Sunday, March 10, 2013

Review of What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend


I recently listened to a quick talk on making better use of weekends, What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off (by Laura Vanderkam)

Mrs. Vanderkam central thesis is to strategically plan weekends for two main reasons: anticipating enjoyable events adds value to overall happiness derived from an activity + there are too many hours in a weekend not to plan, however lightly.

I listed some notes  from the Mrs. Vanderkam's guide. Feel free to check it out.
  1. Make a weekend plan. Weekends is all about things you want to do. You need to hit Mondays refreshed and rejuvenated.
  2. Don't wait till Sat to plan the weekend. Plan 3-5 anchor events (3 hours each). Increase the joy of an activity by planning,optimize your bliss. 
  3. Ask yourself what will you really enjoy doing, and make a plan, and stay committed to it. 
  4. Most of us think of weekends as Sat and Sun. Friday 6pm to Monday morning,  60 hour blocks: 24 hours sleep, there are 36 hours left. Would you take a job,  without knowing what you will do?
  5. Loafing time needs to be consciously chosen.
  6. Choosing labors.of different sorts,  yes, your weekend needs to be different thank work week
  7. Make a List of 100 dreams- anything you want to do. Weekends are precious, they ought be cultivated. .
  8. Simply knowing that you will leave the house will give you more order in your life.
  9. Exercising,  spiritual,  and socializing. Choose from one event from each category will make an optimal portfolio. 

Specific action items for weekends
  • Use your mornings
  • Create traditions : Fulfilling habits lead to happiness
  • Schedule downtime
  • Make time to explore
  • Plan sometime fun on Sunday night

If you want to read it for yourself, check it out on Amazon:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review of The 4-hour Work Week (by Timothy Ferriss)


I listened to The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris and believe that is filled with useful and practical advice on how to be more fulfilled and active in your life. The book is the author's plight of making better use of time and looking at net salary from two dimensions: money + free time.

I believe that central thesis is develop a razor-sharp focus on your goals/objectives and to challenge yourself to question and achieve your aspirations. Mr. Ferris leverages lessons learned from his life's accomplishments to help others realize their dreams and aspirations. He gives tangible action-items through out the book (e.g.  to become an expert in a topic, read three books on the topic, and summarize them in one page, contact schools/local business and start speaking on the topic)

I listened to most of book on the Long Island Railroad and at times took notes on the phone. I will paste some of the notes/lessons learned in a google document for more insight/further reference.

I find that writing out the table of contents helps me  recollect and act upon lessons learned from a books.

Table of Contents

D is for Definition
  1. Cautious and comparisons: how to burn 1000000 a night
  2. Rules that change the rules: everything popular is wrong
  3. Dodging bullets: fear-setting and escaping paralysis
  4. System reset: being unreasonable and unambiguous

E is for Elimination
  1. The end of time management L illusions and Italians
  2. The Low-Information Diet: Cultivating selective ignorance
  3. Interrupting interruption and the Art of Refusal

A is for Automation
  1. Outsourcing life: Off-loading the Rest and a taste of geo-arbitrage
  2. Income Autopilot  1: Finding the Muse
  3. Income Autopilot 2: Testing the Muse
  4. Income Autopilot 3: MBA--> Management by Absence

L is for Liberation
  1. Disappearing Act: How to Escape the Office
  2. Beyond Repair: Killing your job
  3. Mini-Retirements: Embracing the Mobile Lifestyle
  4. Filling the Void: Adding Life After Subtracting Work
  5. The Top 13 New Rich Mistakes

Last but not the Least
  1. The Art of Letting Bad things happen
  2. Things I've loved and learned in 2008
  3. How to travel the world in 10 pounds or Less
  4. The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle: 6 formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm
  5. The Not-to-do List: 9 Habits to stop now
  6. The Margin Manifesto: 11 Tenets of reaching (or doubting) profitability in 3 months
  7. The Holy Grail: How to Outsource the Inbox and Never check email again
  8. Tim Ferris Processing Rules

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review of Strategic Project Portfolio Management (written by Simon Moore)


I recently read Strategic Project Portfolio Management (PPM)- Enabling a productive organization (written by Simon Moore). The book had a excellent review of the application of PPM theory in the workplace. The book is filled with case studies and provides a easy-to-read background on the intersection of PPM and technology.

For those new to PPM theory, Microsoft defines PPM as the following: "Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the continuous process of  identifying, selecting and managing a portfolio of projects in alignment with key performance metrics and strategic business objectives."

I listed notes that summarize key lessons from the concluding chapter on leading PPM practices:

  1. Set bold goals for the business and therefor the portfolio, and share these goals repeatedly and broadly.
  2. Collect far more project ideas than you can execute on from as broad and diverse group as possible
  3. Manage your portfolio as a whole against your strategic goals for the business.
  4. Estimate key project parameters early and improve on those estimates over time.
  5. Share portfolio information broadly with as many employees as possible
  6. Monitor and report on the portfolio with a view to faster and more effective decision making.
  7. Track everything that is consuming resources go beyond formal projects to anything that is a meaningful piece of work or use of resources.
  8. Drive communication across everyone involved in the portfolio.
  9. Support extensive planning before-hand and postmortem processes afterward.
  10. Recognize the portfolio management skills that your organization already has.
  11. Keep everything as simple as it can be.

How is the book organized?

  • Chapter 1, 2: Focuses primarily on creation of business goals and strategic alignment of projects to them
  • Chapters 3,4: Emphasizes benefits from disciplined planning and cost focus
  • Chapters 5,6,7: Serves as a guide to best practice implementation
  • Chapters 8,9, 10:  Expands on the prior chapter to explore the need for effective communications structures, people-centric processes, together with appropriate use of workflow, and process overall
  • Chapter 11: Takes a more theoretical look at project management, surveying the key perspectives
  • Chapter 12: Looks at future trends across project and portfolio management, combining a business and technology perspective

If you are interested in reading more notes from, feel free to click on the link below:

If you would like to read a white paper by Microsoft on PPM, click below: