One hundred words every day for 10 days: lessons learned.

To become good at anything, there is no substitute for regular practice in a spirit of discipline and apprenticeship. 10 days ago I challenged myself to publish a 100 words article every day for 10 days.


It was a simple challenge, and I had two objectives. 1) To develop a certain discipline in writing regularly. 2) To see if by simplifying the process of  writing in my mind (100 words only), I would actually approach the task with less apprehension. Here is what happened:

  • I wrote and published 10 articles in 12 days.
  • The average article size was 299 words (instead of the target 100.)
  • I spent on average 30 minutes per article (that’s about 9 words per minutes.)
  • I enjoyed the process (even though it was not as easy as I had thought.)

There are a few lessons I learned and I would like to share them. These lessons will be most useful to anyone who has find writing a daunting or painful or difficult experience.

  • Writing is easy when you do it one sentence at a time.
  • To turn writing into an habit, I have to do it at a set time of the day, every day.
  • Write on any topic that comes to mind. What’s important is that you get your thoughts on paper (or screen.)
  • The possibilities become unlimited once a productive activity (like writing) is turned into a habit.

Now that the challenge is over, what’s next? I will tell you tomorrow. Engaging in this process gave me a set of new ideas. For now tell me, what are your favorite lessons from the list above?


Two popular innovative alternatives to Microsoft PowerPoint

If you have ever had to sit for a presentation during your lifetime, I am sure you have had to experience a boring speaker. For many inexperienced speakers, their biggest sin is to rely on a boring Microsoft PowerPoint slide deck. There is nothing wrong with using a set of slides to support your message during your presentation. They can be very effective in helping your audience develop a better understanding of your subject. There is one rule I use before every using a slide deck for a public presentation. I ask myself: “Can I effectively deliver this presentation without the slides?” I will not develop a set of slides until the answer to that question is “Yes!” power-point-presentation

Even though I have seen very creative and outstanding presentations created using Microsoft PowerPoint, there are a few alternatives for those who either want to experiment with something new. Remaining fresh and relevant with tools and technology is key for anyone who is engaged in giving presentations on a regular basis, or otherwise.

  • Prezi is one of the most innovative ways of adding visual elements to your delivery. Prezi is strongly supported by TED and has been profitable since year one. There are currently more than 12 million people using Prezi to create interactive and visually stunning presentations. Anyone who has ever used any presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint can get started with Prezi in a few minutes. Creating a prezi is made easier with their expanding set of templates. They offer a free account. Below is a YouTube video of a presentation that was created using Prezi.

  • Google Slides is an online presentations app that allows you to show off your work in a visual way. It is part of the Google Drive cloud storage solution offered by search company Google. Google Slide (just like Prezi) allows for collaborative simultaneous editing of slides by more than two people. Using Google Slides is free and they have a version that works offline. Google Slides also has hundreds of user contributed templates that you can use to get you started faster when you lack inspiration. If you already have a Google account and know how to use Microsoft PowerPoint, you will find important your slides into Google Slides a breeze and you will enjoy having access to your slides (ready to start the slideshow) from any computer with internet access. As a tradition, every time I complete a slides deck with Microsoft PowerPoint, I upload it to Google Slides. It become my backup in case the original presentation is not available or does not work on a computer I have to use for a presentation. Give Google Slides a try.

Those are the two best alternatives to Microsoft PowerPoint I have used myself and strongly recommend. There are other alternatives but from my experience, they almost all have a longer learning curve. What are other presentations software you have personally use and would recommend for their ease of use and special features?

This post is day 10 of One hundred words every day for 10 days. Total: 503 words.

Seven keys to live full and die empty

The only place on earth where you find the greatest concentration of people with unfulfilled dreams and regrets is the cemetery. Regardless of the country where you find yourself, there will always be the wealthiest 3% and the 97% others, not so wealthy and for many, living just above poverty, if not below. Observing those who make it to the top 3%, it is easy to see patterns. The good things with patterns is that they can be reproduced. Like Brian Tracy states in many of his books, “Success is predictable.”  Success has different meaning depending on the person, but I believe one will be said to have been successful when he or she found and used all the talents and abilities given to him by the universe.die-empty

What will people say when contemplating your tomb after your death? Will it be: “Wow, we are so glad you showed up on earth and made a contribution with your life. Wherever you are right now, thank you!” Or will it be closer to: “He had so much potential but he never found the courage to fully express himself. If only he had more time, maybe he could have done something more significant with his life.”

Wouldn’t you rather leave the planet knowing that you gave everything you came here to bring? Here are seven simple keys to living full and dying empty.

  1. Think less. Feel more.
  2. Talk less. Listen more.
  3. Judge less. Accept more.
  4. Watch less. Do more.
  5. Stop complaining. Appreciate more.
  6. Fear less. Love more.
  7. Be bold. Live without regrets.

I am not the original author of the first 6 points above. I drew them from an image a friend posted on his Facebook wall. Which one of the points above is your favorite?

This post is day 9 of One hundred words every day for 10 days. Total: 258 words.

Two effective techniques to reduce the number of items on your to do list

With the amount of information available to us today, we can easily feel overwhelmed by all the things we consume consciously as much as subconsciously. Most people start their days with a to do list. The average to do list has a dozen items and oftentimes more, for me.  If you are a productivity oriented achiever and also have a to do list with a dozen items or more it will help to reduce the number of things you have on your list. There are two simple techniques to reduce the number of items on your list. I have personally used these techniques successfully over the past few months. to-do-list-image

  • The first method is prioritization. Determine the top 5 items on your dozen (or more) items long list that are most important to you having a most productive day. Then start working on those 5 items, from the most important to the least. Don’t have more than 5 items, otherwise you might feel overwhelmed and end up not doing anything.
  • The second method is delegation. Identify the items on your list that you can delegate to someone else who can perform the activity as effectively as you can, if not better. Delegation does not have to be by someone you know. There are many websites offering people who can do the items on your to do list for you, for a small fee.  Examples of such websites are and

What are some techniques and methods you use to reduce the number of items on your to do list?

This post is day 8 of One hundred words every day for 10 days. Total: 264 words.

Five quotes to inspire you to become a better communicator

Most outstanding leaders are great communicators. A few of the people who come to mind thinking about great leaders are the likes of Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Barack Obama, Mark Twain, Oprah. I scoured the web looking for shorts inspirational quotes to inspire me in becoming a better communicator. communication-icons Here are the top five on my list of quotes to inspire you to become a better communicator:

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. Mark Twain

Lesson: You should be constantly practicing to become a better communicator. The next words that come out of you (speaking or writing) have the potential to unlock the opportunity that will open the next chapter to your life.

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. Peter Drucker

Lesson: Become aware that there is more to communication than the words you use to get your message across. Listen to the listening of your listeners. Be responsive to the silent communication that takes place around and within you.

Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know. Jim Rohn

Lesson: Whatever you have to say, say it with so much passion and enthusiasm that even if the message is not clear, your audience can feel your passion. In most debates, those who feel more strongly about their convictions win over those who merely speak well about theirs.

Communication works for those who work at it. John Powell

Lesson: The only way to become a great communicator, is to communicate as much as  you possibly can. There is no substitute for practice if you are to develop a skill that is important to you, any skill.

My belief is that communication is the best way to create strong relationships. Jada Pinkett Smith

Lesson: No man is an island. We grow from people and projects. Relating to people effectively involves developing strong relationship which takes great communication skills. The people with the best communication skills have the strongest relationships.

What are some of the quotes, or  thoughts that inspire you to to become a better communicator?

This post is day 7 of One hundred words every day for 10 days. Total: 357 words.