Hey there! Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a “hit” of interesting learnings from the past week.

This week, we explore articles around the benefits of checking email first thing the morning, how sensory deprivation tanks (i.e. “float tanks”) can help with stress, and how the Millennial generation can get their earnings back on track. Lots of other great articles too around employee engagement – which seemed to be a hot topic this week.

Notable links from the week:

Actually, You Should Check Email First Thing in the Morning (Harvard Business Review)

The stupid, avoidable mistakes that make good employees leave (Quartz)

Eliminate Stress With Sensory Deprivation (Bulletproof Executive)

How to 10X Your Results, One Tiny Tweak at a Time (Tim Ferriss)

Can Millennials Undo What the Recession Did to Their Earnings? (The Atlantic)

The Culture Within: How Employee Engagement Impacts Customer Experience (1to1 Media)

Are sterile goals preventing viral employee engagement in your business? (SmartCompany)

Productivity tip of the week:

The Pomodoro Technique

I wrote about the Pomodoro Technique in a previous post but I think it’s worth revisiting it because it’s such a useful technique. The premise is simple: work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break. Repeat until you reach your 3rd or 4th pomodoro and take a 15-minute break. It’s a useful technique because it gives you the space to focus on a task for a certain time period with a guaranteed break at the end. It also lowers the hurdle for you to begin a certain task because you don’t necessarily need to finish the entire task – just do 25 minutes and stop.

Personally, I’m a fan of a 15-minute pomodoro compared to 25 minutes. It lowers the starting hurdle even lower to overcome the initial procrastination. It’s also surprising how much you can get done in 15 minutes and allows you to see how much work you can actually get done in such a short amount of time. I currently use the Pomodoro Technique during my morning routine – 15 minutes for reading a book, 15 minutes for checking personal emails, 15 minutes for working on my blog, etc. – which helps to prevent things from getting carried away.

For more information about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this post on Lifehacker. There are also a ton of pomodoro apps available on Android and iPhone so getting started is really easy.

Product/service I’m loving:

Amazon Subscribe & Save

I’m all about reducing the amount of time that I spend doing errands and increasing the time I have available to doing things that I enjoy doing. Part of making this strategy happen is by using a service like Amazon Subscribe & Save. Instead of having to go to the store to pickup toilet paper, laundry detergent, paper towels, etc. Subscribe & Save allows you to order the items that you need and have them delivered to your door without any additional cost for shipping. In addition to that, you get 15% off for everything in your order (as long as you order 5 items per month) which can add up to significant savings.

Aside from the the cost, though, to me it’s the amount of time and mental energy you save from using a service like this. The less time you have to worry about picking up a 12-pack of toilet paper, the better it is for you. They’ve also got a pretty wide selection of items you can choose from including pantry items, baby care items, and even vitamins and other nutritional supplements.

Documentaries/books I’m enjoying:

The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master, Volume 1

Over the last 6 months, I’ve heard a lot about Stoic philosophy and how entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley to executives and players/executives from the New England Patriots in the NFL apply it to achieve a grounded, high-performance mindset. Tim Ferriss is a big proponent of Stoic maxims which further piqued my interest in it. Recently, he released an audiobook which compiles the hundreds of letters Seneca wrote that helped clarify many aspects of the Stoic philosophy.

For me, The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master, has been a fantastic introduction to the world of Stoicism. The letters are fairly easy to understand and the lessons are incredibly powerful. I find myself thinking how I can apply the lessons from the letters constantly as I listen through it. I highly recommend it if you’re at all curious about the Stoic philosophy or about living better and truer to who you are.

A quote that’s inspiring me:

“Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul. Speak as boldly with him as with yourself.” – Seneca

As always, thank you to those that liked, re-tweeted, or commented on my Tweets. See you on next week’s round up!

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