Randy Pausch Time Management Video – notes

Goals, Priorities, and Planning
Why am I doing this? What is the goal?
Why will I succeed?
What happens if I chose not to do it?
Doing things right vs. doing the right things
100 things to do in my life – Look at it often!

Experience come with time and they are very very valuable. And there is no shortcuts to getting it.

Walt Disney “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Plan each day, each week, each semester.

To do list (break things down into small steps) do the ugliest thing first.

Covey’s four quadrant TODO (In the Seven Habits book) 1,2,3,4

Due Soon Not Due Soon
Important Work on immediately (1) (2)
Not Important (3) (4)


Keep your desk clear and you have one thing on your desk.Touch each piece of paper once.

Multiple monitors (P.S. I don’t really think this works for everybody.)
Left: to do list number 0-9 by priority
Middle: mail program (empty inbox)
Right: calendar
Standing during phone calls.
Call somebody at 11:50 am (so your phone call will only last 10 minutes).

Thank you cards. Pen, ink and paper.

Monitor where your time went.
Make a Fake Class – set aside sometime to really get things done.
What can somebody else do for me?
How am I wasting other people’s time?
Leave at five and go back and hangout with people you love!

Make up a fake deadline.
Sometimes all you have to do is ASK.
– You give somebody a specific thing to do, a specific time, and a specific award/penalty.
– Don’t give people how you want to do it. Give people what you want them to achieve. (Give them objectives, not procedures.) Let them surprise you.

If someone doesn’t reply your email in 48 hrs. It’s okay to nag them.

Kill your television! (Great! I don’t even own a television.)

Get feedbacks. Ask people in confidence.

1) Daytimer
2) To do list (in priority)
3) Time journal

From Linux Ubuntu To Mac OS Mavericks

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

Lifehacker has become my go-to website for a few years. I love the idea of hacking. Although I am not a programmer. Figuring things out is an attitude.

As Mr. Think Tank always says

The internet is there. You can search for whatever you want to learn.

Rebecca will add

Yep. You need to know what you want to learn and focus on learning it.

That is a problem that Rebecca faces and Rebecca believes many people out there face similar problem. We live in such an information abundant world now. Popping up ads and emails can easily distract us from anything we are doing. It takes us “a cup of tea time” to get back to our work, which usually ends up not being productive. (We will talk about “productivity” next time.)

Off the topic!

I have been against apple computers for some idealogical reasons for years.

a) I don’t want to get too hippie. I want to get geeky.

b) I like free and open source. DIYable.

However, there is something in my mind that pops up from time to time, saying

You should try things out before you come to your conclusion.

There you go! I am trying now. My first Macbook Pro 13″ Retina. It comes at a price and it is not upgradable.

After getting familiar with the keyboard, checking keyboard shortcut cheating sheets, I have come to a list of alternatives to what I usually use on my linux.

  • Cmd-Tab: Switching
  • Cmd-O: Opening
  • Cmd-H: Hide
  • Cmd-Delete: Go to trash
  • Cmd-W: Close, but still running
  • Cmd-Q: Quit
  • Ctrl-Cmd-F: Fullscreen
  • Ctrl-Left: Next desktop

In browsers, there are some tricks I’ve been using intensively.

  • Cmd-T: Open a new tab
  • Cmd-N: Open a new window
  • Ctrl-Tab: Switching to the next tab
  • Ctrl-Cmd-T: Reopen closed tab

Some weirdos

  • Ctrl-Cmd-D: Dictionary
  • Cmd-Shift-3: Screenshot

I love keyboards! I should explore more on using keyboard shortcuts.

Lifehacker is always handy when it comes to software recommendations.

Lifehacker Pack For Mac 2013:


I looked through the list and downloaded those.

  • Evernote – 1st app I want to install on mac. I could not find a perfect way to use evernote on linux.
  • Google Chrome – cannot live without this browser. I like things to be connected. Login in to google account. All my previous settings, bookmarks are available in less than one minute.
  • Dropbox – I like things to be connected (*2). Synchronizing everything from everywhere is the basic idea. It makes me feel sad when I see my chaotic folders and picture uploads from iphone in dropbox lol.
  • Spotify – I have quit using bulky itunes. Streaming is easy.
  • Microsoft Office – This is something hard to quit. Although I have been using Libreoffice in linux, I wasn’t so satisfied with it. It crushes.
  • Quicksilver – like Launchy in Windows and Synapse in Linux. For many apple users, “dock” are so “apple”. As I like to type, I find it easy to simply type the name of the software and launch it.
  • VLC – all I need for movies and videos.
  • uTorrent – no need to say.
  • Skitch – this one I might delete it later. It integrates well with Evernote. It captures the screen and enables users to write and draw on the screenshot.
  • Postbox – I am using 30 day trial for now. I am not sure whether I will get used to email desktop clients. (Maybe when my work get busier, I will love it.)

I tried a Chromebook for one week and had to return it because it was too slow for me. I really like the light weight, battery life, and google apps. Using it made me downsize my long list of applications. I came to identify what I really need and what is redundant. Now we have so much storage, we usually just install softwares and leave them there. We don’t even bother to uninstall them.

I think differently. A small apartment can be fully functional, and a big house can be full of junk. I think it is important to make the right choices instead of keep adding rubbish to an unlimited hole. (My other favorite blog: Apartment Therapy, eye candies for people who like home deco, living small, organizing, and solving all sorts of cleaning problems.) With the volume of information we have now, we need to be picky. Pick the perfect one. Follow the best blogs, read the most accurate or well written news, read the classics.

Do try.
It takes trials!

This blog post is a promise I kept to myself.


Done Done!

I haven’t been writing on wordpress for a long time. The new trick catches my eye. Distraction free writing mode. Awesome! I was going to write in plain text and paste it here. Apparently, wordpress knows people like me.

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace

Kenyon Commencement Speech 2005

Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliche about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.

I’ve come across this speech several months ago online when searching for best speeches. David apparently was a master of English language.

When I googled his name “David Foster Wallace“, a sad thing struck me. “David Foster Wallace, Influential Writer, Dies at 46”. Reading through the obituary, I feel sorry for him. His father said that David had been taking medication for depression for 20 years. That means he had been depressed since 26 or maybe even younger.

He was being very heavily medicated,” he said. “He’d been in the hospital a couple of times over the summer and had undergone electro-convulsive therapy. Everything had been tried, and he just couldn’t stand it anymore.

Efficiently incentivize based on value

Why did I do it? & Why will I do it?

We usually do not write down long lists of reasons why we do things. But that doesn‘t mean those lists don’t exist. They exist in our mind s. If we start doing something, and it is the only thing we do, we don‘t necessarily bother to ask why we do it. However, when the other thing occurs and drives our attention away from the original thing, we ask ourselves why. If the answer to the question seems reasonable and the original thing seems more beneficial to us, we will let the second thing sit in our to-do-list and continue doing what we’ve been doing.

Why is it more beneficial to me?

We do have different values, and our different values help us set different priorities. Value is ideology. It is something to which we always refer to when we can’t explain the irrationality.

Maybe we underestimate the power of value.

Lean In – by Sheryl Sandberg

The book is a semi-autobiography. It includes Sheryl‘s personal career experience and some of her friends’ and coworkers’.

Here are the take home advices:

  • Fake it till you feel it.

  • Jump in and work.

  • Substitute “we” for “I”.

  • “Relentlessly pleasant.” This method requires smiling frequently, expressing appreciation and concern, invoking common interests, emphasizing larger goals, and approaching the negotiation as solving a problem as opposed to taking a critical stance.

  • You can‘t please everyone. If you do please everyone, you aren’t making enough progress.

  • “What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it? ” Say it to your future employer.

  • “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” Sometimes you cannot plan ahead of time.

  • Only one criterion mattered when picking a job – fast growth.

  • “I want to do that – and I’ll learn by doing it.”

  • Figure out what you want to do before you go to see the people who can hire you.

  • Ask for feedback.

The real issue was not that I felt like a fraud, but that I could feel something deeply and profoundly and be completely wrong.

Research backs up this “fake it till you feel it” strategy. One study found that when people assumed a high-power pose (for example, taking up space by spreading their limbs) for just two minutes, their dominance hormone levels (testosterone) went up and their stress hormone levels (cortisol) went down. As a result, they felt more powerful and in charge and showed a greater tolerance for risk. A simple change in posture led to a significant change in attitude.

Given how fast the world moves today, grabbing opportunities is more important than ever. Few managers have the time to carefully consider all the applicants for a job, much less convince more reticent people to apply. And increasingly, more opportunities are not well defined but, instead, come from someone jumping in to do something. That something then becomes his job.

Deborah Gruenfeld, a professor of leadership and organizational behavior at Stanford, was able to explain the price women pay for success. “Our entrenched cultural ideas associate men with leadership qualities and women with nurturing qualities and put women in a double bind. We believe not only that women are nurturing, but that they should be nurturing above all else. When a woman does anything that signals she might not be nice first and foremost, it creates a negative impression and makes us uncomfortable.”

Whenever possible, women should substitute “we” for “I”. A woman’s request will be better received if she asserts, “We had a great year,” as opposed to “I had a great year.”

Telling a current employer about an offer from another company is a common tactic but works for men more easily than for women. Men are allowed to be focused on their own achievements, while loyalty is expected from women. Also, just being nice is not a winning strategy. Nice sends a message that the woman is willing to sacrifice pay to be liked by others. This is why a woman needs to combine niceness with insistence, a style that Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, calls “relentlessly pleasant.” This method requires smiling frequently, expressing appreciation and concern, invoking common interests, emphasizing larger goals, and approaching the negotiation as solving a problem as opposed to taking a critical stance. Most negotiations involve drawn-out, successive moves, so women need to stay focused…and smile.

You can‘t please everyone. If you do please everyone, you aren’t making enough progress.

“I want to apply to work with you at Facebook. So I thought about calling you and telling you all of the things I’m good at and all of the things I like to do. Then I figured that everyone was doing that. So instead, I want to ask you: What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it?”

Pattie Sellers “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.”

Eric Schmidt (Google) said that only one criterion mattered when picking a job – fast growth. When companies grow quickly, there are more things to do than there are people to do them. When companies grow more slowly or stop growing, there is less to do and too many people to not be doing them. “If you‘re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.”

One reason women avoid stretch assignments and new challenges is that they worry too much about whether they currently have the skills they need for a new role. This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, since so many abilities are acquired on the job. An internal report at Hewlett-Packard revealed that women only apply for open jobs if they think they meet 100 percent of the criteria listed. Men apply if they think they meet 60 percent of the requirements. This difference has a huge ripple effect. Women need to shift from thinking “I’m not ready to do that” to thinking “I want to do that – and I’ll learn by doing it.”

Clara Shih is a superb example. I met Clara about five years ago at a conference and was immediately impressed by her ideas about social media. She went on to write a thoughtful book on the subject and founded Hearsay Social, a software company that helps businesses manage their social media presence. Every so often, Clara would contact me, always with an interesting point or a thoughtful question. She never asked to get together to “catch up.” She never asked a question that she could have found the answer to on her own.

When I left the Treasury Department, former chief of staff Josh Steiner gave me great advice about asking for advice. He told me to figure out what I wanted to do before I went to see the people who had the ability to hire me. That way I would not waste my one shot seeking general guidance, but would be able to discuss specific opportunities that they could offer.

Ask for feedback.

“What have I done fore you lately?”

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

The Diary of Hu Shih

“Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t.”

“The list is an absolute good. The list…is life. All around its margins lies the gulf.”

From the movie “Schindler’s list”

I read The Diary of Hu Shih in traditional Chinese in the Gelman Library Global Resources Center. The first volume starts at 1906, when Hu Shih was fifteen-year-old. He was always seeking knowledge and was very well educated since a young age by his family. At the very beginning of the first volume, he pointed out the importance of “thinking aloud”.

Expression is the most effective means of appropriating impressions.

“If you are asked by an American organization to give a speech on Confucianism, you need to start thinking about the outline of the speech. You start writing, you realize that your knowledge is too vague, and you have to look into books, references, to trace back to the history of Confucianism. You have to understand this topic thoroughly, and then you can use your own language to express it, to make it a coherent speech.” (I translated it from Chinese to English.)

Hu Shih’s diary is valuable because his personal maturity and progress are accompanied by the intellectual group’s progress in China during that special period of time. He acquired his philosophy both from traditional Chinese classics and American pragmatism. He brought liberalism to China and was part of the progressive team that had a significant influence in China’s intellectual history and society.

The inspiring part of the read today is that he emphasizes on reading, such as the newspaper, get involved and understand political affairs by following up election news, literature, and the classics. And from his diary, I can tell how determined he was to read. It is always the disciplinary part that makes a huge difference. The great intellectuals read and write religiously.

Markdown and Why I use Markdown


Learning a new language is always one part of the new year’s resolution. But here we are not talking about a foreign language, like French or Japanese, which takes years to be good at. We are not even talking about learning C++, JAVA, Python. Markdown is just a simple lightweight markup language, created to allow people “to write using an easy-to read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML)”. OMG! That sounds so geeky. So here is my reason for using Markdown:

It simply saves my time!

It is the same reason why we use shortcuts on gmail, photoshop, and desktop. Because we spend so much time on writing and editing, we always try to find the best way to improve our productivity. Once we learn how to use shortcuts, practice and get used to it, we can hardly change our working habit. We feel awesome! Markdown saves us from clicking on the little buttons to format our writings. It is just fast.

There is a simple youtube markdown tutorial you can check out here.

A browser extention called “Markdown Here” is available both in google chrome and firefox.

Just start writing, and you will love it!


The last post for “21-day Plan”.

21 days is usually recognized as the period of time for people to form a habit.

I want to form a habit of sharing information, and thoughts online.


Because I believe that sharing is good. We can have ideas in our minds, in our notebooks, in our computers, which other people usually don’t have access to (Unless they are hackers, thieves). Some of our ideas might be private, which we don’t want to share. Some can be really helpful to others.

Community building. A person’s real life community can be limited by convenience, social status, and educational background; but this is not the case with the internet. People who are interested in similar subjects can easily form a community online. e.g. Behance.

Another reason is the conventional wisdom that when you express your point of views, you will draw attention from people who share similar views, and the ideas that you are constantly sharing build you credentials among those people. Resources will come to you when you actually need something.

The joy of books and library. Library is where verbal sharing happens. People’s ideas and knowledge from ancient times, from long geographic distances, from different social and educational backgrounds, are shared with the book readers.

People take “published” work seriously.


Ideas are cheap. Execution is the King.


1. what if my thoughts are not mature

2. what if my writings have grammar problems (especially for me, English not as my first language)

Claude Hopkins – My Life in Advertising & Scientific Advertising

I had no working hours. When I ceased before midnight, that was a holiday for me. I often left my office at two o’clock in the morning. Sundays were my best working days, because there were no interruptions. I am not advising others to follow my example. I would not advise a boy of mine to do so. Life holds so many other things more important than success that work in moderation probably brings more joys. But the man who works twice as long as his fellows is bound to go twice as far, especially in advertising.

The foreman worked with enthusiasm. He made the work a game. “Look at those boys play ball, that’s what I call hard work. Here I am shingling a roof. I am racing with time. I know what surface I must cover before sunset to fulfill my stint. That’s my idea of fun.”

What others call work I call play, and vise versa. We do best what we like best.

We must never judge humanity by ourselves. The things we want, the things we like, may appeal to a small minority. The losses occasioned in advertising by venturing on personal preference would easily pay the national debt. We live in a democracy. On every law there are divided opinions. So in every preference, every want. Only the obstinate, the bone-headed, will venture far on personal opinion. We must submit all things in advertising, as in everything else, to the court of public opinion.

The saver and the worker get the preference of the men who control opportunities. And often hat preference proves to be the most important thing in life.

(To pitch for a high position in advertising company) “Please write to I.H. Rich, care Swift & Company, Union Stock Yard, Chicago, and say what you think of Claude Hopkins as a writer and advertising man.” “I want to write for you a daily two-column article on advertising. It will cost you nothing and it will educate your advertisers. All I ask is that you let me sign the articles and that you publish my pictures in them.”

The difference lies in the basic conception of selling. The average salesman openly seeks favors, seeks profit for himself. His plea is, “Buy my goods, not the other fellow’s.” He makes a selfish appeal to selfish people, and of course he meets resistance. I was selling service. The whole basis of my talk was of help the baker get more business. The advantage of myself was covered up in my efforts to please him.

You cannot go into a well-occupied field on the simple appeal, “buy my brand.” That is a selfish appeal, repugnant to all. One must offer exceptional service to induce people to change from favorite brands to yours.


I took a shower after Spurs lost to Heat yesterday night, and I couldn’t fall asleep.

The championship reconfirms LeBron James’s King position in the league. Basketball, in any way, is not a one person game. It is a team game. Miami Heat did play very well in defense as a team. Shane Battier’s three-point shoots in G7 was phenomenal. LeBron, the King, was determined to shoot, and he did it, scoring 37 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a 95-88 victory.

Spurs, my favorite team in all times, lost. Tim Duncan, the 37-year-old 4-time NBA champion, my favorite basketball player, said that “Game 7 is always going to haunt me”.

With Miami leading 90-88 with just one minute remaining, Duncan missed a hook shot deep in the paint and then was unable to convert point-blank tip-in that would have tied the game.

After missing the jump hook — “a bunny” to him — he (Tim Duncan) slapped the floor in frustration while setting up on defense.

Tears are words from the heart that can’t be spoken. It wasn’t just because Duncan didn’t tie up the game, it was everyone in Spurs that may be thinking about what they should have done better. Training, tactics, and luck, only when everything works together can a team win the championship. The sportsmanship is what remains in everyone’s heart, and please carry on.

Let it go.

P.S. : I truly hope Tim Duncan will not retire after this season.