Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category


Summary – The only way to be more efficient

Are you familiar with the term “Bottleneck“. Basically, the word comes from the actual bottleneck. Referring to the image above, the bottom part of a bottle is always bigger than the bottleneck. In short, if I flip the bottle upside down, the water flow coming out will be controlled by the bottleneck. The smaller the bottleneck, the slower it will be for the bottle to be emptied.

Debottlenecking is one of the basic process of engineering. For example, imagine a road with three lanes. Somehow it is noticed that there is always a traffic jam when the three lanes merge into two lanes. The merging point now will be the bottleneck. And if the engineers ever want to solve the traffic jam problem, this is where they should tackle first.

Now apply debottlenecking process in our life.

Example 1 : You are having problems with debt. You are paying monthly, but with your credit card at hand, the debt is still increasing. In this specific case, credit card is the bottleneck. Not only it is slowing your debt reduction program, it is actually making the debt grow. So once you have identified the bottleneck, you can eliminate it by maybe cutting the card into two and stop using it altogether.

Example 2 : Try debottlenecking in studying. Figure out what is slowing the process. Maybe studying in front of a computer with the internet on is taking most of your time. Then you should know what to do to make the studying process more efficient. You must disconnect.

Conclusion – One very important rule about debottlenecking a process is that you must only handle one bottleneck at a time. Studying for example has a lot of problems. You may be distracted by the internet, or maybe you have a family problem stuck in your mind. Even if there is hundred of problems, just choose one that is affecting you the most. Tackle that first and you will see the improvement. I guarantee that.

I’m not sure about you, but I find that by imagining the problem I’m having as a bottleneck motivates me to settle it. When I know that something I did is affecting the efficiency of the whole process, I just imagine it as the bottleneck. Immediately I just want to eliminate it because I know there’s no other way to empty a bottle faster.

– I wonder –
What is the bottleneck in your life?

Photo credit – Etwood

Don't want to miss a single tip? Get updates via RSS (Full) or Email

Appreciated action : |Leave A Comment (5)


Summary – Start with a small win
A typical morning, I was waking up when I heard this conversation in my head (Not in an insane kind of way)

Willpower – OK you need to wake up now
Lazybone – What? now? I still want to see the ending of the dream.
Willpower – But you are going to be late.
Lazybone – Will you please just shut up?
Willpower – erk OK

/end conversation

Of course the conversation is made up. But have you ever had similar experience? Where the problem with your productivity is not due to procrastination but because of your weak willpower.

Some may call it discipline, but the fact is the stronger your willpower, the more likely you will be able to finish up your work and do what’s necessary. So how do you strengthen this willpower to withstand any temptation that may come?

Let him win the small battle
Willpower is really just a part of us, just like our muscle. If we didn’t do any exercises, it will become weaker. Period. However if we immediately start with intense exercise after a long rest, it will not be stronger, it will be painful instead. So start small.

Exercise your willpower by letting him win some easy round.

1) It’s never easy. Before anything, we need to establish that it’s never easy to overcome temptation or procrastination. It’s not impossible though. Once you understand this, you will know that it will take a lot of effort to win the war. And that itself will strengthen your willpower tremendously.

2) 1 minute timer. Set your timer in your cellphone for 1 minute to rest during working. Enjoy that 1 minute and when it’s up, straight away continue working. This will be his first victory.

3) You’re the boss. How about saying this exact word everytime you sense your willpower is about to be defeated. Just imagine he’s really the boss of you.

Some may not like being bossed around, but who else would be a better boss if not the best part of you – willpower

4) Start the tough war. It’s easier to let willpower win when we really enjoy what he is asking us to do. For example, eating ice cream. For a start this may be a good idea, just to let him win a few round.

But we will need to step up a bit by start winning some tougher rounds. Maybe you don’t want to go to work or washing your car. Win this. And your willpower will immediately be stronger.

5) Never negotiate. Temptation being a temptation, is tricky with words. They know exactly how to manipulate you into letting them win. Try not to negotiate. An example of negotiating is “Ok, I will wash the dishes, but afterward I’m going to play PS2 for the entire night”. You see what they’re doing? 🙂

This kind of winning will never strengthen your willpower. It will only make it worse.

– I wonder –
Any other methods to strengthen our willpower?

———- Personal Note ———–
I always have fancy dream usually in the last hour of my sleep. The kind of dream that you will want to know how it ends. The most recent is how I survive being flown away by a major tornado 🙂

Photo Credit – doughkeeney

Don't want to miss a single tip? Get updates via RSS (Full) or Email

Appreciated action : |Leave A Comment (7)


Summary – You can either gain speed or weep

It has been a very hectic week. And when I look at it, it was all worth it 🙂 For those who just tuned in, I was promoted to being a father on the 27th May.

One thing that I noticed is that a lot of my routine has been affected. I have to put aside blogging for the past few days. The same goes to other habits I’m trying to stick on like doing exercise etc. Everything get pushed behind.

Don’t you think it is very frustrating when all your habits get pushed aside? like suddenly you are forced to eat a buffet after years of dieting, or forced to rest in bed due to leg broken when you have been training for a marathon months.

Personally, I do. I find my peace everyday when I write here in LessonInLife. However, due to unavoidable reason, I have to stop writing for a few days and that sometimes make me frustrated.

This is however a very wrong approach to life. We should never be frustrated when something else come in our way. By being frustrated, people will usually take more time to return back to the original plan.

For example, a man who undergoes diet, suddenly were forced to break that diet because he’s travelling oversea and he wanted to have a taste of the local cuisine there. When he came back, he noticed he gained a few kg.

If he took the normal reaction by being frustrated, he will probably give up the diet altogether and eat even more than before. “What’s the point?”.

The best way for him to handle mishaps in habit forming is to accept that fact about him gaining a few kg, and immediately starts back his diet. Why bother cursing himself about that gained weight? It will still be there after all the frustration and curse.

Conclusion – When there were speed bump in our life, we can choose to either regain back our speed or park aside and weep. Between the two, which will get to the destination faster?

– I wonder –
What’s your most recent speed bump in life?

———– Personal Note ———–
The baby was diagnosed to have G6PD Deficiency. Which generally means she will easily get Jaundice (or the Yellow Sickness) whenever she’s in contact with certain chemicals. Alhamdulillah, as of now, her level of Jaundice is under control. We will be monitoring like a hawk 🙂

Photo Credit – Andrew.Petro

Don't want to miss a single tip? Get updates via RSS (Full) or Email

Appreciated action : |Leave A Comment (6)

Indiana Jones

Summary – Minimalistic Life

Have you ever watched Indiana Jones where the whole structure is collapsing and he is rushing to get out of the place through a closing door. Of course he will made it just in time.

Can you see the scenario in your mind? Now imagine this..

Your house is collapsing and you’re alone in your house. You have 30 seconds to get your stuff before the door closed. What 10 items will you take?

This is so interesting for me that I actually set the timer in my cellphone and quickly run into every room of my house and scan for what 10 items to take. Try it..

Yes, I know. I can have so much free time sometimes

One interesting thing I notice is that when I really need to choose only 10 things to save, I am actually stuck at item number 6, I just don’t know what else is important after wallet, important documents, car keys, cellphone and laptop.

How about you? Were you stuck at a number? or can you easily decide all the 10 items?

Come to think about it, we really don’t need a lot of stuff to live. If not, I don’t even need to go through every room to complete the list.

Why then.. are we so stressed everyday to buy things? When the truth is we will usually not going to use it, or even cherished it.

I once saw an episode of Oprah where they highlighted one person who live in a custom made house. The house is only few metres squared in area. That is like a house the size of your kitchen. That person then said “If I ever buy an item, whenever I walk in my house, I will have to stop and decide whether that item will be put in the house or to be discarded later.”

– I wonder –
What do you think of the idea in living with minimal items?

——— Personal Note ———
I travel quite a lot everyweek to visit my mother in KL. And being a human that I am, I always forget to bring along my toothbrush, or charger among other things. So what I did, is to prepare a backpack, and put everything I will need for my travel.

Some of the items are as follows

  • phonebook (in case my phone stolen)
  • nail clipper
  • comb
  • fresh clothes
  • an extra phone (actually my first phone)

Now, unless I forget to bring the backpack, I’m set to go anywhere anytime 🙂

365 days ago, I wroteHow To Organize Your Paper / Work

Don't want to miss a single tip? Get updates via RSS (Full) or Email

Appreciated action : |Leave A Comment (7)
banji Read In Your Email

Please enter your email address
    Unconventional Guides
    Advertise here
    Handbook for Life