Posts in category: Work & Life

Minimum Necessary Outcome

Minimum Necessary Outcome

How much of what we have to do is indeed what we have to do? How often do we do something without really understanding why or being clear about what we want out of that activity. There is a concept in agile software development called the “minimum viable product...
Work life balance is not a flatline

Work life balance is not a flatline

In a previous post, I wrote about factoring in time when considering work life balance; that balance can really only be achieved over time, when we can look back and average out the peaks and troughs. Filling in a Somewhere.com survey last week triggered further...
Travelling is like a startup business

Travelling is like a startup business

The mentality we adopt when travelling is very similar to that of a startup business. Traveling is externally focused. Outward bound. Get things done now. Use whatever means is at hand. Make-do when required to keep moving forward. Don’t worry too much about the...
Action-oriented mindset

Action-oriented mindset

I have noticed that when I travel, I get into this get-it-done mentality. When something happens that I need to act upon, I just use whatever resources I have at hand and get the necessary things done. Need to get somewhere quick? Pay for a taxi and go. Need a jacket?...
Flow from a floor

Flow from a floor

Restoring an old damaged parquet floor meant a lot of repetitive work scraping each and every tile clean so they can be re-laid. Surprisingly enough, it can also be highly meditative. And it doesn’t take long to get into that state either (I know, I have had a go at...
On travelling

On travelling

Travelling as a reminder that the world is at once vast burgeoning with possibilities, and  dramatically shockingly accessible. Travelling as an effective way to create a sense of movement. To stop the over-thinking, over-planning, and the inertia from having too many...
Commitment and happiness

Commitment and happiness

Science says we need commitment to be happy. Death is needed for happiness. Life and death are two permanent states we are committed to. There are no other options. Choice can make us unhappy. Committing to “permanent” course of action can make us happier...
Escaping the status quo

Escaping the status quo

Read this inspiring story about Brian Lim’s journey from a “bottom feeder” misfit to a space industry kickstarter. The systems around us, even the ones that nurtures and protect us, can limit us from reaching our full potential. The Singaporean education system Brian...
Electronic note taking FTW

Electronic note taking FTW

Earlier this year, I found myself at a meeting on the other side of the planet (deliberately) without my laptop. I used my phone to take notes, draw diagrams to explain concepts, write up my thoughts and share the results afterwards. It does work! The phone...
Designing for motivation

Designing for motivation

We can imbue greater intrinsic motivation into work by activating the three aspects of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose in the work design. (Definitions below are from LifeHacker. I have added questions to expand upon each.) Autonomy: Our desire to direct our own lives....
Balance is across time

Balance is across time

When we think about balance we often forget the time aspect. Consider the ever popular work-life balance, or the operations-innovation balance. At any given point in time, we can only ever be doing one thing. We are either working and not living, or we are...
The changing nature of my work

The changing nature of my work

I made an interesting discovery while responding to one of the provocations on somewhere.com: I have been taking mostly text-based notes on the go in the past few years. I would have thought I do a last some visual notes, as I used to when I was using paper notebooks....

Visual résumé 1990-2014

This is a (still work-in-progress) update of my visual résumé. The intention is to provide an overview of my education, work history, values and key...
Permission to tool up

Permission to tool up

We need the right tools for the job. That seems obvious enough doesn’t it? And yet on several recent occasions I found myself procrastinating over getting the right tools. I caught myself making do, with less-than-optimal tools, because they were still...

What’s your problem?

Designers love a good problem to chew on. Design is by its nature a problem solving activity. How can we make something better? How can we make a process less painful and more effective? How can we make a space both beautiful and useful? I get bored when I don’t...

Blind beliefs

The simplistic, unchanging nature of unquestioned beliefs is attractive because we are fearful and lazy. Beliefs protect us from having to confront the vast unknowns out there. Because we want simple and enduring sureties. And because we know we will never know it...
Work is serial monogamy

Work is serial monogamy

“All white-collar work is project work. The single salient fact that touches all of our lives is that work is being reinvented.” — Tom Peters Thinking of work as a series of projects is like serial monogamy: a string of sequential commitments to different...
The wisdom of foolish

The wisdom of foolish

When Steve Jobs told students at Stanford University to “stay hungry, stay foolish” I’m pretty sure he did not mean being foolish foolish – the “fool and his money are soon parted” kind. “Good” foolish is knowing what to ignore, who to ignore, and when to do so....

Staying hungry

Steve Jobs famously said “stay hungry, stay foolish” in a 2005 commencement speech he made in Stanford University. Staying hungry is to be open to and seek out new, experiences, and deliberately choose alternative pathways. The world is an endless buffet of...

Aging and problem focus

As we get older, our focus on problems seems to retreat from greater world issues to the more immediate and personal aches and pains. We swap our universal ideals for smaller wins; adventures for creature comforts. We care less about changing the world, and more about...
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