The last time I discussed this topic was in August 2020: https://aman-agarwal.com/2020/08/25/getting-into-a-routine-as-a-solo-entrepreneur/
It seems like stress, productivity, procrastination and discipline are all intensely interconnected.
Over the last 13 months, I’ve been through many stages of crippling stress and procrastination, when I also felt very unproductive. At the same time, I’ve also made some terrific changes in my life that I can’t take for granted:
- Had a 132 day unbroken streak of Chinese reading on LingQ
- NoFap streak unbroken (and still ongoing) for 148 days straight. I never thought I could have achieved this, without the help of certain friends who motivated me to stay hanging.
- Started working out, with 5 consecutive weeks of completing 3 progressive workouts each week without falling off the wagon completely.
However, this does not completely negate the damage caused by other things:
- Days when I’d just watch Youtube or anime the whole time.
- Sleep schedules being very erratic, getting pushed further back down to 7-8am on certain days.
- Losing my Wim Hof breathing and meditation practice.
- Losing my Chinese and French daily study and practice.
- Losing my late night stretching/flexibility practice.
- Not keeping my accounting and financial reporting up to date every month.
Where I am right now
As I’ve said in my previous post, a routine is the most fundamental infrastructure required for any profession.
As of today, I have the following challenges that I believe my routine needs to help me with:
(First a token of gratitude to myself: I do not hate myself for my lack of perfection, because I know it’s a journey, and I’m becoming a better person every year. Until last year, NoFap was a distant dream for me. Now, it’s slowly, cautiously becoming a part of my identity.)
- When I wake up, I feel like I need to check if I’ve missed something because of sleeping so late. I need to check that I don’t have any urgent meetings, or anything I need to prepare for.
- Instead, I want to feel a sense of calm energy. I want to feel motivated to do whatever I need to accomplish that day. I want to feel like I have all the time in the world but can’t wait to get started, instead of feeling like I don’t look forward to it.
- Key: wake up early, and don’t have meetings early in the day.
- I don’t look forward to Mondays. I feel a sense of pain and hurt that I have to show up to work again. This means there’s something I’m not enjoying about my work, especially teaching. I don’t feel confident in my teaching abilities? How come I’m not feeling grateful that I have a teaching session, like I once did before when Wilson was my main student?
- Instead, I want to feel like WOW, tomorrow I get to work with my team again and we’re going to crush it! I don’t want to WAIT for Monday to come up so I can work on really cool stuff again.
- Key: be prepared way in advance for the week.
- I feel “lost” throughout the day and get decision fatigue very quickly. Having my dad constantly ask me for stuff is also a problem, but not the main problem.
- Instead, I want to feel a certain CLARITY most of the day. I want to know what I need to be doing. The only interruptions should come from a sudden idea that grips me and I want to note it down/discuss it with someone.
- I don’t want to feel like “oh where did all that time go?”
- Key: have only 2-3 things to do in a given day, and book focusmate sessions beforehand.
- I get a lot of urges throughout the day to look up Google or Youtube or LinkedIn for something.
- Naturally, I don’t want to do that. Having set up Pause and Limit for all these websites, and then removing them from the toolbar should work great!
- I haven’t been producing enough content and threads on social media. I haven’t been posting enough podcasts consistently. I haven’t been posting in slack groups consistently. I haven’t been going OUT to market and self-promote.
- Naturally I need to build into my routine the time to do that.
- I also want time for polishing my craft: teaching the stuff that actually matters.
- Taking quotes from my book and putting them out on social media.
- Writing pages and descriptions for my podcast episodes.
- Cutting out snippets for podcast episodes.
So what are the major chunks of my week?
- Motivation: listening to motivational quotes, and viewing my immediate goals on my vision board. 2x per day.
- Working out and nutrition: first thing to start the day on MWF.
- Writing — latest podcast episode description, and/or new book chapter, or email
- Reviewing and editing
- Creating new content for social media? Only use canva/notepad.
- Meetings and podcast recordings — ideally only 3 days a week.
- Language learning in a Focusmate session.
- Shutdown alarm at 3am.
- Rejoice and celebrate the new day as soon as I wake up: celebrate my life’s wins and efforts.
- Motivational audio in the morning
- Check email and messages really quick
- Workout and nutrition
- Sit down, review vision board and REASONS for 2 minutes
- Start off with focusmate sessions dedicated to the day’s WRITING tasks.
- Move on to focusmate sessions for language learning tasks.
- Review vision board and goals again.
- Move on to focusmates for social media calendar OR the editing tasks OR admin tasks.
- You’re done for the day. Do some journaling. Set up next day’s tasks.
- Go to sleep.
What I need for this:
- ONE assigned writing task per day. Maximum of two.
- TWO focusmate sessions dedicated to language learning (25 mins or 50 mins each)
- LESS THAN= 3 assigned social media or admin tasks per day. Combined should not take over 50 minutes of focused effort.
- AT MOST ONE assigned editing tasks per day.
- ALL RECORDINGS scheduled only on Thurs and Friday, all MEETINGS only on Wed, Thurs, Friday.
- ONE focusmate session for reviewing end of day and journaling.
- TURN OFF laptop after all the day’s tasks are done.