10 Life Lessons from Writing my First Book


Hey friends,

This week’s been pretty mental. On Thursday we announced my brand new book Feel-Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You on YouTube, and then on Friday we propagated the announcement across all our social media channels. We’ve had a pretty incredible response, with hundreds of lovely comments and DMs and emails from people saying congratulations, and how much they’re looking forward to reading the book.

Feel-Good Productivity is about how to be more productive, but in a way that feels enjoyable, meaningful and sustainable. It’s 10+ years of my own experience with productivity, combined with hundreds of hours reading research papers and interviewing experts, and trying to synthesise all that knowledge into a series of principles and strategies that anyway can try out in their own work and life.

And the core idea at the heart of the book is that the secret to productivity isn’t discipline – it’s joy. When we feel good about our work, when we can find a way to make our work generate positive emotions and energy, we become more productive, more creative and less stressed. This all improves our performance in our work, but it also gives us more energy to give to the other areas of our life. So the book is a science-backed, practical guide to incorporating these energisers into your work (amongst other things), so that you can boost your feel-good productivity.

In case you missed it – the book’s now available to preorder in lots of countries all around the world 🙂 It’s being released in December this year, but we’re trying to drive as many preorders as we can to (a) make sure we print enough copies, (b) create buzz around publication, and (c) to try and hit the bestseller lists. So if you haven’t yet preordered, I’d love if you would consider doing so please 😉 And if you do, please save your receipt because I’ll be unveiling a bunch of exclusive bonuses for people who preorder soon 👀

Working on this book over the past three years has been one of the hardest, but also one of those most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’m really proud of how it’s turned out, and I hope you’ll find at least a few things you can take away from it to apply to your work and your life.

I also wanted to say a huge thank you to you – we’ve got some people on this email list who have been following my channel since 2017, and others who discovered it in the last few weeks. However long you’ve been part of this community for, thank you – the fact that you watch the videos, read these emails, engage on socials or any combination of the above, means that I’m able to make a living out of doing what I love – learning cool stuff, applying it to my own life, and sharing it with others. This, for me, is the infinite game that I hope to continue playing for the rest of my life. And I couldn’t be more grateful to you for helping to make it possible.

To make this email more than just a sales pitch for the book lol, I thought I’d share a few life lessons that I’ve picked up through the writing of the book. I hope you’ll find some of them applicable to whatever life situation you find yourself in.

  1. Big projects take way longer than you think they’re going to take. That’s okay.
  2. Having said that, each component of a Big Project can be done way quicker than you think – provided you lower your standards.
  3. Lowering your standards is a great way of getting out a rough first draft for anything you’re working on.
  4. Getting started is often the hardest part. Just get started – the momentum will often keep you going with a lot less effort.
  5. Every so often, ask yourself what your priorities are. Then look at your calendar to determine whether you’re acting in accordance with those priorities. Adjust accordingly.
  6. Before 11am, and after 11pm, is the best for creativity. But you feel way better when you wake up early, get some sunlight, and get to work, than when you work into the night and have a lie-in.
  7. Coffee shops are great places to work. By going to different coffee shops, libraries and/or co-working spaces each day, you add a sense of adventure to your work by default.
  8. Editors are amazing, and can take your work from a pile of slop into something that looks and sounds pretty good. Find an editor for your work – even if your work isn’t writing.
  9. Working with friends around you feels way more enjoyable and energising than working on your own. Don’t be afraid to organise co-working retreats – your work, your friends, and your soul, will thank you for it.
  10. Focus on enjoying the process. At the end of it, you’re going to realise that the destination is meaningless if you didn’t enjoy the journey.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully this email addresses some of the replies to last week’s, where more than a handful of people replied saying it was way too long – sorry about that 😬

Please do consider preordering the book if it’s available in your country. You can check out the website, along with country availabilities, at www.feelgoodproductivity.com – we’ve had a lot of feedback from people saying “This is the nicest book website I’ve ever seen in my life” so it’s worth checking out even if you have zero intention of buying the book 😉

Have a great week!

Ali xx

♥️ My Favourite Things this Week

  1. This clip from Russell Brand is one of the funniest stand-up comedy bits I’ve ever seen in my life. I was on a lads road trip in the Yorkshire Dales when one of the boys recommended this, and we played it multiple times. Definitely not safe for work. Very vulgar too – if that’s likely to offend, please don’t click 😉
  2. This is my new favourite music to work to – each morning, as I sit down to work, I whack on this video and have it playing in the background. Everyone in the office loves it too.
  3. I loved Steven Bartlett’s interview with Ramit Sethi on the Diary of a CEO podcast. I’ve been a fan of Ramit’s work for ages, and seeing him talk so passionately about money in high-quality video was really nice. Learned some new lessons about money too, and I’ve added his Rich Life prompts to my list of journaling to do for next week.
  4. We switched over from Google Analytics to Fathom Analytics for the book website. I love it so much. It’s simple, easy-to-use and creates speedy, pretty dashboards that are way nicer and more user-friendly than the Google Analytics ones. If you manage websites and haven’t yet tried Fathom, I’d really recommend it – means you don’t need those annoying cookie banners either. No partnership with these guys at all, just purely expressing joy for a well-designed product.
  5. I’ve started reading Notes from a Fellow Traveller, a book about magic, mentalism and showmanship from one of my all-time heroes Derren Brown. I had the delight of attending an event at the Magic Circle where Derren was interviewed about his book, and managed to get a signed copy + cheeky photo with him afterwards. Really surreal moment for me, given that I’ve been following Derren’s work for like 15+ years. Great book too – lots of lessons that apply to the craft of YouTube video-making. But very much aimed at magicians / people with a working knowledge of magic. If you’re looking for a more accessible read from Derren, Happy remains one of my favourite books of all time.

🎬 My New Videos

📚 I Have a Huge Announcement – In case you missed it, check out the latest video on the channel.

✍️ Quote of the Week

“People with neurotic lifestyles tend to sprinkle their speech with such words as ‘everyone’ and ‘always’ and ‘everything’. ‘Everyone hates me,’ they will say, or ‘It’s always me who takes a loss,’ or ‘Everything is wrong.’ If you think you might be in the habit of using such generalising statements, you should be careful.”
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