4 Productive Strategies


Hey friends,

I’m chilling in Bali this week, at a team retreat hosted by SafetyWing.

They’re a company who promote digital nomadism, and are trying to build an ‘online country’. They kindly invited me to give a talk about ‘Play and Productivity’.

My basic idea is that play and productivity aren’t opposed to one another. In fact, anything that makes work more playful or energising will also make it more productive.

Double win.

Whenever I struggle with being consistent or productive, I ask myself ‘how could I make this more fun?’ I try to approach the task (writing my bookgoing to the gymfilming a long course) in a spirit of play.

These are my 4 main strategies:

🤝 1. Do It With a Friend
Everything’s more fun when you add a social element. Food shopping, exam revision, working out… The right friend will motivate you, and take your mind off the most unpleasant bits of the task. At med school for example, my friends and I would gather in my room, and we’d make a game out of memorising facts for our exams.

🎮 2. Track Your Progress
|I have way more fun at the gym if I track my progress, and see the incremental gains. This is gamification 101: video games have level up bars and exp. points because they make any task fun/engrossing. It also makes YouTubing addictive, because you can see your views and subscribers spike in real time every time you post a video. To make any task more fun try to track your progress. You could use the Seinfeld Strategy, compete with a friend, or challenge yourself to hit a target (eg write 300 words every 30 minutes).

🧘 3. Be Sincere, Not Serious Instead of treating life like a hustle to get to your final destination, take philosopher Alan Watts’ advice and think of it more like a musical performance, where the point is to enjoy it in the moment. Once you get into that mindset, it’s much easier to enjoy work. Like ‘damn, I actually get to sit here and write my article. Life is amazing.’

⚔️ 4. Do Side-Quests Sometimes you just get stuck on a task. Let’s say I’m writing an article about topic X and get writer’s block. I find it useful to follow my curiosity, and explore a related topic for a while as a fun side-quest. This usually leads to:

  1. Accidental progress on topic X anyway.
  2. Me feeling more relaxed, and my writer’s block disappearing.
  3. Generating other great ideas that I can follow up later.

I hope this helps – have a great week! 😊

Ali xx

⏳ 80,000 Hours – Find a high-impact career

If you work 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, for 40 years, that adds up to 80,000 hours in an average career.

That’s a lot of time, and it means that your career is probably the most important decision you’ll ever make.

It also means your career is your biggest opportunity to make a positive difference.

If you want to have a big, positive impact with your work but aren’t sure where to begin, then my friends at 80,000 Hours can help.

80,000 Hours is a nonprofit that has spent the last 10 years doing research alongside academics at Oxford University to figure out exactly which careers have the biggest and best impact on the world.

Everything they provide is totally free, and incredibly well researched, like this amazing article about how imposter syndrome can hold you back from achieving your goals, or this one collecting evidence-based advice on how to be successful.

They also have their own podcast with super in-depth expert interviews (e.g. with Cal NewportVitalik ButerinCass Sunstein), a job board, and a newsletter.

And if you like, they’ll send you their in-depth career guide for free – it’s definitely worth a read, take a look here.

Thanks to 80,000 Hours for sponsoring this issue of Sunday Snippets 🙏

🎬 Cohort 7 of the Part-Time YouTuber Academy is Open!

The cart is now open for Cohort 7 of my Part-Time YouTuber Academy! This is my live course where I teach people how to start and grow their YouTube channel. Hundreds of students have already signed up, and we’re stoked to get started.

There’ll live Zoom lessons, Q&As, and amazing guest speakers including Matt D’Avella, Thomas Frank, and Charisma on Command.

The course will run from 14th November to 9th December 2022 – and it’s literally a risk-free investment. If you do the work and think the course wasn’t worth the money afterwards, just email us and we’ll literally give you your money back. 😃

Sign up here – the cart closes end of day, Monday 7th November.

♥️ My Favourite Things

🎙️ Deep Dive Podcast – Caspar Lee: How He Built A 10+ Million YouTube Following In His 20s (And Why He Quit). Caspar was an OG YouTuber in the early 2010s, and he’s collaborated with huge stars including Ed Sheeran, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Anna Kendrick. In 2019 Caspar stopped posting on YouTube to become a serial entrepreneur. We chatted about the journey, including exactly why he left YouTube.

🔌 Tech – Extension Cable. Pro life hack: carry a mini extension cable with you everywhere. Then you can charge all your devices (phone, headphones, laptop, Kindle) from a single socket.

📚 Book – Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire by Luke Burgis. About our instinctive urge to copy other people, and whether it really make us happy. I feel like I’ve levelled up my understanding of the world a lot from reading this book. It’s also amazingly written. This is unusual for a non-fiction self-help book, but Luke’s writing style kept me hooked.

🎙️ Podcast – The Knowledge Project – Neil Pasricha: Simple Rules for Happiness. Neil’s the bestselling author of several books including The Happiness Equation. This was a great chat about how simple acts can change the way you feel, where confidence comes from, and the specific routines and habits you can use to counter anxiety.

🎬 My New Videos

📸 The Vlog Returns  The vlog is back. Last month I hosted an event for alumni from my Part Time YouTuber Academy and decided to vlog the whole day. Enjoy 😊

🧱 How To Build A Life You Love  In this video (which I recorded during a live stream), I look at the principles, strategies and tools we can use to build a life we love.

✍️ Quote of the Week

Wanting well, like thinking clearly, is not an ability we’re born with. It’s a freedom we have to earn. Due to one powerful yet little-known feature of human desire, that freedom is hard-won.

From Wanting by Luke Burgis. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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