feel good productivity

A New Take On Productivity: By Feeling Good

I’ve recently completed Ali Abdaal’s book on productivity, titled “Feel Good Productivity.” For those unfamiliar, Ali Abdaal is a UK-trained doctor who transitioned from medicine to become a renowned YouTuber, earning recognition as a productivity guru. My interests have consistently revolved around making money, building confidence (particularly in public speaking), and excelling in productivity. Naturally, I was intrigued by the prospect of a productivity book authored by a YouTuber with millions of followers.

Feel good productivity - Ali Abdaal

Below are my notes and a comprehensive summary of the insights and strategies you’ll discover in the book.

Make it FUN

Picture productivity as a playground. Instead of “work,” think of it as “play.” Imagine swapping the heaviness of importance with the lightness of pleasure and relaxation. “Play” is not just an activity; it’s a rejuvenation for both the mind and body. When we follow our curiosity without concern for the outcomes, life becomes an adventure. Consider adopting a persona or character, diving into an adventure or type of play that resonates with your soul. This isn’t just about creativity; it’s about enriching life and enhancing focus through the joy of dopamine release. The process itself becomes the reward. By lowering stakes and reframing failure, we can shift from being overly serious to being sincerely engaged in our pursuits.

Ask yourself: What would this look like if it were fun?

Confidence is something you learn

Confidence is akin to a switch; a choice we can make before tackling a task. It’s a misconception that confidence is an innate trait. Like a muscle, it strengthens with use. The narratives we tell ourselves often become our reality. Imagine asking, “What would this look like if I approached this task with confidence?” This question alone can pivot our approach, making us more resilient and assertive.

Ask yourself: What would this look like if I approached this task feeling confidence I could do it?

Learn through doing

The potent force of learning through doing cannot be overstated. Embracing the beginner’s mind—with its curiosity, openness, and humility—can transform anyone into an expert. Take inspiration from communal experiences like London’s Writers’ Salon, where synchronized sessions spark energy and motivation. Surrounding ourselves with people who elevate our energy not only boosts our mood but also increases oxytocin, enhancing our social bonds.

Make it happen – Use time blocking

To transform ideas into reality, time blocking is key. It translates our to-do lists into schedules, creating tangible plans for our aspirations. When procrastination strikes, digging into the underlying reasons with the “Unblock method” can reveal both the ‘why’ and ‘when’ of our stalling, paving the way to overcoming these obstacles. Reflecting on our fears—whether they stem from our self-perception or concerns about others’ reactions—can lead to breakthroughs. Adopting positive labels and perhaps even creating an alter ego can empower us to overcome these fears with confidence.

Reduce friction – Make it easy

Minimizing friction—both environmental and emotional—can drastically simplify the journey toward our goals. Implementing the 5-minute rule or identifying the next actionable step can significantly lower the barriers to starting. Importantly, should we falter, self-forgiveness is crucial for moving forward without lingering guilt.

Avoid burnout – Don’t overcommit

Burnout is an all-too-common hazard on the path to productivity. It renders work meaningless and joyless. By not overcommitting and taking regular breaks, we can maintain our mental and physical wellbeing. Recognizing what drains our energy versus what rejuvenates it is crucial. Activities like exercise can invigorate us, whereas doomscrolling or binge-watching can lead to depletion.

CALM – Creative activities to relax

CALM stands for Competence, Autonomy, Liberty, and Mellow—key elements that foster relaxation through creativity. Whether it’s learning new skills, enjoying complete control over an activity, or engaging in low-stakes, mistake-friendly endeavors, these elements encourage a serene and productive mindset. Even nature, or representations of it, can significantly boost our energy and mood.

Think long term

Envisioning our long-term future can align our present actions with our ultimate goals. Books like “Design Your Life” by Burnett encourage us to explore various paths our lives could take, freeing us from the constraints of current circumstances or societal expectations. Planning for the future involves setting specific, actionable steps and celebrating small victories along the way, keeping our immediate focus on what we can control today.

Ask yourself: What do you want to happen? So, what do you have to do now?

Always ask yourself – how’s my mood, energy, and productivity?

Regular check-ins with ourselves about our mood, energy, and productivity levels can guide us in adjusting our strategies and actions. This continuous feedback loop ensures we remain aligned with our goals while taking care of our well-being.

Ali Abdaal’s “Feel Good Productivity” is not just about being productive; it’s about transforming the journey into something joyful, fulfilling, and inherently fun. By adopting a playful mindset, learning through action, fostering confidence, managing time effectively, reducing friction, avoiding burnout, engaging in creative relaxation, and thinking long-term, we can make productivity not just a goal, but a delightful adventure. Remember, productivity is not a destination but a way of living that celebrates progress, curiosity, and, above all, the joy of the journey.

For more insights and practical tips on embracing this approach to productivity, visit Feel Good Productivity.

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