Initially I was asked to do a 2 hour talk on how to study effectively as part time learner. The talk was
organized by my alumni where I studied part time. All in I have been a “full time” part time learner for
more than 8 years, so when they asked me to share my experience, I replied, “ always a pleasure!.”
I typed down all what I know on tricks, practices and things to do to be effective. I even casually ask some
other part-time learners that I met in my profession. Then I realized to be successful it has a lot to do with
personal effectiveness. Then I created this version with more emphasis to our daily things like family,
work, and personal as well as part time learner.
Why I choose Joker? Simple. Because people take joker very lightly and never serious. But when you asked
a joker what he thinks of himself – on the contrary joker takes things and his jokes very seriously. You
know sometimes, when you tell someone about your dreams, they said, “joker la you” – (malaysian slang
to – you must be kidding! Or not impossible!”). I got several of those when I was starting my part time
study and all sorts of things from some people. Even my x-boss also twice said, “your course must be a
fraud!” literally means he doesn’t think I can do it or impossible for someone like me to achieve for myself.
But what I did differently? I followed my joker instinct, to take things seriously, one “joke” at a time,
patience and of course, have the last laugh!
Hope you find this guide useful and meaningful to you as well. Download and share out. For some
skeptics, what I shared here may just jokes to fool people around, but ask around from my friends what
they think of me – they are likely to say don’t play around with this joker!! Cheerz! ☺
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 3
The title is self explanatory. This guide intention is to democratize the know-how to be effective, at least at
the basic level. I have met many highly effective people in many formats. Some are business people,
students, team leaders, project managers, professors and politicians. There are several key traits they have
in common, and you probably have found these in some personal development or motivation books. But,
what I shared here is based on my personal experiences, observations, hardships and lessons from my
For those who know me, they surely understand what I have gone through and still going through. I am
not rich, yet, but I certainly a lot happier now. I get to have enough time for things that matters to me. I
complain so much less because I accomplished most things that I do. The content is local but the
applications are globally accepted because the more I read and pay attention to effectiveness, the more I
realized and found many of the ‘secrets’ are things that I already do.
While at first I thought it was just accidental, but as soon as I accepted the fact that there are actually rules
that need to be obeyed and followed, I started to put myself to test it out. Of course, I got my pocket and
fingers burnt few times before the rules ‘stabilized’. You know just like when you first time get to sneak out
your dad’s motorbike, you rammed the bike like you will never get another chance and hopeful to
maximize the long-awaited opportunity. Yeah, that’s how it feels and yes, I got into accidents. The next
round, you are a little but patience. ☺
This guide is for everybody. Effectiveness not to be mistaken with efficiencies. I am not going to deal with
it here. The primary goal is to share these rules to as many people, to democratize this knowledge so more
people can start to become effective. This world needs more of us to do right things, more often to get
more results. And its not funny! :P
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 4
1. Find Your Purpose.
Often we do things just because we have to do it, just like we live because we
were born, like we have a child just because everybody has, and we go to work
for money and to live.
A purpose is a bigger goal that inspire you to do things more than just the
work itself. The work just the vehicle for you to achieve your purpose.
But don’t worry because purpose is not in-born. I don’t believe anyone that
say things like, “I know my purpose is to unite people since I was 8 years old.”
or “I remember asking my mum when I was 9 years old why she work for
money” – BS!
To find your purpose you have to keep looking for it. You have to be
continuously evaluating your work quality, assess your honesty and work hard
Your purpose has to be something meaningful to you and people around you, if
possible to the society. Don’t worry so much if society doesn’t sees it that way
because it really takes time to change people, but change one people at a
time. It begins with changing yourself.
Just like NTV7 tagline, “when you are happy, it shows!” ☺
My purpose is to democratize knowledge and from there I want to infect
change through education and knowledge. What’s your’s?
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 5
2. Find Your Vehicle.
Once your found your purpose you need a vehicle to carry you to your goals or
purpose. My advice is to take any vehicle you have and at your disposal.
Stop worrying about what comes next or try to think too far ahead. Because
things might change and along the way you can always change the vehicle.
Because some of them only available to you when you reach certain level.
James Allen once said, “Fixed end, varying means.”
Let say you want to become a better worker, start by performing at your
current job. So the vehicle here is “your job”. A lot of people don’t see their job
as a vehicle to success. They see it as place to “cari makan” (for wages) and
take it lightly.
They complaint a lot on things and about other people. They perform poorly
and relate their lackadaisical attitude because “others also like that”. This is a
wrong thinking and sure fail strategy.
Start taking your work seriously, ask for more tasks, involve yourself with more
people and deliver exceptional results. You might feel underpaid because you
may be assigned other people’s job, but when you get to do your bosses’s job,
don’t you think you’ll be ready to become a boss?
Find a vehicle, start with your current job. If you are still studying, then study
well. You can afford to play but only after you labour enough at work and
Do it for 5 years, and you will see immense results and how fast you grow!
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 6
3. Learn to Be Effective.
Let say you decided to work hard and ask for extra tasks, you need to be super
effective because otherwise you will bog down with tonnes of unsettled work,
not to mention other people’s work. While work never stops, each work must
have a closure and then only you can focus on other work. Whatever you start,
you must work it until completion.
Effectiveness can be learned, that’s the good thing. It is in-born. Otherwise
how can you explain someone rags to riches people? These are effective
people +++. You just have to put extra passion into it. Passionately effective!
For example while driving you can put on your podcasts or cd to catch up on
digital learning stuffs, read on project papers while waiting in jam, call some
customers while waiting for your next meeting, or think about your assignment
question while driving.
Another simple way (but hard for some), is to wake up early. Join the 5 am or 6
am club. When you wake up early, you will quickly gain 2-3 hours of solid time
to focus. You definitely ahead of others by default.
Always carry a notepad (buku 555) or Notes apps on iPhone to jot things down.
I always write down things to do on daily basis – RTDL (Real To Do List)
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 7
4. Talk Less, Listen More.
This is hard to do. Imagine you already know your purpose and you read
a lot, there is always tendency to talk more and listen less. It doesn’t
mean you cannot talk at all, because there is a saying, “ when you talk
too much, chances are you probably talking non-sense”.
You need to learn to listen, not hear. Listen is deeper and more
meaningful where it affects our behaviour. Listening is a skill and can be
learned too. Some say when you talk with someone there is not just
two conversations, but there is a third one. Where? In your mind.
When listening, you need to pay attention to the person and most
importantly be focus. People know when you fake it. Especially as you
grow into leadership role, being able to listen is really an added
advantage. Many leaders listening skills become disabled because they
are used to give instruction and orders.
Modern leadership requires leader to become good listener because
the workforce today is getting smarter and well educated.
If you are not yet a leader, when you listen pay attention to your boss or
client, write down what you hear and check again before the meeting
ends. Listen! Listen! Listen! www.marketingplanbook.com
5. Over Communicate.
Communication is extremely difficult. Therefore always over communicate. You
need to this to everybody you come in contact with especially if you want to
get things done.
No one like orders or being told what to do. At work, you need to play your
designated role. But whatever it is, you got to make sure people understand
what you want. Email is the worst medium to communicate. Humans are social
being, face to face still the best or maybe its just a phone call away.
At home, these people are the backbone of your family. Talk to them often,
show that you care. Guys, I know you are busy making money, but allocate
time to talk and share things out.
For ladies, start talking on a piece of paper. Nagging wont solve problem.
When you write, you tend to trim the emotional bit and straight to the point. It
is the ‘emo’ part that cloud your concerns, so write your piece and solve the
Especially if you are studying part time, you are busy with a lot of additional
responsibilities, sometimes your family get left out by accident. Over
communicate ladies and gentlemen!
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 9
Notice of the various
LIFE we might have?
You got to
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 10
6. Do Your Homework.
Nobody likes homework, schoolchildren included. As adult, the freedom you have
is a curse. Why? Because you have to self-regulate and self-discipline.
Let say at work, you are tasked to initiate a project, often bosses will only tell you
one or two lines and the rest you got to figure it out. I have seen many resisted to
find the rest of the task because you got to do homework. Things like researching,
digging, asking and reading.
This is even harder for new generation especially The Millennials (Gen Y, X and
Millenium), because they are not accustomed to get things the hard way. They are
used to be spoonfed or ‘guided’. You have got to change if you are in this
Nonetheless those people that do homework, there are always ahead. Yeah, some
says they need to sacrifice sleep time but Benjamin Franklin said, “I’ll have ample
time to sleep when I am dead!”.
When you do your homework, you are always prepared. No one can screw you if
you are prepared. In fact, I observe just by being always prepared, you are already
ahead of many people (even before you open your mouth to speak!) What an
When I talk to senior managers, they validated my observation, ‘we are on the
lookout to find people that is always prepared, but there are not many of them. So
whenever we see them, we will take care of them.’
As part time learner, you will have to do a lot of homework. It helps you to become
effective, efficient and more organized. Come on, nobody dies of hard work!
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 11
7. Know Your Strengths.
You only know your strengths when you put yourself to test. Otherwise how else? But
often many people are so afraid to even try because fear of making mistakes.
Consequently you will not know what are your real strengths. Mistakes are good, but
make sure you always make new mistakes, then you will learn.
At work, your strengths are not things like punctuality, honesty, resourceful, hard
working or well-educated. Those are basic needs at work place nowadays. If you don’t
have them, you will not get employed.
Strengths are skills such as creative, diligence, collaborative, get things done,
communicator, innovator, strategic thinker, networker or presenter. Strengths can only
be useful and ‘commercialize’ when you are so good at it and no one can copy. It
becomes exclusively your’s. Therefore don’t worry if you only have few strengths but
make sure you damn good at it, a specialist.
It come with years of training and making mistakes. Always put it to test at different
dimension to make it more effective and efficient. You will become well rounded too.
But just words of caution, ‘its not the time you spend but the results you produce’. Say
after few years sharpening your strengths, you have to start seeing results. It means,
you are supposed to reap the benefits. If you don’t, then something is not right.
Focusing on results than hours has the added benefit of allowing a better balance
between family and work. Identify your strengths and start today.
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 12
8. Self Leadership, Self Management.
There is a saying, ‘to get things done, just give it to busy people’. And they say, busy people
has the most time. You and I know everybody has 24 hours but some achieve more and
Successful people are effective people. They do it by taking charge of their own life; self lead
and self manage. They get more things done on time, they don’t procrastinate or waste time
They know how to whip and slap their own face when they are down. Even when they are
down, they are fast enough to get up and move on. It takes years of practice and know-how.
Because some successful people are not accessible to many of us.
You can apply RTDL (Real To Do List) where you list down all the things you need to do for
the day. Slowly you strike them off when done. You will be surprised you can get a lot of
things done, on time. But you need to practice this and make it a habit.
You can plan anything including your own self development. Don’t delegate important thing
like this to other people. Lead a life that will contribute to your purpose and life goals.
This is not just on material stuffs, this include your sleep and food intakes. Some people are
extremely productive at work but lousy eater and not keeping themselves fit. This is not
good in the long term. Take ownership of your own life.
At work, be the one to chase your boss for things. Of course, when you punch someone,
expect a punch back! ☺ Because you are always prepared, why worry? You will take control
back of your life. bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 13
9. Eat, Read, Think.
If you notice all the three are consumed for the benefit of something else. Eat for your
body, Read for your mind and Think for wisdom. Many people only Eat, little Read and a
lot less Think. When overdo any of it, life will be imbalance. Do it delicately your life will
be in harmony.
When you Read, be sure to pick up something that will contribute to your strengths. Don’t
waste time in the world to fix weaknesses, because it balanced-out when your strengths
When you Think, be sure to concentrate. Don’t let your thoughts wander and cram it in
your head. I suggest when you Think, write it down. You will soon find that thoughts can
be organized on paper, but not in the mind.
At work, Read and Think will definitely give you the transporter to greater promotion and
roles. Of course $$$$ too! As part time learner, you will appreciate how much your
learning are so intricate with your work life. You will find relevance and it makes learning
a lot easier.
Although it looks like you are doing a lot of things, you must make sure to do it one at a
time. Multi-tasking helps to start something but hardly help you to finish it.
Plan your time, use RTDL to Read and Think. The best of course in the early morning.
Because at this time you can concentrate and focus. It is easy to get distracted. Begin with
30 minutes, once a week. Then slowlywww.marketingplanbook.com robbed of lost years, because
increase it. Don’t feel 14
you can always start anew today.
“The person you become
tomorrow has a lot to do with
the books you read today.”
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 15
10. Learn to Write.
You got to do this more if you are part time learner. Often assignments are plagiarized
from textbooks (I have seen this including PhD papers), internet or someone else’s papers.
If you are lucky, you score but you don’t learn anything. Or you will be charged under
plagiarism policy from university.
Writing is an important skill. There is a saying, ‘Words are double edge swords’. Hitler is so
good at it and he writes a lot before he even become a leader. Same to many of our dear
leaders, for example Tun Dr Mahathir, ex-Premiere of Malaysia, where he started column
writing under pseudo Che Det years before he enters politics. So, learn how to write.
Other examples of writing including stories, poems and column writing. Technology has
democratize exclusivity in personal writing with the invention of blogging. And its free!
Writing is about translating your thoughts into ideas on paper so others can know you
better. It is a form of communication. It takes years of practice to write properly with
context and meaning. With writing, you can write this type of materials and share it with
People will benefit, makes their life better and slowly make the world a better place. I
started writing about 5 years ago and gaining the benefit of it. It trains your brain how to
organize several thoughts together and see the ‘big picture’.
Your brain will try to make sense of the ideas before you translate it into writing. If you
think writing is easy, take a pen and paper now and write about yourself. You mean you
don’t know about yourself? (IbitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com what to write now! See, learn
know you are thinking about 16
to write friends!
11. Run Your Own Race.
Life is not a race because there is no finishing line, but often we live our life as if in a race.
This wisdom I borrow from Robin Sharma where he said, we often getting so obsessed or
distracted to what others are doing then focusing on what we can do. You do the same?
In life, you need to have the ‘selfishness’ and ‘intellectual ignorance’ to become
successful. Because there is always someone says something about you and your
activities. Sometimes they are people whom you trusted or believe in. Just smile at them
and persevere. After all you keep your promise to deliver what they expect from you at
work right? You have been diligence in your duty, so no worries.
At work you probably disturbed by your colleagues promotion or it gets even tough if you
are the longer-serving staff,. You retaliated by slowing down your work. When you do this,
you send a message that you are actually lousy and they have just promoted the right
staff! I suggest you not to respond but work harder. Pay attention to your work.
Another, you sometimes may get too obsessed about materialistic stuffs like bigger cars,
houses, antiques, watches, jewelleries or things that others have. Don’t be. You can afford
it too when you become effective at your life. These are just symbols of happiness, but
often filled with emptiness if you gain it from wrongful sources.
Learn to stick to your purpose and life goals. No matter what obstacles you face or critics
you hear, always stick to the game. Remember you can always change the vehicle to get
there. What’s important that you know you are ambitious but grounded.
Your life is about you, so run your own race and set your own rules and unleash the
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 17
power within. You will be a lot happier. Run your own race!
12. Goal Is Gold.
Billions of people living now have no clue what their life goals are; they are purposeless.
Often when asked, they said to live happily but they don’t know what ‘vehicle’ they want
to use. They wander hoping someone or the universe will show it to them. It wont.
Simply because there is no goal set, thus what is there to chase? Start setting your goals.
Let say you find it difficult to find your life goals, start by looking shorter term say 3
months, 6 months or 12 months. Don’t worry until 3-5 years because things will change
dramatically when you start doing some of the suggestions here, so your long term will
have to change as well.
At work you should set goals so you get things done within reasonable time frame. At
home you should set goals so you spend quality time with your family. Recall how
sometimes goal-less weekend passed by so fast and empty? Start setting goal now.
When you already know your purpose, you will realize that you have a lot to do as if you
already missed the bus. But my advise is to stay relax and calm, just do something now
and let life takes its own course.
As part time learner, you need to set your performance goals. You also got to ask yourself
often whether your goals achievable or not. Don’t risk everything in life for unattainable
goals. Small wins for long time do better!
When you already have goals, give it time to breathe and give it space to grow. Be passion
and patience always.
You can start with PEISSMN to set Goal Is Gold (GIG)!
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 18
• What do you want to achieve with your
• Where do you seek emotional stability?
• What do you want to do to achieve greater
Intellectual intellectual capacity?
• How do you plan to socialize/network?
• What are your values system and belief?
• What do you want to achieve materially?
• What are your key actions to attain all your
Next Action goals?
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 19
13. Monitor Progress.
When you are starting new, most of the time you will stumble with some challenges. This
applies to any breakthroughs where there has to be mistakes or corrective measures to be
taken along the way. Monitoring your own progress will do the job.
At work you probably have your boss to monitor you but unless you are happy about, I
think it’s a lot happier to monitor your own. Don’t think by just doing what your boss
wants is enough, you need to do it because you know its important and meaningful to
you. As you are doing that, you have to deliver what’s expected of you.
I have encountered new generation executives where they struggle to ‘fight injustice’
from their bosses, but they don’t deliver what’s expected from them. You should deliver
first then fight for you freedom. Then people will respect you. Under promise, over
Effective people always look for ways to improve, they do it by monitoring progress. Here
you will discover better ways to do things, innovation breeds, creative juice squeezed,
performance increases and best of all you gain freedom.
When you monitor progress, you shake up your comfort zone. You are always moving and
nudging towards your goals and purpose. Nevertheless, don’t get too busy monitoring,
because you got to give it some time for it to ‘progress’.
Let say things don’t go to your own way, do not hesitate to make correction. Nothing to
shame about. As part time learner, there is always tendency to have yo-yo performance
therefore you need to pay attention to what elements contributing to such outcomes.
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 20
Monitoring progress gives you higher chance of success!
14. Always KISS.
Here KISS means Keep It Simple and Sustainable. Do not spend more time than you
should or need for all my suggestions. The ultimate goal is to become more effective in
your life and achieving your life purpose.
As you are doing it and you think there is a better way and fits you well, do that. At the
same time do not become too complicated, because the success is in the repetition. Just
like you train your muscle, it is the cycling everyday for 30 minutes for 10 years that keep
you fit. So keep it sustainable. You have a lot other responsibilities.
Even at work, don’t get too stressed or bogged down with work until you get nervous
breakdown or panic attack. Know your limitations but always pursue the actions. If you
are stuck with problems, seek help or take five. Chill! Sometimes I don’t pick up any call
during weekend. I left my phone when I go weekend classes. The world is not going to
end if you don’t answer. But like I said, make sure you have met what’s expected from
As part time learner, stick to your plan. Don’t over study until you become worried when
you are on recreation or holidays. Hey, your body needs break (brake!) too! When you
panic you will lose out all you have studied right? Keep cool.
Human being tends to do things abruptly and expect fast results. Most of the time it
becomes worse off than where it started. You can see this in crash diet, bulimic disease,
muscle torn, anemia and so on. Keep It Simple and Sustainable.
I remember the advice of one of my professors, ‘When you do your PhD, be focus. Don’t
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 21
try to save the world, KISS!’
15. Learn to Collaborate.
John Rambo is fiction, just like any other super heroes. To become effective you need to
work with people. When working with people, just like eating salted fish ‘you got to
tolerate the saltiness’. Only then you will enjoy it.
A lot of people at work like to hoard information, they do it so they can become super
heroes. They want to be seen as the savior but in today’s business no man is an island. If
you are, you will be put in the cold storage. Some bosses also need to learn to
collaborate. I have seen some want to be the only champion, then staffs will leave you.
You have to do back things that you shouldn’t be doing as a boss.
The world has so much knowledge available to everyone at a fraction or free. The
knowledge that you have is unlikely to cover the entire world’s. Therefore as knowledge
worker you need to tap other people’s knowledge to get things done.
The smarter ones learn how to work with others. Along the way you will also learn
leadership, management and so on. These are highly sought business skills for today’s and
Especially when work now is organized inter-departmental or by matrix structure or by
projects, it is impossible to do it alone. Collaboration also stimulates innovation and
creativity. Therefore you should learn how to become effective collaborator. Some of my
suggestions in these slides would give you some clues.
As part time learner you also need to learn how to take advantage of collaborating with
others. Don’t always think about networking, think about big ideas. Big ideas only come
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 22
out when minds are put together.
I hope you already some ideas on how to put all these rules in practice. Suggestions I have given just as
guide based on my personal experiences and observations. These rules are not exhaustive, in fact there
are a lot more. I keep it for my next publication. It is not how much you learn or know, it is about how
much you practice what you know and learn into your life. Some know a lot but reluctant to apply it
themselves, instead asking others to do it. They set rules for people to follow and punish if they don’t.
Well, for those who persevere take these people as lessons in life. Some of them financially successful, so
they sometimes forget. But it is not our job to teach them lesson.
This life is about our ownself. Not even about family, kids, parents, neighbours or anybody. Of course it
sounds scary or selfish, but this is the truth. To cut this short, I suggest you to apply all these rules and you
will be the best judge of your own doings and of course results. Sooner or later you would agree that will
be a lot happier and more importantly more meaningful.
“life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller
Brickbats please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 24
Joker’s Guide to Personal Effectiveness
Fifteen Rules for Better Life!
bitesNOTES www.marketingplanbook.com 25
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