Microsoft has just created a new online tool that allows you to automate things. It is currently in preview but you can sign up at Microsoft Flow.

Once you sign up, you can set up automated work flows between different services. You can set that an SMS be sent to you when you get an email from a particular (very important) person.

Below is a screenshot of all the list of things you can automate. The list is constantly being updated with new things. Then I'll work us through a demo of automating an interesting task.

Here's how the SMS text notification work.

Somehow I got stuck setting my email so I couldn't complete it. Already set up my phone number.

Give the service a try and Microsoft is constantly updating it with new features.

Today's post is a very educative research article written by Melinda Smith, M.A., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Robert Segal, M.A. and generously published by the NGO, HelpGuide.Org.

You can read the complete original article here:

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.
Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.
Most of us have days when we feel bored, overloaded, or unappreciated; when the dozen balls we keep in the air aren’t noticed, let alone rewarded; when dragging ourselves out of bed requires the determination of Hercules. If you feel like this most of the time, however, you may have burnout.

You may be on the road to burnout if:

  • Every day is a bad day.
  • Caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy.
  • You’re exhausted all the time.
  • The majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.
  • You feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated.
The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life—including your home and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with burnout right away.

Dealing with burnout: The "Three R" approach

  • Recognize – Watch for the warning signs of burnout
  • Reverse – Undo the damage by managing stress and seeking support
  • Resilience – Build your resilience to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional health

The difference between stress and burnout

Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn’t the same as too much stress. Stress, by and large, involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much of you physically and psychologically. Stressed people can still imagine, though, that if they can just get everything under control, they’ll feel better.
Burnout, on the other hand, is about not enough. Being burned out means feeling empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress is like drowning in responsibilities, burnout is being all dried up. While you’re usually aware of being under a lot of stress, you don’t always notice burnout when it happens.
Stress vs. Burnout
Characterized by overengagement
Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are overreactive
Emotions are blunted
Produces urgency and hyperactivity
Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of energy
Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to anxiety disorders
Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is physical
Primary damage is emotional
May kill you prematurely
May make life seem not worth living
Source: Stress and Burnout in Ministry

Causes of burnout

In many cases, burnout stems from your job. Anyone who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk for burnout—from the hardworking office worker who hasn’t had a vacation or a raise in two years, to the frazzled stay-at-home mom struggling with the heavy responsibility of taking care of three kids, the housework, and her aging father.
But burnout is not caused solely by stressful work or too many responsibilities. Other factors contribute to burnout, including your lifestyle and certain personality traits. What you do in your downtime and how you look at the world can play just as big of a role in causing burnout as work or home demands.          

Work-related causes of burnout

  • Feeling like you have little or no control over your work
  • Lack of recognition or rewards for good work
  • Unclear or overly demanding job expectations
  • Doing work that’s monotonous or unchallenging
  • Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment

Lifestyle causes of burnout

  • Working too much, without enough time for relaxing and socializing
  • Being expected to be too many things to too many people
  • Taking on too many responsibilities, without enough help from others
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Lack of close, supportive relationships

Personality traits can contribute to burnout

  • Perfectionistic tendencies; nothing is ever good enough
  • Pessimistic view of yourself and the world
  • The need to be in control; reluctance to delegate to others
  • High-achieving, Type A personality

Warning signs and symptoms of burnout

Burnout is a gradual process that occurs over an extended period of time. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can creep up on you if you’re not paying attention to the warning signals. The signs and symptoms of burnout are subtle at first, but they get worse and worse as time goes on.
Think of the early symptoms of burnout as warning signs or red flags that something is wrong that needs to be addressed. If you pay attention to these early warning signs, you can prevent a major breakdown. If you ignore them, you’ll eventually burn out.

Physical signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Lowered immunity, feeling sick a lot
  • Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
  • Taking out your frustrations on others
  • Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early

Preventing burnout

If you recognize the warning signs of impending burnout in yourself, remember that it will only get worse if you leave it alone. But if you take steps to get your life back into balance, you can prevent burnout from becoming a full-blown breakdown.

You can read the complete (with other tips) original article here:


Training, even, the best delivered training won't translate to value for you if you don't practice on your own.

Almost every week I facilitate one or two training classes. I always get very positive reviews and feedback. People like the interactive, holding me by the hand style of my training. They like the funny in between stories that make it easy to grab the concept I am explaining. They like the relevant examples we use in class. They always feel confident of their improved skills at the end of the training.

I have been in the training business since 2009 when I used to deliver more technical trainings: CCNA and Linux trainings. It was then I developed my skill of explaining complex concepts in simple and easy to understand ways. And also stumbled on the power of illustrative stories. A lot of people say I am a born teacher. And I used to joke that if I teach you something I know very well and you don't get it, then the only way you will get it is via a surgical transfer of the knowledge into your head. 

Now I teach Microsoft Excel and Business Data Analysis. It is a lot easier to grasp than CCNA or Linux. Yet I am yet to meet anyone who doesn't forget everything he has learned after some weeks of not practicing them. So the way I try to fix this for my trainings is to make them very hands-on. You get to practice throughout the training. Then there are assignment files you can practice on after the class and I include video tutorials of everything we cover so you can easily refresh your knowledge when stuck during practice. But most people are too busy to even take a look at their notes after the training let alone watch the tutorial videos. And for them we introduced refresher courses. We make it free for attendants of our training to come for refresher courses. We keep one or two slots for alumni of our training so they can refresh all the knowledge gained and maybe add to it. Why? Training is never permanently value adding if you don't keep the knowledge afresh and used in practical situations.

To get value out of any training you have to deploy the knowledge gained. You have to put to practice your newly acquired skill before it evaporates. 

As much as people try to underplay the internet by saying it hasn't changed the way they do things they overlook the obvious ways it has altered their lives. A good check of whether it has affected you or not would be to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time you bought an audio CD or VCD or DVD? Or is it that you no longer acquire new music or watch new movies?
  2. Do you use internet or mobile banking?
  3. Do you still buy recharge cards (especially the ones that require scratching off some grey coating to reveal the long numbers you have to patiently type and wait for network confirmation)?
  4. Have you ever bought anything online -- from airline booking to ebooks?
  5. Do you use Whatsapp, Facebook, BBM or Skype?
The internet has changed the way we do a lot of things. It has even lead to new kind of businesses - online shopping businesses, Uber and online newspapers.

Also I have found out that some of the best deals are online. And today I will be sharing with you how I get the best online deal for different product categories.

1. Phones, Gadgets and Computers 
If you are thinking of buying a phone or electronic gadget or laptop the best place online to get it at ridiculously low prices are Amazon and Ebay. Especially via their daily deals. 

And what if you don't see what you want among the deals? You can still get it at a huge discount on Amazon if you search for it and pick to buy from a third party seller (with options of new, like new, very good...). And for Ebay, you can bid for it at a price way less than new or be fortunate to see it on sale at a very reduced price.

The tricky part to using Amazon and Ebay is how to get them to ship you the products (to Nigeria). People have different ways of fixing that -- from using a family/friend in US to a third-party shipper. I now use 

If you want a strictly Nigerian alternative, visit and and

2. Books
Amazon is the best place online to get books are the cheapest prices. You can choose to have it in ecopy (kindle version) or hardcopy new or hardcopy used. Used books are crazy cheap, often a fraction of the price of new.

3. Hotel booking and Flight booking (even vacation bundle).
For hotels in Nigeria, just head to and

For flights in Nigeria, just head to,, and Pick the one with the cheapest price. However, note that Arik Air and Aero Contractors are notorious for canceling or postponing flights. Air Peace seems most reliable (schedule-wise) of the lot.

For vacation bundles and foreign flights/hotel, go to

4. Training Courses
Nothing beats price wise for value.

And that's it for today's post.

Need to rush for my training class. Almost late.

With PowerQuery (now Get & Transform in Excel 2016), you can analyse data from many different sources, including Facebook and any website.

There is one feature the Excel 2013 PowerQuery add-in has: Online Search. I find it a very fascinating tool. I can simply type in what data I need and search. Excel will pull the data for me from different online sources and I can import/load the one I want.

In this demonstration, I will search for population data. Maybe I want to get population by country data.

See the result above? It even lets me preview the underlying data in the search results. Cool.

So I'll pick the one of "Countries - List countries by population". 

It starts loading it into Excel. And when it's done, the result is that below.

Now I have the data I need without having to leave Excel or know where to get the data from. And better still, it would have beat Google search results for for a generic search term like "population data".

Hmm, China represents 19% of the world population and India 17.4%. That explains why they are everywhere and very entrepreneurial. United States is number 3. Indonesia is number 4. Brazil is number 5. Pakistan is number 6. And Nigeria is number 7. These are the type of things we are part of top 10 for.


This is not going to be what you expect but I'll say it anyway. Woody Allen is right: 80% of success is showing up.

As a consultant I fully understand this. I get a mix of projects -- more of low value ones than high value ones -- and I do the same thing to get both projects. I simply show up.

Showing up is consistently positioning yourself in front of the door of opportunity. The day it will open you will not be found wanting. 

You get what you go after. The reason you have a university certificate is you showed up for every exam, whether prepared or not. In fact, not showing up because you weren't prepared was very dangerous. Yet that's the strategy I see a lot of people subscribe to. They only want to show up when they are 100% ready, forgetting that the door opportunity will not remain ajar forever.

It is not the man who is best prepared or most qualified who gets the warm embrace of an opportunity. Rather it is always the man available. The one who showed up when opportunity called. 

Once you identify what you want to be successful at, all you need to do to set yourself up for that success is to show up always. Constantly present yourself for the opportunities you seek. 

In my case, I want to be a professional programmer. All the progress I have made so far are the results of presenting myself for opportunities I seek. I searched for a trainer even though I didn't know where I would find the time for the training class. Result? I got two world class trainers and one of them refused to accept payment. And what did I do to deserve that? Nothing besides showing up. I wanted to become a Microsoft MVP. I presented myself when I was sure they would be nuts to give me the award. And guess what? They gave me award. And already three times now. Every morning, I show up in front of my PC screen to crank out a blog post. There are many days I won't have any idea of what to post until 30 mins to my 8:00am deadline. In the beginning (2013), I was sure one day I would miss a day's post. Now I know better. As long as I show up, I won't miss a day. 

What is it you are hoping to be successful at? My sure tip for you is to keep presenting yourself before the opportunities that will lead to that success. Don't for once think you are not ready or not qualified (except it's a zoo's lion caregiver work). Just keep showing up.

I strongly believe that God has given us the answers to a lot of the things we disturb him for. How? He created order in the universe and put in place principles that govern a lot of things. It is why He says (my) people perish because of lack of knowledge. I remember back in the university, at church we often discuss why the very ungodly guy/girl sometimes have the best academic result why more than half of the most godly in the class who pray a lot for excellent results get average or even very poor results. The answer is clear: you reap what you sow. If you sow excellently towards your academic pursuit you will reap excellent results. I saw a couple of my very godly friends get battered from not obeying that simple rule. They tried to fix their academics with spiritual work rather than academic work. Just the same way some of us try to fix our relationship with God with physical activities/work. Giving to God what is Caesar's and giving to Caesar what is God's.

I have found three principles foundational to living a good life. There are:

1. You Reap What You Sow
This is the most important foundational principle. You can't sow orange and expect to reap banana. Treat people the way you want them to treat you. You can't put in very little effort into something and expect to get more results than the guy who put in x200 your effort into the same thing. You can't treat people like scum and expect them to respect you. You can't be lazy and just thinking things in your mind and expect big tangible results that people who work their butt off get.

2. Diligence Leads To Success
Do you see a man diligent in his work? He will stand before kings and not mere men. That principle is fundamental. Pick a work and be diligent in it, any work, and you will see results that will blow you away. Diligence always leads to success. 

3. Kindness Opens Doors
If you are always kind to others. Giving without expecting back. Helping whomever you can. You will encounter lots of open doors. Why? People are the doors. The very people you help.
If I have the power to change things in Nigeria, these are the things I will make happen.


1) Free Education Till University Level
Even if it will put us into HUGE debts. The benefits will always outweigh the costs. We will have a more productive people. People who will make better health decisions. People who will build better families. People who will value lives more. People who will respect the rule of law more. People who will build more industries and better companies. People who will reason better. People who will more easily use new technologies. People who will respect others more. People who will read more and write more. People who will have a better sense of living fully. People who won't need to be coerced/threatened before vaccinating their children. People who won't take drugs without knowledge of what it does or prescription. People who won't be roaming with cows from state to state. People who won't be killing others for rituals. People who won't be asking for the impossible. People who will understand how an economy works. People who will hold the government responsible. People who will be better at everything they do.

It will save us the money and time and lives groups like Boko Haram claim. It will save us from constantly running "Kick Polio Out of Nigeria", "War Against Malaria" and other projects that education would have fixed the issues they are aimed at permanently.

2) Good Infrastructure
Electricity across the entire nation. Always on. Will be priority number one infrastructure. A lot of things will naturally get better with constant electricity. People will be more entrepreneurial, creative and education will improve in rural areas. In fact, electricity will make most of our human capacity problem disappear.

Good roads, rail transport, airport for every 3 neighbouring states. With good roads, agriculture will get a great boost and farmers will have a better living standard. Plus food will be plentiful. And regardless of the cost and mistakes it will take, having a good network of rail transport will do the miraculous for us. And, regardless of economic activity in those states, there will be an airport for every three states. As for water transport, it just needs better regulation. We won't be building new rivers and seas.

3) Research Labs Across The Country
Labs that will work closely with both the educational sector and industries to aid knowledge transfer and development of new more effective technology.

4) A Slimmer Government
Governments, everywhere, are a drag on the economy. They are a necessary evil though. But they achieve more when they get out of the way. Their focus should be more of laying down rules of engagements, enforcing transparent regulations and formulating well thought out policies. Our government is too big, and too black. No transparency. It should be one quarter of its current size and should stop dipping its hands into too many things.

How can I make these happen? I don't know. Maybe if I win a quiz organized by God and the prize is for me to become God for 10 minutes.