Peter’s Quarterly Review – Q1 2016

Recently, I read a post on Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog about Monthly Reviews. At the beginning of every month, Leo asks himself a set of questions to reflect on the month before. I think it’s a great idea which inspired me to start doing a quarterly review (baby steps, right?)

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past several months quantifying my life. I have a calendar that tracks my daily goals, an app that tracks my meditation, a spreadsheet that tracks my daily behaviour, and so on. Having the data is a great starting point because it’s an objective look at where you stand. As Peter Drucker once famously said, “What gets measured gets managed.” I’m hoping to bring a bit of measurement into my life through this process.

Here’s what I want to review with this first attempt:

Daily Goal

Daily Questions


Health & Fitness

So this might be a little messy as it’s my first attempt but let’s try to breakdown how my quarter went. The objective here is to break down my tracking tools and see if I can create a template to use moving forward.

Daily Goal


Above is my 2016 Hustle Calendar. The days marked as “X” are days that I completed my 2016 goal – spend 15 minutes working on my blog everyday. I’m hoping that a small contribution everyday to my blog will result in big results by the end of 365 days.

My blog is not intended to make money or sell people stuff; it’s simply a platform to share my knowledge and I don’t have any specific monetary goals or anything. The focus is to add value to people’s lives while I learn/research things that matter.

You’ll see most days are marked and some are not. I also put a black box around the days that I published a new post. Days with lines running through them are days that I was traveling. It’s quite helpful to see how I was able to maintain (or not maintain) my habits while on the road.

According to my Hustle Calendar (up to March 31st), I hit 76 out of 91 days of the month meaning a 84% success rate. Pretty good for my first quarter building out this habit. Below are some of the stats.

Total days: 91

Completed days: 76

Incomplete days: 15

Success rate: 84%

Longest streak: 15 days

Days travelled: 15

Success rate while traveling: 47% (7 out of 15)

Posts published: 16

Out of the metrics listed above (and I’m sure I can slice and dice this further) the ones I can benchmark myself on moving forward are Success Rate, Longest Streak, and Posts Published. Basically my goal for next month can be to improve upon my Success Rate, put together a streak longer than 15 days, and publish more than 16 posts.

That said, I’m not too concerned about how many posts I published this quarter. As I build up this habit, I’m more concerned about the success rate and the quality of time that I put in for every 15 minute session. The posts and the quality will rise as I do a better job managing my 15 minutes and refining that process.

I also noticed that traveling put a big dent into my stats. I was only successful 47% of the time while on the road meaning I need to re-evaluate how I complete my morning routine during travels to include the 15 minutes of blogging or try to limit the time I spend on the road.

Daily Questions

I’ve written in the past about the 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Everyday. It’s a powerful tool for habit development and improving self awareness. I’ve been asking myself 7 questions every day over the past 3 months and rating myself on a scale of 1 to 10 for each of the questions. It’s given me some insight into which questions I’m doing well with and which ones I still need to work on. This metric is another great point of reference as I look back on the progress that I’ve made so far.

This quarter’s numbers are a little bit off since I was working on the scoring system a little bit and creating some consistency. But here they are anyways:


Monthly average = 8.65/10

Highest average scored question (tied):

Did I do my best to make progress towards my goals today? (8.74/10)

Did I do my best to be fully engaged today? (8.74/10)

Lowest average scored question:

Did I do my best to create meaning for myself or others today? (8.53/10)


Monthly average = 7.79/10

Highest average scored question:

Did I do my best to set clear goals today? (8.03/10)

Lowest average scored question:

Did I do my best to be physically and emotionally healthy today? (7.52/10)


Monthly average = 8.31/10

Highest average scored question:

Did I do my best to set clear goals today? (9.11/10)

Lowest average scored question:

Did I do my best to create meaning for myself or others today? (8.04/10)

There’s a lot of ways that I can look at this data but the one big thing that stuck out to me that I became a lot better at setting clear goals each day. Both February and March were months where that question scored highest. March was incredible with a 9.11 average!

This is due in large part to the 5 minutes I’ve started spending every morning setting my focus for the day. I use an app called Momentum that gives you space to write down your top focus in a new tab. Every time you open a new tab, the Momentum tab shows you what your main focus is until you complete it and cross it off the main page.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 9.03.51 AM

Sometimes my focus is a little bit abstract like the one above but on other days it’s very specific (e.g. “Spend 15 minutes working on my tax return” or “Go to my capoeira class this evening.”) I also set a separate focus of the day for my job which helps keep things separate. Suffice to say, I’ve really enjoyed this morning goal-setting habit and I plan on keeping it up in Q2.

I also noticed a big dip in the February average but I’m going to chalk that up to a shift in my scoring methodology. In January, I was okay with including decimal points in my score but I changed that to no decimal points so I wouldn’t sit on the fence between an 8 or 9 with an 8.5, for example. That adjustment in scoring is what is partially reflecting the scoring.


For me, having a good mindset for the day starts with spending 10 minutes meditating every morning. And I’ve been using an app called Calm to help me with this process. One of the aspects that I love about Calm is how it helps you track and view your meditation over the course of a month.


As you can see above, it shows you your current streak at the top and the days that you meditated are highlighted by a green circle. It even gives you additional stats below and an option at the bottom to add a meditation session manually in case you didn’t use the app for it.

The data from the entire quarter is a little incomplete as I was meditating without using the Calm app in January but here are the stats:


31 days

17 days complete

14 days incomplete

55% success


29 days

23 days complete

6 days incomplete

79% success


31 days

28 days complete

3 days incomplete

90% success

Going from a 55% success rate in January to a 90% success rate was a huge improvement. I’d be happy to hit a 90% success rate any month so the key will be to maintain my progress so far. I’ve noticed that adding a habit to journal a little bit after my meditation has helped make the experience more fulfilling and exciting to come back to. I have a feeling that contributed to a successful March and continued interest in me to meditate everyday.

Health and fitness

The tool I’m using for this is called the 7 Minute Workout. Hands down, it is the best health app I have used to date. The workouts are great and the motion graphics make it easy to understand the workout technique. It also has a built-in “7 Month Challenge” where you try to do a 7-Minute Workout everyday over 7 months without missing 3 workouts in a month. If you miss 3 workouts, then the streak ends and you have to start over.



I started my 7-Month Challenge back in October and above is a screenshot after Day #171. There were a couple of close calls but I’ve pushed my way through to over 80% completion. Maintaining this streak to 7 months and beyond is an important goal for me. At the moment, I’m working on my upper body with a workout called “Pushup Pusher”. I’ve been pleased with the progress I’ve made with muscle development so far as I’ve been keeping track by taking a weekly snapshot of my upper body.


As you can see above, my quarterly review really consists of how I’m performing with my daily habits. Small changes can make a big difference over time and that’s what I’m counting on here. I’ve been really pleased with my 84% success rate with my daily goal, a 9.11 score for my goal setting habit, 90% meditation success rate in March, and keeping my 7-Month Challenge streak alive.

What I’d like to do for the next quarter is to continue collecting the data and keep my eyes peeled for trends and areas of improvement. This quarter’s review is a good start but I’d like to refine this process further. I’d also like to include another review section for “Progress with Projects” so I can keep track of progress for projects that live outside the scope of my daily habits. Further to that, it would be good to set clear benchmarks for success rates, muscle/weight gain (for my health goals), and new subscribers to my blog so I have specific measurements to strive towards.

Please feel free to add below your thoughts and perhaps your experience with review processes like this. I’d love to continue to improve this and eventually develop a template for you to run through a quarterly review.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (Apr 3, 2016)

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. 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. 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!

Weekly Learnings Roundup (Mar 27, 2016)

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 I had over the previous week.

This week’s learnings roundup is packed with awesome links. In particular, I loved James Clear’s new blog post around The Evolution of Anxiety – how we, humans, have brains wired for an “immediate return environment” when we actually live in a “delayed return environment”. It’s a great awareness-raising piece around how your brain works and how to hack it to excel in a delayed return environment.

What I’m reading this week:

What Happens When Millennials Run the Workplace? (New York Times)

The Employee Engagement Problem No One Is Talking About (Business 2 Community)

[Audio] How to Avoid the Busy Trap (and Other Misuses of Your Time) (Tim Ferriss)

[Video] A comedian has the perfect response to people who call millennials entitled and narcissistic (Vox)

How Will Young People Choose Their Religion? (The Atlantic)

In Search of Forty Winks (The New Yorker)

[Video] How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed (TED)

How we used to die; how we die now (Exopermaculture)

The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It (James Clear)

How to Get Busy Influencers to Share Your Stuff (Tim Ferriss)

Productivity tip of the week:

The Seinfeld Strategy

You may have heard of this one. When Jerry Seinfeld was asked by a young comedian for the #1 tip to become a successful comedian, Seinfeld told him to write one joke every single day. Then, draw a big “X” on that day on a calendar and make sure the comedian did that every single day.

It’s a powerful strategy because it makes “become a successful comedian” much more tangible – write one joke every single day. It also reduces the potential of procrastination because one joke is much more attainable than “success” or the “best standup set ever”, for example. If you have a goal that’s going to take some time to realize, consider adopting the Seinfeld Strategy, it might help you take the small steps necessary to achieve a big goal.

Check out The Hustle Calendar for the calendar I use to track my progress.

Product/service I’m loving:

The Hustle Calendar


The Hustle Calendar (CDN $28.99) is probably one of my favourite tools that I use to help me stay accountable and keep on track with my goals. It gives you an all-in-one view of all the days in the year which allows you to keep track of daily progress you make towards a certain goal. For me, this year, it’s spending 15 minutes everyday on this blog (that’s my real calendar above). It’s a great tool to be able to notice trends on certain days when I don’t get around to completing my goal (see the days without the “X”s) and be proud of the streaks I’ve been able to put together so far.

If you’ve got a goal this year to achieve and you’re willing to put together a small amount of attention to it everyday, pickup this calendar. It’ll be pretty inspiring how much you’ll be able to achieve over a month, quarter, and a year. It’s also really difficult to break a streak when you’ve got a good one going!

A quote that’s inspiring me:

A good man will not waste himself upon mean and discreditable work or be busy merely for the sake of being busy. Neither will he, as you imagine, become so involved in ambitious schemes that he will have continually to endure their ebb and flow.

– Seneca

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

Weekly Learnings Roundup (Mar 23, 2016)

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

This week’s learnings roundup includes links to an inspiring story about coding and prisoners, Stoicism and how the practical philosophy can make you a better person, and a helpful roadmap for overcoming insecurities (and we all have them). I’ve also shared some thoughts around productivity and the importance of thinking about WHY we want to be more productive along with a book recommendation for those who want to become better coaches and managers.


Favourite links from the week:

Why I’m teaching prisoners to code (TED)

Stoicism 101: A Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs (Tim Ferriss)

A Roadmap to Overcoming Insecurities (zen habits)

How a book on stoicism became wildly popular at every level of the NFL (Sports Illustrated)

Productivity tip of the week:

Ask Yourself WHY

This week’s tip is a little different. Usually I share tools and tactics on how to improve your productivity so you can squeeze the most out of your day. Which is all great. But mired in the WHAT and the HOW to do things, we lose focus of the WHY.

Why do you want to be more productive?

Is it so you can get closer to your (insert target/goal)?

Is it so you can look good in front of your peers/friends/family?

Is it so you can serve more customers?

Is it so you can spend time at the gym after work?

Is it because you’re building a bootstrapped business you believe in and you need to squeeze every second from your day?

Is it so you can spend time cooking a meal at home rather than ordering take out?

There is no right answer obviously but I think it’s important to consider whether your WHY is compelling to you. If you’re just being productive for the sake of it, there’s no meaning behind it and in the long run you’re going to lose steam. Think of yourself as a sports car with incredible horsepower (awesome!) without an intended destination (not so awesome). Even the highest amount of horsepower in the world won’t get you to your destination if you don’t even know where you want to go.

The reason why we want to be productive must be tied to our greater need to fulfill our values and our purpose in life. So the next time you look at new productivity tactic, ask yourself WHY you want to be more productive. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Product/service I’m loving:

Philips Wake-up light

I’ve owned this light for the last couple of years and it’s been a game-changer for my morning wake-up. Instead of waking up to a blaring alarm, the Philips Wake-up light turns on about 30-40 minutes before your wake-up time with a deep red glow (kind of like the sunrise) until it reaches full light intensity at your chosen wake-up time. From there, you can set a specific sound you’d like to be woken up to – I chose birds chirping. It’s a much more pleasant and human way to wake up. In the evenings, you can set it to simulate a sunset which is a perfect way to wind down, read a book, and prepare for bed as the light dims.

Documentaries/books I’m enjoying:

The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stainer

I’ve really been enjoying this new book from MBS. It’s jam packed with useful information around how to ask better questions. In fact, it gives you 7 essential questions to ask in almost any coaching conversation. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a coach, manager, friend, or family member is to ask a question and listen to the answer. This book shows you the ropes on how to do just that. Check it out.

A quote that’s inspiring me:

“Never underestimate the ability of a small group of dedicated people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Meade

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

Weekly Learnings Roundup (Mar 13, 2016)

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!

Weekly Learnings (Mar 6, 2016)

Hey there! Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup.

This week there are some interesting articles on the negative impacts of empathy (is too much bad?), five rituals to optimize your brain, and a link to a great new book coming on about coaching. I also share with you a new wrinkle I’ve added to my meditation practice and a free-to-try app that may save you some time with your automations. Enjoy!

Interesting links from the week:

Being a good parent will physiologically destroy you, new research confirms (Quartz)

How Millennials Can Help You Work Faster (Shift)

Stefanie Williams pens ‘open letter to Millennials after Yelp employee complained (Mail Online)

How to Achieve Self-Ownership (Tim Ferriss)

It’s good to be German: The world’s most powerful passports (Quartz)

Neuroscience says these five rituals will help your brain stay in peak condition (Quartz)

The Coaching Habit Book (Box of Crayons)

Productivity tip of the week:

I’ve written about the benefits of meditation in the past. I’ve also recently added a wrinkle to my meditation practice which has really helped – a meditation journal. After every morning meditation, I take two minutes to scribble a few thoughts about my meditation. I write a score between 1 to 10 and very briefly explain what came across my mind during the meditation. It’s helpful because I get a better sense of how my meditation went and the progress I made. If you meditate, give it a shot – it might further enhance the experience.

A quote that’s inspiring me:

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” — Nelson Mandela

Product/service I’m loving:


This free to try automation service works very much like IFTTT where you can connect two apps to speak to each other and automate tasks. What makes Zapier different? It offers way more customization and selection of apps you can connect. Not to mention, it now gives you the ability to do multi-step automations for complex automations you want to process.

I use Zapier at work to automate new lead emails, customer feedback scores, and importing new webinar attendees to our CRM. For personal tasks, I use Zapier to help me automatically setup templates in my blog and connect certain email messages to my SMS so it catches my attention.

It’s free to try for up to 5 “zaps” (i.e. automations) so give it a shot with any task that you find yourself doing more than once. The key is to experiment then tweak as you discover more tasks you can automate at home or at work!

Documentaries/books I’m enjoying:

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Ghana with a student group. We visited the Cape Coast Castle where hundreds of thousands of slaves were transported from Africa to the Americas. It was an eye-opening experience to see cramped underground cells where the slaves were kept and hearing about the stories of the torture, disease, and death that the slaves faced.

I just started reading The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill and it has further opened my eyes to the history behind the slave trade. The story is told from the perspective of an African woman who is captured and taken to America. It’s a powerful story of one woman’s survival and one that I highly recommend picking up.

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

Weekly Learnings Roundup (Feb 28, 2016)

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 I had over the previous week. It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

Productivity tip of the week:

Smiling for 10 seconds at the start of your day

This week, I decided to add a wrinkle to my meditation practice. After I finished my meditation, I took 10 seconds to smile. Most of the time I needed to fake my smile but just the act of smiling put me immediately into a good mood. In fact, the rest of the day felt lighter and more playful just because I took a moment to smile. Try it out yourself sometime this week. You might be surprised!

A quote that’s inspiring me:

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” —Lao Tzu

Product/service I’m loving:

Bulletproof Coffee

I’ve been drinking Bulletproof Coffee for the better part of the year now and it’s been such a revelation for me that I can’t go without it every morning. Bulletproof Coffee is a mixture of high-quality coffee, grass-fed butter, and concentrated coconut/palm oil. It’s a powerful alternative to regular coffee as it puts my body into a state of ketosis and a feeling of consistent energy all morning.

Documentaries/books I’m enjoying:

Amy – A look into the tragic life of Amy Winehouse. Whether you lover her music or not, it’s a deeply moving documentary. Nominated for an Oscar this season as well.

In The Heart of The Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick – The incredible story of the whaleship Essex and the incredible challenges the crew faced after being shipwrecked in the middle of the Pacific. So many lessons on leadership and human resilience. Definitely worth a read.

Top links shared on Twitter:

On Employee Engagement: Life’s a Bucket (

Canadian Millennials Sick Of Their Jobs: 55 Per Cent Want Career Change This Year (Huffington Post)

McDonald’s secret sauce for employee engagement (The Globe and Mail)

Use Digital Technology to Improve Employee Engagement (Business 2 Community)

Effective Strategies to Measure Employee Engagement (Huffington Post)

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

Peter’s Weekly Roundup (Feb. 20)

Popular links of the week:

How Seth Godin Manages His Life – Rules, Principles, and Obsessions (

Is imposter syndrome a sign of greatness? (Quartz)

Productivity tip of the week:

If you consider yourself an intermediate user of a Mac, check out Master Your Mac. For $5/month you get weekly tips via email to take your Mac efficiency to the next level.

A Seneca quote that’s inspiring me:

Begin at once to live and count each separate day as a separate life.

A product/service I’m loving:


This brand new app allows you to interact with your news as if you were texting somebody about the news. It’s innovative and engaging. Free to use as well.

A documentary I’m enjoying:

No recommendation today but I’m committing to watching at least one documentary per week to improve my understanding of the world around me. Netflix is a great source for quality documentaries. I’ll report back with any interesting documentaries right here!

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

Peter’s Links of the Week (Jan. 31 – Feb. 6)

Popular links from the week:

How Big Data Is Changing Disruptive Innovation (Harvard Business Review)

How Mindfulness Improves Executive Coaching (Harvard Business Review)

Why are millennials turning to payday loans and pawn shops? (PBS Newshour)

‘Everyone could know what I was doing’: the millennials not using social media (The Guardian)

Productivity tip of the week:

Keyboard Shortcuts for Gmail

Saving time with keyboard shortcuts is one of the best ways to be more productive and get more done during the day. It may seem small but one less click here or there can really add up.

If you’re using Gmail, there’s a way that you can activate keyboard shortcuts that will save you a lot of time. Click the link above to learn how to enable the shorcuts and start using them. It’ll take some practice getting used to them but invest the time. Saving 5-10 minutes everday means saving between 1.5 – 3 hours every month!

Quote I’m thinking about:

Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend

-Albert Camus

Product/service I’m loving:

I’ve been using Feedly for the past year and I’ve found it incredibly useful in aggregating content that I’m interested in. You can add any news source or website to your feed and helps you see what’s new or trending through clean, simple interface.

It’s free to use for most of its basic functions and integrations with IFTTT, Buffer, etc. make it easy for you to automate posting/sharing of your favourite content.

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

Seven Questions to Ask Yourself Everyday (Part II)

This post is a two-part series on the Seven Questions to Ask Yourself Everyday. Part I can be found here.
 It’s not the years in your life that counts. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln
 In Part I of the post, I introduced the seven questions you should ask yourself everyday. If you haven’t read that post yet, I highly encourage you to go back and read it before continuing. This post is about how to implement these questions on a daily basis. I’ll show you the tools that I use to remind, record, reflect, and act on the questions.


A quietly underrated aspect of the daily questions is making sure you remind yourself to record your questions. In the early going as you’re trying to build up the habit, having a reliable reminder is essential. In fact, Marshall Goldsmith (who writes about the Daily Questions in his book Triggerspays someone to call him at the end of everyday to ask him his daily questions.

If you can’t afford to pay someone to call you everyday, you can use a free automation service like IFTTT to schedule a daily reminder email. In the reminder email, I plug-in the link to the tracking spreadsheet (see the reflection section) so I can easily access it when I need to record my score.

In whatever way you remind yourself, the important part is that it’s automatic. Whether it’s an alarm on your phone or a friend who calls you, make sure it’s on your radar at the end of the day without taking up much effort.

Speaking of the “end of the day”, I’ve set my automatic reminders for 5:00 p.m. I’ve found that the timing is good as I’m typically wrapping up my workday between 5 to 6 p.m. Your timing could be later like after dinner or right before you go to bed. Find what time works the best for you to receive the reminder.


I record my scores on a Google Sheet. I prefer the spreadsheet because it’s cloudbased and accessible wherever I can get the internet. Google Sheets also have the same functionality as an Excel file so if I wanted to slice-and-dice the data, it’s pretty easy to do. In fact, I’ve plugged in a chart that helps me visualize my daily scores.

Screenshot of sample spreadsheet

I’ve created a sample spreadsheet for you to use. Feel free to go in and make a copy for yourself by going to File -> Make a Copy. You’ll notice that I’ve added a few scores already just so you can see it in action. Delete those scores when you’re ready to start recording.

When I’m recording my scores, I have a couple of simple rules for myself:

  • Trust my initial gut-instinct for the score.
  • Stick to whole numbers. Decimal places are not allowed. (This makes it harder to “sit on the fence” with a score).

Finally, my recommendation is to record at least 21 days of consecutive scores. It’ll be a helpful baseline to start seeing some trends with your scores.


Once you’ve recorded the score of the day, now comes perhaps the most important part – reflection.

I use a service called TalkSpace which provides unlimited text/voice messaging with a licensed therapist. On days that I have something I want to talk through, I open up the TalkSpace app or webpage and leave a message for my therapist. The therapist responds within 24 hours with her thoughts and perspective. I’ve been using TalkSpace since May 2015 and it has been an indispensible part of my personal growth toolkit.

Whether you use a service like TalkSpace or not is up to you. You may prefer writing a quick comment in the Google Spreadsheet or journaling about it or calling a friend to talk through your day. The important part is to pull your thoughts outside your mind. You’d be surprised how much clarity you get from verbalizing or writing your thoughts down.


If you stop just with recording and reflection over a period of 21 days, you’re still going to get a lot out of it. But if you’re like most people, you’ll want to take action on the information that comes out of your daily questions.

There isn’t a cookie-cutter method for you to take action on these questions. You might prefer to collect data for 90 consecutive days before making some course adjustments or you may want to take action on a daily basis. There is no “right” answer.

That said, for me, I generally like to work on improving my score on one question over the course of a month. For example, if I’ve noticed that “Did I do my best to set clear goals?” is consistently a low score for me, I’ll focus on improving that score over the course of a month.

To remind myself of the question I’m working on, I use a Google Chrome plug-in called Momentum that gives you space to set one goal everyday.


Every time you open up a new tab, you’ll see the Momentum dashboard and remind yourself what the one goal was for you (along with a beautiful photo that changes everyday). It’s a nice way to keep the question top-of-mind throughout the day.

Every morning, before I get started with my work, I open up my spreadsheet and review yesterday’s scores. I plug in the question I’m working on – currently it’s “Do my best to set clear goals” – and go about setting my goals for the day.

And that’s it! Rinse-and-repeat this process everyday. The next step which I’m currently developing a process for is a quarterly review of my scores. Stay tuned to the blog for more thoughts on that.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts with this process? Do you think it’ll work for you? Is there anything missing that you’d add?