Beyond the Rhetoric


Improving Productivity with Kanban Boards

February 27th, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Kanban Boards

One of the great benefits of being a freelance writer is that I get to explore not only topics where I already have some familiarity, but also those that are new to me. In researching these topics, I can learn a lot that can then be applied and leveraged in future projects. Indeed, an asset that I bring to the table is my somewhat eclectic body of knowledge.

And so, as I was going about creating a list of Kanban tools (some of which are free) for one of my clients, I had to first gain a fundamental understanding of the Kanban system. Now that I have, I can see how it could be useful in improving my day-to-day productivity as a work-from-home freelancer.

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On Biogenic, Sociogenic and Ideogenic Identity

February 26th, 2015 by Michael Kwan

One Moment in Time: Identity I I

When it comes to discussions of identity, many of us assume we have a unified, cohesive sense of self that we refer to as our identity. I am who I am. The fact of the matter, however, is that identity is far more complicated than that. Indeed, it goes well beyond the roles that we carry (e.g., father, husband, freelance writer) and the groups to which we self-identify (e.g., Canadian, Generation Y, gamer). We find ourselves in a constant battle with who we are and the decisions that we make.

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What’s Up Wednesdays: Full Nomad

February 25th, 2015 by Michael Kwan


When you are a writer, you can live and work practically anywhere in the world. Steffani Cameron is taking that philosophy to heart with her next adventure, which she is documenting on her new “Full Nomad” blog. In one of the first posts, she explains why she chose Croatia as the first destination for her upcoming journey. She says it’s like “the awkward teen on the verge of a promising adulthood.” That’s one way of putting it!

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On My Reading List (Early 2015 Edition)

February 24th, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Zen Pencils

Between all the responsibilities related to work, home and child-rearing, I haven’t had all that much free time to myself these last few months. Even so, I want to read more and the only way that I’ll be able to do that is if I grant myself the freedom to do so. To this end, while I am not entirely sure how long it will take me to finish reading all the books my current reading list, it is something that I endeavor to do.

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Last Week for 2014 RRSP Contributions (And How to Get $195 in Free Money)

February 23rd, 2015 by Michael Kwan

She Got a Lot Out of Those Physics and Shop Classes

Today’s post offers a couple of quick reminders for all my fellow Canadians. For better or for worse, we are fully ensconced in the middle of tax season now. While the deadline for submitting your income tax return isn’t for a couple of months, there is one important deadline that is only a week away. If you want to contribute to your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) for the 2014 tax year, you have until next Monday, March 2, 2015 to do so.

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Sunday Snippet: Poet Kathleen Norris

February 22nd, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Sunday Snippet: Kathleen Norris

“If we are lucky, we can give in and rest without feeling guilty. We can stop doing and concentrate on being.”

We all have our dreams and ambitions for what we want to achieve and what we want to get out of life. At the same time, we are burdened with the responsibilities of keeping roofs over our heads, food on the table and Internet access on our connected devices. The modern life is a stressful life, largely because we allow it to get so complex. What if we could just let it go?

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Grammar 101: Using “Per Se”

February 20th, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Grammar 101 with Michael Kwan

Having a spell checker integrated into your operating system, word processor or web browser seems like such a great idea. You can easily pick up on your errors and typos as you go along, ensuring that you have the right spelling for everything you write… except when you come across a term like “per se” and you are tempted to over-correct it to “per say.” And that would be wrong.

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Celebrate Chinese New Year with Red Pockets Music Video

February 19th, 2015 by Michael Kwan

Red Pockets

As a kid, three of my favorite days of the year were my birthday (naturally), Christmas and Chinese New Year. The one thing all three of these days had in common was that I would get red pockets from my elders. Sure, the more “Western” relatives could give me actual gifts on my birthday and Christmas, but come Chinese New Year, it’d be raining “lai see” or “hong bao.”

And these beautiful little red pockets would contain cash that I could then spend at the arcade… if my parents didn’t swipe them out from under me to put in my “college fund.”

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