Jul 02, 2021
4 mins read
Being someone who tries to do slightly more than a lot of peers my age, it’s natural I get asked what my workflow is like often. I strongly believe that no matter how similar the situations are - a workflow that works at one place will never fit exactly the same for another. And while my workflow will be outdated the very next day because I experiment daily, there is one thing that remains relatively constant - the process I use to run those experiments, and so I decided to write about that instead.
I have a personal theory - my ‘perfect’ workflow should theoretically achieve these:
Use 0 seconds of my time
Produce ∞ output
Have ∞ fun
Superhuman to achieve, but having such a target would ensure having a constant improvement cycle. Until I achieve this, I keep on working to make it 1% more fun, one second faster, and 1% better output. Note that these are highly subjective. For me, the desired output is learning, building, and meeting people and having more free time - which means the ‘perfect’ I aim for isn’t an intense pressure thing and the aims might be completely different for others. With that out of the way, I try to iterate over my workflow every day. There might be even better ways, but I’ve found a cycle easy to follow and effective enough :
Breakdown: the best way to start is to list down all your tasks and to break them down into as many steps as possible. The more the better. Using apps like Todoist or Asana/Any.do (for power users) make this work a lot simpler.
Eliminate: Now that you have the tasks broken down and listed, it should be fairly easy to go through each one of them and find the ones you could remove. I try to remove as many tasks as I can which are either not fun AND not necessary or the ones that can wait. Now promoting procrastination might sound weird to a lot of people, but if the work can wait, let it wait - Parkinson’s Law will do the magic. You might very well get into trouble with the quality of the work for the first few tries but once you have a good idea, it does wonder.
Reorder: Listing is helpful, but you are missing a whole lot of stuff if you’re not planning it - doing your homework just after an intense workout would probably take more time than doing it after dinner. For things that necessarily require x hours of your time (working out, catching up with friends, walking the dog, etc.), this is the only way to get more done. I plan a rough idea of my week every Sunday evening - no fancy apps, the plan ol’ calendar. Planning your week not only lets you plan the order of your tasks, but also helps you see from a high-level perspective of the proportion of time you’re giving to different categories. Trust me you will start spending time cautiously. You would be surprised how much you can unlock by simply testing different arrangements of your tasks.
Repeat: Imagine you did it for 2 months straight 🤯
I’ve been doing this regularly for a few months now, and I am blown away by the number of things I’ve been able to pack in my day. This isn’t only for those who want to pack in more - should work equally well for those who need a little more free time.
That was it. Would really appreciate it if you send me an email after a month of trying out this framework and describe your experience. I had never shared it with anyone, until now and so I’m very eager to see if it works for everyone.
Unrelated interesting things I found on the web this week:
r/IdentifyThisFont : post a picture and find what font they used
Structurise : quickly extract text from screenshots
Kanbie : solid chrome extension for managing kanban boards
Things I worked on this week:
Opened early access for the basic MVP of my new project - a resume builder:
Shifted my website from aysh.me → ayush.sh, and added sections to the project page on my website (including early access!)
Worked on another project which helps you listen to substack newsletters like this one on the fly.
Started writing this newsletter!
Talked to lots of amazing people (let’s talk!)
This was the first issue of the newsletter. I highly appreciate your feedback and have made it as easy as replying to the email - the replies hit straight to my inbox. If you wish to do it anonymously, you can use the widget I attach to in the newsletter.