Thanks to the quarantine, I've been thrust into the shoes of a remote worker or an entrepreneur that must structure my own day. Gone is the set routine of commuting to campus, attending classes, and having dinner with friends. Now that I spend my whole day at most a few meters away from my bed, I've been relying on some new strategies for self-directed productivity.
My attention recently went to the matter of my Most Important Task (MIT). MIT is an old concept in internet ages, dating at least to 2006, that still stays relevant. The idea is simple: what is the one most important task that you must complete today? Do it first thing in the morning before anything else.
I recently came across Jeff Huang's .txt productivity system via Cal Newport's blog post. It was a pleasant surprise, as I've been doing something similar since middle school. Despite having tried every task manager under the sun, I've found a text file to be the most reliable and efficient. It was quite validating to learn that a computer science professor thinks the same.
A software engineering wisdom says that premature optimization is the root of all evil. Note the modifier “premature.” Optimization is great; it's not so great in the prototyping stage though.
This is exactly what I am feeling in life. I have obsessed so much over the optimization of the minutiae of the daily grind that I have forgotten to stop and reflect if I am going in the right direction in the first place.
I recently shared my strategy for finally making reading into a habit. The key takeaway was to redirect my habit of checking social media on my phone into reading a few pages of an ebook.
In order to make this change stick, I deleted every single source of distraction from my phone. That shaped my environment to be conducive to reading.
In my further research about forming reading habits, I came across an interview of Erik Barker, the bestselling author of “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” and the writer of a homonymous blog. (It has an amusing address: bakadesuyo.com.)
Most people recognize the value of reading books; many of us set a new year's resolution to read more. We're pumped up with energy. Yet, it rarely lasts.
Why is it so hard to make a reading habit stick? Surely, we all know the benefits of reading. Reading books is a great way to self-educate. Reading books improve our writing. Books broaden our perspectives with new ideas. Books provide us entertainment. Books allow us to travel to the greatest minds of our time, or to the most engrossing worlds ever imagined.