We, humans, are in the never-ending chase for happiness. In this quest, We often mistake pleasure for happiness.
Pleasure is short-lived. Happiness is a stable state of well being.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to reflect on my life to identify what makes me happy.
I have been lucky enough to identify the things that makes me happy. A few are battle tested, a few I’m still exploring. A non exhaustive list includes
- People in my life
- Being productive
- Helping others
- Living minimal
- Getting stronger, staying fit
- Building exciting things(mostly softwares)
Over time I’ve optimised my life to be productive, to spend time with the people who matter, travel and stay fit.
In this post, I’m writing down how I organise my routine to be productive.
Productivity is an abstract term. For me, it means being in the state of flow, Getting things done that align with my personal goals.
When you hit flow, work feels like meditation.
Tools I use
Notion: For note-taking, organising my life, and writing down my thoughts. I’m a big proponent of writing down for clarity of thought. I try to write down my thoughts daily on Notion.
Todoist: For more actionable tasks. Almost everything in life becomes a project in Todoist. A project is broken up into tasks.
One of the huge advantages of these two apps is collaboration. My life is strongly coupled with my partner’s life. We plan everything together. Both Todoist and Notion lets us collaborate. This helps us organise things together and take ownership of certain tasks.
A real-life example is moving houses. We are soon moving to a new home. For this, we created a project in Todoist. We further split the tasks like below
Here are some sample projects
We take ownership of each task, based on what we are good at.
We consider most of the things in life as a project and always try to break it down to smaller, actionable tasks.
Other real-life examples include planning trips, setting up a home office, and even buying groceries.
Notion is our life’s wiki. Shared projects include our finances for example.
Most other Notion projects are a brain dump.
Here is a sneak peek to a small part of my Notion content.
Tip: The topic cloud here is dynamic, it grows everyday based on the notes I take. Brain base is static. It is not supposed to change much and contains the core values of my life.
I can go on and speak about how I use Notion. But I’ll keep that for a future blog post.
A few topics might feel silly. But writing about it and learning how all this connected helps me plan things.
I make personal OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for each quarter based on the things I’ve written down in the recent past.
These personal OKRs are meant to take me closer to my grand personal vision.
Most of the things I do daily contribute to the OKRs for that quarter. Be it reading, watching youtube videos, picking places to travel, etc.
Which brings me to my next point.
Consume content mindfully
Content is exploding.
In a world of infinite content, taste for good content is a competitive advantage.
Reading five books a week won’t make me feel productive. I want to consume content that helps me move towards my goal. And this reiterates the importance of setting a goal first.
The books you read, the youtube videos you watch, everything is aligned with these goals. Of course, there is time set aside for entertainment. But remember, it is about what makes YOU happy.
Just because Netflix makes someone else happy, it might not be for you. I’ve learned long hours of binge-watching is not for me.
There are certain other things that I’ve found out contribute to the constant state of well being.
These are the social aspects of life. This includes being happy for others, congratulating, and appreciating people for their achievements.
I used to compare myself with people and always felt miserable. For a long time, I have stopped doing that, and I feel free. Now, my only competition is myself. And there are people I look up to for inspiration.
A few decades ago, your competition was a bunch of people who you knew. People in your school, in your locality.
You compared yourself with them. With the advent of social media, you are comparing yourself with millions of people who might have had a more privileged life than you.
Be kind to yourself, and realise that you have your timeline. Shrinking the surface area of my world has also been very helpful in sustained happiness. This means fewer people. Lesser in numbers, higher in quality.
I have very few friends, and try to have a solid and meaningful relationship with them. I prefer this to a shallow relationship with a huge number of people.
Another thing that makes me happy is helping people. One of the examples includes giving career guidance to people who approach me. At least a few of these relationships have turned into a mentor-mentee relationship.
Take time to discover yourself. Put yourself first, find the things that make you happy. Do more of that. That’s how I live my life.
This might all be the ramblings of a 28-year-old immature man. This is how I think today. This is how I live today. All this might seem like nonsense in five years.
But that is also a goal of my life, every few years, you should be able to look back at yourself and say – “Damn. I was stupid back then”.
Be kind. Stay fit. Travel. Learn, adapt, and evolve. And stay happy 🙂
In the future posts I’ll talk more about my journey to lead a minimal life.