An important lesson I’ve learned is that reading a book only makes sense if you can put the learnings into action.
Earlier I would focus on finishing a book. (which I admit is a task in itself). Once I finish a book, a sense of relief comes over. I take a few days break before I start reading another book. What use is the book if you don’t become better than when you started it.
I’ve started to do the following activities that has made my book reading endeavor a lot more useful and worthwhile.
1) I do a lot of research before I chose a book to read. The subject must catch my interest and it should be related to a larger goal am working towards to. For example, right now, am very interested in improving my productivity. A key part is to learn to focus and that’s why I found the book, ‘Deep Work’ very apt.
2) Before reading the book, I watch a few YouTube videos of the book and interviews with the author.
3) I listen to podcast interviews with the author. Watching the YouTube videos and listening to the podcasts gives me an excellent overview of the book.
4) Next, I read the condensed version of the book on Blinkist. I have subscribed to the Pro version and this lets me read and listen to the synopsis of the book.
5) Then I download the audio book on Audible (again, subscribed to the annual package). Audio books have been a game changer for me. I have an impressive completion rate of all the studio books. I still suck at reading physical books and have almost completely stopped buying them. I now swear by Audio Books.
6) I listen to audio books during two occasions. a) During my early morning walks. I walk for an hour and listen to audio books. 2) While traveling in my car or in a cab. Also during flights. I have started the habit of taking notes as I listen to the audio books. I carry a small notebook where I scribble down important points.
7) Once back home from my walk , I expand on those important points and publish the key learnings on my blog. This has helped me revive my long dormant blog.
8) I’m also conducting a workshop on the subject of the book. For example, this Saturday, October 15th, am conducting a 3 hour intensive, interactive workshop on the subject of ‘Deep Work’ and how to use focused concentration to improve productivity. I’m a firm believer that teaching is the best form of learning. 14 years of being a professor has ingrained this view in me deeply.
9) Because I need to conduct a workshop, this gives me the impetus to thoroughly prepare. This motivates me to listen to the audio book for the second time, take notes, create a presentation etc. This helps me to internalize the learnings.
10) Finally, I’ve begun to slowly but surely put the learnings into practice in my daily life. For example, I’ve allocated undisturbed time to blog about the points I’ve learned from the podcast. This very blog post you are reading now is testimony to it. If I can keep up at it daily for a month, it will become a regular habit and I don’t have to put any conscious effort.
Continuous improvement is something I’ve begun to enjoy. This is a work in progress and I’ll continue to share the best practices and important tips which I hope you find it useful too. Have a great, productive day!
I was listening to Matt Mullenweg‘s entrepreneurial advice at Tim Ferris Podcast. Matt is the founder CEO of Automattic which makes WordPress. Matt is cool. So is WordPress. It powers 26.5% of the World’s websites. During the podcast, he said that he makes it a point to blog atleast 4 times a week and I found this inspirational. I for one was struggling to keep up with my personal blogging (ironical for a guy who runs a company called ‘Business Blogging’). So, I hopped on to Matt’s blog to imbibe some inspiration and found that his company has launched .BLOG, a new top level domain.
I was curious and wanted to check it out. I only had half the interest in booking Kiruba.Blog domain because I have always advised my clients not to have a separate blog but to have it as part of the main domain. When I went to http://Get.Blog, I was disappointed at the high cost of the domain name ($30) . And to make it worse, the signup fee was obnoxiously high at $220. So in all $250 for a domain name for your blog. No, thank you.
At a time when blogging is being eroded by facebook, snapchat and Whatsapp, I would have rooted for a much cheaper approach to encourage people to get a professional domain for their blog.
Four excellent tips on Personal Branding for Introverts. Actually, these work for everyone.
Original Link: http://t.co/NDTgcfvU80
I had just finished a talk at a leading technology company when an engineer approached me. “I liked your ideas about personal branding, and I can see how they’d work,” he told me. “But most of them aren’t for me — I’m an introvert. Is there anything I can do?” What he didn’t realize is that (like an estimated one-third to one-half of the population) I’m one, too.
Despite the common misperception that all introverts are shy, and vice versa, they’re two very different phenomena. (Author and introversion expert Susan Cain defines shyness as “the fear of negative judgment,” while introversion is “a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments.”) I actually like giving talks to large groups (that day, there were 180 people in the room and another 325 watching online). I’m happy to mingle and answer questions afterward. But at a certain point, I’ve learned through experience, I have to get away and go somewhere by myself.
Conference organizers and attendees will often ask you to join them for dinner the evening before, or cocktails afterward. Rationally, it’s a win-win: they perceive more value because they get to interact with you personally, and you can make interesting business connections and learn tidbits about attendees that allow you to personalize your talk. For those good reasons, I’ll often say yes, but I’ve had to learn my limits: if I’ve been traveling too much, or had a frenzied schedule that day, or my social chops are hampered by lack of sleep, it’s far better to refuse. Like a car that requires periodic oil changes, I have to recharge with quiet, alone time.
It’s true that many of the best ways to establish your brand in the professional world are still weighted toward extroverts: taking leadership positions in professional associations, starting your own conference or networking group, or — indeed — embracing public speaking (all of which frequently entail extended social contact).
Over time, I’ve learned “when to say when” and graciously call it an evening. But for many introverts, it’s a tough balance. One executive at a large consulting firm once asked me how she could be truly authentic in her dealings with others, given how uncomfortable she was when it came to networking; she worried she’d have to put on a smiley, hypersocial façade. Yet I’m convinced it’s possible to be real about building connections and developing our personal brands, while still respecting our natural tendencies.
First, social media may actually be an area where introverts, who thrive on quiet contemplation, have an advantage. With a blog — one of the best techniques for demonstrating thought leadership — you can take your time, formulate your thoughts, and engage in real dialogue with others. Indeed, while extroverts desperate for their next fix are trading business cards at cocktail parties, you can build a global brand on the strength of your ideas.
Next, with a little strategy and effort, you can become a connector one person at a time. A friend of mine used to work at a large research hospital; it was a sprawling institution with countless divisions and initiatives. She made a simple commitment: each week, she’d ask a person from a different office or department to lunch. Often, she’d meet them initially at company meetings or through project work; if the suggestion to have lunch together didn’t arise naturally, she’d tell them about her project, and they were almost always intrigued enough to join her.
Within a few months, she had begun to build a robust network inside her organization — on her own, quiet terms (Susan Cain herself told HBR that we ought to “be figuring out ways where people can kind of pick and choose their environments, and then be at their best.”) My friend’s “lunch initiative” exemplifies the research of Ronald Burt at the University of Chicago, who urges workers to “bridge structural gaps” in their organizations. In other words, you can make yourself professionally indispensable if you develop connections that enable you to break through silos, and identify and surmount knowledge gaps.
Introverts can also use subtle cues to establish their personal brand. As well-known psychologist Robert Cialdini told me during an interview for my book Reinventing You, simply placing diplomas or awards on your office walls can help reinforce your expertise to others. (Cialdini saw this powerful effect in action at an Arizona hospital he advised; exercise compliance increased 32% almost immediately after the physical therapy unit started displaying their staff’s credentials.)
Finally, use your downtime strategically. You’re likely to need more “thinking time,” as introvert and former Campbell Soup Company CEO Doug Conant advised in an HBR post. So while the extroverts may be schmoozing with colleagues after work, you can ensure you’re being productive while you recharge by reading industry journals or thinking creatively about your company and your career. (Introverts often do their best thinking on their own, as Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino suggests, rather than amidst the scrum of an office brainstorming session.)
In popular imagination, personal branding is often equated with high-octane, flesh-pressing showmanship. But there are other, sometimes better, ways you can define yourself and your reputation. Taking the time to reflect and be thoughtful about how you’d like to be seen and then living that out through your writing and your interpersonal relationships (and even your décor) is a powerful way to ensure you’re seen as the leader you are.
A group shot of the speakers at the World Bloggers & Social Media Conference as part of the Malaysian Social Media Week event. We shot this photo right after the speaker briefing on the eve of the event. Speakers have flown in from US, Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, India, Singapore, China, South Korea and ofcourse Malaysia.
Today is the 9th day of the New Year. This is my 9th blogpost this year. I’m not smiling yet because the first week is usually the easiest to keep up the new goals. It starts getting difficult from here onward. How do I know? Well, lets just say that I’m talking from experience of previous years!!
I want to see if I can buck the trend and continue to post one blogpost every day of 2013. That’s 365 blog posts. I know many others who wanted to do the same too. So, I invested my time in researching for ideas. Here are some ideas that you might find useful.
1) Scribble Down the Topics: The easiest way not to stare at a blank screen (the dreaded Writer’s Block) is to have a list of topics. Jot down topics that comes to your mind. Don’t wait. Just scribble it in a piece of paper or email yourself. When you sit down to blog, you will have a healthy choice of topics to choose from.
2) Shoot Lots of Photos: I’ve realized that photos make for wonderful content. Its also easy to write a description of the photo.
3) Write the Outline: Write down key points of the article. Don’t worry about sentence formation or grammar at this point. Just the important points. You can later expand them and proof-read to refine the article.
4) Expect Mood swings: There are days that you will feel energetic and ideas will flow freely. There will certainly be days where your mind blocks up, your body is tired or you will have crazy deadlines to meet at work. Just be prepared mentally. Make use of the good days and see if you can prepare extra blog posts. This way, even if you miss a few days, you will still be on track.
5) Enjoy Sharing your Ideas: It all boils down to this fundamental point. Are you having fun writing? This is key. If you enjoy writing and sharing your experience, then writing everyday will be a breeze.
6) Write in the Mornings: It helps to wake up early. You will have less distraction to deal with. Write when your mind is fresh. Read my post on how to write 500 Words before 9am.
7) Read Point #1 Again: The best way to ensure you have content to write everyday is to start off with a bunch of topics. The trick is to keep filling this list. So, remember to write those topics down as soon as it comes across your mind. This is key.
Are there other tips that you found useful? Please do share them in the comments section below. Here’s wishing you good luck on your mission to write regularly. Cheers.