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3 Strategies to Be More Productive in 2021 – ReadWrite



Bob Buckley

Deep down, I think we all want to be more productive at work and with life in general. It feels good to get things done and it feels even better when we enjoy the spoils of our efforts. We are well into the first quarter of 2021. It’s time to check our goal progress and see how far we’ve come. Here are three strategies to be more productive in 2021.

Continue in your progression in 2021 and beyond.

Start Going to Bed and Waking Up at the Same Time Every Day

Doing this was a game-changer for my professional life. It could arguably be the most valuable action you can take to be more productive in the next year.

When I was in college (back in my day!) my summer internship routines went like this:

  • Stay up until somewhere between 1 to 3 am with friends every Friday and Saturday night.
  • Take a while to fall asleep Sunday night.
  • Look, feel, and act like a zombie at work between Monday and Wednesday every week.
  • Finally, I would start to be more productive and feel well Thursday and Friday, then repeat the cycle.

I even kept doing it a few months into my first job out of college — big mistake. When too many of my hairs were turning grey too fast, I finally decided to build consistency into my wake and sleep routines a few years ago. I’ve never looked back, except maybe on New Year’s Eve or Halloween when I make an exception.

The Science Behind Having Consistent Sleep & Wake Times to Be More Productive

All of us have something called Circadian Rhythms. These are 24-hour processes that happen in our bodies to perform essential functions for our well-being.

According to and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, our circadian rhythms are connected to a range of mental health conditions. These include things like depression, bipolar disorder, and dementia.

I can personally attest that my ability to focus is directly related to this. It may be difficult for you to hit the mattress at 10 pm sharp on Fridays and Saturdays, but try this:

Set a New Year’s resolution to do it for the first four weeks of 2021. If you don’t stumble on this article until a few months from now, give it a try anyway for the next three to four weeks.

There’s a good chance you might just keep things going a little longer than that and find out that it’s a great way to be more productive.

Develop an Exercise Routine That COVID-19 Cannot Affect

During most of 2020, I was doing pretty well keeping up with exercising. When the gyms all closed down in the springtime (around Minnesota at least) I took a week or two off since I needed to do that anyway.

Then, I put together a respectable at-home routine to stay active until September when I started going back. It definitely helped me to be more productive all of last spring and summer by following the plan. This last month, though, I messed up.

Don’t Get Sluggish

Right before Thanksgiving, all our gyms in Minnesota shut down again. This time, I pretty much took the last four weeks off. At the time of this writing, I almost feel sick from how inactive and sluggish I’ve been. Fortunately, we can go back there starting tomorrow. The bottom line, though, is that I should have made another workout plan two or three weeks ago.

Building A Plan to Be More Productive

You don’t even need to wait until after work to plan on exercising. According to the Harvard Business Review, there’s even “evidence suggesting that exercise during regular work hours may boost performance.”

You might be more productive doing something as simple as planning 10 push-ups every hour for upper-body work. I’ve found that a 1-minute wall-sit or ten lunges across the room and back feels great for your legs. There are also plenty of motivational speeches out there online to get you through the first set in case you’re having trouble getting up.

If those seem like too much, even a 20-minute walk is great for you. Should you decide to get your exercise in by walking, take the Mayo Clinic’s advice and “get the right gear, choose your course carefully, warm-up, cool down, and stretch.” In addition to those, set realistic goals.

Set Long-Term, Short-Term, and Daily Goals

It took me a while to learn the importance of setting goals. This is another thing that I really didn’t start taking seriously until I was out of school, too.

We did do a few goal-related exercises throughout the different levels of my education. However, I never saw the value in them until actually needing to be more productive in sink-or-swim situations, like hitting a quota. Plus, life, in general, can get pretty stagnant without setting goals and progressively working toward them.

The Kind of Goals to Set to Be More Productive

Legendary business speaker Jim Rohn gave an old seminar that’s up on YouTube where he goes, “dreams and goals can become magnets.” He proceeds to explain that having powerful and clear goals can pull us through hard times.

There’s also science-backed evidence that the more ambitious our goals are, the more our brains are motivated to find ways to meet them.

The American Psychological Association has published a few studies that show how much more you might achieve if you set very difficult goals and firmly commit to them. It’s crucial to set the right ones if you want to be more productive.

A Self-Negotiation

Think of it this way: when you are negotiating with someone on price, you need to anchor at a higher number than what you intend to actually get. Then, through a series of counteroffers, you will ideally land on an amount that makes you happy. In this case, the negotiation (self-negotiation) is just you versus you.

You need to anchor high with your long-term goals in order to (hopefully) set the correct short-term and daily ones. I really wish that I had started doing this when I was younger because two years of goal-setting has already gotten me further than the previous five non-goal-setting years did.

Trust me, you do not want to do five years of aimless side-projects, sporadic gym visits, or being unproductive at your day-job!

An Example of Goal Setting

If you want an idea of what long, short, and daily goals look like, these are mine right now:

Long-Term Goals (1-2 years to complete)

-Earn the CPA license

-Earn a certain amount of money (I do have a specific amount for this)

-Launch a physical product with a Kickstarter campaign

Short-Term Goals (Quarterly)

-Pass the FAR Section on the CPA exam (section 1 of 4)

-Get 6-8 guest blog articles published

-Write 2-3 articles per week on my blog for college students

-Finish the next version of the prototype

Daily Goals to Be More Productive

-Study from 6:30 am to 9:00 am for the CPA exam, FAR section

-Write & send a guest article pitch

-Work on outline and draft of an article for This College Life

-Exercise at 5 pm

They Could Still Change

Those long-term goals might be current now, however, they could also change depending on the success of the short-term goals. My time in sales has exposed me to a lot of people making forecasts that change a lot. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

One More Good Goal Analogy to Be More Productive

I am a big fan of the old personal development record “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale (it’s about 65 years old at this point). In it, he has a great analogy to describe the importance of setting clear and concise goals for yourself.

Imagine a ship leaving a harbor with its entire journey mapped out and planned (a full crew, too). Most of the time, that ship will make it exactly where it needs to go.

Now, imagine one without a map, crew, or clear direction planned. Chances are that the second ship will either sink, crash into something in the harbor, or end up on a beach somewhere.

Be like the first ship!

Tying It All Together

The year 2020 will go down in history as one that’s created unprecedented challenges for many people and things in our lives. As you really take charge in 2021 — take as many opportunities as you can to work on yourself and keep preparing for the future.

Consider going to bed and waking up at the same time every day to stabilize your circadian rhythm. Develop an exercise plan that can’t be affected by gym closures and maybe most importantly — take a few minutes to set and write down those goals.

Image Credit: anna shvets; pexels

Bob Buckley

Bob is a 2021 CPA candidate and the founder of


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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