160721 – Morning Pages

A quick post about work, food, minimalism and more. Loved writing it, even if it didnt come out too good.

6:34. Been up for about 20 minutes. Played a game of chess as I was coming back to life. So this one is going to be a short one. I have a long day at work and I don’t have even the 45 minutes that I typically take for writing these morning pages. More than the long day, I am running behind on the deliverables. Like crazy. I have calls throughout the day and I need to present on those calls and I haven’t been able to figure what to say on those. I am gonna wing it. Let’s see how I do.

The lesson that I am taking away is that I tend to overestimate what I can do in a day. I think I read this somewhere that people routinely do that. Underestimate what they can do over long periods and overestimate what they can over shorter durations. I am no different. However, in my case, I think the goals that I have for the long-term are definitely not small ones. It’s the short-term that I need to find a way to fix.

Ok, am digressing towards the rant.

So the highlight of yesterday has to be that I managed 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar. I couldn’t walk as much as I would’ve wanted to. But 12 rounds literally killed me. I decided to eat disciplined. Which I did till about 8 PM last night. But then I ordered the love of my life – rice. Sigh.

Fuck epiphany happened! I was lurking on Twitter last night when I saw Shaan Puri talk about an in-home chef. I think that is what I need. VG has had one for a while and I can see the difference that it has made to his family’s food. I think I need to think about getting one. Just that I don’t want to maintain a kitchen, you know minimalism. Maybe I need to get into an arrangement with some friend? I mean most of my friends have a cook coming over a couple of times a day and make their food. I can use that facility and get my food made? The challenge however is that in-home chef can use ingredients that you want at a time when you want.

Wait. I have an idea. I will keep a running score of arguments in favor of and against minimalism. By the time I come back to Mumbai (after Diwali), depending on where the score is, I will move in that direction. So, the in-home chef is against minimalism. I am at -1 on that.

Also, lemme define minimalism. It is not really not having a lot of things. It’s really an abstraction for having no attachment to things. You know, how people have a favorite tee-shirt, a favorite postcard that they’ve got from someplace? a favorite memory that they continue to cling on to? I don’t want to get attached to anything. I want to live in the present. I thus consciously try to forget about things that are in the past. Lol. Not consciously. I just can’t seem to remember. So, I don’t want to cling to things. I don’t want to be a hoarder. I don’t want things to become obstacles to how I live and operate. An easy way to practice it is by reducing the number of things you have, you own, you like. And thus the chase of minimalism. And the way to do so is by having as few things as possible.

So yeah. That.

Right now, Shaan’s comments and VG’s experience are making me reconsider. Let’s see what I end up doing. By Diwali. And why Diwali? Well, like I’ve been saying, I need to be in Delhi for Diwali, and once I come back, I will find a house all over again. And this time, I will get a fancy and a big one with as few things in it as possible. Wishful thinking πŸ˜€

Guess this is it for the day. Not sure what else to write. Plus, like I said in the beginning, have a lot to work on. So, with this, over and out. See you guys on the other side.

Oh, the game I played as I woke up? I lost!

And here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 127
  • #noCoffee – 16
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Minimaslism – -1. Started this today.
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1. Let’s see if I can manage today.
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 217

PS: I realize that I have been talking a lot about work the last few days. I need to get over it. Once this week is over, I will streamline it to a point that I am no longer ranting or cribbing about it.

140721 – Morning Pages

A quick note where I talk to self. And dump whatever is on the top of my head. Things like people, mentors, work, leverage and more.

7:05. Woke up groggy. And a choked nose. And soreness in the neck. Damn old age. I had decided that I will focus on three things yesterday and do just those. I am glad to say I could manage just one (being sarcastic) and the other two are now overdue. And this means that the three things that I need to work on today will get pushed. And I will miss a few more deadlines. Damn!

I now know what work stress is! In the sense, what the stress of non-delivery is. Need to pull socks and deliver the magic that I am known to have delivered in the past.

So that. There’s nothing else on the top of my mind. Oh, I walked up 8 stories yesterday. I need to be able to do 100 stories everyday without losing breath. The day I can do that is the day I can, well, breathe easy. I also ate three meals yesterday. And that too full of carbs. You know, Pizza. My guilty pleasure. How the F would I lose weight? Yesterday only VG was telling me that for someone my height and age, I need to be lighter by 17 KGs. 17! I don’t even know how I would get to that number. It’s not about starving but probably about burning the calories and then the excess fat.

Chalo, aaj fast. Come what may. Even if stress forces me to order shit and eat as if a famine is coming, I will NOT eat. Neither I would have coffee. Green tea, #ftw!

Apart from these two things (health and work), to be honest, there isn’t much on the top of my head. But then there are a couple of things that happened yesterday that I need to take note of.

One, I spoke to two of my mentors. And my sis. Each conversation was around a certain thing (work, emotion, etc). And while talking to each of these, I felt really really grateful that I have their patronage. And respect. And mindshare. I must have done something incredibly right to have this. Super grateful. Need to grow more such relationships. Where there’s mutual respect, no hidden agendas, and comfort. I know you can’t really do this with people. But I will do whatever it takes to deliver on things from my side to grow into such relationships.

Two, I realized yet again that on the work front (and even on the life front), I don’t want to be the person that executes. I don’t want to trade my time for money (work). I want to rather be the one the opens doors and gets things delivered. I want to be the one that leverages his relationships and trades the knowledge to make ends meet (time). You know, become that person that doesn’t need to have a laptop open ever. I should use my phone, team of people and deliver magic. Now, this is far easier said than done. Especially at the stage where I am at. In the sense, I am still not stable enough to get work that pays me consistently. Most of it comes to be after I put in an insane amount of time and effort. And what I do is not rocket science. So that means that I need to consistently deliver great things to keep the engine running.

In fact, the second one has been a recurring theme. I need to find a thing that can be done about it. Thankfully, with the current scheme of things at work, I have taken a step towards building a team that can do things in my absence. Let’s see when that comes together.

Oh, I have to write this. I was talking to my sis and while talking, I told her that I often abstract myself away from what’s happening to me. I sort of float over my body and look down upon me. I see this 38-year old struggling to make ends meet, trying to get better, striving on a day-to-day basis. And I see a dude trying to be cool, making mistakes, slacking, giving in to temptation on a regular basis. While there are both positives and negatives in the person I see, the abstraction allows me to help the person I am seeing. By giving him inspiration. You know, the kinds I am told I am able to. Others call this phenomenon self-talk. I call this, well, zooming-out. Irrespective. It works. Try it.

So that. That’s it for the day. See you guys tomorrow. I have a lot to do today and tomorrow and this week in general. And here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 125
  • #noCoffee – 14
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 215

130721 – Morning Pages

Quick update from how I spent yesterday. Some thoughts about my relationship with food. And then some about work.

8:24. Starbucks. I slept late. Not late really. At around 1. Had a lot of work and I decided that I will finish all that and then sleep. Of course, I couldn’t finish. But I still got late. Lol, adulting!

And then I got late in waking up. And then it was raining (oh, I love it!). And then I had to start the day and work and all that. So. Here I am at Starbucks. Must put on paper that despite my thing about working, I did not get myself a coffee. Pat on the back, Mr. Garg!

But then, I did eat a lot. I think it was stress eating more than anything else. I was not hungry. I did not even feel like eating. I was just stressed about work. So I ate.

In fact, lemme delve into this. I think there has to be a connection between growing up with scarcity and trying to eat like a mad man. I know this is anecdotal evidence at best (with a sample size of 1) but at least in my case, every time my system spots a scary thing (missed deadline, failure at something, knowing that the day’s gonna go to shit, etc), I tend to want to eat. Mind you, I don’t get hungry. I don’t get hunger pangs. I don’t get cravings. But for some reason, I want to stuff myself. As much as I can. Even though I know that after I eat, I will probably slouch and the thing that is scaring me, I will be less equipped to handle that. And yet I want to eat! I think it’s the body’s reaction that may be a famine is coming and it must load up on whatever it can get. I am not sure though.

So that.

Moving on. The day was a busy one. The highlight has to be a meeting with NT for the Aram Nagar documentary. I’ve known him for a while and this was the first time I met him. Even though this was an online meeting, he was candid, open, honest, and upfront about what he thought about it. The world needs more people like him. I am glad I know him.

For today, while I have a lot to work on, I am thinking I will spend the bulk of the time on just three things. No, I dont want to write those here (confidentiality and all that) but I have taken those notes, and let’s see how it goes. If I can deliver on these three things, a large part of the stress will get managed.

Lemme talk of work. Which I often dont talk about.

So on the work front, I do a few things. I write (yeah, I get paid to write). I think (marketing, strategy, etc). And I manage (people, things, etc). I am brilliant when it comes to writing. I am very good at thinking. I am terrible at managing. In the sense that I dont know what it takes to inspire others. So most of my time is spent juggling these things. Plus, I refuse to take up full-time engagements. This means that I need to be always on the lookout for new work, new connections, new things, new ideas, etc. And that also fills a large part of my time. And then I am the lesser half at a few other things. Not that I spend a lot of time there but it does take away attention. And thus, I am perpetually short of time. No, I am not bad at managing time. I think I am very good, to be honest. Just that I have filled my 24 hours (and head) with things that require 48 hours. You know, am trying to be a multipotentialite. Lol.

Of course am not. And thus I am failing at it. And thus I need to get my act together. And thus focus on a few things at a time. And thus the idea of doing just three things today.

Let’s see how it goes. Wish me luck.

Here’s streaks.

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 124
  • #noCoffee – 13
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1. I will see if I can do this during the day to keep the streak alive.
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 214

020721 – Morning Pages

I normally dont rant about work. But this is exactly that. A long rant. About work.

6:10. Woke a few minutes ago. I slept ok. Plus I slept for almost 7 hours. I was in my bed at around 11 I think and I woke up at 5:50ish. My back and neck are sore, like most days. I either need to find a new mattress or a new pillow. Actually, I need a new house. Damn!

These small things like comfortable place to live and other things that make it convenient to live in are so so important for a day to day happiness. I know there are people that would consider my house as lavish. I know there are people that get things done even if they are living with one-hundredth of what I have. And I know they do far better than I. Guess this is where people are different. You know, they can perform miracles. I, on the other hand, need comfort to do that!

This is what I think is the toll of the lockdown on me. The productivity levels are at lowest I’ve had in the last few months. I am sure it’s evident from the output on these morning pages. It at least evident from my Screen Time (which is at 10 hours right now). Guess I need to move to a non-smartphone for a few days. All I need on it is Whatsapp. Will try.

Thing is, I am unable to do any meaningful, deep work. I can blame it on too many meetings that I am a part of. But than that’s that. A blame. I think it’s the inability to get in to a regiment and create inspiring, designed-for-work places around me. I need to have a largish table and a chair at the right hight. I need to have the AC on. I need infinite supply of water (and access to a loo). I need my music on headphones. I need to have people around me. I need everything to be perfect before I can do my work.

As a knowledge worker, this is the worst you can do. To a point that I need to stop calling myself one. The idea is that I could have a location independent life that allows me to work and earn. With this kind of want of perfection, I don’t think I will ever have such a life!

Or maybe I need to stop work altogether and have my network work for me! You know, find an avenue for passive income. Let’s see.

Staying with this work conundrum, I tried to list what all could be wrong. You know why is that I am uninspired despite me needing work. Here are some plausible reasons.

  1. No access to an inspiring place to work from. I just can’t seem to get work done from where I live. I slack a lot more than I should. I lie down more than I should. I waste time on Youtube and Instagram a lot more than I must. I just can’t work once I am back from Starbucks. So today, I plan to stay there till they shut and do things. Let’s see how it goes. I have a lot to do.
  2. I am unhappy about something else and it’s rubbing off on my work. What could that be? Relationships? Health? Money? Not sure.
  3. I have work that’s beyond my capability to deliver? Dont think so.
  4. I have too much work? No. I am at a point where I turning down work. This is for the first time that I am doing this! Plus, it’s not a capacity issue. I have added people wherever I can.
  5. Too many meetings? Yes. I mean I spend way too much time in those meetings but then that’s part and parcel of work.

Guess these are it.

From the looks of it, these look like excuses and rants and third-party projections about slacking. I don’t know a way out. The city is still under preventive shut-down. Co-working spaces are still not open. The ones that are open don’t put their AC on. They remain filthy. Starbucks is a viable option but that shuts at 4. And I can’t take calls from there. Which is ok. I am ok to stay quiet on calls and come back to where I live for serious calls.

Need to find a way out!

Ok.

Enough of rant, Mr. Garg.

Moving on.

So in good news, yesterday, I literally assaulted my stomach. With oily paranthas, ice-cream, street food reheated in stale vegetable oil, chips and I don’t know what all. I need to start eating clean. And order in from places that probably understand fitness. If there are places like that. They sell vegetable, low-fat, high-carb things as fitness food. Lol. Anyway, yesterday, the saving grace was that I ate in a 3-hour window.

I am hoping to fast today. Since I plan to stay at Starbucks till 4 today and I want to avoid bread and all that, let’s see if I can manage to not eat.

So that.

In other news, I finally published my Ode to She. It’s here. This is one of those pieces that took a long time to happen but am I glad it happened! I am still not sure if this is good enough for a wider circulation but I am not happy with it. That’s the thing. When I write things, even if I dont like those, I still go ahead and publish. For that allows others to read and give me feedback. When I dont publish, the output that I have created remains hidden and there’s no way for the world to discover its awesomeness or patheticness. And I want to know both things about it. You know, if it’s awesome, I want to write more. Push it even more. If it’s pathetic, I want to know how to improve. Even if readers are unable to point out the problems, at least I know that the piece is not being appreciated. So yeah, I publish.

If you want to write for a living, you have to embrace this. You have to publish and share it with as many people as you can.

Ok. Enough.

I will try to fast today. Let’s see.

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 203
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 2
  • #noCoffee – 2
  • #noCoke – 113
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

300621 – Morning Pages

A quick post about two things that cloud my mind – food and work. And of course, Starbucks!

9:58 AM. Woke up 10 mins ago. This must be the latest that I’ve written my morning pages. I was up till about 2 last night, working. And then I did not charge the phone (and thus no alarms). I am not sure if I got a sound sleep but I do remember that I woke up without an alarm. I feel ok, except for the neck. I think I will need to fix the pillow situation.

So, in the “good things that happened yesterday” department, I did not have coffee! I did go to two Starbucks outlets and yet did not have coffee. Yay! Settled for a Green Tea. It tasted like shit but at least it wasn’t coffee.

In the “bad things” department, I couldn’t do OMAD. Ended up eating a lot of food (and a lot of rice at that and my favorite Egg Soup). On the menu today, is eating less. One time. Now that PD has commanded me to, I can’t say no. Let’s see.

I dont know what else to write.

Ok. There’s a lot open at work and thankfully I worked a lot yesterday. Worked means infinite calls, daydreaming, powerpoints, and more! I think it was after 2 weeks that I did as much work. I guess I am slowly getting back to my mojo on that side. In another week or so I will be ok. So that’s a good thing.

I want to reduce my reliance on Starbucks. It is tough, to be honest. I need to see people around me. In fact, this is the very reason why I am dreading working from Delhi. There’s no cafe per se near my place. No co-working space that’s open. I think Delhi was not built for knowledge workers and these newfangled gigs. You know, most people are traders and have regular jobs. So the ecosystem hasn’t been built for that. Plus I suspect there is more generational wealth in Delhi than in any other city. Not in terms of mega-billionaires but in terms of upper-middle-class that has inherited houses and cars and businesses and all from their fathers et al.

Ok, I digressed. I was talking about Starbucks and I launched into a rant about Delhi.

Wait. I did not. Why did I write this? Well for a couple of reasons.

A, I am thinking of going to Delhi in July and spending some time there. No specific reason. I just need a break in scenery. Prior to the pandemic I would routinely get such breaks – travel, work, whims etc.

But when I go to Delhi, I will have to find a Blue Zone of Work that is within walking distance for me.

B, There is a fleeting chance that I may take a 15-day break in September and do the EBC trek hike. Catch my words. Fleeting. Chance.

In case that happens, I will have to anyway cross Delhi (I mean I can take a direct flight to Kathamandu if I have to, but I have this irrational thing where I want to see my parents every time I travel “north”). And since I can work from anywhere, I can spend a few days in Delhi around that time as well.

So may be I can travel to Delhi around August and then move onward to EBC. If EBC is happening. And if that’s the case, why bother with going now in July?

So I need to make a decision if I want to push my trip to August. Or I go in July, come back. Go again in Sep.

Not sure right now. But yeah, this is what’s on my mind right now. Of course, I know whatever I do will be hardly this well-thought-out. I would just pack my bags on a whim and just leave!

Anyhow.
That’s about it for the day.
Time to move on.
It’s almost 11 and work Starbucks beckons.

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 199
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 111
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0