A bit over a month ago I started an experiment where I set out weekly goals for myself, intending to follow up with a post about my progress each week on this blog. That lasted for a total of 2 weeks. I didn’t even end up making the update at the end of the second week.

Can’t really consider that a success, as I was intending this to be a long term experiment. And yet I’m happy with the results. Let me explain.

For starters, I did not realise just how monotonous an update blog post would be. I sat down to write the update at the end of the second week: some stuff went well, some didn’t, here’s some numbers and here’s hoping for a better week next week. Who in their right mind would want to read this over and over? I certainly didn’t. So I postponed my update hoping to maybe merge a few weeks into one, but then ended up with a hectic few weeks and didn’t follow my experiment at all. I now realise that if something interesting happens, it likely deserves its own blog post instead of being mashed with all the other mediocre achievements of the week.

I also underestimated just how difficult running 50km a week (plus additional exercise) will be without easing into it. At the end of the two weeks I was so sore that I needed to take the next 4 days off just to get back to normal. At which point I didn’t have many days to achieve my running goal for the third week. I was overly ambitious with my goals, and I now have a much better understanding of my limits.

Regardless of the length, these were easily the 2 most productive weeks of the year. I ran a lot, learned a lot, and worked on my blog and projects. More importantly, I learned a lot about what makes me productive. And I achieved 2 of my main goals: quitting chess and running my first ever marathon just a few days ago!

So what made me productive?

There’s a few basics that I find are important for productivity: a clean environment, plenty of sleep and exercise, and healthy eating habits. I made sure to be on top of all these categories and as a result felt much more energetic and efficient with my daily tasks. Intelectually I understand why this works, yet I’m still surprised every time just how much of a difference I feel.

Other than these basics, I was very impressed with just how much the daily planning and review sessions help with achieving goals. When it’s so clearly written down in a TODO list, it’s much more difficult to gaslight yourself into leaving some task for another day. And even when I couldn’t complete something today, I would be doubly motivated to do it tomorrow.

I did find my setup inconvenient though: I was writing down my planning and review sessions in a notebook on paper, and found that slow and non-portable. I would not have access to the notebook when I left the house, so I had to work through my TODO list from memory. Plus, I’m slow at writing on paper. And it’s harder to insert text and move stuff around after you write something down. It is also much more difficult to search and collate statistics.

As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of keeping paper records. And I think I found a solution: using Obsidian.md instead. Now I absolutely hate much of the default functionality of Obsidian: there’s many long standing bugs and missing features that annoy me to no end. It’s a pretty terrible note taking app on its own. But when you include Community Plugins, you can mould it into a very customized productivity system. I’ve been kind of addicted to trying to set up everything the way I want, and I can see myself writing some plugins myself, or contributing to existing ones. Expect a blog post (or maybe even a video!?) when I’m done setting up Obsidian the way that I want.

What’s next?

I’m officially stopping my experiment that I unofficially stopped a while ago already. I won’t keep posting weekly udpates; I might do a summary of all the cool things that happened at the end of the year, but that’s about it.

What you should expect is me to start creating some content on YouTube! Not sure when exactly (I’m notoriously slow to start doing unfamiliar things like this), but I’ve recently bought a microphone and have been researching and testing out some streaming setups. I will make sure to make a more detailed blog post when I start uploading to YouTube.