Hello February / Monthly Review - Jan 2020

February of 2020 is here! Time does fly!

This is how I spent Jan 2020. I know you may not be interested, but I like the idea of keeping the universe accountable. Plus, the review would tell me if what I did in the month is helping me reach my yearly goals (and eventually, life plan and goals). For the record, three large goals for 2020 are Book 2, a sub-5 marathon, a topline of 50 crores. 

Here's the recap for Jan 2020.
I have sections for fails, wins, inbetweens, lessons, plan for Feb 2020 and a question.

  1. We did not do a single meetup for the Mastermind group. I plan to fix it by pushing the existing group and creating a new mastermind group. Also, I need to think that if these keep failing (this was my third attempt), then may be I am doing something wrong? 
  2. Lost a VERY big deal that could have catapulted me in the next league. I did everything I could (saamdaamdandbhed and moreand yet I did not get the project. But thanks to this, I have started to maintain a list of failures (that I will look at every time I feel great). 
  3. I could not follow a schedule that I would like to. I was traveling a lot more than what I typically do for a speculative assignment that I have taken. The assignment propels my brand forward and thus is an important one. I thought about it and I realized that I am unable to manage time because I don't have a place to work out of. 
  4. Did nothing (apart from a trek) to further the sub-5 marathon goal. 

  1. Went on a trek to Mahuli Fort. This is the first trek that I have done in years and it was tough! but I am glad I made it to the top. And more importantly, I came back! Thanks, SK for this. 
  2. Got myself a place to work out of (at a co-working space). With this, I've fixed #Jan20F2. Plus the place is like 500 meters from where I live and is open 24x7. I will now get into a schedule of sorts. And as I expand things, I plan to work out of this place irrespective of work, ideas, people. Unless I take up a different gig! 
  3. Launched Podium sometime in the last year (with AD) but it has started to sputter to life. The first thing that we do under that is a weekly newsletter (PLEASE SUBSCRIBE). We've sent three editions and response has been encouraging. Need to scale it in Feb. 
  4. I have reached 35 days on my #aPicADay challenge.
  5. I successfully implemented an indexing system for notes, thanks to DB. I am now trying to implement a color-coded life tracker (thanks, Visa). There's this joke that my friends make - I spend more time tracking things than actually doing those! 

#inBetweens (these are neither wins / nor losses)
  1. I got invited to pitch to a project that I could've taken on, put on the slow burner and made some trickles once in a while. But I chose to charge a large sum for it upfront and then, nothing happened! Which is ok. I want to be paid worth my time. 
  2. I need to control my obsession with tabs on a browser window. I have like 100 tabs open at any given point in time. And the worse thing is that I don't even know what to do with those tabs - after all, its inhuman to pay attention for that long! 

#miscNotes / What did I learn this month? 
I think I got lucky in Jan. I have three tailwinds that have helped me do better than most months...

a, I moved to a place that is a little more accessible for inter-city travel. I can now meet people in a reasonable time. Where I lived before this, I had to travel for 3 hours to even get a meeting. As a result, I was letting go of a lot of opportunities. And I was wasting time, money and energy with it.
Lesson? Always live at a hub. Even though it's expensive and all that, the money is worth it. 

b, I got to partner with AD on Podium. The great part of working with him is that he is very numbers, insights kind of person (and I am very intuition kinds). So I am learning the other side of things. Plus he is meticulous (faaaaaaar more than me) and of course, focussed (even a Goldfish is more focussed than me). So that is helping! Plus now that I am accountable to him, I am putting in the extra effort to get things done.
The lesson here is that I work better when I have partners that push me! Need to find similar people as I go along. 

c. Within the Podium umbrella, AD and I are trying to write a journalistic piece on podcasting. And that is allowing me to meet a lot of people at the leadership levels. And that's awesome! I need to make a process that allows me to write more pieces and thus meet more people. In fact, the thesis that I had when I started PPP and TRS is getting validated with The Podium.
Lesson? Create / own / work / whatever with a media brand! And if possible, invest more on such "media" platforms! 

Here are the things that I will get done in Feb 2020. Again, these need to be in sync with the yearly goals.
  • Write 25K words on book2
  • Start climbing stairs. Do 100 flights a day
  • Fix the C4E website 
Apart from these three, I will continue to try and be better every day. I will try and continue to upload a pic every day, deep dive into the Messy Middle and try to eat better. 

What am I thinking about? Alert: Rant Ahead!!!
So, apart from this regular mundane work thing, I am struggling with this idea of impact. I wrote about it initially here.
...the thing that keeps me up is that C4E and all the allied things I do are merely taking things from 1 to 1.3 or something. I am not doing anything in the 0 to 1 space. Or even 1 to 100. I am not adding any tangible, real value to the world. I am not making any dents. All I am doing is doing a different take on what others have done before me. If I were to disappear tomorrow, not one person would miss what I do. Imagine if Apple were to disappear, would you miss what they do? That! I want to do what people at Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other such places are doing. They create new things. They create a 1 from 0. They make that ding in the universe.
So, the deal is, I run C4E - an events and marketing consulting business. Now, like I said, anyone in the world can create this business. There is not one thing that I do that is irreplaceable. No, I don't chase immortality (though I would love to not die, ever) but I do want to do meaningful work. Work and things and output that gives happiness, validation, comfort, peace, inspiration, platforms and other such things to a billion people. And more, if possible. And I have no clue how to go about doing that. What I do gives a handful of the above-mentioned things to a handful of people. And that is not enough. I believe I have what it takes to deliver all of that. But I don't have the platform! Neither do I know how to build such a platform. And worse, while what I do is interesting, it may not lead me to that goal. There is no large mission that I am a part of. And I do not know how to get there. The world needs to be the oyster and yet, today, I am limited to like Veera Desai road! 

I often wonder about Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and Paul Graham and Sam Altman and Adam Grant and Aswath Damodaran and all that. When did they realize that they have what it takes to inspire generations and generations? When did their work move from operational to the inspirational zone? How did the transition happen? What ticked them in the direction? How did they learn so much that they could make things happen at their businesses AND do more things at the same time? Who helped them? How do they work? Do I have it in me to become like them? And if not, do I quit the hopes of helping others and get settled in a comfortable 9 to 5? At least I can enjoy the riches that the world has to offer! 

And finally, am I the only one that grapples with this challenge? Because I see people around me very happy with what they are wading in! 

Would you have answers? 


Rant Over! 


So, that's about it for the update. Do let me know if you want me to look at anything else. 

Over and out. 
4 Feb 2020

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2019 - AugSep, Oct, Nov, Dec

PS: To track these (like I said, I track more and do less), I use the following tools...
  • I follow the Maker Day - Manager Day philosophy.
  • I use tags extensively and I tag everything - mails, tweets, notes even when I write with a pencil. And I ensure that the names and styles are consistent. Sometime in the future, this would become a really big differentiator. Information archiving is easy. Retrieval is a pain. 
  • Asana - I use the free version. To track tasks etc. 
  • Google Calendar to schedule meetings etc. 
  • Toggl - this is a paid app but I use the free version to track time on Manager days
  • A 15-min interval calendar - template here. I take a print of this on my Maker days and list all tasks. And then I track every 15 min. The idea is to reach a point when I can start tracking 1-hour long slots. 
  • A combination of Evernote, Miro, Notes app on Mac, a physical notepad, post-it notes, numerous spreadsheets and don't know what all. With time I want to move to just one online tool and one notepad. I don't know the optimal solution. But let's see. Plus, I am thinking, once I reach a certain stature and stage, would I need to minutely manage my time/life? Not sure! What do you think?  
  • Lately have started to use Roam to catalog thoughts. Let's see how it goes. And In Feb, I will try to use Notion to create hyperlinked content. Again, not sure if I would continue to use it. Let's see where it goes. 
PPS: Going forward, I will use the above format (have culled the number of things I am doing drastically to be able to reach three large goals for 2020) to report how the month went by was. 

PPPS: I, of course, need to give you an update on the tasks that I planned for Dec and Jan (since I did not do the planning for Jan). Here is an update on what I had planned...
  • a. Work on #book2. I started working on this. Not full-steam though. I'd give this a C. 
  • b. Start running. I could not. Been trying since Oct. But I did take some actions on trying to get fitter. So, C. 
  • c. Get saurabhgarg.com up and running. The site is up but I don't like it. So, a D.
  • d. Do a one-month reading deep-dive into one specific topic. No action. So, an F.
  • e. Work towards creating a business that takes me beyond India. Worked hard on it and yet it's not showing me the results. Attempt - yes, the outcome - no. So, a C. 
  • f. Renew focus on C4E. No action. F. 
  • g, fix my planning process. Did! Not quite an A but a B for sure! 
Oh, like I said, going forward, I will not have more than three goals for the month that I will track / chase. If I manage those 3, I will add more. But three is what I would plan for! 

And with this, ladies and gents, over and out! 

Thank you for your patience. It is not an easy task to survive these long emails! Lemme end this with the best photo that I clicked in Jan 2020...

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The Nidhi Kapoor Story

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