Setting limits rather than goals

plus 1000 subscriber Q+A

Hey everyone,

I hope you’re week’s been great.

This week I spoke at AI Med Cardiology, reflected on the benefits of work limits (below) and probably checked the US election updates more often than I should have.

Next week, I’m doing an “Ask Me Anything” on the Junior Doctors UK Reddit. I’m expecting lots of questions about applying machine learning and data science to healthcare. Come join if interested! It’s 18:00 GMT on Monday 9th Nov.

Thanks to everyone who sent me questions for my 1,000 YouTube subscribers Q+A! I’ve uploaded the video here.

Have a good one :)


🌪 The problem with limitless living

Have you ever had that feeling that there’s always more work you could be doing?

I tend to have many projects on at once, and work on them with the mindset to “make as much progress as possible as quickly as possible”.

However, an issue with this is that it isn’t clear when you should stop. You can end up working or studying a lot, and not being to relax guilt-free the rest of the time.

🕵️‍♂️ A new approach

These past few weeks (since this email), I’ve been taking the following approach:

  • I’ll define a maximum of 10 tasks for each week

  • I’ll allocate those tasks to specific days

  • Once I’ve achieved those tasks on those days, I’ll stop working (or just do ‘work’ that I feel like doing)

This has been really refreshing. It’s helped me focus more on getting the specific tasks done, so that I can have more free time. It’s also provided more time that I can calmly enjoy, doing other things, without feeling like I’m falling behind with my projects.

I’ve re-designed the Trello weekly schedule I shared before, to have columns for (i) 10 key tasks, (ii) tasks if I have time / feel like it and (iii) completed tasks.

📓 Why I loved medical school

This approach of setting limits was really helpful back when I was studying Medicine too.

In my first two years, I hustled with studying and tried to get the best score that I could.

Then, after realising I didn’t particularly enjoy that, I set myself a limit (and a target): I want to be in the top 25% of the year, but am not too fussed beyond that.

I used that to guide me whenever I was deciding whether to work more. I’d ask myself whether I knew that amount that someone in the top 25% would know.

From then on, I enjoyed my experience a lot more - and was able to finish fairly consistently in the top 25%.

(I go into a bit more detail about this in my 1,000 subscribers Q+A YouTube video)

This week’s video:

This week I answered questions about data science, careers, learning to code, technology in healthcare, productivity and content creation.

✨ My internet favourites this week:

I loved this conversation with Joe Ledsam. Joe’s taken a really amazing journey; he went from medical doctor to working at Deep Mind Health and has contributed to some really exciting AI for healthcare research. It was great to hear a bit more about his approach to work and him as a person.

This short blog from Cal Newport (a highly productive man) reassured me it’s okay to get distracted sometimes.

I bit the bullet and joined NessLabs this week. They have an upcoming course “From Curator to Creator” the peaked my interest. I related a lot to this article they wrote, about “time anxiety” - the acute sense that you are not spending your time in the optimal way, and that it’s running out.

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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.