5 min read

One Percent Better (Learning Habit Building with Pixel Art, Part Three)

Hello there! I'm Brennan Davis, the creator of CreaDev Labs, a place of learning and experimentation on productivity, creativity, and personal knowledge management. If you're new around here, be sure to check out my archive of previous newsletter editions. If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider sharing with a friend!

Share friendly link: https://creadevlabs.com/one-percent-better-learning-habit-building-with-pixel-art-part-three

The whole idea behind the book Atomic Habits is how small improvements compound over time and lead to big changes.

In the opening chapter of the book, author James Clear tells the story of the British Cycling team and the amazing results they achieved by focusing on being 1% better in small, seemingly unimportant areas.

In almost 100 years, the British Cycling team had only managed to receive 1 Olympic medal, and had never won the Tour de France. Then in 2003, a new performance director, Dave Brailsford, arrived on the scene, and introduced the idea of "marginal gains" (the 1% better idea). He had the team focus on things such as clothing material, bike seat comfort, workout regimes, pillow and mattress comfort for the most restful sleep, and so on. They made these tiny changes in lots of different areas, and while it may seemed like they didn't matter much when looked at individually, they made big differences overall.

In 2008, the British Cycling team took home 60% of Gold Medals in the Olympic games. In 2012 they set 9 Olympic records, and 7 world records. And they managed to take home 5 Tour De France wins within a 6 year period.

Clear explains that if you improved something 1% each day, you'd be 37 times better within the space of a single year.

Small improvements compound over time. The growth is exponential. The British Cycling team's success certainly proves that.

One area in which I'm attempting to make 1% improvements in is my daily exercise routine. Right now I've only got two exercises in my routine, plank and pushups. Each day I increase the amount of time I do the plank by 1 second, and increase the number of pushups by one. This doesn't exactly equate to 1% (it's actually more than 1% right now), but the important thing is it's a measurable bit of progress I can make on a daily basis. Eventually I'll add more exercises, and will follow the same process of tiny increases. This has been a much more successful way to ease into exercising than jumping into a long, grueling routine right away.

Applying this to my 30 Day Pixel Art Challenge, I've been looking for ways to improve upon my drawings each day. One day I might work on getting better at character expressions. Another day I work on making the silhouette of a character more readable. By focusing on just one thing to improve each day, I manage to boost my Pixel Art skills overall. These improvements may not be noticeable from day to day, but there'll come a day when I look at my Pixel Art and see clearly just how far I've come.

What are ways you can make small improvements to the habit you're trying to build? Please share with me by sending an email to brennan@creadevlabs.com, or if you're viewing this on the website please share in the comments section below.


Things I'm working on to improve my productivity and personal knowledge management practices

Every once and awhile I like to go through my notes and determine which ones I'd like to keep, and which ones are no longer relevant. I went through this last week with my notes in Obsidian. I have all my notes in a single folder, so to make it easier for me to keep track of which notes weren't getting the boot I simply created a "Keep" folder and put any notes I wanted to keep in there. Once I was done going through each note, I deleted the ones that weren't in the "Keep" folder. I like to do this periodically so my personal knowledge management system doesn't become too cluttered with things I'll most likely never use.

What I'm Reading / Watching / Listening to:

Resources and ideas from others to explore

Article: Why there's nothing artificial about AI's future
There's been a lot of buzz lately about AI, especially in the areas of creative work. I've been hearing about all these new tools that can help generate content ideas and write first drafts of articles for you. I'm curious to try some of these tools out and see if they can help me improve my content creation process at all. I don't believe AI can fully replace a person's ability to do creative work, but it would be a big help if it could help me jumpstart the creative process.

Video: 2023 Reading Journal Setup
I use a large sized notebook for my Bullet Journal, and have gotten used to the amount of information I can fit into a single spread. I have an extra smaller notebook lying around that isn't large enough to be a Bullet Journal, so my wife suggested I turn it into a dedicated reading journal. I watched this video to get some ideas of what to include, and to be honest, I probably won't use any of her spreads. I'm looking for something much simpler, just a place where I can write down some key take aways and a few thoughts on the books I read. I'll be sure to share my setup once I'm done coming up with it.

Questions or comments?

  • If viewing this newsletter in your email, please send your question or comment to brennan@creadevlabs.com
  • If viewing this newsletter on the website, please post your question or comment in the discussion section below