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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The 80 / 20 Rule




The 80/20 Rule might be the one of the most overlooked principles in your life.

Also known as the Pareto Principle the rule says that a relatively small percentage of any cause (20%) creates most of the subsequent effects (80%).

The 80/20 rule is everywhere. That is how the world fuctions – more or less.
Life is affected by a few key moments. The 20% most significant time in your life has contribute to 80% of whatever that you have achived until now.

80% of the world’s wealth is in the hand of 20% of the population. The top 20% in any sports earns 80% of the total income.

In the workplace using  the 80/20 rule can have tremendous impact on productivity and effectiveness.

First, identify what is the outcome you want. After that, break down the tasks that produces the outcome. Look at the tasks and pick the few that contributes the most.

Make sure that you do  those tasks well. Repeat to completion.

To make sure this rule is useful in your workplace, you must be clear with outcome you want and  have enough knowledge  of the of the tasks involved. 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Critical Path Method

In the field of project management there is a useful tool that we can use for planning any project that involves several tasks, in our day to day lives. You may want to bake several cakes or change the kitchen tiles, this technique, known as the Critical Path Method (CPM), is a cool technique

  • CPM calculates the longest path of planned tasks  to the end of the project.
  • The earliest and latest that each task can start and finish without making the project longer
  •  Determines “critical” tasks (on the longest path). 
  • It prioritize activities for the effective management and to shorten the planned critical path of a project by pruning critical path activities

Here is an example.
Let us say you have a project and to complete the project you need to do several tasks ( Task A to Task H).

Before you can draw the project network diagram of the CPM, here are the 3 stages you need to do.

Stage I 

  • ·         Break project into tasks necessary for completion 
  • ·         Determine sequential relationship of tasks 
  • ·         Every task must have event to mark commencement – i.e. completion of preceding task 
  • ·         Can tasks overlap? If it does, then these tasks can be done in parallel


Stage 2

Once you have done the above , put the tasks in an easy to understand form like the figure below




Figure 1



Stage 3

The proceed to put these tasks in the Task Identity Box (TIB)







Figure 2





Definition of terms used

Early Start (ES) – the earliest the task can start

Early Finish ( EF) - is the earliest calculated time a task  can end

Late Start (LS) is the latest time a task can start  without delaying the project

Late Finish (LF) latest time a task may be completed without delaying the project

Duration – is the time taken to complete the task
Slack or Float is the amount of time that a task in a project can be delayed without causing a delay to the project

Since you have 8 tasks, you must have 8 TIBs in your project network diagram and it should look like the figure below.


Figure 3

Once you have done the above, it is time to fill up the boxes with some numbers. Time for the Forward Pass and the Backward Pass.
The Forward Pass is used to move forward through the network and Backward Pass is the opposite.
Let us  find the earliest time to start (EF) and to finish (EF) each task and to do that we use the forward pass

EF = ES + Duration


  
The project network should look like the figure below


Figure 4

After doing the forward pass, the next step is do the backward pass to find the latest start (LS) and latest finish (LF)  time.

As the name suggest we do the calculation going from front (the last TIB) to the back ( the first TIB)
For task H



Figure 5




Then we go backwards. Task H is dependent on two other tasks, G and E.









Figure 6






Looking at TIB E, we can see that there is a slack/float  time of 7 days. This is from

Slack / Float = LF-EF

We can find the late start (LS) time by using
LS = LF – Duration

A point to note here is that the difference between Early Start and Late Start, must be the same as the difference between Early Finish and Late Finish

LS-ES = LF-EF

Exploring the TIB E backwards, we get




Figure 7

We can see that for TIB F,  the slack/float time is 8 and for TIB D the slack/float time is 7
For TIB B we get the LF time of 10, using the smallest ES value of the two tasks it precede. This is logical as task B must finish before the task with with the smaller value of LS, in this case task D can start. If task B late finish is 11 than this means task D will start on the 11 and finish one day later at 14 and affect task E which will eventually delay the project.


Doing the backward pass for task C and A, we get







Figure 8

 The completed project network look like the figure below.


Figure 9

Total slack/float time of this project is the sum of all the individual tasks slack/float time, which in this case is 29 days.





Figure 10



The red arrow shown in the figure above shows the critical path of the project.

Critical Path Analysis is an effective and powerful method of assessing: 

  •          Tasks which must be carried out 
  •          Where parallel activity can be carried out 
  •          The shortest time in which a project can be completed 
  •          Resources needed to achieve a project 
  •         The sequence of activities, scheduling, and timings involved 
  •          Task priorities


So next time you have a project and find it difficult to cslculate the shortest time the project can be completed, try the CPM.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Self Help Books To Read

I read tons of self help material. It motivates me. It reminds me of simple common sense rules in life.
I care less what many skeptics have to say about the self help industry.  As far as I am concerned, reading materials from Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn and many others has helped me. It has given me ideas on how I can improve my life.
Here are the 5 books that had made significant changes in my life.
 1    1.  A Touch of Greatness –  Frank Tibolt
2.    Awaken The Giant Within – Anthony Robbins
3.    No Excuses – Brain Tracy
4.    The Magic of Thinking Big – Dr Walter Doyle Staples
5.    Ten Habits of highly Successful People – Robert Ringer


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Dream Big

You have a choice. You always do. No matter what the circumstances are, you always have a choice. You can think small and live a life with limited choices or you can dream big and have unlimited choices.

You see, no one knows their limits in life. No one knows how far one can go in life. So don't limit yourself to small dreams. Dream big. No matter what, choose to dream big.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Time Management Tips When You’re Drowning in Email

This post is from Peter "The Time Man" Turla
If you live by e-mail, it’s easy to die by e-mail. E-mail fatalities come in many forms, and one of the most common is drowning. Here are some email time management tips that will help you stay afloat and swimming in the right direction through that flood of messages vying for your attention.
Keep your “business” e-mailbox as lean as possible. Having too many emails in your in-box is like having a pile of papers on your desk. It can be stressful just thinking about all that “stuff” you have to deal with.
Take time to get it organized. Create electronic folders so you have a place to keep messages sorted by subject or client or project. Plan your filing. Don’t use your In-box or “Sent Mail” as a huge miscellaneous file or everything will run together and get out of hand.
If you keep things organized in your email program, they’ll also be better organized in your mind. Just don’t get carried away with making too many folders.
Here’s a list of a few more ideas you can use to better handle email.
  • Create an “Action Items” folder for important e-mail that needs attention. Review the items in this file daily and save them to your hard drive or delete them when you’ve finished them.

  • Use the “Tools, Organize” or “Tools/Rules” function in your e-mail program to color-code incoming e-mail from your boss or key team members so they stand out from the others.

  • Glance at all new e-mail “Subject” lines and delete the junk mail as you go. As you do this, look for the important ones that you’ll read.

  • If your e-mail system can organize messages according to “threads,” read the last message first in a thread that deals with a particular subject. Many times you won’t need to read the previous ones.

  • Decide what action or response is necessary whenever you read e-mail. By deciding right away, you save time not having to reread it and rethink what it’s about. Handle e-mail once when possible.

  • Use your e-mail program’s filters to prevent spam.

  • Before you set up auto-filing features consider whether urgent mail might wind up being auto-filed before you see it.

  • When “Sent” and “Received” items relate to each other, store them in the same folders.

  • Avoid getting on lists for jokes, cute stories, etc. If you like to receive this kind of material, set up an auto-filing function to send them into special files that you can review at your leisure.

  • Unless you’re on a team with constant hot mails going back and forth, determine a reasonable frequency for checking your e-mail. Checking it too often could be a way to escape or avoid what you should really be doing.

  • Learn to discipline yourself to focus on the task at hand and not feel compelled to open every email as soon as it comes in. You generally should attempt to work until you come to some kind of natural break or stopping point before you check your email so you can keep a good work flow and momentum going.

  • If you have to keep complete records of e-mail correspondence, save your “Reply”e-mail. When you reply to people’s e-mail, a copy of their entire e-mail is automatically included in the reply.

  • Use one address if you register for something on the Internet (which might attract spam), another for business, and another for personal use.

  • Regularly purge your e-mail of outdated and unnecessary messages. Archive e-mail that you need to keep for historical reasons.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Playing With The Big Boys - Lesson 1

In the game of life, there are big boys (and girls of course) and then there are the rest of us. Big boys follow a different set of rules  from the small boys. Big boys play big games, think of big things, use big words and will absolutely crush you big time if you get in their way.

Big boys live in big houses, and drive big cars. And at night they sleep in their big beds and have big dreams.

Big boys rarely get into problems and if they do, other big boys help them. 

It is good to be big isn't it? However, not everyone will grow big. Some choose not to but many others simply do not have what it takes.

You might be happy with way things are with your life. Good for you. Life is not about getting the biggest house, having your own army or a million pairs of shoes. What you want in life is your choice.

But whatever is is you want, somewhere down the road, a big boy will want the same thing too. He will be waiting. You will have to pass him and to do that you will have to play his game according to his rules.  Here are a few lessons how you can do that.

The first thing you must remember when dealing with people of power is that to never appear as a threat. Big boys have big egos. They may appear humble, gracious and charitable,  that is just a front they show. Beneath it is something else. Something scary.

The rich and powerful are always wary of threat. The moment they detect one, they will remove it or simply crush it. Until and unless you are big enough yourself, do not ever do anything that can be perceived as a threat to them.

In the business world, they are many examples of companies starting small and growing into mega corporations. The car industry is a good example. When the Japanese first started making cars, they did not take on the U.S auto industry directly. First they focused on domestic markets, then Asian markets, before taking on the might of the US auto industry. In the early days the Japanese auto makers never appeared as a threat to the big boys in the US. If they had done so,  you can be sure the big boys in Detroit would have acted to preserve their dominance.

You have to keep in mind that men and women of power did not achieve their position by wearing kid's glove. They are ruthless, especially when they feel threatened.

Lesson No 1  - Do Not Appear As A Threat.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

If


If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, 
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
But make allowance for their doubting too; 
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, 
Or being hated, don't give way to hating, 
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master, 
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; 
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
And treat those two impostors just the same; 
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken 
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings 
And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
To serve your turn long after they are gone, 
And so hold on when there is nothing in you 
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, 
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 
If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute 
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, 
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, 
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)















































































































































































































































































































































































'if' by rudyard kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, 
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
But make allowance for their doubting too; 
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, 
Or being hated, don't give way to hating, 
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master, 
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; 
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
And treat those two impostors just the same; 
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken 
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings 
And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
To serve your turn long after they are gone, 
And so hold on when there is nothing in you 
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, 
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 
If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute 
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, 
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, 
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936