Understand yourself. Build systems.

For a while, I didn’t drink enough water. Sometimes none at all. And this was becoming a huge problem — fatigue, dry skin, headaches, inability to concentrate and so on. In the middle of a busy day, I just never made time. I tried many of those ‘remind to drink water’ apps. Didn’t work. 

Until one day, in a meeting at a client’s conference room, I caught myself drinking water off the glass in front of me. The support staff kept filling my glass and I kept drinking. An entire bottle within a 3-hour-workshop. I couldn’t make sense of it, and then it hit me. I just hate the sight of an open glass of water in front of me. 

Voila! Now, I mostly drink enough water.

There are plenty of systems around the world — pomodoro techniques, bullet journals, reminders, alarms, apps and things. Not everything works for everyone. You might be procrastinating for a reason that a ticking clock can’t stop; might even make it worse.

To find the right tools for you, first understand yourself.

Let’s say you want to write 1000 words everyday, but you aren’t. Explore why. What happens when you sit down to write? Or worse, are you having trouble sitting down to write at all? If you’re frantically seeking the comforts of Twitter, what’s the feeling just before that? If you get the unshakeable urge to do dishes before you can write, why?

  • I feared being published more than writing itself. My doctor helped me get over that.

  • I wanted to research to the end of the world, unless there’s a strict deadline. So, I began committing to a deadline while pitching, and that fixed that.

  • I always checked Twitter when I don’t like the topic I’m writing on. I’m doing fewer and fewer of those now.

Basically, the systems you’re building need to address your specific needs and problems. And for that, you need self-awareness. This is not to say that you shouldn’t try new things, I try various apps / techniques all the time. This is to say that problems are solved better if you have a good diagnosis of them in the first place.

P.S: While asking these questions and trying to gain self-awareness, be kind. Don’t become all mean and reprimand yourself.