Articles about productivity

Journeyman - Part 3: Offline Software Development and Productivity

As I'm preparing my bike trip, I'm expecting my friends and family to ask me the following question: how can someone achieve anything in these conditions? Productivity is a field I've been actively studying for close to seven years now. I've come to the realization that all attempts to be productive imply removing distractions to focus on what's essential. It's the very definition of productivity according to Wikipedia: "labour productivity is equal to the ratio between a measure of output volume and a measure of input use". It might seem obvious, but you are probably more productive...read more

Four Sub-Systems Most SaaS Apps Need

If you're a frugal indie maker whose time is extremely limited and spread thin by multiple projects, there are four core services you can automate. Most SaaS applications are built-upon those sub-systems. If you manage to build one micro-service for each and host them on a personal subdomain, you save yourself countless hours re-developing them for your next project and tons of money on recurring costs. Authentication/authorization system: Auth0 is nice, but spend three days learning about OAuth, JSON Web Tokens, and reading your back-end web framework's documentation and you'll be able to ro...read more

Back to the Iron Temple

I always find it both funny and accurate to compare a gym to a religious building. You have to go at least once a week, everyone worships the same god (yourself, there is narcissism to it), but no one follows the same program. The problem is I was so focused on releasing a proof of concept for Bouquin while raising money for my ventures with freelance that I neglected taking care of my health over the last month. Since I'm already spending all my time working from home, I don't want to exercise there as well, so yesterday I decided to join a gym for $30 a month. I think this is a good temporar...read more

Introducing (my) Attic

As I explained in a previous post, I want to automate some programming work. Developing one digital product is already hard enough, but I can't help the need to have by-products. If I want to be a better writer, I need The Co-Writers. I have to push my limits, so I also need to write substantial work in the form of books. I need to write books, so I developed Bouquin. I need a bigger toolbox to make more features, at a faster pace, while freeing time to write. This is why I'm building Attic, an open-source full-stack code generator for my Symfony/PHP projects. An app is a set of smaller apps l...read more

Why I Don't Buy Courses

With the rise of Massive Open Online Course platforms such as Udemy, a course is a common form of info products nowadays. That being said, I never spent a dime on courses my entire life, and I don't intend to do so any time soon. Learning with courses is like learning quotes from a book: you're not actually going through the pain of reading the whole book, so you have little understanding of the actual quote in its context. Let's take integrals for example. It's a basic mathematical object everyone heard about in high-school, and yet, we are taught very little about why they are needed and how...read more

On Boredom

We live in a world of entertainment where boredom is shunned. Even when you want to bore yourself to death, you are forbidden to do so: "stop lazing around," they say. I'd argue, however, that boredom is not only useful but necessary. My best ideas often came to me while trying to fall asleep, going for a stroll, or performing routine work. Boredom forces your brain to come up with funnier things to do. If the resulting energy is channeled toward productive endeavors, it's an incredible source of creativity. You might want to make things harder and take on new challenges, for example...read more

Investing in Cooking Skills

People want to be healthy but fail to invest time in the art of cooking. In Western countries like France, Sweden, or the U.S, less than 6 hours weekly are dedicated to the activity in average, and ready meals is a billion dollars industry that keeps growing. Cooking isn't just good for your health. It'll load up your wallet, and it will also teach you time management skills. More importantly, it'll bring you closer to reality: what is in-season, where does the stuff you're eating comes from, etc. As a good friend of mine once said: good cooking is not about expensive food, it's about bringing...read more

Deep writing

It's a slow day. My first week in a new city is always exhausting because my body is getting used to a new environment. It affects my metabolism and my internal clock, so I'm resting a lot and focusing on taking care of my diet. Today is a sort of off-day where I walk around, don't drink coffee and go early to bed. Tomorrow is Friday. It's the first day where I try my new weekly project split routine. I need to write much more in 2020, so I decided to give myself three days per week to focus on writing. My days are usually centered around making digital products: writing is a secondary activit...read more

Weekly Project Split

One of my on-going objectives is to keep on improving my writing skills. Daily writing is important to keep learning, thinking, and adding value as frequently as possible, but I need longer work sessions to write in-depth bodies of work: books and long-form articles. This is why I'm thinking of implementing a weekly project split: deep writing sessions on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and coding the rest of the week. The idea is inspired by Elon Musk's approach to running several companies at the same time and Cal Newport's deep work principles. My days are divided between reading, writing, an...read more

Data-Driven Personal Growth

Personal growth can be summed up in one sentence: do more of what's meaningful and do less of what works against you. It's a zero-sum game where our daily actions compound. Our decision-making process is what ultimately brings us success or failure. Decisions result from data, meaning from the books we read, the culture we belong to, the way we were raised, or our friends' opinions. All the knowledge we have at our disposition, no matter its form, is useful. The more data sources we have, the better the decisions we take - because knowing more brings us closer to the truth. This is the main re...read more

Ayet Routine

I got myself a nice routine since I came back to my hometown in France two weeks ago. It wasn't planned, so I'm writing it down to adapt it when I'm abroad. I wake up between 6 and 9 AM depending on how late I went to bed. If I wake up at 6, I work till 8 AM at my desk in my bedroom. I then have eggs and coffee for breakfast. If I wake up later, I skip the eggs and settle for coffee. By 9:30 I'm back in the zone and I work on my products till lunch. Design, programming, or project management. My parents call me to eat around 1 PM. I take another cup of coffee and wrap up my on-going tasks. I l...read more

Intermittent Digital Fasting

Limiting the time I spend online has a net positive impact on my productivity. When I notice I'm out of focus, stepping away from my computer to cook, write, read, exercise, or socialize is the smartest way I found to get something done while giving myself a break. Writing is relaxing, and so does a quick chat by the water dispenser or a quick read in your favorite armchair. We could call this intermittent digital fasting, where instead of eating during an eight-hour window you're only allowed to interact with a screen for five hours top, two hours after waking up. I hit my peak energy level a...read more

Be Your Own Investor

Indie makers reject external funds. They are their own investors and rely on actual customers to create a healthy business model. We should take note: be your own investor. It is mandatory to invest in ourselves. We can't expect to generate wealth without having skin in the game. If we believe in our ideas, it's only natural to use our own time and our own money to acquire our first users. When we put our lives on the line, we learn to mitigate the ever-changing risks: we reduce our burn rates, and we start leveraging the constraints put in front of us instead of avoiding them with money. More...read more

Your streak went down, so what?

The streak is not the end-goal. I hear you alright: "Easy for you to say! You have a One Year Streak you hypocrite &#!$%!!!". Read until the end before judging. A streak is like training wheels: you can hate it, but in the end, it's only here to help you get better. A streak is simply a tool. Whining won't teach you how to bike, you have to get back up and start again. Each time you fall, you learn a valuable lesson about your own motives and your own process. Be brave enough to take a good look at yourself. It's all about training. It's all about preparation. What can you do tom...read more

One Year of Logs Making Products

I've just reached a one year streak on Makerlog. In other words, I've documented one year of making products. That's 1584 tasks done according to Makerlog. I queried Makerlog's API to make an archive and compute some stats. 106 tasks in November last year, 153 tasks in December, 119 in January 2019, 99 in February, 101 in March, 108 in April, 119 in May, 130 in June, 160 in July, 155 in August, 127 in September, 149 in October, and 50 so far this month. February was the least productive month in terms of deliveries because I was writing my book. December last year was quite busy because 200WaD...read more

Digital Social Loops

We all have digital social loops. You know what I'm talking about: we open a new tab, then we check our emails, then Twitter, then Instagram... and we continue with every social account we have to trigger the sweet dopamine release until we complete the loop and get back to what we were doing. I'm guilty. Sometimes I wake up and check my phone for updates. Sometimes I stop in the middle of my work to check if I have any new Twitter notification. It's an endless cycle I go through every day. Is this era of social media and instant messages inherently bad? I don't think so. I don't want to delet...read more

Effective Researching

Robert Greene reads between 300 and 400 books to write one. You can feel the depth of his research process in the end result. The author of Mastery uses flashcards and a category system to manage all the accumulated ideas. One idea per flashcard with a short quote or description, and post-it labels to aggregate similar topics. He then stores all the cards in shoe boxes, and a few months later he starts drafting. I think it's an interesting research methodology. I'd like to adapt it to my own process. When I come up with a book summary for Sipreads, I take notes by simply synthesizing the core ...read more

Minimalist Work Environment

What's preventing us from doing our best work? It's not so much about what we don't have, and more about what we do with what we have. Buying more stuff is not the way to go about it. A developer doesn't need more monitors for example: we can only do one thing at a time, and we can learn to better navigate through the interface by memorizing keyboard shortcuts. Using a single monitor is a constraint we can use as an opportunity to increase our focus and our knowledge. Do more with what you have, until you can't grow any further. Simplifying our work environment is much more powerful. Clutter i...read more

30 Days of Digital Silence

I am astonished by the number of hours I spend browsing Youtube or Netflix. It has become common to make fun of people mindlessly watching TV, but consuming streaming content is not much different. We try to convince ourselves it's okay to watch educative content as long as we're learning. Or that we need music to get work done. "I need a break, this Netflix movie will kill time". Truth is, all this content is not gonna help us. We mostly watch it out of boredom, it's just another form of procrastination. I decided to put a stop to this habit: I'm going on a 30-day digital silence re...read more

Mindful Pomodoro

Time flies. You make New Year's resolutions, and the next moment it's November. I'm not particularly mindful during the day. I didn't reach peak productivity either. I thought a lot about how to become more mindful of my time over the last five years. I tried RescueTime for a month and it opened my eyes. I waste a lot of time browsing Youtube and social media websites - up to 2 hours a day, sometimes more. Then I tried using a Pomodoro technique but I was not very consistent with it. Last year I stumbled upon the concept of bell of mindfulness, used in the famous Plum Village near my hometown ...read more

Weekly Review

I want to focus more on the public accountability aspect of my journey as a maker, which is why I recently had the idea to create a newsletter where I would review my tasks, goals, and objectives on a weekly basis. I am still thinking about the content and how I could make it interesting for my readers. One section should describe my progress toward my business goals with key metrics like the MRR or the number of new customers. Something similar to the Open page of this website but from my perspective. Another section should review what's been done: number of tasks completed on Makerlog, habit...read more

Low Pressure

Growing up, I developed a tendency to stress myself more than necessary. I'm born anxious, and I became more ambitious over the years. You can't get work done without a healthy amount of stress. That's how our lizard brain works. Stress derives from fear, and fear is a defense mechanism processed in our amygdala. But sometimes, the pressure grows too big and it produces the opposite effect: procrastination. How can we achieve the right balance between stress and productivity? Steven Pressfield's concept of Resistance comes to mind. The stronger the pressure we apply in our work, the stronger t...read more

Why Reading and How

Sipreads has been featured on Product Hunt yesterday. We managed to become #2 Product of the Day and get our first 200 newsletter subscribers. We also had our first affiliate sale. How can we go further? For smart consumption, text will always prevail over video or audio. Text has an alchemical potential no other format has. It's also much harder to be proactive when you listen to a podcast or watch a video. Reading is still the most efficient way to acquire knowledge. More than 2,000,000 books are published each year, but our lifetime is not expanding proportionally. It's primordial to be rad...read more

Over-Ritualizing

I have a problem. I tend to sacralize my work. I overthink my goals, tasks, habits, and objectives, to generate some sort of meaning from it all. I lock myself in imaginary contracts with my users, and sometimes myself. At first, I thought it would make me more motivated, and thus more productive: "if you are driven by a holy mission and stick to it, nothing can stop you", I used to tell myself. But the contrary happened. The objective feels unreachable. It becomes overwhelming, which in turn feeds procrastinative habits: fear of failure, fear of trying new things, fear of pursuing n...read more

Going Offline

Varying my environment and the way I do things helps a lot with my productivity. Going offline is an opportunity to look at things from a different angle: different support, different perspective. The simplest solution is often the best, and many key activities don't require an Internet connection. Carrying a laptop or a smartphone or a tablet is a constraint: I need an electric plug to load the battery, a place with shadows to look at my screen without hurting my eyes, and a flat surface to correctly ventilate the hardware. Spending more time offline is also great for my mental health. Leavin...read more

Dusk or Dawn

The earlier I get up, the more energized I feel. I perfectly know I'm a morning person because that's the way I've always been, but I'm still not acting upon this fact. I go out late at night, sometimes until the crack of dawn, and consequently, I wake up late. Then I feel sluggish and I wonder why. There is something that attracts me about the dark, the city lights, and the people sharing the ambient warmth. It's an ephemeral yet joyful world. If I gave in to my desires, I would just stay up all night and sleep from 10 AM to 6 PM. That's not what my body requires, however. I always find those...read more

Cultivating Serendipity

We all probably experienced this moment when a solution to a problem comes to us right before falling asleep. This phenomenon is part of a bigger concept called serendipity: the faculty of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. I am not a huge fan of this word, but it can teach us a thing or two about the ideation process. Serendipity is often used to describe inventions and discoveries, and how luck plays an important part in the creative process. Serendipity is not the result of luck or fate though: it's the result of a proactive mindset, not something that comes to you by itse...read more

The Holy Heptad

Once you understand you have to be responsible for your own happiness, you start becoming an adept of self-development. There is no growth without self-love: you need me time to perform this introspective work. If you don't have time to listen to yourself, you won't be able to open yourself up to the possibilities the world has to offer. The problem is that the road to the top is a psychological war: consistency is both the goal and the reward, which is why habits should always prevail over plans. After writing about my new daily routine, I quickly realized I wouldn't follow it per see. I can'...read more

Music and Productivity

Should I listen to music while I'm working? My Youtube tab accompanies me every day. It makes everything enjoyable, from my daily work to my late-night parties. The problem is I tend to spend more time choosing the right soundtrack to my life than doing actual work. Sometimes, I end up wasting several hours of my day watching a recommended playlist. Procrastination at its finest. It has to stop. It hasn't always been this way. Back in high school, when most of my lecture materials were on paper, I didn't need a computer to work, and I had nothing to browse except the knowledge that was given t...read more

Toward Alcohol Abstinence

My student days are gone. Boozing isn't as fun as it used to be. I'm barely drinking alcohol anymore. The exhilarating thing about alcohol is the social experience, how it changes your perception of reality. You are still you, but your brain acts differently. This dissociation scares most people because they don't like this apparent loss of control, or as Tom Waits puts it, reality is just a crutch for people who can't handle drugs. I'm a hacker at heart, it fascinates me. People who drink have a tendency for self-deprecating humor, which I adore because it's a sign of strength, self-confidenc...read more

Bucharest Retreat - Micro-habits program

Writing down a daily program never worked for me. I always fall off the wagon after a week or two, because I can be lazy. That being said, I want to try again. I'm better prepared this time: my reason is important, I have people I am accountable to, and I need this discipline to grow. 6:00 - Wake up and start coding something with some music on 6:30 - Bodyweight training + stretching + diaphragmatic breathing + shower 7:30 - Breakfast + podcast/video (if tired, just practice mindfulness without multitasking) 8:00 - Free writing 9:00 - Ship at least one commit to the code base 12:00 - Lunch + p...read more

Adapted sumo dieting for weight gain

I'm getting back to weightlifting today as soon as I reach my hometown, and I've already identified potential gyms to join in Bucharest. Naturally, having a workout routine comes in pair with an appropriate diet. I never had trouble losing weight, quite the contrary: I have tremendous difficulties to gain mass. I hate the idea of wasting hours of my time eating like a pig to gain muscles. There is no shortcut though: if you want to grow bigger, you have to feed yourself accordingly. I need high quality food, quick and easy to cook in bulk, at a cheap price. Chicken rice with broccoli is the tr...read more

Training Routine for Programmer - Part 2

In part 1 I'm discussing why I need to develop a training routine to become a better programmer. Part 2 is a draft containing notes describing solutions to the identified problems. Part 3 will be about defining micro-habits to perform on a daily basis. I. General Hygiene 1. Equipment An Ergonomic Workstation helps prevent health issues: A) Increase your exposure to natural light, decrease night time work to avoid relying on artificial light sources. B) Sit on a comfortable chair with lumbar support and made of an airy fabric (no leather or hard surface, which tends to heat you up). C) Ergonomi...read more

Training Routine for Programmers

Heavily influenced by the way pianists exercise, I'm doing some research on how to become a better programmer by developing a training regimen. Exercising is a crucial part of a good work/life balance. Programming time is mainly spent hammering a keyboard: it's a sedentary life with little physical movements. Bad physical health is synonym with heart disease, thrombosis, and cancer. More specifically, programming is associated with carpal tunnel syndrome (bad wrist posture), vitamin D deficiency (lack of sun exposure), bacterial infections (unkempt keyboards), stress (software development is s...read more

Hackers and Pianists

Back in high school, I had a crush on this incredibly smart girl whose parents emigrated from Maghreb. We were the two top students in our classroom, but her grades were slightly ahead of me. Up until 9th grade, I used to be the major of my promotion. Finding someone who could be me at this game was intriguing, I wanted to know more about her. NaĂŻvely, I tried to engage with her by asking for book recommendations, and a few months later I confessed my admiration for her. I received a big fat No and moved on with my life, but I got to read two great books: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and...read more

Accelerating

Summer is coming to an end. Experimenting time is over and I'm wrapping up three new projects. It's time to leave Vietnam, come back to France, and say goodbye to my family to seclude myself in a new land. This Autumn will be harsh. I'll run out of savings in a years time, I have to focus on growth. One thing you learn by playing sports: growth results from a healthy amount of stress balanced with rest. My plan for the following months is to settle down in a city in Eastern Europe to live, work, and meditate by myself. I want to operate a breakthrough before the start of the Christmas holidays...read more

One little thing

We all need side-projects, it's how we build skills, and thus, how we grow. By definition, a project is time-bound: the quicker you make progress, the higher the probability you'll deliver. Launching a project's deliverable is hard. Easier than ensuring the actual success of the outcome, but still full of obstacles. It took me six months to deliver my first project - a server monitoring product. The second one, a conversational chatbot, took six months as well. My third product, three months. My fourth, one month. Then came 200 Words a Day, released as a minimum viable product in two days. Tes...read more

The 4 Hour Rule

I noticed the first four hours I spend at work hold 80% of the value I deliver daily. According to Cal Newport's Deep Work, four hours is how long we can get into deep work in one productive day, which ties in my previous statement. If I want to have an optimal day at work, I have to complete my most important tasks during the first four hours. No Youtube, no music, no mindless browsing, no one to disturb me, only focused work. I call it my 4 Hour Rule. I now have five micro-habits I need to get done to consider it a day: writing 200 words, reading enough to deliver 200 words in notes, push on...read more

Unit of Life

Let's break down a day, shall we? You have 24 hours. Eight hours to sleep. Eight hours to work. You are probably spending three hours a day to cook and eat, and another two to commute. One hour top to shower and put on some clothes. You are left with two hours of free time. One third of your life is spent sleeping, another third is spent working. Time flies. There is no time to loose doing a job you don't like. It's common advice, but I don't think we correctly weigh the impact staying in a terrible professional situation has on us: "Just another month, just another year, then I'll leave!...read more

On Momentum

Cal Newport proposes in Deep Work the following formula: work accomplished = time spent X intensity I think it's a spot-on analysis: you can't do your best work while multi-tasking or constantly switching between cognitive contexts. The formula also mirrors the definition of momentum, which is equal to the mass of an object times its velocity. The more momentum an object has, the harder it is to stop. In terms of work, however, momentum has an upper limit, it's more of a Gaussian function: momentum is hard to accumulate in the beginning, and gradually fades away after reaching peak ...read more

On Focus

Action movies are one of my guilty pleasures. The John Wick film series is a notable example. I like Keanu Reeves, and I like the fight choregraphy. The plot is not deep, but it's entertaining. Who doesn't like a stylized vendetta? The character of John Wick gave me food for thought in one aspect: he is the best at what he does - killing people. The reason why he is so good is simply stated by the main antagonist of the first movie: "John is a man of focus, commitment, sheer will... something you know very little about." Focus is a superpower that will make you the best at what you d...read more

Do Not Eat the Snake

You know the expression "Eat the frog"? Well, it's a bad figure of speech. Frogs are actually delicious. It's a delicacy you can find in France for example. I don't like eating frogs though, the cooking process is too cruel. Frog legs are torn apart from the living creature to keep the taste intact. It's kinda similar to how we boil lobsters alive. Anyways, I ate some snake yesterday evening. "Eat the snake" would be a more suitable metaphor. It tastes a bit like liver, but the flavor is not as strong. It has a ferrous taste which I'm not particularly fond of. Eating the fr...read more

From Sleep to Growth

I was expelled from engineering school at 18. It was a traumatic event, my grades were bad. I needed to develop a method to learn more and better. I started reading about sleep. My thought process was quite simplistic at the time: I needed more time during the day, so I wanted to figure out a way to do more of what matters and less of what doesn't. Sleep accounts for one-third of our lives. You can't do anything when you're sleeping. It doesn't mean sleep is useless, but I wanted to find a way to cut down on sleep. Retrospectively, it was quite a terrible idea. Sleep is one of the three pillar...read more

No Coffee

It's part of the programmer cliché to love coffee. I do too, I crave for its stimulating effects. I drink between one and three cups of Americano every day - a double espresso with a lot of water and some brown sugar. But today is not one of these days, I'm progressively reducing my caffeine intake to zero. The reason is quite simple: I want to get back in a biphasic sleep pattern. It might appear paradoxical to cut down on caffeine because tea and coffee boost your metabolism to reduce fatigue. However, they're also disrupting your circadian cycle, by definition. Since my new sleep pattern re...read more

Biphasic Sleep

In less than a month I'm going to Vietnam for a period of three months. It's the hottest period of the year, which is why it's not uncommon for locals to adopt a biphasic sleep schedule - to sleep a few hours during the freshest moments of the night and to have a nap after lunch. I want to get back to a biphasic sleep pattern myself. I will be forced to anyway once I arrive in Vietnam, for productivity purposes. I need a lot of sleep at night, which I confirmed throughout years of experimenting with my sleep schedule. Just going to sleep without putting an alarm on and noting down how many hou...read more

What to Read?

There isn't enough time in one life to read every book, even more so to read everything on the Internet. The amount of information is infinite when you compare it to our time on Earth: Google needs 2TB to store every book ever published, but we produce this amount of data more than a million times every single day. It's a fact we can't read everything and time is precious, we have to choose our readings with care. We can't solely rely on others to tell us what to read: reading must remain liberating, not dogmatic. It's important to develop your own judgment. Instead, we should do our own resea...read more

Workout Routine

I tried several workout programs over the last six years. My favorite program is based on weight-lifting exercises. I like free weights because sessions are short, efficient, and straight-forward. Short sessions easily fit in a day, the endorphin high is extremely valuable to my work. A combination of squats, dead-lifts, barbell rows, overhead presses, and bench presses cover every muscle of your body. Living as a digital nomad, I am also forced to adapt to my surroundings: I can't always get access to a gym, and I can't always do the same exercises depending on the pieces of furniture availab...read more

Not Enough Time

My grandma died when I was 11. Being confronted by your own mortality changes you, it makes you aware of how finite time is, of how invaluable it is. Being careful about it is only self-respect. That's probably when I started obsessing over my own time. I try to stick to the mantra “impatient with impactful actions, yet patient with results”, to roughly quote Naval Ravikant, but no matter of much work I put in, I never feel productive enough. This is a common occurrence among entrepreneurs I suppose. The feeling creeps on you in the middle of the day when you feel overwhelmed by the amount of ...read more

Not enough time

No matter of much work I put in, I never feel productive enough. This is a common occurrence among entrepreneurs I suppose. The feeling creeps on you in the middle of the day when you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work, or during the evening when you are trying to relax. After all, no day in the world ever returns, and we all want to make the best of our time. How do we fight this lingering emotion? We can accept it, or we can rebel. Rebelling against this reality is probably counter-productive, because it is beating ourselves up. We can only accept the past to better navigate now, and the...read more

On Procrastination

There are days where you feel like doing nothing, where the desire for nothingness is so strong your brain jumps on any distraction it can find. Today is one of these days for me. I feel like running away. Fortunately, I know overcoming procrastination is pretty straight forward. You can either go through the day and try to be productive amidst the busyness, or temporarily retreat. I choose the latter. You can't always force yourself to sit still and put in the work, but you must at least try. When I know for sure my state of mind isn't right, I retreat, I do something else to reignite the fla...read more

Minimalist Project Management

My workflow is pretty simple: I write everything down. Sometimes in blog posts or in tweets, mostly in logging applications and lists. I know everything I've delivered over the past 160 days up to the minute. At the operational level, my to-do lists are centralized in different Trello boards. One per project, including 200WaD. Most boards are organized in a Kanban fashion (to do/on-going/done). Project management is an effort at improving organizational communication flows. Communication is both cause and consequence. All the feedback I receive from my stakeholders through email, Telegram, Sla...read more

Building my own gym

Two days ago I received the opportunity to acquire some unused weightlifting equipment from an uncle for free: a weight bench, a curl bar, and some free weights. I just had to buy an Olympic barbell to get started. I always found gyms to be overly expensive and inconvenient. Most people join one to improve their health, so it's important to remove the barriers to entry. You don't need complex machines or long cardio workouts to get this done: a barbell and some free weights in your garage do wonders. As long as you do not lift too heavy, you can buy cheap equipment for less than $100 bucks. Th...read more

Disconnected

I graduated as a Telecom engineer, and yet I am barely connected. A data plan is a huge distraction, I have no need for it. I installed four apps on my phone. All are muted. Three of them are social - Whatsapp, Telegram, and Instagram - I downloaded them because it was the only way to use the desktop version. The fourth one is Calm, to help with my meditation routine. Whenever I travel and I need a map, I use a screenshot or I just draw the directions on a piece of paper. Sometimes I get lost and I need to ask locals for directions. It's quite an adventure, an attempt at re-enchanting the worl...read more

New Personal Growth Framework

Today I finished mapping my new personal growth framework, a mind-map summarizing the links between my professional aspirations and my daily habits. I use it as a reminder: why and how I work. Here is a brief description of the structure: - Vision (what I should strive for): Mastery - Pillars of growth and resulting habits: I. Indie Entrepreneurship Deep Work Experimental Mindset: be a prolific creator and attach yourself to problems, not ideas or products Always Be Sharing: write at least 200 words a day Constant Learner: read offline, try out new technologies, slow travel Kaizen: one commit...read more

On Work/Life Balance

The key to personal fulfillment is not work/life balance. Work/life balance implies that work and life are two separate things, which is incorrect. When you go to a job for eight hours a day, your work is a huge part of your life. Distinguishing the two leads to escapism. Living for the weekend is undervaluing your very existence. We should instead strive for alignment between work and life. Life inspires work and work sustains life. I believe the happiest people formulated their own meaning. A vision allowing them to navigate through life. Reaching a vision implies work, a life's work. Is it ...read more

Circadian Rythm

There were times over the last year I would sleep during the day and live during the night. Traveling and having no fixed work schedule messed up my internal clock quite badly and I am now working on getting back to a more regular cycle, meaning a cycle closer to my natural circadian rythm, a sleep/wake cycle of roughly 24 hours coinciding with the daytime/nighttime cycle. Our energy levels throughout the day are linked to the sun. We can cheat on them using substances such as caffeine or external stimuli such as artificial lights, but it isn't how our bodies are programmed by design. Whether ...read more

On Digital Minimalism

Being a starting solopreneur is trading cofounders and employees for time, but also personal growth. Every day, willpower and working hours quickly run out. It appears urgent to do more of what matters, doing less of what doesn't. In this aspect, minimalism is three-dimensional: both physical and intellectual, but also digital. There is a need to undigitize, to automate, or to simply eliminate some aspects of our numerical counterpart. I believe deep work to be the root of productivity. I can go deeper into my work by practicing digital minimalism wherever it is relevant. Back in Telecom engin...read more

Personal Growth Framework

I tweeted yesterday a picture of the mind-map I use as a desktop background describing my personal growth framework: what drives me in my personal growth efforts, and the resulting habits. It's a small visualization to remind myself of what matters in my professional life. Of course, it's a simplified representation of reality, but it has the advantage of being quick to browse. I've been using this mind-map for 2 years now. I drew it in Stockholm after reading Ferris' 4-Hour Workweek for the second time while attending a lecture on goal-oriented requirement engineering. I decided to mix Ferris...read more

Classical Music

I love working while listening to classical music. I'm far from being a music critic, to be honest. My father has a small collection of CDs from Baroque and Classical composers. That's how I got hooked. Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart. Mozart's Turkish March was the first song I ever listened on repeat on an MP3. I discovered Stanley Kubrick a few years later and my curiosity for the genre got reborn. His use of classical music to highlight events and emotions is astounding. The spectrum of emotions covered by classical composers is massive. Richer than most music produced nowadays. Or maybe, just diffe...read more

100 Days of Shipping on Makerlog: Fighting the Founder Fatigue

Shipping is fighting Resistance to deliver Value. It's highly important for makers to develop a shipping habit. Habits tap into the unconscious part of the brain so that you don't have to rely on external motivation. It's a fundamental mechanism to understand to get things done. One common occurrence in entrepreneurship is Founder's Fatigue. Building a company is not easy. It's an emotional roller coaster. Some days you feel great, some days it feels like chewing glass and staring at the abyss. You won't always be at the top of your productivity game. Time will tame your excitement. However, i...read more

Personal Flow State Principles

This post is an attempt at identifying personal patterns to enter a Flow State. The Flow State is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity (source: Wikipedia). Before work: A strong morning routine Waking up without an alarm clock Shower, with a gradual shift from hot to cold water Ginger Tea + Oregano eggs with slices of bread (my favorite breakfast) Don't drink coffee out of habit (anxiety). Drink it because you enjoy it. No Internet in t...read more

Kaizen

Kaizen is the main concept behind 200WaD. It's a Japanese philosophy of self-improvement that can be summed up in one sentence: destinations are reached one step at a time. A goal is a journey. Let's pretend you want to climb the Everest. You can do it in one go, or you can stop at every basecamp along the road. If you do the former, chances are, you won't make it to the top. If you take the latter path, you might stumble and fall, but you will have the opportunity to adjust and figure out what works best for you. You will also enjoy the road, rather than focusing too much on the destination. ...read more

Back to Exercising

Finally arrived in Kuala Lumpur yesterday and got myself a new place to live. It was time to shuffle my routine a bit. The main goal over the next two weeks is to release many features and bug fixes for 200WaD while keeping on growing the community. Needless to say, it's going to be an intense period. I need the right habits to support my work, and exercising is one of them. It's the first time I'm working out over the last 2 months. I love sports. France is a football nation. We grow up playing football. I am not good at it and I don't like watching it on TV or in a stadium, but I've always f...read more

Vanquishing Resistance

I'm still in the middle of Steven Pressfield's Art of War, and I must say I love his use of the term Resistance to describe procrastination. I agree with his message as well: to stop procrastinating, all you have to do is to sit down and do the work on a daily basis. Rely on habits instead of external motivations. This is nothing new. You have to cultivate a work ethic. It doesn't mean you should leave rest aside. It means you have to put in some amount of work at least. Your little steps will compound eventually. However, I don't think you can go all out unless you find your very own Muse. A ...read more

My Study Methodology

It took me a good 5 years to develop my personal study framework. I graduated from one of the best engineering school in France, but I have never been a great student. I got expelled during my first year of study, then came back to engineering after a year at another university. I quickly became obsessed with finding ways to improve my productivity. I hit many walls before managing to hack the educational system. Many failures where I had to repass exams or provide complementary work. My ability to study new materials fast peaked during my last year of study at Stockholm University as an excha...read more

2019 Bucket List

1) Hard Launch 200 Words a Day The product and the community are growing every day. The main bugs are fixed, new features are coming along, and the first monthly-recurring revenues have been registered. It's time to scale and reach new product heights. 2) Achieve Ramen Profitability by January 2020 If I want to keep working on my products I need to reach ramen profitability: earn enough money from making products to cover my basic living expenses. My target is 1000$ in monthly-recurring revenues or 12000$ in gross revenues. The two streams of income I want to focus on are 1) my public book and...read more

Ideation, inspiration

Ideation is the creative process leading to new ideas. Inspiration is a myth. You are not born inspired. You become inspired. Inspiration is indeed an unconscious phenomenon, but it also is a long process taking years of your time. What is not apparent now might be later: inspiration comes from facing multiple experiences repeatedly. I want to share with you my ideation methodology. It starts with introspection and retrospection. Looking inwards and looking back. Doing both is a habit everyone must take on. Letting your inner voice speak out, you mind starts getting clearer. Only then it can w...read more