Atomic Accountability

If there is one thing 2020 taught me, it is this.

Atomic anything works.

Accountability is no exception to this law.

I have been a productivity nerd all my life. Not because I was born that way but because I didn't have a choice. I was pushed to work with constraints from birth. The reason being, I had a congenital condition that gave me only 7-8 hours of active time in a day. I must rest at-least 14-15 hours a day to have a productive 7-8 hours. You can do the math now.

When everyone had at-least 16 hours, I had to get my life done in 8 hours. So my life went this way day-by-day for almost 23 years of my life. I was greedy to do many things. I loved learning about new things, I loved playing sports, I loved music and arts, I loved math and science and I loved more. But all the love needed time. So prioritisation became an imperative.

While I was a complete YES to life, I had to say NO to things given the time constraints. This made me develop efficiency and effectiveness from day one. I am still fascinated by this science of productivity. This topic doesn't tire me out at all.

As a system designer, I developed frameworks and systems for myself to harness productivity all these years. Year 2020 was exceptionally challenging. Some of my reflections are here. All my systems failed this year. My productivity took a big dip and it didn't feel good.

On reflection I realised all my plans were getting trashed by urgent and high priority items like medical emergencies at home and that is what threw me off the orbit. I just could not plan my day as I had to expect the unexpected. Most days were out of my control. As a control freak, I started using pomodoro for sanity sake. One pomodoro (25 mins) at a time. One block at a time. I could not see 8 hours ahead of me but I surely could see 30 mins ahead of me. I started managing block by block for my own sanity sake. So I started playing around with that block of time I had.

Here is how I planned it

Planning a block

I planned what to do in next 25 mins in that first 2 mins. I reflected on how that 25 mins went in the last 2 mins. I took one min to deep breathe and close the block. Going atomic really helped me stay sane.

When i shared this to my inner circle and the guild (, they also acknowledged the challenge of planning and following through this year. Together we started doing this habit formation exercise. It is 30 days now and the habit is rock solid in me and my gang.

Lofty plans may fall short but atomicity is timeless. If you care about making your new year better, this one is for you.

Reflection: Pain is a catalyst for growth. Experientially I feel the growth inside me. Looks like you can build yourself more using pain than pleasure.  My humble lesson from 2020 is let us build ourselves using everything thrown at us.

Here is a sneak peak of the system (now the system has become more polished):

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