I went to Paris for 20 hrs to write my book

Book Journey

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Hey friends,

I recently took a 20-hour trip to Paris with some of my team to work on my book. I’ve been working with BookTuber Jack Edwards for some time on shaping the book and Jack happens to be one of these cool people who lives in Paris and takes sunset runs near the Eiffel Tower.

We both thought it would be be nice to meet up and work in a Parisian cafe. So we sipped on coffee and munched on proper baguettes and cheese, which - to be honest - was only slightly better than my trusty old Pret-A-Manger sandwiches. The good news is that the trip turned out to be a surprisingly productive. There is definitely something magical about working in person rather than over zoom.

✍️ What we worked on this week

This week, we spent some time thinking about how to make our productivity last for longer. Here’s the thing - we usually think about productivity in terms of getting started, but equally important is making it sustainable so that we can complete what we started without feeling exhausted.

So, we started asking ourselves some of the following questions. After we’ve managed to get started, what are some problems we usually face with completing what we’ve started? How do we continue doing what we want to do with our initial excitement, especially when the honeymoon period is over? How much of our productivity problems are down to struggling to get started versus struggling to keep going? (And does this difference even matter?)

🧠 The most interesting thing we learned

We learned a lot about burnout. It turns out that the World Health Organization (WHO) now recognizes burnout as an official mental health concern. According to the WHO, burnout is caused by “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed” and there are 3 related symptoms:

Burnout is an official

  1. Feeling a lack of energy or exhaustion
  2. Feeling mentally disengaged from/negative towards your job
  3. Being not very effective at what you’re doing

I didn’t realize that burnout is mainly considered a work-related, rather than a personal, problem. And it seems like this is a serious problem. This 2015 survey found that 77% of US professional have experienced employee burnout at their current job and that work-related stress affects the quality of their work, their personal relationships, and how they feel towards their work.

❓Question of the week

All of this has made us think about our awareness of, attitudes towards, and experiences of burnout. I’d love to hear from you about this. If you’re up for answering some quick questions and/or sharing a story that might feature in the book, please check out our survey here.

Some questions that we’ll ask are:

Do you think burnout is a serious problem? Do you/have you experienced burnout? If so, what do you think are the main reasons for it?

As usual, the form will ask you for your name and email (optional) so that we can give you credit for the story, or potentially reach out to you to ask for more details 🙂

📢 Answers from last week’s questions

Thanks to all of you who took part in our survey on autonomy where we asked you for tips on how to feel more autonomous at work. We really enjoyed reading through your responses! Shoutout to these great answers:

Lauren shared how busy life can get as a student athlete with ambitious academic goals - thank you for speaking about your experiences so openly.

I run cross country and track and field at a division one university, and am currently pursuing a chemistry degree... Most of my days are spent rushing between track sessions, classes, labs, weightlifting, and study sessions with little more than 15 min between each.... I often find myself feeling as if my time isn't my own and I'm a bit of a slave to time commitments/simply trying to balance it all.... even though I loved everything I was doing, I was constantly exhausted and found myself desperate for a break....Ultimately, what helped me get out of it was completely reframing the way I looked at my commitments. Behind all the chaos, I truly am living a dream. I love running, and I'm studying a subject I find completely captivating.

Guillermo shared a story about taking initiative when some dodgy behavior was going on in his company- this is really inspiring!

The Sales Director decided to make false customer appointments to satiate the senior management. I didn’t approve of it, but could not speak up right away... Deciding to change without taking head on, I decided to get in touch with our Head of Sales and proposed him another solution... I quickly assumed the responsibility to lead sales of the newly developed product, a responsibility beyond my typical role....In this way, I turned around an ethically challenging issue and creatively solved the problem.

And Selma shared two reminders she uses to shift her mindset

Days when I’m forced to do something I don’t have control over, I immediately make myself conscious of my attitude. I remind myself of two things: 1. A quote I love by Marcus Aurelius: “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” 2. I don’t “have” to do this thing; I “get” to do it.

That’s it from me for now. Have a great week!

Ali xx


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