May 172017
 
 May 17, 2017  Tagged with: , ,

Working crazy hours and ‘hustling’ does not necessarily make you more productive. It certainly makes you busy (or look busy)but not productive. As a network engineer, I used to spend days on fiddling with the software settings, playing with the firewall software but that was not necessarily productive. I was learning stuff in the process but that was certainly not the best return on the time spent.

Reading tens and hundreds of articles on productivity or entrepreneurship will not produce the results you want. For that, you will actually have to do work that matters and that will make a difference. You will need to produce.

I believe that everyone has their own definition of what they call as ‘being productive’. Whatever your definition – ensure that you are producing things that matter to you and that is taking you towards your goals or objectives in life.

I recently came across Mark Manson’s article on “How to Be More Productive by Working Less“. It is a great short article that I would recommend people to read. It might just add an insight or two about productivity. It might assist you in managing your time better or assist you in managing your team environment better.

Here’s my summary:

  • Productivity is a deeply personal thing
  • Apart from some physical factory work and some office tasks, hardly any work is linear in function. It means that more time spent doing work does not necessarily mean that more is accomplished
  • Overworking can produce diminishing returns or negative returns
  • Identify leverage and deleverage points. What activity from your list can you pursue providing the best value for your time and efforts?
  • Take strategic time-offs. This will help to recharge your brain without loosing focus.
May 162017
 
 May 16, 2017  Tagged with: ,

Recently I read Farhad Manjoo’s article on nytimes.com about frightful five tech companies and his thought process on order of elimination . I realised that it has been few years since I have created a list of top 5 companies on whom I rely the most on a day-to-day basis.

So here’s my list of top 5 businesses where I have the most reliance for day-to-day services:

  1. Apple
    – iPhone
    – Macbook
    – iPad
    – Watch
    – iBooks
    – Apple TV
    – iCloud Services/Photos App
  2. Google (Alphabet)
    – Search
    – Youtube
    – Gmail
    – Google Drive
    – Google Photos
  3. Facebook
    – Facebook
    – Whatsapp
  4. Microsoft
    – Office 365
    – LinkedIn
    – Onedrive
  5. Netflix

Next, I wanted to go through the hypothetical scenario where I am being forced to eliminate these services from my life. I wanted to Identify the order in which I will eliminate them.

The first to go for me was Netflix. Not a surprise for me and I did not have to think too hard or wasn’t very emotional about it either. Surprisingly, Netflix is the second company in my list where I spend the most money on a yearly basis after Apple.

The next to go after Netflix was Facebook. I spend substantial time on both Facebook and Whatsapp connecting, socialising and learning. But thinking through it, as much as I will miss not having these services in my life, I can survive. I can go back to emailing and calling people and still being in touch! Also the amount of time I can get back through eliminating them was a no brainer.

Number three on my elimination list was Microsoft. Among productivity tools, my dependency on Office suite of products is very high (interesting that I am typing the draft of this post in OneNote too), followed by LinkedIn for professional networking. But again something I can live without if pushed for it.

The battle for the top spot became difficult. People who know me will know that I love my Apple devices but then without having access to the right services and applications, they will just be pretty awesome devices with little use. My reliance on Apple apps and services is minimal right now. I hardly use iWorks productivity suite. I don’t know what I will do without my iPhone, iPad and my Macbook Pro but hey the hardware itself does not keep me connected and productive.

The last one on my elimination list is Alphabet (Google) products. I have heavy reliance on all major Alphabet services such as mail, videos, storage and importantly search. If I had to give up using all other companies, I can downgrade myself to using Android (;) ;)) and use Google productivity suite, search using Google and entertain myself watching content on Youtube.

This thought experiment also lead me to think about importance of services eco system, but let’s leave that for another post.

What are the top 5 Organisations that you rely on the most and what would your elimination list look like?

Sep 092016
 
 September 9, 2016  Tagged with: , ,

Now and then I hear and see people wowed by someone’s number of likes, followers on Twitter or number of Facebook friends. Differentiating between followers and real friends is important.

Your friends will be those that make you happy offline or online. One that stand by you in good and bad times and can sense the words behind the silence. Ten thousand likes on a post will make you happy in the moment and famous for 5 minutes, but real friends offer you a long-lasting companionship. Not all online followers are your friends or want to be one. They have their self-defined agendas most of the time.

This quote from Brené Brown is fitting.

socialmedia_friends

Aug 282016
 
 August 28, 2016  Tagged with: ,

Yes, talk is cheap and does not add a lot of value. Right action, on the other hand, does increase value to everyone involved.

Make it Happen

May 262016
 
 May 26, 2016  Tagged with:

The top headline in the tech sphere today is Foxconn replaces 60K workers with robots. Experts are seeing it from an economy perspective, employment perspective and then there are automation experts raving about the power of automation and bringing efficiency. And then there are some more.

Robots replacing Humans

Is this a shocking news? Ah, may be to a person who is going to lose the job. People should not be surprised by this. We have been implementing automation for increasing efficiency for many-many decades now. A simple message I have is if a worker or business does not stay ahead in the game, then starting digging a graveyard for your role.

This does not apply only to manufacturing industries but any other segment. Today artificial intelligence, business intelligence and many other types of intelligence are replacing jobs of information workers and bringing much more efficiency to the process. What can we do as individuals? Stay ahead. Identify the patterns, see where the industry is heading, research, learn, un-learn, get uncomfortable, make complacency a thing of past and start doing things computers or robots cannot do in the next two years. Not all of us are able to predict the future but we certainly can match its pace. And if you are a business, then there is a tough road ahead as you got to innovate but start by understanding what innovation really means for you.

Aug 032015
 
 August 3, 2015  Tagged with: , ,


How is the culture of your team? Do you want to improve it or transform it all together? What would you do?

Let’s start with definition of “culture”. What is a definition of culture?

One definition that I like is ” A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behavior; that is the totality of a person’s learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behavior through social learning.”

If you are not happy with the culture around you and want to re-define it, start with defining your own culture and transforming yourself. Each thing that you do and perform should be a reflection of that culture. Culture both good and bad are infectious. Create a culture that infectious that it propagates at the pace of fire without you having to tell people in your organisation that you are trying to change it! Be passionate about it. Immerse, live and breathe the culture you want to spread in your house, your team or your whole organisation.

Culture is a very personal thing and should not be copied from other teams or organisations just for the sake of it. Like many things copy and paste strategy will not work. Things that work well elsewhere will not necessarily work at your organisation because the people and the story is different.

Stories and actions stick. Long agendas and meetings don’t neither do empty promises. Also “You” define the culture not just fancy Power Point decks or beautifully decorated posters.

May 042015
 
 May 4, 2015  Tagged with:

We all complain. Some do little, some do too much of it. Some about everything and some about specific aspects that they dislike.

Complain

When you complain’s constantly just because you can (and one thinks that it is their God given right) , it can get annoying for others and frustrating for you as they never seem to go anywhere. Don’t blame if others start completely ignoring you and your complains!

But complaints get more attention when they are meant to lead to improvement, both for you and other parties involved. What I call win-win situation! Part of your complain should also include message on how resolving it will benefit the other party and many other people like you and provide a long lasting effect.

Feb 232015
 
 February 23, 2015  Tagged with: ,

Time

Where do you fit in? The more value you add – to the person, the conversation, the group, the organisation, the not-for-profit, to the relation – the more people will want to talk to you and importantly listen to you.