I’m just a guy who’s been living in Tokyo the past 6 years who is obsessed with the idea that understanding our world better makes life easier and a little bit more interesting.
After graduating from college, I worked a year in the HR department of a very traditional automotive parts manufacturer in a small town in Japan. The environment was very interesting and I loved how different and new it was to me, it was a very worthwhile experience. The odd thing was that it felt like the place was devoid of efficiency (or even productivity ) yet people would stay until 8PM or 9PM. I had always heard about the iron work ethic of the Japanese people, but it would be after 6PM and I’d glance over at my colleague’s screen and he’d kinda be hovering his mouse around the desktop looking for something to click on. Any work I had would be finished within the first 3 hours of the work day, yet my colleagues would be moaning about how busy they were. I had a pretty good idea of what their duties were, and I knew that if they really had to they could easily finish by 6PM. (I understood what the situation was after a while, but we can get into that in another post)
After I decided that this wasn’t for me, I moved to a foreign capital recruitment company in Tokyo. It was was the equivalent from leaving a job at the DMV so I could work as a stock broker. I went from basically looking around for things to do to having at least 60 new emails in my inbox a day, having my phone pressed to my ear 80% of the time, scurrying across town to do multiple meetings, and getting to bed at around 10PM always thinking “Oh crap I didn’t get anything done”. Needless to say, it was awesome.
When I was younger, I always enjoyed the concept of productivity and efficiency in the sense that if I was more efficient I could make more wood in Age of Empires (PC game) than everyone else. But now, since I was basically working from the time I woke up until I passed out on my bed, I really had to educate myself on efficiency and what contributes to “prime performance”. I had to be more organized so I could get the most productive tasks done first and needed to be more cognitively healthy so I didn’t have to waste any time on the phone saying “Um” or rewriting phrases in my emails.
Since then, I am constantly devouring any useful information I can get my hands on, but in the pursuit of that information, I waste a lot of time having to search for it. This could be anything from concepts in behavioral psychology that explain why my client wasn’t impressed with the way I presented my material, or something more simple like why coconut oil is more healthy for you than olive oil. There have been so many times where I’ve thought “Damnit, I wish I knew this earlier! I’m so behind!”
I started this blog because while I just assumed everyone knew most of these things I was reading about, I realized that not many people have the time to dig through these journals, books, websites, documentaries et cetera. Everyone’s read Stephen Covey’s “Seven habits of highly effective people” or Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people” but most of us haven’t heard info like doing sprints before you study can up your input by 20% or the way you position your hands when doing a presentation can make a huge difference.
The point is to deliver useful, easily digested information in an engaging way with hints on how to apply it to your life.