The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run though each day
On the fly?

When you ask: How are you?
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,
Do you lie in your bed

With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?

And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die

Cause you never had time
To call and say, ‘Hi’?

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower.

Hear the music
Before the song is over.

~ David L. Weatherford in The 4-Hour Workweek

I bought this book based on a friend’s recommendation. It has been a slow reading for me because Timothy Ferriss, the author, has a style which at first I found him boastful. His aim is to instill a can-do attitude for everyone to do the stuff he’d done, and more! I am a reasonably confident person, but his achievements that he discussed in the book were just hard to believe. The first 50 pages are hard to digest before I finally got into his rhythm. Maybe this is one of those books that I shouldn’t judge by its cover, or even by reading initial chapters of it.

These are some of the things that he has done:

  • First American in history to hold a Guinness world record in tango
  • Princeton University guest lecturer in entrepreneurship
  • National Chinese kick-boxing champion
  • MTV break-dancer in Taiwan
  • Athletic adviser to more than 30 world record holders
  • TV host in Thailand and China
  • Shark diver
  • Motorcycle racer

and he was 29.

The book explained about his technique and ideas. All of the ideas in the book are very well reasoned but the best idea for me is about mini-retirements.

I remember the boredom I had in the 4-months summer holiday after my HSC. The thought of going to uni seemed to be so exciting, in fact the thought of doing anything new would be exciting. I was desperate for getting the activities I used to get at school. In my long break last year (lasted for 3 months), I felt the same thing. I missed the social life I got from going to uni. I felt miserable from being unproductive.

If you have had the same experience, now imagine that in your 20 years retirement. I used to take it for granted that I will have to work 40 years and then enjoy my 20 years of retirement – then I can travel here and there, buy anything I want, etc. But if I can’t even fill up the 3 months void I had, I surely won’t have a fantastic retirement. I was so used to external deadlines put on me, but I didn’t have any control of putting my own deadlines to myself. This is usually the problem. That is why mini-retirement about 3-6 months is better. There is no reason why you have to keep the best to the end of your life. Plus if you haven’t trained yourself to retire, then you won’t be able to be good at it in the future.

The book answered how can I finance myself to get 3-6 months out of the office, how can I get the time to travel while still having my 9-5 job, how I can train myself to get something productive out of it and lot more other ideas (how can I outsource my life, how to learn any language in 3 months, etc). It is a very practical book, closely linked to Tim’s own life. Sometimes it felt as I am reading an auto-biography, but a more useful one.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to get the most of their lives. Life is just too short to be spent on working full-time for 40 years.

It has been two years since

Boy: The girl I like..is you.
some stuff
Girl: Ok. I’m waiting for you to ask a question now.
Boy: So…who do you like?
Girl: No….
more guesses
Girl: My gosh this is so corny i can’t believe it’s happening.
Boy: whaaat….
more stupidity
Boy: oh oh..is it something along the lines of…will you go out with me?
Girl: Yes.
Boy: Oh.

What started as a total stranger, ended up to be a life-long friend. Quite amazing if I look in hindsight of what has happened because I have never thought that things would have turned out this way.

Thanks for being kind to me 🙂

We’re all a little weird. And life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up in mutual weirdness and call it love. ~ Anonymous

Painless Ironing

I have had some more practices of ironing because of the industrial training I had to do for this session. I seemed to be able to do it faster and faster each day (practice makes perfect yay!) so I want to share the techniques I found. This is focused on ironing buttoned-shirts, but I’m sure you will be able to use the advice on other type of garments.

Ironing takes a bloody long time, and what’s worse than spending >20 mins to iron one shirt just to find the back part of the shirt wrinkled because you tried to iron the sleeves? It is annoying. I now spend about <5 mins for a shirt, pretty happy about it but hoping to do it even faster if I can. It is not an enjoyable activity after all, but it just has to be done 🙁

I have two techniques: express and standard. The express one will take <3 mins and the standard will be <5 mins on average. Which one to take depends heavily on the type of material and the shape of the shirt.

Some materials with polyester are extremely easy to iron, even before you put the iron on it, it looks kinda smooth already. Higher percentages of polyester will make it even easier. 100% cottoned garment is a pain. It will usually take so much of your time trying to straighten it. After a long time ironing, it still sometime doesn’t look ironed. Sigh sigh sigh!

The shape of the shirt matters as well. Guys’ shirts tend to have straighter lines and less tucks. Girls’ on the other hand have darts/frills here and there which make them harder to iron.

Some rules of thumb to remember:

  • Use iron with steam. Ironing without water is a nightmare. so steam irons are the best. Takes a lot less time than alternatively sprinkling water and ironing. The iron I’m using is Sunbeam with vertical steam technology.
  • Get a proper ironing board, it does increase your ironing productivity as it makes you easier to pull and push the garments around. Board for traveling is ok I suppose, just make sure you have the pointier section on your left. This is very handy on ironing shoulder areas.

ironboard.jpg

handy pointy section

  • Always iron the smallest area first e.g. collar or sleeves. It is the easiest to be taken down first and being small, it is harder to get wrinkled by future movements. Even if it does, the wrinkles will be less likely to be seen when the shirts are worn.
  • Use your left hand a lot (right hand if you are a lefty). You only need to make a locally level area to iron that particular area of the shirt, do not spend a lot of time to make the entire surface that you are ironing smooth first.
  • Do not iron areas that already are smooth. Ironing does not mean that you have to cover every single cotton on the shirt, if it looks smooth already, then stop and go to the next pile of your laundry.
  • Chuck away your perfectionist obsession. No matter how good you managed to iron the shirt, when it is worn, the smaller wrinkles will always show so don’t waste time on trying to remove those. Plus how often do you see girls with messy skirt (because they sat on them) or guys with wrinkled back on their shirts? I am sure that often happened, but have you ever put much attention to them? I highly doubt it.

Express way

You can do this if you are in a hurry or you know you can do it. It is not as tidy as if you do it the usual way so again don’t be too perfectionist otherwise you’ll spend longer using this way than the standard way. Basically express way saves you time because you will end up ironing less area of the shirt by ironing two layers at the same time.

  1. Button up about 3-4 buttons on the shirt, enough for you to lay the shirt in a straight-ish way on the board.
  2. Straighten the left sleeve with your hands. Iron it and then do the back of that sleeve.
  3. Move to the right sleeve and do exactly the same.
  4. Iron the body facing up (collar facing you) from the top to the bottom. See this pic:
  5. Similarly, do it for the left side of the body.
  6. iron5.jpg

  7. Once you have finished that, slide the shirt (still buttoned) such way that you can iron just the back layer of the shirt. See pic:
  8. iron4.jpg

  9. That should remove the wrinkles at the back because the button at the front would have hindered you from ironing the back properly.

Standard way

If you don’t like the result of the express way, then do the standard way. This is more robust. It works with higher ironing-difficulty shirt =p These are the steps:

  1. Iron the collar first as it is the smallest area of your shirt.
  2. Straightened the left sleeve with your hands. Iron it and then do the back of that sleeve.
  3. Move to the right sleeve and do exactly the same.
  4. Now we are going to do the right shoulder. Arrange it to be like in the pic:
  5. iron1.jpg

  6. Smoothen the area as much as you can. Then move the shirt to iron the back part of the shoulder such shown in this pic:
  7. iron2.jpg

  8. Again, try to iron the area as much as you can, but the minimal target is to reach the middle line of the back of the shirt.
  9. Do the same for the left shoulder.
  10. By this step you will find that the shoulders are all smooth. Let’s go to the main body part of the shirt.
  11. This is usually the easiest part to do. So start from the left-front body as shown in this pic:
  12. iron3.jpg

  13. Follow your own hands until you do a full circle of ironing from the left-front body, to the back, and then to the right-front body. You will find that the whole left-right directions that I provide here provide a movement continuity. You don’t have to follow them but as you do this way more, you will find that these directions minimalise the efforts needed.

Ok, you’ve reached the end of this very very long entry, hopefully you can find it useful. Please let me know if you try it yourself! 😀

NB by Natasha Bedingfield

It’s been a while since my last entry. I will blame everything on assignments. There was one due today, and there are more coming 🙁

On another note, I’ve been listening to Natasha Bedingfield’s new album: NB. Check out Pirate Bones, Soulmate and Say It Again if you have time. The melodies are nice and the lyrics not too bad, even thought I would like to have more depth on the latter two songs. In this album, she was a young woman who were focused on her love life in the midst of busy life style. Expect a lot of strengths and determination in the songs. Pirate Bones is excellent 😀
Click here to go to Natasha’s myspace. Sadly Pirate Bones is not there, but Say It Again and Soulmate are.

I thought because it has been a while, I will also do several updates from entries in the past:

my work @ the Bank: my manager finally get the idea and started to open some doors for me. My work is now getting enjoyable. It feels so much better when I look at my pile of work (that has now exists) to chose which one that I can do at the time, instead of thinking ‘ah, only have one work to do, and I have a full day work tomorrow. Should spare it for the future…’. I have proven that whinging is not a waste of time, as long as you whinge to the right person. In hindsight, if I have whinge more to my manager instead of other people, I might have gotten to where I am now much faster.

skin picking: even after frequent critiques from both Stef and Minie, I am still not able to stop it. Help >.< I now managed to hold until my fingers recover a bit more, but the biggest challenge is to not pick on the recovering skin because it’s thicker, and juicier…, and yummier =S

wisdom teeth: it is so naive of me to think that I could have the operation at week 10 uni calendar, which was about 3 weeks ago. I couldn’t even get any appointment with the dental surgeon until Nov 7th! That’s about a month waiting in the line.

More updates to come 🙂

You’re the most perfect yet, most definitely that I’ve met … ~ Natasha Bedingfield in Say It Again.