Takeaways from 2021

Published: 21 February, 2022 | 6 mins(s) read | Tags: #productivity

I have done a similar post in 2019 called 9 Productivity & personal growth rules made from my 2019. I couldn’t do one in 2020 because of covid. So here it is.

I am productivity nerd. What that means is I am trying to do things in a better way than yesterday. The word “trying” is important. Because you won’t always be productive as much as you want to be. But you still try to be productive. On my productivity journey, I have learned more about myself. My limitations and my weaknesses. Productivity is a constant push towards perfection. So here are 6 things I learned from my 2021 in the hope that it will benefit you.

Maximum utilisation equals maximum productivity

If you are into productivity, you might have switched from productivity apps like your note apps or text editors. Switching regularly severely effects your productivity. There are some popular examples which shows how important maximum utilisation is:

  • Expertising in a particular thing is better than being the jack of all trades.
  • It is already known that working on the programming language you know is better for productivity than trying a new something you are not sure.

Similarly, choose the best possible thing you can NOW. Then try to stick with it as much as possible. Changing your text editor or note application regularly will have adverse effects on your productivity. Maximum utilisation of your the application, tool, language should be an automatic rule before switching to something else.

And for whatever reason you have to change, don’t do it one go. Do it step by step. This will help you from the pain of migrating everything to the new flashing tool only to realise it is not good enough. Then you will have to migrate back to the tool that you were using before. Which takes a lot of time, again! By doing it step by step, it will help you to do the migration gracefully. This way it won’t effect your productivity much.

I cleaned up my old emails which spanned across multiple email accounts over a period of 3 months. It had 10k+ emails. It was a thorough clean up to do multiple things. This way it never disrupted my productivity much.

Consume less

This is something that I talked about in my 2019 post as well. We live in a connected world. There are so many advantages to it. But the other side is noise and negativity. We need to actively clean up and tailor our online experiences so that we can avoid the noise and negativity. I clean up my Twitter and other online accounts to make sure I consume the least possible things. These apps are designed to take advantage of our weaknesses. So it is important to navigate through it properly.

We also consume a lot more than necessary because FOMO (fear of missing out). But most of the time YAGNI (you ain’t gonna need it). So consume less.

Focus is everything

Focus is everything. Make sure you focus on the task at hand instead of wandering off. Make sure you are prioritising properly. Answer the question - Is there any other task I can do instead of this one?

If the answer is yes, then switch to that task immediately.

Goals should be in your point of view

Your goals irrespective of whether it is short term or long term goals should be in your point of view. You should see them regularly. If it is your daily goals, make sure you write it on a note or whiteboard. This would force you to see the goals on a regular basis. It will have a profound effect on you when you see your goals regularly.

I wrote about my experience on my recent post.

Reconsume things

This is not mentioned enough. Reconsumption is extremely important to understand things clearly. If you have watched a movie multiple times and always comes across something new, that is exactly what happens when you reconsume. Redo the tutorials. Reread the books. Listen to that podcast episode again.

Reconsumption helps you remember things better. It helps us see things in different angles. We also are humans. Humans who grow and learn things everyday. So when you reconsume something, you see it from different angles based on your current understanding. This is why when you didn’t like that move before. But now when you see it, there are relevant experiences that has happened since the last time you saw the movie. This makes you see it in a completely different way. You will be surprised with things when you reconsume. Give it a try. In a way, it is also maximum utilisation of things.

Clear your backlog before adding new things to your plate

This might the most important thing I have learned last year. That is to clear my backlog before adding new things to my plate. We all have have 99 tabs opened on our browser. Have 100’s of bookmarked articles which we are most probably never going to read. And the anxiety tax which comes with it all every time we see them.

This has been one of the hardest thing to do. But I had partial success and it feels great already! I have successfully closed all my tabs on my mobile and desktop. Not a mass closing. But consumed them and took necessary actions for each tab. This was only possible by resisting the urge to add more tabs as much as possible. This slows down the backlog and gives you time to take action and catch up. This will also make you be picky when it comes to adding things to your plate. Taking the necessary actions for the ones I have open already has made wonders. Cos it frees up a lot mental anxiety.

This has been hard to do for the books I want to read. Cos you always have tons of books you want to read. And unlike tabs in your browser, taking action is hard and takes more effort/time. But so far I have slowed down the adding of books to my to-read list. I think it is a good first step and I hope to catch up.

Following this for the projects you want to do and the blog posts you want to write might be very hard too. But clean them up by going through the ideas once more. Maybe you don’t find them interesting anymore. Evaluate the ideas properly before adding. I was able to remove a lot of ideas for my posts and projects just by looking at them regularly.

In conclusion…

Productivity is hard. It’s is a marathon and not a sprint. The goal is to try your level best. There will be a dip in productivity from time to time. Don’t let this effect you. No one can always keep giving 100%. Have a productive year ahead!

Found an error? Have feedback on my writing? DM me on Twitter @unsungNovelty.

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