Thursday, September 29, 2016

The One Important Thing a Remote Team Should Do

I have been working with a remote team / company since 2009.

I am still with the same people except the company has grown significantly since then.

After thousands of work hours, hundreds of different locations, gallons and gallons of coffee, multiple computers and Skype calls, I believe I can clearly determine the one important thing a remote team should do to keep it healthy.

Over communicate.

Yes, the word "over" should be there. You need to go beyond the usual virtual text chat.

Working in a remote company is obviously way too different than working in an office.

In an office, you can just talk to any one at any minute of the day. You just sit side by side. You can crack jokes anytime and just stay in the water cooler with your colleagues if you want.

You won't experience that in a remote team.

You still need to schedule chats, meetings, Skype calls and Hangouts. You won't even get a response right away.

It's like you are living in isolation.

This makes it very important to over communicate.

For my team, we do daily meetings. Even though these meetings can be done just once or twice a week, I made sure we do it daily so we get to at least to talk to each member of the team face to face.

Speaking of face to face, I require the team to do video chats. Getting a webcam is pretty cheap. Chances are your computer already has one. There is no excuse not to show your face.

In our team, we don't care how you look. Some men don't even have their shirts on (on rare occasions) during meetings. It gets too hot in the Philippines though. You can't blame them. 

We do all these things just to make sure everyone in the team does not only look at their computers the entire week. There should be some form of interaction with everyone.

If you are not doing this, you will definitely notice that the overall productivity of your team will be affected. I've seen so many good employees leave just because of this.

So, make sure you communicate more than the usual. Get in touch with everyone in your remote team. Talk to them about everything -- their hobbies, their families, what makes them happy, all of those.

Over communication has kept our remote company healthy throughout all these years. I'm sure it will for you too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Now I know why I love procrastinating

I have always wondered why I tend to procrastinate in the middle of an important task.

Here's my typical workflow:
  1. I start the task.
  2. I get those creative juices flowing. 
  3. I procrastinate.
  4. I procrastinate more. 
  5. I realize that the deadline is almost there.
  6. My brain turns into panic mode.
  7. I get stuff done faster.
I used to reason out that I'm doing it this way so that my mind could go on panic mode. I kind of like working under pressure. 

But then everything made sense when I saw Adam Grant's TED Talk on "The surprising habits of original thinkers."  (Video below).

He emphasized how original thinkers are always late to the party.

That means they don't rush to do things first. They might have started something. But, they hold off and tend to make a better idea out of it. 

These original thinkers are basically procrastinators. 

Procrastinating gives them time to think and come up with better ideas. 

I won't say that I am confident that I am an original and creative thinker. But now, I think I already have a clear explanation why procrastination works wonders for me. 

Holding off on a task I started gives me time to think and consider ideas. This makes the final output better than it should have been if I rushed to finish it. 

If this is a great way to keep me thinking creatively, then for sure I'd keep this habit.

Here's the full video of Adam Grant's TED talk: 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Political Drama

Politics isn't my thing.

I know I should be at least a responsible and active citizen. But, I really don't like talking about political leaders and how they run governments.

If you know me too well, you know that politics never comes out of my mouth.

Today was quite political though.

Our country is going through a very controversial hearing on extrajudicial killings. The person of interest is none other than the President of the Philippines himself.

This morning, a certain witness claimed that our current President Duterte has formed a death squad when he was still a mayor and has ordered the execution of a lot of people.

That was a crazy confession.

Social media went wild.

Did he really do it? Was this witness just paid by the president's enemies?

There are so many questions and speculations right now.

All I know is that the truth will always come out... no matter what.

I'm just waiting for that time.

For the meantime, I'll just grab a popcorn and enjoy the political drama going on.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

First time I enjoyed watching zombies

I was never really into zombie themed movies or TV shows.

It's just not my thing.

That is also the reason why I haven't seen a single Walking Dead episode.

But then, last weekend we watched this Korean hit movie called "Train to Busan."

I'm still not into the zombie things. But, this one had a really really good story.

It's a whirlwind of emotions. It had drama, comedy and obviously some epic thrilling scenes.

It definitely deserves all the good publicity it is getting at the moment.

Bravo for good movies.

I wish we had more of them today.

And, I might consider liking zombies from now on.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Becoming a man of value

"Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value."

What Albert Einstein once said has made a big impact in my life.

When I first heard this, I just thought it was deep. But, the more I came across and thought of this quote it slowly changed my perspective in life.

We all want to be successful.

But, sometimes I think we are so focused on being so successful based on the world's terms to the point that we're missing what's really important in life.

What's the point of being successful anyway? To be recognized? To be remembered? To be honored?

If by any means achieving something is what you are after to be successful, then I'm afraid you'd easily be forgotten.

This is why I decided to become a man of value instead.

Instead of focusing so much in achieving stuff, I am now more focused on providing value wherever life takes me.

Whether it's teaching, giving or working I'll give it all I can.

I believe by doing so I'd acquire more friends, more relationships and a much better experience than chasing wealth, career or worldly goals.

With the best of my ability, I will provide value to this world and find my own fulfilling "success" in doing that.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Recovery period

The past 2 days was quite a physical struggle for me.

I was sick... again.

This time I am kind of sure what caused it.

I was overtraining myself.

That didn't mean I lifted 1,000 pounds in the gym.

I just worked out straight for one week and I never gave my body enough time to recover. Having only 4-5 hours sleep a day didn't help either.

I learned that the hard way. Overtraining is definitely a dangerous line to cross. I absolutely hated how I felt for the past few days. I suffered from it.

This time I would listen to my body and take better care of it.

I am the type of person who can push myself to the limit. But, I should at least understand that my body can only do so much.

This week, I'd be spending more time for rest.

My body deserves it.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Put it in the calendar

I am not a really super organized person.

But, it's fair to say that I get things done.

I do quite a lot of tasks -- various tasks. My week easily gets filled up with appointments and commitments.

So, how do I get all of these done and not forget a single thing?

It's actually pretty simple.

It's not about having a super complex to-do list or a fancy app to remind you of things.

I just put the things I need to in my calendar.

Yes, you heard that right. Put it in the calendar. 

For every thing that I need to do every single day, I block certain times of the day when I need to do them.

This extends beyond work. This includes my personal tasks and other stuff I need to do outside of work.

That's really basically it.

Once I put it in the calendar, it automatically sends a signal to my brain that I need to do it.

You know, I really don't like it when people say they are busy. It seems like a lazy excuse. And, we all are busy. Who isn't?

I think those people just don't find time. And, finding time starts with putting it in the calendar.

Just do it. It's a really simple ritual. But, it makes things a whole lot better. Plus, it increases the chances of getting them done!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

These copycats should stop

Today, GMA Network released the trailer for their upcoming show "Alyas Robin Hood."

At first, it may just sound like another local adaptation of the famous Robin Hood story.

But, upon closer inspection it looks like a copycat of the famous series The Arrow, which I am a huge fan of.
Look at that blatant ripoff.

Can't they think of a more original concept? Look at the trailer. If you are watching The Arrow, it has the same feel to it.

Stephen Amell himself, the lead actor of The Arrow series shared this on his Facebook account. That emoji says it all. He doesn't seem to be pleased.

I really don't like it when someone copies ideas. You can take inspiration from other people's ideas. Copying those ideas is another story and is just pure laziness.

This is probably the reason why I still can't get myself to move over to Instagram stories.

I still can't get over the fact that Instagram blatantly copied Snapchat a few months ago too. It's ridiculous.

This is why even though I could get a lot more engagement from Instagram, I still decided to stick with Snapchat.

Seriously, people should stop doing this.

I don't know if "Team Alyas Robin Hood" is enjoying their publicity right now. Bad publicity is still publicity after all.

I just don't think this series will last long. And, I hope they come up with an original idea next time. These type of shows are ruining our local industry.

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