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Feel-Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You – Ali Abdaal

24th June 2024
feel-good productivity book cover

Review of Feel-Good Productivity

Feel-Good Productivity is not a productivity system to help the readers get more done at any cost. It is about doing more of what matters to you. It will help you learn more about yourself, what you love and what really motivates you. The author wants to offer a new way of thinking about productivity that you can apply to your own life in your own way.

Feel Good

Feeling good does not just end with feeling good. It actually changes our patterns of thought and behaviour. This will also lead to greater productivity.

The 3 Energisers

The author asks us to incorporate play, power and people into our lives. These are the 3 energisers that help us feel good in our work and life, boosting our energy and helping us do more of what matters to us.

The author reminds that when it comes to interpersonal dynamics, the truth is often unclear due to the different personal perceptions and circumstances.

Although sometimes we have to do tasks that we do not enjoy, we can take control by choosing how we work on it. This could make the tasks more enjoyable.


The 3 emotional barriers to procrastination are

1. Uncertainty (the solution: gain clarity about what you are actually doing),

3. Fear (the solution: find courage), and

3. Inertia (the solution: do something).

The author suggests to combine NICE (Near-term, Input-based, Controllable, Energising) short-term goals and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Relevant, Time-related) long-term goals to achieve more in life.

Usually, the failures that we are worried about now are not the ones that will always define us. The fears that we have now would not always carry such significance.

The author shows an equation for self-confidence:

Self-Confidence = Perception of Ability – Perception of Standards


Burnout is not a thing that happens to overworked people in stressful jobs. It can happen to anyone when work stops feeling meaningful, enjoyable or manageable. When you are burned out, you feel overwhelmed and undermotivated. You feel like you cannot keep up the pace, no matter how hard you try. It is unrelated to the number of hours you are working – it is about how you feel.

3 types of burnout are

1. Overexertion burnout (the solution: do less),

2. Depletion burnout which is not giving yourself enough time or space to truly recharge (the solution: understand how to rest in a way that energises you), and

3. Misalignment burnout which is negative feelings that arise when our goals do not match up to our sense of self (the solution: find out what really matters to you and change your behaviour accordingly).

If you would not say yes to something happening tomorrow, you should not say yes to it in a month or more. Even when we start off enjoying something, if we do it for long enough, there are always going to be periods of hardship. Thus, it is important to incorporate rest into our schedule.


We should treat our lives are a laboratory. We must be willing to embrace experimentation and learn as we go. Through experiments, we will be able to find out what suits us. The author has prepared some experiments for us to find out what works for us.


The author was constantly worrying about making a mistake that would kill someone when he was practising as a doctor. I can relate to this as I am in the healthcare field too but my worry is more to causing harm to the patients.

The most important lesson that I learn from this book is that it is important to have the right mindset about productivity. By having the right mindset, we could always find ways to sustain our productivity and avoid burnout. After all, life is not about maintaining focus all the time; it is about allowing space for little moments of serendipity and joy.

One-sentence summary for Feel-Good Productivity

Sustainable productivity means recognising the limitations on our time.


  1. Life is stressful. Play makes it fun.
  2. No failure is ever just a failure. It’s an invitation to try something new.
  3. We have control even when we don’t know it.
  4. When the going gets tough, it’s better to have friends to lean on than enemies to lord it over.
  5. Humans have an innate aversion to what we don’t know.


3 out of 3 stars

Interested in Feel-Good Productivity?

You may get the book from through the links below*.

Get the print book from Shopee here

Get the ebook from Shopee here

*These are affiliate links and I might earn a small amount if you purchase the book through this link.

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