Hello there! It’s been a while since I wrote my last post. And that’s because I have been keeping busy. Really really busy. Along with my busy but fun full-time job, I started producing music (a bit more seriously), established a product+innovation community within my company and also restarting the one in Tokyo, and also joined an amazing social startup as a part-time volunteer.
But one thing I’m really excited about right now is that I also just released a new app that I worked on with my friends as a side project.
It's called Encore, and we just hit 500+ downloads within a week! (More on that later in the post)
I wanted to take this time to write down a small reflection about how COVID and lockdown forced us to change our daily behaviour as humans.
Lockdown was tough on a lot of us, and personally, it completely broke down my usual routine. Time and energy saved from not commuting to work or attending social gatherings started slipping into overworking or taking extra naps on lesser busy days. And the guilt started setting in that I am not using this time effectively. I am sure that most others felt this way as well.
At this time, it is extremely important to understand what makes you feel peaceful and satisfied. For some people, it is to take a step back and use this time effectively to recharge, and for some, it would be to try and use this newfound time to pursue things they didn’t have time for earlier. Both are equally useful in order to have a healthy mindset, and I ended up starting out as the first and then after I felt I was well-rested, I wanted to jump into the second mindset.
It took me months to find a new rhythm, and over a period of time, I was able to slowly streamline my life (as much of it as is in my hands), to reach closer to achieving my short term goals and build towards my long term ones. This has allowed me to continue doing all these cool projects without reaching burnout.
I thought this would be a good time to share an interesting concept that really helped me overcome procrastination as well as allowed me to really push myself, into the second mindset from the first.
My personal philosophy about being productive and achieving my goals stems from something very simple. Taking the first step towards the goal. Many times the first step is all that’s needed to start a chain reaction where your surroundings start enabling you to take all the next steps required.
For a long time, I always considered my goals as a whole and got overwhelmed by them, leading to procrastination. But I used to see one of my good friend, Igor, being very disciplined and motivated and being able to juggle his side projects along with a good social and professional life. I asked him about how he is able to do this, and he told me about this concept called a Personal Hackathon (PH).
It’s derived from a tech-based hackathon, but for our personal lives.
To put it very simply said it just means you and your friends taking out a day or some hours of your time a week to completely immerse yourself into finishing all the pending tasks you want/need to do, in a systematic manner. These tasks are usually to be done individually, but you do it in the same room as your friends so that you can keep each other accountable as well as have fun and stay motivated. I tried it a few times with him, and I could immediately see what he was talking about.
It is intense, but it’s really effective. The pre-created schedules are easy and straightforward to follow and have been designed with a lot of research and psychological backing. I have personally seen a great boost in killing my entire backlog doing this. It has overall made me more focused on my daily life as well, and it gave me a specific time to take all the first steps as well as the subsequent ones that followed due to those first steps.
You can read about it in more detail over here
It got us thinking, how could we make PH more accessible as well as easy to do even when one is alone? And so Encore was born.
Encore is an experience designed to improve your productivity and build a goal-oriented mindset.
It achieves this by creating custom time-based schedules inspired by PH and helps you track your goals while you do these sessions. And there are cute characters that motivate you throughout the session.
Here is how you can effectively use Encore to really push forward and transition into a more goal-oriented mindset.
- We provide different ‘Encore Sessions’ for different time requirements. These sessions are easy and straightforward and designed with ample breaks and activities
- We ask you to write down your goals before starting the session so that your mind is always focused on what you SHOULD do, rather than overwhelmed by all the different things COULD do. It seems simple, but it makes a huge difference in the work ethic.
- Momo guides you through the schedules and motivates you at all stages so that you never feel alone while doing this. And well, I can’t lie, Momo is really cute and supportive, and I would not want to let Momo down!
Funnily enough, we used our own methods while building this app and were able to finish the MVP within a month due to the focus and determination to push it out there.
I will write a separate article about how we conceptualized and developed Encore and what type of UX, product and design principles we used to create the Encore experience as well.
But if it seems like something you would be interested to try, definitely check out our app on your iPhone or iPad. Give us feedback and your thoughts. It’s only the start and we hope to keep improving this experience for everyone.
Encore - Personal Growth
Meet Momo the cat! Your Encore buddy! Momo will guide you through Encore's different productivity techniques to give…
But for now, I would leave you with all these thoughts. My next article will be focused specifically on how I leverage some great technology, apps and services to make my life easier from a productivity point of view so that I am able to focus on things important to me.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!