J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Make the Most of What You’ve Got: Articles on Personal Development, Time Management, Life Hacks, and More

Make the Most of What You’ve Got: Articles on Personal Development, Time Management, Life Hacks, and More

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Life’s better with the right tools.  The trick of course is, how do we fill our mental toolbox with the right ones.

Work and life can throw plenty of challenges at us.  Whether it’s how to master your time, play well with others, lead more effectively manage your emotions. deal with stress, learn faster, or make things happen, there is never a shortage of things to work on, problems to solve, things to learn, or things to improve.

That’s why I started Sources of Insight.  There are actually more than 800 articles at Sources of Insight with principles, patterns, practices, and hacks for leadership, personal development, time management, and more.  Now you can easily brows the collection:

The Story of Sources of Insight
A few years back, I carved out Sources of Insight to focus on personal effectiveness.   The purpose of the site is to help you make the most of what you’ve got.    I believe everybody deserves a chance at a better life.   I find that skill is the difference that makes the difference.

It’s wisdom at your finger tips   On Sources of Insight, I used the tag line “Stand on the Shoulders of Giants”, because the idea is to lift you with the world’s best wisdom.  I thought wouldn’t it be great to have a place that put the world’s best wisdom of the ages and modern sages in the palm of your hand.   Rather than randomly learn about some of the best quotes, or some of the best books, or some amazing people, why not consolidate these, and start to seed a garden of greatness … where the greatness is a metaphor for your potential and capability.

During my day job, as a Principal Program Manager, I drive patterns and practices for the cloud story in the Enterprise.   As you can imagine, it involves a lot of thought and people leadership, as well as influence without authority.  Aside from strategy and project management skills, it also requires a lot of skills in terms of emotional intelligence, goals, leadership, motivation, productivity, time management, and thinking.   It’s a continuous learning lab of extreme personal development.

I mentor a lot of people, and periodically coach teams, and give talks on my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.   The demand for this seems to keep going up as more people find themselves asked to do more with less, or struggling with how to flow value, or simply want to get an edge at work or in life. 

To keep up with the pace, and to innovate where it counts, I have the bad habit of regularly spending $300 a month on books.    I’ve learned how to read faster, and turn insight into action at a faster pace.   The rubber meets the road when I apply what I learn at work or in life to get results.   If you’re wondering how I build my best books lists, such as my Business Books list or my Personal Development Books, or my Leadership Books list … now you know.

It’s a tough job, but it needs to be done.

800+ Articles on Leadership, Personal Development, and Time Management
I’ve finally found a solution to make it easier for you to find more than just the tip of the iceberg.  On the Articles page, you will find a simple list of categories, along with some of the key articles within each category.    You can quickly cherry pick the ones you want to read, or you can drill into the category and explore for more.

This may look easy, sound easy, and be perfectly obvious now, but it actually took me a lot of testing to find a simple pattern for showing a lot of articles in a simple way.   I tested many combinations including auto-generated lists and showing all the articles, as well as building separate page per topic.   I like the pattern I settled on because it puts the core articles at your finger tips, while making it easy to find the rest.  I also like that now I can send somebody to a particular section and get them started with the right articles fast.

Here is a sampling of the article collection.   When you browse the actual Articles page, you will be able to dive into the articles or the categories.   It’s a lot of insight and action, right at your finger tips.

Career

  • 101 of the Greatest Insights and Actions for Work and Life
  • 6 Personality and Work Environment Types
  • Career Growth and Finding Your Way Forward
  • Passion Does not Exist in the Job, It Exists in Us
  • Proven Practices for Individual Contributors
  • Rapid Growth Fields and Your Career Success
  • The 20 Percent Spike
  • Meaningful Work is Hard
  • Think In Terms of an Hourly Rate
  • Thinking About Career Paths

Effectiveness

  • 101 Questions that Empower You
  • Be Effective, then Efficient
  • Can Effectiveness Be Learned?
  • Finding Your Process
  • If It’s Not Working, Change Your Approach
  • Luck and Success
  • Mentors are the Short Cuts
  • Motivation, Skills, and Feedback
  • The Hat of Effectiveness
  • The Way of Success

Emotional-Intelligence

  • Action Signals: Use Negative Emotions as a Call to Action
  • Argue Your Way to Optimism
  • Change Rumination or Pessimism to Defeat Depression
  • Don’t Sip from the Stream of Polluted Thoughts
  • How to Read Poetry to Expand Your Heart
  • Life Leaves a Mark
  • Positive Intelligence and PQ
  • Positive Thinking vs. Positive Action
  • Test Your Can’ts
  • Those Moments When You are Most Alive/a>

Fitness

  • 9 Ways to Add 12 Years to Your Life
  • 10 Years Younger
  • Blue Zones: The Healthiest Places on the Planet
  • Breathe With Skill to Dramatically Improve Your Health
  • Exercising Your Body Makes You Smarter
  • Larks, Owls and Hummingbirds
  • Lessons Learned from Bruce Lee
  • Archive of Fitness

Happiness

  • Enjoy the Struggle
  • Happiness Quotes
  • Keys for Skilled Happiness
  • The Two Flavors of Happiness
  • Low Frustration Tolerance
  • Positive Intelligence and PQ
  • Positive Thinking vs. Positive Action
  • Synthetic Happiness
  • When It’s Cold Shiver. When It’s Hot Sweat
  • Those Moments When You are Most Alive
  • Whiteboard Notes on Happiness

Interpersonal-Skills

  • 12 Practices for Improving Likeability
  • Apologize with Skill
  • Concession is Rhetorical Judo
  • Dialogue Debate and Discuss
  • Five Conflict Management Styles at a Glance
  • Know and Share Yourself Enough
  • Poor Communication isn’t the Source of Most Conflicts
  • The Iceberg of Conflict: A Lens for Conflict Management
  • The Art of Mental Judo
  • What’s Their Story
  • Win the Heart the Mind Follows

Leadership

  • 3 Stories Leaders Need to Tell
  • 10 Ways to Hold People Accountable
  • A Leaders is the Trustee of the Intangibles
  • Author a Distinctive Story
  • Balance Connection and Conviction
  • Boldness Has Genius, Magic, and Power in It
  • Leadership Checklist
  • Leadership Styles and Development Levels
  • Guide Your Path with Vision, Values, and Goals
  • What Executives at Microsoft Taught Me

Lessons-Learned

  • 10 Lessons Learned in Comedy by Craig Shoemaker
  • Lessons Learned from Bill Gates
  • Lessons Learned from Bruce Lee
  • Lessons Learned from Dad
  • Lessons Learned from Guy Kawasaki
  • Lessons Learned from John Wooden
  • Lessons Learned from Mom
  • Lessons Learned from Seth Godin
  • Lessons Learned from Steve Jobs
  • Marie Forleo on Lessons in Life

Life

  • How Will You Measure Your Life
  • How To Figure Out What You Really Want
  • Ikigai: The Reason for Which You Wake Up in the Morning
  • Life Frame
  • Life Leaves a Mark
  • My Top 10 Lessons in Life
  • Program Manager Skills for Life
  • The Business of Life
  • The Good Life
  • Skills to Pay the Bills and Lead a Better Life
  • What 16 Movies Teach Us About Life and Leadership

Motivation

  • 13 Motivation Techniques
  • 13 Negative Motivation Patterns
  • 25 Inspirational Movies
  • 101 Ways to Motivate Yourself and Others
  • Four Sources of Strength
  • Find Your Drive: The Keys to Motivation
  • It’s Not Motivation
  • McClelland’s Motivational Model
  • Three D’s for Motivation – Direction, Decision, and Dedication
  • Why Do We Procrastinate?

Personal-Development

  • 3 Keys to Lasting Change
  • 10 Keys to Changing a Habit
  • 10 Ways to Go from Good to Great
  • 10 Ways to Know Thyself
  • Build a Personal Knowledge Base of Success Stories, Insight, and Action to Improve Your Success
  • Emulate the Great
  • Finding Your Values
  • Improvement Frame
  • Know Your Rules to Be Successful
  • The Change Frame
  • You’re the Average of the 10 People You Spend Time With

Productivity

  • 30 Day Improvement Sprints
  • Monthly Planning with Agile Results
  • My Three Wins
  • Productivity Personas
  • Rituals for Results
  • Tickler List of the Mind
  • Use Three Stories to Drive Your Day
  • What’s Worth Doing Today?
  • Why Use Routines?
  • Write Things Down

Strengths

  • Choose Your Jobs Based on Strengths
  • Feel Strong All Week Long
  • Find Your Strengths Among Your Team
  • How To Find Your Strengths
  • Specialization is Nature’s Strategy for Winning
  • Strengths and Talents
  • Strength and Weakness
  • The Language of Strengths
  • What’s Your One-Liner Super Hero Power?
  • Why Strengths?

Thinking Skills

  • 3 Thinking Techniques to Improve Your Intellectual Horsepower
  • 10 Distorted Thinking Patterns
  • Five-Minute Thinks
  • Five Thinking Styles
  • Focus with Skill
  • How To Have a Beautiful Mind
  • How To Read Faster
  • How To Use Six Thinking Hats to Improve Your Thinking
  • Think of Yourself as a Thinker

Time-Management

  • 30 Day Boot Camp for Time Management
  • Agile Results for Time Management
  • Carve Out Time for What’s Important
  • Fix Time, Flex Scope
  • How To Use Timeboxing for Getting Results
  • The Secret of Time Management
  • Time Changes What’s Important
  • There is No Shortage of Time
  • Time is the Limiting Factor
  • Timeboxes, Rhythm, and Incremental Value