Friday, May 26, 2006

The Science of Productivity Hours

It is said that “An employee works an average of 40 hours a week, while an entrepreneur clocked 50-60 hours per week”

It is also said that “A person’s real productivity hours start at 11 A.M and stop at 4.00 P.M”, which means you only get 4 productive hours per day (Given that the person is motivated to work and nothing much disrupts him during work hours)

My brother told me that Quek Leng Chan (Executive Director of Hong Leong Group, multi-billionaire) works until 10 o’clock at night everyday. I wonder is it he had no one trustworthy to delegate his work to, thus have to do most of the things by himself.

How about me? An entrepreneur trying-to-be clocked an average of 5 hours a day (pure productivity hours, discarding in between chat time, nap time, makan time, etc). I try to clock myself again today, just a mere 6 productive hours.

My Timesheet (To Check Productivity Hours)

Question: Am I being too relaxed or I am doing okay? Though working on weekend would help, but I am usually busy with various activities. Thus, I only clocked about 20 hours of productive hours everyweek. Theoretically, if I can clock 40 productive hours per week, my progress speed would had doubled (and that would be great). If I become a real entrepreneur and clocked 60 hours a week, I would have no life but superb progress.

Question: Why can’t I clocked 40 hours a week? Where had the time gone?
  • Chatting Time (2-3 hours per day) - am I a chat addict?
  • TV Time (2-3 hours per day) - this is my all time low
  • Extra Nap Time (2+1 hours per day) - this is a sickness since young, I love sleeping :)
  • Bloging time (2 hours per week) - blog time had been reduced drastically
  • Various activity (2 day per week) - improved social life, less productivity hours
Let’s analyze the time usage in a more statistical method, assuming the weekends are burnt with no productivity. There are 24 hours in a day
  • 7 Hours for Normal Sleep (29%)
  • 3 Hours for Overslept/Nap (12%)
  • 3 Hours for Chat (12%)
  • 3 Hours for TV (12%)
  • 2 Hours for eating/moving around/doing nothing (8%)
  • 1 Hour for email checking/browsing (4%)
So, 19 hours is used up with only 5 hours of productivity hours per weekday. More time is lost when I travel around, went for dancing or went out during weekday. With too many activities going around, I must guard my working hours and not to let it dropped beyond 20 hours a week.

Question: How to sqeeze more time? If I can squeeze 1 hour each from Overslept/Nap, Chat and TV, I would have extra 3 hours per day and probably can hit my target of 40 hours weekly. If I happened to go out on weekday, I would need to cover it back on weekends.

The action plan:
  • Wake up early and avoid nap time (this is a tough one)
  • Reduce chat frequency to 2 hours or less per day
  • Reduce TV time to 2 hours of less per day
  • Try to get one day on weekend as working day (treat it as a backup/bonus plan)
  • Avoid unnecessarily browsing in between the day
I understand that we can’t be productive and motivated all the time, and we have mood swing as well. We need rest and recreation, thus I am not touching the weekends at the moment. Perhaps I am wondering if I am doing enough or too little. 20 hours per week seems to be obviously little, and 40 hours per week seems to be a much comfortable level. Though productivity isn’t that straightforward, but I should at least get the basic hours up.

Give me strength and wisdom! Seems like I need planning and discipline as well :)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Over the Rainbow is a Darling (American Idol)

I was never quite a fan of American Idol, as I found it kinda boring and non distinctive. Why?
  • Because they sang mostly English songs, and I am not a big fan of it (I can’t relate deep emotion to most English songs, except a few good ones)
  • They singing sound pretty much the same to me, and I can’t understand why the judges criticize them most of the time
  • These people are not physically attractive
Anyway, tonight I happened to stumbled upon its finale on 8TV, why not give it a chance (it is the finale anyway, it should worth my time). It is a battle between Taylor Hikes the Soul Patrol and Katherine McPhee. Today, I found their performances are simply amazing. It is fun, it is entertaining, and they look confidence and happy. I like Kat’s choice of songs, especially the way she sang OVER THE RAINBOW (it is sweet and absolutely superb). Black Horse and Cherry Tree is kinda unique as well.

Anyway, what are the odds for you to participate in American Idol, beats millions of other contestants to win the judges heart, fight for American’s vote with other equally talented singers and do a superb performance in the finale? I think the odds are pretty low, but someone will do it, and someone will make it. No matter who wins, I think both of them are extraordinary people, and they are already STAR and CHAMPION when they put on such a wonderful performance.

Perhaps American Idol is a place for American to achieve great dreams, but only the very best in talent, skill, confident and personality will make it to the top. Competition is tough and cruel, but everyone came out from it as a better person.

BTW, the Kodak Theatre is simply amazing as well.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Chemistry of My Entrepreneurship Path

Many months had passed and I wonder what had I done with my life. Perhaps I am wasting time, perhaps I wanted to break out of the conventional box and trying something I would be happy with in the future. Anyway, the process is always difficult because we are uncertain.

My current life reminds me of when I am working part time while studying in college, doing some fun and exciting R&D job while earning minimum wages. After 6 years, I am still earning minimum wages and doing something new and exciting (how ironic). Seems like I had restarted my career cycle again, perhaps in a different playing field.

Thing seems to be getting slightly better lately. I have a recurring business from a long time client in Ipoh to work on some MRP Engineering software, which should cover my expenses for 2 months. I might get a contract from ex-company, which could potentially cover my expenses for 1 month. Then the might be a SMS-based Prepaid Card Top-up project venture with Mei Ru’s brother-in-law, but that still seems a little bit distance in term of investment and feasibility. And I have my pocket money on teaching a bunch of lovely kids computer lessons. Perhaps it is time to print some business cards.

I always thought that Freelance Software Development is short-term income, as they fluctuate, but they do pay well. Perhaps until the day I put in some investment to churn some products out, but then I would have sales & marketing problem as well (got to masters these essential business skills).

Then what is long term income? Something which might generate recurring income, without the full effort of development from scratch. Meaning I would need to build a business system which would let me enjoys the fruit for the long-term with minimum maintenance effort. I could choose a Software Product or Service. I had chosen a service, thus Malaysia Most Wanted is born. Why I chosen it? That’s another long analysis for next time.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Triple Date Part IV: Anniversary (Evening Session)

Next stop, fly kite. Mei Ru hasn’t flied any kites before, and the last trip didn’t quite work out as we stupidly went there in the morning when there isn’t any wind. Kite flying should make her a happy girl, and the weather is with us. There are already many kite flyers at Kepong Metropolitan Park, where you could see them along the highway.

With good wind, our kite fly up instantly with Mei Ru pulling the string (happy or not? Hehe). It just went up and up, and we are like a pair of city tourist busy taking pictures. At first we thought it was not possible to finish the string, but it did finish eventually and we are equally surprised. I took us quite a while to put the kite all the way up, and an equal amount of time to bring it all the way down. We have ice creams in between, yum yum. Just when the kit is downed, the wind is totally gone (what a coincidence).

See, I can fly Kite

Up and up she goes

Ai, no more string liao


I am glad that we have lots of fun, all the laughter on her face is worth everything there is.

There are a few noticeable kites at the place, a kite with twirling tail and another one which made a bee humming sound. There is a mini parachute kite which is extremely difficult to handle, and a Malay guy practicing his parachuting skill there. Besides these, we have many big and small colorful kites flying around, and with many kids running around.

The Parachuting Guy

Metropolitan Park is quite a nice place, with proper jogging and cycling track, and a humongous lake. The evening weather is pretty; we have a walk around the lake where many people are fishing there. There is a tall tower which overseas the entire area, and you can have a good view of the entire park and Kajang town. We made lots of funny faces and became cam crazy again.


Merciless Mei Ru tortures me again

Many more could have been done for this park, such as bicycle rental, skate boarding, roller blade-ing and boating (the lake is huge). If I am offered a contract to open a shop there for bicycle rental (plus skate board and roller blade of course, maybe selling hamburgers and snacks as well), I would be filthy rich (and make the place more fun and lively, of course).

We had at dinner at Pizza Uno, Centre Point. The place is under renovation and pack as usual. We decide to order something different, Spanish mushroom and Casablanca Pizza (without cheese), and Italian Tiramisu. The food isn’t perfect, and the day is already perfect. Here ends the anniversary, not without a kiss of course. Simple, fulfilled and fun.

Though I hope I could have done and planned more, like going for a trip or something. But I just wasn’t in the mood to plan something too big and too far. Perhaps some day, I could give her a better date and celebration. Thus, got to work hard to make that happen.

Happy Anniversary! Love you and miss you :)

Photo Link: Mei Ru's Dropshot

Triple Date Part III: Anniversary (Morning Session)

Since it had been a month into our relationship, I supposed we can give ourselves some excuse to do a bit of celebration. Monthly Anniversary we called it (but aren’t anniversary means yearly? Err, who cares). Actually I am still troubled by my workload, but at the same time, I feel like doing something nice for her. I will almost certainly be forever busy, but can’t make it as an excuse not to have fun with her right? Have a great time together, and then have to work even harder lor, haha.

Since it is an anniversary, perhaps it would be nice for me to do the planning. Karaoke in the morning sounds good, since it had been quite a while already. I am not very familiar with this whole Karaoke thingy, where you are supposed to book for Karaoke session (I just know book for movies), and weekend morning are peak because they are cheap. Although the booking didn’t quite work out, we decide to arrive early and give it a try anyway. At the end, we didn’t even try it because she arrived late due to prolonged breakfast with her parents and aunt. Never mind, there are still a lot more to do.

Her mom and dad drop her at my place after breakfast, where they visited my place and have a short chit chat (perhaps her mom wanted to do a survey on me as well? curious folks, and I just notice that my parents aren't very curious people). Since she is having a bowling tournament next week, perhaps it would be nice to take her for some bowling practice session. I am not really into bowling, but it can be fun as well, a weird game. She didn’t perform very well, still trying to figure out some tips to have a more consistently better result. But I think she can bowl pretty well, just need to work on the consistency part. I had a pretty good game, scoring 110+ (I think my all time high is 150+ during secondary school, I wonder how I did that). I have consistency problem as well, but somehow that day is my lucky day as I manage to get into the flow, haha. When you can’t bowl very well, stick to the simple and basic techniques which yield the best results from past experience (more easily said than done, of course).

Bowling King

Bowling Queen

“Luk2, all the best in your tournament and win some cash money to spent with me hor!”

After 2 games, we went for the arcade center just upstairs (saw that during the game). The machines here are pretty fun and interesting, one of the better ones I guess. We went for the drums (I would never tried one of these alone), a knocking game (fun, but short), motorcycle (a bad choice) and a baby competition game (knocking crazily on the button, but some games are meant to loose, syiaks) and my favorite shooting game (using shot guns, way COOL!). We didn’t try the dancing & music machines, perhaps it strike some fear into us after seeing those young chaps demonstrated (it reminds us that we are no longer teens, old biscuit already).

Next stop, fly kite.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Triple Date Part II: Her M-day & Kit2 B-day

I have to wake up super early again, to visit the super crowded Dr. Ting Skin Specialist (Acne problem, see can become more handsome or not). I think this doctor is super rich, as his clinic is guaranteed packed from 8.30AM to 6.00PM. Last time I waited for 4 hours before my turn, and this time it took me 2 hours as well. Imagine waiting for so long and paying this guy lot of money with the hope that my face will become prettier, what the hell am I doing? I need to earn more money to make this guy even richer, sucks.

Mom & Dad love you like crazy

I don't like the stupid Green Monkey

Today is my turn to join Mei Ru for her Mother’s day. At lunch, it is Kit2 (her nephew) birthday re-celebration. This is a cute little baby, and hopefully he doesn’t turn into a brat anytime soon. Somehow, having a baby at home do lights things up. He is the centre of attention, a mouth piece, and everyone turned childish and funny around him. Baby does bring lots of happiness I guess. We have 2 cakes, and lots of photo (courtesy of Mei Ru, a.k.a Camera Girl) and video taking (courtesy of me, a.k.a Video Man), and good food by her mother. Now I have to worry how to make time to process the video before Mei Ying (Kit2’s mom) chase me for it.

Kit2 B-day Boy

I am feeling super tired (not used to waking up super early anymore after self employment: work late, wake up slightly late), and took a nice afternoon nap at her place.

Night time is Mother’s Day celebration, and dinner is set at some place at Cheras (her Aunt joined as well). Her mom like Chinese food, and probably just like Chinese Food. She is an “Eater” (吃家), meaning she had strong comments on the quality of the food. So, don’t try to suggest some supposing good place to eat which might turned out to be a lousy choice. I think the food there is pretty good, but they claimed the quality had dropped. So, I am definitely not an “Eater” and shouldn’t try to suggest any place to her.

The celebration ended pretty alright, and it is raining again. Mei Ru driving skill is getting better (you need more practice); just that she had a serious problem with directions and narrow parking space. Perhaps the direction gene is missing from her DNA, thus need to practice more lor (先天不足, 后天补救). Nevertheless, she had gotten so much better compared with last time where she doesn't even touch the car much :) 加油!

Triple Date Part I: My Mother’s Day

I haven’t blog for almost 2 weeks, perhaps it is time to slow down my ever fast moving pace to catch my breath and recapture some memories before they are lost forever. It seems like I seldom write about my dates and outing anymore, perhaps this is a good time since I been on 3 dates continuously last weekend, with the same her.

Friday is a public holiday, and Mei Ru is joining Tang and Michelle for a morning Jog in Bukit Jalil. Though I am supposed to work on Friday as well (damn, working on holidays, that’s what you get for being self employed), but since Gunung Raja trip is near (need some physical training) and I do missed her, so jogging is on for me as well. It had been quite a while since we last went for jogging, perhaps with much activities going on lately. We jog for 1 round before the sun came up, as Tang and Michelle would join us later (9 plus is super hot already). Then we join them for another half a round before running out of breath. Hmm, not as fit as I think I would be (Hey! I never thought I am fit what!).

The Best Couple in the World!

The initial Mother’s Day lunch had been brought forward as brunch, thus Mei Ru and I can’t join the girls for the initially planned breakfast. It does feel kinda awkward to bring girlfriend for Mother’s Day brunch for the 1st time, buy why not. Actually Mom and Dad are pretty shy, where mom is serious unless you make her laugh, and dad is usually friendlier. The brunch went pretty alright, and Mei Ru takes photos for my family. It reminded it had been quite a while we took some family photo, except the CNY 2005 video I took which I had yet to processed them.

Trying Hard to Capture Bro's Laughing Moment

The forver cute Sis & Mom

She was supposed to help with my work (very nice of her, I like her so much), but we end up feeling sleepy and by the time we woke up, it was almost time for dance class. Perhaps it had always been hard for couple to work together, as too much lovy feelings in between seems to work against productivity. I think we tried it 3 times, only once it came out pretty alright. Nevertheless, I appreciate her efforts. Anyway, having her by my side does make my working time more interesting. Besides, anything she churned out for me is a lovely bonus for me.

I do feel guilty to ask her help me with my work when I am supposed to bring her out for fun. At the same time, it is sometimes difficult for me to have fun with so many pending works. Perhaps there is a balance somewhere in between. Nevertheless, my aim is to generate self sustainable income and make her happy.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Malaysia Most Wanted Dream

Finally I have completed Malaysia Most Wanted Property after 4 months of hard work, sort of at lease. It is still far away from my super huge original plan, but at least it is workable, useful and presentable. My baby had its first BETA on 25 April 2006, and followed by an update on 08 May 2006.

What is Malaysia Most Wanted?
"Malaysia Most Wanted will be an online service to provide the Most Wanted information in Malaysia, in a useful and easy to use manner" For more, read here.

What is Malaysia Most Wanted (MMW) Property then?
"Malaysia Most Wanted Property will be an online property classifieds and research house to provide the most comprehensive information for property buyers find their ideal properties" For even more, read here.

According to Joel, when you start a business (or Micro-ISV), you need to solve a pain. Reduce the pain and troubles of the people had ever since become my number one mantra, at least I try to remember that. What pain do I solve? I once tried to look for a property, ended up being flooded with a lot of options but have no idea whether these offerings are worth my money. Is this a good deal? What is the Market Value? What are the Growth Rate and Rental Yield? Is the developer reputable or had a bad history? How is the location? And most of all, How am I going to find the information I need? Malaysia Most Wanted Property is meant to give answers to all these questions of property buyers.

Though it is still far from perfect (still have many more phases to roll out), but at least it is good at helping property buyers to look for a new property and redirects them to the right information. Malaysia Most Wanted seems much bigger than I initially thought it would be, perhaps the project is too ambitious. I still have strong faith and confidence in the core essence of the idea, which is to provide as much useful information as possible to help property buyers to find and decide on their ideal properties, for home or investment.

It would be nice though if I get some sponsors or VCs funding to get this idea through, and make it a real Malaysia Most Wanted service.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I thought I am invincible

For a moment I my life, I thought I am invincible. I am good at my work (I quite like it at times), I have a good job, I am not afraid of losing my job, I have lots of brilliant ideas and I believed I am one of the very best. One day, I decide to put myself up for a test, to see if I am really as good as I believed I am. After that very day, I don’t feel quite invincible anymore. In fact, I am afraid.

Entrepreneurship is a test of life, which requires many elements in order to succeed. It needs technical skill, sales & marketing skill, management skill (not required for lone ranger), passion, creativity & innovation, determination and lots of perseverance. Perhaps it also required Entrepreneur Skill, the combined secret recipe to create a sustainable business. About 4 months had passed, and I am starting to worry that I might not have the strength to move forward.

I am worried. I worry about what to do next, on how to make things work. Miracle doesn’t happen just like that, it needs the right planning and strategy. If the idea is so brilliant, perhaps the problem lies in execution: the right formula for success. Sometimes I thought I know lots of stuff (bit and pieces of the recipe to succeed), but at times I feel so helpless and at lost.

At this very moment, I feel tired, worry and lost. I feel tired because there is a lot to be done. I am worry because I dunno the right formula for success. I am lost, because I am confused on what I should do next.

Here is what I know. You don’t need a brilliant idea to succeed in the business world. There could be a 100 people doing the same thing as you did, and you could still make a living out of it. If you innovate and do it slightly better, you could earn a lot more money. But why haven’t I felt the success yet? Perhaps I haven’t reach the “stage” (complete more work), or perhaps I haven’t did enough Sales & Marketing (in order to have a successful business, people need to know your business). At the end, perhaps it is courage (step out of your comfort zone and try something new) and perseverance (continue doing and believing in it). Like all business, it needs exposures and time to grow.

I want to feel strong and confidence again, to prove that I am capable, rather than just thinking I am capable. I need to find the feel good factor once again. I need to find a way to make things work. I need to find comfort and peace in my mind.