The way I stay productive is by making strides into my day. Generally, early in the morning when the mind is calm, people are asleep and deep work is easy to get done.
By making strides I mean, doing as many important and urgent tasks in the morning as possible. Basically breaking the bone of my to-do list early in the morning. So the rest of the day goes easy and there’s time to think.
Making strides is my way of utilising my flow state to get as much work as possible. Spreading out work to several days isn’t a good idea, especially if it’s creative work. It takes time to get into that creative zone, once you’re in, just make the most of it before you end work. In other words, make giant strides.
Making strides is the secret to not staying busy all the time and still getting a lot of things done. Just use your high focus state to get the maximum work done. Whenever that is, morning, evening, midnight. Make the most of it.
If you really want to be good at something, you’ll need to do it over and over again. Now every try doesn’t have to be good. Not every try will fetch you claps and for that reason you should close your eyes and ears and just do your thing.
You don’t need anyone’s approval or validation to try something out. Just go out out and do it. Keep doing until you reach perfection, until those who were ignoring you start clapping for you.
The world only cares about you only if you care about yourself enough to back yourself to do things that need to be done even if nobody is clapping.
We only care about the problems we are facing right now, forgetting the problems we were facing at some point but have overcome now. We’re not grateful for the problems we don’t have to face, only miserable for the ones we’re facing now.
If you are living a comfortable life and everything is being provided for you and still you keep wanting more, you got things to learn. People are really struggling out there to get the resources you have. What you take for granted is someone else’s privilege.
If you don’t stop and think of the problems you don’t have, you will live an ungrateful and perpetually dissatisfied life. In that case, however much you may get, it would fail to make you happy. For you will keep looking for more, while forgetting that you could have had less.
I’ve seen success get on top of people’s heads and I’ve also seen the same people spiraling down back to where they started.
Success should never swell you up, it is always a responsibility more than a reward. If you do good once, you’ll be expected to do good everytime and if you don’t do that, you fail.
You can probably get lucky to get success at something once but to retain that success is a bigger task. Those who can’t handle the momentary fame that comes with success are often the ones who end up losing their position.
The best way to retain your position is to stay humble. To just focus on what got you here and getting better at it. Success is only a result, and results should never influence actions.
Before you start doing something, you need to first think about what are you trying to achieve. What’s the end goal? Next you should think about, if the approach you’re going to take to get there the most efficient and shortest possible.
More often than not, the first approach that’ll come to your mind will not be the most efficient. It’ll more likely be the most common approach. Our mind functions on familiarity. It’ll just recognise old patterns and try to replicate one of those.
But here’s when you need to pause and do some mental hardwork. Just sit and think if this is the shortest possible route to your end goal or are you just taking a longer route because everyone’s going that way?
If you do this mental hardwork, you’ll find a more efficient approach. This will end up reducing the actual work you’ve to put in. Good thinking and planning around end-goals can drastically reduce your work and “busyness”.
Yesterday when I posted my 1000th blog, a lot of people came asking, “how did you manage to keep it going for long?”.
I gave them all the same answer, I was never chasing any number of blogs. My only goal was to write 1 blog everyday and I religiously kept doing it. Yesterday just happened to be the 1000th day when I did that.
Taking 1 day at a time was my strategy. To not get overwhelmed by how many I’ve written and how many I will write in future. All I focus on is the blog for today.
Don’t get swayed by big numbers. Big is made by combining a lot of small. Keep putting your small efforts everyday and in the end it’ll end up a huge mountain of efforts that everyone will stop and take notice.
If you count the days between 23rd May 2018 (when I wrote my 1st blog) and today 14th Feb 2021. You’ll find there are exactly 1000 days including the starting day and today.
I’ve written a blog on all those 1000 days. Not missing even a single day in between. That’s crazy and unbelievable to myself even. When I started I never thought this would become such a loong writing streak. But here I find myself writing the 1000th blog on the 1000th day of starting to write 1 blog everyday.
Since this is a very special blog for me, I’ll share with you-
– Why I started writing everyday – What kept me going – What impact I created through my blogs – My 10 biggest learnings from writing everyday
Why I started writing everyday?
To impress a girl I was then dating in high-school. You know people do weird things when they want to impress someone. I did this.
I told her I will write everyday, and she’ll be my accountability partner.
I was hoping she’ll get impressed.
Long story short, she wasn’t much impressed and left after a while. But I kept going with my daily writing habit despite her going.
Real men do that, right?
The streak went bigger everyday. My goal was not to get to 50 blogs or 100 blogs and definitely not to 1000 blogs. My only goal was to push out 1 blog everyday. I just kept going with it.
What kept me going?
Writing everyday isn’t hard. Writing on the days when you feel like shit is hard. Writing on days you’re sick is hard. Writing on days when you just want hide in a corner where noone sees you is hard.
What made me write on those days is the streak itself. The bigger the streak gets, the harder it is to break for yourself.
Because if you miss 1 day, you nullify the effort you put in all the days before that. It almost feels criminal to break a healthy and long streak. That’s what kept me going on those bad days.
What impact did I create through these blogs?
Through these blogs, my goal is to share my thoughts, learnings, observations with the rest of the world.
Besides that this blog has enabled me to stand for global causes.
In June 2019, I wrote a blog- “May Sudan have your attention please!” to stand against the injustice that was happening in Sudan and be their voice. Their internet was shut down in Sudan and they were relying on the rest of the world to speak for them. Through this blog, I tried to bring global attention to what was happening in Sudan so that help could reach them.
This blog was shared across the globe, in languages I don’t speak and in countries I’ve never been to.
Here are some screenshots for reference.
Then I spoke for Kashmir in August 2019, when their voice was taken away by internet shutdown and they were put in a lockdown (for reference this was much before covid)
This blog in particular took some real guts to put out. As this was happening in my own country. Still I put this out, for my grandfather taught me to always stand for what’s right and fear none.
It was again widely shared. Below are some screenshots of the blessings I earned from that post. I’m practically living off of these blessings today.
My 10 biggest learnings from writing everyday.
1. Just get started.
Starting something is the hardest part. Find a stupid reason like I did and start something. You don’t know what it can turn into.
2. There will always be excuses, the question is if you’ll take them.
On some days I was really not feeling well, on somedays I was out on vacation, on somedays I felt like hiding in a corner where noone catches me.
I showed up on all those days, I’m proud of myself for that!
3. Don’t chase perfection.
If I had tried to make each one of my blogs perfect, the streak would not last even 10 days. I kept publishing even if it was not great. Many of my blogs have typos in them.
4. People ARE NOT watching you!
I don’t know what makes people think they’re the center of people’s attention. No, people have busy lives. People don’t care about you. Just do your thing!
5. Be a player.
There are 2 types of people. Players and commentators. Players don’t stop playing to listen to the commentators. They just play their game.
6. Sharing is the best networking.
When you start publicly sharing your learnings and thoughts on the internet, it works like a magnet for attracting like minded people. Effortlessly building a high quality network for you.
7. Writing brings clarity of thought.
I can’t stress this enough. Writing everyday has made me a completely different person. I have extremely clear thoughts, goals and understanding of how the world and people function.
8. You are greater than you think.
I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I could write 1000 blogs in 1000 days. And here we are today.
9. Never give up when you’re struggling.
There was a time where I was really struggling to keep the blog going. Those were bad days. I still kept going, one should only give up when the cause is lost, else, never.
10. The internet is an insanely big opportunity.
Most people still don’t understand the power of internet. It can take you places. It can define your career. It can change your entire life. Do something exciting here!
So that’s all I want to share in my 1000th blog. I hope it inspires you in someway to start something. If you want to gift me anything, do share this blog around and subscribe to my weekly newsletter. That’ll mean the world to me. See you tomorrow, with the 1001th blog 🙂
Here’s the twitter thread I wrote about this. Give a RT if you’re on twitter!
Networking is a bad word in my opinion, very transactional in nature. It conveys that you talk to people to get something out of them. This is why I don’t go around messaging ‘hey’ to random people just to, you know, “pick their brains”.
Noone wants their brains picked. So that’s definitely not a good ask. The people who really value their time will never get into something that doesn’t have a clear agenda.
Instead of trying to build a network, try building relationships. How do you do that? By meaningfully interacting with people, giving them feedback on what they’re doing, rallying around if you could even help them in anyway.
That’s how relationships get built. Relationship building is about delaying your own gratification. To put aside the tractional nature of networking and looking to give first, add value first.
These relationships are your real network. They are likely to help you later when they know you’ve been around for a while. You get my point? I think you do.
Can you imagine if there were a stage so big, so gigantic that if you stand on it and perform, the whole world would be your audience. But such a stage doesn’t exist, or does it?
If it does exist, where is it? Why can’t we see it if it’s so gigantic?
Well, the makers of the international stage probably fell short of budget, so they made a small stage for everyone that could fit in our hands and we can take it around in our pockets. The international stage, in your pocket!
Oh yes, you guessed it. Your phone is the international stage. It’s your global opportunity. You can build a worldwide audience by performing on this stage.
This stage has a proper stage setup, a mic, a camera and a person willing to make the most of it. You.
If you’re roaming around with this international stage in your pocket, but never performing on it, you are wasting the opportunity you have. Do your thing and show it to the world!
In cricket, a batsman doesn’t need to be muscular to hit the ball out of the park, good timing can make the ball sail through the boundary line easily.
Similarly in life as well, if you get the timing right, it’ll work out the way you want. You don’t need to be very assertive and powerful for it. Just make sure you do the right things and the right time and you’ll get the desired results.
However, getting the timing right isn’t as easy as it sounds. In cricket, the margin of error is split seconds between good timing and a miss hit that’ll land in a fielders hand.
The margin of error isn’t as thin in life but it still is very delicate. Saying the right thing at the wrong time will mess things up and saying the wrong thing at anytime will get you screwed regardless of timing. A bad shot is a bad shot, timing doesn’t help there.
Be mindful of timing things in life. This can actually be planned to a great extent if you do your thinking. It’s not as instinctive as hitting the ball out of the park. You’ve got time to get your timing right. Make sure you do.