Remembering why

Re-finding the joy in daily work

At the start of this week, my work was really feeling like a drag - by the end, it felt much lighter, easier and fun.

The inflection point was a ‘realisation’ that I’ve had on many occasions before.

As someone with a fairly Type A personality, I have a habit of making ambitious plans and trying to complete them in as short a time as possible. Sometimes this works really well for me, and I’m able to get a lot done.

However, sometimes, in the midst of goals, targets and plans, I forget exactly why I decided to aim towards particular things.

🤔 The “realisation”

This week, while listening a podcast, I was reminded: You don’t have to do anything.

This may sound extremely obvious, but for me it was a timely reminder.

For all my grand plans, of creating X and achieving Y, I always have the option to just settle for what’s comfortable.

I’m in a privileged position of having a good job, a comfortable home and an amazing family. There’s nothing external to stop me from ceasing the striving and just accepting that status quo.

Now of course, being a driven, Type A person, I’m not about to give up the hustle.

But after giving myself the permission to not do anything, it enables me to take a step back and make better decisions about what I will do – because ultimately, it’s my choice.

➡️ The result

And after doing so this week, and looking at my list of current projects, I realised; these are all things I love doing. Only the fun had left once they become a “I need to finish this this week” or “I have to make this fantastic”-type task on my to-do list.

For the rest of the week, I worked without these targets and expectations in mind. When I felt like working on one coding project, I worked on it. When I felt like stopping and switching to some study, I did.

And the beautiful irony was that I found myself working on the exact same tasks I’d scheduled for this week, only this time with more excitement, more energy and less effort. So not only did this approach enable me to enjoy the work more, it also enabled me to make quicker progress towards my targets than when they were targets.

🥡 The takeaway

So I guess my main takeaway from this was the importance of not losing sight of the forest for the trees; life is too short to force ourselves to do things we don’t truly enjoy - particularly in pursuit of an undefined end goal. And when working through a ‘to-do list’ starts to become a drag, it’s probably a good time to step back and remind ourselves of this.


This week’s links:

(1) A podcast

I recently came across The Portal podcast by Eric Weinstein (physicist who manages Peter Thiel’s investment firm) and I really loved this recent episode. It’s a discussion with his 15 year old son, and they touch on a lot, including education, approaches to parenting and where are current period sits in history.


This week I shared two videos:

The first ten seconds of this video is my proudest editing to-date.

This is the third video in a series on python programming for medical applications.


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About Me

Hi! I’m Chris Lovejoy, a Junior Doctor and Data Scientist based in London.

I’m on a mission to improve healthcare through technology (particularly AI / machine learning), but along the way I want to share learnings that are relevant no matter your career choice or background.

In this weekly newsletter, I share my top thoughts and learnings from each week, as well as links to the best things on the internet that I come across.