Weekly Learnings Roundup (August 28, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this 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!

What I’m reading —

What Makes a Good Life: Revelatory Learnings from Harvard’s 75-Year Study of Human Happiness by Maria Popova

In an unprecedented 75-year study, we discover the key element for a happy and healthy life. According to Harvard psychologist and Grant Study director Robert Waldinger, “the clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes I’m enjoying —

A Look Inside Date with Destiny: How Masculine and Feminine Energies Impact Relationships on The Tony Robbins Podcast

If you’ve had a chance to watch I Am Not Your Guru, this is a great follow-up podcast episode. Tony Robbins walks through a relationship challenge shared by a couple in the audience at his Date with Destiny event. It’s emotional and it’s challenging but contains some highly valuable lessons on how to make relationships work.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that makes you smile.

— Mark Twain

Productivity tip of the week —

Will you repeat the task? Find ways to optimize and automate it.

I’ve written about this in the past but I think it’s worth highlighting again. When you come across a task that you know you’ll be doing again in the future, it’s good to think of ways to optimize and speed up how to do it next time. This might include creating a canned response in Gmail, setting up a reminder through IFTTT, or using a subscription service like Amazon Subscribe & Save to order it automatically.

Product or service I’m loving —

Audible

If you like audiobooks, you’ve likely already heard of Audible. Personally, I prefer reading physical books but I like the flexibility Audible offers when I want to be listening to books while walking or transiting. My only wish with Audible is that they have a better way of taking notes and re-visiting chapters/sections that I like. Lately I’ve been re-listening to The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master, Volume 1. It’s a great listen if you are interested in Stoic philosophy which is highly accessible and practical.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of articles that I share on a daily basis.

My Quarterly Habits Review (Q2, 2016)

This year I’ve started a new tradition to take a look at the habits I’ve been developing on a quarterly basis. They cover four main areas in my life:

  1. Daily Hustle
  2. Daily Questions
  3. Mindset
  4. Health & Fitness

The data is collected on a daily basis through a variety of different tools. You can check out last quarter’s review here.

Daily Hustle

The Daily Hustle is inspired by the Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity method to work on one key habit on a daily basis. The goal is to keep the habit going by not breaking the chain of X’s on a calendar. It’s the ONE Thing that can help make your day a success and push you towards your goal.

My goal this year has been to spend 15-minutes working on my blog everyday. I use a Hustle Calendar to help me keep track of this keystone habit. Check out where my calendar is current at below and the stats from Q2.

IMG_0128

Success rate: 79% (-5% from Q1)

Posts published: 20 (+4 from Q1)

Observations:

Q2 saw my success rate dip 5% which is not a huge concern. Anything hovering around 80% is a respectable number for me. On the flipside, I did publish 20 posts (marked by the squared dates) compared to 16 in Q1. So from an output level I was techincally more productive this past quarter.

Daily Questions

The Daily Questions are inspired by an activity in Marshall Goldsmith’s book Triggers. It’s an activity that allows me to track my progress on key priorities and objectives. It’s a holistic view on how much effort I put into advancing towards my goals.

Here were the questions I asked this past quarter followed by the key stats and highlights:

  1. Did I do my best to set clear goals today?
  2. Did I do my best to make progress toward my goals today?
  3. Did I do my best to create meaning for myself or others today?
  4. Did I do my best to be happy today?
  5. Did I do my best to build positive relationships today?
  6. Did I do my best to be fully engaged today?
  7. Did I do my best to be physically and emotionally healthy today?
  8. Did I do my best to minimize the number of decisions I made today?
Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 6.45.15 PM.png
My best month (July)

Monthly Averages:

April – 8.59

May – 8.61

June – 8.70

April’s Highest & Lowest Scores:

Did I do my best to set clear goals today? @ 9.28

Did I do my best to be physically and emotionally healthy today? @ 8.21

May’s Highest & Lowest Scores:

Did I do my best to set clear goals today? @ 9.72

Did I do my best to be happy today? @ 8.14

June’s Highest & Lowest Scores:

Did I do my best to set clear goals today? @ 9.41

Did I do my best to be physically and emotionally healthy today? @8.24

Observations:

There’s no doubt that I’ve hit my stride with the Did I do my best to set clear goals today? question. Using Momentum to help me set my main focus for the day has been a game changer. On the other hand, it’s clear that Did I do my best to be physically and emotionally healthy today? has lagged behind appearing two out of three months as the lowest score. I’ve been consistent with my 7-Minute Workout (as you’ll see below) but my consistency with going to capoeira class has hurt this score. It’s also a slightly ambiguous question as it melds in physical and emotional health together. Both are intertwined but perhaps it may be best to distinguish between the two for future months.

Mindset

The mindset habit I’m developing is spending 10-15 minutes every day meditating. I’m currently using an application called Calm to help me with this.

IMG_0167
My best month (July)

Completion Rate: 87% (+12% from Q1)

Best Month: Tied – April and June @ 90% completion

Longest Streak: 42 days (from March to April)

Observations:

Q2 was a fantastic quarter for meditation. My completion rate jumped by 12% between Q1 and Q2 and I developed a very consistent meditation habit. This was despite a fairly travel heavy quarter for me. I’m proud of the way that I stayed disciplined in keeping my morning routine going. I was also much more consistent with my meditation journal which has become a key addition to my post-meditation routine. Putting down my thoughts from the meditation and assessing my focus has added another layer of awareness.

As I improve my ability to focus through my meditation and find a calm mindset faster, the next step for me is to deepen that focus and learn more about myself through this process. I’m excited about the learnings and challenges that’ll come from the next quarter.

Health & Fitness

Last but not least, the health habit I’m developing is completing a 7-Minute Workout everyday through the Seven app. The rule with the 7-Minute Workout is not to miss more than 2 workouts every month. The workouts are 7 minute high intensity interval trainining (HIIT) style so they get pretty intense.

IMG_0168
My best month (July)

Completion Rate: 92% (-1% from Q1)

Best Month: May @ 94% completion

Observations:

In Q2, I focused mainly on the Push-Up Pusher program which focused on a variety of push-up styles. It was (and still is) a challenging workout for me but I did see improvements specifically with my shoulders and my triceps. It’s one that I’m interested in continuing to work on and improve upon especially because my upper body is weaker than my lower body.

Conclusion

Q2 was a great continuation of the habits I began to develop in Q1. I’m really happy with my results overall and the steady development of habits. I’m also finding a lot of value in doing this review as I get a chance to look at areas of improvement and implement those for Q3 and Q4. It’s crazy how quickly time flies so taking a moment to reflect is really important. More to come next quarter!

Weekly Learnings Roundup (August 21, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this 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!

What I’m reading —

Alain de Botton on What Makes a Good Communicator and the Difficult Art of Listening in Intimate Relationships by Maria Popova

It’s amazing how much our childhood impacts the way we communicate today. Communication is a product of how open and willing we are to be fallible and vulnerable. In intimate relationships, this is especially important.

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes I’m enjoying —

Science Vs – Episode #3 – Guns

Science Vs is a new podcast which spotlights a controversial topic and examines it from a scientific perspective. In this episode, the program looks at guns and gun violence to see if some of the popular thinking holds up against actual scientific studies. To me, it’s clear that the gun laws in the US don’t work and will continue to result in violence unless it changes.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behaviour. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness behind the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain.

— Eckhart Tolle

Productivity tip of the week —

Spend time being a beginner every week

I practice a martial art and dance called capoeira. It originates from Brazil and is a fantastic sport for both cardio and dance/acrobatics. One aspect that I love about taking capoeira classes is how I always feel like a beginner at some point during classes. Whether that’s because I don’t know how to execute a move or my body isn’t fully capable of bending/turning/jumping a specific way. But I love this. It’s refreshing to remember what it feels like to be a beginner and re-examine your learning process.

Whether it be capoeira or any other activity try to spend at least once a week being a beginner and flexing your learning “muscle” along with your sense of humility. 😉

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (August 15, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this 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!

What I’m reading —

Why being bilingual helps keep your brain fit by Gaia Vince

Bilingualism is more common than you think – between 65 to 70 percent of people around the world speak more than two languages. In addition to the ability to communicate with a greater variety of people, a steady stream of studies have show that bilinguals outperform monolinguals in a range of cognitive and social tasks. I speak English, Japanese, and Spanish, and I’m hoping to further develop my Portuguese competency. This article was a great “kick in the butt” to put more time into my Portuguese!

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes I’m enjoying —

Revisionist History – Episode 8 – Blame Game

A few roundups ago, I recommended checking out Malcolm Gladwell’s new podcast, Revisionist History. All of his episodes are great and I love the controversial stance he takes on the topics he tackles. Blame Game looks at Toyota’s sudden acceleration crisis in 2009 and suggests an alternative cause to these unfortunate events.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams: who looks inside, awekens.

— Carl Jung

Product or service I’m loving —

Nanak Ghee from Grass-Fed Cows

I follow the Bulletproof Diet (a type of low-carb high-fat diet) and a lot of my recipes require a healthy source of fats such as coconut oil and grass-fed butter. One particularly useful find was Nanak Ghee available on Amazon. Ghee is a great alternative to butter as it has little to no lactose or milk protein while still having the nutritional benefits of butter.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of interesting articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (August 06, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this 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!

What I’m reading —

Bruce Lee’s Never-Before-Seen Writings on Willpower, Emotion, Reason, Memory, Imagination, and Confidence by Maria Popova

It’s hard to describe how inspiring Bruce Lee’s career in martial arts and film was. In this article by Maria Popova, we get to see some of Lee’s internal dialogue and methods that helped him overcome the many critics he faced.

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes I’m enjoying —

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

If you’re looking for ways to help grow your business, this book is a great way to start. It provides a great breakdown on the various channels startups and small businesses can explore to gain customer traction. You can download the first three chapters of the book for free.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature.

— Bruce Lee

Product I’m loving —

Moleskine notebooks

These minimalist notebooks are my favourite for recording all sorts of notes. Hemingway, Picasso, and many others used these notebooks for their thoughts and ideas. I keep two pocket-size notebooks as my meditation and gratitude journals along with a regular size notebook for work-related notes.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Be sure to follow me on Twitter – @peternakamura – to see the full list of interesting articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (July 31, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this 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!

What I’m reading —

The 3 Ways Ego Will Derail Your Career Before It Really Begins by Ryan Holiday

A great reminder on the importance of keeping our egos in check whether you’re just starting out your career or firmly established in one. I particularly loved how Ryan highlights the importance of purpose over passion.

Documentary I’m enjoying —

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru on Netflix

I’d always been interested in learning more about Tony Robbins and now there’s a way to get a good look at his flagship program – Date With Destiny – through this new documentary. It’s deeply emotional and satisfying. I watched it again immediately after I finished it.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

Thousands of engineers can design bridges, calculate strains and stresses, and draw up specifications for machines, but the great engineer is the man who can tell whether the bridge or the machine should be built at all, where is should be built, and when.

— Eugene G. Grace

Productivity tip of the week —

Prioritize exercise to get better sleep

I used to consider exercise a “bonus” during the week. If I got around to it, great. If not, that’s okay because I’ll catch up later. Now, my mindset is different. Exercise is an essential part of my weekly planning as I need it to be able to sleep better and as a consequence be more productive during the week.

Product I’m loving —

S’well Water Bottle

If you’re still using plastic water bottles, it may be time to switch. I’ve used my S’well water bottle for about a year now and loved its design and portability. Not to mention you avoid the potential negative effects of BPA and BPAF which companies still use to produce plastic bottles.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter (@peternakamura) to see the full list of interesting articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (July 24, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this 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!

What I’m reading —

The Pivotal Stories Every Startup Leader Should Be Able to Tell by First Round Review

Don Faul, a former Marine and former VP of Online Operations at Facebook, shares how stories impact the way leaders connect with their team members. Great tips on the key levers for good stories and the three types of stories that leaders should be thinking about. I was surprised at how much time leaders like Faul and Sheryl Sandberg spent crafting the stories they shared. Definitely a great read.

A podcast I’m enjoying —

Invisibilia

Last week, I mentioned Revisionist History as a new podcast series from Malcolm Gladwell that I’m enjoying. This week, I’m adding Invisibilia from NPR’s Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin, and Alix Spiegel to the list. This fantastic series (now in Season 2) covers the “invisible” things that influence many aspects of our lives. It’s well researched, entertaining, and you’ll definitely learn something new with every episode. A couple of episodes to check out from Season 2: Frame of Refrence and Flip the Script.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

Learning to write is learning to think. You don’t know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing.

— S.I. Hayakawa

Productivity tip of the week —

Use Skitch to markup screenshots, images, maps, etc. to send to friends and colleagues

If you’re a Mac user and you find yourself having to markup images a lot, Skitch will be your best friend. Much like how Microsoft Paint allows you to add arrows or words onto an image to point certain things out, Skitch does that… and way better. I recently did a tutorial with a few screenshots in my PowerPoint and I used Skitch to point out specific areas in my screenshots. It’s so easy and intuitive to use. If you use Evernote, it’ll beautifully integrate into your account as well.

App that I’m loving —

Calm

I’ve written about the Calm app a couple of times before on my blog including in my A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation. It’s my favourite meditation app on the market and they’ve continued to make improvements. I love their 7-Days and 21-Days of calm course along with their new Daily Calm program which features a new meditation everyday. Kudos to the Calm team for putting together this beautiful, intuitive app.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Be sure to follow me on Twitter – @peternakamura – to see the full list of interesting articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (July 17, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this 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!

What I’m reading —

How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym by Bradley Stulberg

Exercise should be as fundamental to your weekly priorities as eating quality food and getting enough sleep. Beyond the health benefits, exercise can also build greater resilience in your mindset and seep positive benefits to all aspects of your life.

Think Less, Think Better by Moshe Bar

Having less cognitive load allows us to think more creatively and clearly. That’s why practices like meditation which clear our mind can be tremendously beneficial. Concurrently, limiting the consumption of non-useful information allows us to keep our mind clear and ready for productive thinking.

A new podcast I’m enjoying —

Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell’s early books – The Tipping Point and Blink – was one of the reasons I became very interested in social psychology almost 10 years ago. And now he’s back with a podcast of his own called Revisionist History. He brings back his unique way of storytelling and connecting the dots. If you enjoy his books, I’m sure you’ll enjoy his podcast as well.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.

— Ben Sweetland

Productivity tip of the week —

Turn on Night Shift on iPhone

I recently upgraded my iPhone from a 5c to a 6 SE and one of the features that my new phone is compatible with is called Night Shift. It’s a setting that changes your phone’s colour setting to eliminate blue light from the screen. Blue light has been show to impact circardian rhythm and melatonin production meaning a potentially lower quality of sleep. If you have a phone that has this feature, I would highly recommend turning it on automatically at least an hour before your bed time. You’ll wake up more refreshed and hopefully more productive as a result.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Be sure to follow me on Twitter – @peternakamura – to see the full list of interesting articles that I share on a daily basis.

Actionable Book Summary: “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius

The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being… Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.

Meditations (page 102)

Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He is known as the last of the Five Good Emperors and is considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. His book, Meditations, was written as a personal guidebook to answer some of the greatest questions of life. Why are we here? How should we live our lives? How should we ensure that we do what is right?

Meditations is a popular book read by leaders in business, politics, sports, and many other fields. The lessons, even after almost 2000 years, are still applicable to the challenges that we face today. Aurelius shares his take on a wide range of topics including the importance of humility, the transient nature of human life, and how our mission as people is to help each other. Although I am an amateur when it comes to Greek and Roman philosophy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Meditations and found the lessons highly applicable to my life.

If you haven’t already read Meditations, I would recommend putting it on your list soon. I specifically recommend the translation by Gregory Hays as it does a fantastic job making it accessible for modern readers.Continue reading the summary here.

This summary was written for the Actionable Book Club – a book club where members read a business/leadership/self-help book every month and summarize their biggest takeaways. If you’re interested in learning more about the Actionable Book Club check us out here. To see the full collection of over 900 book summaries – available for free – visit http://www.actionablebooks.com/en-ca/summaries/.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (July 10, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this 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!

What I’m reading —

“Children need some stress in their lives”: The new science of resilience by Lucy Maddox

New science on the benefits of stress and building resilience in children’s lives. One key ingredient for helping to build reslient children? One person, just one person, that the child can rely on for unconditional love and affection.

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes I’m enjoying —

Pivot: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One by Jenny Blake

Fantastic book on how we can all achieve our dreams by making the right pivots in our lives and careers. Whether you’re looking to start your own company or find your dream job, this book will be a great guide on helping you pivot in the right direction. The book is set to be released this September!

A quote that’s inspiring me —

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.

— Laozi

Productivity tip of the week —

Ask yourself the right productivity questions

When thinking about productivity keep in mind the key questions on why you want to be more productive. As Charles Duhigg, author of Smarter Faster Better, explains in an interview ask yourself, “What does productivity actually mean to me? What do I want to get out of the day, the week or my life?” Don’t be productive for the sake of being productive and try to think of your finish line early and often.

App that I’m loving —

Tide

If you use the Pomodoro Technique for getting work done, this might be the most elegant and effective app out there. It incorporates a pomodoro-style timer and has a white noise feature to help you focus. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Be sure to follow me on Twitter – @peternakamura – to see the full list of interesting articles that I share on a daily basis.