I feel somewhat ashamed for not doing a review last year. However, this year I have set aside some time to reflect on the highlights of this year, what I have learned, the habits I have changed, and the habits I have stucked to. The following is my review for 2023, divided into several sections.


This year I’ve finally reactivated my Goodreads profile primarily for getting book recommendations. Although I have my own TODO list for reading, which continues to grow each year, I’m always curious to see what others have read addtionally after finishing one book.

As always you can find my list of read books at brainfck.org/books where also this year I’ve added tags to the books and restructured the Hugo template to list them as well.

Instead of trying to summarize each book I like Eli Bendersky’s Book reviews here are my 2023 recommendations for you:


I usually don’t keep track of productivity tools and workflows, as everyone’s needs are unique with regards to project / time / resources management. However, I’d like to share some “tools” that have changed the way I work and deal with new initiatives/projects.

Multi-Scale Planning

As a long time listener of Cal Newport’s podcast of course I had the chance to learn more about his productivity hacks and tipps. Even more than his brilliant advice in Deep Work I’ve found Multi-Scale Planning to be a true game changer.

While I cannot cover all details (maybe I’ll do so in a future post), the main idea is to do planning at multiple time scales such as quarterly/monthly, weekly and daily. Each scale has a different level of details as you move from one scale to another.

This approach to time management (because this is what it’s about, right?) allowed me to plan in advance but also be flexible whenever something deviated from the initial plan. This way I was able to come up with some initiatives/projects for the next quarter/month and define small chunks of work I could do on a weekly/daily level.

It is a very visual system that works well in a digital and analog world. No matter which fancy productivity tool you prefer, in the end it’s all about the workflow and processes you implement in order to make consistent progress and contribute to your personal and professional growth.

Track focus time

I’ve found deep work (as a state of mind) to be very dificult to achieve. Initially I thought I could train this skill while meditating. It did help to some degree but the true deep work killer gadget turned out to be … my watch. I used my watch to setup a countdown (e.g. 1 hour) which always reminded I should be focussing whenever I’ve felt I was mind-wandering.

Often I thought I was focussing for at least 30 minutes when in reality it was only 10 minutes. For me it was a strong indicator my mind was trying to fool me into jumping to other tasks, force me to procrastinate.

Train your visual focus

This is nothing new but still an advice ignored by many. We all know multi-tasking is bad for our attention (and therefore productivity) and to many context switches (switching between different tasks, jump to different windows on your PC) can significantly diminish your ability to focus on one thing.

Some months ago I was listening to Andrew Huberman’s podcast on How to Focus to Change Your Brain where, simply put, he linked our ability to focus to visual focus.

He emphasizes that mental focus is closely tied to where and how we focus our eyes. Our visual system can either be unfocused or laser-focused, and this directly impacts our mental focus.

What’s interesting and vitally important to understanding how to access neuroplasticity is that you can use your visual focus, and you can increase your visual focus as a way of increasing your mental focus focus abilities more broadly.

How to Focus to Change Your Brain (Youtube)

So, Huberman suggests that by sharpening visual focus, we can directly influence neuroplasticity which is our ability (or the brain’s one) to adapt and learn new information. What’s even more important is what exactly you focus on:

And the behavioral practices that are anchored in visual focus are going to be the ones that are going to allow you to develop great depth, and duration of focus. So let’s think about visual focus for a second. When we focus on something visually, we have two options, we can either look at a very small region of space, with a lot of detail, and a lot of precision. Or we can dilate our gaze, and we can see big pieces of visual space with very little detail. It’s a trade off, we can’t look at everything at high resolution. This is why we have these the pupil more or less relates to the phobia of the eye, which is the area in which we have the most receptors, the highest density of receptors that perceive light. And so our acuity is much better in the center of our visual field than our periphery.

How to Focus to Change Your Brain (Youtube)

In a practical way Huberman advises practicing visual focus at the specific distance of one hand, like reading a book or looking at a screen. This means that reading books and therefore engaging your brain into cognitive tasks Opposed to reading short articles on the web. Or just skimming the titles. will definitely have an impact on your capacity to focus on a certain thing for longer periods of time.

At the same time (and this is my own interpretation) I think that keeping your eyes focused on a small region on the screen without further distractions (cat pics, gifs, 10 browser tabs opened) will have the same efect. Obviously I would not have writen this without making my own observations before.

What happened: The more I stick to one window on my laptop without having to switch between apps (e.g. open browser, open mail client) the more focussed I feel. Even if I have to do shallow work I try to remain in the same context/window. Just to give some There are way more to be explored and discussed. examples:

Some other screenshots:


This is where I track important activities in order to achieve personal goals but also to keep me motivated. I still use the Loop Habit Tracker on my smartphone.


2 years ago I’ve felt somehow embarassed about my sports related activities. That’s why my overall goal was to do more sports, no matter what:

I not only increased my sport activities noticeably, but I also managed to workout regularly (notice the line on Fridays where I usually go for bouldering).

Also this year I’ve surfed for the very first time.


Overall I think this year I’ve read a lot, sometimes multiple books per month. Instead of buying books, I’ve extensively used the Libby App where you can also rent audio books from your local library. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve also re-activated my Goodreads account where I usually keep track of books I’m currently reading.

💡: Don’t forget to check out my full bookshelf for 2023.


First of all a quick recap of my goals for 2022:

For 2024

For the up-coming year I’d like to focuss on several things. Continuing in the same scheme I did for my past goals: