KAIZEN CH.73 - How I unleashed my productivity superpowers

Thoughts on the power of the internet and creators

Hey friend 👋,

Welcome to the 73rd edition of the Kaizen Newsletter ⛩, a weekly newsletter where I share my thoughts, new ideas I learn and make weird connections between self-improvement, productivity, product, tech, sports, anime.

So last week, I officially started Ali Abdaal's Youtuber course. Every week, we are supposed to film, edit and publish one video and in the spirit of “building in public”, I’m going to share it all with you. The goal this week was to make a video about "my favourite thing." I decided to make a video on one of my favourite exercises that helped me understand who I want to become. This exercise was taught to me by Charlene Wang, a friend from my writing fellowship. Obviously, this is my first video ever, so I know there are tons of improvements to make, but would still enjoy any feedback (positive or negative) that you have!
You can view my first YouTube video here.

(if you got referred to this page by a friend or are simply visiting you can subscribe here👇)

Now, on to the newsletter.

I'm sure we all dreamt of having superpowers at least once in our lifetime.

I’m not a superhuman, nor am I a mutant, but there is one particular moment where I feel that I do have superpowers.

And it’s the moment where I’m literally racing against the clock because I need to finish something ASAP.

Everything around me seems to slow down and I get laser-focused on the task at hand and nothing can distract me until I’m done. No, not even a Naval Twitter notification.

I feel like Liam Neeson from Taken who’s locked-on to its target and won't stop until the target is eliminated.

What sucks is that I can’t control this superpower of mine.

And that’s because I'm a very laid-back dude. Sometimes, I’m too laid-back.

Often, it seems like I have infinite amounts of time in front of me, so instead of getting stuff done right away, I spend my time doom scrolling on Twitter or rabbit-holing on YouTube.

This means that the majority of the time, I procrastinate, a lot, before finding the urgency to work.

And it's only when the deadline is literally in my face that the adrenaline starts pumping and my superpowers activate. That's when I start producing work.

I've always imagined what my life would be if I were able to turn on my superpowers whenever I wanted. But procrastination has always been something that I've struggled with and it seems to be my biggest kryptonite.

I tried a bunch of tricks to combat it, like setting fake deadlines or breaking down bigger projects into smaller pieces to make it seem more attainable.

Although I thought I had gained full control over my superpower, the control quickly faded with each passing day. Overall, these procrastination tricks weren’t enough.

I needed to create my own anti-kryptonite suit. So I thought to myself: How exactly can I “force” my superpower to activate whenever I want?

Well, my superpower triggers whenever I am overwhelmed. When I have too many things to do, I get stressed and that pushes me to be laser-focused to complete all of my tasks at hand.

I need to get my body stressed. But since I'm a very laid-back person, I need a lot to activate these stress hormones.

YouTube has entered the chat

So most of you know by now that I decided to take Ali Abdaal's YouTuber course.

But the truth is, I wasn't planning on creating content on YouTube until mid-2021.

I wanted to focus on growing my newsletter and my blog. Then, when I had that handled, I’d start dabbling into YouTube.

But I felt this was a huge opportunity that I couldn't pass up, so I dived right in.

That being said, I was scared.

I was scared of being overwhelmed.

I was scared of being so scattered that the quality of my work would drop.

This is a list of my current projects:

  • Completing my 100 days of copywriting challenge

  • Sending out weekly newsletters

  • Growing my Twitter account by writing at least one tweet-thread per week

  • Writing longer-form essays for the blog

And now I’m trying to start a YouTube channel as well?!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I also have a full-time job as a product manager at a tech startup.

This is clearly a stupid idea, right? The general advice is to focus on growing one channel at a time.

But that’s when I remembered what triggered my superpower.

Only when I am overwhelmed can I become laser-focused on completing my tasks.

So have I found the trick to become superhuman?

Maybe, but I’m cautiously optimistic. As with any superpower, it’s important to know what your limits are.

A few years ago, I was working as a consultant and had a six months period where I was working for 60-80h and I burnt out.

I believe that I learned from that event and as long as I’m able to maintain the following criteria, I will count this experiment as a success:

  • An average of 7h of sleep per day

  • Move my body every day (either through a workout or taking walks)

  • Meditating every day

  • Sending a high-quality newsletter every week

I’m going to give this a couple of months and you will definitely hear about it regardless of the results.

🤔 Thoughts

🌐 Thoughts on the Power of the Internet

I don't think I'll ever stop being fascinated by the power of showing your work on the internet.

Here is proof no.293084920384 of how powerful this concept is.

Damien originally posted his first TikTok in May 2020. In most of his videos, he shares his battles with depression and anxiety as well as his previous bad relationships through his original songs.

As his bio says, he literally converts pain into poetry.

He keeps on publishing his music on the platform and starts to blow up. Even got the attention of Jason Darulo in one of his videos.

In the meantime, Blake Robbins, a VC who invested in Nadeshot from 100Thieves, stumbles upon Damien's TikTok and really saw potential in him (and his music). He then sends Damien's TikTok to Chris Zarou (Logic’s manager).

A few months after...

Visionary Music Group (Chris Zarou's label) announces that Damien is their newest member 🤯.

If you want to support and be his fan before he blows up, you can check out his first single, Catch Me. It's 🔥.

✍️ Thoughts on Creators

Really enjoyed reading Hunter Walk's article on The Multi-SKU Creator.

Although having a paid newsletter on Substack is becoming more and more popular, there will be very few writers that will be able to make a living on writing alone.

Instead, creators should think of their newsletter as only one of many other SKU's. Creators could then have a podcast SKU, a book deal SKU, etc.

Basically, it's the idea of having multiple revenue streams. We see it a lot with YouTubers already where they don't only want to rely on the revenue from AdSense, so they will make sure to get other revenue streams from merchandise, sponsorships, courses, etc.

The same idea should apply to Substack writers as well.

🐦 Tweets

This guy made a joke tweet-thread at 150 subscribers and now has 17.4K subscribers in the span of 3 days. Now THAT’s some Twitter growth-hacking.

I wish I also started writing way earlier in life. But it’s better late than never 🤷‍♂️.

Love this tweet.

🙏 Shoutout

Shoutout to Charlene Wang for a mind-blowing life coaching session and for providing inspiration for my first YouTube video!

Thanks to Blake for providing feedback for this edition of the newsletter.

👋 End Note

If you want to know what I'm up to now, you can check it on my website here.

If you enjoyed the Kaizen Newsletter, then it'd be cool if you can share it with your friends.

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See ya next Tuesday,

Alexander ✌️