20 Questions to Change Your Life


Hey friends,

Watching my YouTube videos, you might think ‘Ali has all this productivity stuff pretty figured out.’

But newsflash: I got a shockingly low score on my friend and coach Chris Sparks’ Performance Assessment. Which is designed to measure your personal productivity 😅

It’s a series of 20 questions. You give an answer between 1–5 for each question (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree), then add the up to get a total score out of 100.

  • 100/100 = You’re an unstoppable force of nature
  • 60/100 = Decent, room for improvement
  • 20/100 = You have no clue what you’re doing.

I got a pretty sobering score of 45/100 this week – way lower than I expected. But thinking about the questions I scored lowest on helped me uncover some personal blind spots. I might even use Chris’ questions as newsletter writing prompts for the rest of the year.

Without further ado, here are the questions:

🗺️ Vision

Are you designing a life in alignment with your top values?

1. Do you have a life mission you want to achieve?

2. Do you have a vision for your career?

3. Do you have a consistent long-term review process?
You regularly reserve time to review wins, lessons, and opportunities in your life and career.

4. Do you have a consistent long-term planning process?
You regularly reserve time to define objectives, set actionable goals, and reallocate resources.

5. Do you keep track of your projects?
You track progress on the things that are most important to you. You have defined deadlines and clear objectives.


Are you working on the most important things?

6. Do you plan and review your top priorities for the week?
You plan your weekly priorities in advance. You review progress at the end of each week.

7. Do you plan and review your top priorities for the day?
You know what you will work on before you get started. Your schedule is an accurate reflection of your day.

8. Do you work on your Top Priority first each day?
You know what you plan to accomplish and how you will get started. You delay email, phone, and reactive work until after your Top Priority.

9. Do you have control over your own schedule?
You have the ability to select your top priorities opportunistically. You can invest your time in what you think is most important.

10. Are you decisive?
You act quickly and decisively. You minimize procrastination on difficult or ambiguous tasks. You know how to to get yourself back on track.

🏭 Systems

Are you making what you want to do easier to do?

11. Do you leverage your time well?
You maximize your average hourly rate. You take steps to advance your career rather than just maintaining your position.

12. Do you manage and delegate well?
You document processes and streamline repeating tasks. You delegate lower-value tasks.)

13. Does your physical workspace inspire you?
Your workspace supports deep focus and separation from home and personal tasks.

14. Do you track important metrics?
If it is important to your life or career, you are tracking it. Examples: health, time, habits, finances, business.

15. Do you have systems for learning?
Your personal development is intentional and systematic. You follow programs to train effectively. Your environment and information diet reflect your goals.

🧘‍♂️ Presence

Are you showing up as your best self every day?

16. Do you start your day intentionally?
You have a consistent morning routine that sets a positive tone for the day. Examples: journaling, reading, planning, exercise, meditation, gratitude.

17. Are you focused?
You can concentrate on a single task. You minimize notifications and digital distractions. You check email and messages only at pre-selected times.

18. Do you prioritize your physical health?
You sleep well. You eat healthy food that makes you feel good. You regularly exercise and spend time outside. You minimize caffeine and alcohol consumption.

19. Do you prioritize mental health and recovery?
You take offline breaks. You have a diverse identity with hobbies and supportive friends. You have self-care practices to replenish your well-being.

20. Do you finish your days effectively?
You tie up loose ends at the end of the workday. Your evenings set tomorrow up for success. You have clear separation between work and your personal life.

Once you’ve got your final score, think about how to improve your weakest areas. You might want to check out Chris’ free workbook Experiment Without Limits, which includes a bunch of useful tools and frameworks.

No sponsorship or affiliate relationship with Chris by the way – I’ve just found his advice super helpful over the years and he’s become a friend in that time. Speaks to the power of admiring someone’s work through the internet and then becoming IRL friends with them 🙂

Have a great week!

Ali xx

PS I interviewed Chris this week on my Deep Dive podcast. The episode will drop around the 1st September, so keep your eyes peeled on YouTubeSpotifyApple Podcasts, etc.

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After four years, dozens of business books, and tens of thousands spent on business coaches, I’ve built my YouTube channel into a full-scale creator business, and turned over nearly $5 million last year.

I’ve taken everything I’ve learnt from turning my creative side hustle into a scalable, sustainable business into my latest course, the Part-Time Creatorpreneur.

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♥️ My Favourite Things

🧠 Shortform Summary – Getting Things Done by David Allen. An absolute productivity classic. I don’t use many of David’s techniques, but I refer to his book pretty often. Lots of good quotes, like “there is an inverse relationship between things on your mind and those things getting done”. The Shortform summary is good for a quick recap.

🎙️ Deep Dive Podcast – Sahil Bloom: How I Grew from 0 to 500k Followers In Under 2 Years. Sahil’s a creator, entrepreneur, and former pro baseball player. We discuss finding purpose, the longevity of online careers, and how to become a durable creator.

🎒 Bag – Nomatic Everyday. I’ve been using Peter McKinnon’s Nomatic backpack every day for the last few weeks. It’s got so many useful pockets for iPads, notebooks, water bottles – and of course space for a camera.

📚 Book – How to Live by Derek Sivers. A collection of Derek’s words of wisdom, subtitled: ‘27 conflicting answers and one weird conclusion’. One of my favourite parts is where he discusses the importance of committing to one career path, to avoid being ‘derailed by distraction’.

🎬 My New Videos

📮 How to Start a Newsletter that Changes Your Life The single best decision I’ve made as a creator has been starting a newsletter. In this video, I break down how you should start, and what to write about.

🤦 5 Mistakes Procrastinators Make (And How to Avoid Them…) I talk through five procrastination mistakes I often make, and how to fix them.

✍️ Quote of the Week

Management scholar Peter Drucker nailed it decades ago when he said “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Bam!

From It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work by David Hansson & Jason Fried. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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