Productivity Masterclass - Principles and Tools to Boost Your Productivity | Ali Abdaal | Skillshare

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Productivity Masterclass - Principles and Tools to Boost Your Productivity

teacher avatar Ali Abdaal, Doctor + YouTuber

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to the Class


    • 2.

      The Class Project


    • 3.

      The Productivity Equation


    • 4.

      The Myth of "I Don't Have Time"


    • 5.

      The Myth of Motivation


    • 6.

      The Myth of Multitasking


    • 7.

      Parkinson's Law


    • 8.

      Pareto Principle


    • 9.

      Newton's First Law of Motion


    • 10.

      The Power of Habits


    • 11.

      The Power of Productive Downtime


    • 12.

      The Power of Productive Procrastination


    • 13.

      The Fun Factor


    • 14.



    • 15.

      The Next Step of Your Productivity Journey


    • 16.

      Exclusive Bonus Materials


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About This Class

This course is a productivity masterclass, the first in a series about my principles of productivity. I want to explore the idea of productivity in more depth - break down the concept into principles and theories as well as laws and powers to provide the foundation to enable us all to understand productivity on a more fundamental level so that we can all work towards living happier, more productive lives.

My FREE Skillshare Bonus Resources
As I mentioned in the course, I’ve now made a bunch of free resources for all of my Skillshare classes, exclusively for my Skillshare students. They’re packed with additional course-related content for every class, and will help you refresh what you’ve learnt, as well as explore some of the other classes you haven’t taken yet. Check it out here


"Being productive is really just about understanding the productivity equation and then figuring out which bits we need to optimise to apply to our own lives".

The Productivity Equation

The first video introduces the productivity equation that serves as a the underlying theme throughout this course. We'll look at the key components including the extra 'ingredient' that I think is often missing in discussions around productivity and I'll introduce the analogy involving the Pilot, the Plane and the Engineer.

Section One - Myths

Following the introduction to the productivity equation, in the first section we'll take a look at three of the key myths that often surround discussions about productivity. We'll explore issues around 'not having enough time', not being able to summon up the motivation as well as the prevalent belief in multitasking.

Section Two - Laws

The second section looks at a triumvirate of key laws associated with productivity. We'll begin by looking at time management linked to Parkinson's law then look at the value in understanding the Pareto Principle before finally exploring how one of the fundamental laws of physics can be usefully applied in the realm of productivity.

Section Three - Powers

The third section moves into the realm of powers - specifically, how we can use the power of habits as well as how we can powerfully leverage our time spent procrastinating or relaxing so that we can improve our productivity more broadly.

The Fun Factor

The final video explores the component of the productivity equation which I think is often missing when people discuss productivity and that is the fun factor. We'll explore how enjoyment is fundamental to our productivity and how a change in mindset towards this enjoyment can have a positive effect on our productivity immediately.


Who am I?

My name is Ali - I'm a doctor working in the UK, and on the side I make YouTube videos about medicine, tech and productivity. Productivity is probably the issue I get asked most often about on my YouTube channel and across social media. Through reading books, blog posts, articles as well as experimenting with numerous techniques myself over the years, I feel that I've developed a bit of knowledge about productivity and that's why I've decided to put together this extensive series of Skillshare classes to share my own knowledge in the realm of productivity and hopefully help us all work towards living happier, healthier and more productive lives.


Other Useful Links:

My website / blog -
My weekly podcast -
Weekly email newsletter -
Instagram -
Twitter -
Facebook -
My Equipment:

Camera Gear -
Keyboard - Wireless Coral mechanical keyboard (Cherry Blue) -
Favourite iPad Screen Protector - Paperlike -

Meet Your Teacher

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Ali Abdaal

Doctor + YouTuber

Top Teacher

Hi there,

I'm Ali, a YouTuber, podcaster, entrepreneur, and online teacher. I graduated from medical school at the University of Cambridge in 2018 and worked as a doctor for two years. Now, I live in London, spending my time making videos, doing podcasts and writing my first non-fiction book.

I started my YouTube journey in 2017, making videos about study techniques and my medical school experience. The channel grew dramatically over the next few years, and I started making videos about broader topics like productivity, wealth, and how to lead a happier, more fulfilled life. This journey on YouTube, along with my love of teaching, led me to where I am now with a wide range of courses on Skillshare.

If you'd like to find out more, please do follow my Skillshare profi... See full profile

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Productivity Time Management
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1. Welcome to the Class: Being productive is really just a matter of understanding the productivity equation and then figuring out which bits of it we need to optimize to apply to our own lives. Hi everyone. My name is Ali, and I'm a doctor working full-time in the UK's National Health Service. On the side, I've got a YouTube channel, a weekly podcast, a weekly e-mail newsletter, a blog, and three businesses that all generate varying degrees of passive income, and on top of that, I teach physiology to medical students at the University of Cambridge, and I dabble with guitar, piano, singing, close-up magic, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. The reason I mentioned all those things, which I apologize, it's super cringe, but the reason I mentioned all of that is because the commonest question I get on my YouTube channel, through Twitter, Instagram, e-mail, is, how do you manage to do all of this stuff? I've decided that I'm going to basically share every single thing I know about productivity through these series of classes. To be honest, there's nothing new here. I'm not original, I'm not special in any way. I've just been a massive productivity note for years and years, like over a decade, and I've read so many books and listened to so many podcasts and stuff about productivity, and I've managed to apply the lessons from those to my own life to make myself more productive. In this class, I'll be sharing those lessons with you, those words of wisdom from people far more successful and more intelligent than me, about how we can be more productive. In these series of classes we'll be diving to the principles, the strategies, and the tools for productivity, and we'll be talking about the productivity equation as a theme that's running through all of this, and we'll be talking about the mental model of the pilots, the plane, and the engineer. But in this class, this is going to be the first one in the series, we're going to focus on the fundamental principles. We are going to be talking about the three myths of productivity, the three laws of productivity, and the three powers of productivity, and I'll be introducing you to the productivity equation, and we can figure out which bits of it we can tweak to apply to our own lives to make ourselves more productive. Along with discussing the theoretical principles, I'll also be sharing various actionable tips like things that I found helpful and that I actually do in my own life in relation to these three laws, three myths, and three powers of productivity, things that I do in my own life to help me to juggle all these various things at a reasonably decent level while also not getting fully stressed and not getting burned out completely and still maintaining a social life and try to be healthy and active and stuff. Then in the rest of the courses in the series we're going to be diving deep into the actionable strategies, the tactics, all the different ways of optimizing our pilot, plane, and engineer, and we'll be spending a lot of time talking about productivity apps and the best tools and resources for the job. But in this class, we are focusing on the high level principles, the high leverage things that if we can genuinely apply these to our own lives, our productivity will be increased by orders of magnitude. Hopefully you'll find something in here that's somewhat useful to boost your productivity. Thank you for watching this trailer, and hopefully I'll see you on the other side. 2. The Class Project: Before we dive in, I just want to tell you a little bit about the class project, and I'm going to use an example from my life as a doctor to illustrate this. Basically, when we're in med school, we have this long syllabus of things to memorize, and it's just a case of understanding it, and memorizing it, and that's all well and good. That tactic works for medical school where there is a defined curriculum. But when you graduate and you've become a doctor, and I've been a doctor for the last two years. Being a good doctor is not really about how much medical knowledge you have because everyone has a baseline knowledge and we have guidelines for basically everything. You don't really need to think too much and call on your vast medical knowledge when you were a doctor, instead being a good doctor is much more about the softer skills. Communication, empathy, leadership, teamwork, managing pressure, handling uncertainty, coping with difficult emotional situations, all of those things that we would tell people in interviews to med school that, yeah, it's really important to communicate well is a doctor. Then you don't really think about it too much until you come out the other end and you realize, Oh, my God, yeah, that there is a night and day difference between a doctor who communicates well and a doctor who doesn't communicate well. If we want to become good doctors, we need to figure out a way of improving the soft skills over time, and one of the ways that we do that is something called reflective practice, and that is what we're going to be doing in this class as the class project because improving our productivity as much as we don't like to admit it, is not really about finding the perfect app, like it doesn't actually matter. There is no defined curriculum. It's a lot like being a doctor in that sense where actually, if we're being honest with ourselves, we know that we would be more productive if we could master our internal habits, and states, and if we could just have a bit more control over ourselves, as opposed to finding that perfect app or memorizing this chunk of information. I think reflective writing and reflective practice is a very good way of improving these soft skills within ourselves, and that's what this project is about. For the project, it's nothing complicated. Basically, at the end of each of the next videos that you're going to see, there's going to be a journaling slash writing prompt, which you should think about and then actively write answers to. The more you actively engage with this, the more you'll get out of this class because I know how it works. We're all interested in productivity, that's why we're here. We think, productivity videos, let me watch those videos, and then we get this burst of motivation for an hour, and then we go back to being wise men the following day. The way to actually improve the soft skills like we do in medicine, is to actively reflect on what we're doing and what our own internal states are, and think about how we responded in a certain way, and think about what we could do differently next time, think about what's good about the way that we responded. This soft things that we all hate doing because it's just a bit of a drag, but it's actually the thing that moves the needle. I would highly encourage you, don't move on to the next video and watching this class at double speed, which you might be tempted to do, especially if you're into productivity, instead really think about at the end of each video, actually writing answers to the questions that we've got. If you want, and I would encourage you to do this, you can share them in the class project section. I think it's nice because it shows that we're all in the same boat. I've shared some of my answers in there as well so you can see that as much as I make classes about productivity, obviously I don't have all the answers. I'm not like this productivity guru or something. I struggled just as much as everyone else. But I think by doing this reflective writing stuff like we do in medicine, we can all improve our productivity. That is a class project that is what I would encourage you to do. Thank you for bearing with me this far, and enjoy the first proper video in this class about the productivity equation, and I'll see you there. 3. The Productivity Equation: Hello, welcome to the class. Let's just dive into it and let's start off with the productivity equation. This is basically informs how I think about productivity and what the different areas of productivity that we can target with targeted interventions, what there's different areas are. What does productivity actually mean? Well, back in the day and the whole industrial revolution, agriculture and all that stuff. Productivity was the amount of production per factory or per worker for a given day. There's something to do with the amount of production and something to do with per unit of something. These days, we don't really think of productivity as being per worker because it's usually personal productivity that we're talking about. Instead, we think of productivity as being how much work we can get done in the smallest amount of time possible, and so those are the basic components of a productivity equation. Anyway, productivity equals output divided by time. The more output we can generate, the more productive we are, the less time that we can generate it in the more productive we are. There's two components of the productivity equation, but there are two more and they're arguably the more important ones. Firstly, we need to recognize that there's no point in being productive, if we are not being productive about the right things. Like, you could just end up on a treadmill which is spinning your legs and like doing lots of exercise and stuff. But if your objective is to get somewhere and you're on a treadmill, then you're not really getting anywhere, all you're doing it burning energy. It's a similar concept in productivity. We want to be doing things efficiently and we're going to be doing lots of things, but we also want to be doing the right things, and so the third component of the equation, productivity equals useful output over time in recognizes that the output has to be useful in some way and goes towards our long-term goals or our vision for life or whatever we want. But the point is we have to think about actually doing the right things, and the final aspect of the productivity equation, which is like I've never really seen talked about, is something I came up with a few days ago, which I'm very proud of. F. F is a constant that is applied to the entire equation of productivity and F is the fun factor. This is actually probably the most important things because if I really think about it, the reason why I'm so productive and do all these things on the side on top of being a doctor. Because everything I do, I really enjoyed doing when stuff is fun, it no longer feels like work, and when stuff is fun, it bleeds into all the other elements of productivity. It means that we don't have to worry about motivation, consistency, willpower, discipline, or that stuff. Because it's fun. Like We don't need motivation to watch Netflix or hanging out with friends because it's fun equally, if we can make the useful output, if we can make efficiency, if we can make our productive tasks enjoyable, it just super charges absolutely everything, and so these four aspects of the equation are the things that we can target with interventions, and we're going to be coming back to this equation as we go throughout this class. While we hear there is another concept that I want to bring forward, and that's another mental model for thinking about productivity, and the reason why we're thinking about productivity to begin with is because, it's all very fun and nice going after, this productivity apps will change your life. But actually, it's a lot more about the habit formation. It's about how we are being productive rather than what we are using to be productive, and we'll talk more about absence stuff in this class and in a future class dedicated just to productivity apps because everyone loves that stuff. I'm a huge productivity app node. But actually the mental model is even more important, and the mental model for productivity is threefold. The analogy that are used to describe this, and that my brother helped me come up with, is the pilot and the plane, imagine we've got a pilot. The pilot's job is to set the course of the plane, to pilot the plane, to figure out what direction the plane is heading in, and then we've got the plane, and the planes job is to be an airplane to follow the course, not deviate too much to be able to take off efficiently, to be able to land properly, safely without killing anyone, and to be able to follow the directions of the pilot without deviation, and hopefully you might be able to see where we're going with this analogy. Because the plane is us most of the time, I would say that maybe about probably 80 percent of our time should be in plain mode, where we're just following the instructions, the pilot set, and maybe about 10 percent of our time should be in pilot mode. Maybe even 15 percent of our time in pilot mode, which is the small moments in the day when we have clarity about what our vision, what our purposes, what we want to be doing for the day. For me, that's usually first thing in the morning. I do my morning dump, which is what I call when I get my notebook out and just write down all the things that have to do for the day. This is where sometimes in the evenings I will figure out what I want to do the following day. That's me being a pilot and actively piloting my life. But then once I've made that decision for the rest of the day, I don't care about the pilot. I'm not wasting energy trying to decide what I should be doing with my time. Instead, I'm just being the plane for 80 percent of the time. I am the plane. I'm executing on the instructions of the pilot. The pilot gives instructions to the plane. These are like different roles that we take throughout the day at different times, and I would suggest that 10 percent of the time as pilot, 80 percent of the time is plan,. and then you might be wondering, what about the other 10 percent of the time? The other 10 percent of the time is what I'd like to call the engineer, and the job of the engineers threefold. Firstly, the engineer needs to make sure that the plane is efficient. He needs to make sure the plane is doing its activities in a time-efficient manner. Secondly, the engineer needs to make sure that the plane is fuel efficient. I guess not using excessive energy, its not using too much energy. It's, it's able to conserve fuel when it needs to. Thirdly, the job of the engineers to keep the entire system organized, that would be things like writing out a to do list or sorting out your favorite productivity app for quick capture and all these things that we are going to talk about. But the job of the engineer feeds into the job of the pilot and the job of the plane. Hence the dotted line going to pilot, and I would suggest that maybe we spend five to 10 percent of our time on being the engineer, on actively implementing and maintaining the organizational systems and the various principal strategies and tools to make everything that we do more efficient, and so you'll see that the pilot in the plane and the engineered ties into a productivity equation. The pilot is one who sets the course, who sets the direction of the plane. Let's put that in green, and that is the useful components of the productivity question. The pilot makes sure we are doing the right things. It makes sure it's useful output that we ought not outputting. Next we have the plane, which is 80 percent of the time. The majority of our time is spent executing the orders of the pilot, and that is the output bit of the productivity equation. Finally, we have the engineer. The engineer's job is to make sure everything is efficient, organized, and fuel efficient. That is the time component of the productivity equation. When we're trying to increase our productivity, we can recognize that, actually it's not about increasing our productivity as a whole. It's about recognizing, do we need to work on the piloting? Do we need to work on a plane or do we need to work as are engineered to improve those different abilities? Then where fun comes into it, is that fun just ties into absolutely everything. If we can enjoy what we're doing, then being a pilot is more fun. Being an engineer is more fun, and being a plane is infinitely more fun. Because the work is enjoyable, it's not something that we have to talk ourselves into doing, and so that is the productivity equation, and in the rest of this class we are going to be talking about various principles. We've got the three myths, the three laws and the three powers. I'll be explaining the theory behind those principles, but then also some practical tips that you can apply them to your life from today. Because as I said, productivity and being more productive is about changing your habits and to changing your skill set, you're better pilot, you're a better engineer and you're a better plane. Probably being the most important because that's the time, that's most of the time that we spend in our life, and then in future classes will really be going deep into the woods of this whole pilot plane engineer stuff, and I'll be sharing all the advanced and intermediate strategies, principles, tools, and stuff to help us become better part of planes and engineers. But for now we're going to focus on the abstract high-level principles and also some general practical actionable advice about how we can apply them to our own lives. That was a productivity equation. Thank you so much for watching and I'll see you in the next video. Our first class project, journaling prompt is which do I struggle with most of all, the pilot, the plane, or the engineer. What specific ways, and I'd really encourage you to try and be as specific as possible. Because it's only when we're really honest with ourselves and actually identify what we're trying to improve, that we can actually improve on it. That's the first journaling prompt, could you please write out your answers to that and then save them somewhere for yourself or share in the class project section down below, or if you want, you can write them all in one place. Then when he finished with the class, you can post them to the class project. It's entirely up to you. But yeah, I hope you have fun with that one. 4. The Myth of "I Don't Have Time": In this section of the class, we are talking about the three myths of productivity. The first myth is the myth of I don't have time. In fact, in the words of 17th century British politician William Penn, time is what we want most, but what we use worst. I would completely agree with that. This video applies to me even though I consider myself pretty productive, I still don't use my time as efficiently as I could. But the myth of time is this idea that the phrase, I don't have time is a complete myth. Because the way that I like to think about it is that our time is entirely within our control. Anytime we are doing something and not doing something else, we have actively chosen to make that decision about how to spend our time. So it's very easy to say, I don't have time when someone asks us to do something or when we're telling ourselves, I'm tempted to give the excuse that I don't have time to go to the gym, but actually, that's a complete lie. I do have the time. It's just that going to the gym is not high enough on my priority list. I'm actively choosing not to make the time to go to the gym because my time is entirely within my control and almost whatever position you are in, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances while watching this video, chances are your time is a lot more in your control then you actually think it is. I remember when I first started applying this to my life, it was a very liberating thought because it made me realize that actually I can just do whatever I want. It's not the case that I don't have time to learn coding or make websites, or making YouTube channel even though I'm a medical student or start a podcast, even though I've got all this other stuff going on or studies, business, it's not that I don't have the time. It's that I'm actively choosing not to make the time. Because going back to a productivity equation, all the stuff that I choose to do with my time is fun. It means that it's exactly what I choose to do, and it just makes the whole thing so much simpler. In fact, I think we would all be so much more productive and this is what I say whenever anyone asks me, what are your top tips for productivity? I say that we want to eliminate the phrase, I don't have time from our vocabulary. These days, for the last few years, I just don't even think of the phrase, I don't have time. I don't even think of time as a concept really, because again, it's not a case of being limited by time, it's a case of being limited by the choices that we make with our time. So for me, the thing that I struggle with is making the time to go to the gym. If I had the right kind of incentive, if you offer me a million pounds every time I went to the gym, I would jolly well go to the gym. It's not that I don't have the time. It's that I'm actively choosing not to make the time. Therefore if I'm, for example, choosing to watch Netflix for four hours in the evening rather than make a YouTube video, that's an active choice that I made. Given that it's an active choice I made, I can then simply choose to do something else. This might be an ideal, an ideal to strive towards. But the more we practice this idea that our time is within our control, the more we build the muscle of appropriate time management. That was a general theory that a, we want to be scrubbing this phrase, I don't have time from our vocabulary. If we even think about ever using that phrase ever again, we want to slap ourselves in the face metaphorically and tell ourselves no, "I'm not allowed to use that phrase." I'm going to reframe I don't have time as I'm actively choosing not to make the time. Sometimes if we're politely declining something, it's reasonable to be like I'm sorry, I just don't have time for that. Even then, I don't like to use that phrase. I say, "I'm sorry. I've got a lot on my plate right now. I don't quite have the bandwidth." It trains my brain into never using time as an excuse for not doing something that I actually want to do. That was the theory. Now, here's some practical tips for applying this. Firstly, as I said, scrub the phrase, I don't have time from our vocabulary. Secondly, if we are tempted to think that I don't have time therefore I'm unproductive. It's actually quite helpful to do an exercise where it for just a few days or even a week or even two weeks, if you can manage it, really just write down exactly what you are doing with your time. I think that Matt D'Avella who's a big YouTuber, he's got a video talking about how he tracked every minute of his day for a whole month. If Matt can do it for a month, we can all do it for a few days or a week. When I did that exercise, this was five, six years ago when I was first really trying to scrub the phrase "I don't have time" from my vocabulary when I was in medical school. When I did that exercise, I realized just how much time I was wasting every single day because we have 24 hours in a day. Most of us sleep seven hours or eight hours. Let's say we sleep eight hours. That leaves 16 hours. Let's say we're at school and we're at school from nine till three, that still leaves eight-ish hours in the day where we can do whatever we want. So if we really ask ourselves, how did I spend these eight hours of my life this last week? We realized that most of us did a hell of a lot of procrastinating. We probably watched a lot of Netflix. We watched a lot of YouTube videos that we didn't need to. We scroll through Instagram for absolutely ages, then you screen time feature on phones is particularly helpful for that because you can be like, "Oh, damn, I swear I only checked Instagram like a few times that day." Then you realize you spent two hours and 45 minutes just scrolling through Instagram and replying to a few DMs. So that exercise of actually tracking what you're doing with your time every day just for a week is incredibly helpful because it makes us realize just how much time we all have available to do various things. In fact, right over here, I have a very good book. This is Make time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. It was actually part of my e-mail newsletter which you should sign up to, link in the video description and stuff and the whole thesis of the book. Do you ever wonder, what did I really do today? Do you ever day dream about products and activities you'll get to someday, but someday never comes? We all wish for more hours in the day. We all struggled to make time for what matters. We start each day with the best intentions, but then the hours get swallowed up by back-to-back meetings, non-stop e-mail chains in the infinite stream of social media updates. Sometimes it feels frazzled and distracted has become our default state. But what if you could step off the hamster wheel and start taking control of your time and your attention. These guys built Google's design sprints and they coach teams and how to be more productive in business and stuff. In this book, it's very easy to read book. It's very colorful and nice. They basically got like a 100 different tips and tricks. But the main thesis is that we can make time because our time is ultimately with our control. What we choose to do with it is within our control. Watching this productivity class is one step in the right direction we can make the time. Time is not something that is actively limiting us. It's not something that we just don't have. It's something that we can utilize more effectively. I remember there was a medical student at Cambridge who was a few years above me, however they're really looked up to. He was very good at medicine and very nice. He could sing and play the guitar very well. One day, I was hanging out with him and he was taking this Arabic course alongside. I was like mate, how do you have the time to do all this? He said, "Well, time is like a muscle. The more you squeeze into it and the more you use it well, the more it grows and the more you realize you can actually fit in with your time." I was like, " Oh damn, that's a really good analogy." Now I think of my time as a muscle. The more I can squeeze into my time, the more efficient I can be with it, the more actually my brain expands in the sense that I can then do more things with the limited time that I have available because ultimately we all have the same 24 hours in the day. Elon Musk have the same 24 hours in a day than you and me, but he's probably ten times more productive. It's not because he's special in any way, it's just because he does the right things and does it efficiently and he recognizes the pilot, the plane, and the engineering and knows what the interventions are to make ourselves more productive. That was principal number one, the myth of I don't have time. From now on please stop using the phrase that I don't have time. Don't even say it to yourself. Don't say to anyone else out loud. It is not allowed. It's completely forbidden. It's completely haram. I don't have time is a myth. That was principal number one. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video. Journaling prop number two is what am I avoiding with the phrase, I don't have time? Again, write out your answers to this. It can be in paper or on notion, on Word or typed up, however you want. Then there's an optional action point here. That's something that I alluded to in the video, which is really that it's really quite helpful if we do this time tracking exercise. The idea is that you spend a week writing down exactly what you spend your time doing. Literary log everything that you do and for how long. You can do that on Google calendar or any calendar app. Then at the end of the week, you want to reflect on what you're spending your time on. I define that there's long periods where you're wasting time scrolling through Instagram and other changes that you could make to how you're currently spending your time. That would make you spend your time more in line with the ways that you actually want to spend your time, but that's just an optional bet. Feel free to move on once you've done the writing prompt, What am I avoiding doing with the phrase I don't have time? Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video. 5. The Myth of Motivation: All right, so we've talked about the myth of time and the phrase, I don't have time. Let's not talk about the second myth of productivity and that is the myth of motivation. This is another mental model that I think I first stumbled across this above five or six years ago. The day I discovered this mental model, it genuinely changed the game for me in terms of how I think about productivity. Just learning about this made me, I think, significantly more productive than I would have been otherwise. That's the idea that motivation is a myth. What is motivation? Let's take a step back and do another diagram again. For me, it's the thing that I struggle with is going to the gym. But for a lot of students who tend to be most of my audience, it tends to be sitting down to study for the exam. You would start with the thought. The thought would be something like I should study. That would be the thought that crosses it into our mind. At some point, we would get potentially the action which is actually studying and sitting down and opening the book. Using Anki or using the retrospective revision timetable, I've got a whole Skillshare class on this. Actually about how to study for exams, link in the video description, you can check it out. It's very good, if I say so myself. Anyway, we start off with the thought of I should study and then at some point, we might get to the action of actually studying. Partly the whole point of the productivity thing, unlike watching at first like this is you want to get from the thought to the action, ideally, without too much problem in-between. But actually the thing that a lot of us struggle with. I did a poll on my Instagram story where I asked, what are your productivity was? Like 2,000 people replied to this poll and at least half the answers was something to do with I really struggle to get started, I really struggle to find the motivation to do the thing that I know I should do. We know we should study, but the actual studying, we tend not to do. Why is that? There's a few different reasons for it, but the word motivation comes into here now. The word motivation comes in-between the thought and the action. Motivation would be the middleman. What is motivation? Motivation is the feeling of wanting to do something like I feel like studying. We've got I should study. Then the motivation bit is I feel like studying and then the action bit is actually doing the studying. More actually, it's probably I feel like studying right now. We will study when we feel like it. We will watch Netflix when we feel like it. We all play sports or hangout with our friends or watch videos on YouTube when we feel like it, but that's where the motivation comes in. We think we have to feel like doing the thing before we do the thing. Thought goes to motivation, which goes to action, is kind of the traditional procrastinators, non-productive person's view of the motivation equation. But the whole point of this class is to make us more productive. Going back to our actual productivity equation, productivity equals useful output over time multiplied by the fun factor. But in order to actually get the output bit, we actually have to get started. That is where the motivation equation comes in. That's where we have a problem going back to our pilot plane and engineer analogy. It's all very well being a pilot and setting my course that today I'm going to get five of my subject of chemistry done. Today I'm going to prepare for that physiology supervision that I'm giving later this to this day. It's all very well setting that course as the pilot. But then as the actual plane, we all struggle to take off. We struggle to actually get the plane off the ground, actually sit down and do the work. Because we think about motivation in this way, and this is the wrong way to think about motivation. This is a myth. Motivation is a myth. Instead, in an ideal world, what would actually happen is that we would have the thought, I should study, and that would directly lead to the action regardless of how we are feeling, motivation is fundamentally a feeling and relying on our feelings as a way of setting our course in life and getting what we need to done, is a recipe for disaster because feelings are temporary, feelings are fleeting. Feelings don't last very long. They're transient. Take all the synonyms for fleeting that you want. Feelings are temporary, they're unreliable. Our feelings change moment-to-moment depending on the time of day, depending on the time of month, depending on the time of year, depending on what's going on in our lives, feelings are not a reliable way to get anything done. Instead, we should just have the thought and we should go to action. Some people might describe that thing as discipline. When you have discipline, you go directly from thought to action regardless of how you're feeling. If we want to be more productive, this is the secret, if there is a secret, of getting started with anything, it's recognizing that motivation is a myth. We don't need motivation. All we need is the thought and the action. Through discipline, through willpower, whatever you want to call it from the thought will lead to the action. Now, there's a great post on a random website called Wisdomination. I haven't read much of the stuff on this website. I've tried, but it's not really my thing. But they've got a fantastic post called "Screw motivation, what you need is discipline." This was the post that I read years and years ago and when I first came across this, it genuinely blew my mind because it was the first time I'd seen the motivation equation in this context that motivation is the thing in between thought and action. Actually we should just use discipline to go all the way. They say on the website, which I'll paraphrase the quote, they say that motivation relies on the erroneous assumption that we need to feel like doing the thing that we're doing before we actually do it. They also say on the website, a three-year-old does what it feels like doing. An adult does what an adult knows it should or an adult who does his duty or her duty. A three-year-old does what they feel like. An adult does what they need to do. When we're thinking about productivity and when we're thinking about getting stuff done, we want to act like the adults here. We don't want to be a slave to our three-year-old self. I think Tim Urban, the guy behind the Wait But Why blog has a good mental model for this. He's got a very good talk about the procrastinators dilemma and inside the mind of a master procrastinator. He talks about how in our minds we've got this three-year-old little baby that's like wailing for attention and relying on its feelings. I need to feel like doing this thing. Otherwise I'm not going to do it. The main reason why we love watching stuff by improving productivity, the objective is to quash that three-year-old so that it's irrelevant. Actually we do what the adult inside us wants us to do, which is the thought of I should study or for me, I should go to the gym. I personally don't really have any problems with studying because I quite enjoy it. That ties into a whole fun thing. The fun factor, the fun factor bleeds into all aspects of the productivity equation. Because if we can enjoy what we're doing, we don't need motivation for it anymore. Like when was the last time you said I need motivation to watch Netflix? You really don't. We need to do motivation. In fact, usually we only need motivation to do the things that are short-term painful and long-term useful. For me, it's things like going to the gym, short-term pain, long-term useful. Stretching, short-term pain, long-term useful, eating healthily, learning how to cook, these sorts of things where it's potentially unpleasant in the moment, but I know it's going to lead to greater rewards further down the line. There's a few different problems with this. Understanding where these problems are allows us to target the interventions to hack our motivation. We've talked about the theory of it. Now let's now go into some practical tips. Essentially, there's two aspects of the equation that we can target. There is the action itself and then there's the outcome. Usually the problem with things that require motivation is usually that the outcome is a long time in the future. We don't have a very good feedback loop. If, for example, I went to the gym one day and immediately I saw an increase in the size of my biceps, I will be going to the gym every day. We all would, because the feedback loop is immediate. We get that reward, we get that dopamine hit. As the author of The Motivation Myth, which is a very good book, says, success leads to motivation, which leads to success, which leads to motivation. We start off with these little successes and that makes us become more motivated. If we see the success of I did a bicep curl and my bicep increased in size, I'm like yes, I automatically look better. Then of course I'd be doing bicep curls all day everyday because I can see the successes. But usually we need motivation for the things where the feedback loop is significantly longer. For example, like healthy eating, it's so hard to lose weight because we deprive ourselves of that McDonald's drive-through. That's something that I struggle with a lot back when McDonald's was open prior to the lock down. Depending on when you're watching this, we would deprive ourselves of the chips and immediately we would lose weight. If the feedback loop were that tight, no one would have a problem with keeping wait down. But we do because the feedback loop is too long. I've rumbled on long enough. Basically, there's a few different ways we can target the motivation myth. Number 1 is focusing on the action, and Number 2 is focusing on the outcome. Now, let's think about the action. I think there are two ways of dealing with this. Way Number 1 is to make the action more pleasurable. We said that we don't struggle with motivation to watch Netflix. What is it about Netflix? That means we don't need motivation to watch it. It's fun. We enjoy watching Netflix. Why do I not struggle with the motivation to study? Because it's fun. I enjoy studying. If we can make the action more fun or more pleasurable, as I'm going to write down over here. Making the action more pleasurable, makes us more likely to do the thing. This is pretty standard stuff. If you enjoy doing something, then you'll just be far more likely to do it. For me, the ways that I hack my brain into thinking that I'm enjoying something is by genuinely making it more fun for myself. For example, when I'm studying, I make sure I've got my Spotify study with me playlist in my headphones on my air pods in the background or whatever. Yes, the evidence does sort of say that probably studying with music is slightly sub-optimal compared to studying in silence, but studying with music, I've got concerning hotbeds or the parts of the Caribbean theme tune or like the interstellar soundtrack banging in my headphones, that just makes it like four times more fun to study. Therefore, I'm more than happy to take that slight hit of efficiency and optimization of my studying and memory and stuff because it's made it fun, it makes it more pleasurable. That means I'm more likely to do it. Equally for me, when I go to the gym, the reason that I fairly regularly go to the gym is because I've made it fun. The way I've made it fun is by firstly turning it into a game where I track my workouts and every week I try and do better than I did the week before. It turns it into a personal game with myself. I'm not competing against anyone else. I don't really care what that dude over there is benching. What I care about is getting slightly better than the week before. As soon as I started just tracking the numbers of my gym workouts, suddenly it just gave me the motivation to go to the gym far more often because it became a game. Equally when it comes to studying for exams. I turned studying into exams, a game that I'm playing with myself. That sounds a bit weird, a game that I'm playing with myself, but I'm sort of in friendly competition with my friends. Friendly competition in that it's just interesting, like playing a board game. Exams are like playing a board game and that you're competing against your friends. But like in a friendly sort of way. I treat exams like I'm playing a game with myself. I'm trying to get the best mark I can. It's interesting to see what Paul or Jake, Amalia, Catherine, or Coulomb got just because it's fun. All these things are making it more pleasurable. Step Number 1 is if you're struggling with the motivation to do anything and this is a problem in your life, think very hard about how you can make the action more pleasurable. Make it fun for yourself. Again, using the example of studying, which is something we all struggle with. I go to different libraries and different coffee shops around Cambridge and I give myself a budget of 20-30 pounds a day. Feel free to adjust that depending on how much cash you have, in terms of the amount of money I'm allowed to burn on just buying lattes because ordering a latte every two hours makes it more pleasurable to study. Taking an Instagram photo from above for the gram makes it more pleasurable. All these things are making studying more pleasurable. Anyway, we've talked about more pleasurable. The other thing we can target is we can make the consequences of inaction more painful. What does this mean? We've all had this thought when we've got an assignment, or an essay, or a piece of homework, or some presentation at work. We've got that due the following day, and we know that if we don't get it done by tomorrow, bad things are going to happen. We might fail our exams, we might have to have a meeting with our headmaster. Our boss is going to shout to us, whatever context you're living in, but we all know what it's like to have a deadline that we're working towards. Usually, we get the thing done if we have a deadline. The reason we get the thing done is because at that point, the consequences of not doing the thing outweigh the pain of actually doing thing in the first place. Again, thinking about how we can hack the motivation equation, we need to figure out ways in which to make not doing the action more painful. For example, one really easy way of doing this that almost no one does, but that everyone who tries says it works absolutely wonders, is by putting money on the line. We all hate losing money. There's so much psychological evidence. In fact, we don't even need psychology evidence. We all hate losing money. The pain of losing $100 or 100 pounds is far worse than the joy of gaining 100 pounds because of the utility function, because of how our brains work, we all hate losing money. There are websites like or things like that where you can literally put money on the line, and if you don't do the thing, then that money disappears. But putting money on the line is a really easy way of doing it. If I really cared about going to the gym, what I could do and what would absolutely work wonders is, I could say to my housemate Molly. I could say Molly, here's a check for 5,000 pounds. If there is a single day this week for the next year that I don't go to the gym, unless I have a very good reason, you can cash that check and do whatever you want with the money. All of a sudden, I'm putting my money where my mouth is. I'm making the consequences of inaction very painful. I know that if there is a single day where I don't go to the gym without a very good reason, Molly is going to cash that check and I'm going to lose 5,000 pounds. That's a lot of money for me. That's a lot of money for anyone. That would be a very easy way to hack the motivation equation. You're watching this, if you're really struggling with motivation, if you're really saying to yourself and to others that I don't have the motivation to study, why not put money on the line? This is an interesting question because if we think about this, think about it right now. Would you really put half of your life savings on the line in return for making sure you do the thing? Probably not. It probably feels like quite an uncomfortable thing to do. Even thinking about writing Molly a check for 5,000 pounds, it makes me feel very uncomfortable, even though I know it would make me get the work done. The reason it's making me feel uncomfortable it's probably because I actually don't want to go to the gym that much. I might tell myself I should go to the gym, but actually fundamentally, I don't want to. It doesn't actually align with my goals for life to tell Molly that if unless I go to the gym every single day, you can keep the 5,000 pounds. There's different ways of doing this, there's different websites. I'll put some links in the product and resources section, but this is a very easy way to hack our brains into being motivated to do stuff by making the consequences of inaction more painful. Two more things. There are two things that we can affect where the outcome. Firstly, we can shorten the feedback loop. That's the example that I took of going to the gym. If suddenly we became much more hinge, then the feedback loop would be very short and we would enjoy going to the gym. As humans, we love short feedback loops, that's why playing sports is very pleasurable because as soon as you've done the action, you see the feedback, you see what's going on. You see the squash ball bouncing off a wall and you think that was a good short or that was a bad shot and you adjust it. We love learning, that's how our brains are wired. Anything we can do to shorten feedback loops is going to make us more motivated to do the thing. Like I said, the way that I do this practically speaking is that, everything that I need to do that I don't want to do, I turn it into a game. For example, with the gym, the feedback loop is no longer how big are my biceps getting, a feedback loop is, have I lifted more weight than I did last week? That's a short feedback loop. What I'm benching these days it's like 70 kilograms or something. I really try and bench that 70 kilograms, and the following week, if I can get 72.5 kilograms, that will be a dopamine hit. I'll release some endorphins, I'll feel good about myself. It's a short feedback loop, and therefore, I'm more likely to do it. Whatever you're struggling with motivation wise, think hard about how do you shorten the feedback loop? The problem with studying for exams is that, let's say we're 15 and doing O levels of GCSEs or whatever. You're thinking, I need to do this work because I need to get good grades my GCSEs, because then ultimately that'll help me get into a better university, which will help me get better life outcomes or will make me happier in the long run. Those assumptions break down at various intervals, but the point is, it's a very long feedback loop, especially if really young in secondary school. It's really hard as someone as an 11-year-old in the seventh grade in year seven in the UK, to really get motivated to do your homework because the thing you're optimizing for is five years into the future. Ultimately, it's all about your O level results. That feedback loop is way too long. If you can turn it into a game, make it more fun, make it more interesting in some way that shortens the feedback loop, and that hacks this motivation equation. Finally, another thing that hacks it is making the outcome more salient. What do I mean by that? Salience is just making the outcome more clear in our minds, and that's partly why I think students enjoy watching study with me videos or enjoy watching YouTubers who are at the universities they want to go to. When I used to make vlogs about life as a Cambridge University Medical Student, loads of people who wanted to be in that position would watch those videos and feel motivated, feel inspired. I think the reason for that is that, it's increasing the salience of the outcome. If I was a 15-year-old wanting to study medicine at Cambridge, and I saw an 18-year-old YouTuber talking about what it's like studying medicine at Cambridge, it would make the outcome much more clear in my mind. Coming back to motivation, I could use that as motivation to help me do my homework because I know what it's like. I'd see the life of a Cambridge medical student and think this is what I want. Equally for me, I don't struggle with this thing anymore because there isn't really a lifestyle that I aspire to as such. But for me, the thing that I struggle with is eating healthily and going to the gym. Watching a YouTuber like Alex Costa who looks great. His men's fashion advice is amazing, his hair's really nice. He's really toned, good-looking guy. Watching Alex Costa motivates me to work out more because I see what a six pack looks like and think it'd be nice to have that six-pack, and therefore, increases the salience of the outcome, it makes me more likely to go to the gym. Now, all of these tactics are all based around trying to hack motivation. But as I said, the ideal scenario is that we don't need the motivation in the first place, we scrub the word motivation from our vocabulary and we just rely on discipline. We have the thought and we do the action. In an ideal world, I would not need motivation. I wouldn't need to watch Alex Costa of videos or follow Gymshark Instagram accounts. I wouldn't need that to go to the gym in an ideal world, but I'm only human, we're not perfect. I'm trying to get better at this, and it's a muscle that we can all get better at. Really trying to scrub the word motivation from our vocabulary and instead relying on discipline to just get us through. We have the thought, we do the action. It's like going to work. I don't need the motivation to go to work sometimes. I'll be honest with you, even though I'm a doctor, I wake up in the morning and I'm like I really can't be bothered to go to work today. But do I require myself to feel like going to work before going to work? Absolutely not. I'm a professional, I do the job. I get up, I go to work whether or not I feel like it. I think for me if I can treat my physical health and eating healthy and going to the gym and taking care of my posture, if I can treat those things with the same level of professionalism that I bring to going to work or writing my weekly email newsletter, then my life would become 10 times better, and that would compound so much over the long term. We all need to treat our own interests with as much professionalism as we treat the interests of other people. That was why motivation is a myth. There's a very good book called The Motivation Myth. I'm blanking on who the author is, but we'll put a link over here in the video's description section wherever it is. You should definitely read that, and I'll link the wiz domination article about motivation. If you are the thoughts of motivation, because this is genuinely something we all struggle with, and I've been going on for like 20 minutes now about motivation, but I think it's just so important that we really get the idea of motivation clear in our heads. We can hack it by doing these things, but ultimately recognize that the gold standard is that we should not need motivation at all, because ultimately motivation is a myth. That was it. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video. You know the drill by this point. Number 3 is, what's a goal that I want to achieve? How can I make the process more pleasurable? Can I increase my odds of hitting the goal by putting money on the line? How can I make the outcomes more tangible and desirable? This sounds like a lot of questions, but quite a lot of these can have just one or two line answers. It's very quick to do. But I think taking the time to do this will just encourage us to think more in this way in everything that we do, and therefore, help us be more happier, healthier, and productive, which is like my spiel. Anyway, thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video. 6. The Myth of Multitasking: We've talked about the myth of time and the myth of motivation. Let's now talk about the myth of multitasking, and that is the third productivity myth, and by multitasking, we basically mean task switching. There's all sorts of evidence that shows that when we switch from one task to another and then back to the first, we have what's called an attention residue. Some of our attention is actually still thinking about the thing that we just switched from. Basically, one of the key ideas in productivity and being more productive is recognizing that focusing on one thing at a time is just infinitely better than trying to multitask and just do multiple things. Because it feels productive to, for example, be doing something on Microsoft Word and then flip onto your e-mail and do something else then reply to someone over there and something over there. Doing all this task switching is ultimately a lot less productive than focusing on the thing we need to do, turning off notifications while we're doing it, then doing our e-mails maybe once or twice a day, and then doing another thing that we need to do, one at a time. Really, the thing that we're trying to aim for is the idea of something called a flow state. I imagine we've all had that experience where we're so deeply focused on a single thing that it feels like time is just flying, we are in our element. That's almost one of the pinnacles of the human experience, to experience this power of the flow state. In fact, there was a psychologist called Mihaly, something that I can't pronounce, who popularized the term in the 1990s and he defined it as an optimal state of consciousness, where we feel our best and perform at our best. That's again, one of the things that we're aiming for with productivity, because productivity without enjoyment, it's just a bit pointless. Yeah, you can be more productive, but a factory worker churning out stuff and getting really bored of it is probably productive, but that's probably not what we're going for. We want to go for the enjoying bit. We want to perform at our best, but we also want to feel at our best, and we get that by getting into the flow state. In fact, there's so much evidence that shows that when we are in the flow state, we report high levels of productivity, high levels of life satisfaction, high levels of happiness, and this guy Mihaly and this Harvard Professor, Teresa Amabile put some of the papers down below, if you want to read the evidence for the flow state stuff. They've all got so much research that shows that the flow state is really legit, and one of the things that can supercharge our productivity if we can get into it. That begs the question, how do we get into this fabled flow of state? There's two aspects to the flow of state. One of them is, when we are voluntarily engaged in a task that's using up all of our attention, that's just difficult enough to be interesting but not so difficult that it feels frustrating. That's an area where we want to try and get to with everything that we're doing. For example, when I'm making YouTube videos, if I was just making the same video over and over again, and you might think that I've been repeating videos on my channel. Every time I make a YouTube video, I try and do something a little bit different. With this class, for example, we're now filming it from two different camera angles. Hello. Because I've now filmed a few different courses and it gets boring just talking to a single camera. The way that I made it challenging for myself is by setting up a second camera angle using a slider occasionally, but right now the slider is out of batteries, so we just got a static camera angle but hopefully it still looks quite nice. That is me getting into the flow state of creating this online course because, it's slightly increase the difficulty of it. It's not certainly beyond my abilities, and hopefully you would agree that this course looks pretty reasonable. This is a one man setup. I didn't have any help for this because we're still in lock down as of the time of recording, and so I had to do it myself. But it was just difficult enough. I go into the flow state, and I'm really enjoying making this class, because it's fun, it's flow state. Equally, when we're studying for exams, it would get very boring if the thing we were studying was just mindless repetition of something that we already knew, something very easy. It would also get very frustrating, if I tried studying university-level maths because there is no way I could even understand what they're talking about, let alone be able to follow university-level maths. But if you gave me further maths paper from A level, that's just difficult enough. I did normal maths at A level. I didn't do further maths, but I think I'm pretty reasonable mathematician. It would be just difficult enough that it would require all of my focus to do that paper and learn more stuff about it and therefore, it would be in that stretch zone. Because we will have our comfort zone, and then we have our panic zone, which is where stuff is way beyond our abilities. But there is a nice area called the stretch zone where we are just stretching ourselves enough, that it keeps it interesting, but not stretching ourselves so much that we're starting to panic. One of the things that gets me into the flow state when I'm at the gym is the attention and focus and effort it takes to lift weight that's a little bit heavier than what I've lifted in the past. That's one aspect of the flow state, recognizing this stretch zone and trying to optimize to get into that stretch zone in whatever we're doing. In terms of practical advice, because I sometimes worry that all of these in this first productivity class are quite theoretical concepts, they're quite abstract. In later classes, we're going drill down into the actionable stuff, but I really want to give some actionable steps as we go along because otherwise, theory without action is pretty useless. In terms of actionable steps, I think it's very important that whatever we're doing, we think about how we can get into that stretch zone. To use a simple example, when we students studying for an exam, the easy way of doing that is by asking ourselves, if the exam were tomorrow, which topic would I be most unhappy with? Then we do that topic. We don't waste time on going to the start of the book to do chapter one, because that's always very tempting. We absolutely do not waste time going over stuff that we find easy. We ask ourselves, if the exam were tomorrow, what would I be least happy about? Then we do that thing. If we're running a business, running a YouTube channel. We ask ourselves, okay, what's the highest leverage thing I could be doing with my time right now, or what's a skill that I can improve that I don't have yet, and I know that improving that skill is going to ultimately improve my success on this platform or in this business or whatever? That is all getting us into the stretch zone, and therefore makes us more likely to get into the flow state, and therefore we're more likely to enjoy life, be more productive and increase our life satisfaction and be happier and be generally better human beings. It's all about aiming for the flow state. That was just one aspect of the flow state. The other aspect of the flow state is, that we need to avoid distractions while we are in the flow state. When I get into the flow state of making a video making this course, I don't want any distractions. I have turned notifications off on my computer. There are no notifications on my iPad. My phone is on Do Not Disturb Mode because I know that any kind of notification will take me away from the flow state that I'm in, where I can just spout at a camera and enjoy the sound of my own voice. Equally when I'm studying for my exams, or I've got a really tricky problem that I'm working on. I will take my phone, turn it face down, put it on silent, even turn it off, put it on airplane mode, chuck it across the room onto the sofa. Forget about my phone, because I know my phone is going to distract me from the flow state. I said this in the previous video, but I asked on my Instagram story for people to send in their problems with productivity. Apart from the problem with motivation and getting started, another major problem was getting distracted while we're doing the thing. If we allow ourselves to get distracted, then we can never get into the flow state. Because the flow state relies on our full attention being uninterrupted, but when we get these notifications, when we get these distractions, it's just not going to happen. I think there's really no excuse for letting ourselves get distracted. I think we should remember that, if we are getting distracted, we are allowing ourselves to get distracted, because it is so trivially easy to not get distracted by your phone. You literally turn it off and chuck it across the room, and then you won't get distracted by your phone. It is not hard. I think at least in the past when I've seen people who struggle with productivity, who say, "I'm always distracted by my phone." It's because they're choosing to be distracted. In fact, let's use myself as an example. There is some times where I tell myself, "I'm going to be productive today." But then I have my phone in front of me, and really at one level, I'm telling myself I'm going to be productive but really deep down, I know full well that I've got my phone in front of me. I'm going to get distracted. I've got the iPad, I've got WiFi on, I've got notifications on. Something is going to distract me, and in a way, I am welcoming that destruction by virtue of the fact that I'm not changing my behavior. If we actually wanted to not get distracted. It's so easy, just turn your phone off and chuck it away, problem solved. You don't even need these fancy apps like Forest and Rescue Time and self control, blah, blah, blah. Because you can just simply choose not to be distracted. I think this is a paradigm changing thought. That if we struggled with distraction, we can simply choose not to be distracted. It's not that hard. You turn your phone off, chuck it away, whatever. Coming back to the idea of flow state, the idea of multitasking. The myth of multitasking is basically that we want to be focused on one thing at a time. The flow state is an ideal to get to. We are more productive and happier when we're in the flow state. When it comes to studying for exams, something that we might find boring. If we can get into the flow state, we're going to find it fun. If you're choosing not to get into the flow state because you're choosing to be distracted by your devices or whatever, then fine. In a way you are just screwing yourself, because you know you have to study for that exam and you know what work you have to do. Why not enjoy it? The way we enjoy it is by getting into the flow state. That Instagram DM notification, that Tinder message, that Snapchat notification, that TikTok, whatever people use these days. That is not going to make us happier. The thing that's going to make us happier, objectively, by the research is by getting into the flow state. The more we can A, think about how do we get into our stretch zone with the thing that we're working on? Secondly, how do we minimize the distractions by chucking our phone away, like I've just done. The more we can do those two things, the more we can get into the flow state, the more we can enjoy our lives and also be more productive. That was the third myth. The myth of multitasking, talked a little bit about the flow state stuff. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video. Writing problem number 4 is, what is one or more situations when I was in my flow state? What circumstances in mindsets led to that? Can I manufacture those conditions for other stuff that I need/want to do? Once you've done that, again as usual, right/type, do share your answers in the project section if you like. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video. 7. Parkinson's Law: We've talked about the three myths of productivity so far. We've talked about the myth of time, the myth of motivation, and the myth of multitasking. Honestly, if we can just apply the lessons from these three myths, for myself, if I could consistently apply the time, the motivation, and the multitasking thing, I'd probably be twice as productive as I currently am, even though I consider myself a pretty productive person overall and here I'm making a class about how to be more productive though. Let's now talk about the three laws of productivity. The first law is to talk about is the classic law that everyone who's a productivity nerd has heard of, and that is Parkinson's law. Parkinson's law states that work expands to fill the time that we allocate to it. This will actually popularized by a guy called Cyril Parkinson who was a British historian / writer in the 1950s. He was looking at the British Civil Service. He was looking at how efficient the government is, the civil services are running. He realized that actually the amount of work just always expands to fill the time that was allocated to it. We all know this to be true intuitively. If we have an essay or an assignment or whatever due for tomorrow, we're going to get it done tonight. If we haven't due for three months from now, we going to procrastinate the living hell out of this thing and we're just going to do it the night before. Having too much time to do something is a recipe for procrastination, it's a recipe for disaster. Recognizing this and really applying it to a life like there are so many domains in which we can apply it. There's a guy called Peter Thiel who was one of the founders of PayPal. He is this big startup tech investor guy in America. He wrote a book called Zero to One, which is a very good book if you're into entrepreneurship and stuff. He talks about the idea of a 10-year plan. He asked a question, it's generally accepted business advice that you want to think about, what is your 10-year goal, 10-year plan? What Peter Thiel says is, "Think about your 10-year plan and ask, how are you going to achieve it within the next six months?" Just that thought experiment like sure or fine, maybe you can't actually execute your 10-year plan in the next six months. But what if you had to, what if you only had six months to execute a 10-year plan, how would you do it? If we stop and think about it, if I've got a 10-year plan, whatever it might be, and then I really stop and think about it, I could probably come close to getting it done within the next six months provided it doesn't involve getting married and having kids and stuff because that actually takes some time. At least having kids bothers. But for most of the things like business goals or personal goals or whatever, think about a 10-year plan and could you achieve it in the next six months? That is Parkinson's law in action. Now in terms of actionable, practical ways of applying Parkinson's law, one very easy way to do it is by just giving ourselves artificial deadlines for the things that we actually have longer deadlines for. For example, making this course. I didn't really have a deadline for this. At some point I was thinking it would be cool to make a class about productivity because I get this question a lot and it would be good to be able to say to people, "Hey, look man, just check out my class about productivity here's a link. It's available for free or free trial or whatever." Then I'd be able to help so many more people, and I wouldn't have to answer questions and I make some money every time people watch this class. But there's no deadline associated with it. But I'm filming this class mid April. It's a bank holiday Monday and I've got the day off work. What I said to myself last week, I was like, on the Monday, I'm going to film this productivity class. I'm only going to give myself one day to filming. Which means everything has to be ready by the Monday. It means I have to film it on Monday. Therefore, I'm sitting down in filming it today. It is very much an artificial constraint that I've created for myself. But because I am treating myself like a professional, I'm acting as if this deadline really doesn't have a deadline I can do it whenever I want. But I don't have to do this, but this is fine, I deal with the stuff. Giving myself a deadline to do it and setting aside this time to do it today, as per Parkinson's law means that I'm going to finish making this class today. This is no two ways about it because I'm professional and I treat myself well. Equally when it comes to things like homework assignments or essays to do at school, or even revising or studying for exams. I think setting artificial deadlines is incredibly helpful because if we tell ourselves, for example, "I need to learn all of cardiology by the end of the day." That is a good amount of Parkinson's law in action because it tells us, normally I'd be giving myself six months to learn cardiology and I would be half arcing it all the way and I'd be procrastinating a lot and I wouldn't even know it by the end of it. But if I could only spend today studying cardiology and I had to learn everything I could in a single day, what would I do? What would that look like? It forces us to prioritize the really important stuff rather than worrying about the minutia. But it also kicks up brains into gear having this artificial deadline makes us more likely to do the thing. Coming back to Parkinson's law, work expands to fill the time we allocate to it. If we are struggling with productivity, struggling with getting stuff done, all we have to do is give ourselves an artificial deadline. But that begs the question that realistically, you know it's not official deadline. I know this is an artificial deadline. I know I don't have to film this course at all. Let's say I was less productive, less motivated, less whatever, I had to do a homework assignment that I really couldn't be bothered with. Setting artificial deadline, then my brain is going to know, my brain is clever. It knows that it's not really a deadline. What I can do very easily if I actually care about doing this essay on time, I can give a distressingly large amount of money to my housemaid, or to my brother, to my mom, or to a friend and say if I don't get this done by the end of the day, I want you to take that money and burn it or give it to charity or do whatever you want with it. Because the pain of losing that money is going to outweigh the pain of doing the task itself. Artificial deadlines are great. If you can stick to them by yourself. I'm sticking to this by myself. I don't need to give money to my housemaid just to force me to film this class. But doing it because I've been doing this productivity thing for years. But if I was actually struggling, if I actually had a homework assignment that needs to get done and I physically couldn't do it, giving money away to a friend would be the absolute quickest way to do it. If you're sitting there thinking, "I'm uncomfortable with the idea of giving money to a friend in return for doing the task", I would question that, do you really want to get the task done then? Because you know that if you gave 10,000 pounds or whatever, a large amount of money is to a friend that you would get it on. I think it's interesting for experiment. Why are we not doing the simple things when we know they are effective? I would suggest it's probably because actually we don't have a very good reason for doing the activity in the first place. Anyway, all that aside Parkinson's law, work expands to fill the time we allocate to it. There's just so many aspects of productivity and so many aspects of life in which Parkinson's law applies. Yeah, that was law number one for the productivity course. Hope you found that useful, have you picked up, maybe a tip or two. Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video. For the next one, we are switching into the second person from the first person and the idea is make a list of 3-4 long-term tasks that you want to do. What would you do if you only had half as long to do them? What about if you had to do them in the next 24 hours? If you're interested in reading, you might like to check out the book is Zero to One by Peter Thiel. One of his appeals is that, "Think about what you want to accomplish in the next 10 years, like once your 10-year plan. Now think about that if you had to do it in the next six months, what would that look like?" Sure. It might not be possible to do your 10-year plan in the next six months. But at least it encourages you to think about it in a radically different way. Because you can't do something in six months that you think will take 10 years unless you've really switch up the way that you think about it. I think this exercise is worth doing just purely from that perspective, but also in that encourages us to think more about how we can actively apply Parkinson's law to our lives. Once you've done that and please feel free to move on to the next video. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next one. 8. Pareto Principle: Continuing our discussion of the three laws of productivity, we have talked about Parkinson's Law. In this video, I want to talk about the Pareto Principle or Pareto's Law, or the 80/20 rule that you might have come across before. Again, this is one of the fundamental principles of productivity that we need to understand, which is why it's in this particular class. One of the fundamental principles of productivity that we need to understand to make ourselves more productive because what the Pareto Principle says basically is that 80 percent of the results will come from 20 percent of the effort, or 80 percent of the outputs will result from 20 percent of the inputs in pretty much whatever realm we can think of. This was originally applied to Italian landowners a few 100 years ago, where back in the day, 80 percent of the land was owned by 20 percent of the people. Nowadays, that proportion is much more skewed than it was even back then, and now 95 percent of the land is owned by the top one percent. But the Pareto principle applies to most things in life and we can use the Pareto principle in productivity because, it just bleeds into so many different aspects of it.. Firstly, for example, if we are trying to do a task like filming a course, or studying for an exam. In fact, let's use the studying example. We know that for the most part, and this is true of practically every exam I've taken personally, that 80 percent of the available marks will probably come from the core 20 percent of the content. There's going to be a very small amount of the content that is absolutely key to understand. Once we've understood that, we can actually figure out most of the marks for the exam, and then all of the rest of it that we get significant diminishing returns. You probably have to study a lot harder than 10 percent, harder to get from 80 percent to 90 percent. In fact, to go from 80 percent to 90 percent in medical exams is almost impossible, just because at that point, you've got such massive diminishing returns of the amount of effort that you're putting in. Productivity, going back to our equation, productivity equals useful output over time multiplied by the fun factor. If we can recognize the actually 80 percent of the results that we care about are only going to come from 20 percent of the inputs, we can then hack the things that we're doing. We can make our pilot in the analogy, choose the right things to do, so that we're focused on the 20 percent of things that is going to result in most of the gain. For example, equally when it comes to this YouTube channel, there's so many things that could be doing when I'm editing a video or when my editors editing a video. There are so many things we could be doing to improve the video. We could add all fancy features and stuff, but we're really like 80 percent of the value of the video comes from 20 percent of the effort. It's probably just a few key things that I'm saying in the video, maybe an animation to hear in there, and all the rest of it is just icing on the cake. If we spent 10 hours in each video, really trying to perfect it and stuff, we'd end up wasting so much time because actually the value is not in those final finishing touches. That's another reason why personally I think that I'm quite productive because ever since I first came across the Pareto Principle, and I think I first read it in Tim Ferriss, 4-Hour Workweek, which I read in 2012 or 2011 or something with that. Ever since I first came across as principle, I've been trying to apply to absolutely everything that I do. For example, when I was learning the piano, I'm self-taught on the piano. I learnt in my third year of medical school when I happened to have a piano in my room, just because I got lucky in the ballot. I had this principle in my mind and I was thinking, What is the goal that I wanted to get to with the piano? The goal I wanted to get to was I wanted to be able to play stuff by here. I wanted to do to be able to figure out chords, and most importantly, I wanted to be able to play stuff while singing along. Actually, if you think about it, playing stuff while singing along in a piano, is relatively straightforward. It only requires a very basic level of piano theory and knowing what chords are, and then you can look at the chords and you can play in. You can look as if you were pretty pro-pianist. Even though you've just spent maybe like a few weeks of learning how to play the piano, but now you can play the piano and sing at the same time, because you're keeping the Pareto Principle in mind. By 80/20 ruling playing the piano, you'd never have to do scales. Scales and arpeggios, all of these are a complete waste of time. All you have to do is learn a few chords, learn a few left-hand and right-hand patterns and then sing along over the top. That is the 80/20, the level that I wanted to get to. If you're a concert pianist watching this, I'm sorry, my aim wasn't to be a concert pianist. My aim was to be able to play chords and sing along. That's partly why I can do all these different things, because I know what my goals are and I know what the 20 percent of the inputs I need to get there are. Equally, when I first started learning to play the guitar. You can go down a whole long rabbit hole. There are people that have been playing the guitar or the life, learning all these fancy licks and trying to play like Jimi Hendrix or whatever. That was never my objective. My objective was to simply be able to stand somewhere in the London underground and sing while basking on the guitar. That was the dream for me. If that's all you want to do, if all you want to do is play mainstream pop songs and play basic chords, again, 20 percent of the effort leads to 80 percent, if not more of the results. I'm now a pretty reasonable guitarist, I've basked a few times in Cambridge to raise money for the Huckel homeless shelter. Check me out on my call. I've done that just from following one simple free online course in, not sponsored free. You should do it and then I can now play chords and sing along. It's 80/20 ruling that stuff. I'm using lots of personal examples here because I hope they will help illustrate the point of the Pareto principle. When I was studying for my medical school finals exams, I knew that I was probably going to pass because I knew enough of the content. I really toned down my revision in the final few months because I knew that I was probably out of the running for a distinction, and I knew that if I really wanted to go for a distinction which is like top 10 or top 15 percent, I would have to work super hard. It probably wouldn't be worth it because the expected value, the utility multiplied by the probability, however you want to define it. The expected value is quite low. Whereas I thought okay you know what, I'm going to spend a minimum amount of time focusing on the topics where I'm weakest and then I'm happy. That's 20 percent of effort I need to get 80 percent of the results. I didn't get a 100 percent of exam. I didn't come anywhere near top of the air, but I'd still did reasonably well. Alongside doing that, I was able to continue running the business, grew the YouTube channel by a few 100,000 subscribers, setup another business, all these other things that I wouldn't have been able to do if I'd been focused on trying to churn more and more effort into this exam. This is not an argument for not passing your exams and not putting effort in. But it is an argument for thinking about, what is your goal here? What are you actually aiming for? What does your pilot want you to achieve? Once you've recognized what the end result is, really try hard to figure out what is the 20 percent of things that I need to do to get there. I'm going to include a clip from a podcast episode that I did with my brother. If you don't know, he and I have a weekly podcast called Not Overthinking, you can find it at not In the episode this week, we talked about these productivity tips. He shared an interesting tip about the Pareto principle. That's going to be over here now. Yeah, I think that's good for exams. The way I think about this is less as like what is the 20 percent of stuff that I should focus on, and I'd rather use it as like a continual process. If you're writing a blog post, for example, I tend not to do it like sequentially, let's know the intro, then let's nail the next bit and then the next bit. You start zoomed out and then you said you zoom in. You do a first draft which is like the 20 percent of the work, it takes 20 percent of the time, and he's 80 percent of the work of getting a basic structure. Then you do another 80-20 on that and another 80/20 on that, and keep progressively adding more stuff rather than approaching every tile sequentially. For example, if you pray for exams, a bad way to do it is probably, there's 10 different topics. I'm going to spend a Week 1 doing Topic 1, Week 2 doing Topic 2, and so on. You want to get the basics in all the topics and then the next level of detail on all the topics and the next level of detail. It's a continual process of 80/20 and whatever work is left. That's the Pareto principle in action, it's about recognizing that actually the broad brushstrokes and filling in the picture is far more important than worrying about the details. We can literally apply this to absolutely everything we are doing in life, personal life, business life, work life, studying, homework, hobbing is piano, guitar,, whatever you want, 20 percent of the inputs results in 80 percent of the outputs. That was the Pareto principle, thanks for watching, and I'll see you in the next video. Writing prompt number 6 is pretty straightforward. What 20 percent of my work is driving 80 percent of my useful output, and you can define that however you like, and then what's taking up 80 percent of my time/work, but it's not actually contributing much to my outcomes. Yes, thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video. 9. Newton's First Law of Motion: The third law of productivity, after talking about Parkinson's Law and the Pareto Principle is Newton's First Law of Motion. This is actually a law of physics, but it applies very nicely to productivity as well. Newton's First Law of Motion basically states that an object is at rest or traveling at a constant velocity unless it's acted on by an external imbalanced force. What does that mean? That means if something is still, it will stay still by default, and if something is moving, it will continue to move at a constant speed, a constant velocity by default, unless an external force acts on it. The way that we can apply this to productivity is by recognizing that if we are not doing anything, if we are still, it requires an external force to push us into action, to push us into gear. But if we are moving anyway, if we're all ready moving at a constant velocity, it no longer requires any external force to keep us moving. By Newton's First Law of Motion, we will keep moving forward by default, just by virtue of the fact that we are moving all ready. This is really important because we've all had that experience where it's so much harder to start something than it is to continue doing something once we've already started, and it goes back to that motivation thing. This is like if there is one thing in productivity that every single person on earth struggles with it's getting started at doing something that we don't necessarily want to be doing, something that is short-term painful for long-term reward, something that a three-year-old child in our brain thinks, "I don't feel like doing this right now." We really struggle to get started with it. But if we can just get started, all it takes is just that one bit of action, that one bit of push to get started, and then we can just keep on going and it's so much easier to keep on going. So appreciating the existence of Newton's First Law of Motion means that we can start hacking our brains in different ways and basically just encourage us to just get started at doing something. There are a few different techniques for doing that, and here are some of the ones that I use. Firstly, there is the Two-Minute Rule, which is from David Allen's Getting Things Done. A fantastic Bible for productivity there. I'll put the link in the project and [inaudible] section. If you want to read it, it's a bit nerdy, but it's where you get. The Two-Minute rule basically says that if something is going to take less than two minutes, you should just do it now rather than putting it on your to-do list. Because often putting stuff on a to-do list and turning into a project and stuff like, it just takes a bit longer than just doing the actual thing. So if it takes less than two minutes, you just do it right now. For example, when I finish drinking this cup of coffee, it will take me less than two minutes to go and put it away. I will literally just go and put it away as soon as I finish filming this video. Whereas if I leave these little things piling up, at that point, it feels like a mountain because I've got these like 15 less than two minute tasks to do and it's going to take me half an hour. But if I can just do them in two minutes there and then then my whole life becomes more stress-free and more enjoyable. That was the two-minute rule. The second practical and a takeaway from Newton's First Law of Motion is the Five-Minute Rule. You can see that I'm a big fan of rules clearly. The Five-Minute Rule says that if we are struggling to get started with any kind of task, whether it's studying for exam, or doing the homework assignment, or doing the essay, or starting that presentation. This evening, I have to send an e-mail preparing mock exam for my physiology students. If we are struggling to get started with anything, all we have to do is just do five minutes of it. If we can convince our brains that all we're going to do is five minutes of this task, it becomes so much easier to get started because anyone can do five minutes. I can do a home workout for five minutes this evening but then I know inevitably that when I start doing it, because of Newton's First Law of Motion, now that I'm already moving forward, it means I will continue to move forward. The thing that follows from this, so we talked about Two-Minute Rule and Five-Minute Rule, the other thing is, I don't really have a name for it, but I need to come up with a name for it, is basically that with whatever we're struggling to do, we want to start getting into gear for it just immediately. For example, one thing that happens to me a lot is that I procrastinate from making YouTube videos because I know that I've got to do the sponsored video but tomorrow, but I've gone home from work and it's 8:00 PM and can't be bothered to do it. So what I do is that I just go through the motions of setting up the camera gear because once I've got the light, the camera and the microphone set up, it's it's fairly mindless. I don't have to think very hard about it. I've been doing this for years now, I know how to set up lights, camera, and microphone. But once I've got it set up, at that point, I can literally just sit down and start talking to the camera. I have eliminated the friction firstly, from actually filming the video because often it's that friction, that activation energy that we have to get over, and that's what we require motivation for. Although as we discussed earlier, motivation is a myth, we want to ideally just be striving for discipline rather than motivation. But if there's too much friction, then it takes lots of activation energy to overcome it, and therefore we don't do it. But if we can just get up, get our bodies into motion and just do the mindless work of setting the thing up, often we can get it done. In Atomic Habits by James Clear, I've got it actually, what a good book. Atomic Habits by James Clear, fantastic book, the best book I've ever read on habit formation and just general productivity. In Atomic Habits, he talks about something called keystone habits, and we'll talk about those a little bit later potentially. But keystone habits are basically the one habit that if you can do that thing, then the other stuff that you want to do gets taken care of. What he says in his book is that when he and his wife gets home from work, they could go one of two ways. They could either change into their gym clothes or they could take the shoes off and sit on the sofa. If they changed into the gym clothes, that is a keystone habit because inevitably then they will go out for a run, they'll go to the gym, they'll do something useful. Whereas if they don't change into the gym clothes and just sit on the couch, inevitably, they're going to end up watching Netflix and ordering takeout that night, which is objectively a bad thing to do unless they've actively decided that's good for their lives in that moment. The changing into the gym clothes is a keystone habit. Equally for me, the setting up of the camera is a keystone habit that actually makes it infinitely easier for me to film the video. Equally, when it comes to things like studying for exams, the way that I do is that I would clean my desk, and cleaning my desk is a fairly mindless activity, but it's a keystone habit. That means that when my desk is nice and clean and doesn't have coffee mugs all over the place and camera gears thrown everywhere, when it's nice and clean, it's a much more relaxing and inviting environment for me to sit down and actually do some work. One thing that makes my desk untidy is having the light setup. If I just move that light away, set my desk to standing desk mode, clear the desk of everything, that is a keystone habit, it means I'm more likely to study. This is all in service of the fundamental principle of Newton's First Law of Motion, which says that once we get started, it's so much easier to keep moving and it's the getting started that's difficult. All of these various tips, these are just little techniques to hack our brains into getting started, because once we get started, it becomes so much easier to keep on going. Hopefully you found that useful. That was Newton's First Law of Motion basically, just try and get started and do whatever it takes to hack our brains into doing that. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video. Writing prompt number seven isn't really a writing prompt. It is the permission to turn off this class and go do something that you've been putting off. We will be here when you are done. Genuinely please, turn off this class and go do something more useful with your time and then come back and I'll see you next video. 10. The Power of Habits: We've talked about the three myths of productivity and the three laws of productivity. Let's now talk about the final segment of this class, which is the three powers of productivity. The first one is the power of habits or the power of consistency. Again, I'm going to reference Atomic Habits by James Clear, which if you haven't read and you interested in becoming more productive or just more effective person, you should definitely read because it's absolutely sick. But basically it's all about habit formation and come unsurprisingly. But his main thesis and the reason why it's called Atomic Habits is because habits are very atomic. They're these small fundamental units of self-development of being productive and really there's no point in having a fancy productivity app if we don't have the corresponding habit to make us actually use the app appropriately. If you think about compound interest and compounding gains. If you can improve by one percent every day for a year, at the end of the year, you will be 37 times better than you were at the start, and that's just boggling. I think Einstein or someone famously said that the biggest failing of the human mind is the inability to understand the exponential function, the compounding effect of all of these habits that we layer over time and it's always just tiny, tiny changes that we need to make to our lives and over time, that leads to a huge difference in the people that we were, back in the day and the people we now are, because we are so much infinitely more productive. That's the first thesis that, the power of habits is basically the idea that all we have to do is make these tiny, tiny one percent better changes in our lives because they will compound massively over time. Secondly, the importance of habits is goes back to our equation about motivation. You know how we said that we've got the thoughts and then we've got the action. Then the wrong way to think about it is requiring motivation bridge the gap between thought and action. The nice thing about habits is that when something becomes a habit, at that point, we no longer require any willpower to do the thing like for me and hopefully for you, brushing our teeth every morning and every evening is a habit. We don't really need willpower for it. For the most part, we don't need to think, I'm looking for motivation to brush my teeth tonight. Or if we do, we don't do it for many days in a row. I think occasionally, once a month I have a day where I think I've really can't be asked to brush my teeth that I don't. But I don't do it over the long term, because it becomes a habit. Equally, when I started my weekly e-mail newsletter 105 weeks ago and every Sunday for the last 105 weeks without fail, I've been writing a weekly newsletter that I started off with a few 100 people, it went to and now it's on 27,000 subscribers. If you want to be the 27,001, you can click the link in the [inaudible] and resources section sign up to that. The reason I mention this is because I'd set up a blog way back in 2016, and I intended to write one blog post every week, but it never happened, until 2018 when I decided to make this public commitment to do this newsletter once a week and once I made that public commitment, it made me more likely to do it. Once it became a habit, the success led to the motivation and one of the main reasons why I'm able to be so consistent with the e-mail newsletter is that I have made this public commitment in a way I formed a social contract with the Internet, the people on the receiving end that, I'm going do this thing. Social contracts are another really powerful way for us to be more consistent with the things that we know we want to do and here is my brother talking in podcast that we recorded about the power of social contracts to get up in the morning. I find this social contracts really helpful for me as well. On days where I have a 9.00 AM phone call or something, even if it's 8.55, I'm like, I'm really retired, I really don't want to take this call or something. I still get out of bed at 8.59 and take the call at 9:00. Whereas if there's a day when I don't have any calls in the morning and I'm feeling I'm tired, whatever, then I'm much more likely to laze around in bed until 10:00 AM just for no reason. The social contract keeps me on unaesthetic. At the start, it was a lot of effort for me thinking, crap, I need to write this week's e-mail. I still have that thought every Sunday, that crap, I need to write this week's e-mail. But it's just not an option for me to not do it, because I've built the success cycle in my head so much that now it's practically zero effort to maintain that. Going back to Newton's first law of motion, it's hard to get started. But once we start, then it becomes so much easier to keep going. That is the idea behind habits. That once something becomes a habit, at that point, you no longer have to think about it. At that point you can use your mental faculties to think about something more worthwhile. When it comes to productivity, going back to the theme of this class, one of the reasons why a lot of us struggle with productivity is because we don't have productive habits in place. For example, when we come home, we sit on the sofa and we go on our phones. That is often a reflex. It's often a reflex that we check our phones the first thing in the morning when we wake up. Occasionally, we even go back into bed with our phones and then obviously we're going to end up wasting three hours. But an easy change is to form the habit of not taking your phone into bed. I started doing this about a year ago and it changed my life completely. Because now that my phone is across the room from me, it means, a, I'm not using my phone just before going to bed. Therefore, I go to bed either I read a book or I just sleep. Then more importantly, when I wake up, I don't have the easy thing of reaching to the bedside table and picking up my phone and then wasting hours and hours on it. It is a productive habit that only required that tiny, tiny one percent change of choosing not to bring my phone to the bedside table with me, as we say in the book, once something becomes a habit, it becomes so much easier to sustain and that's so important for productivity. Finally, he's got loads of points in this book, but another really important one is that actually changing our habits is not about reaching a particular goal. It's not about thinking that, I want to form healthy habits until I lose 10 pounds and then I'll stop. Fundamentally, it's about identity change. It's about the person internally, person that we believe ourselves to be. I believe myself to be a productive person and therefore, sitting on my iPad watching Disney plus watching the Mandalorian, to me, it feels wrong. Yeah, it's a good TV show and I enjoyed watching an episode of it. But there was one night, two weeks ago where I was you know what? I'm going to screw productivity for one day and I'm just going to watch some TV show. Back in the day when I was in secondary school and in my first year of university, I used to binge TV shows all the time. But now, I physically struggle to binge watch a TV show anything more than one episode. I really struggle with, because it just feels so unproductive. Because the identity that I've reinforced to myself and hopefully to other people over the last five years is that I'm a productive person and therefore, it's unfeasible for me to even think about binging a TV show unless I'm doing it with friends. Because I think watching a TV show with friends is acceptable because it becomes a social activity. Equally, one of my friends, Jake, he's very [inaudible] goes to the gym six times a week, he's got six pack he's got big biceps and stuff, but he's reinforced the identity to himself that he is a fit person. He is the person who goes to the gym every day, and so for him, he says that when he's on a holiday, he feels bad when he can't do a workout. There's something inside him that feels wrong and I suspect a big part of that is the identity that he's created for himself by being person that goes to the gym. Coming back to the idea of productivity, which is what this class is about, after all. A lot of us struggle with productivity when we believe ourselves to be unproductive people. My mom, for example, believes herself to be terrible at filling in forms online and terrible at using a computer. Whether or not that's true is irrelevant, but the fact that she reinforces the identity to herself every possible moment means that she's never going become good at filling forms on line and she's never really going to take the steps necessary to be good at using a computer. Equally, for people who struggle with productivity. I'm afraid that often, from the people that I've seen and spoken to about productivity, it often becomes almost a badge of honor. You would hear people saying, either this might be true for you or friends that you know, I certainly know people who, in a way feel some sense of perverse pride at the fact that they are unproductive people that, I could sit there binging a TV show for hours and hours and that would be, I just really struggle, I'm not the person that gets motivated to be healthy. I don't know, I don't want to come across as too unempathetic here. But it's all fundamentally about identity change and about the identities that we reinforce for ourselves. If we can start making these small one percent changes to start reinforcing the habits and the identity that we are productive people. At that point, we wouldn't struggle with productivity because we identify as a productive person. Therefore, it becomes physically difficult for us to binge, watch a TV show unless we are actively choosing to do that. It becomes no problem at all to spend a weekend doing something productive, doing something in service to our future selves, and more importantly, actually enjoying the thing. When you have the identity of I'm a productive person, then the productive things you do become enjoyable. It goes back to our productivity equation. Productivity equals useful output over time multiplied by the fun factor. If you can increase the fun factor, one way of doing that is by having the identity of being a productive person and so that's what James Clear talks about in the book. Again, if you haven't read it, please read the book. If you don't have time to read a book, you are wrong. You need to make the time to read a book because honestly the five hours it will take you to read this book will pay absolute dividends in the long run. If you really don't have the time to read this book, you are doing something wrong with your time. For example, if you're watching this class right now, you clearly have enough free time to watch this class. Reading this book is more worthwhile than watching this class. Turn this class off right now, read Atomic Habit, find a summary online for all but genuinely everyone should make the time to read this because it's absolutely sick. It's all about identity change. Equally, when it comes to reading, lots of us have the badge of honor that, I just don't really read any books. I'm terrible at reading, whether or not that's actually true. Stop saying it out loud. Stop reinforcing the identity that you are bad at reading books so that, I don't read books, I only watch TV shows. Stop reinforcing the identity you said to yourself, stop thinking of yourself as someone who reads books. For me personally, let he who is without sin cast the first stone [inaudible] that, I have this problem a lot. I don't eat healthily in a way I consider it a perversely a badge of honor that I live off takeaways everyday. This is like objectively a bad thing. My life would become better if I learnt how to cook and learnt how to eat healthily and took lunch into work every day rather than spending 15 pounds a day on take-away. But the identity that I have unfortunately reinforced for myself over the past year or so is that, well, I don't really know how to cook. When I say that deep down, I'm saying it almost as if it's a badge of honor. There he goes, check me out. I don't know how to cook and I cool. That is absolutely terrible. Equally, when it comes to going to the gym, back in the day I used to consider myself, I'm just not the person who goes to the gym. I used to tell myself this weird story that, I don't really want to be one of those gym bro with steroids and stuff. But obviously being a gym bro with steroids is an extreme end of the spectrum. The identity that I'm now trying to reinforce to myself is that I may fit active and healthy person and therefore, I go to the gym and exercise regularly. That's something that I'm actively trying to work on. This identity of being a healthy fit and active person, and the healthy eating I'm slowly trying to get into that. But as James Clear says, habits aren't formed in a single day. Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes ages to form these habits. But the point is we have to make these one percent tweaks, these one percent improvements every day, and then the results will compound massively over time. That was the first power of habits, please, again, I beg, read this book if you haven't read it already, it will change your life. If you're the person who says, I don't have time to read a book. You need to read this book. It will change your life. I guarantee it. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video. All right, class project section number 8 is the writing prompt, what three things would boost my productivity if I made them a habit? How can I help make those habits stick? Have a think of that. Feel free to do more than three or fewer than three if you would like. But thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video. 11. The Power of Productive Downtime: The second power of productivity is one of my favorite things and that is the power of productive downtime. A lot of people ask me, ''Hey Ali, you work full time as a doctor, how do you have time to have a YouTube channel and a podcast, and these businesses, and played piano and stuff.'' One of the main secretes apart from the fact that I enjoy everything I do, which makes it fun, which makes it not work. One of the main secrets is productive downtime. Now, what does that mean? That means like every single day, we have absolutely tons of downtime that we don't do anything with. For example when I'm at work, these days I'm at work from 8:00 in the morning till 06:00 PM in the evenings, that's quite long hours almost 10 hours at work on a normal shift. If it's a long day, then I starts at eight o'clock in the morning and finishes at 09:00 PM in the evening, and then takes me an hour to drive back and forth from work. But even then, I can still turn out 2-3 YouTube videos a week and make skill share classes under podcasts and blogging. As usual, I'm just shooting my trumpet. I think I don't even know if that's the right phrase for it, but what else. The reason I can do all that stuff, apart from it being fun, is because I'm productive in my downtime. What is downtime? Downtime is when I'm at work. If for example, in the morning we've finished the ward round, and for a half an hour time window we have no patients that require action in the moment. Or for example, I have taken some blood tests from five people and I'm waiting for the results to come back, which takes half an hour to an hour at least. Within that half an hour to an hour, what I would be doing if I wasn't a ''productive'' person, is I would be on my phone scrolling through Instagram, or just having a chat with nurses. I have a chat with the nurse is a lot, but then they've got work to do, my default activity would be also on the phone and scroll through my Instagram, which is what most of my colleagues do. Which is absolutely fine, there no productivity nerds. But because I'm a productivity nerd and I care about being productive and I care about squeezing lots of things into my time. In those half an hour windows, I can actually get a lot of work done. For example, the outline for this very skill share class, I drafted last week, I was on a long day, I started at 1:00 PM and finished at midnight. But between 09:00 PM and midnight for that three hour window, there wasn't really a lot going on because over the whole coronavirus situation, we didn't have many patients in the hospital and the emergencies that we did have were already dealt with during the daytime. I had that three hour window and I was thinking to myself, ''Oh, I'm tired, it can't really be bothered,'' but I set to myself an artificial deadline that today I'm going to film the skill share class. Therefore, I needed to plan extra bit for the skill share class. I went on my iPad and I just started typing away. I managed to add so much more stuff to this class and planned lots of future classes because actually this course is meant to be like 58 videos long, but then we cut it down, so it's just part 1, the principles bit. Anyway, I planned out so many videos just because it was the power of productive downtime. I knew that I've got this downtime and I can be productive in this downtime. Equally when I was a medical student and had exams to prepare for while doing juggling all these other things, my productive downtime would be traveling back and forth from things. For example, if I was on the train home, or if I was taking the bus to town, or anything like that, I would be doing flashcards on my phone, because that is complete downtime otherwise. It's again, time I would've otherwise wasted scrolling through Instagram, but because I had this identity that I'm productive and I need to get this stuff done. I was doing flashcards in that time. I have got a friend who's learning Japanese and he does Anki flashcards on the toilet. Because that's downtime otherwise, and he just does flashcards on the toilet. What do the rest of us during the toilet, we probably scroll through Instagram and watch a YouTube video that is really not going to be serving our future selves. That is the idea of productive downtime. There are so many of these bits of moments during the day that we can grab and that we can be productive with. Yes, there is an element that for certain high-energy tasks, we probably do require that period of ramping up focus. But actually there are so many things that we do, that we have to get done in a day, or during a week or whatever, that don't require a half an hour block of time to do. It only little like two-minute tasks. We can get all of those done during our productive downtime, so that when we come home and we've got an hour between 10:00 PM and 11: 00 PM to film and edit a video, we can just film and edit the video, we don't have to do all this admin, because we've taken care of the admin in our productive downtime during the day. That was the theory behind it in terms of some practical ways of going about this. One thing that I find really helpful is an idea called the daily highlight, and that's from this book "Make Time" by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. The daily highlight is basically at the start of every day, you ask yourself, what is my highlight for the day? What is the one thing that I want to focus on. These days I do that on paper in my launched 1970 notebook. I write an H and L and G. H is for highlight, L is one thing to let go often, and G is one thing to be grateful for, but we won't talk about the other two. The highlight of the day is the one thing that I want to get done that day. For example, last Friday when I was at this long day shift at work, the one thing that I wanted to get done that day, the highlight that I had set in my pilot phase in the morning was I want to plan out the skill share class. When I had that downtime, I had this highlight in the back of my mind and I was thinking, ''Oh, I need to do today's highlight, and today's highlight is the skill share class, therefore I'm going to do this in my downtime, I'm going to be productive." Another thing that I find helpful is writing out a general to-do list. Again, I do this on paper usually, I call it my morning dump, where every morning I dump out my brain onto the paper. I try and write a few pages of just free-flowing text, then I write down a list of just stuff that I need to get done at some point. Just having that list written out means that when I've got downtime, like here it's for today, the morning dump. When I've got downtime, I just look at it, I'm like, "Okay, cool. I've done a few of these, I can take that one off, I need to do this, I can take that one off, and I'm in the process of recording skill share class." It feels really good, like ticking off stuff in a to-do list. We'll talk much more about to-do list in the next skill share class about the actionable strategies and tools of productivity. But taking stuff off the to-do list feels absolutely glorious. What I like to do is I'd like to make a massive long list of things to do. Some of them are pretty straightforward, like call my grandma, call my mom, order this thing of Amazon. But then, during the day, during downtime, I can be productive, I can stop bashing through those things, I can start ticking them off, and that really helps me squeeze useful output out of the time. It's useful because I've decided in the morning when I'm in my piloting phase, when I'm being the pilot, I've decided that I want to do these things. Then for the rest of the day, I am the plane, I'm just executing on the pilots orders. Therefore, this productive downtime thing works amazingly. Apart from enjoying the stuff that I do, the other main reason why am so productive, if you want to call it that, is because I use my downtime appropriately. I don't just sit there scrolling through Instagram or watching a random YouTube video or browsing reddit. Instead, I do something that's going to further my life in some way, and that is also fun. Caveat to all of this, yes, we do need actual downtime, you don't have to be productive every moment of the day. But my downtime to be honest is listening to fantasy audio books in the car driving to and from work, usually from work when I'm quite tired. I don't really need any more downtime. I think a lot of us convince ourselves that, "Oh, I need to watch two hours of Netflix everyday because that's my winding downtime.'' Fair enough. I tried that and I realize the actually all I need personally, is just that one hour of listening to a fantasy audio book in the car, and that is all the downtime I need, the rest of the time I can be productive. Some people might take issue with that and they'll be like, "Oh, well, I need four hours a day of downtime.'' Fair enough, you do you, but this is what works for me and this is how I'm able to be productive. Hopefully, you can learn something from that if you like, but ultimately it's up to you. I'm not here trying to tell anyone how to live their life, even though it might sound like it. All I'm saying is that, if you want to be more productive, maybe considering being a bit more productive in your downtime and doing useful things rather than browsing Instagram or Netflix. Maybe that might help, because certainly work for me. That was the power of productive downtime. Thank you so much for watching and I will see you in the next video. Writing from number 9, what are some chunks of the day in which I find myself wasting time in ways that I'd rather not? What useful small things could I do with that time instead? For some people, if you're studying for the exams, it might be running through some flashcards. For me, it's often opening up Notion or Roman writing scripts videos. We all have different small things that we can do, that we can replace mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Unless of course, we actually want to mindlessly scroll through Instagram because it's fun and therefore counts as useful output. But I imagine for most of us, we probably spend more time on social media than we would like to in an ideal world. Anyway, have fun with that writing prompt. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video. 12. The Power of Productive Procrastination : We're on the home straight. We're on the final power of productivity, and that is the power of productive procrastination. This is another one of my favorite things. Because I haven't really seen this talked about in other resources like this book, make time Atomic Habits. It's all well and good, but actually productive procrastination is the one. Productive procrastination is what it says on the 10. It is procrastination that is productive in some way and remember we defined productive as useful output over time multiplied by the fun factor. Productive procrastination is procrastination days productive and fun. What does that mean? For me personally, that means that when I'm procrastinating, often my procrastination from doing something I should be doing instead takes the form of something that's inherently useful. Back in the day when I was big into web design and coding and stuff, my form of procrastination from doing my homework would be to browse web design inspiration on like a, or on the Mosley Chrome extension, or things like that, or I'm dizzy did back in the day, and all these kind of web design forums. I would browse through those, wild procrastinating from doing my school work. That was procrastination because I was meant to be doing something else and I was procrastinating from it. But it was productive procrastination because actually, those web design skills have helped my life in so many different ways, that I've talked about in future videos on YouTube in the past. Equally, these days, when I'm procrastinating, I tend to watch YouTube videos as my form of procrastination. But when I'm watching this YouTube videos, I'm trying to learn something from them. Because I'm at YouTube and I'm watching people like Matt D Avella, and Peter McKinnon, and Thomas Frank and these people who have very well particular videos, as I'm watching them, as a form of procrastination, I'm also taking mental or actual physical notes about how I can improve my own videos based on what I've learned from these guys. Equally, other genre of YouTube videos that I'm really into is like covers of popular songs, people like Sam [inaudible] and Kurt Schneider. Back in the day, my dream was to become a music YouTuber, where I would produce covers of popular songs. What I've watched Kurt Schneider video, there are credible, they're still so good, even like 10 years on, there are even better than they were 10 years ago. When I watch a Kurt Schneider video, I'm listening to the beat, I'm listening to how he's constructed this and thinking in my head, okay, if I were to recreate this song, what would it look like all that some really cool cinematography. The procrastination of watching YouTube has become productive. Thirdly, another form of productive procrastination , I'm just going to give you these my own life and you can try and figure out where productive procrastination fits into yours. But another form of procrastination for me is reading random articles on the Internet and random blog posts and stuff. But the way that I do that productively now is that; instead of reading them on safari, on my phone or whatever, I would share them into the app, insta paper, or pocket, which are read it later apps. I'd open it up and insta paper and then as I'm reading it, I would highlight anything that resonates with me. Then I've got this extension setup called read wise, and read wise connects to my Evernote, and what read wise does is that it automatically takes my insta paper highlights, and puts them into an Evernote notebook. That means that one, I'm reading these articles, I'm actually taking my own notes. I'm highlighting stuff that resonates with me, and occasionally I'll add a thought on insta paper itself, and then that goes into my Evernote. I now have this treasure trove of my favorite articles of all time that I've read and highlighted with just the highlights and just my notes. That is productive, because when I'm creating content or if I'm giving recommendations to anyone, it helps me to have that list of things that I can use his inspiration. That is how I made my reading random articles on the Internet inherently more productive, and in fact, that's something I wish I was doing since the start of my Internet days. Like I was doing Q&A on YouTube the other day, and one of the questions was, what is something you wish you started five years ago? I really wish I started taking notes, highlights, and my own thoughts from every single thing that I'd read, watch, and listen to five, 10 plus years ago. Because I've started doing it now and it's already been so helpful in my life, and that is something that I could have easily done 10 years ago, but that's another point. So far we've talked about different strategies for productive procrastination. These days, another way that I productively procrastinate, is that I've got a keyboard, like a piano keyboard literally sitting here just out of frame and both of these cameras, but it's always plugged in, it's always next to me. So that if I'm feeling unproductive, if I'm feeling like procrastinating, instead of just going and sitting on the sofa and scrolling through Instagram, often I will just go, the piano is closer to my desk than the sofa is. It's more effort for me to go to the sofas, often able to sit on the piano and stop playing away. I've got many meetings from by Howard Shore, which is from The Lord of the Rings soundtrack. I've got it literally open on the piano in front of me. While I'm sitting on the piano, I might as well just practice some sight reading and stop playing some stuff. That is the procrastination from doing the thing I'm meant to be doing, but it become productive because now I'm learning sight reading and in practicing the piano. Here, I want to include a snippet from the conversation I had with my brother on a podcast, and he's talking about his form of productive procrastination and how that relates to environment design. I don't know if it's like, for example, the piano thing and fourth year, I didn't have like a big room that had my computer and stuff set up on my desk. Then I had the piano on the window sort of thing. The pendant which is basically always there. There was no friction for me to get up and go and stop playing it, and so I just kept doing it. Whereas if it took like two steps of like, I have to go and plug the thing in, because it's not always plugged in, then like I just would've done is often. That's very true. This is another thing that James Q talks about in Atomic Habits, that, if you struggle with playing the PlayStation too much, then literally every time you play it, just unplug it and put it in the cupboard. Because just those two steps of having to take it out of the cupboard and plugging it in again, massively increases the friction to playing Playstation, which means you're less likely to do it. So yeah, overall, I think one of the main reasons why I'm so productive, apart from enjoying things and productive downtime, is productive procrastination. There are so many things I've learned over the years, just because I was procrastinating from doing something else that I was meant to be doing instead. It was the same with my brother. Like he ended up learning how to code as a form of procrastination from doing his schoolwork, and now he runs a tech startup that recently raised its pretty [inaudible]. Basically, his whole life changed because he was procrastinating by learning how to code. If you can incorporate productive procrastination, however that looks like into your life, it just makes everything more interesting because it means that even when you're procrastinating, even when you're wasting time doing something that you're not meant to be doing, you're still being productive, you're still doing useful things in service to your future self, but hopefully that you're also enjoying in the moment, and that's like the key thing. It's all about enjoyment. That's what we're going to talk about next. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video. Penultimate writing prompt, what items on my bucket or task list can I procrastinate my way to progress on? Also, for me for example, one of the items on my bucket list is to busk on the London Underground one-day, which requires a license and an audition and you have to actually be good, and so one way that I can productively procrastinate is by watching singing tutorials on YouTube rather than watching cat videos on YouTube, for example. But can I feel free to match this to whatever is on your bucket list or tasklist. Thank you for watching and I will see you in the next video. 13. The Fun Factor: Welcome to the final video of this class before the conclusion, and that is The Fun Factor. Now this is probably the least talked about in productivity, but I think probably the single most important part. Going back to a productivity equation. Productivity equals useful output over time, but everything is multiplied by F, the fun factor. The reason we're doing a whole video about this is because it's just so important. What's the point of life? Most people would say it's some variation of happiness and meaning roughly translating to being useful to others and happiness roughly translating to enjoying ourselves. What is the point of being productive, if we're not also enjoying ourselves? It genuinely breaks my heart when I hear people say that, "oh man, I just need to get through these six years of med school because med school is very hard. I'm not really enjoying it. But I just need to power through these six years because then I can start having fun when I'm a doctor." I always think, oh dude, you've got it wrong. You're not going to have more fun when your doctor, trust me. I've been there, all my friends have been there. Being a doctor is less fun than being a medical student. Being a medical student is an absolutely incredible time. If you're not enjoying it, fine, there are all extenuating circumstances why you might not enjoy it. But a lot of the whining is not to do with extenuating circumstances, it's to do with identities and habits. But if you're not, enjoying being a medical student, which you've actively signed up for and chosen to do for five to six years of your life. It's absolutely baffling because it's the thing that you've signed up for. Actually, here's a bit from the podcast or my brother talking about this and I think he phrases this really well. I think to a large extent, I try and think if I'm not enjoying this, then I'm the mug here. I chose to go to university to spend four years studying this random stuff. If I'm not enjoying it, I'm a total knob. I'm just screwing myself. There was a particularly interesting moment, I think it was third year or fourth year or something. I was thinking something along the lines if well, why is life so difficult, I wish I could just be living in the Naruto world where all I care about is one thing, being a ninja, becoming Hokage or something. I'm really jealous of like, Naruto that he does just focus on this one thing. Then I realized, wait, that is literary, the setup I have right now, I was meant to come to this university for four years and literally focus on one thing. Do some math, that's all. That is exactly what my life is right now. I would say, yeah, I thought that was a funny little thought that I had. So yeah. As Taimur said, if you're not enjoying the thing that you've signed up to do, you are actively just screwing yourself. Like you're actively choosing to make your life miserable in the short-term hoping that in the long-term you'll get some rewards. That's not going to happen. Chances are the thought patterns and the happiness level that you're at right now is identical according to the research to the happiness level that you'll be at for the rest of your life. So if you are currently not enjoying the situation that you're in, really try and figure out a way to make it more fun. If there is one thing you take away from this class, in fact, I probably should put this video right at the top. But I knew no one would really listen because people like productivity and apps and tools and stuff. But it's just so fundamentally important because what is the point? What is the point of being productive if we're not enjoying it? What is the point? I'm going to kill myself working for my medical school exams. I'm not going to enjoy university which is supposed to be the best time of your life, because I'll get 84 percent in my exam. Who cares, if you're not enjoying the process, if you're not enjoying your school time, your university time, what is the point? What are you even doing? You're actively screwing yourself. You're the mug here, if you're not enjoy it. That's the theory behind this. So a huge part of my life philosophy is figuring out how I can make things more fun. Because if it's not fun, like I said, what is the point? So when it comes to making YouTube videos, if it ever gets not fun, I try and figure out a way to make it more fun. Filming the Skillshare class, to be honest, it's a bit of a drag. I'm sorry. But I've made it more fun because I've added these random bits. I've added these segments for my brother. I've got this second camera angle going on. They are all bits that make this Skillshare class more fun. I treat myself to a coffee every if every few videos. I ordered some takeaway this morning, grilled chicken wrap and some grilled wings. I'm going to treat myself to take away afterwards. I'm doing everything I can to make the process of making these videos more fun. Because if it's not fun, then I'm just screwing myself. I'm probably, going to do it anyway because it's worthwhile. But I've got this day of work, I've been working quite hard this last week. We got the coronavirus situation. If I'm not enjoying the process of filming these videos, I'm the mug here. I'm actively screwing myself. That's not a good thing to do. Equally, when it comes to studying. It's very, very tempting to think, I hate my subject. I don't know why I'm doing this. I don't know what I signed up for. I'm just going to go through and I need to battle through. It's so tempting to think like that. But if we have in our minds that I need to be trying my best to enjoy the things that I've chosen to do, the things I'm doing, we are going to be doing them anyway. If you sign up to a university degree, chances are you're going to finish that degree anyway. So why not enjoy the process of doing it? It'll be different for everyone. But the things that I find useful for enjoying stuff is firstly, I enjoy working with friends. Even though it might be slightly less productive. I don't like studying on my own. Actually, I quite like studying in general, so I don't mind studying on my own, but it's just more fun. At university we used to call them hybrid chills, is when you're having a chill, but you're all working together on different things. We're all just sitting in the same room doing our own stuff but it's a social atmosphere and it makes it so much more fun. That was how I got through my final year exams, like me and all my friends, we would all sit in my room or sit in the garden or sit in the kitchen, we'd all study together. Yeah, we were all a little bit unproductive then, but hey, it was fun, it was enjoyable. Who cares if we were a little bit less productive in terms of output and time. The fun factor was so hugely increased that it actually overall made us far more productive and far more healthy and happy. Secondly, there is a mindset shift that I picked up from Seth Godin, who is a popular marketing blogger on the Internet. He's been writing a personal blog every day for the last 50 years or something stupid like that. But Seth Godin is amazing and he had this fantastic post called, Have To Versus Get To. It's a simple mindset shift. It's something that anyone can do right now, today. That's anytime we think that, I have to do something, instead we just reframe it in our minds to, I get to do this. So for example, when I'm at work, sometimes I'm just like, I have to take this blood sample, I can't be bother. I think to myself, no, that's not the right way to think. I should think I get to take this blood sample because really it's a privilege, so this patient has allowed me in to their life to stab them with a needle and take their blood. This is what I signed up for and this is what my training has led up to and I know I can do a good job at it. I get to take the blood rather than I have to take the blood. Just that simple mindset shift automatically makes me enjoy the stuff that I'm doing infinitely more than if I think I have to do this. Equally, when I have to study to prepare for my supervisions or when I have to study for an exam. I try and change it in my head that I get to study for my supervisions. I get the privilege of teaching these students physiology. I get to study for my exam. I get the privilege of sitting down for an extended period of time and thinking about a topic that I enjoy. It's a subtle mindset shift, but it works absolute wonders for making us enjoy the things that we're doing a lot more. Finally, on the enjoyment front, there's all ways to enjoy the things that we're doing more. But I think designing the environment is a really big part of it. Like, I really don't enjoy studying in a cramped space with clutter everywhere. But I love studying when I'm on my desk, everything is clean, I've got a nice cup of coffee with me and it's just nice. The environment makes such a massive difference. I love having my study with me, Spotify playlist playing in the background, through my headphones, whatever. It's just all these little things, these very tiny changes as we can make to our environment to just make everything more pleasant. Because when the stuff that we are productive in doing is fun, we're automatically more productive at it, and we just enjoying life more. People sometimes ask me in YouTube videos, how do you have such a positive attitude to life and how are you so productive and stuff? Actually, the two are linked. In fact, there's a book called The Happiness Advantage, I think. I'm blanking on who it's by, but we'll put it up over here in the predict and resources section. That's like a lot of research done by this dude and his team, I might have been one of them. A lot of research done by a dude and his team about happiness in the workplace and in universities and stuff, and how that correlates with success. Intuitively, we might think that the more successful you are, the happier you are because success leads to happiness. But actually, in this research they found it was the other way around. Happiness led to success. That people who describe themselves as being happy were the ones who ended up being more successful. Somehow, I can't remember exactly how they did the studies, but there showed a cause or link between that. People who have higher self reported happiness levels because they enjoy the things they're doing, end up being more successful than the people that don't. There's all reasons to make yourself enjoy what you're doing. Ultimately, I think we do have the choice, we can just choose to enjoy the things that we're doing. I could choose to film this video and at the end of every minute, I'm like, I really can't be bothered with this. I could choose to do that. Or instead I can follow the James-Lange Theory of Emotion, which we learned about in psychology. That is, I can smile. The act of smiling makes us happy. It's not that being happy makes us smile, it's that smiling makes us feel happy. So I can do these things. I can sit up straight or I can be a bit brighter. I can lift up my eyebrows. I can have nice lights, can have a nice environment. All of these things are making me absolutely love the process of filming this course. Which means at the end of it, I've spent a whole day doing this and I've thought, that was a really good use of time rather than, oh man, that was really boring, I can't believe I had to do that. I get to film this course, I get to spout about productivity and about fun and enjoyment and stuff to people over the internet, which is an enormous privilege. So I think that's a good point to end this. If there is one single thing you take away from this entire class, it should be please try your best to enjoy the things that you're doing. If you're not enjoying the things that you're doing, recognize that you have the power within yourself to change that. You can choose. You can simply choose to enjoy something if you just make a few different tweaks to it and hopefully you've had a few examples from here. That's the end of this video, and I'll see you at the end for the final conclusion. So thanks for watching and see you in the next video. The final and most important writing prompted the entire class, is, ''What do I have to do in my days that I'm currently not enjoying?'' Then, ''If I had to, how would I make this stuff more fun?'' More interesting, more satisfying, more pleasurable. So have a go with that. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the final video. 14. Outro: All right, well done. You've reached the end of the class. Thank you so much for watching this. I have no idea how long it was. Initially, we planned like a huge mammoth like eight hours Skillshare class about productivity and then I did a poll on Instagram and people were like, oh, you hang on, I think you should split up into smaller ones. So this is the first in the productivity classes chronicle. I don't know when you're watching this, but potentially there are more classes. So if you follow my profile on Skillshare or wherever you're watching this, you will find more classes related to productivity. In this class, we just focused on the principles, the fundamental principles of productivity, the three myths, the three powers, and the three laws of productivity, I'll try my very best, like me and my brother, to give you some practical advice, some actionable things that you can take away. As I said in the previous video, the single most important thing is that we want to be enjoying the stuff that we're doing because without enjoyment, what the hell is the point of productivity. So I hope you learn something from this. If you have any questions, please do leave them down in the projects and resources section or in the discussion section of this class. Please do leave a review as well and follow my profile. If you follow my profile, you'll be able to see the other classes that I've got. There's a really good one on how to study for exams. There is a good one and how to edit videos and hopefully depending on when you're watching this, there will be loads more because I'm planning to make more Skillshare classes because it's just fun. But also, if you can please leave a review or put what you thought of the class, that would be absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for watching. I wish you the very best with your productive and hopefully enjoyable life ahead. Yeah. Great. See you later. 15. The Next Step of Your Productivity Journey: All right guys, thank you so much for watching. If you liked this class, you should definitely check out the sequel to this class where we expand on the principles that we've talked about here. That is also in Skillshare. You can access it completely for free and that'll be linked in the video description area. In that class, we're going to go over the famous pilot plane and engineer analogy, which is the mental model that I've come up with about how I think about productivity. Hopefully, that will help you combat procrastination and get more motivated and be more disciplined and all that fun stuff and not get distracted. Hopefully, it's useful and I'll see you there. Bye-bye. 16. Exclusive Bonus Materials: Hello again, how's it going? I probably look a little bit older than when you're watching this class because I'm filming this after the fact. Because just to let you know, we have just added an enormous amount of totally free bonus material over to my website, which facilitates all of the different skill share classes that we have here on the platform. So if you head over to Ali, forward slash Skillshare, resources that lingual appear here and also down in the project and resources section or wherever you happen to be seeing this Skillshare often changes the structure of the website, so it'll be linked somewhere on this page and also right here, so you can go to that URL and that will give you access to a bunch more bonus information relating to all of the different Skillshare classes. For some of those that might be Notion templates for some of them might be PDFs and worksheets and bonus material. It's all on the website, it's all completely free and you can check it out with that link. Anyway. I hope you enjoyed the class. I'd love it if you can leave a review if you haven't already and hopefully see you in the next one. Bye bye.