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A Week of Unemployment

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

Hey friends,

This week has been my first full week of unemployment. From Monday to Friday I haven’t had anything I needed to do, I could wake up whenever I wanted, I could do whatever I wanted. It’s been glorious.

Even so, I was intending to release 3 videos this week (Tuesday, Friday and Sunday). The Tuesday one was filmed ages ago so that wasn’t the problem, but I found myself procrastinating hard from filming the other two.

Partly that was because I was pretty unwell this week, with a cough and fever starting on Tuesday. Don’t worry, my COVID swab was negative, but I still felt pretty grim. In fact, most days I just lay on the sofa all day, listening to the final couple of books in the Wheel of Time series on Audible. I really can’t remember the last time I was this ‘unproductive’.

When Friday came and went and I still hadn’t filmed anything, I felt a little guilty. I’d set this 3/week video schedule for myself and we’d been hitting it reasonably consistently while I was working 40-60h per week as a doctor, so I felt a bit of a failure for not powering through and filming the videos.

But today I looked at the YouTube analytics. Nothing had changed. In fact, the channel’s daily growth rate and daily revenue was actually higher towards the end of the week, despite there being no new videos. It seemed like the fact that I ‘missed’ two uploads didn’t change a thing.

It’s a similar lesson to what I learned when I missed an issue of this newsletter a few weeks ago. I had a few emails from some lovely readers who said they missed it because it was part of their Sunday / Monday routine, but broadly, very few people noticed and even fewer cared.

I wonder how much we push ourselves to do stuff that ultimately matters very little. We get a sense of meaning from arbitrary goals (3 videos per week, a newsletter sent every Sunday, etc) but at the end of the day, does anyone other than us actually care? I’m not so sure.

In any case, next time I’m unwell (or if I can’t be bothered to upload for a less valid reason), I’ll remind myself of this important, wonderful and hugely liberating lesson - don’t sweat it. Take a break. No one cares :)

Have a great week!

Ali


This Week on Not Overthinking

Not Overthinking is the weekly podcast hosted by me and my brother. If you enjoy these emails, you’ll hopefully like that too. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Castro (my favourite podcast app) or any other podcast app - just search for ‘Not Overthinking’.

How can we treat children morally? | Not Overthinking

In this episode, we review Ali's unemployment, talk about how to talk about workism, and Taimur finally elucidates some concrete ideas about how society treats children immorally, and how we treat children better.

Quote of the Week

“The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like. Write the kind of story you like best—write the story you want to read. The same principle applies to your life and your career:”

From Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon Resurfaced using Readwise.

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Ali Abdaal

Junior doctor, YouTuber, web designer, aspiring musician. Trying out this blogging thing.