7 Habits of Highly Effective WFH People

Get ready for a conference call

So in this part of the world, many of us need to work from home (WFH) because of the Coronavirus disease. Naturally, work from home / remote is very different from working in the office.

There are many online information about working from home but mainly focuses on the best conference tools in the market. From my point of view however, other than good conference tools, one actually needs a few other techniques and habits to make the whole WFH exercise effective, and ultimately less “conference call fatigue”.

Here are the 7 habits that can make your work more effective:

1. Have a Working Mood and Setting Up a Proper Workplace

Highly effective people will not work from home in pajama. Instead, they will change to casual wear (formal attire is a bit strange …) before they start working. The working mindset and mood is important.

In addition, find a place or corner at home to make it your workplace. Understand it is not easy if your home is not very spacious and you have your partner, parents, kids and pets around while you’re working. Therefore if needed, find a coffee shop nearby to setup your proper workplace.

In my case, I also set up my workplace with a stand-up desk, some background music (through a Spotify playlist) as well as a cup of hot black coffee.

2. Equip Yourself with Good Tools

There are many tools in the market good for conference meetings – e.g. conference tools like Zoom.us, Microsoft Teams, WebEx and collaboration tools for whiteboarding, mind-mapping, drawing, remote desktop, document sharing etc.

Select only a limited set of tools, within your company budget and don’t over-complicate the technology.

3. Preparation of Conference Calls

Send out invitation email to all attendants with meeting agenda, joining methods – conference call tool and dial up number etc. Also note the meeting time if your attendants were from different time zones, therefore a link to timezone website will be useful.

Send an reminder email to ask the attendants to install the conference software and mobile app beforehand.

More importantly, ask the attendants to test the video, microphone, share screen function to see how it works before joining the meeting.

4. Running a Good Conference Calls

Greet the attendants one by one, so they know they joined the call successfully and aware of other attendants.

Ask the attendants to find the mute button of the tool and mute it for the moment.

When it’s time to start the meeting, inform the attendants how you’re going to run the meeting, when will be the right time to ask question and the order to ask questions – e.g. one by one, or team by team.

Then run your meeting, according to the agenda. If you need to ask your attendant questions, make sure you start with the name of the attendant and remind him or her to unmute before answering the questions.

Wrap up your meeting with a verbal summary, follow-up actions and a thank-you to all attendants.

5. Post Conference Call Actions

After the conference meeting, send out an email with the summary, and follow-up actions, to all attendants.

Collect the feedback of the conference / collaboration tools.

Help the attendants to fix any connection and tools installation issues.

6. Tracking Tasks Status

Your usual way to track task status may not work anymore (e.g. Kanban board in the office), again some file sharing and online project monitoring tools will make the team’s life a lot easier.

7. Lastly, Keep Yourself Fit

Work from home also means you no longer need to walk to public transport, or carpark; you won’t walk around in the company; and you won’t walk to lunch. In essence, you exercise less if you work from home.

Therefore, instead of walking around, you shall find time throughout the day to walk, jog, or exercise in gym.

With the same token, you shall also spare some time to read, to join some online courses … as I believe you won’t want to join hours of conference meetings every single day.

In Summary

Hope these 7 habits help you a bit to make the WFH exercise more effective. If you know other good habits and tools, let me know.

Good Bye, Professor Clayton Christensen

I’ve been a big fan of Clayton Christensen’s works for almost 20 years now, and it’s really sad to learn about the news two days ago. I learnt a lot from his books and his HBX MOOC online course on Disruptive Strategy.

If you’re interested in Disruptive Innovation, Jobs-to-be-done, living a rewarding life, some unreserved recommendations –

“The first thing is to look at disruptive technology as a growth opportunity and not as a threat …”, Clayton Christensen

John Lamparski/Getty Images

Good (or Bad) Habits

There are a few books I highly recommend to those who wants to build a great product and a great self. They are “Hooked”, “The Power of Habit”, “Actionable Gamification” and the latest one – “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”.

As you can see all 4 books are about how to establish and change habits – habits for your customers to use your product(s) more or habits for yourself to become more healthy, mindful, and productive.

In the book “Atomic Habits”, four “laws” are introduced – Make it Obvious, Make it Attractive, Make it Easy and Make it Satisfying. In addition, dozens of tips and tricks to help anyone to make something good to become habits. For me, I particularly like the “Habit Stacking” trick and now I manage to do 15 minutes meditation every morning because of employing this technique.

Highly recommended (if you have the need to establish or change a habit in the new year).

One Book at a Time – 2019

It’s not easy to squeeze quality time nowadays to finish a book, when we have so many good blog posts, online articles, and research reports available around the Internet. However, to become a better professional and a leader, we all need to invest time to improve ourselves and one of the best ways is still reading – one book at a time, with Kindle (the 10th generation, Paperwhite and Oasis).

Here is a list of my top 10+1 books of year 2019. 

  1. Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries – The author is indeed a gifted storyteller and he explains the idea of how to nurture innovation by way of three rules, with great details and stories. (https://amzn.to/2PNVEvW)
  2. Trillion Dollar Coach – It’s really a good read and I learned a lot about how Bill Campbell coached so many great Silicon Valley companies in the past few decades. (https://amzn.to/36G1mH8)
  3. 13 – 67 – The best detective story by a Hong Kong talented author. Period. (https://www.books.com.tw/products/0010637918)
  4. The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust – Even if you are not interested in Blockchain, read the chapter 1 : A Revolution in Nine Pages. https://amzn.to/2LUWLZm 
  5. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence – Warning … just the tale in the prelude is already very frightening (well, at least to me). (https://amzn.to/2SlnaDM)
  6. The Heart to Start: Stop Procrastinating & Start Creating – Section 3 of the book “Winning by Beginning” is really a gem – all tips and tricks about start your own projects – The Fortress Fallacy, Inflating the Investment, The Linear Work Distortion, Permission to Suck, Motivational Judo, Crack the Whip. (https://amzn.to/2LXNfF1)
  7. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – It’s a good book and here is my reading guide – read Chapter 1 to 3 slowly (the meat of the book) … and then pick one of the Chapter 4 to 7 that suits you most – Sports, Business, Relationships and Parents. Lastly, skim through Chapter 8. (https://amzn.to/35kns1o)
  8. Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life – It’s like a reunion, a good chat with an old friend. (https://amzn.to/2YPsrEQ)
  9. The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth – So, you’re no longer a Lean Startup, what’s next to do for your bigger company ? (https://amzn.to/38Ag18t)
  10. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Be vulnerable. (https://amzn.to/2PnecnB)
  11. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know – Gladwell introduces three traps that we all need to be aware of – Default to Truth, Transparency, and Coupling. Certainly useful nowadays when we need to talk to strangers all the time. (https://amzn.to/2tmErSL)

In 2020, I will shift the focus of reading … more on Artificial Intelligence and Decentralised Identifier. Stay tuned.

Blockchain Resources

You can tell the Blockchain space is maturing, when you find that there are so many research papers, books, reports, and slide decks published by big consultancy companies, financial institutes, research firms and of course, geeks.

Here is a list of the resources that I think you may find useful.

History and Whitepapers

  1. Brief History of Bitcoin
  2. Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System
  3. Ethereum: A Next-Generation Smart Contract and Decentralized Application Platform
  4. Libra: White Paper
  5. 33 Cryptocurrencies described in four words or less
  6. Smart Contracts (Visual Capitalist)

Books (via Kindle)

  1. Blockchain: Down The Rabbit Hole: (Discover The Power Of The Blockchain)
  2. Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain
  3. Blockchain: Transforming Your Business and Our World
  4. Blockchain for Dummies (IBM Limited Edition)
  5. Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust

Research Reports

  1. Capturing the Value of Blockchain (BCG)
  2. Blockchain and the General Data Protection Regulation (European Parliamentary Research Service)
  3. Inclusive Deployment of Blockchain for Supply Chains: Part 3 – Public or Private Blockchains (World Economic Forum)
  4. Building Value with Blockchain Technology: How to Evaluate Blockchain’s Benefits (World Economic Forum)
  5. Building Block(chain)s for a Better Planet (World Economic Forum)
  6. Central Bank Digital Currency Policy‐Maker Toolkit (World Economic Forum)
  7. Realizing Blockchain’s Potential (KPMG)
  8. Business Blockchains (Deloitte)
  9. 2019 Global Blockchain Survey (Deloitte)
  10. Blockchain, a catalyst for new approaches in insurance – Part 1 (PwC)
  11. Blockchain, a catalyst for new approaches in insurance – Part 2 (PwC)
  12. Security Token Offering : What, where and how (PwC)
  13. Establishing Blockchain Policy (PwC)
  14. Guidance on Cryptoassets (FCA)
  15. What’s next in Blockchain 2019 (CBInsight)
  16. Where’s Blockchain headed next (CBInsight)
  17. Blockchain and the GDPR (EU Blockchain)
  18. Blockchain Technology Overview (NIST)
  19. Blockchain – Opportunities for Private Enterprises in Emerging Markets (IFC)
  20. Can JPM Coin Disrupt the Existing Stablecoin Market? (Binance)
  21. China Central Bank Digital Currency (Binance)
  22. Accessing Blockchain’s Business Value (Accenture)
  23. Blockchain in Action (EY)
  24. Life of a Coin (EY)
  25. Rise of Digital Money (IMF)
  26. Comparative analysis of the regulation of crypto-assets within EU and EEA countries (Blockchain Advisory)
  27. Bitcoin 2019 Investor Study (Grayscale and Q8 Research)
  28. Blockchain Now and Tomorrow (European Commission)
  29. Blockchain for Digital Government (European Commission)
  30. Libra : Understanding Facebook’s CryptoCurrency (Consensys)
  31. Global Enterprise Blockchain Benchmarking Study (University of Cambridge)
  32. Blockchain Innovation Landscape Brief (IRENA)
  33. Legal context and implications for financial crime, money laundering and tax evasion (European Parliament)
  34. Blockchain Potentials and Limitations for Selected Climate Policy Instruments
  35. Crypto-Assets and Blockchain Technology (FireEye, Circle)
  36. China Blockchain Report (Forkast Insight)

Blockchain Use Cases

  1. Blockchain Building Blocks: Creating a world of opportunity for insurance from an evolving area of technology (The Institutes – Risk and Insurance Knowledge Group)
  2. Making Blockchain Real – LVMH and the future of authentic luxury (Certilogo)
  3. Blockchain meets Energy (FSR Energy)
  4. Real World Applications of Blockchain Technology (Zage)
  5. Blockchain for Development (GSMA)
  6. Blockchain Revolution in Education and Lifelong Learning (Blockchain Research Institute)
  7. Tokenized Securities & Commercial Real Estate (MIT Digital Currency Initiative)
  8. Industry Report : Blockchain in Real Estate (Fibree)
  9. Blockchain for Agriculture (FAO)
  10. Blockchain and Digital Identity (EU Blockchain)
  11. Blockchain in Travel (Amadeus)
  12. DLT in the Supply Chain (UCL CBT)
  13. Blockchain for Good (Accenture)
  14. Opportunities for Blockchain in Loyalty (Collinson)
  15. Decentralized Identity (Microsoft)
  16. Gateway for Sustainability Linked Bonds (HSBC)
  17. Tokenization of Accounts Receivable on Blockchain
  18. Blockchain in Commercial Real Estate (Deloitte)
  19. Blockchain for Social Impact (Stanford Business)
  20. Digital Voting using Blockchain (Tokend)
  21. Blockchain Explained (Blockchain Australia)
  22. Blockchain meets the Stock Market (EDC)

From Notepad to Wix …

… and Blogger, Plog / Lifetype, PostNuke, DocuWiki, WordPress in between.

It’s been 24 years since I hosted my own website (you can find the history here), and one lesson I learnt is there are always better tools out there to develop your own website. Even though professionally I use other enterprise software to build websites and applications, I reckon you can always learn more by using other tools or platforms to build your own website.

While I use WordPress to build / host my personal website (yes, you’re reading this – michaelyung.com), I moved my photo website, 80days.com, from WordPress to Wix. I don’t exactly know why I made the move as WordPress served me pretty well to host my photos. However, the idea of trying something new pushed me to evaluate other options and eventually I settled with Wix.

The first thing I learnt from Wix was the tool is beautifully implemented, and the next was there were too many options, settings that it would take anyone a long time to complete a site. You will also need to understand a whole different set of vocabulary, before you know what you’re doing. You can control the locations of the elements on the page, pixel by pixel … and therefore you will likely spend many long hours to make your website looks perfect, pixel by pixel.

In summary, Wix is great for design focus websites, but shall you do it to move websites to the Wix ? Not likely, if the WordPress site is already serving you well.

Another Year, Another Book List …

It’s about time to have a wrap up of yet another slow-reading year. However, the Kindle Oasis is great !!

First, the top four that I really enjoyed a lot …

  1. Bad Blood
  2. The Code Book
  3. Measure What Matters
  4. The Three-Body Problem

Then a list of good read as well …

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  2. The Startup Way
  3. The Messy Middle
  4. Who Can You Trust
  5. Holacracy
  6. Capitalism without Capital
  7. When Coffee and Kale Compete
  8. Founder’s Pocket Guide
  9. Venture Deals
  10. Factfulness
  11. Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy
  12. Principles : Life and Work

And lastly, those just not my type …

  1. The Secret
  2. Art of the Initial Coin Offering
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