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Newsletter

A Simple Trick to Beat Procrastination
Members Public

Hey friends, As you know, I’m all about finding little hacks and mindset shifts that boost my productivity and help me live a happier, more intentional life. One that my brother mentioned on our podcast last week was a trick for combatting procrastination. As you know, it’s way

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

How to Build a Second Brain
Members Public

Hey friends, In March 2019, I shared the concept of Building a Second Brain in this newsletter. I'd just discovered the field of Personal Knowledge Management and I was excited to dive into it. I'd linked this article by Tiago Forte that sold me on the concept. Here’s how

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

A Week of Unemployment
Members Public

Hey friends, This week has been my first full week of unemployment. From Monday to Friday I haven’t had anything I needed to do, I could wake up whenever I wanted, I could do whatever I wanted. It’s been glorious. Even so, I was intending to release 3

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Learn in Public, It’s Great
Members Public

Hey friends, Because I’m practising self-care and taking a break (read: feeling lazy), this week’s issue is a guest post from my friend Yath. He took my up on my standing coffee offer in May 2019 and we’ve kept in touch since then. He’s just launched

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

3 Nice Quotes
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Hey friends, I came across 3 quotes this week that I liked. The first two are from Jeff Bezos' opening statement for the anti-trust hearing thing, and the third is from our old friend Richard Feynman. 1 - On minimising regret (Jeff Bezos)When I’m 80 and reflecting back,

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Power of the Weekly Review
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Hey friends, One of the staples of productivity is doing a Weekly Review. It involves taking a bit of time to look back on your week, reflect on how things went, close relevant open loops and generally combat the natural entropy of life. I discovered the concept (in David Allen’

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Why I Skipped Last Week's Email
Members Public

Hey friends, Last Sunday, for the first time in 117 weeks, I skipped an issue of this newsletter. Here's how it happened. I'd been chatting to my friend Khe Hy over a YouTube Deep Dive live stream. He runs the popular productivity blog Rad Reads. As we were closing up

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Top of my To-Do List
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Hey friends, This week I stumbled across a fantastic, very short blog post from Paul Graham called The Top of My Todo List. It references the famous book The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. In no particular order, they're: I wish I hadn't worked so hardI wish I'd had

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Pilot, The Plane, The Engineer
Members Public

Hey friends, I’ve just launched a brand new Skillshare class, The Principles of Productivity. It’s 1.5h of me explaining the productivity equation, and the 3 myths, 3 powers and 3 laws of productivity. I’d love for you to check it out - as always, if you

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

My Neurological Disease
Members Public

Hey friends, Like you, I’m a long-term sufferer of the chronic health condition Shiny New App Syndrome. The condition means that my brain often falls prey to destructive patterns of thinking about apps. As hard as I try to resist, I just can’t shake the thought that ‘maybe

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Ideal Life
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Hey friends, I’ve been thinking a lot this week (and many other weeks) about what I want to do with my life. That’s quite a big question, so I’ve been digging around on the internet to find alternative ways of framing it. In listening to Naval’s

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Changing how I think of time
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Hey friends, For the second time in this newsletter's 113-week history, it totally slipped my mind on Sunday and so it's coming out on Monday. Truth-be-told, it was an item on my todo list and all day I'd been thinking oh yeah I need to send the email but then

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

2x Speed Listening
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Hey friends, If there’s a hill I’m going to die on, it’s that listening / watching stuff at 2-3x speed is the way forward. I’ve been a podcast and YouTube-video 2xer for years, but I recently discovered the incredible power of treating audiobooks in the same way.

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Couch to 1k - Daily Writing Challenge
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Hey friends, I'm trying out a new experiment. For the next 30 days (at least), I'm going to write 1,000 words every day. I'm calling this "Couch to 1K" just for fun. Why?I've been inspired by the likes of Nathan Barry and Sean McCabe, online creators who've built

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Ali’s Life Lessons
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Hey friends, I wish I had something substantial to write this week but I’m a disorganised slob who has to be up in 6h to save lives or something. This week’s email is therefore a guest post from Luke Jones, a high school senior who’s apparently been

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Homework for Life
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Hey friends, I’m reading a book called Storyworthy and there’s a daily reflection exercise the author recommends called Homework for Life. The idea is that at the end of every day, we should spend a few minutes thinking “What’s the most story-worthy thing that happened today?” Then

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Input-Output Framework
Members Public

Hey friends, Sorry for the late email this week. For the first time in several years, I went on a bender last night and binged 8 episodes of Money Heist on Netflix until 3am and completely 100% forgot that it was a Sunday and that I had to send this

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator
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Hey friends, This week, I watched a TED talk that’s been in my recommendations list for years - Tim Urban’s “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator”. It’s by far one of the best talks I’ve ever seen, and articulated so much of my own (and

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Answering your Questions
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Hey friends, This week, I did a 600,000 subscribers Q&A video on YouTube where I answered ~20 questions sent in via Twitter. In this email, I’ll post some quick notes to some of the more interesting answers in case you don’t have the time to

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Curiosity, Lightness and Self-Compassion
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Hey friends, Earlier today, I had the pleasure of doing a live stream with Khe Hy, a blogger (and now YouTuber) who I've been following since last year. His blog and email newsletter are wonderful, and I've linked several of his pieces in the My Favourite Things section of this

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Morning Pages
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Hey friends, Quick plug before we get into this week's email - this week, I launched my new, mammoth online masterclass on How to Study for Exams. If you're a student of any sort, I think you'll find it pretty useful. Because it's hosted on Skillshare, you can access it

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Trying out Roam Research
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Hey friends, I want to share an app that I've been experimenting with this week - Roam Research. Roam is a hot new note-taking app that I first heard about in late 2019. I’d tried it out a couple of times but the learning curve seemed annoying, and I

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Meaningful things to do during a pandemic
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Hey friends, It's an interesting time to be alive. In the past week, the UK's gone into a half-baked lockdown, everyone sensible is practising social distancing and enormous queues are forming outside supermarkets, filled with people hoarding supplies. Lots of my doctor friends working in London are seeing the carnage

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Should we attend the party?
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Hey friends, This week's snippet of life advice comes from the most unlikely of sources - my brother and podcast co-host Taimur. It addresses that classic decision-making conundrum in which we're torn between doing something vs not doing it. We could go to that party which we might not enjoy,

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Move fast, break things
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Hey friends, ‘Move Fast, Break Things’ was one of Mark Zuckerberg's famous mantras when Facebook was in a hyper-growth phase. It applies to startups, who need to get stuff done super quickly so that they can get it in front of users, get feedback, and then improve the product. The

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Taking my own advice
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Hey friends, I’ve just finished 3 days of 13-hour shifts at work as the Obstetrics & Gynaecology junior doctor on-call. Each day was pretty relentless, with back-to-back patients to see, operations to assist in, discharge summaries to write, arterial blood gases to take and cannulas to insert. Halfway through,

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Why my Information Diet is suboptimal
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Hey friends, I’ve got a bit of a problem. I’ve been thinking a lot about my information diet this week. An information diet is the stuff we consume - the books and blogs we read, the videos we watch, the podcasts we listen to. Now, if we were

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Improvisational Productivity
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Hey friends, Last week I was listening to an episode of Million Dollar Brainstorm, in which the hosts Shaan and Sam were chatting with investor Daniel Gross*. Towards the end of this episode, he mentioned the phrase improvisational productivity. Obviously, I’m a sucker for anything pretentious-sounding that seems vaguely

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

A Reminder about Consistency
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Hey friends, Two minutes ago, I was snuggled up in bed under my newly-laundered sheets, hoping to get 7.5 hours of sleep before starting a week of on-calls tomorrow morning. I said 'Hey Siri, lights off in the bedroom' and the lights dimmed to black. I rolled over with

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Motivation is a Myth
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Hey friends, I’ve had a lot of messages recently from (mostly) students asking about how to motivate themselves, especially during exam season. The quandary goes along the lines of “I know I should be studying, but some/most days I just can’t seem to find the motivation. How

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

How I get myself out of bed
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Hey friends, One of my main struggles in life is getting up in the morning. It's easy enough on work days, because I know that I have to be out of the house by 6:50am or I'll be late for work and that would be bad. But on days

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Ironing and Life Insights
Members Public

Hey friends, One of my favourite personal development blogs, Raptitude, wrote a post in November called Do What You're Doing. It's about the idea that when we're doing stuff, we should be fully immersed in the thing we're doing, rather than thinking about other things. David, the author, quotes from

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Lean into the fear
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Hey friends, A few hours ago, I was sitting in the 4th row in an auditorium with a few hundred people. It was day 3 of The Session 2020, the UK's biggest close-up magic convention, and one of my heroes in magic (the guest of honour at the convention, a

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

What should I do with my life?
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Hey friends, I recently came across The Odyssey Plan, a method to help navigate big decisions, and to answer the age-old question of "What should I do with my life?" It goes as follows: Write out, in detail, what your life would look like 5 years from now if you

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Reconsider Victory Conditions
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Hey friends, One of my favourite pastimes is to think about the myriad ways in which life is like a game. In ‘proper’ board games (ie: not terrible ones like Monopoly and Snakes & Ladders) there are often multiple ways to win the game (‘victory conditions’). We might need the

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

14 Lessons I Learned in 2019
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Hey friends, One of the most joyful parts of the holiday season is that I don't have to come up with some novel wisdom for this newsletter. I can just title it '14 Lessons I learned in 2019' and link to the newsletter issues where I first discussed these. So

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

New Year's Resolutions
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Hey friends, You’ve probably heard about how most people don’t end up sticking to their New Year’s Resolutions. They buy gym memberships in January, go a handful of times and then stop bothering. Or they decide to eat more healthily, that lasts about a week, and then

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Knowledge vs Execution
Members Public

Hey friends, Here's a fun short story for y'all. A determined book salesman once told a farmer that 'a set of books on scientific agriculture' would teach him to farm better.  To which the farmer replied: 'Hell, son, I don't farm half as good as I know how.'I think

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Subtraction
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Hey friends, I've been thinking a lot about subtraction recently. It started a few weeks ago when I noticed, for the first time in years, a slight sense of overwhelm in my life. I'd swapped a few shifts at work that meant I was working for 12 days in a

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

If this isn't nice, I don't know what is
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Hey friends, There's a lovely quote from Kurt Vonnegut that I've been thinking about this week. “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.”Not gonna lie, I lead

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Tie Your Camel
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Hey friends, Here's a fun story I've been thinking about recently. It's narrated by the 9th-century Islamic scholar Tirmidhi. It goes along these lines: One day, the Prophet Muhammad noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel unattended without tying it. He asked the Bedouin "Why don't you tie your camel?" The

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

A productivity hack that actually works
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Hey friends, One of the best productivity ‘hacks’ is to define the One Thing that you want to work on each day. We can ask the question “What would your future self want you to work on today?”. Or (as the authors suggest in Make Time) we can ask “What

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

A little more effort
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Hey friends, A few nights ago, I got home from work around 7pm. I was due to meetup with some fans (via my standing offer of coffee) which lasted until 9pm. I got back home and spent a few hours preparing for a physiology supervision I was doing that week.

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Expand the Box
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Hey friends, In a recent podcast, my brother and I discussed the concepts of invisible shackles, the hidden scripts we follow through our lives. We discussed the analogy of The Box (ie: our cultural norms) and how the boundaries of the box limit our thinking. For example, I  never imagined

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Sleep is good
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Hey friends, I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts about the importance of sleep, and how we screw ourselves in the long run by compromising our sleep. As such, because it’s already past my bedtime and I’d rather not get dementia when I’m older, I’m

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Pay Yourself First
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Hey friends, I was thinking today about the phrase 'pay yourself first'. It's one of the most important rules of personal finance. The idea is that whenever we get money coming in (eg: our salary), we immediately put aside some percentage (eg: 10-20%) for our savings / investments. Only when we've

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Window-openers vs Door-knockers
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Hey friends, I came across an analogy in a podcast this week that really resonated with me. It talked about how there are two types of people. Some are window-openers. When making decisions about what to do with their time, they want to be able to look through a window.

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Chasing sirens
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Hey friends, I'm working on an iPhone camera comparison video that's taking a ridiculous amount of time to edit. On Friday night, I'd pencilled out the evening to work on the video, but a close friend came over to practice for a singing audition. We ended up chatting until midnight,

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Value of Delight
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Hey friends, In my tech review videos, I sometimes talk about The Value of Delight. It’s the idea that spending extra money to get an more delightful experience can be ‘worth it’ if it encourages us to do more of the thing we want to do. I’ve noticed

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Obvious to you, amazing to others
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Hey friends, This week, I want to share a post written by Derek Sivers. I’d been following Derek online for several years (in a non-creepy way), and had the privilege of having dinner with him when he visited Cambridge a few months ago. That was my first experience meeting

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Concept of a Flywheel
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Hey friends, I came across the concept of a Flywheel this week. I read about it on a post called ‘The Flywheel of Wealth’ on the wonderful personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly. A flywheel is a mechanical device designed to efficiently store rotational energy. Well, that’s how an

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

A life-changing change to my lunchtime routine
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Hey friends, My life changed this week. I discovered the power of the Light Lunch. I’ve always been a Heavy Lunch kinda guy. For the past year, I’ve looked forward to a hot, hearty meal at lunchtime. I’d buy around £8 worth of hot food from the

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

How I stay productive at work
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Hey friends, I’ve been on-call as the psychiatry junior doctor this weekend. That’s involved leaving home at 8am each day and returning around 10:30pm each night. This is rather a large chunk of the day spent ‘at work’ and yet I managed to get a lot of

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Power of Accountability
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Hey friends, Accountability is a powerful thing. Making a commitment to doing something and then holding ourselves accountable to others is one of the most useful tools in our motivation and productivity arsenals. Without accountability, there's absolutely no way I would've written a mini blog post in the form of

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Boring is Fun
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Hey friends, Occasionally I come across a blog post, book chapter or podcast episode that makes something click in my brain and I think 'damn that's really good'. This week, I stumbled across such a post by James Stuber called 'Master Boring Fundamentals - Boring is Fun'. There were two

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Reflecting on a year of being a doctor
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Hey friends, I’m writing this email on my final night shift of FY1 (the first year of being a doctor). 52 weeks ago, the Sunday before starting the job, I sent an email out to the (then) 1,524 people on this mailing list entitled “Don’t believe the

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

How I remember what I read
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Hey friends, I like to think I read a lot of books (you can follow my Goodreads profile to see all my past/current books). But a major problem I have is remembering key insights from those books and actually applying them to my life. Over the years, I’ve

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The story that changed my life
Members Public

Hey friends, I'm going to cheat this week and re-use a story from a previous email. I think it's legit though, because this story changed my life when I first read it, and it was one of the most popular issues of this newsletter. Enough talk - here it is.

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The acronym that changed how I write
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Hey friends, When writing these email newsletters, I often run into writer’s block. Confronted with a blank canvas on whatever writing app I’m trying that week, I sit like a lemon and sometimes stare at the screen for hours before anything gets done. But recently I came across

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Chance encounters
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Hey friends, I’ve been on an 'anaesthetics taster week' this week. That means I get to spend 5 days shadowing doctors within the anaesthetics department, getting involved, trying to get an idea of what the speciality is like. On each day, I’ve had chance encounters with other doctors

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

How to become more confident
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Hey friends, I’ve become a much more confident person over these last few years. Partly that’s come from recognising that there’s no difference between fake confidence and real confidence, and partly from becoming content to be thought foolish. But another major strategy in my confidence-building system has

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Getting Our House In Order
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Hey friends, Last week, I made a mistake at work. My consultant asked me to check the dosing instructions of two anti-psychotic medications that a patient (“Harry”) had been given while he was in Intensive Care, and that he needed to be weaned off now that he was on our

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Power of Project Lists
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Hey friends, Last week I wrote about The Inbox for your Brain. I talked about how I use the app Things to note down any idea / to-do on my mind. Doing this has made my mind free to think rather than to store. The next stage of my productivity system

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Inbox for your Brain
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Hey friends, I want to share a quick productivity tip that's been working wonders for me these past few weeks. In David Allen's Getting Things Done, he introduces the key idea that our brains are for having ideas, not for storing them. We cause ourselves a lot of undue stress

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Our own worst critics
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Hey friends, A few weeks ago, I sent out an email about The Reitoff Principle for Productivity. At the time, I thought the email was a load of shite - I had to come up with something for that week, and couldn’t think of anything, so I pulled a

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The joys of handwriting
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Hey friends, I recently bought a Leuchtterm notebook (after hearing Neil Gaiman’s recommendation). I’ve been using it extensively for the past 3 days, and I’m very pleasantly surprised at the ideas I’ve generated and refined through just writing in it. Yesterday for example, I was sitting

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

High-leverage housekeeping
Members Public

Hey friends, This week, my brother Taimur (who I host a weekly podcast with in case you haven't heard) introduced me to the idea of high-leverage housekeeping. I like the idea, and I'm going to start using it more in my own life. Here's how he introduces it. ----- Work

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

3 minutes vs 3 months
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Hey friends, For the past 3 months, I’ve had an item on my to-do list that’s been taking up mental space and weighing me down emotionally. That item was to create this year’s Google Ads campaigns my side-business. Quick background - Since 2013, I’ve been running

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Reitoff Principle for Productivity
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Hey friends, As you might know, I'm a big fan of productivity, consistency, discipline and buzzwords. Often however, I find myself in a place where I can't fully enjoy myself because I have a certain guilt hanging over me that I should be doing something 'productive' instead. I'd like to

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Why everything is super low risk
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Hey friends, This week, I was listening to an episode of Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcast, in which he was interviewing Tim Ferriss. They were answering phone calls from listeners, many of whom were interesting in starting or growing their own businesses. A common thread in questions was the concern about

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

A brain-hack to make life more pleasant
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Hey friends, You know that feeling when you come across something on the Internet and it immediately resonates with you and you think of 100 different applications for it? Well I had that feeling after reading one of Seth Godin’s daily blog posts this week. Here's what he says:

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

A small dose of positivity
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Hey friends, I’ve spent this past week working as the surgical FY1 (junior doctor) in the Emergency Department. This involves fielding phone calls from GPs (general practitioners) who think their patients might have a surgical issue and need urgent assessment. I’m often the first doctor to see them

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

My most popular articles
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Hey friends, This issue marks the 1-year anniversary of this weekly email newsletter. What started as a deviant thought has grown into a weekly ritual with 6,000 subscribers who (somehow) seem to care what a random 20-something has to say. So firstly, thank you - for allowing me to

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Using Notion as a Resonance Calendar
Members Public

Hey friends, I talked in last week’s email about how I’ve started using the app Notion as a Second Brain. Almost daily I’ve been discovering new ways of using it to make my life more pleasant and productive. Lots of you replied to the email asking for

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Building a Second Brain
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Hey friends, A few Sundays ago, I shared a link in this newsletter to an article called How to create Idea babies - A knowledge processing system for marketers, creators and knowledge workers. This led me down the rabbit hole of the internet and I ultimately came across the concept

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

I'm starting a podcast!
Members Public

Hey friends, No motivational life advice from me this week I'm afraid (although I've included 2 Kindle Highlights below to make up for it). Instead, I want to tell you about a podcast that my brother and I have just launched. It's called Not Overthinking, and it'll be a weekly

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The 2-minute productivity rule
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Hey friends, There’s a good book called Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen. It’s widely seen as the bible on productivity. There’s a simple concept in it called the 2-minute rule. It goes something like: If a task will take less

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Parkinson's Law
Members Public

Hey friends, This week, I met up with a chap called Chris. He's of the Acute Medicine Consultants at my hospital. Some friends and I are working with him on a Quality Improvement Project to improve the way junior doctors at my hospital respond to cardiac arrests. We shared our

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

My rule for watching TV
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Hey friends, When I was in secondary school, I used to watch many hours of TV shows each week. At one point or another, I was watching Gossip Girl, 90210, The Vampire Diaries, Greys Anatomy, Chuck, The Secret Circle, The Originals and Suits. And let’s not forget the various

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Keystone Habits
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In Atomic Habits James Clear writes about Keystone Habits - small choices that lead to a cascade of other actions. For example, when he and his wife get home from work, they either (a) immediately change into their gym kit, or (b) sit on the sofa. Their evening changes based

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

How removing options makes me more productive
Members Public

Hey friends, I woke up this morning at 6:15 and, as usual, I was pretty groggy and tired. At that point, as usual, the Resistance started whispering to me - "You went to the gym yesterday; you should take a rest day and sleep for another hour", "you were

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

A productivity tip
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Hey friends, At the start of this week, I found myself feeling a little overwhelmed. I’d been on holiday over the Christmas period, and on returning to the UK I had two back-to-back weeks of 13-hour shifts at the hospital. In that time, various things had piled up in

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

How to make money in the stock market
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Hey friends, A chap called Jack Bogle died last week, at the age of 89. You may not have heard of him. He founded a company called Vanguard and introduced the world to ‘index funds’. An index fund is the best way to invest in the stock market. Essentially, when

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Keeping your door open
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Hey friends, One of the best purchases I made at the start of my university days was a doorstopper. Whenever I was in my room during waking hours, I’d leave the door propped open and occasionally, when people would walk past on their way down the hallway, they’d

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Mundanity of Excellence
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Hey friends, On the flight home from Sudan this week, I read an absolutely wonderful paper from 1989 called The Mundanity of Excellence - An ethnographic report on stratification and Olympic swimmers. The author breaks down (in a very readable but rigorous fashion) the differences in daily habits, practices and

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Go First Rule
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Hey friends, Happy New Year :) I’m writing this email from a small town in Sudan where some other doctors and I are helping out with a medical mission running pop-up clinics in local villages (PS: follow me on Instagram to keep up-to-date with the story). When I’m in

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

Average Speed vs Maximum Speed
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Hey friends, Short email today - just wanted to share a great article that I came across this week. It’s by one of my new favourite non-fiction authors James Clear (who wrote the book Atomic Habits that you should definitely check out). Here’s the article: https://jamesclear.com/

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

New Year’s Resolutions
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Hey friends, You’ve probably heard about how most people don’t end up sticking to their New Year’s Resolutions. They buy gym memberships in January, go a handful of times and then stop bothering. Or they decide to eat more healthily, that lasts about a week, and then

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Your Stretch Zone
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Hey friends, This week’s ‘how to do life’ email comes from my best friend Molly. She volunteers each year at Over the Wall, a summer activities camp for children with serious illnesses and their families. --- One of the things Over The Wall speaks about in volunteer training is

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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You should get a Kindle
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Hey friends, If there’s one thing I’d recommend you buy/request as a gift over the Christmas period, it’s an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. This is not a sponsored email (I wish) but does include some affiliate links as usual 😉 Here are some reasons why you should get

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Saying yes to everything
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Hey friends, I came across some advice during my early university years that really helped me develop as a person. It went something like: When you’re early on in your career/life, say yes to everything that comes your way. Later on, only say yes to the things you’

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Planting a tree
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Hey friends, I’ve been pondering something over the past few days. What do I wish I’d been doing consistently for the past 3 years?A few things immediately come to mind. Firstly, music - I wish I had consistently and deliberately practised piano, guitar, singing and music theory

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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How many sales will make you happy?
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Hey friends, Some friends and I recently launched an online Interview Crash Course that helps prepare medical school applicants for their interviews. A few days ago, one of my friends who helped create the course (Kenny) messaged me and asked: By the end of interview season, what number of online

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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How to minimise regrets
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Hey friends, I got an email a few days ago from a high school student in the Philippines (let’s call him Matt) considering applying to medical school. He was worried because it’s such a competitive process - what if he spends years trying and failing to get in?

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman
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Hey friends, I want to share this fun little story with you today. I stumbled across it a few years ago and it had an immediate impact on me, changing the way I view productivity and lifestyle design. I revisit it several times a year, so even if you’ve

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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The Beginner's Mindset
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Hey friends, A couple weeks ago I sent an email asking you guys to send in snippets/quotes that have helped you in your own life. This week, I want to feature one of the responses from a guy called George who studied at Oxford for 3 years and is

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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A simple change to my nighttime routine
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Hey friends, I want to talk about a simple change I made to my nighttime routine that’s changed the game for me. It came about after I skimmed through ‘Why we sleep’ by Matthew Walker, a book that was doing the rounds on tech/entrepreneur recommended reading lists recently.

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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I'm not very good at languages
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Hey friends, The other day, someone asked me whether I’d ever make a video about how to learn languages. I replied with ‘nah probably not, I’m not very good at languages’. I then stopped and thought about what I’d just said. I’m not very good at

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Snippets of life advice
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Hey friends, If you've been on this email list for any length of time, you'll probably know that I absolutely love life advice - reading about it, sharing it, attempting to come up with it. In this week's email, I want to put the question out to you - what

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Journey before destination
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Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination.This is one of the ideals of the Knights Radiant, as told in Brandon Sanderson's incredible The Stormlight Archive (I'm halfway through book 2). It's a little melodramatic for sure, but I've found myself repeating the last bit to myself in

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Force yourself to start
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Hey friends, I want to share a snippet of productivity advice this week - If you want to start something, don't wait, just start. Writing a personal statement or an essay? Great, just start typing and force yourself to write something. It doesn’t matter if it sucks, because you

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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My first death
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Hey friends, I'm writing this email after getting home from a shift that ended up lasting 14 hours. One of our patients died tonight. It's the first time that one of my patients who I was directly looking after has died. Pam (not her real name) was ticking along pretty

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Overthinking
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Hey friends, I want to share a story today. As some of you might know, I’ve recently started my first job as a junior doctor (we’re now around a month into it). Naturally I’ve been trying to make friends with people, generally being nice and open and

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Changing direction
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Hey friends, A few months into my 4th year of medical school (ie: the first clinical year), I remember talking to one of the consultants on the ward. He asked our group what we wanted to specialise in and at the time, we were just a few months into clinical

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Be content to be thought foolish
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Hey friends, Here’s a quote from one of my favourite Stoic philosophers, Epictetus: If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.This fear of being thought foolish lies at the core of that age-old problem of 'caring what other people think'. We all know

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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What pencil do you use?
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Hey friends, You’ve probably heard of Stephen King. He’s like, the world’s most best-selling author of all time. He apparently attends lots of writers conferences where he does Q&As. Sometimes, a young, well-intentioned, budding new writer asks the question “Mr King, what pencil do you

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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"It's busy, but really fun"
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Hey friends, We had a housewarming party last night - lots of our friends came over and we had lots of chats and snacks, and played around 3 hours of Avalon. Paul, one of my closest friends from university and one of the smartest people I know, came up to

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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The Trichotomy of Control
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Hey friends, Let's talk about control. In a recent video (Life Advice - 50k subscribers Q&A), I alluded to the Stoic idea of how there are only two things we can control - namely our own thoughts and our own actions. I said that everything else falls in

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Don't believe the hype
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Hey friends, Black Wednesday is nearly here. It’s the first Wednesday of August when doctors throughout the UK start their new jobs. Supposedly, this influx of inexperienced doctors leads to a 6% increase in patient deaths in August… This past week, most of us incoming FY1 junior doctors have

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

What to do over summer
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Hey friends, I’ve been getting messages from people asking variants of “what should I do in the summer holidays of high school” or “What should I do in the summer holidays of my 2nd year at university” etc etc. Here’s my two cents. 1. Don’t study Whichever

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Dealing with bad grades
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Hey friends, Apologies for the post-midnight email this week - I got caught up building furniture and lost track of the time. Anyway, I've had a few messages from students who were disappointed by their exam results and wanted some of my wannabe-life-guru advice on how to deal with the

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
Newsletter

The Parable of the Pottery Class
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Hey friends, There was once a pottery teacher called Brian. One month, he decided to split his class into two groups. Group A had to make a pot every day for 30 days (so 30 pots in total). Group B had to work on a single pot for the whole

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Climbing a proverbial mountain
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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

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Diminishing Returns
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Hey friends, We graduated from medical school today (or rather, yesterday because I'm writing this at 2am on Monday morning, so apologies for not sending the email on Sunday). It's been a ridiculously hectic and incredibly fun day, but I'll save the details for another email/vlog. A few days

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Staying in touch
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Hey friends, This is our very last week of medical school. It's been 6 years, we've finished all our placements, we had our Graduation Ball last night and now we've just got one more week of balls, garden parties and chilling-with-friends before the Declaration Ceremony when we get sworn in

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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A whole lot better
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Hey friends, I was chatting with a medic friend over breakfast this morning. He told me a great story that I thought I'd share with you. A few days ago, he was on the ward and tried cannulating a patient. He tried once, and failed, and then tried again, and

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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How to approach stuff we have to do
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Hey friends, I was chatting with a friend a little while back. He’s a final year medic at Cambridge, goes to the gym like every day, is pretty ripped, plays rugby for the university first team, and is working towards becoming an orthopaedic surgeon in the US. We were

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Hustle vs Chill?
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Hey friends, I'm writing this email from a lovely cafe in Heidelberg, Germany. I'm here with some friends on a bank holiday mini-break - we're trying to take full advantage of our 3 weeks left as medical students before doctor-life starts and we become slaves to our rota. I'm having

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Consistency is king
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Hey friends, I’ve just arrived back in Cambridge from a weekend in Dorset on a ‘wilderness medicine’ expedition. There was a group of 22 of us, we stayed in this really nice cottage, went on long country walks and did a few medical emergency scenarios along the way. Absolutely

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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Time Management
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Hey friends, It's been a pretty interesting week. I turned 24, found out I passed my final year exams, gave a presentation about the YouTube channel to the Cambridge clinical school faculty, and yesterday afternoon delivered a 2-hour revision session on Obstetrics & Gynaecology to around 100 students in the

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal
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