Weekly Learnings Roundup (May 23, 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.

This week we’ve got a great assortment of articles ranging from Sheryl Sandberg’s powerful commencement speech to the surprising impact climate change can have on earthquakes and volcanoes. Tim Ferriss’s latest podcast episode is a great one. Unlike his usual episodes where he interviews world-class performers, we get a look into his own personal habits and rituals.

Productivity tip of the week:

Count your decision making “hitpoints”

In recent years, a great deal has been made around willpower. You may have already heard of the term “decision fatigue” where every decision that you make takes away from the limited store of willpower you have available everyday. It’s one of the the reasons why Mark Zuckerberg always wears the same hoodie to work or why pilots use a pre-flight checklist. They have important decisions to make and they don’t want to be using unnecessary willpower deciding what clothes to wear or remember what needs to be checked off pre-flight.

Recently, I came across the concept of imaging your limited willpower as “hitpoints”. By hitpoints, I mean like the ones you would start with as an arcade fighting character. The first character lose all of her hitpoints loses. Imagine you’re like one of these characters. You have a fresh set of 100 hitpoints to start the day and throughout the day you’re going to be facing decisions that will diminish your hitpoints. How would you use them? Where would you focus your hitpoints on?

Imagining your willpower as hitpoints is a really helpful way to focus your limited resources on the important decisions you need to make during the day. With this schema, how would you spend time conserving your hit points? Will you decide on your clothing choice in the morning or the night before? Will you decide how to spend your morning or will you have a routine in place so you’re not deciding what to do? Will you cook a meal the night before or will you choose a place to go for lunch?

There are a lot of areas that you can save your willpower. Yes, it takes a bit of pre-work or practice building your habits, but this can be a game changer. Imagine having your full willpower to face a tough challenge at work or a making a difficult decision? That could make or break your day.

A quote that’s making me think:

Anyone can become angry- that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way- this is not easy. – Aristotle

Favourite links from the week:

These Millennials Have Become The Top Decision Makers At IBM (Fast Company)

How to Optimize Creative Output — Jarvis versus Ferriss (Tim Ferriss)

“You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience”: Sheryl Sandberg’s powerful commencement speech (Quartz)

Global warming won’t just change the weather—it could trigger massive earthquakes and volcanoes (Quartz)

Book review: Grit is a tool in the toolbox, not the silver bullet (SharpBrains)

This scientist can hack your dreams (TED)

Trying to Pin Down the Mosaic of Millennial Tastes (The New York Times)

Audio that I’m enjoying:

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Dan Carlin might be one of the best storytellers I’ve ever listened to. And his Hardcore History has won over thousands of fans both history buffs or novices alike. It’s amazing how he’s able to paint the picture and pull you into his stories whether its the Mongolian conquest of the 12th century or the midst of the 1930s and 40s of World War II. Warning: If you have an addictive personality like I have, you may become obsessed for hours listening to his audio-episodes. Each episode goes for about $2 to $3 USD but they’re well worth it.

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 (May 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.

This week, I really appreciated reading through Charles Duhigg’s post on What daily habits can someone adopt to lead a more productive life? via Quora. He doesn’t provide any specific habits that will make you productive, but he does recommend we all develop a “contemplation routine”. From Duhigg’s perspective, having a routine to regularly connect ourselves with the bigger picture – our priorities – is an important habit to develop.

This activity can take many forms whether it’s meditation, journaling, going for a walk, etc. and the intention is to take a moment to contemplate how the work we do that day, week, or month connects to the bigger picture. I think this is great advice and highly valuable. If you haven’t read Duhigg’s first book, The Power of Habit, it’s well worth the read and may help you with the implementation of this type of routine.

Productivity tip of the week:

Weekly Big Rocks

To complement Duhigg’s recommendation for a contemplation routine, something I do every Sunday is setup my Weekly Big Rocks. You may be familiar with this phrase from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The idea behind it is simple: set your priorities (your big rocks) first. When you spend time planning out the important tasks for the week, you focus on what’s most important rather than just diving into the minutia. Here’s a quick video of what that looks like.

Every week I look at the major roles I play in my life such as being a team leader at my organization, a friend, a boyfriend, a blogger, etc. and setup 1 or 2 big rocks to accomplish in that role for the week. It helps me look ahead at the week and schedule in the time to make sure I accomplish those goals. While not every week will be one where I have a major priority for every role, having the awareness that I’m skipping a major priority for that role that week helps me loop back at it the following week. I hope to write more about this in a longer post.

A quote that’s inspiring me:

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. – Bruce Lee

Product or service I’m loving:

humangear GoToob

When you’re traveling and need a reliable container for your liquids, this is the best container I’ve found yet. The tubes are really easy to fill and the liquids you put in pour out very consistently. I travel with MCT oil when I travel and I put them in these tubes. I’ve never had a spill or leakage thanks to these guys. They’re a bit more expensive than your typical container but well worth it considering they’re BPA free too.

Favourite links from the week:

Employee Engagement

Four Myths Most Bosses Believe About Employee Engagement (Fast Company)

What Enterprise IT Leaders Can Learn From the NBA About Employee Engagement (Samsung)

Health & Well Being

Why The Biggest Loser is Everything Wrong with Weight Loss (Bulletproof)

VIDEO: What really matters at the end of life (TED)

A Bank of England analyst wants people to use mindfulness to be happier with less (Quartz)

What daily habits can someone adopt to lead a more productive life? (Quora)

The Secrets of Gymnastic Strength Training (Tim Ferriss)


How millennials earn success with struggle (CNN)

This new ETF demonstrates Wall Street’s unbridled hunger for millennial money (MarketWatch)

What Millennials Want from a New Job (Harvard Business Review)


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 (Apr 24, 2016)

Hey there!

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. This week, I want to highlight Harvard Business Review’s piece on A Step-by-Step Guide to Structuring Better Meetings. Many of us have experienced poorly planned and executed meetings; all it takes is a little bit of forethought and planning to make a meeting much more effective for everyone involved. A couple of ideas that I’ll be using moving forward is address the urgent issues right from the begining of the meeting and scheduling “overflow” time in case there is additional discussion time required – only with team members who it concerns. Check it out – you may find some useful tips in the article along with all the others listed below.

Have a great week!

Favourite links from the week:


A Step-by-Step Guide to Structuring Better Meetings (Harvard Business Review)

A Mini-Guide to Not Being Frustrated All the Time (zen habits)

How Working in Teams Builds Employee Engagement (Business 2 Community)

Brain Science

10 Common Brain Health and Brain Training Myths, Debunked (Huffington Post)

Creativity Is Much More Than 10,000 Hours of Deliberate Practice (Scientific American)

How to Parent Like a Master Strategist [Q&A] (Scientific American)

Brain Training – Can We Really Enhance Our Cognitive Skills? (Brain Blogger)

New Evidence Points to Personal Brain Signatures (Scientific American)


Make decisions with millennials in mind, researcher urges Toronto (CBC News)

Justin Trudeau’s Canada is the best hope for the global economy (Quartz)

A 15-ton computer aims to provide clean water, electricity, and the internet to thousands of Africans (Quartz)

Productivity tip of the week:

Creating a packing list template on Evernote

This week, I’m off to New Orleans for the Collision conference. As part of my prep process, I need to make sure I’m packed and ready to go. So I’m using a packing list template I made in Evernote to help me keep track of all the items I need to pack. I specifically like Evernote as the home of my packing list template because you can create a check-box which makes it easy to confirm whether you’ve packed the specific item yet. It’s also quite easy to duplicate the template note and make it specific for the destination.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 4.06.48 PM
My New Orleans packing checklist

Yes, not brain science I’m doing here but creating checklists for activities you know you’ll be repeating (e.g. traveling) is well worth the time. Hope this helps!

Product or service I’m loving:

Day One Journal

I recently began incorporating a reflection period every morning as part of my morning ritual. I give myself two options to reflect: leave a message with my therapist via TalkSpace or write for 5-10 minutes in my Day One Journal. Giving myself the option to speak or write out my thoughts makes it a lot easier for me to get started with my reflection. Often times I find myself resistant to digging into my feelings but having the option lowers the starting hurdle just enough for me to get started.

Either way, the preferred tool I use for writing down my thoughts is the Day One Journal. I know some people like to write in a physical journal but I prefer typing. I’m a much faster typer than a writer and I feel like I can get more of my thoughts out by typing them out. After all, to me, seeing the thoughts and feelings somewhere outside of my head is the biggest benefit.

Day One Journal has a simple, beautiful interface. It has the ability to password protect your journal. It can also allow you to add photos to your posts if you want to add any additional context. I particularly like how it tags your location with the post to see where you were when you wrote a particular entry.

Reflection is a key component of becoming a better version of yourself so carve out the time to make this happen. It’ll give you a better understanding who you really are and allow you to look at the successes and challenges you face in a more objective way.

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


A beautiful look at the history of food in our civilization. Michael Pollen, who wrote the book The Ominvore’s Dilemma, navigates the viewers through four themes: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. If you’re interested at all in food preparation or the history of food, this is a visually stimulating and informative documentary. Available on Netflix.

A quote that’s inspiring me:

“Your world is a living expression of how you are using—and have used—your mind.” —Earl Nightingale

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

Actionable Book Summary: “What Millennials Want From Work” by Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson

“Our research revealed that, fundamentally, Millennials want what older generations have always wanted: an interesting job that pays well, where they work with people they like and trust, have access to development and the opportunity to advance, are shown appreciation on a regular basis, and don’t have to leave.”

– What Millennials Want From Work (page 9)

What Millennials Want from Work is a well-researched, data-driven look at Millennials in the workforce. The authors, Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson, compiled and analyzed just under 25,000 surveys from Millennial-aged respondents across 22 countries. The respondents came from 300 organizations ranging from medium to large businesses. It may be the best researched book on Millennials that I’ve come across.

Millennials are often portrayed in the media as self (or selfie) obsessed slackers with a serious entitlement problem, but the research shows that they’re surprisingly similar to other generations. Here are a few interesting findings from the book’s research:

“More than three-quarters of Millennials believe that hierarchies are useful.”

“When the conversation is about something Millennials believe is important to them (their performance, their career, or their compensation), they really want the conversation to happen face-to-face.”

“…about half say they would be happy to spend the rest of their careers with their current organizations.”

Millennials may be the most tech savvy generation we’ve ever had but the findings above suggest that they’re more traditional than we expected. They believe in hierarchies, they want to have in-person conversations for things that are important to them, and many of them want to stay at their current organizations for a long time.

On the flip side, Millennials are also building upon the progress made by Baby Boomers and Gen Xers in the workplace. They are engaging in conversations to push the boundaries in workplace flexibility, pay equality, and transparency from their organizations. Millennials, like the generations before them, are continuing the generational tradition of pushing organizations to change.

If you lead Millennials in your organization, you need to pick up this book to better understand the generation that is soon to take over the workplace. In the sections below, I’ll share more of the research from the book and how to better engage this generation.

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 800 book summaries – available for free – visit http://www.actionablebooks.com/en-ca/summaries/.

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 (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 (Inquirer.net)

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 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!

Peter’s Links of the Week (Jan. 24-30)

[Assorted] Links of the week:

Employee engagement – improved performance (The Telegraph)

Luis von Ahn on Learning Languages, Building Companies, and Changing the World (The Tim Ferriss Show)

As Boomers Retire, Companies Prepare Millennials for Leadership Roles (BloombergBusiness)

Productivity tip of the week:

Apple has this cool feature called “Spotlight Search” that allows you to search a myriad of items in your computer. You can also use Spotlight to do some quick calculations. Hold command + spacebar and the Spotlight will activate. From there type in any equation (e.g. 837*30). You’ll see that the solution pops up right in the search bar. Cool eh?

Quote of the week:

As long as you live, keep learning how to live. – Seneca

Product/service I’m loving:

Duolingo. If you haven’t heard of it, you may have been living under a rock over the past 4 years. This is perhaps the best language learning tool that I’ve come across to date. If you’re trying to learn a new language or improve upon a language you already know, this is worth downloading. Oh, and not to mention it’s free.

The co-founder of Duolingo, Luis von Ahn, appeared on The Tim Ferriss Show earlier this month. Check out the link above for the interview. There’s some fascinating stories about Luis and how Duolingo came to be.

Videos/documentaries I’m digging:

I just binge watched Making a Muderer on Netflix last week. If you enjoyed the Serial podcast series, you’ll enjoy this show. It’s a story that will take you in multiple directions and ultimately question how our very own criminal justice system works.

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. 17-23)

[Assorted] Links of the week:

Homes built for Millennials – VIDEO (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The Benefits of Wild Salmon (Bulletproof)

Employee Engagement Low at Eastern Health (VOCM)

Help Your Team Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout (Harvard Business Review)

Productivity tip of the week:

If you duplicate tabs on Google Chrome often, you know that there’s no standard keyboard shortcut that allows you to do it quickly. The Duplicate Tab Shortcut Key is a free extension to set a shortcut (I use alt+shift+k) to create duplicate tabs. Shave off a couple of seconds everytime you have to click and select duplicates!

Quote of the week:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

– Albert Einstein

Product/service I’m loving:

Ever had ideas in the shower that went “down the drain” (hohoho) as soon as you stepped out? No longer will that be an issue for you. Aqua Notes is a waterproof notepad that sticks to your shower walls so you can note down any idea that pops up during a shower. There is also science behind why showers or baths are the perfect storm for great ideas.

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