Are You Really That Productive?


Hey friends,

I’ve got a simple productivity tip that I’ve been finding very helpful recently: using YouTube videos to track my time.

Last weekend I was doing a bunch of work on my book and I’d blocked out the whole day – literally 11am to 8pm – to work on it. I’m now at the final stages of editing it, so it’s mega crunch time trying to tie up all the loose ends before it gets sent to the publisher.

(Btw, if you’re interested in hearing more about the book, I’m working on a weekly book journey newsletter where I share what I’m working on and behind-the-scenes of writing/marketing a book. If you’d like to read it you can click here and unsubscribe whenever you want).

But, the problem is that whenever I block out the whole day to do something, I’m always left wondering ‘how much time did I actually spend on this thing?’.

I’ll never actually sit down for 9 hours and just write. I’ll get up, eat some food, chat to someone, and get distracted many times throughout the day.

So, I decided to use a super primitive technique for tracking my time: I used a 3+ hour Lord of the Rings soundtrack on YouTube as a time tracker. When I was working I pressed play to listen to the music. Then when I stopped working or took a break, I paused it.

The result?

Throughout the whole day, I literally did about 2.5 hours of actual work. In other words, I only managed to listen to 2.5 hours of the soundtrack in the 9 hours I’d set aside for myself to work on the book.

This was super interesting to me because it was a very low tech way of not fooling myself about how productive I’d been, because I could clearly see the runtime on the YouTube video.

This meant 6.5 hours of my ‘book time’ was spent faffing around, or procrastinating, or getting distracted, or working on stuff other than the book.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this. It’s totally find to take breaks and there’s no need to beat myself up about it. But if I’m telling myself I worked really hard and the objective data says I only worked for a couple of hours then I’m only doing myself a disservice. So, it’s useful thing to do.

I usually track my time using, which is probably my favourite time tracking app and one that I’ve personally invested in. But sometimes simple is better.

Even though Rize gives me all this brilliant time tracking data, and I use all these different productivity techniques, there’s just something magically simple about using a video soundtrack to track my time. It’s simple and tells me everything I need to know.

So, I just thought I’d share this time tracking strategy in case anyone else is interested in giving it a go.Have a great week!

Ali xx

P.S. If you’re interested in starting a business, I’m doing a workshop with Daniel Priestley on Wednesday 24 May, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and generating leads using Scorecard marketing. The knowledge I’ve gained from Daniel has directly translated into $2M worth of sales to my business, so it’s well worth checking out and it’s totally free. Sign up here: Assemble Your MVP.

P.P.S. We’re hiring a bunch of freelancers, including content writers, video editors, and designers. So if you’re interested in working with me and my team, you can check out all the available roles here:

🧠 Notion

Notion is an incredible productivity app. I use it for all my creative and business projects, including:

🎬 Scripting Videos

📮 Writing Newsletters

🎙️ Running my Podcast

It’s also massively helpful for planning personal projects like holidays, workouts, and meal prep.

They have also recently launched Notion AI, which lets you access the limitless powers of AI right inside Notion. I’ve found this super useful for giving me content ideas for my YouTube channel, summarising all the notes I take in meetings, and as a writing assistant while writing my book. This is an absolute game-changer for my productivity.

For more ideas, Notion has a massive online community creating page templates (check out my free set of YouTube creator templates). Get started on Notion today for free using my link:

Thanks to Notion for sponsoring this issue of Sunday Snippets 🙏

♥️ My Favourite Things

Honestly, this week’s been a big dry on consuming new things because I’ve been grinding so hard on the book. So, I’ve also included a couple of links from the archive, which still resonate with me today:

🎵 Soundtrack – Lord of the Rings. I’ve been listening to this soundtrack all week while working, which has been very nice.

📱App – Loom. This is a video messaging tool that myself and the team have been getting a ton of value out of recently. As most of my team are remote, it’s super helpful to get them to share updates on the stuff they’re working on as a Loom recording. I watch these at 2.5x speed and leave comments at various timestamps, and it’s just an effective way to make sure I know what’s going on and to give people feedback.

📃Article – Mimetic Traps. This is an excellent article. It’s especially relevant for students, but it would appeal to anyone who’s wondered whether they might be pursuing something ultimately pointless or not-enjoyable.

👨‍🏫Lecture – The Inner Ring. In 1944, author CS Lewis gave a lecture at Kings College, London, that’s well worth a read. I remember reading this a few years ago and was reeling for about 30 minutes at the implications of it.

🎬 My New Videos

🎬 1.5 Hour Study With Me in Sweden (with music) – I recently went to Sweden on a work trip, so I thought it’d be a good time to do another study with me video. Please forgive me being extra with the filming and editing 😜

👨‍🏫 7 Life Lessons School Should’ve Taught You, But Didn’t – Over the past 2 years I’ve spoken to a bunch of people on my podcast who have all had really interesting lives, and they’ve all got lessons to share that we should have been taught in school. So in this video I share my favourite 7 lessons from my podcast Deep Dive.

✍️ Quote of the Week

“Do you see it now? In a word, happiness is the feeling of contribution. That is the definition of happiness.”

From The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga. Resurfaced using Readwise.

0 0 votes
Rate This Article
Notify of

0 Thoughts on this post
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments