Break the Procrastination Cycle

more than just tweaking your master plan and making no mistakes at all.

Have a great week!

ICYMI: Check out last week’s newsletter for more context on my chat with Katie.

🛒 Shopify Starter Plan – Launch Your Online Business for $5
If you’re thinking about selling products or services online, I highly recommend the Shopify Starter Plan.

It lets you set up your own online store in a couple of minutes, with no personal website or coding involved. All for $5 a month. You can then sell on practically any social media (Facebook, Insta, TikTok, Spotify, etc).

The Starter Plan includes an admin dashboard where you’ll manage orders, analyse sales, and talk to your customers. It’s great for creators who are just starting out, and you can upgrade to a full Shopify membership later as well. Check out the Shopify Starter Plan using this link.

Thanks to Shopify for sponsoring this issue 🙏

♥️ My Favourite Things
📝 Article – How to Get Insanely Rich in the Creator Economy by Nat Eliason. Nat gives a great breakdown of how the creator economy works, but it slowly turns into a dark, ironic takedown: “You traded in one trapped life for another, but you can’t grumble about this new cage you’re in because you built it for yourself.”

📚 Book – The Three Alarms by Eric Partaker. I’m really getting into this book. It’s got a cheesy subtitle (‘Transform Your Health, Wealth, and Relationships Forever’). But there are a lot of genuinely good insights on creativity, working distraction-free, and not chasing the wrong things in life.

🎧 Audiobook – Oathbringer, by Brandon Sanderson. This is Book #3 of the Stormlight Archive. I just re-listened to it on Audible, and I’m moving straight on to #4, Rhythm of War. It’s going to be glorious.

📚 Book – The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl R Trueman. A slightly controversial book about how modern culture got obsessed with identity. Tries to describe all the changes that happened in society order to understand the phrase ‘a man trapped in a woman’s body’. Not sure I agree with all the takes, but it was an interesting read.

🎬 My New Videos
🪴 My Complete Studio Tour (2022) – I take you on a tour of my London studio, discuss different filming setups, and look at my finances to see if the studio is really worth all the money we pay in rent.

👴🏻 How To Retire Early – A Guide to Financial Freedom – If you’re anything like me you don’t want to wait until you’re 70 to live your best life. This is my video guide to ‘retiring’ early.

✍️ Quote of the Week
I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of folks who are unhappy at work tend to equate a “good job” entirely with money, benefits, and security, rather than whether it allows them to express their talents.


Give More, Expect Less

Hey friends, A lot of creators end up making things they’re not excited or passionate about. I’ve done this a few times in the past: if you know what you’re doing, you can get lots of views from lazy, recycled content. But it can sometimes feel a little soul-destroying.

And viewers pick up on that negative vibe. Like Visakan Veerasamy says: “if I’m not having a good time, everything I do gets contaminated by the subtle resentment that builds up. I don’t want that.”

The solution might be what YouTuber Ryan Trahan calls Redemptive Work.

Instead of cranking out content to get maximum views, Ryan treats every video as a gift to the viewer:

Instead of toiling for profit, we’re going to create for restoration. Instead of exhausting ourselves for an extra buck, we’re going to creatively instil in this project as much as we can, so that whoever receives this receives it as a gift, and is rejuvenated by it. […]
And it’s crazy… the more we’ve been able to pour into the videos creatively to give a gift to people, the more views that we’re seeing.

And I think it’s because it’s received as a gift.
It’s better for him, it’s better for the audience, and it’s way more sustainable.

When you’re in the gift-giving mindset, you’re just trying to make something fun. Something you’re proud of on an artistic level. So whatever you create will be filled with positive vibes, that’ll draw people in.

Of course, if you want to be a professional creator, there’s some strategy involved. You need to ask ‘what do people actually want’ before giving a gift. But you can do that without manipulating people into watching at all costs. If you can do good work and serve enough people, the money should take care of itself. In theory.

Other creators have spotted that the idea of giving a gift is pretty powerful:

Austin Kleon: “When you feel as though you’ve lost or are losing your gift, the quickest way to recover is to step outside the marketplace and make gifts.”
Tiago Forte: “I believe service and pleasure can be one and the same, like two sides of the same coin. By asking yourself how you can be of service, you evolve into a more generous person who you enjoy seeing in the mirror.”
Brendon Burchard: “When you feel the drive to serve others, you sustain solid performance longer.”
When I sit down for my morning journaling session, I often wonder about my purpose as a creator: What am I doing? Why am I doing it? And it’s comforting that after thousands of words of writing, my conclusion is broadly the same as Ryan’s:
shameel, be less outcome-dependent. Do your own thing, put it out there, and think of it as a gift you’ve made for the viewer. They can take it or leave it.

So next time you’re doing something creative, maybe ask yourself “who am I making this for? Is this the kind of gift I’d like to give them? Was it made with love?”

And I’ll try to do the same with my videos 😉

Have a great week!

🧠 Notion – Join me in Australia for a Community Celebration

Notion’s gotten a lot more powerful in the last few months. Here’s a rundown of everything that’s new.

Not sure how to use all the new features? If you’re London-based, stop by the Notion Pop-Up in Spitalfields Market from 11am-6pm. You can meet, learn from, and share your Notion setup with other Londoners, and enjoy some free coffee & tea, vanilla wheelcakes, matcha donuts, and other stuff.

Where: Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, London E1 6EW
Notion Pop-Up Hours: 6-8 October from 11am-6pm
Afterwards, join me for a special evening celebrating the local Notion community. It’ll be October 6, 6pm at Mindspace Shoreditch, just a few blocks away from the pop-up. Sign up here.

Thanks to Notion for sponsoring this issue of Sunday Snippets. 🙏

♥️ My Favourite Things

🎙️ Deep Dive Podcast –


 Max Fosh: The Highs And Lows Of Being A Viral Sensation. Max got famous for faking his way into the London Fashion Week and making a video about it. His career has gone 📈 since then. We chatted about Max’s journey to 1M YouTube subscribers, how he puts together crazy videos, and the highs and lows of being a creator.

📝 Article

 – I Don’t Wanna! by Visakan Veerasamy. Amazing article on what it’s like to be a writer/creator and not want to do the thing you’re currently working on.

🤳 Tech

 – Instax Mini Link2 A mini printer that connects to my iPhone and prints off pictures in a few seconds, polaroid-style. Especially good for giving keepsake photos to friends, and for printing mini-photos to paste into my bullet journal (like I did this week for the launch of Season 4 of my Deep Dive podcast).

🚢 Course 

– Ship 30 for 30. My friends Dickie Bush and Nicolas Cole run this amazing online writing course, and the next cohort’s launching soon. If you’d like to sign up, use my code ALI to get a $100 discount.

👕 Clothes 

– MKBHD Chevron Hoodie. I got one of Marques Brownlee’s custom chevron hoodies this week. Extremely snug, would recommend.

✍️ Quote of the Week

Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas.
Paula Poundstone, quoted in The Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. Resurfaced using Readwise.

How to read 200 Books in Year

Hey friends,

I’d like to propose a new theory of reading.

I call it the Explore vs Exploit Model.

See, when I tell people I read 200 books in a year, I get two main reactions.

The first is “OMG how are u so wise??” But there’s a counter-movement that says “fuck you, there’s no way you can absorb all that info from 200 books! It’s a scam! You’d get more value from reading just 3 books per year, and applying the lessons.”

But that counter-argument misses a crucial point: there’s more than one way to read a book. And you don’t have to stick to just one mode.

In fact, I have two main modes of reading.

🗺️ 1. Reading for Exploration

We all have a mental box of possibilities – things we know about ourselves and the world.

When I read for exploration, I’m trying to expand that box as much as possible. I read quickly (often listening to audiobooks at 2x speed), just to get new ideas on my radar:

Listening to Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks during a road trip
Skimming new productivity books for original ideas.
Taking a new fiction author for a test-drive
Let’s say you’ve never studied business. You could do a lot worse than speed-listening to the top 5 business books on Amazon (about 20 hours of listening). You’d get 5 different perspectives and a pencil sketch of the field. And if you get really interested, you’ll know which book to revisit.

This is how I found the book Traction, which I dip into every month for advice on running my company.

So long as you enjoy the process, there’s nothing inherently wrong with listening to 200 audiobooks/year at x3 speed. You won’t remember them all, or be able to act on every insight, but you’ll massively expand your horizons.

⛏️ 2. Reading for Exploitation

This is where it gets serious.

About once a week I’ll read a book in-depth, making Kindle highlights and (sometimes) taking detailed notes. This can take 15h+ per book, so it’s a serious time investment.

I do this when I want to exploit a book’s contents. It could be about investing, relationships, Stoic philosophy… if a book has solid info that’s relevant to my life, I’ll upgrade it to my ‘reading for exploitation’ list. This applies to pretty much every book that I’ve summarised on YouTube (Atomic Habits, Make Time, Four Thousand Weeks, etc).

I’ll only invest this much time and effort in a book if at least one of these things is true:

I’ve already skimmed it, and decided it’s worth a proper read
It’s been recommended by a trusted source
It’s essential for my work (eg a Book Club video)
I can tell it’ll be amazing.
Reading isn’t a choice between skimming 200 audiobooks at 3x speed or spending 80 hours taking notes on Marcus Aurelius. It’s more like a funnel – get lots of ideas on your radar with Reading for Exploration, then niche down and put ideas into practice with Reading for Exploitation.

🚨Two Warnings

Don’t take reading so seriously that you never pick up a book (“oh no I need to take notes and absorb 100% of the contents”).
Don’t get so addicted to the novelty of skimming a new book that you never re-read books, and take notes on the good ones.
Have a great week!

🚀 Grow Your YouTube Channel

Heads up – the waiting list for Cohort 7 of my Part-Time YouTuber Academy is now open 🎉

It’s an action-packed, 5-week live online course running Nov to Dec 2022, where I’ll teach you how to start, grow, and eventually monetise your own YouTube channel. Sign up here with your email, and you’ll be the first to know when we open PTYA for enrollment. You’ll also get updates about the new cohort.

📚 Shortform

If you want to put a lot of new books and ideas on your radar, I highly recommend Shortform. They write short summaries of the world’s best non-fiction books, and have a library going into the 1000s. Each summary gives the book’s key ideas in one page, plus a longer 3-5 page breakdown with commentary and analysis.

It’s like getting a smart friend to tell you about a book. Click this link to get a 5-day free trial, and 20% off the annual premium subscription.

Thanks to Shortform for sponsoring this issue of Sunday Snippets. 🙏

♥️ My Favourite Things

📱 App – I’ve been using this desktop app a lot recently. It tracks all your computer activity, and gives you a breakdown of how you spend your time. Which can be a harsh reality check… You can also set focus times – notifications will pause, and the app will play the right music and ambient noise (eg coffee shop chatter) to get you in the zone. If you’re interested, you can use the promo code Shameel to get 25% off for 3 months. (They’re not paying me to say this at all, and this is an old promo code that doesn’t give me any kickback, I just genuinely use the app a lot these days especially for book writing stuff so I’m mentioning it here).

📄 A3 Pads – I’ve loved using these big pads to brainstorm video and book ideas. There’s something about Some coloured Sharpies and I’m all set.

👨‍💻 An Actual Desk – It’s ironic: even though I’m the desk setup guy, I haven’t had my own desk for at least a year. My bedroom in London was too small to have a proper desk, and in the studio I was always hot desking. But now I’ve moved to a new place and have my own desk again, I’m rediscovering how good it is to have a main base of operations.

📅 My Ideal Week – I’m trying to stick to an ordered schedule where I block time for breakfast, meditation, workouts, and a lot more every week. Wish me luck.