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My Neurological Disease

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

Hey friends,

Like you, I’m a long-term sufferer of the chronic health condition Shiny New App Syndrome.

The condition means that my brain often falls prey to destructive patterns of thinking about apps.

As hard as I try to resist, I just can’t shake the thought that ‘maybe if I switch todo list apps I’ll be more productive’. Another common one is ‘I just need to find the perfect writing app, then I’ll be able to write!’.

I’ve had a particularly tough time of it these past two months.

See, in early May, I decided to redesign my website. But because of my SNAS, I believed that the ‘app’ that it was running on since 2015 (Ghost) wasn’t fit-for-purpose anymore. And so I went on a mission to find a new app to build my website with. Eventually I found a developer who (apparently) was an expert in Webflow, a shiny, somewhat new tool to build websites.

This got me very excited. And so for the next 2 months, he and I went back and forth playing around with designs in Figma, and then working out how to make those work on Webflow.

This week, to cut a long story short, he messaged me saying that after all that, it wasn’t going to work out and ducked out of the project.

I was annoyed for a few minutes. I realised I’d let my Shiny New App Syndrome cloud my judgment. I could tell from a few weeks into the project that our visions weren’t aligning, but I had blind faith that this new tool would save us and the site would turn out great.

When I realised yesterday that SNAS had struck once again, I chuckled to myself, and decided to do something about it.

I’ve been on call this weekend, working 8am-9pm. But over the past two days, during random moments of downtime at work here and there, on the old-school Windows computers at the hospital, I hacked together a redesign of my website using Ghost, the app I’ve been using to host it since 2015.

As usual, I downloaded a pre-built theme as a starting point, and made a few tweaks here and there to make it my own. I learned a fair bit about coding in the process, and with a few hours of work (in total, spread across these two days), I launched the (mostly functional) v2.0 of my website - www.aliabdaal.com.

It doesn’t quite look how I wanted it, but it’s definitely a start, and for a few hours of tapping away, I think it’s pretty reasonable. By sticking with the tool I was familiar with, I managed to get more done in 4 hours, than me and a web developer managed in 6 weeks trying out a Shiny New App.

I’m taking this as yet another dose of medication to counteract my Shiny New App Syndrome. If you’ve got examples of medication that’s helped in your life, I’d love for you to hit <reply> and help a brother out.

Have a great week!

Ali


My Favourite Things This Week

1 - Book - I raced through The Ride of a Lifetime written by the former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger in which he shares the lessons he learned while running Disney for 15 years. It's an incredible book and made me tear up at times - 10/10, would definitely recommend to anyone.

2 - Book - On my friend Naed’s recommendation I picked up and absolutely loved Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala, narrated by the author himself, on Audible. I must be getting soft because I teared up in plenty of places in this too. It’s probably the book that’s most changed my view of the world in the last few years.

Quote of the Week

“You have to ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don’t understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as you can.”

From The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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Ali Abdaal

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