Are you addicted to productivity porn?


Yes you read right – Productivity porn – this is an tongue in cheek look at how we get caught in the busyness trap of being the best we can by doing doing doing…

Enjoy the read – SOURCE: https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/7173d1cc6f95 

About 7 years ago, my career took a turn from being mostly in the field, hanging lights and designing projects on the fly to being mostly behind a desk designing projects at a computer. It was right around that time that I found my way into the deep dark recesses of a new internet addiction. I was addicted to porn. Not the naked bodies and bad lighting kind — the calendar app kind. I don’t remember what blog post started it. Much like the first punch that starts a riot, the inciting incident is lost to my personal history. However, what started out as occasional light reading about the best kind of pen to use for note taking quickly gave way to much more hardcore stuff. I read Scott Belsky’s Making Ideas Happen. Which, of course got me addicted to 99u’s never ending stream of creativity/productivity articles and hacks. But I fell even further down the rabbit hole. I bought Getting Things Done. I read it. I reread it.

You know you’re addicted to productivity porn when you are listening to podcasts of David Allen talking about stuff he’s written — stuff you’ve read.

Soon my addiction grew worse. Lifehacker, Bridging the Nerd Gap, podcasts, you name it, I was immersed in it. Depending on the guru I had read that month, I was buying apps, I was buying notebooks and notepads in every size and quality imaginable. I was addicted to the idea of being productive of finding a way to make it all easy. Evernote, Omnifocus, Things, Gneo, Mailbox, Lift, Flava, Simplenote, Fantastical, Agenda Calendar, Timewerks, Billings, Week Calendar, Free-Time, aTimeLogger, Action Method, neu.Notes, DraftPad, Todo, Voxie Pro Recorder, Dropbox, Remember the Milk, and ReQall have all been apps that have been on my phone at one time or another.

When you’re instagramming #inboxzero you’ve reached new heights of productivity porn addiction.

Real porn is dangerous because it distorts your idea of what sex should be. Watch enough porn and you might actually think that the way men and women act in the movies is how you ought to act in the bedroom. The same is true of productivity porn. You read the habits of Hemingway and you think that it’s feasible for you to work on the important stuff from 3am until 9am then start your workday. You watch a three minute video on how one guy writes in his notebook and suddenly, you’re Bullet-Journaling.

Productivity porn betrays personal insecurity. The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month. They are far too busy getting things done to readGetting Things Done. But what they’ve also come to accept is that working hard is indeed, just hard work. There’s no trick to it. They might take notes digitally they might write things down on paper. They might forget stuff, but they are always thinking about what they need to do next and then they start doing it. I would watch people like this and see in myself my own inefficiency my own procrastination, my own failures and rather than face them and improve, I’d look for a trick or a work around.What the hell does that mean?

GTD, Evernote and Grocery Shopping

I had taken a a lot of time setting up a personal GTD system after re-reading David Allen’s book. As anyone who’s ever read it could tell you he is a big believer in list making. The idea is essentially that you capture stuff you need to do in some kind of inbox (digital or physical) and then later on sort it into lists of actions. Like a good GTDer I had a list of items on my grocery list and some other items on my errands list. But how many lists should I make? Should I make a separate Home Depot list — is one item list worthy?

Over the course of two weeks or so I had populated no fewer that three lists — groceries, cleaning supplies/housewares, and other errands. My system was bullet-proof. When I arrived at the grocery store I got out my handy Evernote app. I pulled up my lists and began shopping. It turns out I didn’t need to write down 90 percent of my grocery list. Simply looking at the shelves reminded me of what I needed. Then deep in the bowels of Stop N Shop I wanted to check my errands list to see if I had forgotten anything. Turns out my phone didn’t get signal in the middle of the store. I couldn’t check it. Now I would never know if I’d forgotten anything. At just that moment an older woman was walking down the same aisle. Her shopping list was written on the back of an old receipt. As she picked things up she crossed them off the list with a pen she had gotten from the local bank. It would seem that in this instance, her “productivity system” far our stripped mine. Hers was free. Mine was an iPhone, a failed data plan and a freemium app.

Escape the trap of “A Better Way”

Here’s the thing. There is always the next bright and shiny toy out there. There is always the next novel app, the next great list maker. Siri is always getting a little bit better. Evernote is always adding new features. There will always be productivity experts out there to tell you the best way to keep track of your life. In the end there’s no finish line. Maybe someday we’ll all have some perfect digital assistant provided by Google or Evernote, or Apple and we won’t have to think about this stuff any more. Except, we will. Because no digital assistant will be able to tell you what’s the most important thing for you to work on a Saturday morning. It won’t be able to shorten your to-do list. It won’t be able to be there at your kid’s soccer game. It will just be a little bit better at keeping your list.

So what’s my personal productivity system these days? It’s a notebook. That’s it. I write things down that I need to do. I take notes in meetings. Then when I have a few minutes on the train or before bed or whenever I thumb through the last few pages and see if there’s anything important I need to do. I move them to a short list. Then when I’m parked at my desk I work on my short list. What I’ve come to accept is that no system is perfect, I’ll forget important things, I’ll miss emails. I might have to sit and write out a grocery list. But at the end of the day we are the sum total of our actions, so I don’t mind having to think a little bit about what I need to do next.

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About Tass Schwab

At the centre of my business is a practice of stillness and authenticity. I am in this business to upskill people for a sustainable future. To encourage skills development that care for our planet, people and all its diversity Through this deep knowledge of self I bring to the classroom consciousness in Facilitation and Consistent well written course material. I endeavor to make any soft skill or business skill given to me an experience beyond what the material dictates. I have a full repository of already written material available that you can contact me for. I also provide Accreditation Services. Being conscious of your actions from within simply makes good business sense now.

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