First things first: this post is not to diss my peers. It’s kind of an open letter to my scientific self: why do I practice productivity? Why do I run my productivity blog? Most of what productivity promises to deliver are breakthrough results while most of the methods seem all common sense. Why does it still work? Does it work at all?
The term productivity itself is so clichéd that it’s hard to find the deep value associated with it. Why, then, do we digest productivity in all forms?
In this post, I’ll address such embarrassing questions and seek the answers. In order to address those questions, however, we need to examine productivity in its purest form.
What is productivity?
I dedicated a full post to what productivity is and why you should care about. I argued that productivity provides a toolbox to guide your days, decisions, and ultimately your life. I described productivity with a four-dimensional model addressing your four Ws (What, When, Where, Why) with the How in the center. That’s my very own view on productivity; let’s see how experts define the term.
The first known use of the word productivity dates back to 1808 as “the quality or state of being productive” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Mike Vardy, the founder of Productivityist, approaches productivity from a consumer’s perspective: “productivity enthusiasts are someone who studies productivity, be it the tools or habits… Just like a comedian looks at the world differently, so does the productivityist. They like to explore new processes, new ideas, new ways to get things done.”
Productivity, as James Clear defines it, is “a measure of
It’s now time to see why we consume productivity articles.
Why we read productivity blogs?
Chances are that you read productivity blogs to
- Have a good reason why you procrastinate over your goals and projects
- Feel productive
- Entertain yourself
- Learn something new and grow in mind
Entertainment and feeling productive are nice by-products, but if you really want to change your life, you must commit yourself to take action. This is something I learned from Ted Ryce, who argues that there are motion and action. Motion is when you read about productivity or plan your project, while action is when you take a physical step however small it is toward completing your project. Again, this is common sense but it definitely works!
Many productivity articles harness the latest findings of neuroscience and behavioral science. Think about articles like smart sleeping strategies, habit building, morning routines, and the like. Other articles are heavily based on previously published models, e.g. the GTD framework.
After reading lots of productivity articles, however, I found that most of them―including my own pieces of writing―are based on common sense. Sometimes they would provide new insights, but more often than not, these articles say what you already know deep in your heart. Another time they provide a new perspective that isn’t a real breakthrough but serves your current need.
Productivity earns its full potential when it meets your current needs. That leads us to the term Personalized productivity.
Personalized productivity (PP)
I think productivity should be approached like Personalized medicine (PM). Personalized medicine, according to Wikipedia, is a medical model that separates people into different groups—with medical decisions, practices, interventions and/or products being tailored to the individual patient based on their predicted response or risk of disease.
Productivity advice can’t fit all “patients”―there is a paramount need for Personalized productivity (PP).
We need to address individual needs. Everybody has their own unique background.
What works for me, doesn’t necessarily work for you, and vice versa. That’s why I founded Productivity95 with the mission to target people working nine to five and commuting from and to the office. It isn’t yet a fully personalized approach but a bit more niched down. Still, most of the productivity articles can be useful to pretty much everybody. And that’s exactly why productivity simply works.
Why productivity works
Beyond question, productivity works like charm. Productivity enthusiasts report that it’s kind of an addiction. They can’t provide compelling evidence of that addiction, but they simply look at the world differently. For example, I look at productivity as a philosophy of life.
Productivity simply works by providing life-changing hacks and benefits, although much of the productivity tips and habits come to us naturally.
Let’s take an example. Learning to say no comes to much of us naturally while others struggle with it. Those who struggle with it, however, know that saying no is based on common sense, yet they fail to say the magic word most of the time. So they read productivity articles to address their problem.
Productivity, in my view, is a never-ending journey. What follows is that you keep learning and reading until you master productivity and beyond.
So, keep reading my blog, please! 🙂
If you liked this article, please share it with your friends to get it into the right hands.
Your one takeaway: Experiment with 3 productivity tips today to find out whether they work for you. You might find the following articles helpful:
- Routine Series Part I. ― Morning Routines Revisited
- 7 Mistakes People Make When Dealing with Email
- GTD Masterclass―Part I
- The Ultimate Guide to Perform a Thorough Weekly Review