Monthly Archives: April 2018

Is 24x7x365 days+6 hours and leap seconds availability possible?

Can you really be available at all times?

Wired, connected even addicted to reality, yes you can. We live in a connected world. Either you are the technical or non-technical person in the business world you are bound to connect to corporate networks. In our personal lives, we are always connected to the internet.

Are we too much connected?

Studies say we are. In other words, bots rule the Internet and non-deterministic algorithms shape our lives. This is where the internet evolved past twenty years. It came all good with some caveats such as data breaches, stolen identities, manipulation via social media and more. When we are reviewing social media feeds we don’t always realize what’s out there isn’t the latest and greatest. It’s what others wanted us to see over their interests in terms of marketing. Usually what we see is a result of user reactions shaped by in today’s actions likes, views, shares behind the scenes of sponsors.

If you are reading personal development books like I do, you’ll hear the following theme:

  • Do not use the internet before and after your bedtime.
  • Do not respond to emails interactively.
  • Do not respond to emails you’re cc’ed on first.
  • Do not post or share information you aren’t absolutely sure it’s true.
  • Do not enable notifications blindly, remember to mute group conversations.

Do’s and Don’ts are several but what’s important here is how did we become connected 24x7x365 days + 6hours and leap seconds.

Is it really necessary to be connected to the world at all times?

In my case, I’ve felt like that for several reasons.

  1. My job required me to be on-call or part of the escalation for over two decades.
  2. Increased family responsibilities after having children for what-if scenarios.
  3. Immediate family and friends possibility of reaching for help.
  4. The social life that demands you to be available and responsible in some sort.

I categorize above responsibilities in different orders at times but it feels this is how our lives shaped as far as availability concerned.

Smartphones, not so smart people –

How to get away from staring at our smartphones is actually easy. Find yourself a hobby that will limit your availability, responsibility, and attachment to smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and computers. If you realized I’m not even mentioning TV sets as they were the dummy boxes of the previous era. In that age and time, the non-book reading generation was attached to TV via sitcoms, tv series and more. In reality, it wasn’t any different than today. The same rule applied as we have watched and listened to what others wanted. I find a very good use of TV time by watching lots of documentaries, adventure, and expedition series and some news if not at a major sports event.

Going back to hobbies, exercise is one of the best and cheapest hobby you can find yourself disconnected even for a small period of time. I will get into exercise and diet post details later.

Years ago, I started exercising for 15 minutes every morning before checking my phone. If the world failed apart when I was on sleep, literally if it didn’t ring or page, 15 minutes or less would not make a big change. If it’s that important phone should have made some noise to wake me up. Although I sleep very light my smart watch tells me that there’s a period about one and a half hour I’m out of the world.

I have several hobbies that keep me occupied and let me learn something new every day but I hope these tips also help others to be disconnected at times.

Learning the Fundamentals

I would like to talk about my thoughts on learning new things while not forgetting the value of fundamentals. Where I come from history, culture and values are the most important things before learning something new. It is always interesting to learn new things and excel in the area of expertise you are targeting. And we all want to do things fast cause there’s so much information to digest in such short time frame.

Start from the beginning:

What you need to do is start from the beginning not end. Start to study your subject all the way even before its inception times. This way you can visually understand why and where it came from. Remember humans invent to solve problems. If you are doing something new you are solving an existing problem thus you need to know why are you doing that. If your goal is to learn how to play a new musical instrument don’t go just buy the most expensive one at first. That won’t help. What you want to do is learn fundamentals of the music via most simple instrument possible. Flute or keyboard in this case. Learning guitar, violin or drums would come much later stage. If you apply the same rule here in business life you’re much better off getting there and become an expert.

Mastering takes time:

It’s believed that approximately 10,000 hours needed to master a single subject. I’m probably excluding the talent factor in this estimate. If you are talented enough to work and reach higher mastery levels in a shorter timeframe you are either gifted or else extremely lucky to do so. To sustain success in a long run during business life, there are a lot of challenges in front of you. One of that is competing with others who have done the same work for a prolonged time. While trying to catch up with latest and greatest it’s better to start dedicating more time to it.

Time and material on single subject pay off over time:

One thing I found useful is to focus on a single subject at given time. The focus is important in this case of learning while becoming subject matter expert. If we go about the same example above on musical instrument before you’ve mastered the piano skills you wanted to move to electric guitar. Now you are not only failed to learn basics you have opened another hell gate for figuring out techniques behind how electric guitar works with its amplifier, pedals and the sound system around it. This is all fun nothing wrong with it but it will set you back maybe classic or acoustic guitar would have worked better to start with. Again if you apply the same rule in your business life to focus on a single subject, you will see goals are becoming much easier to achieve. It’s not to say there aren’t other techniques such as “Deep Work”.

In conclusion, we are living in technology era with cutting-edge resources at our disposal. When there’s a need to learn something new make sure to spend enough time to learn fundamentals first. This method of building knowledge from the ground up will help you to become more efficient in your endeavor.


Where did I start reading?

In this blog post, I’m going to try to cover my reading initiative. As you already know one of the difficult tasks in professional life is to find a balance to enhance or develop new skills. In today’s world, we’re lucky to reach all the information we need to get better at things we do. Several of those include learning new things, doing things more efficiently and finding the balance between work and life.

I get a lot of questions on the reading list that I had. When I started my own approach I really had no guidance. There were few recommendations but they were all related to the specific subject not broader plan that I could use. So I started my own learning program to learn how to read first.

I’ve given advice, list of books and often times examples from the books or digest of ideas from many books I’ve read. I don’t think I’ve read enough books yet but if someone tells you they’ve speed read a book in a week and they can repeat that for weeks maybe in months, please don’t take that as an example. It’s really not recommended.

In my opinion, a good book should be:

  • Relevant to what you are trying to achieve in life.
  • Easy to follow and understand clearly.
  • Interesting and intriguing to your objectives.

Until and after you read a book, you will not know if the above is true. It’s also true that I’ve had a few disappointments myself due to different factors.

Where did I start to learn what books to read?

I can only think of one book straight out and recommend a great book by Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful . This book was not only a great beginner’s book, it was also exactly the purpose of the situation I was in. Interestingly enough, the order of the book that you will be reading will define the path you may follow. So I think this is the reason behind this blog post. I’ve had another adventure on Brain Rules. Not that it’s a wrong book or anything timing was not right. After reading several leadership books, you can easily find most information references what’s in this book. Both books are great and had me find my real journey to the rest of the grand plan.

I’ve continued with The Personal MBA. This book not only talks about what you’ve been doing wrong all along also comes with The 99 Best Business Books list. Basically, after subscribing Josh Kaufman’s email newsletter you get an email with this comprehensive list of books to read. Before moving on anything on this massive list grouped by different business subjects it’s wise to read his second book advised. The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast! 

Once you start with the above information, you will have a pretty good idea to pursue to focus on what you want to achieve.

Here’s a list of the top 10 books that had an impact on my business life:

  1. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less
  2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
  3. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
  4. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal
  5. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds
  6. The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues
  7. Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose
  8. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  9. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
  10. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

The order may vary by purpose and person. Again remember the idea is to figure out what’s out there and focus on purpose. This is not the full list of books I can recommend rather a give you guidance.

If you are a slow reader, maybe start with this 10 Days to Faster Reading: Jump-Start Your Reading Skills with Speed reading. I prefer Audible – Audiobooks & Podcasts. Audible mobile apps allow offline versions of audiobooks, which are perfect for long flights without the internet. Audible is also a space saver during travel due to baggage limits. I carry all my technical books in a cloud drive where I can pull offline if needed. So Audible solves this problem by bringing non-technical books to my iPad/iPhone. Cloud sync also allows devices to remember where you left off.

At the time of writing this blog post, I’ve been reading Business Model You: A One-Page Method For Reinventing Your Career and was pretty impressed by its content. In conclusion, reading self-development books is helpful in business and personal life but not enough. Eat healthy, exercise, and enjoy work-life balance to achieve greater success.