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Discussion on: The toxic side of productivity culture

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daedtech profile image
Erik Dietrich

This is a great point. I was actually listening to Clockwork, an audio book by Mike Michalowicz, recently, and he touches on this a lot. It's a book, aimed at business owners, about how not to flail around aimlessly as a business grows.

He spends a good bit of time, up front, essentially describing productivity hacks as an anti-pattern. His reasoning, more or less, is that busy people tend to enlist productivity hacks before figuring out if they're even doing the right mix of tasks, with right set of priorities. So, in a lot of cases, productivity hacks just help you do more of the wrong thing, in a more frantic way.

As a lifelong consumer of productivity hacks, these takes are interesting to me and give me cause to reflect.

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danilapetrova profile image
Danila Petrova Author

Whoa! This audiobook sounds amazing. And I do agree, I have caught myself obsessing over every single thing I do and trying to use system upon system to get things done, where I stress out and give more time to maintaining those rules than actually working. An example is spending up to 4 hours per week on a bullet journal layout for task management that I later replaced with simple 5-minute to-do lists.

Not to mention that we go along with general "tips and tricks", where they may not even need to be in our life. Or not in this form anyway.

For example, a guy I dated had me thinking that I have to workout four times a week at the gym. So I would rearrange my schedule and align the stars so that I can keep up with this version of productivity. As a result, I was really worn out for months on end. Eventually leading to obsessive binge-eating and growing resentment for the activity.

It turns out I am much happier doing things differently. Like a quick daily stretch in the morning and riding my bike when I feel like it.

Aiming to do more and do better is great! But we should take the time to ask if this is even what we really need/want.

Thanks for engaging with the article, I think that everything you said is completely on point.

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daedtech profile image
Erik Dietrich

I can totally relate to an elaborate system for something you replace with a simple todo list. In some ways, that reminds me of something I struggled with for years as a software developer, which was always being inclined to save myself 5 minutes of data entry with hours of automation :)