Turning a corner

April was a great month. I finally turned a corner after a difficult March, which was spent recovering from an existential crisis.

It was, literally and figuratively, the long-awaited sunshine after a gloomy winter.

In March, I had only begun the slow process of climbing out of my rut. In April, I picked up enough momentum to carry myself out. I can safely say that it’s behind me now.

Today, I’m in a promising place with my habits. I’m happy with the way things are going and am optimistic about the future.

Health and happiness

These were my goals for the month:

  • Sleep for 8 hours. Wake up by 7am.
  • Exercise 4x/week.
  • Eat clean. Bulking diet, limit processed foods and sugar, eat daily fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink 2 liters of water daily.
  • Meditate on a best effort basis.

Here’s how it went.

Big 3 synergy

My sleep, diet and exercise are all on lock.

I’m sleeping 8 quality hours a day. I’m doing a clean bulk. I’m lifting regularly.

And I feel amazing; much better than before. I’m significantly less stressed, more focused and have higher energy.

I attribute this to my weightlifting regimen and its synergy with the other two habits.

The last time I felt this good was right after I quit Google. Interestingly, I was doing the same three things.

It only lasted as long as I was lifting, though. Three months in, I experienced a shoulder injury that prevented me from working out. When I began running instead, I noticed a slight decline in the benefits. It still helped, but not to the same extent. It’s clear that weight training made all the difference.

Lesson: Not all exercise is equal. Experiment and find what works for you.

I paused my meditation

Now that I’m back to weightlifting, I’m in the zone again. I even paused my meditation practice. So far, I haven’t noticed a significant difference.

This doesn’t mean that all my time spent meditating was in vain. I still make use of the skills I learned. The awareness helps me identify when I’m in a heightened emotional state and equanimity allows me to not be reactive.

I’m glad I invested two years to build these muscles. Without that, I wouldn’t be tap into it at will.

Lesson: No learned skill is a waste. Even if you don’t use them regularly, you always have them in your arsenal.

Out of sight, out of mind

I could be better about staying hydrated. It’s low-hanging fruit. It gives you the most bang for your buck compared to any other healthy habit. Still, I don’t always do it.

Sure, I drink enough water when my bottle is full and in front of me. But if not, I forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind. To fix this, I’m starting to make sure I keep it on my desk before I start working.

I could also be better about sleeping on time. Though I’m getting my full 8 hours, my bedtime is later than I’d like.

My main issue is that I lose track of time. I’m always doing something up until the last minute. When I realize it’s late and I finally get to my nightly routine, it cuts into my sleeping time. To fix this, I’ll set an alarm 30 minutes before bedtime as a buffer to wind down.

Lesson: It’s easy to get caught up in your current task at the expense of your larger priorities. Place physical or temporal cues to remind you to do the right thing.


These were my goals for the month.

  • Contain online distractions to outside work hours.
  • Complete 30 work sessions weekly.
  • Pre-plan days and front-load important tasks.
  • Track schedule to diagnose issues.

Here’s how it went.

Curtailed my online distractions

I significantly cut down the time wasted on online distractions. It still happens, but to a lesser degree.

In the past, I’d spend hours on distracting apps, e.g YouTube. Even after I uninstalled them, it didn’t go away entirely. I found myself visiting their respective mobile sites to get my fix.

So, I finally deactivated my phone’s browser this month. This resulted in a huge improvement. It added a necessary layer of friction to prevent mindless binging.

Of course, this journey isn’t over. I’m sure I’ll find another way to circumvent it. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, though. The important part is that I’m moving in the correct direction: my usage is down and to the right overall.

Lesson: Dealing with your vices is like peeling the layers of an onion. You solve one problem only to find another hiding underneath. Don’t lose motivation; focus on the trajectory.

Evaluating my productivity

I didn’t reach my goal of 30 work sessions per week.

A part of me was deeply embarrassed by this. When I dug deeper, I realized that I was tying my notion of productivity to a 40-hour work week. That didn’t seem right. After all, 40 is just an arbitrary number. It doesn’t take into account your true capacity or what you got done.

So I came up with a better way to evaluate it. Here are two questions I’m asking myself. Am I giving it my all? Am I moving the needle on the important bits?

Unfortunately, the answer is not a resounding yes.

But that’s ok. You can’t fix what you don’t know. And since I tracked my daily schedule to the hour, I understand where I’m losing the most time: context switches.

Lesson: Ask yourself the right questions. Don’t judge yourself based on someone else’s standards.

Cut through the ambiguity

My biggest time killers are context switches. I don’t transition quickly from one activity to the other. Instead, I linger on my devices. This is a symptom of my resistance to start working.

For example, my phone slows me down in the morning. I take more time than I need on the toilet, during breakfast or while having my post-gym protein shake. Then, I waste time on my laptop before my first work session or post-lunch.

The underlying cause of this resistance is ambiguity. When I don’t have a clear idea of what needs to be done, it’s often overwhelming. So, it’s easier to just defer it. (We all know how well that works out.)

The solution is to break down tasks so there’s a plan of action that feels approachable.

To that end, pre-planning my days has helped tremendously. It allows me to outline all my tasks and front-load the important ones.

But, it doesn’t completely cut it. My perfectionism often takes over and the task spills over its allotted time. Plus, I still face resistance sometimes. Even if I know the high-level task, it isn’t always obvious where to start.

I need a more detailed plan to overcome these challenges. Going forward, I’m going to define the scope in advance so I don’t get carried away. I’ll also outline a simple first step to help me get started. Once I get the ball rolling, momentum will take it from there.

Lesson: Getting started is always the hardest part. Make it easy.


These were my goals for the month.

  • Habit Gym
    • Widen the top of the funnel
      • Create a low-commitment trial to demonstrate value proposition
      • Create a system to promote success stories on social media
    • Improve conversion
      • Evangelize the problem that it solves
      • Add more touchpoints to convert
      • Invest in product experience - personal guidance, curated content, more accessible communication channels
  • Other ventures - validate demand for 3 business ideas

Here’s how it went.

Widening the funnel

I created a stakeless trial for users who weren’t ready to commit. I also built a 7-day program aimed at people that just wanted to get their feet wet. Neither of them saw much traction. This invalidates my hypothesis that time or money are holding people back. It’s more likely the product offering itself or how it’s marketed. This is where I need to invest.

I posted success stories on social media, in both short and long-form. Since the latter are doing well and resonating with people, I’m going to start publishing them weekly on a newsletter. Though the content strategy isn’t fully systemized yet, this is a good starting point. Later, I can repurpose these posts for other channels.

Improving conversion

Conversion has improved in one of the programs from personal follow-ups. There’s also an email sequence that goes out post-program to broaden the touchpoint surface area and retain mindshare. This is working well.

However, I could be doing more during the program to evangelize the problem and prime customers for our solution.

This points to a big mistake I made: assuming that everything only needed to be said once. The truth is that people are bombarded with pitches from all directions. You need to repeat your point several times to hammer it home.


The only aspect of product experience I was able to focus on was personal guidance. It was a hit and I’m going to double down on it.

In the past, I’d gotten feedback that the product was too general and I would be better off scoping it down. That felt like leaving money on the table, because it genuinely works for any habit.

Personalization really feels like the missing piece: the structure remains unchanged, but users can get tailored advice based on their situation.

Portfolio of small bets

I only validated demand for 1 other business idea - physical letters to your future self. There was a lot of interest, but no purchases.

Still, I’m glad I made it. It’s now part of my portfolio of small bets, alongside this blog, my podcast and Habit Gym. I’ll continue to nurture each of these and keep them alive, but I also want to expand this list and broaden my horizon.

Next Month

Here are my goals for next month:

  • Health and Happiness
    • Maintain good sleep, exercise and health habits. Sleep 8 hours on a regular schedule, exercise 4x/week and eat clean. Exceptions allowed, but keep them to a minimum.
    • Build a steady journaling habit. I won’t quantify this, but here’s the question I’ll use to judge: did I capture a representative story of how my life is going?
  • Effectiveness
    • Eliminate unproductive distractions during work hours. I need to act with urgency.
    • Work on most important tasks first. Combined with the above, I know I’m doing the most I can. Time spent isn’t the best measure.
  • Projects
    • Habit Gym
      • Add measurement for the entire funnel. I have it in silos, but not a cohesive view. This is limiting my ability to more clearly see bottlenecks and where to invest further. I have an intuitive sense, but it would help to quantify it (and the causal effect of changes).
      • Improve conversion into the recurring program. This is where the real benefits lie and I’m not doing a good job of selling it. Increase touchpoints in the product, post-program retargeting and in the community.
      • Widen the top of the funnel through content, free programs and partnerships.
    • Validate 3 new business ideas - create MVP and pitch to customers.
    • Streamline podcast. We have the production process down, now we want to grow it through marketing.
    • Improve my storytelling abilities and reduce time taken to write. I believe there are core nuggets of wisdom, but I don’t always do a great job of highlighting them.

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P.S: You can find more of my thoughts on Twitter @_suketk.