Showing up daily – Seven insights from coding, writing, and jogging challenges

Over the years, I’ve engaged in many challenges to keep myself motivated, creative, and sharp. I have done:

• Coding for a year.
• Publishing articles daily on LinkedIn.
• Jogging for 100 days.
• Creating visuals for 30 days.

I’ve learned seven things from these experiences.

• Remove decision frictions.
• Invest in tools that help you achieve your goals.
• Momentum builds after the initial starting troubles.
• Timebox your work.
• Celebrate milestones.
• It spills into other areas of life
• Festina lente (make haste slowly)

The first thing is to remove decision frictions as much as you can. Automating many decisions lets you focus on what’s important and removes all the unnecessary decisions. When I did a 30-day visual challenge, I only used one font and two colors; while jogging, I ran the same route every day. Less decisions means, the more likely I was to finish the task.

Second, invest in tools that will help you succeed. Due to unreliable internet access in my area, I use Sketch instead of Figma or Canva. As I started keeping a daily log, I used an audio pen for transcription, Wordtune for editing drafts, and WordPress for blogging. You can keep momentum going if you have the right tools.

Speaking of momentum, it builds once you get over the initial hurdles. The first few days are hard and filled with doubt, but as time goes on, it gets easier. Even though the pain or uncertainty doesn’t disappear entirely, the process becomes more manageable with time.

Time boxing is key to maintaining momentum. With numerous responsibilities as a CTO and homeschooling my kids, time boxing helps me balance my workload. As an example, I run for an hour, limit my first draft to 300-500 words, and edit and publish within 20-30 minutes.

Celebrate your milestones if you want to keep going. My family and I eat out or buy something from my “wanting” list. Make your brain feel good about all the pain.

Office, hobbies, and personal aren’t isolated. Our actions in one area echo in others. I use all these lessons in my CTO job, podcasting, and homeschooling. Whenever I review a technical document, I timebox, I eliminate frivilous podcasting decisions, and I’m okay with paying for tools that help my boys.

I learned this concept from an Italian cathedral: “Festina Lente” in Latin means “hasten slowly,” and that applies to anything that impacts you, your family, society, and colleagues. The only way to speed up is to build a support system methodically and thoughtfully. You’ve got to shape your process, pick up your tools carefully, and know what you want. Once you’ve laid the foundation, you can go faster than others who haven’t.

I’ve honed my skills and sharpened my observations by taking on different daily challenges. This won’t be the end. In the coming years, I’ll take on even more challenges. Take up these kinds of daily or weekly challenges if you want to get skills for life and career.