Voice in my head: Why on earth would someone want to listen to my systems or routine ???! You must be crazy. I acknowledge but still ignore the voice and continue writing, Why ?? You have these folks to blame - Dona Sarkar , Obvious to you, amazing to others and Show Your Work.

I have always been a very ambitious goal setter all my life, but have been a terrible failure when it comes to execution - it would never last more than a few days. Something changed in 2019, I re-/read these amazing books -

If you haven’t read these books - stop reading this post and go read those books - will be a better use of your time

Extracting the essence from these three books, I am now a strong believer of incremental tiny boring progress and building a system rather than an ambitious fancy goal. This has helped me have the longest streak to sticking to these routines.

Mindfulness Meditation

I’m not going to delve into the benefits of mindfulness, there are a gazillion articles out there. For me this is a keystone habit - and the most important one

  • What do I do

    I practice this method. In plain English here’s what I do - focus and observe your breath and body sensations - in a nonjudgmental and equanimous way - THAT’S IT - it’s as simple as that - I SWEAR. I try to aim for 20 mins/day but I’m not too ambitious even if I can get done 1 minute - I consider that a win for the day ( Systems v/s goals)

  • How has it helped me

    Focus, Clarity and creativity - it’s amazing how these foundational skills affect every single aspect of your life

Screen time

Screen addiction is real. If I was bored or when I was in the train with nothing to do - I used to stare at my phone screen. I had to change this, because I have had a taste of how useful boredom can be for creativity in the past - but never managed to stick to the discipline.

  • What did I do

    I followed Cal Newport’s advice - uninstalled all the apps which was distracting the most (for me it was - WhatsApp, Facebook) for 30 days.

  • How has it helped me

    It helped me feel “boredom” again !! I know this sounds crazy - but trust me boredom is super essential. And now I have reinstalled the apps and use a screen time limit of 6mins/day - so it’s more intentional when I use these apps.

One new thing a day

I used to mindlessly consume lots of content and not really absorbing it or internalizing it.

  • What did I do

    Starting late 2019, I have a tiny book where I make 1 or 2 sentence notes of what I learned that day (kept it small and atomic) - it could be from a podcast guest, my customers and colleagues who I work with, an article/book/video I watched, my 1.5 year daughter, my wife, the cashier at Walmart -ANYONE.

  • How has it helped me

    I feel terrible when I miss a day of note taking, so all day this subconsciously helps put me in a mindset where I make it a point to learn at least one thing. I personally feel having this mindset has helped me learn and absorb so much from the amazing people around me and has provided me with new opportunities.

What I aim to add in 2020

  • Physical exercise

    I’m aiming for 10 minutes/day of really slow jogging and gradually add on if and when I feel comfortable.

  • Morning pages

    Here is how to do it -750 free flowing words as soon as you wake up. The few days I have written morning pages in the past - I have had really crazy unique ideas and I had no idea how they came to me, which have totally caught me by surprise. But again this requires a certain discipline and I’m hoping to build this muscle this year.


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