Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

May 15, 2022

The other day, I attended a YouTuber meetup.

(It was a gathering for people who enrolled in Ali Abdaal’s Part-Time YouTuber Academy, in case you were curious.)

I’ve had some modest success on YouTube recently and at the meetup, someone asked what I’d done to grow my channel. I had my answer ready because I’ve been reflecting on just that. There are two components: (1) I stopped half-assing my YouTube videos and (2) I kept my eye on the ball. Let’s cover that second point.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve procrastinated on your work by trying to optimize things adjacent to your work. If you’re a writer, for example, this could be trying out different writing apps. Using a “better” writing app might be pleasant, but won’t help you publish your first novel. It’s not that you shouldn’t use a good writing app. But there’s not much point in comparing writing apps if you are not, you know, actually writing.

In my case, this adjacent work has recently involved upgrading my video recording studio. Clearly, this is valuable in the long term because with an upgraded studio, my videos will look and sound better. That will contribute to people appreciating them more. At the same time, having a nicer studio only matters if I actually record videos.

That brings me back to people’s questions about why my channel has been growing lately: I managed to work on improving my studio while still creating, editing, and publishing videos. In the past I have often been guilty of procrastination through premature optimization. I’d tell myself, “let’s postpone [the creative work] a little longer until I’ve figured this out”. And then I’d never do the creative work, or maybe I’d do it months later. Not this time.

In other words: I kept my eye on the ball.

That doesn’t mean I’ve solved this problem forever. In fact, my next potential distraction looms: I’d like to record one or two YouTube videos in the coming week, but at the moment I don’t have a camera to record with. My girlfriend took the camera I usually record with on a holiday trip with family and friends. To be fair, the camera is actually hers, so I can’t blame her…

Point is, I could let this stop me from recording a YouTube video or two in the coming week. Will I let it stop me? Will I take my eye off the ball?

You and I will both find out soon.

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