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A little more effort

Hey friends, A few nights ago, I got home from work around 7pm. I was due to meetup with some fans (v
A little more effort
By Ali Abdaal • Issue #82 • View online
Hey friends,
A few nights ago, I got home from work around 7pm. I was due to meetup with some fans (via my standing offer of coffee) which lasted until 9pm. I got back home and spent a few hours preparing for a physiology supervision I was doing that week. As it approached 11:30pm, I thought to myself ‘okay I could film a video unboxing my new AirPods Pro, or I could just forget about it because the world doesn’t need another AirPods video’. After a bit of hesitation, I decided to take the extra 15 minutes to film that video and send it across to my editor. 
Cristian did a great job editing it the following morning and we uploaded it to the channel that day. Much to my surprise, the video shot up to #1 in my YouTube analytics (ie: had the highest view count relative to time online compared to my preview 10 videos). It was a video that took me 15 minutes to film, was completely unscripted, and in which I was being a bit silly thinking to myself “this is terrible content surely no one cares”. 
Reflecting on this, there are a few lessons that come to mind. 
1. We’re terrible judges of the quality of our own work. Our internal critic is always the strongest, and often the stuff we think is bad might resonate with others in ways we didn’t expect. My brother and I regularly have this feeling about some of our podcast episodes - we put them out, thinking 'this one was a bit pointless, we didn’t really break much ground’ and the next day we get emails from listeners about how that episode changed their life. 
2. It’s often worth putting a bit more effort into things. I remember 18 months ago when I was filming my iPad note-taking video, the autofocus on the camera malfunctioned and would go in/out of focus every few seconds. I’d started editing the video, but decided to take 30 minutes to refilm the whole thing just to get rid of the focus issue. That video’s now on 4 million views and been the single biggest source of growth for my YouTube channel. I’m pretty sure things would’ve gone less well if the focus in the video made it annoying to watch. 
There’s a balance here though - on the one hand we’ve got the idea that 'perfection is the enemy of good’. We can become paralysed by wanting stuff to be perfect before we put it out there and end up never releasing anything. On the other hand, we know that sometimes, going that extra mile, putting that extra effort will pay dividends in ways we don’t expect. 
Haven’t really figured it out, but I guess being aware of the balance is the first step. I’d love to hear what you think :) 
Have a great week! 
Ali 

This week on Not Overthinking
My Favourite Things this Week
1 - Podcast - I’ve been absolutely tearing through episodes of Bulletproof Radio these past few weeks. A highlight this week was an interview with Adam Grant about how to find pleasure in work, how to handle criticism and a tonne of other nuggets.
2 - Audiobook - I’m continuing to listen to book #2 of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan on Audible. It’s fantastic, and I’m sure it’ll keep me occupied for at least the next 12 months. That’s the wonderful thing about long fantasy series - you know you’ll return to the world anytime you’ve got your headphones in and feel like relaxing :)
3 - Macbook - I was on-call at the hospital this weekend. Mostly it was fairly chill, which meant that I could get other stuff done while at work (eg: learning physiology, replying to emails, writing etc). For the first time, I took both my iPad Pro and MacBook Pro with me, and I was completely astounded at how much more productive I was with my laptop compared to the iPad. I’ve been using the iPad for most light tasks for the past year or so, preferring to carry that around rather than lug a 15" laptop, but now when I’ve got extended work sessions, I might have to bite the bullet and just take the laptop. For anyone who cares about maximising digital productivity, a laptop is 100% the way to go.
Kindle Highlight of the Week
At the heart of a sulk lies a confusing mixture of intense anger and an equally intense desire not to communicate what one is angry about. The sulker both desperately needs the other person to understand and yet remains utterly committed to doing nothing to help them do so. The very need to explain forms the kernel of the insult: if the partner requires an explanation, he or she is clearly not worthy of one. We should add that it is a privilege to be the recipient of a sulk: it means the other person respects and trusts us enough to think we should understand their unspoken hurt. It is one of the odder gifts of love.
From The Course of Love by Alain de Botton. Resurfaced with Readwise.
This week’s videos
 AirPods Pro - Unboxing & Impressions
 AirPods Pro - Unboxing & Impressions
How I Read 100 Books a Year - 8 Tips for Reading More
How I Read 100 Books a Year - 8 Tips for Reading More
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Ali Abdaal

Hey friends, I'm Ali, a Cambridge medicine graduate now working as an FY2 junior doctor. I spend most of my spare time making YouTube videos, but every Sunday I send out an email 'newsletter' with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discover on the internet.

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Ali Abdaal, Cambridge, UK.