Blog Archives

Warren Buffett on Time Management: “All You Need Is … Time”

Warren Buffett on Time Management: Warren Buffett once said on time management, “The rich invest in time; the poor invest in money.”

Buffett is currently the fourth richest men in the world. He can buy practically anything he wants to, and more than nearly everyone else could ever dream of.

Nevertheless there’s one thing that even Warren Buffett cannot buy, and that is time.

Here’s a brief transcript from a Charlie Rose interview:

Warren Buffett: I mean I can buy anything I want basically, but I can’t buy time.

Charlie Rose: And so to have time is the most precious thing you can have?

Warren Buffett: Yes, I better be careful with it. There is no way I will be able to buy more time.

Warren Buffett's Interview with Charlie Rose (Time Management) Charlie Rose: And living in Omaha makes that easy?

Warren Buffett: That makes it a lot easier. I, for 50 whatever, well for 54 years I spent five minutes going each way now. Just imagine that was a half an hour each way. You know. I know the words to a lot more songs and that’s about it.

Charlie Rose: It adds up. Doesn’t it?

Warren Buffett: It really adds up. Now if you’re doing an hour a day difference coming and going that’s two and a half percent of the person’s work week. That means 40 years you’re talking about a year.

An undisciplined mind will find every reason to do what should not be done and every excuse not to do what should be done. Warren Buffett once said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”

Tagged
Posted in Business and Strategy Philosophy and Wisdom

Perfection

Perfection

Perfection is the concept of something that is completely flawless or complete.

Perfection, in the sense of being flawless, is derived from discussions by Aristotle (384-322 BCE) of privation, or deficiency. Aristotle stated that “a doctor and a musician are ‘perfect’ when they have no deficiency in respect of the form of their peculiar excellence.” In other words, a “perfect” specimen is flawless in every way with respect to its performance of its profession or its embodiment of its species. This, however, is just one sense of a concept that is key to Aristotle’s philosophy. Being good is not the same thing as being perfect. More exactly, attaining virtue involves practice; but practice never truly makes perfect because we always can do better.

The word “perfect” is a translation of the Greek teleion, a derivative of the polysemous word telos. In this context, the relevant meaning of telos is “end,” or “goal.” With this in mind, the English translation “perfect” can be understood to encapsulate the idea of being complete, of having fulfilled a goal. This was important for Aristotle because, as a matter of principle, he believed that all things exist for a reason-that is, they have some telos-and that all things naturally strive toward the fulfillment of their telos. Therefore, perfection, for Aristotle, is something all things strive for, be they a blade of grass or a human being. For Aristotle, happiness itself is the most perfect of all things. So it made sense to strive for both siblings—happiness and perfection.

In biology, Aristotle employs this notion to explain (in part) the various stages of an organism’s development-each is a step toward the fulfillment of its telos. In cosmology, however, Aristotle employs the idea very generally, suggesting that the telos of all heavy bodies invariably drives them toward a state of rest around a cosmic center point. That all heavy bodies fall to Earth is evidence that this center point is, in fact, Earth. In this way, perfection is a concept wholly entangled with geocentrism.

Tagged
Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

How Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Marissa Mayer Process Emails

How Marissa Mayer Handled Email while at Google

How Marissa Mayer Handled Email while at Google In an interview with tech journalist David Kirkpatrick for Fortune Magazine’s “Secrets of greatness: How I work” series, Marissa Mayer revealed how she processes emails. Marissa was then the Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, and is presently the CEO of Yahoo!

I don’t feel overwhelmed with information. I really like it. I use Gmail for my personal e-mail—15 to 20 e-mails a day—but on my work e-mail I get as many as 700 to 800 a day, so I need something really fast.

I use an e-mail application called Pine, a Linux-based utility I started using in college. It’s a very simple text-based mailer in a crunchy little terminal window with Courier fonts. I do marathon e-mail catch-up sessions, sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday. I’ll just sit down and do e-mail for ten to 14 hours straight. I almost always have the radio or my TV on. I guess I’m a typical 25- to 35-year-old who’s now really embracing the two-screen experience.

How Larry Page / Sergey Brin Handle Email at Google

Ever wonder how CEOs of large companies manage and process the hundreds or thousands of emails they receive daily?

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google In a thread on managing loads of email, Quora user David Shin, who previously worked at Google, remembers Page and Brin being asked this question during a Q&A session at Google. When someone asked how they manage their email, one of them (he can’t remember which) responded like this:

When I open up my email, I start at the top and work my way down, and go as far as I feel like. Anything I don’t get to will never be read. Some people end up amazed that they get an email response from a founder of Google in just 5 minutes. Others simply get what they expected (no reply).

Tagged
Posted in Software and Programming

Save Yourself from Multitasking

Save Yourself from Multitasking

Most folks lack the self-discipline to focus on one thing at a time and stick closely to their plans. The younger generation has grown up multitasking wholly and especially knows how to do their physics homework, exchange messages on Facebook, download music on their iPods and IM each other all at once.

Multitasking is a myth. We overestimate our ability to do many things at the same time. Our brain is simply not engineered in a way that lets it perform multiple tasks simultaneously. While we may think we are multitasking, we are actually doing nothing more than just speedily switching between tasks, often at the cost of productivity, quality, and good sense.

Strangely enough, multitasking takes more time. It makes solving tough problems challenging. Activity is not the same as productivity. Therefore, multitasking is not efficient at all. That we feel we are multitasking is an illusion. In its place, we are hurriedly switching our focus back and forth between different tasks. We shift our attention from one task to the next in rapid succession.

Frequent multi-taskers have trouble switching between tasks. The helplessness to sift out the immediately previous task before taking on another activity causes multi-taskers to be slower than those not multitasking.

  • Systematize your thinking and try to focus on jobs. If you do not organize your thinking and your time, you can end up focusing on the urgent rather than the important.
  • Do not drive and talk on the phone — even if you are using a handsfree device. One academic study found that people using cellphones drive no better than drunks.
  • Reduce or do away with the notifications that take away your concentration. Configure your email program to stop checking for new email every five minutes. Each chime declaring a new email sidetracks you from other work, and is likely to move less important tasks to the top of your plans.

Divest yourself of all distractions and make significant progress on challenging projects. Better yet, reduce your stress levels. After all, multitasking is not just inefficient, it is stressful too.

Tagged
Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

Three Ways to Use AutoHotKey to Rock Your Firefox Experience

AutoHotkey Numeric Keypad for Firefox

We are devoted aficionados of AutoHotkey, an open-source scripting language that can be used to religiously automate repetitive tasks on the Microsoft Windows operating system tasks and save time. AutoHotkey primarily works by overriding the default key commands on any software that runs on Windows. The core of AutoHotkey is a custom scripting language that can help define keyboard shortcuts or hotkeys.

If the keyboard on your Windows computer has a numeric keypad, you can use the keys on the numeric keypad to assist you with using the Firefox browser. By installing and running these scripts to scroll and close tabs, you don’t need to move your hands a long way from the mouse. Here are three simple scripts.

Scroll Down a Firefox Page using the ‘Add’ Key on the Numeric Keypad

This simple script substitutes the ‘Page Down’ key with the ‘Add’ key on the numeric keypad, thus helping you scroll down on Firefox pages.

NumpadAdd::
        Send {PgDn}
Return

Scroll Up a Firefox Page using the ‘Subtract’ Key on the Numeric Keypad

This simple script substitutes the ‘Page Up’ key with the ‘Subtract’ key on the numeric keypad, thus helping you scroll up on Firefox pages.

NumpadSub::
        Send {PgUp}
Return

Close a Firefox Tab using the ‘Pause’ Key

This simple script substitutes the ‘Control + F4′ key combination with the ‘Pause’ key on your keypad, thus helping you close the current tab in the Firefox application.

Pause::
        Send ^{F4}
Return

This AutoHotkey Script Needs ‘MozillaWindowClass’

To restrict the customization of these special keys just to the Firefox browser, you will need to an #IfWinActive block with the ahk_class set to MozillaWindowClass. Here is the full script. Actually, MozillaWindowClass refers to any window in any Mozilla application; hence you will notice that these shortcuts work on the Mozilla Thunderbird email application as well.

#IfWinActive ahk_class MozillaWindowClass
        Pause::
                Send ^{F4}
        Return
        NumpadAdd::
                Send {PgDn}
        Return
        NumpadSub::
                Send {PgUp}
        Return
#IfWinActive

For a basic introduction to the utility of AutoHotkey and a tutorial on installing AutoHotkey and compiling AutoHotkey scripts, see this useful YouTube video or this orderly guide from howtogeek.

Tagged
Posted in Software and Programming

Self-Quiz: Telltale Signs of a Workaholic

Telltale Signs of a Workaholic

In America, partly as part of the Calvinist mindset, a man who provided well for his family was valued, even if he was never around for his family because he was working so much. Over time, this fascination with vocation became a psychological thrust to work much too hard for no apparent reason. Even today, many Americans feel guilty if we are not working very hard. The society, taken as a whole, has come to think very highly of people who hate what the workaholics do: the push for work-life balance has irrationally stigmatized workaholics and, somewhat justifiably, pushed the sense of balance as more virtuous than having a job somebody loves. They’ve implied that people who work long hours are those who control themselves. But, many people work long hours for a more justifiable reason to advance themselves, provide for their families, and make the world a better place.

Workaholism is an addictive behavior that directly applies to the core aspect of economic life: working. Even if workaholism may help you climb the corporate ladder and get ahead at work, it can adversely affect your physical and emotional well-being. Here is a simple seven-point quiz to help you check if your life-work balance is out of sync.

  1. Are you preoccupied with work? Do you have difficulty leaving the office? Do you tend to work from home after before retiring?
  2. Are you avoiding delegation? Do you believe that many tasks can be handled only by you?
  3. Do you have a tendency to see no distinction between leisure time and work time? Are you mingling your personal and your professional lives?
  4. Do you tend to invent alibi to conceal your obsession with work?
  5. Is relaxing hard for you? When you’re on vacation, is your mind still wired to the office? Do you have a compulsive urge to contact your office to check-up on things?
  6. Have you let your employer define your sense of identity? Do you identify yourself with anything other than work?
  7. Are you shunning your private life? Are you steering clear of responsibilities at home? Are you dodging social responsibilities? Are you avoiding members of your family and friends?
Tagged
Posted in Education and Career

Protestant Work Ethic: Work as Worship

Protestant Work Ethic: Work as Worship

The Protestant Reformation brought about a far-reaching affirmation of the dignity of all sincere occupations—including manual labor—as vocations that signify a calling to the worship of God. Contrary to the emphasis placed in the Catholic tradition on the sacrifice of the mass, the holy sacrament, the confession, and other rituals, the convictions of work as worship, predestination, and salvation of vocational success were a dominant outcome of the Protestant Reformation.

Nearly 500 years ago, Martin Luther (1483-1546) asserted that the term ‘vocation’ should be applied not only to those ‘called’ into the priesthood or a holy order. Instead, Luther preached that all Christians have a vocation: wherever God has placed one—from garbage collection to sporting star—was one’s vocation. Therefore, one should do pursue that vocation to the “Glory of God” with as much energy and commitment as one could gather.

Later on, John Calvin (1509-1564) explained that the only way to ensure that one is part of the “chosen” is to ensure that one reflects in one’s life the fruits of one’s spirit (patience, perseverance, hard work, stewardship, etc.).

Martin Luther’s and John Calvin’s theological concepts and the emphasis on conscientiousness, hard work, and thrift as signs of a person’s salvation in the Christian faith became core to the Protestant Work Ethic or the Puritan Work Ethic. These renovations to the practice of faith gave birth to an industry and focus that the world had never before seen.

The Protestant Work Ethic (regard your labor as your gift to God and, in so doing, provide the evidence that you are chosen for redemption) became a defining quality of the western world.

Tagged
Posted in Education and Career Philosophy and Wisdom

A Checklist for Checklists: Developing, Drafting, Validating the Checklist

Checklist and Standard Operating Procedures

A checklist is not cast in stone. Modify it, enhance it, adapt it as needed. But, use it. If it is incorrect, change it. A checklist is critical when we are learning.

Develop a checklist and then put it to the test. Apply it, see the outcomes, and gauge the results. Does it avert errors? Does it create a better outcomes? Does it keep you on track? Does it help? Does it save time in performing the process and team-learning? Test the benefits, modify, and test again.

Phase 1: Developing the Checklist

  • Is each item:
    • a critical safety step and in great danger of being missed?
    • not adequately checked by other mechanisms?
    • actionable, with a specific response required for each item?
    • designed to be read aloud as a verbal check?
    • one that can be affected by the use of a checklist?
  • Have you considered,
    • adding items that will improve communication among team members?
    • involving all members of the team in the checklist creation process?

Phase 2: Drafting the Checklist

  • Does the checklist:
    • Utilize natural breaks in workflow (pause points)?
    • Use simple sentence structure and basic language?
    • Have a title that reflects its objectives?
    • Have a simple, uncluttered, and logical format?
    • Fit on one page?
    • Minimize the use of color?
  • Is the font:
    • Sans serif?
    • Upper and lower case text?
    • Large enough to be read easily?
    • Dark on a light background?
  • Are there fewer than 10 items per pause point?
  • Is the date of creation (or revision) clearly marked? Have you:

Phase 3: Validating the Checklist

  • Have you trialed the checklist with front line users (either in a real or simulated situation)?
  • Have you modified the checklist in response to repeated trials?
  • Does the checklist:
    • Fit the flow of work?
    • Detect errors at a time when they can still be corrected?
  • Can the checklist be completed in a reasonably brief period?
  • Have you made plans for future review and revision of the checklist?

Recommended Reading

'The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right' by Atul Gawande (ISBN 0312430000) ‘The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right’ by surgeon Atul Gawande. Dr. Gawande is authority on reducing inaccuracy, improving safety, and increasing efficiency in modern surgery and other lines of healthcare practices. As the world becomes increasingly complex, so do the problems that people and businesses face. Preventable failures are widespread, but Atul Gawande contends that personal- and professional-failures can be prevented. Using examples from the fields of surgery, healthcare, aviation, and other spheres of business, ‘The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right’ convinces that Training, organizational change, quality control can be dramatically improved through the adaptation of checklists, standard operating practices, and work instructions.

Also recommended: Beyond the Checklist by Suzanne Gordon, Patrick Mendenhall, Bonnie Blair O’Connor. The subtitle is ‘What Else Health Care Can Learn from Aviation Teamwork and Safety (The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work).’

Tagged
Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity Management and Leadership

The First Hour is the Most Important Hour of Your Day

The First Hour is the Most Important Hour of Your Day

The attitudes that you wake up with set the tone of the rest of your day. The first part of the morning is very vital to your experience for the rest of the day for the reason that it establishes your attitude for the rest of the day.

Early birds are more proactive than evening people. Research has found that all early riders are more likely than night owls to stick to healthy routines and productive behaviors.

Other research has shown that we have a fixed amount of willpower and strength of mind that we can expend during the day. Therefore, this willpower reserve depletes during the course of the day resulting in poor motivation, difficulty in cerebral thought processes, wallowing away, and taking the path of least resistance.

Doing the most arduous tasks in the morning ensures the important things get done. Establishing a morning routine ensures that these routines keep you grounded and sane, productive, and balanced. Establish a morning routine and begin to feel more natural and less irreverent through the rest of your day.

Learn to love the morning and you may end up with a healthier, productive, and more balanced life.

Tagged
Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

Three Remarkable Don’ts for Better Productivity

Better Productivity

Get everything done is all about effective time and task management and developing a robust system for personal organization. It is possible to find spare time in your day simply by reorganizing the way in which you approach your work and taking a hard look at each area of your working life and explore what you can change by simply not doing you should not be doing? Delve into the following three areas and see where you can make improvements, allow yourself to put more time into the things that really matter.

  1. Don’t do everything on your to do list. Many are big fans of the to do list. But they are simply not able to get them to work. They never get more than a third of the way down their to do lists. And, for every item that they cross off the list, they think of another three items to add to it. They end up with large, ever-growing list of things that get postponed from day to day. To improve your productivity, question everything you add to your to do list. Instead of trying to figure out the importance and urgency of a task, ask if it needs doing at all.
  2. Don’t make your system very complicated. Many popular systems of managing time and task focus more on the capturing and processing tasks and projects than on actually actual doing the work captured. These systems are overly complicated. They have a huge overhead. They are too difficult to understand and implement. Explore all the systems for time and task management out there. Try them all out and choose the one that works for you and discard the other ideas. Keep it simple.
  3. Don’t strive to do more. Traditional wisdom is that hard work pays off, and that the harder and more you work, the more productive you become. It’s really a paradox. The most successful people work fewer hours compared to the poorest, lowest-paid workers. You do not have to be a road warrior. A few well-chosen goals can sharpen focus and boost productivity. Too many lead to stress and even disaster.
Tagged
Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity