Climbing a proverbial mountain


Hey friends,

It’s been an interesting week. I’ve officially graduated and left medical school (check out the pics on Instagram), we’ve had family over from Pakistan for the celebrations, and yesterday got the keys to my new flat in Cambridge (house tour coming soon).

Even with all this stuff going on, I’ve had many free hours where I could have gotten some video editing done. Instead, I spent some time trying to get some sick photo edits for instagram, and the rest completely wasting time on the internet.

Normally when I have something fun that needs doing (eg: video editing), I don’t tend to waste time on the internet. But this week was different, and I think I know why.

The next video I need to edit (at least to keep things in some vague chronological sequence) is a travel vlog of my family’s trip to Grenada, an island in the Caribbean. We were there for 6 days, and I’ve ended up with 250GB of footage that spans many many hours. All this needs cutting down into a fun and engaging travel vlog that runs at 5-10 minutes.

This is the problem. The project is far too big in scope. For context, my usual vlogs have ~20 minutes of footage for a single day that takes up ~20GB. It feels like a mountain that I have no idea how to climb.

My solution is going to be to (a) split it up into manageable chunks, and (b) form a plan of attack. I’ll split it up into the 6 days of the trip, and each time I sit down to edit, I’ll just turn each day into a 30-second clip. And to form the plan of attack, I’ll scrub through all the footage and work out a storyboard in advance. This way, whenever I sit down to edit this project, I’ll know where I’m going with it.

I think this advice can work more generally – School/uni stuff like A-level Chemistry and pretty much my entire medical degree often felt like a mountain at first. But when I split them up into manageable chunks, and formed a plan of how to attack those chunks, everything seemed much more doable.

I’ve been doing this almost instinctively for academic stuff these last ~8 years. I’m now going to start applying it more widely in my life whenever I feel a sense of overwhelm. Pretty intuitive advice, but maybe you’ll find the reminder helpful too.

Have a great week!


PS: It occurs to me while editing this email that whenever we do feel a sense of overwhelm, we should probably ask ourselves “why am I doing this anyway?” I’ve just asked myself that regarding my Grenada travel vlog and I’ve realised that actually, my YouTube aim isn’t to be a pro travel videographer, it’s to be a medicine/education/tech/music hybrid. As such, I might just keep the travel vlogs on the back-burner and work on them whenever I feel like it, but focus on editing the shorter videos that fit the aim a bit more. Would be nice to hear your thoughts on this if you fancy replying to this email 🙂

Personal Finance – New video series

First, a great link – Mr Money Moustache is one of my all-time favourite blogs and contains incredible advice and resources on personal finance and financial independence. I spent like 30 hours reading through everything on the site when I first discovered it – if it sounds intriguing, you can start with this ‘start here’ blog post.

Also, I’m working on a new video series about personal finance (how exciting!). It’ll aim to explain stuff like stocks/shares, ISAs, investing, mortgages, buying vs renting and other finance-related things aimed at students who should probably know this stuff but never get taught it.

If you’ve got any money-related questions you’ve always wanted answered, hit the <reply> button and let me know please 🙂 It’ll be really helpful to get an idea of what topics people want to hear about so I can prepare explainer videos about them.


A beautiful end to the most incredible 6 years of my life

1,156 Likes, 39 Comments – Ali Abdaal (@aliabdaal) on Instagram: “A beautiful end to the most incredible 6 years of my life . . . . . . .  #graduation #cambridge…”

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