What 12-year old kids can teach you about innovation

Local kids playing ball at Lake Toba, Indonesia.

This spring I have been taking couple university courses on the Coursera online education platform. One was about gamification, or how to use concepts that are more familiar to us from different kinds of games in non-game contexts, in order to e.g. improve business performance or job satisfaction. The other course was about innovation, and one of the reading materials included this gem of a list … [Read more...]

Who controls your life?

Who controls your life?

This is a topic I have been wanting to write about for a long time, but it has been difficult to gather my thoughts and more importantly find the resolve required. Perhaps because this is something that makes me want to scream inside. Here goes. Do you feel unhappy about some aspect of your life? Not in the perfect relationship you dreamt about when you were young, but hey the guy/girl you've … [Read more...]

Give in to the system (and watch your productivity skyrocket)

System

In my previous life as a consultant I would often get to work, open my laptop, pour a cup of coffee and start thinking about what is that I should actually start doing. As I was slowly sipping the coffee I might have opened my email, browsed a few news sites or blogs, and by the time the coffee was getting cold I'd be nowhere nearer to getting any real work done. Sounds familiar? It was a rare … [Read more...]

Increase your productivity… by playing Angry Birds!

Increase your productivity… by playing Angry Birds!

Looking back the few years since I started getting interested in how to change human behavior, how to be productive, and in general how our brains work, I can confidently say that I have gotten the most done when I have used a method of working in focused and uninterrupted blocks of time. At first I experimented with working for 50 minutes at a time, followed by a 10 minute break, and a longer 30 … [Read more...]

How to take advantage of your commutes and save dozens of days a year

Prague Tram w590

I work wherever my clients are. This year I've had it easy: door-to-door commute takes about 30 minutes and I only have to take one subway. While working on my previous project it took easily 40-50 minutes by tram and train, as well as quite a bit of walking to get from home to the client office. Let's do some math: Assuming I'd go to the office 5 days a week (hardly unrealistic for anyone with … [Read more...]

So you want to get lean, build muscle, and finish an Ironman?

Rain on Ninja Assassin

Me too, but it’s not going to happen. You know why? Because you’re giving your body mixed signals. One day you’re telling it to grow strong, which pretty much equals putting on weight (yeah yeah I know you can increase strength without mass gains due to e.g. nerve conditioning but for the sake of argument let’s forget about that for a moment, ok?), then you go underfed and “cut” some body fat on a … [Read more...]

Creating a clean slate

Pohang sunset

The past two months have been hectic to say the least. I've been doing more courses in the university than during the fall, and I also started a new work project which actually turned out to take quite a lot of my time and energy. I'm doing things that are entirely new to me such as detailed project planning and resourcing. Factor in a new relationship and the end result has been an almost … [Read more...]

Managing stress… and sucking at it!

Nightmares (revisited)

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:34 I am not a religious person. In fact I've been jokingly telling my friends that if I had a religion it would have to be Dudeism, and even that only so I would be able to marry couples. I think that would be cool. Luckily you don't have to be religious to find … [Read more...]

Why New Year’s promises fail, and what to do about it

Caipirinha

You have finished cleaning the plate of the last bits of ham. You take a sip of your beer, feel your stomach bulging and think: "This is Christmas, it's ok to indulge and eat in excess. Soon it will be next year, and then I will get back in shape. I will start exercising and eating healthy, and by the summer I'll look great when I'm lying on the beach in my swimming trunks and enjoying the sun. … [Read more...]

Why I don’t follow news: Case H1N1

Photo by just.Luc (just.Censored)

It's been about 6 months since I decided to stop watching news on TV, reading newspapers (except when stealing a glimpse of a headline at the grocery), and following most news sites on the Internet. Back in my high school days I took special pride in reading the morning paper and keeping track on world affairs. But for what purpose? Other than it making me feel smug and superior to those who … [Read more...]