Praveen Ramesh

I write about things I learn from books, and my observations on being a creator

What is your hourly rate?

I struggle to answer this question. And when I asked around a couple of my friends, they struggled as well.

There were times when I have spent hours researching for the 'cheaper deals' that would save me ₹500 or ₹1000. Would I do that if my hourly rate was say ₹5000 or ₹50,000? Probably not.

Most of my friends from the western world were paid by the hour in their first job. And for them it's natural to invest in tools, technology and things that will save time.

I found my answer with this realisation.

What am I doing with this knowledge?

I outsource things that cost me less than my hourly rate. Currently I have fixed this at ₹2500. Stuff like my Youtube Channel's editing, coming up with a workout plan, among other things.

All my life, I’ve been half-good with a lot of habits. I’ve often wondered

What’s the key to sustaining habits?

After a lot of reflection, I feel what works best for me is what I call the “Eliminating triggers framework”. Let me explain.

The key to waking up early is sleeping early (And not setting multiple alarms)

The key to eating right is eliminating junk at home (And not resisting them)

The key to wealth building is cutting down lifestyle expense (And not investing more, though it helps ;).

When we form habits (or try to), we focus on how to ‘force’ ourselves to do stuff. Some times, the key to habits is to identify and eliminate the triggers. You need not always labour your way through.

I swear by my to-do list.

Recently, I made an observation- striking off all your to-dos has become a rare occurrence. And it’s become non-existent since I started going to the office.

  • Sending that follow up email? To-do added
  • Following up with a podcast guest? To-do added
  • Quarterly discussion on marketing plan? Added.

And on top of this, I have my to-dos from yesterday. And from all the previous days. To overcome the To-do fatigue and the constant dissatisfaction associated with it, I started following  these 3 rules

  1. Freezing 24 hours prior– I freeze all my to-dos 24 hours prior. If you tell me something today, that goes on tomorrow or day after tomorrow's to-do.

  2. Blocking time for ad-hoc stuff– I've made peace that there will be folks who will walk up with urgent/ASAP stuff. I block for 30-45 minutes.

  3. Schedule time– I group similar kinds of things, and get them checked off. For example- research, presentation, etc come in the same time block. All email related stuff goes in one time block. You get the drill. 

What would you change?

I came across two examples that challenged my perception of copywriting. I’m someone who’s wired to think “Can I be more elaborate?”. These two examples changed the way I think.

Example-1- Lego

As a copywriter, I would have been tempted to add “Add wings to your kids’ dream” and all that fluff. It would have made the creative so BLAH!

At times, the best copy is NO copy.

Example-2

I recently stumbled upon this image shared by Jason. The image shows a WARNING sign on gym equipments in 1980s and the current era.

The one from 2000s says a lot more. The warning from 1980s means a lot more.

The next time I’m thinking copywriting, I’ll reward myself a $ for every word I remove!

I recently wrote about Willpower. On why it is scarce and how we should try to spend it on things that matter. If that's the case, can we do anything we need with willpower? 

In my personal opinion- it's a NO. The key to doing anything consistently or rather doing anything boils down to a strong WHY. On reflection, I have never continued doing something where I didn't have a strong WHY (good or bad). 

  • I didn't do strength training until I had a stiff back. 
  • I didn't quit some bad habits until I had a health scare. 
  • I didn't start writing until I realised how cluttered my thinking was. 

At times when I have continued doing things out of sheer willpower, I have been either been burnt out or just lost steam along the way. So I started asking WHY before taking up anything new.

I'm okay to give up on projects if the WHY is not relevant to me anymore. 

As creative people we overestimate our abilities to do things. And this is true for creators of today who’re constantly bombarded with instant gratification and quick success stories. 

I was part of this bandwagon too.

A little over a year ago I started a blog. A newsletter. A YouTube channel. And a daily writing challenge. I did all of these diligently for roughly 45 days before I got burnt out.

I recalibrated to focus on one thing. My YouTube channel. No more, no less. A lot of my friends and well wishers have pushed me to start promoting it. I didn’t because I fear burnout. 

Creator journey something I’m doing despite my day job, personal life, and my wellness journey. There’s only so much to pack in a week.

The next time you compare yourself to your idols, remember this. Go for the slow burn. 

“Don’t be so hard on yourself when things go badly and don’t be so proud of yourself when they go well.”

Simple yet the most difficult advice to follow!

The time your trades gave you a 25% profits in an hour. The time your hire went on to change the course of the company. The time you met your partner of dreams. Or the wild bet you made and how it worked out beautifully.

None of these make you a ‘great’ decision maker.

Annie Duke (Author of Thinking In Bets) gives the example of having a King-high Straight Flush, one of the strongest hands in Texas hold’em, and yet lose all your money. The odds are 1.5 million to 1. But you could lose it all!

That’s why it’s important to distill the quality of decisions and the quality of the outcome. All we can control is

  1. Our processes

  2. And the repeatability of the processes.

Process and practice helps us improve the quality of your decisions and be cognisant that the outcome would not go our way!


Like most things in life, willpower is available in limited supply. I didn’t realise this until recently.

Picking a salad instead of a cookie? Willpower comes into play. Choosing to rest over ‘pushing’ yourself? Willpower comes into play. Choosing the right burger at a restaurant? Willpower comes into play.

For starters, willpower isn’t available on-demand. You can’t ‘summon’ willpower to serve you when you need it. With every decision you take, you’re depleting some part of your reserve.

And the faster we use it, the faster our willpower battery comes down. That’s why most of us lack the energy to do things as the evening progresses. You had already made so many decisions.

Reserve your willpower for things that matter. And it’s a choice we all have to make everyday.

Are you even sane if you're NOT embarrassed about your

First date

First love

First art 

First recital you did

First dance performance

First product 

First creative project

All of us are. Our minds are tuned to compare us to the "ideal version" in our heads. We constantly beat ourselves over "What will people think?".

Significant liberation comes when you start accepting yourself for who you're. And stop benchmarking yourself to external validation. 

What are the other approaches we haven’t explored?

If the goal is to explore all approaches or options, great.

But if the goal is to get started, and get the job done- it’s important to get started with things you currently know. Leave room for improvement. Be cognisant that you will optimise as you discover new things.

To get things done, it’s better to ignore the unavailable options.

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