Getting along with minimal lifestyle-design again – #ProjectDoMoreWithLess 🙂

2016 has been an interesting and learning year for me. Both personally and professionally.

Personally, I was into my new relationship and was learning to adapt to differential habits we as humans have. It’s interesting how we want everyone else to be like us i.e. force our likings/habits and in the process ruin the relationship altogether. My learning from this is to embrace difference we all have as humans. I am still learning and it’s a long way to go.

Professionally, 2016 was more like reading/learning year for me. I didn’t design much but was reading about design and product development/management. My learning from this journey is that don’t just read articles or watch videos, put them into action. Plus, do one thing at a time and keep your mind focused on one goal until you get a good grip on it. Pretty obvious, right?! Well everyone has their right to their mistakes – a Good mistake that I did, was taking up too many projects at work and doing average in all of them. A year passed and from a design point of view in my career, I was at the same place I was in 2015. I grew very little in terms of enhancing/developing my design skills. Again, that’s another story for another blog post.

This blog post is about a new habit that I am trying to adopt lately. It’s about finding happiness by owning less. It’s about clearing up space around, both physically and mentally for the things that matter the most. It’s about reducing stress while increasing satisfaction and thus happiness in life. It’s about practicing Minimalism in every aspect of life.

This realization of practicing and putting minimalism in place came sudden and strong when I moved to a new apartment this year. In past 3 years, I’ve moved to 4 new apartments, all in 4 different locations/neighbourhood.

House #1 [Delhi]

House #2 [Delhi]

House #3 [Pune]

House #4 [Pune]

This constant change has led me to know more about the things I own. Every time I move to a new apartment, I come across things that I haven’t used for ages, but still kept them for any x number of reasons.

This year, while moving to my 3rd apartment, I noticed that I wasn’t using about 20%-30% of my total stuff and probably will not in near future as well. To give the gist, I had 2-3 shirts that I never wore, a small fridge that I wasn’t going to use because I live in a fully-furnished apt. now which has a bigger fridge, 2-3 extra bed sheets, 3 blue inked extra ball point pens, 2 same color highlighters, so on and so forth.

It was clear that I have hoarded a lot and using very less of my stuff. I’ve tried shedding things in the past but I do it when I am free or have nothing to do on a weekend. But this time I wanted to take this seriously and make this a habit. I needed to shed my belongings.

[Side note: If you’re struggling to see the value in adopting minimalism, don’t read further. Go and read why & how Joshua BeckerJoshua, Ryan and Leo Babauta adopted minimalism.]

Starting this year, among my other new year resolutions, I decided to audit my belongings, from big to medium to the smallest thing that I keep, I’ll audit everything, every 3-4 months. But in order to audit them in the most effective manner, I needed a system where I can track all my useless belongings better so later I can come back to it and decide to throw, donate, or sell.

Here’s how I am doing it:

  1. I am auditing every section of my house every 3rd or 4th month depending upon my availability and stuff hoarded along the way. After shedding a little in the last 6 months, I still have 3 closets to review.
  2. I have divided 4 sections for 4 weekends for the audit month. For example, I’ll audit kitchen the 1st weekend, bedroom room on 2nd, washroom on 3rd, and if anything is left, I am keeping the 4th weekend for that. Since I live in a studio apt., I don’t have rooms i.e. there’s only one room which has attached kitchen and washroom + a small balcony, but dividing them into sections is still easy.
  3. Maintain a note – Track everything. I am using Evernote to keep track of things that I am not using. You can use a notebook or a A4 paper. Don’t let this be an excuse. Just use anything to remember what you’re not using and can shed. Ex:
  4. Action time! Sell, donate or throw – Just do it! Once I’ve identified the items I’m not using or going to use, from different rooms/sections of my house, I decide what to do with them. I am using a combination of The 20-20 Method and The KonMari Method to decide what to do with my items. [I’ve explained what both of these rules mean below]

Rules you can follow:

You can use different rules or a combination of them while auditing and deciding what to do. I’ll list 3 of them here:

  1. The 20-20 Method by TheMinimalist.com says: “If you can get the item within 20 minutes of where you are and by spending less than $20, then you donate, sell or throw the item”
  2. The KonMari Method™ by Marie Kondo says (simplifying here) that if your belongings don’t spark joy when you hold them or when you’re around them, you should discard them. This is quite subjective and needs to be understood before applying.
  3. One Job, Multiple solutions Method says if you have multiple items for doing the same job, you can just keep one and shed the rest. For example, if you have 10 pens and you usually use 1-2 of them, you should shed the rest. People often keep things for the sake of keeping it. A lot of us are hoarders in general and like to collect stuff. Remember that collecting for the sake of it, is dangerous. It adds up to your space mentally and physically. You’ll spend more time maintaining stuff that you don’t own compared to using that time to do something you love.

So what’s my progress?

I’ve started auditing my stuff this year but will be doing this more seriously now. Here are things that I’ve shed so far (with details):

This will be an ongoing process and I’ll keep updating this post. If you want to stay updated and follow me on my minimal journey, you can follow me on my Instagram Profile – I’ll be updating there too.

If you’re auditing your belongings or just starting up, I’d love to know your process and the journey so far. Feel free to mention in comments!

How I get my things done – The art of GTD

I’ve been writing blog posts on to-dos, posting my yearly and monthly list of getting things done since quite some time – mostly to keep track and social accountability. It was fun and productive, but I’ve stopped writing about my to-dos since the start of year 2016 as I switched my job location and got a little busy, but relied on digital note keeping system, for the time being, using Evernote mostly.

As 2016 approaches to an end, I am reflecting back on good and bad things that happened and also the lessons learned from them. I’ll post about them in a separate blog post, but while jotting them down, I thought of starting my habit of writing yearly and monthly to-dos again.

Why? Because to give you the gist of 2016, I didn’t do any personal design related projects as I was mostly busy consuming information. Mostly from books, online articles, and videos. 2016 was much like a reading year for me. Not like I read 50 books. But I surfed a lot over the internet reading new and random stuff – not the most productive use of my time, but it happened.

I don’t regret spending time reading new stuff, but I could have managed my time better on several occasions only if I had made some goals. I made none and I wandered around aimlessly. There’s an argument about information in need vs. information in case which argues about whether we should consume information only when we need it the most, or we should consume to prepare ourselves for worst case scenario. I believe it can be both and that’s why few of the information I consumed, made me happy and few didn’t.

So from 2017 onwards, I’ll start making yearly and monthly goals. Again. I’ll use the same note-taking method (i.e. using a pen and a notebook/memo pad) I’ve used in the past 3 years since getting serious about being productive and methodological about my work, to get things done.

Basic rules I follow to get things done:

  1. Use note keeping as a system to store every to-do to stay on top of everything that needs to be done.
  2. Use pen and paper (a small notebook or a diary) to jot down those to-dos. 

Here’s why I use a note keeping system and don’t rely on my brain power to remember things and also why I use a notebook or a diary for noting down my to-dos.

Why use note keeping as a system?

First, our mind has a very limited real-time memory which means we can’t store everything that we want to remember. Don’t believe me? Try remembering what you need to get done in a week starting from coming Monday till the weekend comes. I am sure that by the end of the week, you’ll find that you missed 60%-70% of the items that you first thought on day one i.e. Monday.

Second, our brains are working constantly to remember those items which are not really needed. That brain power could be used to do something else, something more important. By putting all those to-do items in a note keeping system, say in a diary, we’re freeing up space or brain power to do other things.

And third, a note keeping system is also a go-to point for revision, editing, adding new items and finally to refer to it time and again. We can’t do that with our limited brain power. When I dump everything I am thinking of in a notebook or a memo pad (which I mostly use), I become stress-free. I don’t work my brain out to remember those stuff anymore because I know that everything that I need to buy, to do or take action upon, is stored in a system that I can always go back to, refer and pick up.

Why use a pen and a paper for note keeping? 

As much as I want to think and believe that note taking on a smartphone, laptop or any other digital device works, I have been proven wrong. For this year 2016, I completely tried sticking to digital systems for my note taking purpose.

Here’s how I started. The format was pretty basic in the start, i.e. to-dos listed in bullets. But later I moved on to a better layout. I was using Evernote most of the time for this.

Note keeping with Evernote with pretty basic format, i.e. to-dos listed in bullets
Note keeping with Evernote with pretty basic format, i.e. to-dos listed in bullets
Note keeping with Evernote with improved layout
Note keeping with Evernote with improved layout

After a year of using digital system for note keeping, which includes smartphone apps, Evernote, or notepad on laptop, I realized that it wasn’t working and might never work even at it’s best. Here’s why:

  1. I used digital note keeping systems every day but found myself writing less to-do items. Mostly because it’s a digital device where I am taking a note which is connected to the internet and other applications. The distractions were huge. I found myself switching windows, replying to incoming messages or deviating to something completely unexpected on the device, like playing games. All in all, note keeping is best not done with systems that can increase our chances of getting distracted as we need to stay sharp and focused when making small or specifically big goals.
  2. Ticking off something on paper with pen or pencil is way more satisfying and liberating compared to just clicking or tapping on something as done in a digital device. This feeling that I am talking about, can’t be expressed in words. You need to do it yourself in order to feel the difference and the joy it brings.
  3. I also found myself writing more to-dos when I was writing them on my notebook compared to when I was writing them on my digital devices.

Now that you know the basics and the why, how and what of things. Let’s clear out more frequently asked questions so we can get things done in the best way possible.

Which notebook to use? 

Any that you like. But it must be paper-based. You can use A4 sheets, a small notebook, or something like a memo pad which I use mostly.

How often to write to-dos or goals? 

I usually write one yearly, then few monthly to-do in a notebook and little to-dos in a memo pad. So big picture goes to my notebook and small and everyday to-do details goes to my memo pad.

My monthly to-do in a myPaperclip notebook
My monthly to-do in a myPaperclip notebook
Little and daily to-dos in a memo pad
Little and daily to-dos in a memo pad

To sum it up, getting things done is a piece of cake once you get the system and resources needed in place. Initially, you’ll struggle to keep up with the system i.e. you’ll forget to jot down little details, you’ll end up writing too many items on too many devices, or you’ll miss on to complete a lot of items you wrote. Remember this is not a fight to get everything done that you write, rather this is to practice and convert writing your to-do items in a piece of paper every day, month and year into a habit.

Happy getting things done and here’s a picture of all of my memo pad sheets till date 🙂 Cheers!

All of my to-do items from year 2015
All of my to-do items from year 2015

DIY : Smartphone holder

A few months back my phone (Blackberry Z10) started being buggy, slow and non-responsive, so I had to buy a new phone. I bought a OnePlus 3.

For some context, I have also started working towards designing a clean and functional workspace since last 2 years. Here’s what my current workspace looks like (long way to go though):

desk-1

desk-2

More on the history and love of designing a great workspace in a separate blog post. Moving on, I wanted a phone holder for my new phone because of these reasons:

  1. I spend most my time on my desk when I work on design/non-design related projects. So picking up my phone every time some notification has come up takes time and is annoying after a couple of times.
  2. Just peeking what has come and moving along (if it’s not important) with the work that I am doing is preferred
  3. I like things organized and clean around me

So I decided to make a phone holder instead of buying as I didn’t want to spend Rs. 500 or more in a good and sturdy phone holder. Below you’ll find steps to design your own phone holder and how much it can cost you. Here’s what the final model will look like:

finished-look

So, here are the steps to design your own phone holder:

  1. Sketch your design. Here’s mine:
    step-1-sketch
  2. Stuff you need to design the product:
    step-2-things

    • Mount board x 2 – Rs. 50
    • Long Scissor x 1 – Rs. 150
    • Long scale (30 cm preferred) x 1 – Rs. 150
    • Fevicol (100 gms) x 1 – Rs. 50
    • Feviquick 3 gms x 5 packs – Rs. 50
    • Binder Clip (6 pieces) – Rs. 100
    • Total will be Rs. 300-400 if you have few items like Ruler and Scissor at your home. Otherwise, the cost will go around Rs. 500 or below
  3. Cut long sheet to create the base (6 cm wide and 42 cm long):
    step-3-cut-long
  4. Fold from the middle and glue them together to make the stand sturdy:
    step-4-fold-to-make-strong
  5. Glue the board together with the help of Fevicol and clip them with the help of a Binder clip to make sure that all the sides are glued evenly:
    step-5-glue-them-together-and-clip
  6. Fold them around the middle so that one side is 12 cm and other is 9 cm or less. The 12 cm will be the base of holder:
    step-6-fold-from-the-middle
  7. Add bridges. The bridges should be the width of 1-2 cm length depending upon your speaker/charging port placement at the bottom of the phone. Bridges will be used to rest the phone:
    step-7-add-bridges-for-the-back-support
  8. Cut one more mount board with same width i.e. 6 cm and glue it with the rest. The length will depend upon the angle you want for the holder. I used 6 cm for the bottom and 8 cm for the top:
    step-8-connect-with-the-rest-1step-8-connect-with-the-rest-2
  9. Put a bit of Fevicol and Feviquick around the joints to make the bond stronger:
    step-9-put-fevicol-on-the-joints-to-make-them-sturdy
  10. Here’s how it’ll look like once gluing is done:
    step-10-heres-how-itll-look
  11. I also made two, one bigger for my OnePlus 3 which is 5.5” and a smaller one for my BlackBerry z10 (if I use it ever):
    step-11-made-two
  12. Put a little more Fevicol on the sides to smooth the edges out:
    step-12-smooth-out-the-sides-by-using-fevicol
  13. Once you’re satisfied with the edges and overall finish in terms of smoothness, paint them with any wood paint color. I chose white:step-13-paint-them
  14. Here’s what it’ll look once painted well. Remember to add 1-2 layers of paint to make it look more glossy. Here’s the bigger model:
    step-14-finsihed-bigger
  15. Here’s the small one:
    step-15-finished-small
  16. Here’s the top view of my workspace now 😀
    step-16-finished-top

Hope the steps are enough to give you a gist of the process and can be helpful if you decide to make one yourself.

Tip: Use Feviquick smartly and don’t let it touch your skin, or else your hands will look like this:
zhands

Let me know if you have any thoughts/comments about this DIY smartphone holder. Happy creating! 🙂

How I am in my 20s and am content

Ambition of big house, few expensive cars, global fame, a million dollars in the bank or a 7 figure salary or more, the list goes on. These are the things we, 20something put on our wish list. We keep dreaming of something more, something better and something bigger. It never ends. This is how we lose everything. This is how we lose our present, by chasing our materialistic and hence meaningless future.

We get to hear things like “chase your dreams”, “become successful” so on and so forth. The question is WHY. No one ever told us about why we actually need to find our passion, or what it really means to be successful. To be clear, success means different things to different people. We unknowingly, throw our definition of success onto our loved ones, close friends, and shockingly to strangers too.

I have to admit that this is what my parents did. In fact, this is what most parents do. They push on their dreams or their definition of success to kids and one starts to think that it’s the only way in life. One starts to believe that they have to earn loads of money, marry a beautiful girl, own a business, own a big car, do this or do that.

The point is we have been given a rulebook since our birth and we keep working to get that checklist done, given by our parents or by anyone for that matter. And that’s how we keep running, running, running and one day die.

While in reality, what we really need to do is chuck the rulebook and find what makes us happy (could also mean multiple things) and then make it a part of our daily life. I really love how Tim Ferriss (author of best selling book The Four Hour Work Week) defines passion or doing things that make us happy – he says “find and do those things that excite you”.

Since a decade or more now, articles, books, videos and people have been telling us adamantly that one should find his/her passion until they die. WRONG! I recently was having a conversation with one of my juniors from my college and we were arguing about why it is important to find your passion.

The truth is you don’t. It’s a lens that has been sold to us and will be sold, now and forever, which says “if you want to be happy, find your passion”. While in reality, I see a lot of people working in industries and companies which have nothing to do with their passion. But are they happy in their job? Hell yes!

So, I would like to take this opportunity to define success. For me, being successful means to be happy. Period.

Let me give you few examples how one might not find his/her passion in life but still be happy and indeed successful:

  • Many people work in a company or have a job that excites them. For example, a lot of people love doing human interactions and work in HR while their passion lies in music. They work happily in their day job, go back home and play that instrument they love.
  • A lot of young engineers I know go to their day job, code for the product their company has, come back home and play football in the neighbourhood. And trust me no has complained anything about not finding their passion.

In reality, we need to pay bills. And it’s fine. Until and unless you have a job that you hate and bosses that suck, you need to find another. But I think jobs are okayish for the average of us. If we do it right then there are no complaints. And in return, we are getting to pay bills, eat our favorite food, give our parents that TV or car they were willing to buy for a long time and more importantly do that job we love or interests us. And that makes us happy.

Also, many of the folks I know, they come back from their “okayish” job which doesn’t make them sad or stresses them out, and do what they really like, love or are passionate about. And again, that’s fine. Finding your passion and just working on it day and night is all hyped up. Trust me, you’ll end up chasing your own tail in the long run and will never be happy and content.

Enough talk, but how I am happy now and content at the age of 23? Here are few points on what I did/do and how it helps me to stay sane, happy and content:

  1. I have a job which is of my interest: I know that not everyone finds their interest right after college and a job around that aspect too. Early on when I was in college, I just got lucky and found one of my interest i.e. design and worked to build a portfolio ignoring my majors. My portfolio was okay and I got a job, but not the degree. Right now I am working with a cool company called Wingify and I feel happy on the things I work on here. It’s okay if you don’t find a job in-line with your passion. As long as your job doesn’t suck, you’re doing fine in life 🙂
  2. I do things that make me happy after office hours: I cycle to work and back which I totally love. Once back, I play football with kids nearby, read something online, listen to music, watch some interesting videos I bookmarked while at work. All this keeps me away from stress. I watch a movie in theatres every alternate weekend and then eat at a local/popular restaurant.
  3. I have my loved ones around me to keep me away from stress: Whenever I start to panic about my situation or stressing about things, I call my girlfriend (she’s super cute), my mother or my close friends. It always helps to talk to someone and let things out. I believe that if you keep things to yourself which stress you, they’ll eat you from the inside and cause you 10x or more stress in the long run. Sometimes it’s better to just share the burden. It helps me stay sane.
  4. I don’t create unrealistic or materialistic goals: A lot of people I know talk about owning a big car, a big house, amazing bank balance, so on and so forth. In reality, we never ask ourselves that whether owning all that make us happy in the long run? I think everyone knows deep down that the answer is NO. But we still chase them. That’s why I follow and preach minimalism. The less you have, the less stressed you are. Owning less doesn’t mean being poor. It means you’re rich from the inside. It’s the simplest way of being content, otherwise one will always have things to chase, cry and stress about. It’s an endless loop.
  5. Lastly, I accepted that my future will not keep me happy at present: While in college, I learned a lesson that things about future that we bother ourselves with are in the future (it might or might not happen). Planning for the best and hoping for the worst is fine. But somehow I found that it’s ruining my present. I almost stopped doing everything that was making me happy and was working towards my future i.e. designing my portfolio at that time which I needed to launch. I realised that while I am involved in building my future and worrying about it too, I am losing a lot on my present. I am losing time with my loved ones. There’s a lot to lose when you’re just focused on your future. That was my lesson and I accepted and decided that I’ll always work towards a better future but will never let it ruin my present.

To sum this up, I love the idea of having multiple happiness baskets. This concept is about having/doing multiple things in life that make us happy so that if one basket falls, we have several others to rely on.

Most people give their everything to just one thing that makes them happy, and when that falls, it’s chaos for them. It’s simply plain logic to aid yourself with multiple things in life that make you happy so no matter when you fall, you’ll find happiness from the rest, stay happy and ultimately content in life.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. ~Mark… Click To Tweet

Good read – January 2016

Death of “CTRL + T” and typing “fa…. + Enter”

I am a Facebook addict! I spend almost 1-2 hours (or more) on social networks on a daily basis. *sigh*

I was reading this article over the weekend: “Can we be both makers and managers?” [Link to the article], which explains it’s important to manage your roles as a human being when it comes to creation and management. Reading while jumping hyperlinks I landed on this post by Paul Jarvis on Productivity where he says:

“I suck at multi-tasking. Not just doing more than one thing at a time, but being interrupted when doing one task by something else. This comes mostly in the form of notifications on your computer or phone. Someone liked your photo on Instagram? Someone @’ed you on Twitter? A file was uploaded to Dropbox? New email?!

I’ve managed to not miss anything or forget anything in the 2 years since I’ve killed all notifications. Instead, I use the program I’m using at any given time, and when I’m done, I move onto something else. So I only see Twitter when I log into Twitter. I only see my inbox when I open up my email program. Focus works.”

~[Link to the article]

After reading this, I logged out of my social accounts. It just felt the urgent need of doing that as I always end up going on facebook or other social channels every few minutes (say 30-40 mins) and end up seeing the same news feed I have seen earlier. It serves me no good and I waste my time in the process. Why I land up on my social accounts that often? Because:

  • I want to know what’s happening in or around the world (I have FOMO – Fear of missing out)
  • I want to share interesting some stuff – I realised I am not a social media manager nor my job description includes that. I do that on a personal level, and if I do it personally, I can do it any time of the day, week or month. I don’t need to be there all the time to share what I like. It should not come in between what’s important to me. Be it work, relationships, health or whatever.

Here’s my online surfing data recorded by RescueTime for November 2015:

RescueTime Data

Note: I forgot to start the OS app and only turned the Chrome extension on, so it couldn’t track my Photoshop or Sketch’s timings which could have been the productive time I have had while using my computer.

Nonetheless, I regret wasting my time surfing randomly on social networks. TIME TO MAKE SOME CHANGES NOW.

But, what I don’t want, is to lose my ability to share cool stuff I see or read online with my friends or/and to interested readers. I really like the newsletters I get every now and then from people or blog I have subscribed to. Two of which I enjoy reading are from Tim Ferriss (Author of The Four Hour Work Week) and Noah Kagan (CEO/Founder of AppSumo). They both have started sending newsletters with interesting stuff they see/read/do online and offline. I enjoy reading these newsletters for two reasons:

  • I get to read interesting curated stuff which I wouldn’t find or find after many hours of surfing online. Plus the content they share is aligned with the stuff I like to read or know about. So they do the hard work for me. I sit back, read, learn and enjoy.
  • Second, I get these newsletters directly in my inbox which is great, so that I don’t have to bookmark them or go back to some place to keep a tab on them. I read them at my own convenience and will.

So, about the changes I am going to make:

  • Log out of all the social accounts. Log in once a day for a start – My target is to reduce it to once in two days in the next 6 months.
  • Compile a note (on my Evernote or in a word doc) of interesting stuff I read online and share them via a blog post rather than going on Facebook or Twitter every single time I want to share them.

Let 2016 be distraction free! 🙂

The power of just ‘Reading’

The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.”… Click To Tweet

Reading what world has been upto helps a lot. I have noticed that when I slack into daily routine of work and reserve weekends to relax and recharge, I feel guilty of not getting anywhere in terms of growth. Of course I am getting to learn a lot while working in a cool company and helping people build products which millions love, but at the same time, it is an automated process – I will learn even if I don’t do anything after office hours. So, there’s this guilt sometimes, a guilt of not proactively doing things that makes me happy and for which I should feel productive.

When I read stuffs, be it over the internet or a book, I sense that I have started to focus my energy on creative things, things which I want to do, I drive lessons from those online articles or videos I watch and relate/apply to my process for the work to be done. Interestingly, I start feeling productive even without having start to work for that project. The process of engaging myself in planning of the project makes me feel productive and focused already.

I suddenly start feeling this sense of control that I don’t get while working on weekdays and not reading or doing anything productive. I feel that everything is in control. I need not to worry about where to start the project from, whom to approach for guidance, what materials to read in order to research, how to find time to do it, how to keep doing it while having a day job. Nothing seems impossible. I wonder if anyone has felt this way.

Let me know if you can relate to this. I can use some high-fives 🙂

Clearing debt, exercising every alternate day, re-designing portfolio website and much more…..my to-do list/challenges for September/October 2015

[From left to right: Shaleen – My twin brother and has passion in communication marketing – Website link | Roshan – Good friend and has passion in IOT/Computer tech. – LinkedIn profile | Swati – Good friend. Still figuring out her passion(s) 🙂 | Me – Best friend 😉 – Website link  | Rahul – Good friend and has passion in tech. R&D – Website link]
August was quite a month for me. I had good days and bad days.

  • Good days because I travelled to Pondicherry and Bengaluru with my close friends. This trip was one of those things which we have been discussing/day dreaming since our first college days. We got to realise this dream last month – Makes me happy 🙂
  • Bad days because I broke up with the girl I thought I would live my life with. I felt depressed for 2-3 days, but moved on pretty quickly. Thanks to few close friends, online articles, and a bit of self-motivation.

Quick tip on dealing with heartbreaks/failures is to have multiple happiness baskets in life as suggested by Tim Ferriss. The concept of having multiple happiness baskets is to have/do different things which makes you happy. For instance, I love playing football, cycling, designing, sketching…etc. The point of having/doing multiple things that makes you happy is to have backup when you fail at one of them. For example, if I lose my leg one day (which I don’t want) and I can’t play football or cycle anymore, there will still be designing and sketching that I can do which will keep me happy. So, my life won’t get blank and dark all of a sudden. So work on creating different happiness baskets….it works…..trust me.

Moving on, there are things to achieve and things to enjoy in life 🙂

I have been missing out on goals in the past few months because I set a lot of them. So this time, I’ll be a bit realistic based on past records. Here are my goals for this month (September/October) posted below.

You can read about my to-do list of August here: [Link]

Goals for September/Octorber 2015:

  • Exercising every alternate day – I recently came across a youtube video [Link] of two guys who built pretty amazing stamina, fitness level, and body. They achieved all that without hitting the gym. The video explains the workout process they follow…which suggest to workout extensively a day and rest the next so on and so forth. So, I have started following the same routine of exercising alternate days and leaving weekends to take breaks and rest [Update: 3 weeks done]
    Here’s what my activity log looks like :

    Fitbit data
    Week’s activity – Data by Fitbit Flex

    Fitbit data
    A healthy day 🙂 – Data by Fitbit Flex
  • Buy and eat dry fruits, 2 bananas and 2 eggs daily – Exercising, building stamina and building muscle needs nutrients. So forming a habit to get those nutrients on a daily basis. By the way, dry fruits have some amazing health benefits.
    Here are few: [Link]

    Egg and milk
    Egg and milk

    Dry fruits
    Dry fruits
  • Read book: The 7 habits of highly effective people – [Online purchase link] [Update: Read 80/400 pages]
  • Clear 20k/70k of debt – Have around 70k debt as I switched to a different location and bought things along the way. But, I have stopped using my credit card and resolved to not using it again. Debt is bad. [Update: 50k left 🙂 ]
  • Sankalpsinha.com’s landing page re-design – And also start developing if get time. [Update: Development started]
  • One blog post other than this – Framed it roughly – Writing on forming habits.
  • Create contact backup in an Excel sheet – I recommend everyone to have a contact backup somewhere in your email or saved in hard-drive for emergencies – Best is to have it online for easy accessibility. Also, send one of the copies to your relatives and friends. More on this in different blog post. [Update: 0% done]

Cycle to work, joining a kick-ass company, finding a new house and much more…..my to-do list/challenges for August 2015

Well, this blog post took some time to post. Here’s why:

  • Switched jobs. From Exponential to Wingify, same as UI/UX Designer
  • Changed location based on the new job – Shifted near to office
  • Putting systems in place in the new house like a neat workspace (Pic above), well-managed kitchen, and other household stuff.
  • Got engaged in office training, tasks and hi-hellos.
  • Fell in love with a girl. We are together now 🙂

But moving on, everything is set. I am cycling to office every day now – Makes me happy.

Here are my goals for this month (August) posted below.

You can read about my to-do list of May here: [Link]

Goals for August 2015:

  • 22 Days pushup challenge – Leaving weekends to take breaks and rest [Update: 15 days done]
  • 22 Sketches in total – Want to see all sketches so far? Go here : [Link] [Update: 10 done]
  • 15 Letwallinspire posters – See all posters here : [Link] [Update: 7 days done]
  • Create other social media accounts for Letwallinspire – To have maximised outreach through different social media platforms.
  • Buy and eat dry fruits daily – Dry fruits have amazing health benefits. Here are few : [Link] [Update: 20 days done]
  • Read book: Getting things done [Online purchase link] [Update: Read 20-30 pages only]
  • Clear 30% (20k/60k) of debt – Have around 60k debt as I switched to a different location and bought things along the way. I also have stopped using my credit card and resolved to not using it again. Debt is bad. [Update: Clearing a bit by bit]
  • Sankalpsinha.com’s landing page re-design – And also start developing if get time. [Update: 100% done. Development started :D] – For updates on this stay tuned to the facebook page: [Link]
  • One blog post other than this [Update: Somewhat written. Yet to finalize and post. It’s on forming habits]
  • Create contact backup in a document or excel file – I recommend everyone to have a contact backup somewhere in your email or saved in hard-drive for emergencies. Also send one of the copies to your relatives and friends. More on this in different post. [Update: Not started]

Sketching every single day, practicing guitar basics, auditing belongings and much more…..my goals for May 2015

Change is here. Switching jobs for the better 🙂 Joining Wingify, a Delhi based software startup that has expertise in A/B testing via its digital product Visual Website Optimizer. Will be joining them in June. That’s it for now, the good news. Will be posting another article about how I got the job.

You can read about my to-do list of April here : [Link]

Goals for May 2015 : 

  1. Write 1 blog post about exercises to be done – Experiment by setting a monthly target for 30 sets of few different exercises and note down the results.
  2. Sankalpsinha.com’s redesign + about section (detailed) – This one has been sitting on my list for quite a time now. Time to take action on this one. Why I need to redesign the website is because it’s not mobile friendly first, it doesn’t have filters based on type of works I have done and it doesn’t have a simple yet explained about section.
  3. Do 31 sketches – 10 for May, 10 for April, 10 for March, 1 for February from backlog goals from January.
  4. Fix previous blog post’s images, links and spellchecks – To have originality and relativity in post images.
  5. Read book : Getting things done [Online purchase link]
  6. Practice guitar basics – Jumping right into playing songs on guitar seems like going the hard way. I have to focus and learn the basics again first.
  7. Keep exercising – Have been doing streching, 30 pushups, 30 squats, running a bit and cycling with decent breakfast (500ml Milk + Egg sandwich/2 boiled egg + 2 Bananas + 1 Apple) on a daily basis. No wonder why I feel good everyday 🙂 But the challenge still remains – To make it a habit. I think I am pretty close to nail this one 😉
  8. Keep eating healthy – See above! Have been eating a healthy breakfast (500ml Milk + Egg sandwich/2 boiled egg + 2 Bananas + 1 Apple) everyday for 20 days straight now. But eating at McD, KFC and other unhealthy outlets is still a challenge. Trying my best. Let’s see what I can do.
  9. Audit belongings – Just a measure to ensure I have less belongings as I belive the less you have, the more carefree you will be.
  10. Save Rs.5000 – As I am practicing saving these days. 5k is just a target, nothing fancy about the figure. [Update : 100% done]