#230 - FEEL GOOD PRODUCTIVITY, with YouTube Sensation Ali Abdaal


Hello & welcome back!

I am so excited to bring you inspiring insights on productivity and so much more in this episode, from YouTube sensation and productivity expert, Ali Abdaal.

Ali's unique journey from medical doctor to becoming a world famous productivity expert with 5M+ followers offers an unprecedented look into making the impossible, possible.

In this episode, Ali's shares so much, including these key takeaways, that you can immediately apply to your own life:

  1. Building a Life Around What You Love: Insights into how Ali balanced his career in medicine with his passion for YouTube and productivity, ultimately finding a way to merge his interests into a fulfilling career path.
  2. The Essence of Feel-Good Productivity: Learn how to redefine productivity to focus on what truly matters to you, turning daily tasks into sources of joy rather than chores.
  3. Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination and Embracing Change: Discover Ali's practical tips for tackling procrastination, embracing change, and taking those first steps towards your dreams.

This episode is more than an interview; it's inspiration for rethinking how we approach our dreams, goals and life. In simple steps.

I'm really excited that in March we'll be reading Ali's book - Feel Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You - in my Virtual Book Club GROW.

Why don't you join us? Learn more here...

As always, I’d LOVE to hear what resonates with you from this episode and what you plan to implement after listening in. So please share and let’s keep the conversation going in the Dream Life Podcast Facebook Group here.    

Have a wonderful weekend …and remember, it all starts with a dream 💛



Dream Life Founder



  • Feel Good Productivity by Ali Abdaal: Ali's bestselling book that delves into his unique approach to productivity. 

  • Join my virtual book club GROW where in March we're reading Ali's book - and meeting online weekly to squeeze the learnings from it. Learn more here…

  • Join Kristina’s Platinum Coaching Program - where in March the focus is on Productivity and Planning a Brilliant Next Quarter. Coaching now available as a monthly subscription. Ali is a past Superstar Speaker in Platinum, so as a member you get access to his session, offering invaluable advice. Learn more here.
  • Ali's YouTube Channel: For insightful content on productivity, personal development, and more.

  • Buy Kristina's bookYour Dream Life Starts Here
  • Buy Dream Life Wellness Journal here - a perfect way to get in touch with where your own wellness is at.
    • Sign up to our email list here to hear about upcoming workshops.
    • Join our Habit Club. It's easy to start a new habit, but harder to make it stick!  Get the inspiration and support network you need to successfully build new habits into your life.
    • Take your first step to getting clarity on what you want from life with this free bonus dreaming exercise here 101 Dreams Audio Guide 

    Hi there and welcome back to another episode. Today's guest is Ali Abdaal, and he is amazing for many reasons.

    He's a medical doctor turned YouTuber, who I think has over 5 million followers now. And he's also a productivity expert and have just written a bestselling book called feel good productivity, how to do more of what matters to you.

    I came across Ali a few years ago and loved the way he approached life and business. And in January, he was our superstar speaker in my coaching program. So good, so inspiring. And if you are part of my coaching program and you were not there, you can listen to the recording. I love learning and practicing productivity, but my approach is not about getting more done, but to get the right things done.

    That will get you closer to your dreams and goals. And that is not always easy. So I got Ali on the podcast and we are also going to read his book, feel good productivity in my book club grow in March. So if you're inspired after this podcast, make sure you join us. We will read his book and also discuss the book and of course, implement what we're learning.

    Also in the dream life coaching program, we'll be planning out quarter two in March. If you are feeling the year is already going so fast, I feel that way. Make sure you join us so you know what to focus on in quarter two. As you may know, if you listen to me often here, I treat every quarter as a mini year, so it's a chance to kind of replan and get on with it.

    You can now join my coaching program monthly if you want to test it out. We plan each quarter together. the month before. So when the new quarter start, we are ready to get to work and focus on our dreams and goals for that quarter. I loved this interview with Ali Abdaal and I am absolutely sure you will too.

    So let's get into it. Hello

    Ali and a very warm welcome. I'm really excited to have you here. I actually feel like I'm watching a YouTube clip. Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. This is, this should be fun. Absolutely. Before we get started, I would love to know, did you have a dream as a kid something you wanted to do or become? Oh, what a nice question.

    I think like, okay, so it's gonna sound weird, but when I was a kid, my dream was actually to be a doctor. I'm not sure if that's just because my mom was a doctor, and it seemed kind of cool, or because, you know, when I would say to, when people would ask me when I was a kid, you know, what do you want to be when you grow up?

    I would say I want to be a neurosurgeon or whatever and then they would, they would be very impressed be like, Oh, this guy, you know, we've got a big man over here. He wants to be a, he wants to be a neurosurgeon. So I think I got, I got a lot of that kind of validation that, yeah, you know, you should go for it.

    And so I actually did have the dream to be a doctor. While I was under 10 and then age sort of 10 to 15, when I was really starting to starting to think a little more seriously about like, Hmm, what do I actually want to do? Medicine was always like the default in the back of my mind, but I also really wanted to be a YouTuber.

    I wanted to be a music YouTuber. Cause I watched a lot of like these guys who were doing like covers of popular songs. And so it was my dream to like one day be a YouTuber where I could play the guitar and my friends could sing and we could make music videos. And around that time, I also got into like web design and development when I was like 12 and trying to make money on the internet.

    And so I also had this sort of dream alongside of like, I want to be an entrepreneur of some sort. I want to make money on the internet. And it's weird how like all three of those ended up being true in like a different sort of way than what I expected. But those are, I guess, what my, what my three dreams at various different stages of my childhood.

    I love that. And maybe for people, I don't know if I think the global, what everyone in the world knows about you now, you have over 5 million subscribers and it's really inspiring. And it's, it's quite interesting how I find you because I know I'm not your target audience, but because I'm so interested in in productivity, that's been so fascinating to me to watch in terms of productivity, but also as a YouTuber and that being a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to YouTube.

    So I'll talk more about that. But I'd love for you to share a little bit more about your journey, you know, starting, obviously studying and then a change and that transition and how that was for you. Yeah, so I guess aged 18 to 24, I was in medical school, I was studying at Cambridge University. Yeah. Yeah.

    Around age 18, I started my first business that actually succeeded where I was helping people get into med school So I had a bit of a business side hustle going while I was in in university And that's where I got interested in productivity because I was like, hey I want to do med school and I also want to grow my business and make money on the side Therefore I need to learn how to be efficient and organized with my time then My final year of med school.

    I started my youtube channel and my youtube channel started off This was 2017. It started off as an organic content marketing driver for the business This was before I knew what the phrase organic content marketing even meant But I just sort of thought hey if I if I make videos about getting into med school And I have a course that helps people get into med school Maybe some people will buy my course and that was 2017 and now i've been doing youtube I have one or two videos a week for the last seven years Uh when I graduated I worked for two years full time as a doctor in the uk's national health service and then At that point my channel had grown to a million subscribers and was making like a million a year And my doctor's salary was 40 000 a year and I thought you know what?

    Let's take a break from medicine and like double down on this youtube thing because it seems to be working And here we are, like three years after making that decision and I haven't really looked back. Oh, it's absolutely fascinating. So I can't wait to talk about your book mainly today, but for anyone who is thinking about starting a YouTube channel and come from similar kind of background to you in terms of have a really, you studied for a long time, became, you know, have very good grades and.

    and then got a job doing what you studied and then wanting to change. And you share that a lot on your YouTube channel, but for anyone listening, how did you deal with that? Because I, I will assume that this was not an easy decision in terms of, you know, you started so hard and you, you became so good at what you did in terms of just studying and then completely changed.

    And for something that is, I guess, a little bit more. Uncertain, even though you, you got a million followers before you clicked, so I'd love to hear a little bit how you, how you went on that. Yeah, so I think the main thing was What I wouldn't recommend is to just quit your job and then try and make it as a youtuber It's really hard to make it as a youtuber.

    It's doable But what I would recommend is that you do it alongside the job so you try and do it in the weekends and evenings kind of like, you know, keep the day job, but then try and figure out a way of Sharing your expertise or sharing the things that you already know a lot about on a YouTube channel or a blog or a TikTok or whatever the thing, whatever the platform might be that you want to create.

    So I did that for three years before I decided to quit. And even when I decided to quit, it was a bit of an accident because it was 2020 and I was going to go to Australia for emergency medicine placement, but then pandemic happened and Australia closed their borders. So I sort of accidentally ended up becoming a full time YouTuber, even though that was never the intention.

    The goal is to start off as a part time YouTuber. And then at some point, when you are able to support yourself through your side business, Then it's worth quitting the job, but I'm very risk averse. So I wouldn't quit the job in the hope that like a YouTube career would suddenly take off. Yeah. No. And, and I agree.

    And I think that is a great advice for anything. So I'm all about helping people create their dream life, whatever that is for them. But if you want to completely change, you want to make sure you can support yourself and obviously survive while you're changing and making that transition. So what made you get into productivity?

    In terms of writing a book and, you know, sharing all your wisdom because you've studied so many other authors, which I really enjoyed listening to and also, um, became your, you know, your, your bestselling author now and your son's bestseller. Congratulations. And we just amazing. Yeah. So I'm hoping for that.

    I did actually pre order your book twice to support that little, but what made you first? Getting to really productivity, uh, and also what made you come up with the idea of writing a book? Yeah. So what got me into productivity initially was in my first year of med school, I was really struggling. It was really hard.

    You know, I was pretty good in school and I can just got through school and didn't really have to work too hard. But then when I got to university and suddenly I was surrounded by people who were also really good in school. Now I was completely average. I was like middle of the pack. My first essay that I submitted, I got 52%.

    I'd never gotten less than 99 percent on an essay before. And I was just like, complete, like, what the hell is going on here? So my first year of med school was pretty tough and I was really struggling and didn't really know what to do and trying to really struggling to balance like studies and social life and playing sports and having fun at university.

    And then randomly in my second year, we had a psychology lecture, which was about the science of memory and about how. Actually, there's all these techniques that you can use to improve your memory and make you retain information for longer. I was like, wait a minute, why has no one told me this before?

    I've been studying for exams for 10 plus years and no one has ever told me that there are ways to do it more effectively, more efficiently, more productively. And so I kind of dove into some of these papers. I started applying the insights to my life and they worked. I realized, Oh my God, if I just do these things, I can spend a lot less time studying.

    And therefore I free up a lot more time to be able to do my business or hang out with friends or do whatever else I want to do. And that's where the interest in productivity started. You know, it started off with how do I study more effectively? And then it morphed into, how do I use my time better? How do I actually like, huh, time blocking calendar.

    I never used to use a calendar before. And then I started using a calendar. I was like, Whoa, okay. This is insane. I read getting things done by David Allen. I was like, Whoa, you're saying I don't have to remember everything in my head and I can offload it to a system like a to do list. Oh, I get it. This makes sense.

    I started blitzing browsing, like every single thing that Tim Ferris had ever written on his blog, everything on lifehacker. com, you know, art of productivity. com, all of these like random productivity blogs that were big back in the day. Baby's still out big today. I started reading a lot of that stuff and applying it to my life.

    And finding that wow, I just have way more free time and that's great And that's where the interest in productivity started. But then you know when I started my youtube channel I didn't think i'd be making videos about productivity I was making videos about how to get into med school and then I was making videos about how to study for exams Because that's the stuff I knew about and then people just started asking.

    How are you so productive? And I was like, huh, because they saw that I was a med student. They saw that I was doing vlogs. They saw that I was building a business. They saw that I was like studying for exams and making videos alongside this whole thing. So loads of the comments were like, man, this is the most productive guy in the world.

    He's like a Cambridge medical student and he's also got a YouTube channel. I was like, Oh, that's interesting. People are asking about productivity. So I made a couple of videos about productivity. And now five years later, I happen to be the productivity guy because people just really vibed with that particular message.

    I think the cool thing there is, you know, which I often remind people is, I think a lot of people when it comes to creating stuff are held back by not knowing what their niche is. It's like, Oh, I don't know what I'm going to make videos about. And I didn't know what my niche was going to be. I just thought, you know what, let me teach what I know.

    And we'll just see what happens. So let me start off by helping people get into med school then vlogs of med school and then study exam videos And then it's sort of morphed and over the years I've evolved based on what the audience has wanted and how my own personal interests have evolved And so it's not like you start off thinking.

    This is my niche and this is what I will do It's more like you start off exploring an interesting area And then as you get feedback from the market and as you learn more about yourself You see what videos you enjoy making, then you start to mold your own kind of niche of one over time. But I think that's the thing that holds a lot of people back.

    Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So you've done so many things in terms of, you know, with your YouTube channel. And I have written a book myself, and that is not an easy thing to do, but I'm sure it helps if you're a productivity guru, but I do know you have some struggles with procrastination, and we'll talk more about that soon, but what made you actually then want to share everything in the book, considering you reach so many people through the YouTube channel?

    Yeah, that's a good question. The thing is with the book, like, More people will watch like one video of mine than will ever read the book And so why spend three and a half years kind of working on a book? I guess there were two reasons. One reason was it was like a strategic move because I didn't want to be just a YouTuber.

    I wanted to be like the people that I admire in the space, Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, Derek Sivers, Austin Kleon, Cal Newport, Sam Harris. A lot of these thought leader type people, Mark Manson, James Clare, they started off on the internet. And then they gained mainstream y vibes, mainstream acceptance, because they wrote books.

    Like, books have this weirdly powerful thing, like, within our culture. They have a lot of staying power. No one remembers a blog post that Tim Ferriss wrote, but everyone remembers the 4 hour work week. No one remembers Cal Newport's blog post where he was talking about deep work, but everyone, everyone knows his book, Deep Work.

    Similarly, very few people will remember over the long term, oh, I watched this specific YouTube video from Ali Abdaal. But if they read the book and the book can have an impact on them, then they'll like remember that. And I think that's something really, really cool about that. So partly it was like strategic.

    One thing I've been thinking a lot since I started my YouTube channel was what does this career look like 10 years from now? So when I was making videos in med school, helping people get into med school, I was like, can I see myself doing this in 10 years? Absolutely not. I don't want to be the dude in his 30s who's helping kids get into med school.

    That's just a bit lame. Can I see myself giving advice to students for the next 10 years? No, it's a bit lame to be in your 30s and giving advice to students because it's like, you know, what do I know? At that point I've graduated, I've been 15 years graduated. So I was always kind of thinking what, how do I increase my longevity in the space?

    And I think books are the ultimate like longevity tool that was like the strategic reason. And then the other reason was because I just thought it would be cool. I read all these books as you do. And as, as your listeners do as well, and it just seems cool to have your own book and I've got my own book.

    And it's, it's pretty cool as, as you know, you know, you've got your book and it's probably pretty cool as well. Yeah, absolutely. I actually, I did it because I did a lot of public speaking. Cause when I started my business, there was a lot of interest. And specifically for me, female entrepreneurs, you know, I started many, many years ago.

    And there was always a handful of people coming up at the end asking, Oh, you know, how do I get started? Cause I was all about inspiring people to back then start their own businesses, but also to live a life that was their life. Cause so many people are influenced by the. teachers and parents and peers.

    And, um, and I felt like, you know, life is so short. Why not do something you love? And I always felt like there was just not enough time for me to speak about that after a talk that was only for an hour. So that's what got me writing the book, but I found that really challenging. You know, I live in. I live in Australia, but I'm actually Swedish, so English is my second language, and it was a real challenge.

    So I'm curious, before we dive in more into the book, how did you deal with the writer's blocks and all the, all the terms that comes with writing a book? Yeah, honestly, it was like a three, three year long endeavor. I feel like the second book will be easier because now I know what to do. But then every author says that and then they say the second book is not actually easier.

    So there were a few realizations I had. Number one was everyone talks about consistency. You know, consistency is really important. And the way you eat an elephant is one bite at a time. And so just do a little bit every day. So I thought, okay, cool. I'll just do two hours of writing every day, or three hours of writing every day.

    But on those days where I was doing two or three hours of writing, I would get very little done. And then I'd be on a Zoom call at like 12, and then another one at one, and another one at two, because like the business was growing, and things were happening, and book time was always kind of squeezed. And what I realized was that the periods of time where I made the most progress were where I wasn't thinking about consistency, and I was just thinking about intensity.

    Where I took like a week long holiday, and just locked myself in my room, and told myself, I'm going to write the first draft of the entire book in this week. And it happened. Or when I went, I was invited to speak at this event in Bali and they were like, do you want to stick around for longer? And I was like, yes, I actually want to stick around for an extra week.

    If you guys would be open to that with nothing else to do other than work on the book. And that's where a lot of the research came together. And The days where I made the most progress were the days where I had nothing on my calendar except book writing. I could just like go straight in on it. It was usually like a Saturday or a Sunday because I was like doing work stuff during the week.

    And I made so much progress in those bursts of intensity rather than trying to make bits of progress through consistency. So one thing that I would do next time is I think for me personally, I prefer to work in sprints. Just like have one focus for a small short period of time and just go for it. And then not worry about it for a bit and then go for it again and not worry about it again.

    So that was a big help. The other good thing that I realized is whenever I felt writer's block, or whenever I felt like the words weren't flowing, it was usually because I was putting too much pressure on the words. I was thinking about the New York Times bestseller list. I was thinking about the critical reviews on Amazon.

    I was thinking about mean things people would say about the book. And I was thinking, this has to be good. And I realized that whenever I think this has to be good, it stops me from doing the thing. I've made 800 YouTube videos over the last seven years. Every time I hit record, I still have to tell myself like, and you know, there's all this pressure like 5 million subscribers.

    It's like, oh my goodness, like 500, 000 people at least are going to see this freaking video. It needs to be good. But whenever I think it needs to be good, it just blocks me from doing the thing and it starts to feel really painful. So I have to almost like CBT myself and convince myself that this does not need to be good or I'm not trying to make this good.

    I'm just trying to share a message that I think could be helpful to at least one person. And the more I connect to that sense of service that i'm just here to serve one person The easier it is and the more i'm i'm able to overcome that writer's block But I only discovered that about two years into the process, so I wish I had known that in day one.

    Well, we live and we learn, right? So would you then give that kind of advice for someone starting a YouTube channel as well with doing the sprints? Because obviously, a YouTube channel needs to be consistent. So would you approach the same thing there? Because one of the things that I, I find too, when doing something that's really quite hard, having Too many other things around it makes it quite stressful.

    And I think also that perfectionism that you talked about, I think everyone deals with that because everyone, if you put something out into the world, you probably it's a natural thing because you want it to be as good as you think it can be. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The perfectionism thing is really, is really hard to deal with.

    Because, yeah, obviously, as you say, you do want it to be good. But at the same time, wanting it to be good stops it from existing in the first place. And this is why there's all this writer advice that you know, you've certainly come across around like the shitty first draft. just like make it fast make it bad make it wrong like the goal is to write bad stuff because writing bad stuff means you write you actually write stuff whereas if the goal is to write good stuff then you're not going to write anything at all yeah i think on the youtube front if someone because the thing is like you do need to be consistent on youtube i think if someone's life setup means that you know every day they can do two hours of work on their youtube channel great do that.

    That's amazing. Most of our life setups make it really, really freaking hard to spend two hours a day working on a YouTube channel. And so when I was a student, I would do two hours a day because I had loads of time. You have so much time as a student. When I started working full time, I was like, Oh crap, it's really hard to do this two hours a day because I wake up at 630.

    I commute an hour to work. I'm at work from like 830 until like 530. I commute an hour back to work in traffic. So I get home at seven, I need to eat something. So that's maybe 730 or eight. And then I want to sleep by like 10. And if I want to go gym, there's like literally no time in the day, or if I want to see friends or if I want to do anything other than grind on my YouTube channel, there just aren't enough hours in the day.

    So what I found was really helpful is a trick from the four hour work week, which was batching. So instead of thinking I'm going to do two hours of work every day for forever, I was thinking I have a day off work next Wednesday, because I'm doing two night shifts before. And when you do night shifts, you get the next day off.

    That is a totally free Wednesday where nothing else is going on. Cause all of my other friends are at work. That is going to be my YouTube day and on that day, my goal is to film three videos and then while, while I was at work in between seeing patients and in my toilet breaks and in my lunch breaks, I'd be planning those three videos because like planning a video, you don't need to sit down and really deep work on it that much unless you're like writing a word for word script, which is really hard to do, but for me, it's just like talking points and exploration.

    So slowly over those next few days, I would plan out my talking points for those three videos. So that when Wednesday would roll around, I would be like, all right, get up in the morning. I've got i've got six hours today. I need to film three videos. Let's go set up the cameras everything film video Number one treat myself to a slice of pizza film video number two Feel the block film video number three and then i'm done and now i've got three videos When I was editing myself, I can slowly edit them.

    Thankfully. I outsourced my editing two years into the process This is something I would massively recommend almost from day one If you have a job you can afford to outsource editing and you should outsource your video editing Because you can probably find a video editor for like 10 quid an hour 15 an hour or something like that And you you probably make more than that in your day job So like if you figure out the value of your time outsource the editing And now all you have to do is just show up for those YouTube days where you're just banging out three videos and then the editor deals with them and then it becomes a lot easier to be consistent that way.

    Yeah, I love that. So I want to dive in, dive into your book shortly, but this reminds me of something because I had created YouTube channel for a long time on my list because I feel like I also create products. I feel like. Visually, they can look amazing, and I feel like I've got so much to share. And it's something that I have procrastinated for a long time.

    So how do you deal with procrastination? What's causing you to procrastinate on this? I'm curious. I don't know. I just, I mean, it's just not my natural thing to do. Even like starting a podcast was one of my dreams. I do an exercise every year and I'll do this as part of my coaching program as well.

    Asking people, what would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? To really get people out of their pattern of where you have been or what you have done or what you're really good at. But if you knew you couldn't fail, what would you do? And podcasts came to mind a few years ago, but because English is my second language and I've always been interviewed, I've never interviewed other people.

    So I was like, That feels so wrong. It feels like I'm in the wrong chair. And then I thought, I love a good challenge. Like I also have a habit club where I do new habits each month because I love trying new things and changing and challenge myself. So I thought a podcast is going to be a real challenge for me.

    And it was so interesting because the first 50, I was absolutely, I was so nervous and I, it was, I was terrible and now it's one of my favorite things to do. So I think just knowing that it wasn't my natural strength, I think definitely, um, got me into procrastinating that. And I think same with YouTube.

    It's not something I, I feel naturally. Good at. Yeah. So we actually have a course, uh, that helps people start and grow their YouTube channels. And it was interesting because we had a session with our business, one of our business coaches yesterday. A guy called Dan Priestley. I don't know if you know him.

    Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I don't know him, but I know of him. Yeah. Already. Yeah. He's very cool. And he's been helping us out, uh, as like a mentor. And we were talking to Dan and about this YouTube accelerator that we've got, like for context, it's, you know, 5, 000 a year and it's a 12 month program. And we help people start and grow YouTube channels.

    And we'd have office hours for my team and Q and A's with me. And we have like the whole course and blah, blah, blah. And we were trying to figure out like, we've got like a few hundred students in this program and we were trying to figure out like, what are we actually offering them? Because 70 percent of them are complete beginners who have never started a YouTube channel before.

    That was a bit of a surprise because when I started the program, I thought I'd be teaching YouTubers with 10, 000 to 100, 000 subscribers how to grow and scale their businesses. But in reality, what ended up happening is that we had all these people, average age 36, so mostly people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, who had this dream of starting a YouTube channel, and they've never had a community of creators or anything around them, and they came to us, because we've got a very supportive team and stuff, and we helped them start their YouTube channel.

    But literally all of them are held back by this procrastination. This is something that I've I think is a thing if you have professional success in one area of your life Because you know everyone everyone in that 30s and beyond is professionally successful if they can afford a five thousand dollar youtube course They are good in their professional lives But then the thought of being terrible at YouTube is really, really, really scary because there's all this like ego attached to it There's all this like I'm not naturally good at this.

    Therefore. I don't want to do it you know if it was a 13 year old a 13 year old cares a lot like a 7 year old cares a lot less the 7 year old will just try Stuff they'll be like, oh, you know, I just want to try playing hockey Never done it before, but I'm just going to try it. Let's see if I enjoy it.

    But I think as we get older and as we, as we become adults, and especially if we become professionally successful adults, now the thought of trying something new that we suck at is really, really scary. And we've ended up like 90 percent of our customer success team is doing emotional support rather than technical support.

    I was thinking people would be asking about analytics and about outsourcing and about delegation and systems and all the cool stuff that I care about. But in reality, what they're saying is, you know, Oh, you know, Alison, this week, life just got really busy. And she's like, don't worry about it. Let's set some goals for next week.

    You know, we can make this happen next week. Oh, you know, Alison, Oh, you know, I'm just about to have a baby and you know, life's really busy right now. So perhaps three months from now, you know, when the baby's three months old, then life will be a bit more chill or, and you know, I'm just about to move house or my grandma's just died or, and what we find with literally all of our students, life always gets in the way.

    And there's this myth that people have that. At some point in the future my life will be chill and then I will be able to Start my youtube channel or write my symphony or write my book or whatever The thing is that they that leads them towards their dream life so what I would say to anyone anyone who's in that position is that You're not alone.

    Almost everyone I know who's part of my course and paying me to help them with YouTube is not actually asking for my advice about YouTube. They're asking for advice on how to overcome procrastination. And unfortunately, it is just one of those things that you have, you know, as you said with your podcast, the first 50 episodes were terrible.

    In my very first YouTube video, I was, it was a vlog of my medical elective in Cambodia. I said, I know that my first 50 videos are going to be terrible. So my job is to just make 50 videos as quickly as I can so that I can get good. It's like, you know. No one comes out of the womb knowing how to drive and we all learn how to drive We suck at it initially, but we just we go for it.

    There's no ego attached It's not like hey, i'm a c suite executive and therefore I should just be good at driving There's this natural recognition that driving is a skill and is a skill that can be learned I guarantee I know so many youtubers zero percent of them felt natural on camera. It's weird It's really weird speaking to a camera.

    It is not a thing that people naturally have So if we have this like myth in our minds that I need to feel Natural on youtube in order to start a youtube channel That's like a weightlifter saying I need to be able to bench 100 kg before I start going to the gym You've got it the wrong way around you got to start going to the gym And then eventually you'll be able to bench 100 kg You've got to start making youtube videos and eventually you'll start to feel comfortable on camera I can say i've been doing this seven years 800 plus videos 300 plus podcasts.

    I still don't feel comfortable on camera It still feels hard to hit the record button and I still have to run all these affirmations in my mind of like, it's not about the, it's not about the algorithm. It's, you know, it's just about serving the audience and come on, we can do this. Come on, let's go. I still need my team to hype me up a bit.

    I have my guitar in the background. I play like some upbeat, take me home country roads just to get into the mood of it. Like. It's a whole song and dance. So it will never feel natural to be on camera. And if it, if you require it to feel natural to be on camera, you're just never going to be on camera.

    Yeah. Yeah. It is. I mean, that's so true with everything in life, of course, I so get it. And it's interesting how we, how we know these things, but still. Still don't kind of get it. So it's interesting because when I started to be interested in, um, having a YouTube channel, my son, he's now 15, but he used to travel the world with me when I was in my first business.

    I did a lot of trips. We had stores all over the world and. And he had a YouTube channel as an eight year old. And, you know, we'd be landing in New York from Australia. It's a brutal trip. And, uh, he'd be like, you know, camera in his face and I'm next to him. It was like, hi there, here we are in New York. And I was just like, Oh, I don't even want to see your camera now.

    And he just did it so naturally. And, and I was kind of a little bit annoyed, not, I wasn't annoyed, but I was like, Oh, this camera everywhere. And I wasn't really interested. I was so focusing on, on retail then. And. Product and all that stuff and growing my business. So I wasn't really interested. And now when I have my second business, I'm really interested.

    And I've been watching his videos and he's just a natural because he just did not care. So what you said there is like, he just had no fear. He just thought I'm just going to do it. And then he, as a 14 year old started to play golf and he actually, um, I picked him up one day and he said, golf fashion is really boring.

    I'm going to start a brand. And I'm having, you know, design and produce millions of products. Now I know what it takes. And 48 hours later, he had a website, he had a brand and he had products. And I think it's just that he's not ingraining what he's good at yet. And he just. open. So I think, yep, that's definitely something we need to unlearn as we get a little bit older and perhaps not wiser.

    He's 14 now or is he older? He's 15 now. 15 now. And he has his golf brand and it's just fascinating to see. And he's also, you know, in school, obviously he's just starting year 10 and he also plays cricket on, you know, Yeah. He's good at that. So it's fascinating to see he's cause I sometimes wonder how does he do it all?

    And he prioritized what's important to him, of course. So interesting to see anyway. And I was excited to hear because we had dinner before and I said, cause I always share your videos with him. So he, I said, I'm actually going to have an interview. So he was excited for me. So let's talk about your book.

    So first the title. So do you think that the feel good productivity title came up? Because you wanted to feel good doing the book or is it, did that come before? Yeah. So feel good productivity was like the 300th title that we kind of came up with. It was such a nightmare trying to figure out what the title of this was going to be, because I don't know if you had this as well, but like, it's easy enough to say, I want to write a book about productivity.

    Anyone can say I want to write a book about productivity, but then when you start actually writing the book, you realize, Hmm, what do I actually want to say? Like, what's the core key message here. And initially it was like the productivity equation, and then it was like the productivity game. And then it was like a bunch like dynamo method.

    There was a bunch of different like ideas going around and. Initially, it was like a very, like, mathematical approach to productivity, like the equation stuff. And then I ran it by this editor in the US, uh, this is the guy who worked on James Clear's book Atomic Habits, which was obviously super, super successful.

    And the guy basically said to me, his name's David, he said, look, this basically stinks. It's not going to sell. And I was like, oh, crap. I spent a year working on this proposal for the productivity equation. And you're telling me it stinks. I was like, why does it stink? He said it stinks because no one wants to read a book called the productivity equation.

    It's boring. I was like, oh, okay. And he said, look, man, let's just simplify it. Like you're a doctor. You're a YouTuber. You're a busy entrepreneur. Like if you had to boil it down to just one thing, what is the one thing you do that your friends don't? Why are you in this position and your friends are not?

    And I was like, oh, it's easy. I just find a way to make everything fun. I just found a way to make everything fun. And he was like, great, that's your book. Write a book about that. I was like, I can write a book about that. It was like, yeah, that's like interesting. That's like a fresh take on productivity. No one says that the secret to productivity is to make things fun.

    You know, let's just figure out how we can craft a book around that core message. And so then the title became the productivity game because it was about gamification and then it sort of morphed into a bunch of things. And then, you know, in cliche fashion, like. Two years into the process, I was in the shower and I came up with, I, I had seen Vex King has a book called Good Vibes, Good Life, and I was thinking like, hmm, good vibes productivity.

    You know, there's something about good vibes productivity, but I don't want to plagiarize his title because it's like a very popular book and stuff. I was like, what's another way of saying good vibes? Feel good? Feel good productivity? Oh, shit. Feel good productivity. That sounds pretty good. And then I pitched it to like the editor and the agent and friends and stuff.

    I was like, how does this sound as a book title? Feel good productivity. And they were all like, yeah, I can see that working. And that was like the first time with any of the titles, people had that like, yeah, response for everything else. People were like, Oh, you know, at one point the title was dynamo.

    People were like dynamo. It's not like someone who's got a lot of energy. I was like, no, it's the physics thing. It's like, well, like people didn't know what that meant. And there was so much confusion. And then when the title finally came, it was two years into the process. And then it made writing the book a lot easier because now we had a clear message.

    So for book number two, what I, what I would do is I would get the title first and then write the book because it's, it's like, like with a YouTube video. What a noob does is that they make the video and then they think about the title and thumbnail. What the pros do is that they think about the title and thumbnail first, and only then do they write the video.

    And it makes it so much easier that way. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I love the title and I love the colors as well, because I think that stands out in the bookstore. And I was actually in a bookstore today and I saw it and, uh, I, yeah, it's a really good because I think that's also. Because I actually wrote my book when I was still with my first business, but my kind of brand color for dream life was always bright yellow and bright yellow.

    It's really hard to read online and with the white text. And, and then in the end I was like, I'm not. I just really want it to be yellow. And so I went for that and we almost saw that now. So I'm about to do a new cover. So we'll see what that will be and maybe change it completely. But let's talk about the first part of your book, which is all about energize.

    Why is it so important to be energized for feel good productivity? Yeah, so one of the cool things that I came across in the research that I was doing for the book and actually, you know, This was research I was doing in my life because I was trying to figure out how do I be more productive? How can I how can I make my day job as a doctor feel a bit less grim?

    Like why is it that every time I get home from work? I feel like super drained and I don't have any energy to work on my youtube channel or whatever And I came across this really cool study or this really cool theory called broaden and build. I'll spare you the details. But but the idea is that like when we experience positive emotions In the things that we do when we feel good then it generates energy And it's not like energy as in like glucose or energy as in like chemical energy it's like that sort of motivational energy or like Vigor or zest or like, you know, scientists have different names for it But it's that intangible form of energy that we all know and can feel Like if you hang out with certain types of people you get more energy out of that If you do the sort of work that gets you into the flow state it generates energy and I think one thing that I realized is that we have this weird kind of conception of work of like our energy is like a battery and if you as you do more work the battery gets depleted and therefore If you don't have energy at the end of the day, it's because you've been working too hard and Therefore you want to work less hard and disengage from your work a little bit But actually that's we've got it all wrong energy is not actually a finite resource energy is a renewable resource and The way we renew that energy is by fully engaging with our work by finding a way to feel good about it For example, I went to the gym earlier this morning.

    You would think going to the gym means you get less energy But everyone knows that when you go to the gym, even though you're putting a lot of work in, it like recharges your battery somehow. There's something weird about that. So similarly, these three energizers, play, power, and people, are three things that if we can incorporate into our work, It turns it into a source of energy rather than into a drain of energy.

    And when I started incorporating those into my day job, suddenly I had loads of energy at the end of the day, and I was able to give that energy to my YouTube channel and to my friends and family and stuff. So yeah, play power in people. I absolutely love that. And I, in the kind of power part of that first part where you share.

    When you saw yourself as a writer, you were interviewing other writers or authors, and you got that feeling that if they can do it, so can I. And that's something that I talk about all the time when people. Wants to start their own business or, uh, you know, create their dream life, whatever that is for them, there are millions of people that have done it before you.

    And if they can do it, so can you. So I love that part. And can you just tell us a little bit about how you changed as a writer? Because I guess you didn't see yourself as a writer coming from a doctor, YouTuber, and now writer and a few things as well. Entrepreneurs and entrepreneur and a few other things.

    Yeah, so this is a really tangible practical thing So the the idea is that we feel good about our work when we can feel powerful about it when we feel that sense Of power and one of the ways we feel that sense of power is by feeling confident the feeling of confident Like if you feel unconfident on camera, then you're not going to feel powerful making a youtube video If you feel confident on camera or confident writing, it's going to feel more good So, how do we get you to feel more confident?

    Like that's the question and there's this guy called albert bandura who was a psychologist in like the 1930s who came up with this idea called Vicarious mastery experiences. Basically when you see someone else succeeding at the thing that you are doing It makes you feel like you can do it too. If you know other people who are entrepreneurs, suddenly entrepreneurship doesn't, you know, it doesn't seem that bad.

    When I was growing up, everyone I knew was a doctor. All my friend's parents were doctors. So for me, being a doctor is the most natural thing in the world. It's like bog standard. Whereas if you speak to someone else, Oh, Whoa, you're a doctor. Wow. You must be super smart. Every single person I know is a doctor.

    Like they're bang average. Like we're all just normal people, man. But so it's like the people you hang out with. Dictate to you what is possible and what you can feel confident in doing If you don't know any doctors in your life, you're going to feel like oh my god Med school is really hard If everyone you know is a doctor you're going to feel like med school is a breeze and you can build a business on the side So that's vicarious mastery experiences.

    So the question is then how do we get more of that feeling? And you know, we've all heard that thing that you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with But I think a really cool way to get vicarious mastery experiences is through the content that you consume So for example, if you are trying to start a youtube channel And what I would recommend is start listening to lots of podcasts from YouTubers Because suddenly you're going to hear them talking you're going to hear that they're all normal and they all have you know thoughts and feelings and fears And it's suddenly not going to seem so bad and you will be confident if you're trying to start a business You know, I was interested in starting a software business So there's a great podcast called indie hackers where they interview people who have built profitable internet businesses As solo entrepreneurs from their bedrooms while having a day job.

    That's super cool. It's like oh my god There's this like 18 year old kid in sweden Who's built this website that helps you build websites and he's making he's making four million dollars a month From this fucking thing that he coded on a weekend in his bed. Oh my freaking wow sick. That's really cool Whoa, there's this guy who's found a way to sell domain names once they're just about to expire And now he puts them on auction and then he takes a cut of that and he's making 100k a month Oh my God.

    Those were the sorts of interviews I was listening to when I was into building a software business on the side. And that made me feel so much more confident that I could do it. Whereas if I didn't listen to those interviews, I knew no one in my life who was into designing software. There weren't that many YouTube channels about it back in the day.

    I didn't read any books about it. I'm never going to do that. It's going to be so hard because I have no sense of confidence that I can do the thing. So tangible, practical advice. If you're trying to do something, listen to a bunch of podcasts from people who have done the thing and it will make it way easier to start.

    Yeah, absolutely. I always have these who, when I started my first business, I had never been in business. I had no idea about retail. I had no idea about anything really. And, um, I just learned by listening to other people and. I hear people speak and my thought is always before what, who, who's done this before and who can help you.

    So I completely agree with that. Let's talk about part two, which is unblock. How do we do that when it comes to productivity? So we've got the three energizers, play, power, and people. And then we also have three blockers and those blockers are the things that generally cause us to procrastinate. So if we take our, you know, I want to start a YouTube channel, I want to write a book.

    Usually there are three things blocking progress. The first one is uncertainty. The second one is fear and the final one is inertia And that's like the easiest one to deal with so uncertainty The blocker of uncertainty is when there is some level of uncertainty around what you're actually trying to do Or like why you're trying to do it and crucially when you actually want to do it So for example, if someone were to say to me, hey, look i've been procrastinating youtube channel My next question would be would be like, okay What do you mean by starting a YouTube channel?

    What specifically are you procrastinating from? Are you procrastinating from creating the channel and just signing up for an account on youtube. com? Or are you procrastinating from filming the first video? Or have you filmed the first video and you're procrastinating from editing it? Or have you edited the first video and you're procrastinating from uploading it?

    Or have you uploaded it and you're procrastinating from hitting public? Like what is the thing? What are we actually trying to do? And then they'll be like, oh well I guess I haven't even started my channel yet. I'm like, okay, do you know how long it takes to start a channel? They're like no i'm like it takes about two minutes You can sign up for an account on youtube.

    com and just like start a channel and they're like, oh shit Okay, so then i'm like, okay, so you know what you want to do When do you want to do that? And they're like, oh, I mean, I don't know I guess I could do it tomorrow morning and i'm like great. Do you want to put it on your calendar? They're like Oh, yeah, I mean, yeah, sure.

    I guess I could do that. Great. What time do you want to put it on your calendar? Uh, well, I guess I wake up at nine. I go gym. So maybe 11. Fantastic And you want to add me to the calendar event, you know Just so I can, you know, give you some accountability to actually do the thing. So great So there's a block in your calendar 11 to 11 15 Where your only goal is to just make an account on youtube.

    com and just create your channel. How does that sound? And they're like, great, we've just cured procrastination because we have solved the uncertainty because Start a youtube channel is like write a book. It's it's too big. It's too broad Like no one knows what what that even means It's like when people say, you know this year I want to get fit or like I want to study for my this exam It's like if you don't know what that specifically means There's all this uncertainty around what you're trying to do And therefore you're going to procrastinate a ton from actually doing the thing.

    So uncertainty is the first blocker Yeah. How about the last part, which is all about sustaining productivity? How do we do that? Yeah. So the final three chapters are about how to sustain productivity over the long term. And they're kind of about like overcoming burnout. And unfortunately, there's, there's nothing that novel about this advice.

    You know, it's about conserving our energy, recharging our energy, and then making sure that the actions we're doing right now are aligned with the future that we want. Because you know, one big source of burnout is like, you know, just simply trying to do too much. But another big source of burnout is when you're doing things, but like, you know, in your heart that it's not actually what you want to be doing.

    It's not actually where you want to be going. So if we just think of like the sort of the energy stuff first, I think one interesting thing here that I, I've really taken away from the process of writing the book is that the things that we do when we are drained of energy are often not the things that actually recharge our energy.

    So most people would say that, Oh yeah, you know, if I go to the gym, I feel recharged. But how many times when you feel drained, do you decide to go to the gym? Probably zero. You probably decide to scroll TikTok or Instagram when you're feeling drained. And how many of us would really say, Oh yeah, whenever I get off a Instagram scrolling session for 20 minutes, I feel really recharged.

    No one says that. Like no one feels recharged by scrolling. Instagram is just a thing that you do. And so again, it's somewhat counterintuitive, but when we're trying to recharge our energy, often the things that recharge our energy, take a little bit of energy to get started. Like creative hobbies, or playing the guitar, or like going to the gym, or going for a walk, or phoning a friend.

    All of these things require a little push of energy, but they generate way more than they take. But if we just do things that require zero, zero energy, then we end up scrolling and we end up kind of in this like depth of despair. So I think that's like a very tangible thing people can take, can take away.

    Ask yourself at the end of a chill session. To what extent did that actually recharge me? And do I wish I'd done something else instead? Yeah, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. So I guess for you being in the digital world and you're now in traveling the world, which is has its other challenges when it comes to productivity.

    But I'm interested for you to share a little bit about distractions because I see this so much and I now work from home and it's very different. I used to have a big office with Seeing people and it was a very different five years ago. It was very different to what it is today in terms of distractions.

    And I'm curious for your view on productivity when it comes to, you know, getting pings all the time and I take all my notifications off and, but I see so many people don't, so how do we. deal with distractions. I mean, have you got some tips on that? Yeah. Oh yeah. Honestly, it's so hard in the connected world that we live in today.

    My favorite way is to just, it's again, fairly basic. I just put my phone into one of those like focus modes. Do not disturb. Uh, I also turned my phone on it. I put it face down and like put it further than arm's length away from me. The focus mode is shared across all my devices. So I won't even see the notifications on my Mac and I've set up exceptions so that the only things I will see in a focus mode.

    Or if it's a message from my girlfriend or my mom or my brother. Those are the only three people who are allowed to contact me in the focus, focus modes. If it's an emergency, someone in my team can ring me and if they double ring me, then it will go through because you can set that up as an option as well.

    But like, I mean, I make freaking YouTube videos. What emergency are we going to have really realistically? And honestly, that just makes such a huge difference. Just not being able to see the notifications. The other nice thing is there's a really good app for this. It's called Rise. R I Z E. I love it. I've been using it for two years.

    I love it so much that I invested in the company. Basically, it recognizes what you're doing on your computer and it categorizes it. And like, if you're on Zencaster, it would say podcasting. If you're on YouTube, it would say entertainment. If you're on, I don't know, Notion, it would say documentation. And when you're working on something for like at least 10 minutes, and then you switch to a different window, it pops up with a full screen message being like, are you getting distracted?

    And then you click either, yes, I'm getting distracted. Thanks for the reminder, or this is not a distraction. And even just that, just that pattern interrupt, like. I'll find myself just going on Twitter or something, and it will know, it will say, Oh, are you getting distracted? And if I needed to tweet something out for like market research for a course, I would say, no, don't worry about it.

    It's all good. But often 80 percent of the time, I'm like, thank you for the reminder. And then it will automatically close. So, you know, just little things like that, that nudge our behavior towards what we actually want to do. Focus mode plus rise. I think great app would recommend. Yeah, absolutely. And I think we do so many things out of habit.

    We don't even think about it. And, and I also think now because of, of the dopamine hits that we get from, um, Instagram and we just don't take that time to just really think about before we do it. So I, I certainly think that. Not having any notifications is a big, big help. I'm curious to, uh, we're getting to the end now.

    So I just, I'm just curious to ask you a couple of shorter question that is, have you got a morning ritual? And if yes, what is it? Oh, not really. I want to have a morning ritual, especially while I'm traveling. I think it would be nice. These days I'm actually home for the next month because I'm supervising some builders who are in my mom's house.

    But I found a personal trainer who trains me at eight o'clock every morning. So my morning ritual is I get out of bed and I drive to the gym and then I do an hour long workout. And then I feel pretty energized when I get back home and I'm like ready to start work. So that's like literally the only thing I do in the mornings.

    Yeah. That's a good one. That's a really good morning ritual that you have already. And when you travel, you can continue that or get up a little bit earlier and see the sunrise in different parts of the world will no doubt be interesting. The other question I have is, do you have a favorite nonfiction book?

    Probably not a favorite, but I have a few that have definitely changed my life. The one that's most changed my life is the four hour work week by Tim Ferriss, which I read when I was 18 and turned me onto this whole idea of financial independence, passive income, all that stuff. Another big one was Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, a bit less mainstream.

    That is the book that helped me get over the fear of starting to put myself out there on the internet. So I'd been wanting to start a blog for like years, and I was scared, like, you know, how much of a dickhead do you have to be to have a blog? What are my friends going to think if they see that I've aliabdoll.

    com? You know, all of those fears were in my mind. And then I read Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. And it helped me realize, oh, A, no one cares, and B, it's kind of nice if you show your work. I'm not like, showing my clothing or my latte or whatever, I'm just showing my work. I'm just sharing what I've been working on in the hope that it'll be helpful for someone.

    And if I hadn't started a blog in 2016, I would not have started a YouTube channel in 2017. Because I think writing online gave me the permission that I needed to realize, A, no one cares. B, no one was reading my stuff, and C, it wasn't that hard. So great YouTube channel, similarly, no one cares, no one's gonna see my stuff, and how hard can it be?

    So those are two books, yeah, for our work week and to show your work. Ah, love it. I love both of them, and I couldn't agree more. The last question I have for you is, knowing what you know now, what kind of advice would you give to yourself, to your younger self when you're kind of just starting out? Hmm. I would say.

    Everything is going to work out for the best, so just focus on enjoying the ride. I think I do a pretty good job of that anyway, but, I mean, when you read enough of these non fiction books, as you and I do, you kind of get this advice from everyone, like, oh, happiness is not found in achievement, happiness is found in the journey.

    If you hear it enough times, you start to actually believe it. But even so, there were still times in my life where I felt anxious, I felt scared, I felt like, oh, the business is going to run out of money, I felt like, oh, what if, what if this product doesn't work? And actually everything just works out and so I've become a lot more zen about it Easy to say once you get rich, I guess but I it's it's something I would tell I would tell myself when I was younger As well and a lot less rich a lot more broke to be like look man, you're doing the right things Don't worry about it.

    Like the results you're going to get 10 years from now are because of the things you're doing right now So just keep going and enjoy the process You're doing all the right things. Love that. This has been such an inspiring conversation. Thank you so much for coming on to share your wisdom with us and also, um, for everything that you do to, I love absolutely how you share so many things from how much you are earning through all your different channels, to all your favorite books, to everything that you are experiencing.

    So, um, I hope we see lots of your travel videos, um, coming out now when you are. A bit of a digital nomad or whatever you call yourself. So so much for having me. This has been super fun. Thank you so much. Wow. So inspired now. I love his approach to life and productivity. It's super inspiring. If you are excited, I certainly am, and I already read his book, but I'm going to reread it, join my book club.

    It's an inspiring read, but it's also so inspiring to be around like minded people to discuss the book and work out what we're going to implement. As always, I'll be back on Monday with a short Monday morning motivation podcast to get you excited and motivated for the week ahead. I'll see you then. 

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