How to be productive every day

Everyone wants to get more done every day and then enjoy plenty of time for themselves, with their families and friends. But very few know exactly how to be productive.

In this post, I will list my rules for a productive day. These rules have worked for me for 5 years, since I became a freelancer. And they helped me achieve more than I ever did during my professional career with jobs.

Continue reading How to be productive every day

Breaking the spell of infinite scroll

In the post Get more out of your reading, I talked about using Pocket, a tool that helps you save web articles for later reading. Pocket also saves content for reading offline, so that you don’t have to remain connected to the Internet to read the saved articles. Perfect for reading during commutes.

Recently I shifted to a tool named Shiori for saving articles to read later. Cannot help noticing a significant difference between the two. What if there are more articles saved than the size of your screen? Pocket is an app designed with modern UI. It provides ‘infinite scroll’. Shiori has a good UI, but it looks very outdated, like an Android app from 2013. It also uses the outdated concept of ‘pagination’. This outdated concept is why I respect the app in the first place. Continue reading Breaking the spell of infinite scroll

Get organised: Part 2: Cut through pile-up

In the first part of the series on getting organised, we learned how we need a place for everything and that everything should be in its place. Today, we learn about another common problem that comes in the way of staying organised, i.e. pile up. Things or activities keep piling up. Due to overwhelm, we let them pile up and do not deal with them. By the time we decide to do something about the pile, we have a huge backlog. Here’s how to systematically deal with pile ups or better yet, not let things pile up in the first place. Continue reading Get organised: Part 2: Cut through pile-up

Get organised: Part 1: Identity your spaces

This post starts a series of posts that teach you how to stay organised. The first of the posts talks about the different types of spaces around you, each playing a type of role for organisation. Sounds jargonistic. But let this post explain. Continue reading Get organised: Part 1: Identity your spaces

Book summary: Now Habit by Neil Fiore

Title: The Now Habit
Author: Neil Fiore
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN-10: 1585425524
ISBN-13: 978-1585425525
Buy from: Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Continue reading Book summary: Now Habit by Neil Fiore


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Book Summary: Deep Work by Cal Newport

Title: Deep Work
Author: Cal Newport
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN-10: 9780349413686
ISBN-13: 978-0349413686
Buy on: Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Introduction

In a generation that is constantly distracted by several inputs, either from too many electronic devices or by the constant interruptions of a an open plan work space, Cal Newport is a contrarian emphasising that several hours of work where you are uninterrupted by devices or humans is essential if you want to perform ground-breaking work. In his book Deep Work, he classifies all important work that requires total focus and utmost concentration as deep work or the type of work in which you need to work hard and dive deep down into the depths of your brain or body to find focus and achieve your goals. All other work  which keep you busy, but have no significant change in your life, say checking emails, chatting with your colleagues over work and commuting as shallow work. Continue reading Book Summary: Deep Work by Cal Newport


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Treat your brain like a two-year old child to beat procrastination

You have heard productivity gurus often say that in order to go to the gym the next morning, you have to lay out the clothes near your bed at night, or perhaps even sleep in them. This sounds like excellent advice. But despite that friction-busting move, here’s what happens in the morning.

Alarm clock: RRRRiiiinngggg!

You: Okay, let’s go to the gym.

Your brain: Whiiiiiiiiine…. I want to sleep. The bed is comfortable. I am not getting up.

Continue reading Treat your brain like a two-year old child to beat procrastination

Getting your tasks done every day

Have you ever been through one of those days where nothing seems to get done? You sit to work on a complicated algorithm and just cannot get your mind or the code working. You may be unable to finish a financial report because you are getting distracted by a mind that’s unwilling to do maths at the moment. You start doing your homework, but give up midway.

Similar things happen with physical tasks too. You may not feel like going to the gym after a tired office commute. You feel too lethargic to go to the supermarket and buy the weekly groceries.

How can we get things done with more success rate throughout the day? By planning your day better and scheduling activities such that your mind, body and your environment encourage you to perform your tasks. Here’s how. Continue reading Getting your tasks done every day

What 10 things will you do before you touch your electronic screen today?

Are you ready? In this post, I am going to give you a challenge harder than quitting smoking or attempting a diet. I want you to wake up in the morning and do 10 activities, that’s right, 10, that don’t involve looking at an electronic screen, before you pick up your mobile phone, tablet or laptop. I don’t want you to do it everyday, but just ONE day EVERY week. No email peeking, no time check, no social media, no games, until 10 non-screen activities are finished. Are you up to it? Continue reading What 10 things will you do before you touch your electronic screen today?

Escaping the seduction of social media

When it comes to using a smartphone, I am a vetaran. This is my 9th year with an Android phone. I started from the November of 2010 with a Samsung Galaxy S running Android 2.2 Eclair. My latest phone, Honor 7, runs Oreo 8.1. I have seen my usage patterns over nearly a decade and boy, I know what addiction to a smartphone, especially to social media means. The compulsions were many. Photos had to be shared on Instagram instantly. Wherever I was, I felt the urge to check in using Swarm. I repeatedly checked my Facebook timeline for the latest from everyone and I too constantly updated my latest status. WhatsApp was constantly buzzing on my phone. My addiction peaked between 2011 – 2014.

Since then, with the help of several habit-building podcasts and books, I have successfully set up habits to de-addict myself. These habits have been so successful that I don’t touch my phone for three hours after waking up. Nor do I touch my phone between 8:30 am to 5 pm on days when I am busy with my freelance work. Finally, I have a compulsory ‘turn off all electronic screens’ time after 10 pm. My laptop shuts down automatically if I don’t stop working.

None of the methods I suggest is radical. They are simple habits that make it hard for you to get to your social media apps. If you are an addict, then this post will attempt to cure you of social media addiction too. Please let me know if they work for you. Continue reading Escaping the seduction of social media