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Force yourself to start

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

Hey friends,

I want to share a snippet of productivity advice this week - If you want to start something, don't wait, just start.

Writing a personal statement or an essay? Great, just start typing and force yourself to write something. It doesn’t matter if it sucks, because you can always edit it later, but you need to write something. Want to start a blog? Great, start writing your first post in Notepad and figure out the logistics of setting up the website later.

If you’ve studied chemistry, you’ll know about activation energy - the ‘hump’ of energy required to get a reaction started. It’s the same in real life - if we want to get anything done, we need to put in a burst of activation energy to begin with, and things become a lot easier.

This is one of the best ‘productivity hacks’ that I’ve ever come across - the idea that to overcome activation energy, you can force yourself to start. Everything takes care of itself after that.

I often find myself needing this advice when writing these emails. There are some weeks when I spend an hour trying to work out what to write about, and then another hour working out the first paragraph. That’s a pretty unsustainable way of doing this. This week however, I just started typing whatever came to mind, and then edited it a bit afterwards. That reduced the amount of time it takes to write the email from 2+ hours to around 15 minutes - much more manageable over the long term.

As someone famous once said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I think that’s probably relevant.

Have a great week!

Ali


(1) I came across this blog 'A Life of Productivity' a few weeks ago, and found myself really enjoying the content. This guy's been blogging for years - hopefully I'll get to that point one day :)

(2) 'Study Tube' celebrities Ibz, Jade, Eve and Jack released a 4-way collab yesterday. I found their 'answering assumptions' videos particularly interesting - they tackled issues like jealousy, comparing oneself to others, the realism of "study with me" videos etc. If you're into the YouTube 'study' scene and haven't seen this one yet, I'd recommend it :)

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Ali Abdaal

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