30 posts found under,


This will be my last post of 2013. It has been a year of huge personal growth for the team at LLB, and I would like to share some of the insights we have picked up during the journey. Life-Life Balance is now nearly one year old and has over 100 posts, which add up to over 60,000 words. That’s about the length of a novel. Now whilst I say that in part to boast, I also say it because we never set out to write that much. We just committed to the pr [...]

KanbanFlow is an online project management tool that helps you visualise and collaborate with team members. KanbanFlow is made up of ‘boards’ for each project or work stream. The name, Kanban, refers to a method for managing knowledge work with anemphasis on just-in-time delivery while not overloading the team members.In thisapproach, the process, from definition of a task to its delivery to the customer, is displayed for participants to see a [...]

I’ve stumbled across a well designed index/flash card app called Anki. Check it out. The blurb on the site reads: Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it’s a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn. The desktop and Android versions are free. The iPhone app will cost you $25. Your progress syncs up across all de [...]

I have entered the idiot phase of my mandarin learning. I am no longer a total beginner. I actually understand some of what is being said around me, enough so that people now direct questions at me, and bother to talk to me. Occasionally, I am able to express basic opinions. Inevitably, and seemingly constantly, I struggle to understand. I incessantly ask for things to be repeated. I mispronounce simple words and phrases. In short, I am the idiot [...]

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. DMX (Just kidding, it’s Confucius) It has now been exactly one month since I moved to Beijing. I’d visited China a few times before I decided to take the plunge and come to live here, but the culture shock has still been noteworthy. This post sticks to LLB principles, where nearly every post we write aims to give the reader something valuable. However, I will probably be a l [...]

I recently stumbled across this interesting video about a 17-year who speaks 20 languages. Yup, 20. Check it out: Hyper-Polyglot Here are some things which stood out: The dude is obviously super-disciplined. His free time is language-learning time. His father mentions him studying 20 hours a week in a tone that suggests that is typical. No doubt the video hams up how much time he spends walking around immigrant communities to find native speakers [...]

I’ve been casually learning Mandarin for a while, nothing consistent, a patchwork of formal classes, conversation exchange meetups and holidays in China. As a native English speaker, and someone who speaks a couple of other European languages, I find Mandarin an interesting challenge. With its four tones and vast alphabet of characters, it is very alien and inaccessible. Obviously nothing takes the place of actually living in a country where your [...]

In my last post, I discussed the pros of meeting face-to-face with a native speaker to practice your target language often referred to as language exchange. If you’ve never done it before, here’s a guide to help you get started. 1. Arrange a meeting of at least one hour (for your first session at least – whilst you both find your feet a lot of time will be lost in small talk) Agree to spend half the time in your target language and then the other [...]

❝Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own ‒ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Speaking a foreign language can be incredibly fulfilling once you reach a certain level of fluency. The hardest part, though, is reaching that level.Everyone defines fluency differently. To me, spoken fluency involves speaking to a native with very little hesitation and having the ability to avoid correcting your mistakes mid-sentence. Maintain [...]

Goal setting is hard. It requires self-awareness, deep reflection, and a belief in yourself that you will succeed in the future. Many people have interests, desires and dreams, but find these hard to link together into actionable goals. I certainly find this hard. I have several projects that I want to work on, which compete for my time, motivation and effort. Recently I wrote about Paul Graham’s model of determination, and how this applies to su [...]