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Notes on work habits

Its never too late to commit

Start now! You can do it.

Mornings. Set up for success.

Clear and clean desk
Plan day / week / month
Inbox to zero, then close email
Disconnect internet if possible
Close excess programs
Complete anything that someone is waiting on you for

Reduce procra­sti­nation

Have all equipment ready and operat­ional
Be hydrated and fed
Don’t call it 'have to do' or 'work' or anything boring or negative, call it learning or teaching
Make a list
Eliminate clutter
Have deadlines
See if can use a contextual map
Disconnect the internet
Use colour when bored to add some creativity and recapture focus
Close email whenever possible. Don't commun­icate by email.
Get started, it’s the hardest part. If you find yourself stopped then get started again

Research and review

Learn about the areas. Form an opinion
Previous projects to see what can duplicate
knowledge base to see what relates
Invest­igate connec­tions, what are other world class manufa­cturers doing
Talk to any team member who might have advice
Read online opinions and articles on the topic
Ensure any arguments to be had are sound


Make things intere­sting to look at
Commun­icate ideas using analogies
Condense info, the team don’t process walls of text
Don’t expect to remember most of what put together prior to a meeting or presen­tation. You need to learn material not just read it
Learn it = you could explain the concept to a 5 year old
Use case studies


Choose the right thing (the 20%, the frog) and then plan, put in time and effort, have stamina

Questions to ask self

What can I really nail here?
What is the hardest thing?
Is there anything I have left out?
How can I give the most benefit?
What would I be relieved someone had done?
What would really impress _?
Have I thought about our hypoth­esis?
Why am I spending so much time on _?
How can I make my work intere­sting?
Is there an easier way to tackle this problem? How would [someone who has been successful here] do it?
Is it too messy, can I make it flow better?
Is everyone ok?
How would _ do it?
How would I advise _ to do it?

What is the 20% here?

20% of the work creates 80% of the reward.

Eat that frog

First thing in the morning, you do the most annoying, irrita­ting, difficult, unpleasant task on your task list. Then it's done!
"Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisf­action of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long."

Planning and projects

Write it down. All of it. Everything that people expect, everything that people promise.
Send a note confirming that you wrote it down, specif­ically what you heard, what it will cost and when they will have it or when they promised it.
Show your work (Proce­ssess, milest­ones)
Keep a log, you’ll need it for the next project
Don't change things while people are reviewing them, because then we both have to do it twice.
The project will take longer than you hope it will. It will.
What needs research
Identify and obsess about the critical path, if the longest part of the project takes less time than you planned, the entire project will take less time than you planned
Refer to trigger list
Research and review
Make a plan. Object­ives, outputs, tasks and timeline. Execution.
Finish as soon as you can (but don’t half ass it)
List areas of business affected and how, start dialog with those areas
Wrap it up. When you're done, take the time to identify what worked and what didn't, and help the entire team get stronger for next time.


Have a goal each work / study day. Measuring in time is nearly useless.
Keep things simple
Keep things useful
Don’t be afraid to get things wrong
Do the hard stuff
Be comfor­table saying ‘follow me’
Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to
Set clear goals you can actually attain, even if they seem 'too small'
Repeat and referral: Learn to say no to stuff you don’t like without feeling guilty, what you do agree to is what you will end up doing in future. Things people ask of you will often be repeat or referral based on things you have done in the past. As are many of the things you will tell yourself to do.


Understand objective prior to meeting
Read documents, emails and agenda if you have them
Prepare anything I need 2 days ahead
Prepare questions
Make notes after each meeting
Revisit prior meeting notes if exist
Read up on the attendees

Look out for self

Knock anything out of the way early if possible (do it for own wellbeing it’s not worth the stress of waiting)
Always look to see if this has been done before and how
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Guide, help and plan for Future Self
Record ‘what worked, what didn’t’ and use the knowledge
Update this document
Review moleskine / notebooks for any notes made during project
When learning new things make ‘Cheat sheets’ they are useful in future
Be a guiding light for others, share knowledge openly
The things you do or agree to do today will be the things that you do in future.

Form an opinion based on fact

Always form an opinion.
Doesn't have to be right.
Opinion should always be evolving.


Explain like listener is five
Soften language
Learn to get buy in
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Unclear instru­ctions:
Get clarity on poor instru­ctions ASAP
List what you don’t understand and ask for team members guidance

Time and effort

Every minute spent in planning saves me about ten minutes in execution. Plan everyt­hing.
Any task, no matter how complex, can be broken down to manageable smaller tasks. Then any goal is as easy as checking off tasks. Those tasks should go down to about the size of an hour or a few hours.
Remember Parkin­son's Law
If you are not 5 minutes early, you are late. If you are missing, you've tripled your workload
Do not ask things via email or respond via email where possible

Maintain and grow knowledge

Treat important things like there will be an exam on it at the end of the month
Maintain personal knowledge base in Dropbox
Structure notes around skills
Create a cheat sheet on new skills
I learn by doing
Translate Uni courses into useful notes for work
Use journals on the internet if useful
Don’t be afraid to use the knowledge of workmates. Try and write anything down.
Find and use online resources (so helpful)


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