Dec 042012

All too often I hear people complain about how distracting social media is. That’s not a fair comment, because there are far greater distractions like interruptions of a phone call or a person that stops by your desk (office, or cubicle), and wouldn’t you know it, that happens right when you’re getting traction on your work. What social media might be doing is adding and compounding the issue of distractions and interruptions that derail us from productive work.

The biggest time-waster at work is inefficient meetings (only 8% say that meetings are 100% productive).
And depending on who you ask (or survey), the numbers may differ. This different survey puts more blame of time-wasting on the digital rather than the physical:

… at companies with more than 1,000 employees, these kinds of digital distractions can waste more than $10 million each year.

And in this social media-obsessed age, typical water cooler banter and pointless meetings are no longer the greatest time-wasters at work. Almost 60% of workplace distractions involve social networks, text messaging, IMs or email. In fact, navigating between multiple tabs and windows to keep an eye on a wide variety of apps is a huge distraction in itself.

In the end, almost half of the employees in this study said they worked just 15 minutes or less without getting interrupted or distracted. More than half said they wasted at least one hour every day day due to distraction.

That’s the data. Data doesn’t motivate nor inspire you to action, the kind of behavior modification and change in lifestyle you need to eliminate the distraction of social media. Social media doesn’t have to control you. You have to choose and decide to be in control of your time and your social media usage.

I know people who’ve punted and just say no to social media. Is that really the solution? That is a solution, though it is not a very relevant one for those of us who do want to be effective in connecting with people near and far by using social media. Get smart with engaging the culture and being immersed in the culture, not by over-reacting by separating and unplugging in fear.

At the core of it all, methinks, it is about how you make the conscious choice of using your time moment by moment. (Naturally-born planners have it made in this respect; but I’m not one of them.) My top lifehacks on social media and personal tech: Turn off alerts and notifications; check email only 3 times a day; get a 2nd monitor (to cut down window-switching time). And, one more thing, I’m experimenting with: turn off the smartphone for time blocks.

Some other thoughts + insights + reflections + wisdom::

#video Joe Kraus made these remarks about our Constant Culture of Distraction and the crisis of attention, being disconnected, and losing ourselves

Minimizing Distractions: Managing Your Work Environment

We all face distractions on a daily basis. Distractions not only lower our productivity, they also increase our stress.

You probably already know what distracts you the most – phone calls, emails, instant messages, Internet browsing, interrupting co-workers, and so on. Strategies like scheduling email checks, turning off your phone, and leaving the office for a quieter environment may eliminate distractions so that you get more done.

Great tips abound for how to keep social media from being distracting:

Take Control of Your E-mail, Tame the Web to be More Focused, Change Your Work Environment to Shore Up Productivity

Silence Your Smartphone, Mute Your Inbox, The Nuclear Option

For more reflection and consideration:

Is Being Permanently Connected to Social Networks Good?

There’s an ebook by Leo Babauta focus : a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction that you can get in a free and paid version.

Jun 292012

A leading influencer of our time, Seth Godin, can do it both, short-form blogging, long form articles, speeches, books. Knowing how to mix it up is just one more dimension of his success and influence. Yet he doesn’t go super short-form aka microblogging with twittering and facebooking. That’s to say you don’t have to use every social network that exists, or even the most popular ones.

What social media has opened up for all of us is that anyone and everyone has a voice that has the potential to be heard around the world instantly, globally, and even permanently. And, what it’s exacerbated the organzational and professional world that has had it’s hand forced to be more humanized and transparent, to be more personal about its services, products, initiatives, and endeavors. There are a few exceptions, like Apple or Target, but they’ve carved out other ways to be highly personable, high-touch for high-tech times.

Get personal. Come out of hiding. The line between professional life and personal life is being erased.

May 072012

I’m authoring a book about episodes in my life and thought I’d share the work in progress while it’s in progress. The idea of the book is to honestly share about (some of the) struggles in my life in a transparent and vulnerable way so that people, especially Asian Americans, can know that they’re not alone in their struggles. I also intend for this to be an example of how to come out from hiding behind shame and to finding courage to be vulnerable, getting healing, and helping others.

Though I wasn’t able to list it on Amazon as a free ebook (but I did list my eBook there for easier download), I can post it here as a free download.

For me, it’s about the speed to publish. (so not everything is perfectly formatted; and this also gives me an opportunity for me to experiment and to learn digital publishing on different platforms)

The e-book that’s I’ve just published is a compilation of blog posts from my 12 years of blogging that will serve as the starting point for telling more about my life. I’ve dubbed it a “chronological edition” because the blog posts are ordered chronologically, and the book title is tentative. In the final edition, I think the ebook’s length will more than double in size, as I’ll be expanding on a number of issues, including: depression, bipolar disorder, career choices, and identity formation. As a bunch of blog posts, the ebook is obviously disjointed and not an easy read.

I realize that I don’t have a most sensational life story like some others who’ve  been published, be it a courageous battle with disease, growing up in adverse circumstances, turning from a life of drugs and/or crime, or going from rags to riches. On the one hand, I see myself as an average guy, and yet, I also know I’m terribly unconventional so it’s taken many years to begin to feel comfortable in my own skin.

My thinking about the book is to just tell the story and avoid being prescriptive. In that sense, it won’t be in the genre of self-help nor inspirational. The telling of the story itself is the point. Maybe this is a new genre? But I am eager to hear feedback from you readers as to how I can better shape this ebook to be of more help to people.

In the ebook, I explain more of why I’m writing this ebook and what’s prompted me to author at this stage in my life. So, please do download it, read it, and provide much needed feedback. Your voice matters!

Whether the final edition will be published by a traditional publisher or if I’ll be self-publishing is yet to be determined. Either way, it will be published and not perish.

In the 21st century, what ought to be published is no longer is prohibited by the market. (others who have self published: Ben Franklin, Ezra Pound, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Paine, Jane Austen, Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Virginia Woolf)  And, I will make the final edition available in digital and print formats.

Jul 012011

Found this set of 5 questions in my inbox from a new visitor to my website / blog.

I have few questions that I would like to ask:
1. Who is your primary audience for the website?
2. What is the vision of the website?
3. What is the mission of the website?
4. Where do you want to take your audience to?
5. What would be the primary reason why your audience member should log on to this website at least once per week?

Good questions. Essential questions for an organization. Good questions for people who want to have a personal mission statement or life plan.

I honestly do not think in those categories for myself. So I don’t readily have answers to offer along those lines. Nothing to hide. No secret agenda.

What I can describe is why I put time and energy into a website and blog, when a majority of other people choose to not. I know there are other people who won’t start a website or blog without answers for these 5 questions, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Why do I blog? Because I can. This website and blog is an overflow of my being and a part of expressing who I am and what I think about.

I’m an ideas guy. I have lots of ideas, and they don’t do me much good if I just keep them to myself. So I share them freely. Bringing things to light. That’s what’s wonderful about the internet, people can share freely, and it can benefit 100s and 1000s.

I started blogging 12 years ago by sharing about my life. Back then it wasn’t called blogging, it was an online journal, a digital diary. My intent is to live my life as an open book with no pretense, and in so doing, my hope is that people can see how Christ has made a difference in and through my life, warts and all. I pace myself at 2 to 3 blog posts per week, and I don’t force it. If it doesn’t come, or if I don’t have the muse’s inspiration, I’ll miss a blog post or 2. (And that’s okay. Life is about grace, not performance, not a competition, not coercion.)

I share stuff on my website, lots of information and links. I post information that I’m interested in — things that don’t get enough attention and yet are important to me. There are plenty of websites and blogs for topics like news, tech, celebrity gossip, politics, business… and some of them make good money doing that, because lots of people are interested in those things. (So if you happen to be interested in a topic that lots of other people are interested in, you can make good money. If not, then, not so much.)

I’ll let you in on the back stories to why I built these destination web pages (in a barren land) and/or recurring themes of my blog:

multiethnic church – too many churches in America are unintentionally segregated. They’re stuck and they need help. Lots of help. This page has links that can help. There are other goodies out there now, good.

Asian American ministry – faith has to be contextualized and we’ve got too many issues in our next gen Asian American context that go unpublished, when the internet could be giving voice to our generation, empowering us, breaking stereotypes, giving grace and healing, connecting us for collaboration..

Tim Keller – before he became a popular author and conference speaker, he had pastored for years, and his sermons were a master mix of intelligence (not dumbed-down), culturally astute (not demonizing), and graciously kind (not belligerent).. I was introduced to him by a friend back in the early 2000s, and now that there are others pointing to his resources, I can move on to other topics..

Yogurtland – their website is built-in Flash. That makes them invisible to most search engines and to iPads and iPhones. I love their self-serve FroYo. They deserve to be visible and findable. People find my Yogurtland fan page, and I even get calls from people who want to open a franchise. I have not gotten any calls from headquarters, yet. (I could def kick up their social media strategy.)

These are some of those back stories. Any other ones you’d like to know?

So people find my website or my blog when they’re looking for an important topic that isn’t getting enough airplay on the web. Oh, and I should mention that I also love to experiment + discover new web apps that the average person could be using one day, and new ideas that can impact society and church. Could this be called thought leadership? Maybe. Maybe not.

I’d like to think people come back because they want to see what I’m thinking, what I’ve discovered, or what’s going on in my life. I know my Mom has my website as her home page. But other than that, I leave it up to the reader to choose their own reasons. I won’t impose or prescribe what people should do with all this info. I think my readers are smart enough to figure it out for their context.

Jun 132011

Change is possible. Absolutely. But not totally. And, personal change doesn’t happen alone. People can change for the better. No one is stuck. They aren’t just the way they are. I believe and I have hope.

Essentially 2 questions determine someone’s possibility of changing and becoming a better person. 1. Does the person want to grow? 2. Will the person receive help? Answering affirmatively to both are the first steps towards a new life. If there’s resistance to either, then the odds are really low. Saying yes opens a world of possibilities.

Yes, every person has a particular personality. Some more than others. Acceptance of what is and who a person is does not stop with that. A person’s personality and habits is not static and set in concrete.

To be open to change is not to say a person is not good enough. Change is to say that a person is already valuable and has more capacity for good and for life. Admitting there’s room for growth is a humble posture to say I’m not perfect and I need help. Change is not easy. We need all the help we can get. I’ll take all the help I can get.

And where does this help come from? Other people who accept you and those who can give and speak grace into your life. That’ll get you on the way. To use the language of 12 Steps and of the faith community, ultimately, the power to change comes from the higher power greater than you and I, it comes from God.

Mar 302011

What happens when someone does a web search on your name? Are you telling your own story or is someone else? Don’t let others hijack your name as a top result on search engines and taint your reputation by presenting you in a less than flattering light.

You have to have a web presence. Tell your own story. Having a personal website (or blog) is being called personal branding. There are books and many articles written about why it’s important. Finding examples is sorta scattered all over the web. Here’s 5 basic types of personal websites to help visualize what your web presence could look like:

1. single web page – A basic web presence; a landing page; a digital business card:

2. website + blog combo – the home page has a plethora of features along with most recent blog entries:

3. personal blog – blog-centric, the most recent blog entry is prominently displayed, maybe with extra pages to describe services and/or podcasts and/or whatever:

4. brochure with a blog – a splash/landing page with basic info and a blog (some updated more often than others); the blog is on separate web page(s) than the home page:

5. business web site – website uses a company name rather than a personal name; typical of a freelancer with (usually) single person or a few people:

Since the home page of (practically) any website gets the most web traffic, so you’d want to emphasize what you think is most important to your website visitors. Any other comments you’d add?

Quick start tip: have something! If Google doesn’t see you, do you exist? If you’re able to keep a blog updated at least once a week, put that more prominently (#2 or #3); if you’d prefer to feature your services and updates are infrequent, #4 or #5 would fit you better.

Contact me for personal coaching about establishing your personal web presence, personal branding, and strategies for extending your online engagement.

Jan 222011

You’ve got a voice. You can publish. Anyone can publish.

Having said that, this doesn’t mean everyone should publish. What I am saying is that more of us should publish.

Posting something online no longer has to be only for business purposes. Set the plaguing questions aside and don’t worry about what to write or what to say. Don’t have to worry about how many readers or subscribers you have. It’s not a performance; not a competition. Just speak. Just write. Being knownable is better than being unknownable.

(This doesn’t mean you say anything and everying that crosses your mind. Posting online does mean writing or saying something that could be read or heard around the world. It is public. It is permanent.)

You’ve got a unique contribution to the world. Your story. Your voice. Your opinions. Just as your vote counts, your voice counts.

Making your voice and thoughts and feelings known, expressing it online, is a part of being human. It’s you being you.

What’s holding you back?

Oct 212010

Having an online presence and making your personal brand searchable in the online world is increasingly more essential than ever. It’s being called a digital business card, personal brand site, online presence, personal landing page, interactive contact card, or whatever. And when you don’t have the time & energy to maintain the content flow required of a website and blog, a static web page makes a better impression than a 4-page brochure website methinks.

The current trend to have a one-page website that gives a snapshot of who you are and how to connect with you, without being just another generic profile in the midst of a social network forest. I’ve said it this way: if people can’t find you on Google, do you exist? Well, of course you exist, but you’re missing a lot of (digital) street cred. (or, how about your company? your organization?)

As web apps become easier and easier to use by non-techies, a good number of web apps are coming online that create well-designed personal web pages that look great. So easy a caveman could do it. I’ve tried out about half of the ones I’ve found (mostly free or freemium) so far:

ht: 6 Online Business Card Tools To Spread Your Personal Brand @ + Five Best Personal Landing Pages @

Or, you could setup a self-hosted WordPress and use a theme designed specifically for a digital business card. There’s a free WordPress theme called Digital Business Card by @human3rror – see it in action at (cf. blog post by Cynthia Ware on how easy it is) or another personal branding web site – – uses Ipseity theme, also by @human3rror

Any others out there? Please add a comment.

Do you have a personal web page? Add your link in a comment >>

May 152010

I have 2 twitter feeds: @djchuang and @djchuang247. When I first forked my original @djchuang feed in July 2009, it was to keep my personal asides and live tweets at events from overflowing the home feed of 5,000+ followers. Didn’t think they wanted to know what I ate like @sherrysurratt does.

I’ve found my use of twitter to evolve over time, and here’s 2 tweaks I’ve made recently:

1. I follow more people and removed my 10% ratio cap. I used to follow no more than 10% of my number of followers, thinking I’d catch tweets of interest on my home feed. That’s not possible with 500 follows, much less 200, really.

The difference to follow or not to follow is whether someone can DM me or not. When I want a better chance of catching tweets from people I want to keep tabs on, I’ll use a twitter list. When I want to listen in to a convo, I’ll do a saved search on a hashtag and/or keyword.

2. I’m using my main twitter @djchuang for more replies and convo’s. I used to keep my tweets limited to retweets, making announcements, and sharing links + resources + quotes. These would be more obviously valuable to 1,000s. Yet, to only do the above makes it too much of a one-way broadcast rather than a two-way conversation.
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