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Don’t Get Caught in The Trap of Productivity Culture

Have you spent hours and hours trying out the latest productivity methods and applications?

Like, on the first day, you organize all your projects on a Kanban Board, segmented based on progress and ready with action steps. The next day, you timebox, dedicating blocks of time to specific tasks, each noted down in your daily calendar. On the third day, you use the pormodoro timer splitting time between work and breaks. 

You vow to follow this system forever. Because here it finally is: the productivity system that's going to help you achieve all your goals, accumulate all the wealth, and land you all the sexy minxes from the resident old age home.

But if you are like me, these systems survive for around 3 hours before I abandon them. So, in the end, it leads nowhere. You don't even become more productive than the day before. 

Worse: you begin to FEEL unproductive.

But you don't quit. Instead, you get the fuck back up. And start looking for other productivity systems and applications. 

Because this time, you tell yourself, it's going to work.

Until it doesn't. Again.

But you get the fuck bac-.......fuck this. You know the drill by now

If this is you, then congratulations. You've just bought into the dark side of productivity culture.

The Myth of Productivity

The myth of productivity is the idea that every single one of us can unlock an ideal state of productivity, after which procrastination becomes a thing of the past. 

But how do we unlock this ideal state of productivity? 

Turns out, we have to find the right system (or application) that matches our personalities,  temperaments, working styles, goals, situations, etc.

ie., this shit is personal. For you, it could be the Pomodoro method. For me, it could be just raw dogging time.

Worse, there is no test that helps you find out which system works for you. Instead, you have to experiment with different systems and find out 'the one' through trial and error. 

Then finally, you'll be productive forever.

But turns out, not quite.

Because there is no method that will eliminate procrastination forever.

Because procrastination is not a bug, but a feature of the human psyche. It is an often helpful braking system that prevents us from diving headfirst into poorly thought-out plans. In fact, I argue that it can even be productive.

However, I don't deny the existence of chronic procrastination or the problems that it causes. But for most individuals, they're the symptom of a larger issue. So, for them, productivity systems might not be the right answer anyway.

Also, I don't believe all productivity culture is bad. I would even say they have done the world a ton of good. I have benefitted a lot from some of the productivity tips I have consumed.

But we live in a capitalist society. And being productive is good for business. Though 'being good for business' isn't bad, it isn't always in our best interests.

Because it leads to measuring our worth by our level of productivity. This measurement can be from others like a company giving you silent treatment if you leave the office the minute the clock strikes 6. Or it can be from ourselves, measuring our worth based on how much we get done compared to how much others get done.

Productivity Guilt

Have you ever spent a few days doing nothing? 

I don't mean free from just everything work-related but just engaged in leisure and time with friends and family.

If so, in such days, does a voice in the back of your head start nagging you for 'wasting your time?'

Then, say hi to productivity guilt. Productivity guilt is an annoying voice you feel in the back of your head. It pops up when you spend time doing things that society deems unproductive - be it a long break from work or indulging in hobbies that don't have any 'benefit.'

The internet adds fuel to this guilt. Because there are millions of productivity videos, blogs, and podcasts out there. Far from motivating us, these videos give us the perception all those gurus are productive 24x7. 

Social media makes things worse. Your friends post their career achievements on LinkedIn.  Some of them post videos about their productive days on Instagram. 

Add all this together, and you're left with the feeling that you're the only one who is lazying around and being unproductive.

But all this is a mirage.

Dissecting the Ideal Gurus

Let's start with the productivity experts. Some of them have admitted they work around 4-6 hours a day. Those who do work a fuck load usually get burned out. 

A lot of them might even be overestimating the amount of time they spend on actual work.  Because we are terrible at measuring our work hours. 

More than a few of them are outright lying.

As for your social media friends and followers let's just use some basic math. Imagine you're following 200 people on Instagram. Let's assume 10 of them have a good day. Seeing just these 10 positives, your brain might jump to the conclusion that EVERYONE is having a good day, while you're stuck at your job finishing a PowerPoint for your boss's cat.

If you are unconvinced, look at your posts. Do they give an accurate perception of your life? 

Or are they an inflated positive image?

Look, I'm not the first one to say this: but celebrities, influencers, and social media friends aren't good metrics to measure your life by.

The side effect of all this is that there might never come a time when we feel all accomplished and all satisfied with whatever we have achieved. How much of that is due to the system we're in and how much of that is because of our inherent biological makeup is hard to determine.

The answer is, we're never gonna be done with our shit.

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