Am I the “Productivity Guy”?


Hey friends,

How do you ‘make it’ as a creator?

I recently read a book that might have the answer. It’s called Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create A Category Of One.

It’s by these guys called The Category Pirates. And their theory is that really successful writers (and creators) find a specific category of content that no-one else is really doing, and become the go-to person for that thing.

Ryan Holiday’s a good example of this. When I think of Ryan and his books, the topic that instantly pops into my mind is Stoicism. He owns that niche.

Sure, other people can write popular books (or make videos) about Stoicism. But Ryan’s cornered the market so much that any other ‘Stoicism’ writer would constantly live in his shadow.

Oh you write about Stoicism? Like that Ryan Holiday guy? What makes you different?

Some other go-to-guys who own their niche, despite stiff competition:

So… what’s my niche?

How would you describe me? I’m guessing ‘that YouTube Productivity Guy’.

Maybe you’d go into more detail (ex-doctor, study guides, fast typing, passive income, Matt D’Avella’s nemesis). But ‘productivity’ is still the defining word most people use to describe me.

Which is interesting. Because over the last year or so I’ve steered away from using the word. I feel like ‘productivity’ peaked during early pandemic, but now it’s picked up a lot of unhealthy associations about #grind and #hustle.

But… I wonder if I should lean more into being a Productivity Guy again? Can I reclaim ‘productivity’ as a positive thing? For me, it’s always been a way of getting the most out of my life. A set of systems for achieving my goals without being inefficient and getting burnt out. And that seems worth talking about.

Hot topics rise and fall, but people will always want to be ‘productive’, even if they don’t use that exact term. And I genuinely don’t think I’d get bored of making ‘productivity’ content – if we define productivity as using our time well, and we accept the premise that time is our most valuable non-renewable resource, then productivity feels like a pretty good thing to aspire to. This could be in terms of our work, or our health, or relationships, or side projects, or hobbies, or anything else.

There’s a Jeff Bezos quote I’ve been thinking about:

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

And actually, ‘he’s that YouTube Productivity Guy’ isn’t such a bad category to be in 😆

What do you think? I’d love if you could hit <reply> and let me know what you think about ‘productivity’ being my niche. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Have a great week!

Ali xx

ICYMI – Last week I wrote about my experience with bullet journaling, which is quickly becoming one of my favourite productivity tools.

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♥️ My Favourite Things

📱App – Apple Reminders When I have a quick thought in bed, I yell at Siri (I always keep my phone on the other side of the room) to auto-set a reminder for the next day. That way I can clear my brain of tasks, without having to actually get up or look at a screen.

🧹 Habit – Cleaning my Room When I have a random spare 2 minutes, I’ve been trying to default to cleaning one small thing in my room, instead of checking Instagram or Twitter. It’s oddly relaxing, and gives me a clean room at the end of the day with minimal effort.

🎸 Instrument – Acoustic Guitar I’ve been working on an arrangement of Hold Back the River, as I’ve got plans to do some busking in London. Since getting back into playing in the evenings, I’ve realised I feel way more energised by guitar than by Netflix/TV.

🕯️Candles – Morning Brew Bundle A super-expensive set of candles. I use the Daily Grind candle for work, and the Relax for winding down in the evening. Any candle will probably do a good job though – my nose isn’t quite attuned to the difference between $4 and $40. But thanks anyway to Morning Brew for the freebies ✌️

🎬 My New Videos

🧑‍🏭 How To Find Your Perfect Career – The 3 Key Factors – I drew on some evidence-based research (special thanks to 80,000 Hours) to help you answer the question of how to find the perfect career.

💸 How to Make Money From Your Passions (Without Burning Out) – Making money from your passions can be a really good thing to do, and it’s changed my life. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, what to do, and how to avoid the risks.

✍️ Quote of the Week

Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.

From Deep Work by Cal Newport. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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