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Dean Notes (Sep 2021): Optimize the upstream, measure what matters, beer vs coffee, and more

Hey there! I'm back with the monthly Dean Notes—a roundup of things I'm exploring, learning, and creating to help you become a better thinker and leader.

A quick intro: I'm Dean Yeong (@deanyeong). Here, I write and share about productivity, leadership, money, psychology, marketing, and more.

Let's dive in!

What's new

🌊 Optimize the Upstream. When it comes to getting more productivity, I recommend focusing on the fundamentals—set clear goals, develop positive habits, and allocate resources and manage energy effectively. But what if you've done all of them? Here are my thoughts and ideas on taking advantage of the domino effect by improving the top of the funnel items.

I shared a similar idea in How to Focus on Big Wins. You can see this new post of an extension of how to focus on areas that create the biggest impact.

Book of the month

📈 Measure What Matters by John Doer. I finished the book early this year but haven't had the chance to share the book notes until now.

Summary in 100 words or less: Goal setting is more of an art than a science. OKR stands for Objectives, Key Results. Each objective is paired with a few— usually two to four—key results. Objectives are what you want to accomplish while key results are the outcomes you need to see to achieve your objectives. They help teams communicate and work with each other. OKR works best with CFR that stands for Conversations, Feedback, Recognition. CFR helps facilitate communications and collaborations. Together, OKR and CFR build a culture that helps teams strive.

A couple of notes

🍺 Beer mode and coffee mode. Beer mode is a state of unfocused play where you discover new ideas. In contrast, coffee mode is a state of focus where you work towards a specific outcome. The problem with traditional productivity advice is that it doesn’t take beer mode seriously. Our best ideas rarely come alive in busyness. They spring to life in calm and aimless contemplation. In beer mode, you find inspiration. And in coffee mode, you harvest that inspiration.

💼 How to know which skills to develop at what stage of your career. The further you get in your career, the less you’ll be evaluated on those same skills when you were hired. The secret is to progressively invest more in your “soft skills”—your ability to get things done, your leadership abilities, and your likability at work (like it or not).

How to trade time with money. It's good to try to be aware of the value of your time. If you have an item, and you trade it all day long, and you don’t put a consistent value on it, you will be making bad trades all over the place. Some people avoid putting a value to their time because they think it's invaluable. But in many cases, what you don’t explicitly value, you squander.

More interesting notes

🧘🏻‍♂️ The mind is created to be all over the place. If you believe that you are the mind, you will be all over the place. The secret to stay calm and clear is to know that you are not your mind. See tweet

🤝 No one ever complains their way into a better job, a healthier relationship, and a happier life. Replace “complain” with “communicate.” People communicate into a better job, a healthier relationship, and a happier life. See tweet

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