One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way

one-small-step-can-change-your-life

How many times have you set yourself new year resolutions and never completed them? Ever wanted to make big changes in your life and never quite managed to make them?

Kaizen is a Japenese philosophy of continuous improvement. Rather than aiming high and failing it’s about taking small steps regularly that build up to the big goal.

kaizen asks us to be patient. It asks us to have faith that with small steps, we can better overcome the mind’s initial resistance to change

Part of the process is training your brain to accept the changes you are planning, and by doing small steps it allows for your brain to adjust to the changes, rather than it being highly resistant.

Never force the process of kaizen; it works only if you let change happen in a comfortable and easy manner.

Kaizen is not just for personal change, it can be applied to anything. This book gives examples that cover business and personal. Giving real life examples and stories and how kaizen has improved people’s lives and help businesses. If it’s something as simple as reading more, spending more time with your family or increasing sales. Applying kaizen thinking and methodologies to these goals can give you a better success rate of improvement

If you ever feel yourself dreading the activity or making excuses for not performing it, it’s time to cut back on the size of the step

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way on Amazon.co.uk

Our biggest blindspots as CEOs

Some great points (blindspots) of being a CEO. This post is not just aimed at CEO’s there are some great points made from people under CEO’s.

“You tell your employees that your door is always open, that you want to hear their honest feedback, that you can handle the truth…and yet it doesn’t seem enough. You’re still always the last person to know anything in your company.”

The “door is always open” can be a scary prospect, walking into your bosses office and bringing up topics that you may think are above you. It’s the way you approach the topic and the tone you bring to the conversation, don’t be scared to walk into their office and ask for five minutes of their time.

Servicing my and filling it with some fresh ink

Alice's first trip to Hammond's Pond

Photo taken at: Hammond’s Pond

Beautiful morning for a stroll along the river

Photo taken at: Dumfries

Arrive home to some awesome swag from the guys at

Four Thousand Days

four-thousand-days

I came across this book via Twitter, and actually picked it up on a special promo some time last year. I finally got around to reading it on my trip to USA last month.

It’s a very easy read and keeps you very interested and wanting to keep on read to find out what happened next. Duane got tied up in something bad to help pays some bills and then turned his life around from entering prison to selling his on-line business and becoming a very wealthy man, all within 4000 days. Prison is an interesting subject, and a majority of the book focuses on Duane’s time behind bars. Later on in the books he talks about running a business and going through the process of selling his business. If you are interested in the “start-up” culture and knowing more of what’s involved and goes on in big companies buying the small fish this book gives you a great insight to this including lots of details of the steps and money involved.

Rather than giving away too many details of the book, I recommend you pick the book up and give it a read.

Four Thousand Days: My Journey From Prison To Business Success on Amazon.co.uk

Documenting your CSS with Styledown

Generating a styleguide for your CSS is something that can help other developers, and go a long way in reducing the confusion and possibility of someone reproducing the same styles. Ever jumped around a few projects over time and had to dive into all the CSS to find a style you thought was there, then found there was not one and you wrote it, or you may of even ended up duplicating some work that was brought up in a code review.

“Did you know we had a style already for that”

Generating a styleguide should not be a chore, and something you want your entire team to buy into. It should fit easily into your flow, not be too intimidating to other developers to start and continue with.

There are quite a lot of CSS styleguide generators around if you do a quick Google search, you will be greeted with many choices. I decided to go with styledown, as it looked to be the simplest and required very little in terms of getting up and running. Also the comments you needed to add to your CSS is very minimal, this suited what I was after. Another bonus for styledown was it was not Sass specific, it’s just CSS comments, you can even use markdown files if you so wish. Styledown is a node package, and is available on npm as styledown.

Documenting your CSS with Styledown is a simple as follows:

/***
 * Buttons:
 */

/**
 * Button:
 * `button` - Button stylings for default sbittons on the sitee
 *
 *     @example
 *     button Standard button
 */

The first comment acts as the header, so in this case we are documenting our buttons. A file can contain multiple headers so you don’t have to worry too much about splitting your Sass up into lots of partials. We can then add comments throughout our CSS to give a description and example of the styles. The example part of the comment can be written as either Jade or HTML. The only required thing which can trip you up is the first line of the block you are documenting, in this case Button has to end with a semi-colon (:).

On top of adding comments to your CSS styledown allows you to have a config file, this file is markdown and lets you define what will be output in the head/body of the generated HTML file.

Generating the styleguide is as simple as running the following from your command line, assuming you have install the package globally.

styledown scss/**/*.scss config.md > index.html

If you are using gulp as your build tool you there is a gulp-styledown module, makes things nicer if you want to build the styleguide for each change. I recently added the gulp-styledown module to a new project and have the style guide generating on save of any .scss file.

I am running styledown on my little CSS framework I use for personal projects, it’s more a big reset and normalize in one. You can see the source on Github, or view the styleguide at flucss.com.

The beginning of Podcasts

podcast-covers

Recently I’ve started to really get into listening podcasts more and more, I am currently subscribed to 5 different ones that I take the time to ensure I listen to all new episodes.

Podcasts have been around for a while now, but I never really got into them until I found the app Overcast for iOS. The number 1 feature I use in the app is the ability to speed up the playback. This is amazing for listening to long podcasts, especially ones over half an hour long. I always thought I don’t have the time to listen to people talk for an hour, and times that by a few podcasts that’s a lot of time in a week to listen to podcasts. I use the 1.5x setting the most, that seems to be the best for me, even when the speaking gets a little fast form the podcaster it’s still understandable for me, anything more an it sounds like chipmunks squeaking.

Over the past few months I’ve gradually increased my subscribed podcasts up and regularly listen to podcasts on a weekly basis. It also helps that in Overcast you can subscribe to new episodes of a podcast and be notified of new episodes, this helps me keep up to date and not forget about episodes.

My current regular podcasts are:

I also listen to some episodes of the following, but not fully subscribed as of yet

What podcasts do you listen to? What would you recommend? Tweet me.