Day 21 of the 40-Day Challenge

Twenty days have passed which is about half the challenge period, do you believe it? Time passes fast and it is up to us to take the responsibility to squeeze it to get the most out of it. Our time is one of the most precious things we have.

What do you think I did today? Yes, I developed another better system since the last system has had some problems as well. The last system of having many breaks, and one goal per all breaks didn’t do much good for me since in my breaks I was keen on having fun rather than meeting my goal. It seems that if we didn’t challenge ourselves to do things, we might go easily off track. The last system could be useful for someone who doesn’t like his work and wants to shift to another career for example. However, my case is different since I have already shifted my career and I do love my work although I suffer sometimes from its challenges, I still love it. I have learned a lot from it.

In this post, I will take about some observations I found throughout the 40-day challenge first half, how I will improve my future post writings, the system I will settle on for the second half of the challenge, how I will approach things my learning differently, and some useful pieces of information I have learned so far.

1. Observations from the First Part of the 40-day challenge (Evaluating Myself)

After quickly revising what I have done so far in the challenge, here are my observations and whether I see my actions were useful or not:

  1. I was continuously updating systems. I think this was important to keep experimenting to know what best works for me but that is enough. Based on all this feedback, I should settle for one better system for the next 20 days of the challenge.
  2. Some of the systems have a lot of variabilities which makes me easily lose track of time since I don’t know exactly when to do what.
  3. By writing and analyzing myself daily, new ideas come into my mind on how to learn better. I think the more you think about something, the more ideas you get. Therefore, I will approach my learning differently in the next 20-day of the challenge and I will write this in detail in the final system that I will mention here.
  4. I have struggled a lot in the days in which I slept late and didn’t start early the next day. If I didn’t sleep well at night, my next day becomes not very good. Therefore, putting a deadline for sleeping and waking up is very important.
  5. I have written too much about the challenges, and how I solved them or my proposed solutions to them. I detailed many things. I don’t know how useful is this for the readers, but I think it may become boring since the reader may not necessarily need to know all these details. A few highlights could be enough. And I should focus on more specific challenges that I face during my work, and my learning rather than general non-engagement observations.
  6. I have also written too much in the key takeaways, which might be boring and too much as well. Therefore, I decided to write one sentence per the key takeaway to make it easier for the reader to digest.

That is what I remember so far. In the new system, I will address these problems, and I hope that I learn from my mistakes and do better in the next part of the challenge.

2. The New System for the Second Part of the 40-Day Challenge

I will write the system in a brief concise manner followed by a one-sentence justification for each point in the system.

  1. Before anything, revisit my why. I will try to put it in a morning routine before I do anything. What is the goal behind doing all of this? What do I exactly want?
  2. I will divide my day into blocks according to my usual day milestones, in each block I will usually do the same thing or group similar actions together. Time blocking is good for seeing the day in terms of parts so that you could better manage each part, and if failed in one part not fail in the other parts.
  3. My day is already planned ahead from now. The same system is repeated daily except for the weekend in which there will be some differences that I know. Planning every minute of the day makes you keep track of your time thus reducing time-wasting.
  4. I have specified my break times, my drinking, and my eating times to avoid randomness in the system, and to preserve my decision quotas for the most important decisions.
  5. During the time block, a maximum of 10-minute break is allowed. Because that is enough to refresh my mind.
  6. If I am disengaged from something, I could take a small break, then come back with defining an exact objective to achieve in a specific time frame to challenge myself and regain engagement.
  7. I have a specific time for sleeping and waking up that I will only allow for up to 30-minutes of flexibility or shifting. Flexibility by allowing for some error is good in systems since it is difficult if not impossible to be 100% accurate.
  8. If I didn’t achieve work hours, and my three hours of non-work learning that I mentioned in the first post of the challenge, I will accumulate them for the next day. If I managed to do them, I will consider myself succeeded. Otherwise, I failed and have to add another day to the challenge to compensate for this. So, my sleeping, and waking up time shouldn’t be affected.
  9. Only check social media twice per day at specific times between certain time blocks unless I am talking to someone or waiting for his response.
  10. The deadline for writing my post will be up to 22.5 hours in the next day. To have enough time to do the most demanding work.

3. Rethinking Learning How to Learn

In the first part of the challenge, I also noticed patterns on how to learn more effectively, and here are some key takeaways:

  1. Divide your work or your learning into parts if that is possible. If you are not engaged in one part, then shift to the other part.
  2. Think critically. Think before doing. Think before searching, and think before taking a certain approach.
    1. When you face a problem, don’t just head over google and search for answers, but instead of this first think about how you will search. Define your problem exactly to make your search more useful, and clearer. Identify your exact information need before heading to Google.
    1. Question your approach. Why will you do it in this way? Isn’t there a better way? If there is, so how will you find it? It is not necessary to always use the best approach. Sometimes you just need a fast prototype to validate something before investing more time in it, and then add complexity as needed. So, it depends on your situation.
  3. Gather your resources in advance.
    1. This could include accredited books, good courses, specific question-answering forums, and so on.
    1. When you face a problem with one of the sources then look at an alternative like another book instead of the book you are reading for understanding the thing you are missing then go back to the book you were reading to get the author’s big picture. If another book or two didn’t fill the gap in your knowledge, then look for videos in courses, or blogs, and so on.
    1. If it seems that there is no way to still understand it, then first check if you are missing any prerequisites to learn them first. Otherwise, if you are missing nothing then you could just continue with this known gap, and revisit the explanations another day, or after some days. You may be surprised by how multiple exposures while exerting effort to learn well could lead you.
  4. If you want to learn something in-depth, go to the most useful and accredited books. First, gather them, see if experts recommend them or not, look for their reviews, skim through them, and so on. Books will give you the context. What do you need to know before this point, and after it? since you have chapters that are usually organized sequentially building upon each other.
  5. If you just want to have a general idea about something, you can read an accredited book introduction, more than one blog post, take a look at some videos, and so on.

4. Useful Pieces of Information

Most of these pieces of information are taken from The Magic of Thinking Big book.

  • Goals. Intense goals can keep a person alive when nothing else will. What is your message in life? And what is life all for? You could check this post for getting more information about this idea.
  • The person determined to achieve maximum success knows the principle that progress is made one step at a time. A house is built a break at a time. Every big accomplishment is a series of little accomplishments.
  • The step-by-step method is a very intelligent way to attain any objective.
  • The person who wants freedom from a bad habit all at once could fail because the psychological pain is more than he can stand.
  • Just as a beautiful building is created from pieces of stone, each of which itself appears insignificant, in life manner the successful life is constructed.
  • Start marching towards your ultimate goal by making the next task you perform regardless of how unimportant it may seem. A step in the right direction.
  • Commit this question to memory and use it to evaluate everything you do: Will this help me to go where I want to go? If the answer is no, back off, and if the answer is yes then press ahead.
  • Another idea is to set monthly quotas for accomplishments. Examine yourself, and decide what specific things you should do to make yourself more effective. Then when the 30-day period is up, check your progress and build a new 30-day goal. Always keep working on little things to get you in shape for the big things.


Thank you. I hope this post has been beneficial to you. I would appreciate any comments if anyone needed more clarifications or if anyone has seen something wrong in what I have written in order to modify it, and I would also appreciate any possible enhancements or suggestions. We are humans, and errors are expected from us, but we could also minimize those errors by learning from our mistakes and by seeking to improve what we do.

Allah bless our master Muhammad and his family.

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