Cold laptop, again… 😑

I am back to TickTick.

TickTick is a task manager app. I came across it a video by Marques Brownlee last year in around March, April, I think. I used it for three-four months and then switched back to relying on my memory and self-discipline. Bad idea, of course.

My most favourite features in TickTick are the Eisenhower Matrix and habits. The Matrix helps me to have an overview of the things I need to do in the short and long term. It does what it is supposed to do. The habits feature is my most favourite because I use it multiple times a day every day.

I tend to forget what I am supposed to do. I need to be reminded about the task over and over again to stay focussed. I never saw it so plainly before, but this trait goes back to my school days. The last two years of school were very important, and I had realised it back then. Before that, I used to be a good student – above average, getting through the classes year by year, not much ambitious. I was very enthusiastic about physics, quite a bit about maths, chemistry and computer but struggled in every other subject. But when I entered the last two years of my school, I gradually became very focussed and motivated. And this was when I started to write down my thoughts for the first time.

I made some goals, wrote them down on many sticky notes, and pasted these notes onmy study table – some on my computer and some on the inside of the cupboard door of the table. This table was in a “public area” of the house, so I used to write cryptic messages for myself that only I could make sense of. That way I could keep my stickies there while keeping my privacy. I would look at them every day and they were my source of motivation. In the end I acheived all of them. (I am a little proud of myself about that phase. I was a kid who was just learning to fly. One of the goal was something I had never done before. It really happened and I realised I set out to do exactly that one year before that moment. I felt very proud of myself in that moment and in the years to come.) That table is still there at my home. The stickies are also still there (because when I pasted them, I put a tape on them. :D)

After this, I moved to Delhi. The first year of my bachelor’s was chaotic. So many people around, freedom, a new life… Then in the second year I started to get a bit serious about the next step. I started to prepare for master’s. It was going to be a tough year. I set some goals again. This time I did not have a table or a computer to stick my notes on. Back then I used to have a chart on the wall of my room to write on. I wanted a black board but couldn’t afford one, so I hung a white chart and I would write on it with pencil. I soon realised that writing with pencil and erasing is not so much fun, so I started to use this chart to hang my cryptic notes on. I would write things on A4 paper and would just staple these notes on this chart. I would look at them every day and remind myself of what I am supposed to do. It went on like this for one and a half years of my bachelor’s.

Then I moved to Mumbai. My life was chaos again. Many people, new friends, own money from scholarship, new life again, new standards (TIFR was very tough and the people there were very good),… Again it took me more than one year to calm down. Again I made some new goals, but this time I just kept missing a place to write on. I missed having something in my room that I could write on, just like I did in Delhi. I couldn’t have that in the first year because I used to live far away from the institute. I used to go back there just to sleep. Then I moved into the institute campus in the second year but the room was temporary. I moved again to another room but by then my work schedule had gotten so fucked up that I was basically living in my office, practically speaking. For three years in my master’s I missed a place to write on but couldn’t have it on a wall. During my bachelor’s, apart from the chart I also maintained a personal diary. It was an academic diary where I could write in detail and access the situations I was dealing with – people, courses, goals, etc. During my master’s, I wrote in this diary on and off but it was not at all consistent. I never felt satisfied.

Then I moved to the Netherlands, and in the first one and a half years of moving here, I lived the same situation all over again like I did in Delhi and Mumbai. Chaos, people, more money, less friends, new people, higher standards, new culture, new place, and to make it all even worse, every close relation in my life was fucked up so there was barely any emotional support. It was the most overwhelming it has ever got for me in the whole life. In the meantime, I started to calm down bit by bit and got back to writing. It got back to it because it helps me clear the clutter in my mind and focus. It’s a natural remedy for me. This time I truly started to write a diary. I write in a private journal regularly. There I reflect on my daily life, reflect on my goals, reflect on my personal and professional relations, distill my thoughts, and then write them down further as principles in a small diary. I keep it handy because it helps me be consistent otherwise I tend to take contradictory actions.

TickTick comes one step closer. There are certain things I must be mindful of throughout the day so that I don’t make mistakes. I set habits in the app and set reminders for them at the times of the day when I know I am likely to ignore them. Then it keeps reminding me at set times. I can also track how well I have been following a habit and it feels good when I see myself building self-discipline. I have habits there about reading, writing, other private matters, professional matters, saving money, and such daily life things that I know I should do but I eventually don’t if I don’t keep tabs on myself. Self-discipline is hard, people!

I lost touch with TickTick last summmer, but this week I looked back at my old days and realised how much this active, organised, mindful lifestyle improved my routine, task management, life in general for the time I maintained it. Let’s see how it goes this time. I hope I keep doing it, because if I could keep up with organising my life and meeting my goals for a long time, it would mean I am focussed, productive, stable, healthy, happy, and so many other good things.

Alright, it’s late. Bye bye… 🥱