I follow this doctor from Cambridge who has a life crisis every 100 videos but he usually posts great quality productivity videos. You probably know him as Ali Abdaal. He’s a young crisis ridden productivity nerd who wants to get married and move to America. Great personality and sound advice.

In ranking all of his Life hacks, at the S Tier, he placed 4 of them.

  1. Systems not Goals (think about how to set yourself up to succeed not what the end goal is like)
  2. 2x/3x speed watching
  3. Daily Highlights (what is the one thing you want to finish today that’s noteworthy)
  4. Enjoying the Journey (it’s not the destination it’s everything you experience when you’re going there)

Number 4 has really irked me from the start. It’s what my brother believes in deeply but it’s something that I keep pondering on. That’s not this blog post.

This blogpost is about his 2nd favorite hack which is 2x’in everything. If you’re a visual learner like me you’ll natively go to Youtube to learn more than you will read text. Even though I read text for a very long time and I used to devour books for the last few years most of my learning has come from watching videos. Almost everything is explained by videos and the best investment I have made is to get a premium Youtube subscription which I highly recommend.

But the quickest way to learn on Youtube is to get the Video Speed Controller. Get it for Chrome or Firefox.

The idea is simple. You have keyboard shortcuts that let you zip through videos. You can set your preferred speed and slow down when there’s something important. This has been a life changer. I can zip through videos really quick and I find people talking to be very slow now.

There are some things to keep in mind

  1. Subtitles are needed for speeds above 2.2 x
  2. Accents can hinder the preferred speed. Some people naturally talk much faster so it’s harder to understand.
  3. Youtube does a good job with subtitles and if you enable them (shortcut C) but it’s not always correct.
  4. It doesn’t work for Indian Accents
  5. Learn the shortcuts and you’ll find it to be much faster.
    • I use G for preferred speed (2x is mine)
    • I use Z and X to rewind and forward
    • I remapped K to be pause which is the default Youtube one
    • I reset very rarely but that’s usually when I want to savor the point
  6. It sucks for mobile because it doesn’t work there.
  7. It’ll take about a week to set in and become natural. Don’t fight it too much
  8. If you are brave enough to do audio books at this speed then let me know I’d love to hear from you.

If you want to watch that video for all his life hacks, it’s here:

Post Edit.

You are probably questioning why do this at all?

One idea is to do more with less time. Elon Musk famously said,

“Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. This improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing you know that you will achieve in 4 months what it takes them a year to achieve.

The second is the Pareto Principle .

In most cases, 20% of the video contains 80 % of the concept. So 80% of the video contains stuff relevant to only 20%.

With speed watching you are getting to that information faster in less time.