Welcome to the first April 2016 edition of the Weekly Learnings Roundup! Happy spring… or, at least here in Toronto, happy mid winter? We’re getting a nice little blast of snow this weekend to kick off April.

Lots of interesting links this week. The two I want to highlight are from HBR and Inc 42. Both around organizational development. The HBR article, A Manager’s Job Is Making Sure Employees Have a Life Outside Work, is super relevant for anyone working in Silicon Valley or any particularly demanding job. It’s really nice to hear from VCs who believe in the importance of a balanced life and a 80 hour workweek is not an ideal or a badge of honour. The Inc 42 article comes from Kevin Kruse who has written extensively about Employee Engagement. I love the way he simplifies the philosophy of engagement into a single sentence. I won’t spoil what it is – but I think every organization should consider making it their mantra.

That’s about it from me this week. If you like this post, please leave a comment below with your thoughts or give it a like. It’s nice to know that I’m providing some morsel of value through these posts. Have a great week!

Favourite links from the week:

Organizational Development

A Manager’s Job Is Making Sure Employees Have a Life Outside Work (Harvard Business Review)

The One Sentence Employee Engagement Plan For Startups (Inc 42)

Career development most important driver for employee engagement (Workplace Insight)

28 Years of Stock Market Data Shows a Link Between Employee Satisfaction and Long-Term Value (Harvard Business Review)

Enough of the ‘why’ on employee engagement, give me some ‘how’ (Fast Casual)

This is What Engaged Organizations Do Differently (Huffington Post)

Personal Growth

On The Shortness of Life: An Introduction to Seneca (Tim Ferriss)

Why You Need a “Deloading” Phase in Life (Tim Ferriss)


A Cambridge professor on how to stop being so easily manipulated by misleading statistics (Quartz)

6 Reasons Platforms Fail (Harvard Business Review)

What you think about Millennials says a lot about you, nothing about them (Boing Boing)

Productivity tip of the week:

Using your email as a to-do list

Here’s my email inbox setup with tasks like a to-do list.

I’ve tried a lot of to-do list systems in my life. Count me in as having been a user of Evernote, Trello, Things, Post-It Notes, etc. Despite my best attempts at trying to incorporate them in my life, the habit just didn’t stick. Now, I know a ton of people who have incorporated to-do list apps and systems (e.g. Getting Things Done) successfully. But the biggest issue for me in incorporating a to-do list was the time it took to manage the list. I probably spent more time managing and organizing my lists than actually getting things done. On top of that, I was trying to incorporate a system that I didn’t use other than for the purpose of organizing the to-do list. Which mean I was having to go out of my way to manage my to-do list.

Over the past year, I’ve switched my to-do list items from the aforementioned list applications to my email. “Email? It’s already cluttered enough in there. Why would I make it a to-do list as well?” It’s a fair point. But I would argue that email is probably one of the most used everyday tools. I’m basically on email already so why wouldn’t I try to maximize my value from it?

Now, if you’re someone who is dealing with email overwhelm, this tactic may not be for you. However, if you’re someone who is consistently reaching Inbox 0 to 10, this system can be ideal. Besides, your email inbox IS a to-do list already anyways. You need to reply, defer, or delete emails coming in. Much like how you need to complete, defer, or cancel tasks.

Next time you have something to do, try writing an email to yourself starting with the subject line “Task: (enter task name)”. It’ll be way better than having to flip-flop between all the other tools you use.

Product/service I’m loving:


I’ve talked about this service before and I still believe hands-down it is one of the most useful add-ons I have for my email. FollowUp.cc allows you to follow-up with emails without any manual searching through inboxes for you. All you need to do is put a specific date or amount of time in the BCC column of your email (e.g. “Sunday, March 31st” or “1 week from now”) and have the email pop back up in your inbox at the requested time.

It’s an immensely helpful tool for me when I’m sending client emails or looping back on tasks that I’ve sent to my team members. It’s even helpful with personal emails with friends and family that I want to make sure I hear a response from. The less you have the remember the better it is. FollowUp.cc lets you do that.

Documentaries/books I’m enjoying:

Built to Sell by John Warrilow

This is an awesome book for anyone building a business that they want to sell at some point. It’s written in a realistic story format which makes it a breazy read and highly informative. Even as a non business owner myself, the tips are eye-opening and very helpful in understanding what makes a business sustainable and attractive to buyers. There is knowledge in this book that you likely won’t be able to find anywhere else unless you go through the process yourself. Highly recommended!

A quote that’s inspiring me:

“To escape criticism: do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” —Elbert Hubbard

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