6 Years of Sunday Snippets


Hey friends,

Quick announcement before we start – next Saturday (20th April 2024), I’m hosting a free online Alignment Workshop. It’s a 2-hour live online event, where we’ll reflect on our goals for 2024 and how they’re going, and figure out what we need to adjust in order to achieve them all. If you’ve found yourself neglecting some of your New Year’s Resolutions (as I have), this’ll be a great chance to reflect on how work and life are going, and make some changes accordingly. It’s 100% free, and you can join here.

Anyway, today marks the 6 year (!) anniversary of this email newsletter. This is what came up from 14th April 2018 via the “On This Day” feature in my journaling app Day One:

Charlotte came over in the afternoon to run through examinations which was semi productive. Edited the April favourites video and decided last night to start an EMAIL NEWSLETTER woo. I drafted the first post of it, which I think I’ll schedule for tomorrow morning… here goes nothing lol. Night xx

Charlotte refers to my medic friend, and “run through examinations” means “practice the various system examinations that we have to do as medics, ie: examining someone’s cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological system”. The April Favourites video I edited was this one which was published on 16th April 2018 back when I did “Monthly Favourites” videos on my YouTube channel. In hindsight, it was quite a fun series that I might resurrect…

At the time, I had just discovered the incredible Psy-Changeling paranormal romance series by Nalini Singh. And I’d also apparently just discovered the YouTube channel of Matt D’Avella, who then commented on the video…

… and who’s since become an actual friend, although to this day, we’ve only ever “met” on Zoom and FaceTime calls, rather than IRL. I’m sure the real-life hangout will happen soon enough.

Also, perhaps interestingly for context, in April 2018, my YouTube channel had around 12,000 subscribers, around 90 long-form videos (this was in the pre-shorts era), and had made under $2 in total.

Also, again perhaps interestingly, this is what my journal entry was from 12th April 2018 (two days before the one above) –

Wow I should really get into the habit of writing in this a bit more. YouTube channel has been absolutely blowing up recently, 11.4k subscribers as of right now, it hit 10k a few days ago, and was at like 5k a month ago. This is ridiculous.

The plan is going according to… plan. It’s quite a nice feeling to be a minor internet celebrity with messages of adoration from various people. It’s at the point where I’m falling behind on replying to instagram messages etc – would be good to develop a system for dealing with those.

How will things be going forward? I think continuing as intended, although now that my audience is less medical and more general, perhaps I should focus less on the medical stuff? Nah I don’t think so, that’ll always be the core value add of the channel, but perhaps I can branch out more into happiness, motivation, money etc – other topics I find interesting and have read extensively about (cringe) that I can talk about on the channel.

Funny to see how I thought that medical stuff would always be a core value-add of the YouTube channel – the last medical-themed video I made was several years ago. And “happiness, motivation, money etc + other topics I find interesting” is now the mainstay of the channel. It’s also funny how I cringed at myself for writing (in my personal, private journal), that I’d “read extensively about” these sorts of topics. This sort of thing doesn’t even vaguely register as “cringe” to me today, which I guess is a sign of growth.

Anyway, let’s get back to the origin story of this newsletter:

(I) decided last night to start an EMAIL NEWSLETTER woo. I drafted the first post of it, which I think I’ll schedule for tomorrow morning… here goes nothing lol.

If you’re interested, you can read that first issue here.

It starts off with:

Welcome to my first ever weekly email. Feels a bit weird to be writing one of these, but I’ve heard that anything that’s worth doing feels weird initially, so it’s fine. Of course, even stuff that isn’t worth doing feels weird initially – guess we’ll just treat this as an experiment.

This whole idea of treating things as an experiment is something that’s helped me get over a lot of the fear of starting new things. It’s a big part of why the 54 actionable tips that I give in my book, Feel-Good Productivity, are framed as “experiments”. When something’s an experiment, whether it’s starting that business, writing that email, trying that hobby, or anything else, it massively reduces the pressure we put on ourselves, and reduces how “seriously” we take the whole thing. This, of course, makes it much easier to start.

And to kick things off, this is the Instagram story I put out to try and get my first few subscribers.

At the time, I think I had a few thousand followers on Instagram, and a few hundred decided to hit subscribe and join this weekly newsletter – if you were one of them and still reading 6 years later, thank you! But that’s what kicked off this whole email newsletter journey, which has now morphed into a “business asset” with several hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and where a single email makes more money from sponsors than I was earning in a whole month working 48 hours a week as a junior doctor. Absolutely nuts.

Now that I’ve been doing this online business creator type thing for 7 years, it’s nice to look back at the memories captured in screenshots, photos and journal entries. The “On This Day” feature of Day One is awesome, and sometimes I do just type in today’s date into Apple Photos as well, just to see what I was doing on this day in the past 10+ years.

I also find it quite reassuring and a little funny that despite having written this email (almost) every Sunday for 6 years straight, it’s still a mad scramble on a Sunday night to write it and get it out. As I write this, it’s 10:25pm and I’m on a team retreat in Turkey. I’ve had all week to write this, knowing it was coming, but as usual, I’ve left it right until the last minute. The rest of the team is chilling in the living room while I’m sitting outside, on my laptop, typing this stuff out.

It’s also weirdly nice to know that fundamentally, what I do hasn’t really changed over the years.

6 years ago (2018), I was in my dorm room at Cambridge writing this email on a Sunday night. 5 years ago (2019), I was in my apartment, writing this email on a Sunday night, scrambling to get it out so I could get a decent night’s sleep before work the following day. 4 years ago (2020), same thing, although we were in Covid times so things in the hospital were a lot stranger than usual. 3 years ago (2021), I was writing this email on a Sunday night – I’d taken a break from full-time Medicine and even though being an online entrepreneur was my main gig, I was still scrambling to write this email every Sunday evening. 2 years ago (2022), I’d moved to London, I had my own team and a proper office in London, and I was still scrambling to write this email on a Sunday night. Last year (2023), we’d downsized the team, gotten rid of the office in London, and I was still scrambling to write this email on a Sunday night. And today, I’ve got a bigger team again, still no office, been travelling around the world as a digital nomad, released my book, hung out with my awesome team in a retreat in Turkey… and yet I’m still scrambling to write this email at 10:30pm on a Sunday night.

At all the different levels of success, fame, money etc I’ve had, the “work” has fundamentally stayed the same – typing stuff on my laptop, and talking to a camera. That’s about it. It’s been the same thing, the same infinite game, for 7 years now. Sure, the fanciness of my computer monitor has changed. I’ve hopefully gained some more muscle (and regrown some of my hair). And I’ve now got a wonderful team who help me out with stuff. But fundamentally, I still spend most of my working hours typing stuff on a laptop, or talking to a camera.

I guess I take that as a lesson to find work that I love, which I’m incredibly grateful to say that I have, and to focus on enjoying the journey.

Have a great week!

Ali xx

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🎬 My New Videos

⏳ Stop Wasting Time – 11 Tools to Double Your Focus – How to improve focus is one of the questions I get asked most. Whether you’re a student, creator, professional or entrepreneur, being able to focus easily is extremely helpful.

✍️ Change Your Life by Journalling – 10 Powerful Questions – Journalling has had a greater impact on my life than almost any other habit I have. But having the right prompt or question makes a big difference, so in this video, I’m sharing 10 of my favourite.

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✍️ Quote of the Week

“Here’s another key element when you’re wayfinding in life: follow the joy; follow what engages and excites you, what brings you alive.”

From Designing Your Life – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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