. This in turn eats away at productivity,

Dad works; Mom cares for the children. Old stereotypes still persist in our modern age

      • Although it may seem like we live in a more modern world, many of us are still, often subconsciously, influenced by the beliefs or stereotypes that influenced our grandparents’ generation.
      • While we may not openly admit it, people who deviate from these stereotypes are often perceived as somehow abnormal.
      • Men too face a “flexibility stigma” when they seek out more flexible working hours, to care for children or family members for example – such men are often overlooked for promotions.

Do we need to work 100 hours to be productive? No. Flexible working hours are the future

      • Evidence has shown that parents who are allowed to telecommute from an “online office” are more productive and far less overwhelmed. Working from home gives employees more autonomy over the organization of work and family time.
      • Parents can then attend important family events and have more time for leisure activities, and importantly, are able to work when they’re most productive.
      • The idea of judging productivity by the sheer number of hours worked is finally giving way to a more trusting work atmosphere

Gender stereotypes are not innate. Through good public policy, they can be overcome

      • So you might think, if gender stereotypes still hold traction in society, perhaps they explain the way things actually are – the truth is that gender stereotypes are socially constructed and not biologically determined
      • Denmark is a prime example, having spent the past 40 years, through active and interventionist state policy, attempting to address gender biases.
      • Consequently, such policies have inspired significant social change. For example, there is an almost total gender convergence with regard to time spent on housework, highly uncommon by world standards. Women in Denmark also enjoy the highest amount of leisure time in the world.
      • Moreover, 60 percent of Danish men report being happiest in relationships where home and childcare responsibilities are evenly distributed, a significantly higher number when compared to the United States.
      • So with good public policy and supportive workplaces, we can change stereotyped gender roles, which in turn reduces unnecessary stress for men and women.

Admit that you can’t do everything today. Spend time practicing mindfulness or meditating

      • We now know what we need to do to overcome the societal stressors that make us overwhelmed.
      • We should first understand that as individuals, we can’t do everything. Instead, we should only do what is within our capabilities.
      • Being swamped with an endless list of chores often leads to an acute sense of ambivalence as to what we should be doing right now, which causes stress and leads to unproductivity.
      • Meditating and practicing mindfulness are other methods of overcoming stress and anxiety.
      • Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has observed that the brain, when “left to itself…turns to bad thoughts, trivial plans, sad memories and worries about the future.” He stresses that “entropy, or disorder, confusion, decay, is the default position of the consciousness.”
      • One way to tackle entropy is by engaging in mindfulness and meditation, which involves learning to experience the body and the mind in the present moment, and simply observe your thoughts.
      • Even a few minutes a day of mindfulness can help you find a peaceful center free of unnecessary stress.

Date – 10.31.2017
B-Book 15: The Power of Full Engagement byJim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
The key message in this book:  All you need for bad habits to weaken their grip on you is four seconds: the time it takes for one deep breath in and out. By taking this micro pause, you’ll be better equipped to collect yourself, gather your thoughts and act in ways that benefit you, rather than work against you. Pause when you get criticism or have to deal with gloomy colleagues, and then turn that negativity around.

Actionable advice: Choose content over delivery.

The next time you feel your blood boiling over because of something someone said, try to listen to the content rather than how they packaged it. By really paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s more likely that you’ll uncover the message they were actually trying to get across!

A word of appreciation goes a long way.

If you are the manager of a business or the leader of a project, remember that everyone contributes to your successes, and you should share it with them. The best way to do this is by actually speaking to them, rather than offering faceless material rewards. This will encourage everyone involved to keep doing their best.

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My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book):  Pause and breathe, don’t swear and yell, pause and breathe for 4 sec, make better decisions, identify an area of focus, daily focus should focus on process, prepare for the day ahead, prepare for a process, 1st – pause, 2nd – assess your process, 3rd -make a decision and stick to it,  improve your communication, focus on content of message not the tone, acknowledge that most of us are poor communicators, focus on content not package, arguing is not good, it is about the ego, listening is a powerful tool, drop arguing and start listening, alter your expectations of other will be better for you.  don’t’ hold others to your standard, appreciate people for who they are, not for what they do, accept failure, it is a learning opportunity, recognize when you fail and adjust accordingly, don’t’ hold on to negative feeling

DEEP CONCEPTS

To create better habits you have to pause, breathe, and identify an area of focus

      • Many people respond to stress in self-defeating, counter-productive ways, such as yelling or starting an argument with someone. So how do we transform this unhelpful behavior into habits that save our time, energy and sanity?
      • The first step is pausing and breathing for four seconds – the amount of time you need to take one deep breath in and out.
      • When you pause and breathe, this puts you in a state that allows you to make better decisions and consider the outcomes of your actions before you take them.
      • In addition to the four-second breath, in a stressful situation it’s a good idea to identify an area of focus, rather than a goal.
      • Goal setting is often accompanied by temptations to cheat or to take unnecessary risks, whereas an area of focus motivates you without offering up such negative temptations.

Daily preparation focused on processes – not solutions – will help you develop good habits

      • Living in a busy world, we need to be prepared for everything life throws at us; failing to prepare for the day ahead often results in costly blunders that waste time.
      • But how can you go about preparing for the unexpected? The secret is preparing for a process, rather than a solution.
        – Use the following three-step process.
        – First,  pause, breathe in and out deeply for four seconds, and think. For instance, if you’re out sailing in your boat and run into a storm, breathe, and think.
        – Next, assess your options. Ask yourself: given the resources and information I have available to me, how can I get to my desired outcome?
        – Last, make a decision and stick to it
      • Finally, make a decision and stick to itBut energy, not time, is the fundamental source of efficiency and high performance.

To improve your communication habits, focus on the content of the message and avoid arguing

      • How often do you get distracted by how someone communicated a certain point – their tone of voice, or their aggressive body language – rather than focusing on the content of the message?Most of us are pretty poor communicatorsand you’ll have to acknowledge this in order to improve your communication habits.
      • Really try to make a habit out of focusing on the content, instead of the packaging it comes in, to gain a better understanding of the message.
      • Another valuable tip for improved communication is to stop arguing.
        – Arguing is about nothing other than getting the upper hand. Even if you start to see some flaws in your viewpoint, it’s unlikely that you’re going to suddenly admit it if you’re in the middle of a fight!
      • Use the best tool you have available: listening. Listening is a brilliant tactic as it doesn’t threaten the other person. On the contrary, they will feel heard, piquing their interest to listen to you. So if you want to bring your point home and even sway the other person, drop the arguing and start listening.

To strengthen your relationships, don’t expect too much. Focus on what you appreciate about the people around you

      • If you can learn to alter your expectations, you’ll find that you’ll strengthen your relationships with those around you.
      • Expecting people to say and do what you would have said or done doesn’t usually end well, since no one is a carbon copy of you! It’s a far healthier habit to treat people howthey wish to be treated. If you do this, others won’t fail to meet your standards and, in turn, you won’t get frustrated.
      • To further reinforce your relationships, let people know what it is about them that you appreciate – appreciation is expressed through people and not things like bonuses or lavish gifts.
      • Make it a a habit of telling people that you appreciate them just as they are – not for the favors they have done for you.  This makes them feel respected and loved, which will strengthen your relationship.

To get the most out of your work, accept failure and share success

      • First, we have to understand that, in order to learn anything, we must have the opportunity to fail.
      • Learning is not about being perfect. Quite the opposite. It’s about recognizing when you’ve failed, and being able to adjust accordingly.
      • Knowing that you’ve contributed to a success is highly motivating. And when you’re motivated, you work more effectively.

You’ll be able to optimize your work habits if you can neutralize negativity and accept criticism

      • Acting negatively is something we all do from time to time
      • But we don’t do our best when we hold on to negative feelings. Let’s see how we can combat this.
      • But energy, not time, is the fundamental source of efficiency and high performance.
      • You can start with never responding against anyone’s negativity.

Date – 10.30.2017
B-Book 14: The Power of Full Engagement byJim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
The key message in this book:  In order to become fully engaged in whatever you do and perform at your absolute peak, you must first actively build your energy capacity in all dimensions of life –physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually – and manage this energy intelligently.

Click to read more
My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book): We must focus on managing our energy not  our time, optimize managing our energy, take breaks, physical, emotional,, mental and spiritual, mental energy pushes us to endure, physical and emotional are fundamental, we tend to expend more than we recover, we need to rest every 90 to 120 mins, take breaks, walk around, you need to build up your physical energy, it is our most important, eating properly and drink lots of water, we need 7-8 hours sleep per night, prioritizing work over play is not always good, play or enjoyable activity gives us motivation, the harder you try the farther you get away from your goals, spiritual motivation means living in accordance with your values, committing to others, something outside of us, it give us drive and motivation, find a positive and motivating reason to your life, your purpose must be positive (the boat example), purpose must be intrinsic, purpose has to be beyond us, what is important to you, you need a vision statement, when your values don’t drive you decision they are pointless, we should not neglect negative emotions, they sap all your energy centers, deal with and manage them, our viewpoint is not the only way and might not be the best, be honest means accepting self criticism, use priming  – every time you are tempted by something bad, so something good instead.

DEEP CONCEPTS

In order to increase performance, we need to focus on managing our energy rather than our time

      • Many of us race through life without ever taking a break: we return home exhausted from a long day’s work, feeling overwhelmed with both work and our private life.
      • But energy, not time, is the fundamental source of efficiency and high performance.
      • But time alone won’t help us achieve our goals. We also need energy – without it, we can’t perform at our potential, no matter how much time we allow ourselves to do what we want!
      • We should focus on optimizing the quantity and quality of our available energy.
      • One way to efficiently manage energy and get more accomplished is in fact to workless and take more breaks.
      • Think about it: How do you feel after working for four hours straight? Chipper and ready for more? You probably feel totally drained, and no matter how many espressos you drink, you’re still unable to keep your concentration and maintain productivity.

We can reach full engagement by maximizing all four of our energy levels

      • Here are three additional sources of energy – emotionalmental and spiritual – that also require our attention.
      • we can use the same language as we do with physical energy – e.g., flexibility, endurance and strength – to describe the qualities of the other energies.
      • Emotional flexibility allows us to demonstrate a wide range of emotions appropriate to a given situation rather than responding with rigidity.
      • Mental endurance keeps us focused and concentrated over time. It helps us to power through the times when we’d rather quit but shouldn’t, like when we’re reading those hopelessly boring (but necessary) reports at work.
      • Spiritual strength helps us stay connected to our deepest values, which act as our life’s compass. 
      • Physical and emotional energy are our most fundamental sources of energy: without either, we would simply be too exhausted and deflated to accomplish anything.
      • But it’s not enough to know that energy is important; you also have to put that knowledge to good use.

In order to maintain energy levels we need to train our energetic muscles and give them time to recover

      • our energy reserves are not unlimited, and we tend to expend more energy per day than we recover, which eventually results in a burnout.
      • Recovery is an integral part of sustaining high levels of energy and thus high performance – for humans, this includes the need to rest every 90 to 120 minutes.
      • If we override this natural cycle and work past the point when we need to rest, then we’ll constantly flood our bodies with stress hormones – leads to aggressiveness, impatience, and can even cause heart attacks.
      • this means taking a relaxing break every 1.5 hours or so by doing things like having a coffee or taking a leisurely stroll through a nearby park for fifteen minutes.
      • In addition to preserving the energy in our reserves, we can also build up our energy levels by taking small steps outside our comfort zones
        – If you suffer from constant negative thoughts; write down your thoughts every morning and read them to yourself.  THe discomfort with force you to reflect

To reach your full potential, you must develop and maintain good physical energy

      • It’s obvious that without the physical energy required to move or think, we wouldn’t get much done – physical energy is our most important fuel so we have to maximize it.
      • Our physical energy capacity is dependent upon how we eat, sleep and recover.  The fundamental source of our physical energy comes from food – nuts, leafy green vegetables and yogurt
      • Drinking enough water is equally as important – in fact, muscles dehydrated by only 3 percent lose around 10 percent of their strength!
      • We also need eight hours every night, which we can take to be the optimum amount of sleep.
      • eight hours every night, which we can take to be the optimum amount of sleep.

In order to maintain positive emotional energy levels, never neglect what you enjoy or your physical health

      • When was the last time you did something simply because you enjoyed it, and not because you were obligated to?  Prioritizing work over play can have powerful negative consequences.
      • We derive positive emotional energy from doing things we enjoy and find relaxing.  It’s positive emotions, like enjoyment, feeling challenged, experiencing adventure and seeing opportunities, which fuel performance
      • Prioritize these kinds of enjoyable activities over ones that are supposedly “more productive.”
      • We can avoid negative emotional energy by maintaining high levels of physical energy. When we’re low on physical energy, our bodies raise our stress levels, and in turn our negative energy,  We tend to get grumpy and short-tempered when we haven’t eaten all day or gotten enough sleep. In order to sustain positive emotional energy, we should remember never to neglect our bodies, and always get enough food and rest!

Training your mental energy helps you stay focused and creative at the same time

      • In our daily lives, we need to be creative while maintaining as much efficiency and focus as possible; counterintuitively, the harder we try to achieve what we want all at once, the less of each we seem to have.
      • The key lies in using your mental energy.
      • Adopting realistic optimism, i.e., viewing the world “as it is” while simultaneously working positively toward our desired outcome.  
      • Once you’re able to keep your focus through realistic optimism, you can set your sights on boosting your creativity.  Our greatest ideas often come to us when we’re not actually working

Spiritual energy is the source for motivation, derived from committing to others as well as ourselves

      • Spirituality doesn’t necessarily mean adhering to a particular religion but describes a commitment to a set of personal values that give us purpose as individuals and so compel us to act.
      •  Spiritual energy is very important and provides us with our drive and motivation
      • Developing spiritual energy requires us to be motivated by something beyond our immediate self-interest – often, this means thinking about the needs and wants of others.
      • We often only act based on our immediate needs and desires, doing things because they provide us with immediate gratification.
      • In order to maximize our spiritual energy, we need to find a way to balance our guiding purpose beyond our self-interest with our own goals and desires.

To live at full engagement, you must find a positive and intrinsically motivating purpose

      • The search for meaning is among the most powerful themes across all the world’s cultures – a sense of purpose is the motivation behind our engagement and commitment to what we do.
      • But what constitutes a “good” purpose?
        – First, your purpose must be positive.  Imagine sitting in a leaking boat: your purpose –  keep the boat from sinking. But if you’re only focused on bailing out water, then there’s no way to navigate towards the shore!
        – Second, our purpose has to be intrinsically motivating – Studies show that the more you reward kids for doing the things they love to do, the less they love it.
        – Finally,  our sense of purpose must be rooted in something beyond mere self-interest – Working out to look good, but how about being health to make sure you are around to take care of your family. 

We have to connect to our deepest values to fuel the energy which gives our lives purpose

      • Our values provide the framework for how we would like to behave. If you want to find out what your personal values are, ask yourself what matters most to you – values such as: family, respect and kindness towards others, excellence, integrity, and health.
      • Another strategy is to reflect on someone you deeply respect and ask yourself: What are the qualities you most admire about him or her? Those can be your values.
      • Our values should ultimately serve as guideposts for every action we take and decision we make. When our values don’t guide our choices, the values themselves are meaningless.
      • You should therefore aim to achieve spiritual alignment, i.e., the point at which you truly “walk the walk” and your values are evident in every aspect of your life.
      • One way to help us towards this goal is to remind ourselves of our values every day by formulating them as a vision statement that tells us how to invest our energy such that we serve our values.
        – Example of Vision statementI fight passionately for what I believe, but remain open to learning and growing. At work, I am committed to helping people grow, deepen and behave more effectively in the world.

Facing the truth and accepting our limitations increases positive energy

      • While it’s true that we require positive energy on the path to full engagement, we should not take this to mean that we should deny or suppress our negative feelings. Instead, we should strive to consciously manage them
      • Many of us tend to avoid the truth at times in order to protect ourselves from the pain of negative emotions.  Avoiding the truth in this way consumes a lot of energy due to the mental effort it requires.
      • Although ignoring criticism protects your self-esteem in the short-term, in the long-term you’ll be destined to repeat the same mistakes and therefore have to face criticism
      • Being honest with ourselves and open to improvement helps us build positive energy. This can be difficult because we believe the way they see a situation is the “absolute truth,” this prevents us from accepting criticism.
      • We should accept that our viewpoint is only one of many and might not necessarily be the best. Adopting this approach allows us to learn from others and improve ourselves.
      • Being honest with ourselves also means accepting self-criticism.

Rituals are powerful tools to effectively manage energy capacity

      • Rituals are positive, consciously acquired behaviors that we perform without thinking, thus saving energy and time – only about 5% of our behavior is consciously performed, meaning that 95% of occurs automatically, out of habit.
      • But rituals don’t only conserve energy: designing positive rituals helps us to live in accordance with our values and perform at our very best
        – One way is to use a technique called priming: every time you’re tempted by something “bad,” do something “good” instead.

Date – 10.29.2017
B-Book 13: Inner Engineering by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
The key message in this book:  The key to inner happiness and joy lies within yourself. Only you can control your experience and perception of the world, whether it is one of bliss, pain or despair. By balancing your body and mind,

seeking out spiritual places and attending to the present moment, you can find true peace.

Actionable advice:  Savor what you eat.

Learning how to properly support yourself and enjoy every moment is no small task, but a great place to start is with your food. Simply begin paying attention to the tastes and textures in your mouth. Nothing else is required. Rather than thinking about the person you have a crush on or the promotion you want at work, truly consider the way your body responds to this daily act.

Click to read more
My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book): Lasting fulfillment is inside, bullshit will only take you so far, don’t be fixated, feelings and emotions are self generated, you can control your reaction, you can choose, don’t reproduce trauma, respond consciously, don’t say things you will forget, become conscious of your reaction, responsibility gives you freedom, step back ad respond, enlightenment requires the alignment of body, mind, emotions and energy – yoga help with this.  meditate, do physical yoga, you are connected with powerful forces of the universe, human is made of stuff of the universe, your body can tune into the vibrations of the universe, our intellect can prevent us from experiencing life, you intellect is limited, there are locations on earth that store physical energy.

DEEP CONCEPTS

Lasting fulfillment can only be found within yourself.

    • Have you noticed how many hyper-successful people can’t seem to find happiness in life? It’s a pretty common scenario. How come?  Story of pheasant and bull – bullshit will only take you so far
    • A fixation on the external world prevents many people from finding fulfillment

Human perceptions and emotions are self-generated, so you can guide your experience of life.  

    • Have you ever noticed that you sometimes deeply enjoy receiving hugs and other times are annoyed by such gestures of intimacy?
    • It shows how human perceptions, feelings and emotions are entirely self-generated. In other words, it’s not just objects in the world like books, food and houses that are perceived within yourself. The same is true for the way you feel.
    • If somebody yells at you, you might respond with fear or anger. Such reactions are unconsciously produced by your body, but you have the ability to make them conscious and control them.In this way, humans can create their own experience of life.

Most people respond to life events compulsively, but you can choose to respond consciously.

    • The natural response to a painful experience like a bitter breakup is to obsess over what happened.
    • You might continually imagine a partner who cheated on you. This compulsive tendency to reproduce traumatic events in our minds means that certain people eventually come to fully identify with these situations, finding themselves incapable of trusting a new lover.
    • There’s a different, much more conscious way to respond to life events, both past and present. It involves reflecting on these experiences and carefully learning from them.        
    • Whenever faced with the choice, refrained from saying things that you might later regret.
    • While many people spend their lives nursing old grudges and memories of shameful events, reliving these hurtful emotions doesn’t serve us. By becoming conscious of your reactions, you can step out of this cycle and take a different path.

Contrary to popular belief, responsibility increases your freedom.

    • While it may sound totally illogical to some, responsibility gives you freedom. After all, responsibility is the ability to take a step back, consider your options and decide how to best respond to a situation.
    • So, responsibility is not what you thought it was. It doesn’t even necessarily require taking action. Responsibility gives you the freedom to act, but doing so is up to you.
    • Just imagine you learned about a hurricane on the other side of the world. The responsible reaction is to work out whether you can genuinely help. Do you have the money, the skills, the drive or the freedom to step out of your day-to-day responsibilities without letting others down? If you decide you can’t help, you’ve responded consciously, which is much better than simply turning a blind eye.

Enlightenment requires the alignment of body, mind, emotion and energy.

    • You probably already know that teamwork is essential to success. The same is true within an individual organism. To function properly, the different parts of your being need to work in sync.
    • So, to reach enlightenment, you need to forge a tight-knit cooperation between your body, mind,   emotions and energy.
    • Yoga is a tool to achieve this connection by bringing together the body, mind, emotions and energy.
    • According to yogic philosophy, if the body is in balance but the mind craves food or sex, the body will rapidly fall out of balance. The same is true for the emotions and energy. To achieve true balance, you need to meditate, practice physical yoga, pray and do exercises that affect your energy centers.

The human body is part of the earth and the universe; you’re connected with powerful forces.

    • People often view the earth as dirty, which compels us to keep everything clean and sterile. But what about our own bodies? Are they filthy too?
    • In reality, the human body is just another piece of the earth and universe. It is made out of food that was ingested at the moment we were created, swimming around as embryos in the womb. This food comes from the earth, returns to it and is thus the same as the earth itself.
    • The earth, and by extension all humans, are part of the universe. As a result, cosmic events like the movement of stars, the sun and the moon, all affect us.
    • Body can also tune into the universe and the earth
    • Country dwellers know well that meteorological changes can be felt within the body, and that we can teach our bodies to become aware of such transitions.

Our intellect prevents us from experiencing life to its fullest.

    • Nowadays, most people believe in science, but even science has very human limitations. Our intellect, in fact, can even prevent us from experiencing life to the fullest.
    • To experience life, we must first recognize how insignificant we are in the universe. Not just that, but we must also know that any thought we might have is even less significant.
    • Our intellect gets us into trouble here as it can lead us to believe that we’re capable of grasping life. But we can’t.
    • Instead, when we get lost in thought, we lose sight of the massive universe, the planets in outer space, and the complex and delicate balance of the cosmos, which seems to function by magic! Only by releasing our intellect and accepting that reality is much larger than us will we ever fully experience life.

Certain locations are loaded with spiritual energy, and visiting them can kickstart a spiritual journey

    • Lots of people perceive spiritual teachings as esoteric and lofty. Even those of us who get serious about spirituality often wonder where to begin.
    • Travel is a great place to start. After all, there are locations on earth that store spiritual energy

Date – 10.28.2017
B-Book 12: Personal Kanban by Jim Benson & Tonianne DeMaria Barry
The key message in this book:  Many people think that work life and personal life are separate spheres. The truth, however, is that they’re interconnected parts of a whole, and in order to accomplish all you want, it’s key to pay equal attention to 

both. Personal Kanban will help you do this – organizing your to-dos into an easy-to-use visual format that makes planning, monitoring and executing your tasks a snap.

Actionable advice:  Realistically estimate your workload by accounting for hidden tasks.

The next time you set about estimating your workload, be sure to do it honestly; that means digging up all the “hidden work.” This step is key, as many people simply omit tasks that don’t seem like real work. For instance, a teacher might fail to account for calling parents and cleaning up after school, because she only considers “work” the time she spends teaching. Leaving such auxiliary tasks unaccounted for is a sure way to see time disappear, which will make you feel inefficient, even if you’ve accomplished a lot.

Click to read more
My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book):  both personal and work are one life, you have to plan with both, Toyota created the kanban process – it has been personalize to help mastery of time and tasking, visualize work flow as an assembly line and  see the tradeoffs, identify stages of work in progress, setup backlog – all your goals in one place and decide the maximum you can handle at once, put  most  pressing ones in. workload – when ready, move to doing , doing is action, moving to done is what you are working towards, it is a reflective process, it show how effective you are – it allow you to  analyse pros and cons of tasks, continuous feedback on decision, and tasks, retrospective – look at done  area, – doing taxes example, good motivator as you look at done, you have to move item as conditions/context change, keep backlog organized – urgent is not a priority,  add a today column and pending column as necessary.

DEEP CONCEPTS

A work-life imbalance can cause you to lose sight of meaningful goals, but the Personal Kanban can help.

      • Have you ever been overloaded with work, stressed out and struggling to find a free moment to kick back and relax?
      • our personal life and our work life are inseparable parts of the same life.  but a problem arises when you allocate all your time and energy to planning just one part of your life
      • you might find it silly to jot down a reminder to hang out with friends, you probably readily write to-do lists for worka fact that may lead to your pursuing work goals until day’s end, at which point you have no energy for socializing.
      • But that’s not the only problem. When you treat your life and work as separate entities, you risk permanently forgoing life-changing goals,
      • So, if you don’t plan out your goals with both these sides in mind, you likely won’t achieve them.

Kanban was developed for companies, but Personal Kanban is customized for your life..

      • The Personal Kanban emerged out of this organizational Kanban. Of course, your life doesn’t work like an assembly line, so this personal system is more flexible, easier to adapt to your changing life and objectives.
      • It works like this. Personal Kanban relies on two principles:
        – The first is to visualize your workflow by using a board to diagram all your tasks. This helps you simultaneously monitor everything you need to do and easily ascertain your next task.
        Instead of mentally juggling several pressing tasks, your Kanban lets you quickly weigh the tradeoffs of each.
        – 
        The second principle of Kanban is to keep your work-in-progress (WIP) to a minimum. There’s no need to put more on your plate than you can realistically handle.

Building your Personal Kanban is as easy as choosing a medium, putting it in place and following three simple steps.

your Personal Kanban is designed to visualize the flow of your work, so while you can draw it on your computer, it’s much more effective to use a medium that can be put somewhere you see every day. A whiteboard is ideal – you can put in your office or in a prominent location at home.

      • First, draw out three or more columns that correspond to different stages of progress. These could be things like READY, meaning work waiting to be tackled; DOING, for work-in-progress; and DONE, for completed tasks. As you work on and complete tasks, you’ll see them move from column to column.
      • The second step is to set up your backlog by writing down every goal you’ve ever had but haven’t been able to tackle – anything from calling your mother to moving to Hawaii.
      • Step three is to decide the maximum number of work-in-progress tasks you can handle at once. Keep in mind that people are more effective when they don’t have too many things to do at once. You can find your magic number by choosing one at random – three, for instance – and testing it out to discover your sweet spot over time.

Working with Personal Kanban is just another four steps away.

      • Your first job is to take on new tasks and get your workflow going. Do so by following step four and five:
        – Step four is to pick the most pressing tasks from your backlog and place them in your workflow – key to put the most urgent tasks into the READY column of your board.
        – Step five is to begin pulling – moving, as time allows, high-priority tasks from READY to DOING as your WIP space frees up
        – Step six, the action really begins as you start tackling the tasks in your DOING column. Remember that moving things to DONE will always be your sweet reward.
        – The motivation you’ll derive from the prospect of moving an item to DONE is the icing on the cake!
        – Step seven is to assess your progress in different areas, an easy task given the system’s visual nature. Kanbans work by visualizing every step and task
        – For example, say you realize that creative tasks are a total breeze for you, but accounting work drags on and on. Identifying this problem is a major step toward finding a solution.

Personal Kanban is full of pluses.

      • It can be hard to turn down juicy new projects, but sometimes saying no is the best thing you can do.
      • overburdening your brain decreases your productivity; like traffic clogging a freeway, too many duties clog up your working memory – creativity suffers, too, and you’ll become easily distracted and more prone to procrastination.
      • Personal Kanban protects you from these issues by limiting your work-in-progress to a realistic load.
      • Another way Personal Kanban helps you is by tracking your activities and mastering your time.
        – A glance at your DONE column might be enough to show you just how many small, easily forgotten tasks you’ve actually accomplished.
      • It also lets you compare the pros and cons of different paths.

Personal Kanban will help you unearth problems before they get out of hand.

      • Sometimes small adjustments made early mean major effects down the line. This is good news, because Personal Kanban’s continuous feedback lets you tackle problems while they’re still small.
      • Since your Kanban is always giving you feedback about your decisions and work, you’ll know well in advance if something needs changing.
      • But there’s another key feature of Personal Kanban that helps you identify areas in need of change. They’re called retrospectives. Here’s how they work:
        – Start by taking a look at your DONE column to determine how many tasks you work on in an average day and which tasks give you the most grief or pleasure.
        – For example, while conducting your retrospective, you might realize that you hate filing your taxes, and that, as a result, you always procrastinate right up to tax day. It’s easy to see
        that hiring an accountant to file your taxes could seriously cut your stress.
      • So how often should you do a retrospective? It’s up to you, but whether you do it every week or every month it should always be a regular habit.

Personal Kanban is a better motivator than deadlines, as long as you keep a couple of things in mind.

      • Deadlines can motivate you, because you’re likely to prioritize tasks with a due date; however, they work by pushing you.
      • Personal Kanban is an effective motivator
      • However, using personal Kanban certain jobs become a priority in particular situations, and when context changes, priorities do too. It’s therefore key to update your Kanban as conditions change.
      • Second, since you’ll be pulling tasks from your backlog, it’s important to keep it as organized as your board. One way to keep it neat is with a time management matrix composed of four quadrants prioritized from urgent to not important.

You can flexibly adapt your Personal Kanban to meet your needs

      • You can add a TODAY column to your board, maybe before the DOING column, to which you pull tasks for the day.   The TODAY column works by helping you track your achievements and determine your daily capacity.
      • But what about when you depend on the actions of others to complete a task?
      • For work like this you can make an additional column, called PEN, meaning everything in it needs to be signed off by someone else. For example, say one of your tasks in READY is to “schedule house painters.” You pull it into DOING and call the company, but no one picks up and all you can do is leave a voicemail. Instead of letting the task sit in your DOING column, you can move it to PEN until you hear back from the painters.

Date – 10.27.2017
B-Book 12: Work the System by Sam Carpenter

The key message in this book:  Hard work doesn’t automatically lead to success, especially if you waste your efforts working on the wrong things. To make the most out of your work, you have to identify the systems within which you operate, and then discern, analyze and improve the dysfunctional parts in them.

Unlike invisible aliens, systems really do influence so much of what we do every day. Whether it’s driving to work or running errands with the family, think about all the systems that affect you. The traffic on the highway, parking lots, fossil fuel prices, your company’s administrative processes, even the social systems of communication and language. Systems are everywhere.

Once you start to see systems everywhere, you can start to think about how you can flip the script: Instead of them just affecting you, how can you work them? These blinks will show you how.

Click to read more
My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book):  The world is not in chaos, chaos is mostly due to human beings, this shows we can influence systems, you have influence, don’t agonize over what you can’t change, influence/change the system you are in charge of or that you in, focus on the system you can change, take an outsider perspective, see the cog in its place, see your own role, see the individual parts, define your goals and know your objectives – if you don’t  you will be like a ship without a compass, tackle problems before they come up – anticipate and plan, pull problems up by root, you can influence all the system you are a part of, be strategic in plotting course, it is your responsibility – run your business/family/relationships like a machine, repair subsystems, don’t forget to maintain it, communication is key, the right goal is not 100% – 98% is good enough – chasing the 2% might end up being inefficient, address problems immediately.

DEEP CONCEPTS

Get the systems mind-set: the world is a logical system of processes, not a chaotic mess

      • Do you ever feel like you are just a helpless grain of sand in a dust storm of chaos beyond your control?
        – Chaos does not rule the world, but an underlying inherent order, even if we can’t always see it – oil is extracted and make it to the gas stations for your convenience.
      • When there is chaos or dysfunction within a system, it is largely the result of human flaws..
      • Whereas systems tend to run smoothly, human beings are inclined to make mistakes.Unsatisfactory outcomes are proof of our ability to exert our influence on processes
      • The global financial crisis, for example, wasn’t blind bad luck. It was the result of a series of bad decisions made by people.
      • Whether or not systems are functioning as they should is largely subjective – depends heavily on our perspective.
      • You see, you’re not just a grain of sand; you have influence, and can work the system to your advantage.

Stop agonizing over systems that are beyond your influence, and start taking control of the ones you can change.

      • Nearly everyone has at some stage sunk to a point where they felt that they’d never achieve their dreams because the game is simply rigged against them. This mind-set ensures that you’ll never get the change you want
      • It’s true: no one person has total control over all the systems that affect her life. There’s nothing you can do about it, so just accept it and move on.
      • There are, however, many systems which are under your direct command. You have only to take charge of managing them to make things work in your favor.
      • Most things don’t go the way we want because we don’t even try to change their outcomes.
      • Let go of the circumstances that are out of your hands and focus instead on the systems that you can influence. This is the hand you’ve been dealt. Start playing it.

Take a step back to analyze systems from an outsider perspective.

      • Indeed, you can only hope to understand the systems that steer your life and your position in society by stepping back and gaining the perspective of someone on the outside looking in.
      • A cogwheel in a machine only knows about the other cogwheels that it touches. Only by seeing the cogwheels in relation to the rest of the machinery can you hope to understand how the mechanism actually works.
      • We often drift through our daily routines without any awareness of the different systems that we pass through and participate in each day, which can make it difficult for us to see our own role in these systems.Human beings act mainly on gut feelings.
      • Every system can be broken down into subsystems, and each subsystem into multi-step processes.
      • Every system is only as good as its components, so if you can step back and see the individual parts, then you’ll have a better idea of what problems need fixing.

Get into the driver’s seat: become a system manager.

      • It’s time to look at how you can apply this knowledge to improve your professional and personal life
      • If you don’t know what your objectives are, it becomes impossible to make decisions, as your choices will have no clearly motivated purpose – ship without a compass
      • Second, realize that today’s problems are tomorrow’s opportunities.
        – Don’t want to get into the habit of tackling problems as they arise. You want to pull out the problems at the root, thus pre-empting future difficulties
        – Means identifying which problems are symptomatic of flaws in your system
        – Problems that you discover are actually opportunities to improve the functionality of your systems
      • For example, breaking up with your partner might seem like the obvious solution for your dysfunctional relationship. That is, until you find yourself in the exact same situation with someone else a year later.
        – Looked at your relationship as a system and identified the cause of the problem within that system
      • You can influence all the systems that you belong to, whether they’re professional, personal, financial, social or biological

Focus on your role as a leader.

      • When you are plotting this strategic course, you will need to be specific in defining objectives and guidelines.
      • If you don’t plot a course, then your business has no hope of producing the outcomes you want.
      • The responsibility of a leader: setting the strategic course that guides these interoperating systems.

Run your business like a machine.

      • Most people want their business to run like a well-oiled machine
      • By repairing the subsystems within your business, you have an opportunity to find huge value.
      • By repairing the subsystems within your business, you have an opportunity to find huge value.
      • Once you’ve put your systems in place, you can’t forget to maintain them.
        –  Even the best client relationship will turn sour, for example, if you neglect to give it the necessary attention.
      • If you manage systems in a way that prevents problems and maintains a consistent quality of outcome, you will not only make more money, but also do so more efficiently.

Maximize your process efficiency with realistic goals and good communication.

      • What is the right goal? Is it getting everything right? All 100 percent? When it comes to business, we’ll have to use a different logic.
      • Here, 98 percent is good enough. Don’t waste time and money on trying to get things 100 percent right
      • In fact, 98 percent could be considered perfect, as achieving that last two percent requires so much additional effort that it would render the process inefficient!
      • Indeed, the communication system is omnipresent in business as well as your personal life. Misunderstandings and conflicts arise from silence. If there is a problem, address it immediately.

Date – 10.26.2017
B-Book 12Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein
They key message of this book is:  People often make unwise decisions, but the slightest of changes – so-called nudges – can give people incentives to make better decisions. That’s why countries and private institutions should also use nudges.

The questions this book answered:

How and why do we make the wrong decisions?

      • We don’t always make decisions that are best for us in the long run.
      • We often make bad decisions based on either too little or overly complex information.
      • Human beings act mainly on gut feelings.
      • Sometimes we make faulty decisions because we succumb to temptation or act without thinking.
      • Some companies exploit the human tendency to make the wrong decisions.
Click to read more
How can nudges help us deal with this problem?

      • Nudges are subtle changes in context that help us avoid making bad decisions.
      • Defaults are highly effective nudges that cause people to automatically do what’s best for them.
      • Nudges are most useful when we have too many choices or when the future is at stake.

How can each and every one of us use nudges?

      • Many people use nudges to achieve their goals.
      • States and other institutions should use nudges to encourage wise decisions.

My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book):  We don’t make right decision all the time, we often make bad decision based limited information or  on no experience, we act mostly on gut, automatic system response, gut instinct, rational or reflective, we don’t have time so we go with gut, lack of will vs temptation, don’t take large portions, it breaks the will; companies work on our psychology, companies can create need in us as well; nudges give us freedom to choose (good or bad) –  apples in visible area vs icecream in the freezer, defaults are good, making the wrong decision is easy – cake and scales or  drinking and headaches, use nudges to achieve your goal – new year’s resolution, nudges can help you throughout the year, nudge can help teenage moms with not getting pregnant.

DEEP CONCEPTS

We don’t always make decisions that are best for us in the long run.

  • Most people have a pretty clear idea of what’s good for them and what’s not. They are determined to eat healthily, save money for retirement and not smoke.
  • But when it comes to actually seeing these things through, they often do the opposite: they eat unhealthily, they’re reckless with money and they smoke too much.
  • Unwise behaviors crop up in all parts of our lives, from eating habits to investment decisions to the way we structure our daily schedule.
  • Such behavioral patterns cause problems when quick decisions result in serious long-term consequences

We often make bad decisions based on either too little or overly complex information.

  • We often make decisions that aren’t the best choices for us because, in many cases, we simply have too little or too much info, or we can’t foresee the consequences of our actions.
  • In other words, even when we have all the relevant info, it can still be difficult to sort it all out and compare the services objectively. Situations like this can overwhelm us.

Human beings act mainly on gut feelings.

  • Seeing a laughing baby, we can’t help but smile. That “decision” to smile is made unconsciously; our response occurs entirely on its own.  But given the problem 12 x 67 we freeze
  • In the case of the baby, we are using our Automatic System, i.e., our gut instinct
  • In the case of the math problem, we are using the rational or Reflective System.
  • We don’t have the time or energy to reflect – we often let our Automatic System govern our actions.
  • It works well a lot of the time – but not all the time.

Sometimes we make faulty decisions because we succumb to temptation or act without thinking.

  • If you offer a long-time smoker a cigarette while she’s in the process of quitting, it’ll be difficult for her to resist the temptation
  • The reason for this unwise response is a lack of will: despite her intentions, the temptation is simply too great.
  • For example, experiments have shown that bigger portions cause us to eat more. If we have a big portion in front of us, we eat more of it than we should – even if it doesn’t taste good.

Some companies exploit the human tendency to make the wrong decisions.

  • If companies want to be successful, they have to sell products and earn profits. And to do that, they have to fulfill their customers’ needs.-
  • Whether that has positive or negative consequences on customers doesn’t matter to some companies – their main concern is whether customers are buying.
  • Sometimes companies don’t just satisfy the needs that customers already have – they can create new needs in their customers too.
  • The core approach of companies that promote XXL-sized and sell portions instead of normal ones are chief reasons so many people eat far too much and are overweight.
  • Trial subscriptions to periodicals are another case where companies exploit human weakness.

Nudges are subtle changes in context that help us avoid making bad decisions.

  • How can we keep ourselves from making the wrong decisions? With nudges, or little pushes in the right direction.
  • Nudges leave us free rein while making it easier for us to choose the right thing.
  • Displaying fruit in clearly visible spots and putting junk food in less prominent ones in a cafeteria is a nudge:
  • Companies have been using nudges for a long time – in supermarkets, for example, the shelves at eye level usually contain the most expensive goods.

Defaults are highly effective nudges that cause people to automatically do what’s best for them.

  • Since most people are naturally inclined to laziness and don’t really want to change their status quo, enrolling in a company pension-scheme program should not be optional.
  • Companies should choose defaults guaranteeing that employees do the right thing even when the employees do nothing at all.

Nudges are most useful when we have too many choices or when the future is at stake.

  • The most opportune time to use nudges is in situations where it’s particularly difficult for us to make the right decisions.
  • Making the wrong decision is easy when we have an immediate pay-off and don’t feel the negative consequences until later.
  • The second piece of cake and drink that cocktail after work will show up – on the scale at the end of the month, or when you wake up the next morning with a headache.
  • Another cause of bad decision-making is when we don’t have previous experiences to refer to.
  • Insurance companies could offer a recommended “default policy” – say, one that covers more than 80% of a person’s entire medical costs. This helps the less insurance-savvy
  • Customers choose a policy that covers a wide range of treatments for the most common medical problems.

Many people use nudges to achieve their goals.

  • At the end of each year, many of us come to the conclusion that, yet again, we didn’t manage to stick to our New Year’s resolutions
  • And yet some people are successful. How did they do it? Generally, the people who win do so by using nudges to keep them from making the wrong decisions throughout the year:

States and other institutions should use nudges to encourage wise decisions.

  • An entire society benefits when the majority of its members make wise decisions. If fewer people smoke or are overweight, healthcare costs decrease – and everybody wins.
  • As the dollar-a-day program shows, nudges can also reduce the amount of unwanted teenage pregnancies.
  • This program is actually cheaper for taxpayers than the costs of supporting the children of the young mothers.
  • Companies also use nudges to keep their customers from making mistakes – unbuckled seatbelt alarm and low gas light on the dashboard.

Date – 10.25.2017
B-Book 11Deep Work by Cal Newport
Distractions are everywhere in the modern world where multitasking has become our default state and is killing our productivity. The good news is we can take back control of our time by eliminating distractions and letting our brains focus on one task at a time.

Actionable advice:  The next time you feel completely exhausted at the end of an unproductive day, consider taking an “internet sabbath.”

Click to read more
My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book):  Multitasking is no good for productivity, we waste a lot of time online, intention is key, monastic method, bimodal method, rhythmic method, journalistic method, be methodical about getting in zone, have ritual, have your space, set your boundaries, productive meditation, use moments like in the shower to mentally solve problems, consider all sides of a problem, solution/s an action step, by scheduling your time it make you mindful of how you spend it, mindful – intention – success.

DEEP CONCEPTS

      • Multitasking and distraction are the enemies of productivity.
        –  Doing tons of things at once is the most productive use of their time, but this logic is dead wrong.
        –  Multitasking is no good for productivity. Neither is being electronically connected all the time.
        –  A 2013 Study: the average worker spends over 60 % of the workweek using online communication tools and surfing with just 30% devoted to reading and answering emails.
        –  Completing small tasks and moving information around makes us feel busy and accomplished
      • There are different strategies for achieving deep work – all of which require intention.
        –  Overcoming Roadblocks:
        Monastic Approach: Eliminating all sources of distraction and secluding yourself like a monk.
            – Bimodal Approach: Setting a clearly defined, long period of seclusion for work and leaving the rest of your time free for everything else.
        – Rhythmic approach: Form a habit of doing deep work for blocks of, say, 90 minutes and using a calendar to track your accomplishments.
        The journalistic strategy: Take any unexpected free time in your daily routine to do deep work
        – The key here is to remember that they’re methodical, not random.
        –  We get in the zone by chance and often only after hours of procrastination. On the other hand, deep work is intentional and desired, which makes it essential to have rituals that
        prepare your mind for it
        – One ritual might be to define your space  – placing a “do not disturb” sign on your office door, or going to a library or coffee shop
        – Another ritual is to define boundaries, –  disconnecting the internet or turning off your phone.
        –  Finally, make your deep work sustainable – because, whether it’s light exercise, food, or a caffeine pick-me-up, it’s essential to give your body what it needs if you want to focus
      • Focus your brain and be selective about your use of technology.
        –  Our brains are wired to be easily distracted. Evolutionarily, these distractions could pose risks or opportunities. As a result, it’s hard for us to deeply focus on one task.
        –  But don’t worry, productive meditation can rewire your brain and help you focus. Here’s how it works:
           – Use moments that would otherwise be unproductive – to consider a problem you need to take care of without letting your mind change subjects.
        – To get started, ask yourself questions that identify different issues in solving a problem. Then, once you’ve  a specific target, ask yourself action questions – “What do I need to
        accomplish my goal?”
      • Scheduling both work and free time is essential to restoring energy.
        –  By scheduling everything you do, you’ll free up time for being mindful of how you spend it.
        –  It’s inevitable that your schedule will change during the day, but if this happens, just rearrange your blocks. It will let you cultivate awareness about how you spend your time.
        –   It’s also key to plan your evenings and weekends ahead so you can take actions toward specific goals. Imposing limitations and not checking your email after a certain time.
        –  Finally, planning your evenings and weekends around activities other than those involving the internet can help you revitalize your mind and body. Maybe it’s reading, exercise or just
        some quality time with loved ones.

Date – 10.24.2017
B-Book 10Getting Things Done by David Allen

In order to devote ourselves fully to our tasks, our minds need space. That’s why we should bundle all important information in a reliable productivity system outside our own heads.

This book answered the following questions:

What do you need to do to work effectively with a clear head?   Use your brain for thinking and leave information storage to external collection buckets, like notebooks and physical inboxes. This way, you don’t need to worry about all the tasks and ideas that pop in your head throughout the day.

What simple tools make up the GTD method?  Implement a rigorous data management system where you have separate lists for projects with clearly defined outcomes, next actions and things that you might be interested in later on. Use your calendar or a separate “tickler” file to store ideas and tasks that are connected to specific days.

What kind of attitude is necessary to put the GTD philosophy into practice?   Use the natural planning method to define the steps you need to take to execute your projects. Start by thinking about the end goal of the project and then let your mind brainstorm all the different steps needed to get there. Jot them down on a piece of paper and organize them so the concrete actions you need to take become clear.

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My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book): Brain is a tool, brain is always working, use a collection bucket, keep bucket close, empty weekly, bucket frees up mind, your brain will trust you if you  empty it regularly,  if it takes 2 minute or less do it immediately, put stuff in right places, make decision when you empty your bucket, remove unimportant things, if comlex turn into project, project requires more than one action, project identified by desired result, everything you want to change in your world should be on your projects list, next actions list is important, keep tickler files, Someday Maybe list is also important, it can be subdivided

DEEP CONCEPTS

Your brain is a thinking tool, not a storage device.
– To be successful in your work is to be a good organizer.
– Whether we want them to or not, our brains are forever trying to work out unsolved problems and reminding us about them at the most inopportune moments

If you want to think clearly, you need a trusted “collection bucket” outside your mind.
– Always use a collection bucket:  a place outside your mind where you can deposit any piece of information or idea that’s bound to distract you.
– You’re writing a work email when you remember you should pay the abill, you can just jot the task down on a piece of paper and keep focusing on your work.
– Your collection bucket can take on various forms: notebooks, lists on your computer or even physical boxes where you can put objects and papers
– The key here is to have your collection bucket(s) close by so it’s easy to call up the information they contain.

 Take out the trash – empty all your external collection buckets weekly.
– Having reliable external collection buckets frees up your mind so you can concentrate fully on your actual work.
– The system only serves its purpose when you make sure to process and clean out the contents of your collection buckets on a regular basis.
– To prevent your brain from losing faith in your collection buckets, you should make a habit of completely emptying all of them once a week.
– If, upon review, an item is unimportant, take it off the list immediately
– If you can take care of some very quickly (in two minutes or less), do it immediately;
– Going through this procedure regularly, ideally once a week, is the only way to guarantee reliable, stress-free productivity.

When emptying your collection buckets, put your “stuff” away in the right places.
– It’s only when you empty your external collection buckets each week that you have to make decisions: What kind of stuff do I have? What should I do with it?
– We should take pains to include only concrete, practicable tasks on these lists,
– When you organize the items in your collection bucket, you should do the following:
– remove anything unimportant, take care of small tasks immediately and put appointments or deadlines into your calendar;
– If it’s a complex activity (that is, if it requires more than one concrete task), turn it into a project with a clear goal;

A “Projects” list provides an overview of all your current projects.
– Projects are a key component of every productivity system. A project as a desired result that necessitates taking more than one action step.
– Define a project, you have to think about results – When this project is done, I will have…
– Once a project is identified by its desired result, it must be stored on the Projects list, which should be reviewed and updated regularly.
– Everything you want to change in your world at the moment should be on this list.
– When we know that such a list exists, we feel a sense of control, which helps us boost our productivity and relax at the same time.
– You should always make sure that every project has a next task that finds its way onto the Next Actions list

Instead of keeping a daily to-do list, try a calendar and “Next Actions” lists.
– A far more effective method is to work with a calendar and one or multiple Next Actions lists.
– You should treat it as a holy territory that provides a fixed structure for planning the rest of your activities.
– Depending on the number of tasks on your list, sometimes it makes sense to have multiple Next Actions lists and distinguish them according to the context

“Waiting For” lists can be very helpful when you work with other people.
– Whenever you’re dependent on other people’s work
– it’s worth keeping a Waiting For listThis is where you note everything that other people have to deliver to you, along with their deadlines.

Save day-specific information on your calendar or in a tickler file.
– Write yourself reminders on certain days on your calendar. This way, you know you’ll have to make a decision soon
– Keep a tickler file, which can help you access the information you need at the right moment.

All ideas with potential future relevance should be put onto a “Someday/Maybe” list.
– Another important component of the GTD method is the so-calledSomeday/Maybe list
– Everything that doesn’t qualify for the Next Actions or Projects lists but shouldn’t be buzzing around in your head either. The Someday/Maybe list contains all things you haven’t been able to translate into concrete ideas or tasks just yet.
– It helps you keep track of project ideas that might be extremely important in the future.
– The Someday/Maybe list can also be split into sub-lists where you can keep ideas about your personal interests, such as: trips I’d like to take; wines I’d like to taste; and music I’d like to listen to

A structured workplace and a weekly review of your system are indispensable for working productivity.
– Setting up a workplace for yourself where all relevant materials are available is a must.
– In addition to emptying your collection buckets once a week, you should be reviewing and updating all the lists in your productivity system just as often.
– The goal of the GTD method is to feel relaxed and in control of all your current projects: to keep track of them and make sure that they are moving forward.
– It’s essential that your productivity system is up-to-date and complete at all times. Your mind will only be at ease and able to concentrate fully on the task at hand if you trust your system.


Date – 10.23.2017
B-Book 9The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey
The key message in this book:  Being productive isn’t only about getting more things done – it’s about working smarter by finding ways to be efficient and make the most of your time. To do that you have to acknowledge what’s most important to you and only then take care of business in the most efficient way possible.

Actionable adviceUp your productivity by avoiding distractions.

If you want to be productive, you need as much of your attention as you can possibly muster. Unfortunately, there are plenty of distractions out there, ready to hijack your attention. Just think of your phone alerts whenever you have an incoming message or e-mail. It takes time to refocus every time you hear one, so do yourself and your productivity a favor by deactivating as many potential distractions as possible.

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My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book): Productivity is about getting important things done, manage your timeenergy and attention , First find your purpose, ask what is important, use the rule of 3 – week, day, month, year (most important things to achieve),  be smart about your schedule,  procrastination is caused my boring and unappealingness – make it fun and tie it ot purpose, keep work week under 50 hours (35-40 is ideal)

DEEP CONCEPTS

Productivity is about working smarter by managing your time, attention and energy.

  • Some people think productivity is about doing more. They’re wrong! In fact, productivity is about working smarter and getting the important thing done.  Wall Street  trader and a Buddhist monk
  • Only when you position yourself between the rhythms of the monk and the Wall Street trader that you find true productivity.
  • To find this perfect pace, you need to manage your time, attention and energy.
  • However, both time and energy can be wasted if your mind is constantly wandering and unfocused, which is why attention is the third key to the productivity puzzle.

You can increase productivity by recognizing your personal values and motivations.

  • Well, before you do anything, you need to find your purpose and motivation. They’ll help you create the right routines that keep you on pace toward your goals.
  • Your first step is to consider your reason for wanting to be more productive to begin with. Ask yourself, what’s important and meaningful?

The Rule of 3 can help you organize your life and be smarter about your work.

  • The Rule of 3 was introduced by J.D. Meier, a Microsoft executive who explains how it works in his book, Getting Results the Agile Way.
  • Start every week by identifying three things to accomplish that week. Then, you should start every workday by identifying three goals you want to accomplish
    by the time you go to sleep
  • By looking ahead at what you want to have accomplished both day by day and week by week, you’re already figuring out how best to structure your time,
    attention and energy on what’s important.
  • Remember, being productive also means being smart about your schedule, so don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unattainable goals

 Avoid procrastination by making tasks more attractive and rewarding.

  • So why is procrastination so hard to overcome? Part of the problem is the specific attributes of some tasks that make them so unappealing.
  • According to Timothy Pychyl, a professor of psychology at Ottawa’s Carleton University, there are six attributes that will make procrastination more likely: boring,
    frustrating, difficult, unstructured or ambiguous, lacking in personal meaning
     andlacking in intrinsic rewards.
  • This is why so many of us put off doing our taxes every year until the very last minute, since catching up on a television show is much more appealing.
  • Let’s say tax day is approaching, but you would still rather get a root canal than fill out those forms. Well, who says it has to be boring and tedious? What if you
    grabbed a table at your favorite cafe, sat down with a tasty beverage and were able to get in some enjoyable people watching while taking care of business?

Overworking can lead to inefficiency, so keep your work week under 50 hours.

  • For most people, working more equals getting more done. But things are never that simple, especially when you consider that our energy reserves are not
    unlimited.
  • It all adds up to suggest that working 35 to 40 hours a week is an ideal schedule for optimal energy and concentration.  I think I will head for 50.

Writing down your appointments and tasks frees up your brain power for better productivity.

  • This simple but helpful technique will give your brain the space it needs to help you take action and get things done.

Date – 10.22.2017
B-Book 8:  Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The key message in this book:   Wealth – in whatever form – is seldom the result of luck or coincidence. Far from that, it’s almost always the result of different traits and skills that anyone can learn and acquire.

Actionable adviceWrite down the things you want to achieve

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My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book): Set and write down your goals. believe in yourself. use autosuggestion – it is good, knowledge is not just facts, continue learning, use your imagination to transform your dreams, use your synthetic and creative imagination to solve problems, be self aware – know yourself, conduct self analysis, positive emotion is important, don’t put bad thinking in.  success – steadfastness and determination, only the persistent will succeed, the combine energies of 2 or more people can be tremendous.

DEEP CONCEPTS

Goal setting and detailed planning are the basis of every achievement.
– Every success story begins with people who know what they want to achieve.
– Ex: if you want to get rich, you should decide precisely how much money you want to make, a plan that outlines every step you’ll need to take until the realization of your goal and by when
  – First, write down your goal and your detailed plan for achieving it.
– Then, read it aloud twice every day: once in the morning after you get up and once every night before going to bed.|

Successful people have an unwavering faith in themselves.
– First, write down your goal and your detailed plan for achieving it. Then, read it aloud twice every day: once in the morning after you get up and once every night before going to bed.
– Our own faith in ourselves has an enormous influence on our self-image and way of life.

By using auto-suggestion, our subconscious can influence our behavior.
– Auto-suggestion describes a way of influencing yourself by thinking very specific and purposeful thoughts or ideas.
– You can use it to convey certain commands or positive goals to your subconsciousness increasing your belief in yourself.
– you can use auto-suggestion to reach your goals – your thoughts can be transformed into reality
– If you impress your desires and goals in your unconsciousness, it will steer all your thoughts and actions towards making them come true.

Knowledge is power – but it doesn’t have to be what you learned in school.
– Knowledgeable or well-educated isn’t limited to having a high school diploma or university degree.
– If you want to be successful, you don’t just need many facts –  use your own strengths and fully exploit your own potential.
– The most important basis is a willingness to continue learning throughout your life.
– There are many different ways to achieve this – going to university, attending evening courses or acquiring practical experiences.-

The workshop of the imagination – where we can turn our dreams into reality.
  Behind each and every idea is the imagination.
  It is, essentially, the creative workshop of our minds that transforms our dreams into ideas and our ideas into reality.
  By using our creative imagination, we are able to come up with completely new things – composers, visual artists and writers
– The synthetic imagination, by contrast, rearranges old ideas into new combinations – Steve Jobs reimagine Sony’s playback device
  The synthetic imagination, by contrast, rearranges old ideas into new combinations – Coca Cola was a medicine.
  If you want to keep your imagination from getting sluggish, you need to challenge and encourage it – like a muscle, the more frequently you use it, the more productive and powerful it will become.

Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses increases your chances of professional success
– One important building block for professional success is Self-Awareness: knowing your own strengths and weaknesses
– In order to figure this out exactly it’s advisable to perform a thorough and honest self-analysis.
– Have I achieved my aim for this year?;
   – Was I always friendly, courteous and cooperative?
   – Did I make all decisions promptly and firmly?
– Then you should compare your subjective self-analysis with somebody else’s objective evaluation of you.

Positive emotions are the key to a successful life – and need to be strengthened.
– Our subconscious receives and stores sensory stimuli, feelings and thoughts. It saves everything we’ve ever experienced – regardless of whether it was positive or negative.
– If we want our subconscious to help realize our desires and goals, we have to make sure that positive feelings play a leading role in our lives.
– We must “feed” our subconscious positive things, if we do, it will act as a helpful and constructive guide.
– you should make it a point to increase all positive impulses, such as enthusiasm and love

Successful people are remarkable for their determination and steadfastness.
– A certain degree of stubbornness – as long as it does not transform into a deaf obstinacy – can be advantageous.
– Opinions are cheap: everybody has one and most people want to dispense them

Only the persistent will succeed.
– Over the course of any project – regardless of its nature – we are all bound to encounter obstacles and difficulties.
– Most of us are too quick to give up our plans and let the project die.
– Few, despite obstacles, stick to their original plans and give their dreams space to blossom into reality.
– Persistence and endurance are key – obstinacy and inveteracy should be avoided at all costs:
– If you want persistence and endurance to take root in your habits, here are four simple yet crucial rules
  a concrete goal and a burning desire to achieve it
   – thorough and precise plan to support the implementation of your goals
   – keep away negative and disheartening opinions
– develop intimate and trusting relationship for support and assistance      

Achieving great things requires being smart and surrounding yourself with smart people.
–  if two or more people who work well with one another combine their skills, talents, specialist knowledge, experiences, relationships and all other resources and use them to accomplish the same shared goal, the results will be more than just a sum of its parts: it’s a surplus with which you can achieve things you could have never achieved alone


Date – 10.21.2017
B-Book 7Organized Tomorrow Today by Dr. Jason Selk, Tom Bartow and Matthew Rudy

The key message in this bookIf you want to be highly successful, you need to know how to control your mind and talk with yourself in a positive fashion. Always remember to focus on the solution rather than on the problem. And even when you’re at the top of your game, never forget the process that got you there.

Actionable adviceBuild an evaluation ritual.

Practice the Mental Workout to reduce anxiety about a task.

First, relax your mind by controlling your breath. Inhale for five seconds, hold your breath for two seconds, and exhale for six seconds. Next recite a personal mantra, or a fixed set of encouraging statements. For example, “I’m strong, smart and confident and things will work out well.” Spend 60 seconds visualizing the situation you’re afraid of. Imagine what you’re going to see, how you’re going to feel, and what you’re

Click to read more
My Thoughts (My stream of consciousness from this book): Don’t focus on too many things at the same time, organize tomorrow today,  pick top 3 and then pick one, break complex into subs, don’t waste time waiting, use the ask and chop tech, make ritual of habits you want to adopt, talk to yourself positively, don’t overthink, seek to be abnormal, procrastination affects normal people.

DEEP CONCEPTS

It’s just not productive to focus on more than one goal at a time if you want positive results.
– Making a long list isn’t the most effective way to go about making improvements.
– Our conscious mind can only process between five to nine concepts – “Channel Capacity – George A. Miller in 1956
– Since every task requires its own amount of data, working memory can suffer from info overload when trying to juggle multiple tasks.
– If you try to change two or three things in your life at the same time, we tend to get stuck; focusing on one yields results  

Prioritizing tasks and organizing tomorrow is the key to better time management and productivity.
– The secret to having a productive tomorrow is to organize it today.
–  Prioritize tasks by making a list of the Three Most Important things you want to achieve; include the time needed to accomplish them.
– Then, pick one that absolutely needs to be done that very day.
   – First: Break complex tasks into manageable subtasks – steps
– Second: Prioritize and schedule wisely
– Third:  Write it down: that keeps it front of mind

Maximize the time you have by finding ways to structure goals and increase meeting productivity.
–  Don’t waste time waiting around
–  Use the “Ask and Chop” technique to avoid procrastination: chop off the first thing complete it and then repeat
–  Set your game clock
–  Pre-structure your meetings to meet solid goals – unstructured, aimless meetings are a waste of time

Create a ritual of your new lifestyle goals to avoid procrastination and stick to new, positive behaviors.
–  
 Making a ritual of the positive habit you want to adopt.  Making a ritual means doing something each and every day

Self-evaluation is effective as long as you focus on the process, not just the results, of your work.
–  Appreciate when you do things well
–  It’s important to focus more on the process than on results.
–  When you focus on the process, you’ll learn what works best to reach your goals and what you might need to improve.

How you think and talk to yourself can either build you up for success or let you down toward failure.
–  How you talk to yourself impacts your self-confidence.
–  You can convince yourself of fail by negative thoughts, or you can increase your chances of success by encouraging yourself.
–  Think of it like a coach rallying his team with positive messages
–  Do not overthink a problem
–  Take stock of everything you have at your disposal, the tools that can help you solve your problem

Being a normal person can get in the way of achieving greatness. Seek to be abnormal!
–  The main virus that plagues normal people is procrastination.
–  A secondary virus, related to procrastination, is focusing on things you can’t control.
–  Abnormal people pay attention to what they can control and the parts of their lives they can improve.


Date – 10.20.2017
B-Book 6: First Things First  by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca R. Merrill

Th
e key message in this book:  Too often, we focus on the wrong things in life, which results in stress and disharmony. To increase your quality of life, you need to identify your priorities, replace urgency with importance and create balance between

 all your tasks. You can do this by having a future-oriented vision, which will help you set effective goals. When you put your “first things” first, instead of putting the urgent or smaller things first, you’ll achieve happiness and inner peace.

Actionable advice:  Imagine your ideal 80th birthday.

What do you see? Who is around around you, and what have you achieved? Imagining your ideal life when you’re 80 will help you identify your most important goals. The goals you want to have achieved by then should be your “first things”, so start working towards them!

Click to read more

My Thoughts (
my stream of consciousness from this book) – Slow down. Urgent and important are not the same, Don’t’ go for the adrenaline rush.  Focusing on principle and being future oriented let you know what you working toward.  Have a mission statement with goals based on principles.  Use both long and short term view in making decision. Have integrity in the moment of choice.  Focus on interdependence and cooperation, strong principles help you to make decision, don’t compartmentalize life – keep a balance view.  Watch for discouragement, pride and unrealistic expectation.  Think about the jar with the rocks, gravel, sand and water and remember what to put in first.

DEEP CONCEPTS

Living a meaningful life isn’t about doing things as quickly as possible – it’s about doing “first things” first.
– Actually, living a meaningful life isn’t about crossing things off a list; it’s about using the compass of your life to identify the first things that have a long-lasting, positive impact on your happiness.
– For most people, the first things are personal relationships with family and friends. Have you ever heard of a person looking back and wishing they’d spent more time at the office?

Instead of focusing on what’s urgent, focus on what’s important.
– The problem is that often the “urgent” and “important” things in our lives aren’t the same. When we have to choose between doing tasks that are urgent, and tasks that are important, most people choose the urgent ones.
– Another reason is biological: taking care of urgent responsibilities can give you an adrenaline rush, which makes you feel energized and alive.
– Unfortunately, when we focus on urgency, we have less time for what’s really important.
– Important things like spending time with family are what bring us long-lasting happiness, but these things are rarely urgent, so they can be easy to neglect

Having a high quality of life depends on meeting your needs and focusing on your principles.
– So what’s the first step in focusing on the important things in life? Well, you need to identify what those things are!  To increase your quality of life, you have to fulfill your four basic human needs:
1.  The first, the “need to live,” is physical. It means having food, shelter and good health.
2.  The next is mental, the “need the learn.” It means being intellectually stimulated.
3.  Our social need is the “need to love,” which means having people you trust and care for.
4.  The last is spiritual – the “need to leavealegacy,” which means having a sense of purpose in life.
–  Our happiness depends on meeting these needs. If they aren’t met, we experience stress, anxiety or fear.
–  To fulfill and balance your needs, you must focus on your principles. Your principles are your inner compass – they’re what guide you in the direction you want to go in life.

Develop a strong vision for the future, and use it to know where you’re headed.
– Being able to make decisions easily depends on how future-oriented you are.
– Having a clear vision for your future makes it easier to make choices and generally improve your quality of life. Your desire to achieve your dream will be stronger than negative feelings like fear or doubt, so you’ll get over them easier.
– Having a future-oriented vision also helps you through times of struggle, by reminding you what you’re fighting for – Victor Frankl, a famous Holocaust survivor
– 
So how can you develop a powerful vision for the future? One good way is to write a personal mission statement for yourself.
– Picture yourself at your eightieth birthday. What do you see? A big family? Maybe you’ve created a successful business? What have you achieved by then?

Only goals based on principles and a vision for the future are likely to be reached.
– Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution you didn’t end up completing? On New Years many people set personal goals, such as exercising more, only to quickly fall back to their old habits.
– So what makes the difference between goals that are reached, and those that aren’t’? Firstly, the goal must be consistent with your principles.
– For each goal, identify the: 
what, why and how: the right thing (what) for the right reasons (why) and in the right way (how).
– For instance, imagine your what is to maintain a healthy body. In this case, your why might be because you want to feel good and set an example for your children, whereas your how could be to change your eating habits and exercise regularly.
– Additionally, make sure your goal is within your influence.  it’s okay if your goal might take years to complete

Making the right decisions depends on finding the right perspective, and acting with integrity.
– Like a photographer you need to use the right perspective when making your important decisions.
– Most people use only one perspective when making decisions or plans – “Close up view for immediate needs and wide-angled view” for long term
– The best solution is to combine these two perspectives by planning in weekly terms.
– Try creating a weekly calendar – allot time for things that matter to you,like work, family or leisure.
– When possible combine goals
– In addition to using the right perspective, you also need to remember your principles – helping a friend vs having a relaxing evening.
– Sticking by your principles in decision-making is called having “integrity in the moment of choice,” and this integrity is crucial for making good choices.

Focus on interdependence and cooperation, not independence and competition.
– Comparing ourselves to other is not good and have a negative impact on us.
– Trying to achieve everything alone and in competition makes us rush to get things done –
– People “rush to live” by getting fast food while running to an appointment, instead of taking time to eat healthily – bad diet leads to health problems
– Others “rush to love” by moving from one relationship to another – ending things when difficulty arises, rather than working through it. Couples lacking patience leads to divorce
– Rather than being driven by independence and competition, we need to focus on interdependence and cooperation.
– Why these two concepts in particular? Well, consider that the four basic human needs (living, loving, learning and leaving a legacy) all involve having relationships with others.
– When we work independently, we often think that in order to win, we must cause someone else to lose

Be a strong personal leader by empowering those around you.
– To be a good personal leader, you must strive to empower those you lead.
– You do so by creating conditions to build  trust, respect and honesty which will naturally lead to empowerment in others.
– So when you lead someone, focus on mutual trust and accountability.

Picture your different roles and tasks as parts of one whole, not as separate pieces.
– Strong principles are essential for improving your quality of life. They’ll guide you in deciding how to spend your time, and generally move you in a fulfilling direction.
– One of the most important principles that provides this guidance is balance.
– Most people view their lives as having separate compartments: work, family, free time, etc..
– When people view their lives as compartmentalized, they have difficulty transferring their skills between compartments
– In reality, all our roles and tasks are related. If you only focus on one, it will cause frustration.
– So don’t compartmentalize your life – keep a balanced view, and remember that everything is connected.

Striving to improve your quality of life and putting “first things first” will result in inner peace.
– If you aren’t fully satisfied with your life, it’s likely that discouragement, pride or unrealistic expectations are the problem. They are the three most common preventers of inner peace, which is necessary to have a high-quality of life.  Sometimes they all occur at once – example of not getting a promotion.
– The biggest key to reaching inner peace is putting “first things first.” – ex of professor with the jar – rocks, gravel, sand, water
– What can we learn from this? Think of that jar as the time in your life: the rocks as the important things, and the sand, gravel and water as the rest. If you put in the sand and gravel first – the unimportant    daily chores – there won’t be room left for the rocks. But when you put in the important things first, everything else will fall into place.


Date – 10.19.2017
B-Book 5: The Organized Mind – by Daniel Levitin 
The key message in this book: We live in an age of information overload. This presents a challenge for our brains, which are wired to manage information by focusing attention on one thing at a time. By learning about the way our brain distinguishes, focuses and categorizes, we can better organize our own lives.

Actionable adviceIncrease productivity by increasing your sleeping hours, not your working hours.

Studies have demonstrated the way in which sleep improves your brain’s ability to solve complex problems. The expression “sleep on it” has real biological significance, and an awareness of this will allow us to be more effective at work. So next time you’ve got a large task, don’t sacrifice your sleep to work on it – you’ll be much more effective when you allow your brain to refuel and continue work in the morning.

Click to read more

My Thoughts: Really like this read.  Lots of good bite size actionable information here.

DEEP CONCEPTS

The brain can only focus on a limited number of stimuli at a time.
– When we switch our attention between different activities, our brain is unable to function effectively. This in turn causes us to make thoughtless mistakes, or forget and misplace things. Example of car.

Because we’re surrounded by more and more information, we’re forced to make more and more decisions.
–  we can manage the flood of information by focusing our attention. But how, exactly? Example of looking for dog
– This automatic process of honing our focus down to what’s necessary should also be reflected in our decision making.
* For example, one type of decision we often need to make is about purchasing products or services that can make our lives easier. A good way to analyze these decisions is by thinking about the monetary value of our own time,
because it allows us to compare it to the benefit the product promises.  Let’s say you’re thinking about hiring someone to clean your home instead of doing it yourself. Just ask yourself: Would you be willing to pay $50 for two extra
hours of free time? If the answer is yes, then go for it without deliberating any further!

Find a designated place for every single object.
– There is, in fact, a special part of our brain dedicated specifically to remembering the location of things. It’s called the hippocampus, and it was crucial for our ancestors who needed to know where a watering hole was, or the areas where predators
might pounce.
– However, the hippocampus can only provide us with information about objects whose location doesn’t change. This isn’t a problem for a taxi driver trying to remember how to get to a particular building, but is a constant problem for us when we try
to remember where our frustratingly mobile keys are.

Give your brain a break – move your organizational processes outside your head.
– Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the different ideas and thoughts floating around inside your head? The best way to ensure you can keep track of them is to organize them outside your head.
– A time-tested trick to unburden your brain is to write things down. Good old-fashioned flash cards are an easy and effective way to record and organize ideas as soon as you think of them.
– Think of it in terms of the two-minute rule: if the task takes longer than two minutes to complete, then write it down. Otherwise, do it straight away.
– Another effective approach is to organize your written thoughts into categories. This mirrors the way our brains are constantly categorizing new stimuli and helps simplify our thinking, thus saving time and increasing our attention capacity – Example: if we see a flying object with feathers, our brain recognizes it as part of the category “bird.” Though this bird might be a hawk or an eagle, it’s easier to place it in this broader category rather than identify it
specifically.  Our could be 
“Personal Life,” “Work” or “Kids.”

Junk drawers for miscellaneous items are incredibly effective – use them every day.
– But what should we do with objects and ideas that don’t seem to belong in any pigeonhole? Well, these miscellaneous items can form their own category.
– In our homes, there’s usually at least one place where random objects like single light bulbs, paper clips or car-cleaning products go. Why? Because it wouldn’t make sense to have a special drawer for light bulbs if you only had a few – combining them with other spare objects is much more space efficient – we will need to perform a little bit of maintenance from time to time.
– if you’re sorting through objects that you haven’t yet felt the need to use, it’s unlikely that you’ll need them in the future. These can be thrown out.

Set aside time to refuel so you can increase your productivity later.
– Everyone knows that you tend to be far more productive after a good night’s sleep. And yet, we’re often tempted to skip a few hours of kip in order to work just a little bit more – this is a mistake
– Memories, problems and ideas often appear in our dreams; we may find ourselves better positioned to solve a problem after “sleeping on it.”
– 
Sleep isn’t the only way that we can refuel our minds – relaxation and play is important too, as they tend to drive up productivity.

It’s important to think about the worst-case scenario so you’re always prepared.
– Each time you plan something, you should consider all the things that could go wrong and think of a solution to them before they occur. Planning for failure in this way needn’t be difficult – it’s as straightforward as placing an extra
key under the flowerpot by your front door.
– It’s also important that we don’t rely on technology alone to prevent us from slipping up. Phones, computers and other technical devices aren’t perfect and at some point will let us down without warning. This is why you should also
prepare non-technical solutions as a backup.

We can’t know the answer to every question, but we can know where and how to find it!
– One of the greatest changes is the way we can easily access vast amounts of information in no time at all. Googling something takes less than a minute! Nevertheless, there’s one important question we should continually ask
ourselves: Is this information reliable? Ex: Wikipedia
 However, not every problem can be solved by checking online. In complex dilemmas, particularly in the workplace, you’ll need to think for yourself in order to find solutions. Inventive and innovative thinking is something you just can’t
google for! In such cases, the ability to reason, estimate and develop hypothetical assumptions is vital. Ex: Google problem in calculating weight of the Empire State Building.

Get to grips with probabilities and gain a vital skill for assessing information.
–  We must also keep in mind that our perception of probability is often relative to the situation we are currently in – our starting point.
–  Imagine that you’re very sick. Your doctor offers you a treatment that will increase the likelihood of your recovery by ten percent. If the treatment increases your likelihood of recovery from zero to ten percent, you’ll go from certain
death to a ten percent chance of living. And, if it increases from 90 percent to 100 percent, your recovery is guaranteed. In both cases, you’ll likely opt for the treatment.
–  But what if it increases from 20 percent to 30 percent? Then, you might hesitate and inquire about the side effects and cost of the treatment before agreeing to it.  From a statistical perspective, this is bizarre since in all of these
cases, the increase of ten percent is the same. The scenarios just feel different because of their varying starting points.


Date – 10.18.2017
B-Book 4:  Essentialism by Greg McKeown

 The key message in this book:  In spite of how it might seem, only a few things are actually vital to our goals and well-being, and everything else is unimportant. By focusing on these few essential things and learning to do better by doing less, we can craft a life that is far more productive and fulfilling.

Actionable advice:  Be an editor.

Rather than constantly adding more and more responsibilities and material possessions to your life, try instead to find ways to cut things out. The more trivial things you can eliminate from your thinking and routine, the better you’ll be at what’s left; the things that truly matter.

Click to read more


DEEP CONCEPTS

The 4 points of Essentialism
– Embrace less but better; identify
– Reject the notion that you should do everything; chose one direction and excel
– Constantly question yourself and update your plans
– Put the above point in play     

If we become overwhelmed by our tasks, then we lose our ability to make choices for ourselves
– If we become overwhelmed by our tasks, then we lose our ability to make choices for ourselves.

Embrace the idea of “less but better” and accept trade-offs as an inherent part of life.
– Adopting this approach means being willing and able to make trade-offs, which can prove to be difficult.

Giving yourself space to escape and seeing the bigger picture will help you pick out the vital from the trivial.
– Creating a space in your schedule just to think about your life – what options, problems or challenges you face – will help you assess which are vital and which aren’t.

Get your creative juices flowing by playing – just don’t forget to give yourself time to rest.
– Play is essential but not at the expense of sleep.

Be ruthless in cutting away things that aren’t essential.
– Use the  90-percent rule, anything that is less than 90 (even an 89) is a zero. After considering all the options, discard everything that scored less than 90.

Say “no” to nonessential tasks and plan the essential ones carefully.
 Don’t be scared of saying no – separate the decision from the relationship
– Remember, failing to say no to the things which aren’t vital can lead you to miss out on the opportunities that truly are.
– Once you get used to saying no when it’s in your best interest, you can focus on the vital tasks that are left over.

Stop doing unnecessary things by withdrawing from failures and setting boundaries.
– Boundaries are not there to constrain you, but to make your life easier and more enjoyable.
Develop the courage to admit your errors and mistakes and let them go.
– If it’s clear that something isn’t going to work out, then don’t be afraid to cut your losses and abandon ship.

Keeping on top of what’s important requires that you eliminate what slows you down and that you prepare carefully.
– you can prevent unnecessary obstacles by being prepared.
 – One of our biggest mistakes is assuming that our plans will go as expected.

An essentialist life centers around yourself, a routine and proceeding step-by-step.   
– An essentialist life centers around yourself, a routine and proceeding step-by-step.
– While it might be frustrating to take small steps, the consequences of even small steps can be far-reaching.
– Routines create a habit, thus making difficult things become easier over time.
– It’s therefore prudent to create a routine that aligns with your goals.


Date – 10.17.2017
-Book 3: Work Simply by Carson Tate
The key message in this book: To remember the key lessons from these blinks, just keep in mind the phrase “Know the TWIST“: You need to Know yourself, learn to manage your Time, have the WIllpower to focus on the tasks at hand and find your own productivity STyle.

Actionable adviceKnow yourself and how you work.
The next time you start a project, take notes on the task, particularly how it fits your goal and how much you liked doing it. Do this a few days in a row and you’ll gain practical insight on how you can tweak your working style to best fit your personality and make lighter work of your daily tasks.

My 2centsI am a planner, a visualizer, an arranger and a data analyst.  I see much of myself in much of what Tate has to say.  I find however, that I tend not to be at my greatest, and he touches on this, because I tend to fall away from process.  In recent days I have been working on a more efficient me.  In this way I can focus much better in order to get the thing I have on my plate that is of value done!  I need to tighten up my process – I think I will take my time, listen to myself and work in my pattern.


Date – 10.16.2017
B-Book 2: Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
The key message in this book:   Humans tend to use predictable “shortcuts” to deal with certain decision-making situations, and people like advertisers, con-artists and salespeople take advantage of these “preprogrammed” responses. Since we cannot stop using these shortcuts, we must defend against manipulators who would abuse them.

      1. The questions this book answered:
      2. Are we as easy to manipulate as animals?

Our shortcuts in judgment can be used against us.

Click to read more

What mechanisms within us can be easily manipulated?

      • Humans have an overpowering need to reciprocate favors.
      • Rejection-then-retreat is a devious tactic because it evokes reciprocation and the principle of contrast.
      • When opportunities become scarce, we desire them more.
      • Banned items and information are seen as more desirable.
      • We are near-obsessed with being and appearing consistent in our words and actions.
      • Making a choice to fight for something generates inner change.
      • When uncertain, we look for social proof.

What kind of people do we tend to comply with?

      • Observing people similar to us can greatly influence our choices.
      • We comply with people we like, and it is easy for some people to make us like them.
      • People are easily swayed by authority, but also by the mere symbols of authority.
      • Suggested further reading: You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen

You Can Negotiate Anything shows that negotiations occur in every walk of life and that it is vital to have the skills and understanding to deal with those situations. The book outlines the key factors affecting negotiation success, as well as ways of negotiating for win-win solutions. To find these blinks, press “I’m done” at the bottom of the screen.

My 2Cents:  like the idea of influence.  I have noticed quite a few of these techniques being used on me in the past and I most admit I have probably used a few on others in the past.  I think the idea of people liking you getting suckered is true, but I think if folks are close to you they tend to separate you into more categories and in some cases that might lessen the effect.


B-Book 1: The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo

The key message in this book:: The Pomodoro Technique is as simple as it is effective: Chop your work into more manageable 25-minute chunks during which you work totallyuninterrupted. Afterwards, take a break to relax and recharge your batteries, so you can start your next 25 minutes of focused work without getting tired.

Actionable advice:   Don’t get caught in a web of distractions!
If you are in the middle of focused work and your colleagues, who you like and respect, want to chat with you about the game last night, simply politely yet firmly tell them that you’ll get back to them shortly. Personal relationships are important, but allowing these sorts of interruptions will simply cascade into another wasted day where nothing gets done!

My 2 Cents: I really want to get this productivity thing down.  I have so much to do and not a lot of time to do it.  I think with the tremendous amount of effort that I am putting into getting this thing arrange.  I am already feeling much more strucutred.  It is starting to feel familiar again.  Can’t wait to get the sense of accomplishment that I am so used to.

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