2 Weeks Sprint

Notes on how to get started on something new

In internet domain, a lot of companies use 2 weeks sprints as a way of developing their product. These sprints are a list of things which need to get done in 2 weeks - thus becoming a TAG (time and amount goal). People put their head down and work on this with few distractions - atleast that’s the utopian ideologoy behind it. Although, I did not realise it and it took a friend to point this out, but I have been doing the same thing recently in my non-work life as well to good effect.

It started with reading. Some time back, I read more in a month than I did in the preceding year. And this was not passive online consumption jumping from one article to another but a more involved, active reading of a good book chosen after either a careful consideration or at an implusive whim. I carried a book wherever I went and read everywhere I could - while waiting to catch the metro, in the metro, on the rickshaw, in some spare moments at a friend’s place, in a cafe. This desire wasn’t forced upon by anyone but came from within and it felt great. This period of complete flow and being in the zone ended with me having read a bunch of great books, gaining new perspectives and learning a lot.

Side Note: If you want to read more, here’s a great article by Ryan Holiday. Also, sign up for his monthly book recommendation list, I’ve discovered a lot of gems there.

Then came a series of (still unpublished) articles which I have fondly compiled in the form of an ebook. I wrote on the lessons I learnt while running my first startup so that I can use those for my next venture. I used to work on it whenever I could. Scribbling down notes in a notebook while riding to work in the passenger seat of my friend’s car, at work whenever I could sneak out some time on Evernote, or at home, as soon as I returned back from office without caring to change my clothes or getting ready for dinner. This helped me finish off the first draft of my book in a relatively short amount of time. 

Side Note: If you want to get started on writing - you can try out some of the softwares I use - Notebook/Evernote for note taking. Q10 for writing. Scrivener for giving structure.

Then came the designing bit. Since I can’t sketch or draw to save my life, I resorted to learning designing softwares to help me bring my thoughts to creation. I put in two weeks of focused designing ignoring almost everything else, learning online courses, soaking up as much as I could. I practised and produced two works which I am proud of.

Side Note: Here are some of the classes I took and found the most useful - 1, 2 and 3

It also happened with Cooking. 2 weeks, mom’s recipes and I transformed from someone who fretted about what to eat for dinner to being able to feed a party of 2 pretty well. 

You catch the drift with where I am going with this.

These short of intervals of time with extreme focus helped me reach a level of which I could be proud of. And important thing is that none of it was very deliberate, it was just something that I felt I should be doing and went ahead with it. I had gotten into a flow. 

The point I am trying to make is if you want to level up in a particular field, a short sprint can help you achieve that quickly. As I write this, I realise that there is a counterpoint to this where people say slow and steady wins the race which is actually quite true. But, I am talking about new tasks which require an initial thrust, the first few scary and unpredictable steps. These sprints will help you cross that first hurdle.

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