In this Deep Dive I have a chat with my friend and fellow YouTuber and reader Ruby. We delve into productivity, public life and of course, books. Some of the highlights from our discussion can be found below, as well as time-stamps if you fancy listening to us talk :)

YouTuber and content creator whose channel was inspired by the Harry Potter character Hermione Granger. Her videos teach study techniques and offer insight into leading a productive life. She also started a company called Pumpkin Productivity to promote studying and reading in young people.

πŸ‘±πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Ruby πŸŽƒPumpkin Productivity / πŸ“ΉYouTube / 🐀 Twitter / πŸ“ΈInstagram / πŸ“šFacebook

Books Mentioned

The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden
Drive by Daniel Pink
How To Take Smart Notes by Sonke Ahrens
The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
The Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer
The Children Act by Ian McEwan
Normal People by Sally Rooney
The Flat Share by Beth O'Leary


01:20 Ruby Introduction
02:00 Classical Book Discussion
09:30 Self Help Book Discussion
14:00 Morning Routines
20:35 Power Posing
22:25 Planning, To-Do Lists, Note Taking
24:30 Roam Research
29:00 Taking Notes on Books
35:30 Getting Insights from Fiction Books
42:40 Classic Recommendations
45:45 Online Personality and 'Nerd' Label
49:40 Sustaining Motivation for YouTube
57:30 Scope and Sensitivity
59:40 Meditation + Mindfulness
01:05:20 Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years time?
01:09:20 Finding Purpose
01:13:30 Internet Personality / Real Life Crossover + Online Comments
01:19:40 Motives
01:26:15 Private + Public Life
01:31:40 Pumpkin Productivity
01:35:55 Speed of Execution
01:39:00 Lessons from Youtube


Most Important Lesson since starting YouTube


  • "The main thing I've learnt through doing Youtube is that there is nothing more effective or fulfilling than being yourself and acting in the way that you would most like to act. With YouTube there was always going to be someone somewhere who related to who I was"


  • "When we have short feedback loops in the things that we're doing, it's very satisfying. With YouTube, your instantly getting feedback and growth. Now I think about manufacturing those feedback loops or turning things into a game and shortening that feedback loop"

On Pumpkin Productivity

Started in 2017 - had a study planner that thought other people might like and took it from design to production in less than a couple of weeks.

Speed of execution is the most important thing you can do if you're going to do anything - the longer you leave something the more activation energy you'll need to get started.

On Public / Private Life

  • It can so easy to blur the boundaries – now I’m trying to be mindful of keeping the separation. If you blur them too much you can end up investing too much of your identity into the content that you are creating. When you are putting content online, you do have to be more conscious of what you are saying and why you’re saying it. It’s best to be in a certain space to do that – when I blur that with being with friends, I become less comfortable in that friendship environment which can then affect relationships.
  • As soon as you put something out online you allow people to comment and make judgements on it. If I’m going to be saying anything about mental health, I have to make sure that talking about it won’t actually come to harm my own mental health.

On Internet Fame/Personal Life Crossover

If someone said to me β€˜you’re famous’, I would always say β€˜no I’m not – it’s still very novel for me and every single time it feels strange. I don’t think of myself as someone who is known. There feels like there is a separation between the content and real life.

On Finding Purpose

The crux of purpose lies in having a reason and some kind of awareness of doing whatever you’re doing for a certain reason and how it might have a positive impact on people.

On Future Plans

  • I want to think about how I’m manifesting and focussing upon personal priorities and things that matter to me. In 10 years time I want to be doing something β€˜important’ and helping other people – I don’t know what that would be. But overall, as I’ve started to think about the future, I’m trying to think about it in terms of priorities rather than specific things or goals.

On Mindfulness

Mindfulness isn’t necessary in every element of your life – it’s important in areas of life that matter to you.

On Sustaining Motivation with YouTube

  • It’s a simple answer – I enjoy making the content that I do. My content has adapted slightly. I don’t see YouTube as β€˜work’ in any capacity. I still see it as something that I do on the side of my academic studies.
  • I can never imagine going full time – I think the content would become stale and I would stop enjoying it.

On Online Image

  • I started my channel when I was 14 so everything is pretty much uncool in Year 10. But most people didn’t even realise I had a channel till Year 12 when I had over 1,000 subscribers. I didn’t have an issue with broadcasting that I was nerdy and a book worm – that was the image I portrayed anyway in real life. It didn’t make me β€˜cool’ but there is so much to be said for embracing that and making a point of that.

Classical Recommendations

  • Great Expectations - Dickens is a great place to start because his writing is so cinematic.

On Note Taking

  • Note taking can crystallise insights and formalise our own takeaways from books.
  • Taking notes can also aid in our memory and so lay the foundations for long term retention.

On Morning Routines

  • I change my routine every 3 or 4 weeks. Your morning routine then continues to be novel and prevents you from getting stuck in a rut.
  • You realise what things work for you and you can create a morning routine bucket list to try and test out what works and what doesn’t.
  • The things that you do in your morning will change the way that you interact with people and manage your tasks for the rest of the day.

On Self-Help Books

  • Authors can seem so insistent when you are reading them but sometimes you have to contextualise aspects of their arguments and question the advice then take the parts that resonate with you.

On Classic Books

  • Setting things up as a dichotomy of classic vs other fiction isn’t always helpful and we shouldn’t see it through this lens.
There is so much to be said that has informed and influence culture to the nth degree. For example, when you read Frankenstein, you can see how much it has influenced popular culture. The way that society has picked up on these books can tell us a lot about how we perceive elements of the world.
A classic can still provide that sense of escapism but it’s more of a mindset thing – when you go into reading a classic you have to be in a different mindset. You have to acknowledge that you are reading something more dated.