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In Why Productivity is Bunk Charlie Gilkey zeros in on the problem with productivity:

… people spend hours and hours finding new ways to be quicker at things they don’t need to be doing in the first place.

There’s more in this vein. On his about page Gilkey writes his blog is:

… for recovering productivity junkies who have had enough of Getting Things Done and want to start getting things done.

As someone who has long been bemused by the cult of Getting Things Done and who can’t believe people fork out small fortunes for devices and software designed to help them get organised, I find Gilkey’s approach refreshing.

However, Gilkey is only part way into the recovery process, there’s a lot of material elsewhere in his blog looking suspiciously like productivity tips.

3 thoughts on “Why productivity is bunk

  1. You’re mostly right that I’m only part way into the recovery process. But I also wonder what’s inherently wrong with “productivity tips.”

    If we focus solely on hacks and such, then I agree – let’s move on. However, if the “productivity tips” are solving problems people are actually having, or helps them do the things they need to be doing or helps them stop doing what they don’t need to be doing, then I suppose I’ll have to bite the bullet and say that I’m still giving productivity tips.

    The way I currently see productivity lends me to think that what you’re doing here is giving productivity tips. I like what you’re doing, too, but should we be suspicious because they are productivity tips?

  2. I guess we’re singing from the same page but we’re a bit trapped by the language here.

    Like you I’m all for being efficient and organized with a clear set of priorities. It that’s productive, then you and I are both into productivity.

    My problem, and I think it’s yours too, is with the cult of Productivity. I’m worried that a lot of people see producitvity as an end rather than a means.

    Reading some of the high profile productivity blogs gives me the impression that some people view playing with productivity tools as a form of entertainment. Now that’s just crazy.

  3. Aye, the language is a bit unfortunate – hence my want to take it back from those who’ve lost sight of what is productivity and what isn’t.

    If the Productivity Cult were honest enough to say they were just playing, then I wouldn’t have a problem. I’ll not say what should be entertaining and what shouldn’t, for that’s an aesthetic argument that’s neither here nor there.

    It’s when the Cult tries to convince themselves and others that they’re “getting things done” that we both get annoyed. Fine, enjoy playing…try out those new systems…buy new gadgets…but all the while notice that you’re not pushing your real goals forward.

    So we both see eye to eye on productivity, and we both are talking about real productivity. The Cult…well, they’re not right. How’s that for groupthink!

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