tomos, ok, here's an idea (did I interpret your post correctly?):http://lifehacker.co...6769897#viewcomments
The only trouble with a lot of these self help books that show the "success story" is as follows
Joe Wasn't happy as a Futures Trader (Insert well paying career that enables you to sock away big Bucks) so he gave it all up to be an Ant Farmer - he found total self fulfillment - with several million in the bank he doesn't really have to worry if the Beater he is driving is going to need repair. Or does he chose between Chemo therapy and not taking it so he can keep working.
The Self Help "guru's" are great if you have a comfortable base to fall back on and can afford to hire them in the first place.
Example on Renaissance man web site gave up being an estimator ... didn't go back to school but ... bought 167 acres .... hmmm really cheap way to follow your heart.
Recently article about "Merchant Banker" who followed his dream at 60 to become a chef - (after socking away a comfortable cushion of course) - not really worried about the ads that are offering Line cooks the whopping $8.00 per hour the "managers" of a chain that will work 55 hours per week.
Sorry If I sound Jaded but .......
(Btw, I didn't write the quoted portion above.)
This is true even for GTD and this is why I'm not a GTD proponent and it has caused alot of stress for me when I tried it especially when I ignored the book and only listened to most of the GTD proponent's versions in their blogs which are even more inapplicable for repressed, distressed, poor, often misunderstood, not really skilled people.
Sorry if it sounds like I'm being overtly negative. While I don't believe in a perfect "one" productivity system. My criticism with many proponents of a system especially when it trickles down to their fanbase is that it's still a "planner" group and less of a general group of people working on becoming productive. This ignores people who write journalistic and diaristic blogs but in general it holds true that the system isn't flexible to the point that if you can only rent a PC to go online or you could print only one piece of paper or you could only buy one book it would help you.
If that was the bottomline, it'd still be fine. Most books are designed to sell and are tailored for paying people not to really "better the world" unless
you can sell the idea to a publisher that it would make lots of money or market it well online as a free e-book.
Problem is, it still goes further than that. Even with computers and a regular internet connection, you're still not guaranteed to become productive if you have these certain qualities. (Mostly because often times it stems from our equally negative environment that we have to adapt to.)
Don't get me wrong. These guys are trailblazers for pushing the concepts towards productivity but you can only push so much before you get hijacked by the actual productive people who may have some cliche problem, solves it through your system and then now people feel that your system is way more effective and way more general than it is and are now pushing towards a stereotyped over-simplified idea of your ideas which due to being easier to digest ends up being the model often copied by software developers and bloggers to supply the demand of people who now want something more from your system.
Just several things that key me to the feeling that productivity is still just in it's early stages rather than it's prime stages:
1) Guys like Allen and Covey and many other productivity gurus didn't really start with software in mind but it was these software and blogs (mostly containing general lists) that really help elevate their status to the internet public. I'm not saying they weren't well known before but nobody really approached their books as a "productivity" category and more in "self-help" categories prior to that.
Yet nowadays people don't even approach their systems as productivity basics even though in general most people are introduced to productivity through reading about them. This is especially notable in productivity applications where rather than the timer being improved to become a productivity tool, the timer stop being a timer and became a productivity tool more because it was the "in" thing at the moment and so development that normally improves the timer application got labeled into the productivity category so that it became more and more a productivity app.
This and many more situations like these reek of a paradigm shift and crowd "history revisioning" brainwashing that to me, proves that productivity is becoming or is already like the "green" movement. A movement that isn't really being about learning and becoming more informed about the environment but raising awareness at whatever cost just so a bunch of altruistic people would feel "guilty" and work towards pushing anything "green" even if it's not really a "passion for the environment" movement anymore and has become the more subtle sheepish movement of "concerned for the environment". In many ways, many of these productivity systems aren't about what they were originally supposed to be about: "Passion for productivity". Alot of these models are about people who just want to become more productive because they feel "concerned" that they aren't being productive and alot of these systems aren't really being pushed and improved further as systems (currently). Rather, a lot of these systems are being over-simplified and are tweaked so people can say they have a new system slightly different from what someone else read from that other productivity blog and if successful enough, often results to a book that claims to streamline the system rather than improve on it.
P.S. I'm not saying the green movement is wrong or raising awareness didn't help alert many people to these productivity systems. The problem is when that soon starts to become the "de facto" model for these productivity systems rather than just an early aspects of these systems and that's what alot of proponents are kind of missing. They're all playing the illusion that these productivity systems are the "peak form" of these systems and are merely using the excuse that productivity is about constantly improving ourselves as a way of convincing most people that if it doesn't work, it's just because it's not "tweaked" enough to each of our personal needs. I believe though that this isn't the case. I believe that these systems are far from the "just tweak it" stage and many of these systems still needs to mature more and be combined and scrutinized with in relation to each other rather than as addendum to each other to narrow down the kinks and quirks of each system. As the most blatant evidence staring in my face, I cite the fact that today there's a growing movement of anti-productivity people that end up giving better productivity advises to improving these systems than the pro-productivity people. Now how can this be if the system only requires a "bunch of tweaks" rather than a major revisioning? This is equivalent to thinking that the bug reporters of a software is more valuable than the discussion and suggesting side of the community because the software is "very stable" already and only need 1 or 2 more features. Now does that make sense?
2) Even though it's now about productivity, many of these systems weren't based on a structure of frugality. You're not designed to save paper by using a software. You're not designed to save time by sticking to one software. You're not designed to have very little money and then "do this" so you can focus on having money. You're not designed to skimp on the paper you want to put your to-do lists on.
These are just some of the basic generic premises of many of these systems. Yet shouldn't a true effective, mature, productive fundamental basis be supposed to bypass this? If 10 out of 10 practice proper form in basketball aren't most of them guaranteed to become a better basketball player than if they didn't follow the fundamentals on a general basis?
It's not that there shouldn't and wouldn't be exceptions. It's just that unless there's something inherently wrong with the fundamentals, there really should be no reason to defend the fundamentals on a general basis. Why? Because these are tried and tested rules. To paraphrase someone:
"You can only consistently break the rules effectively if you know what the rules are."
Productivity systems (based on general perception rather than a specific system) has no rules! Worst, most productivity proponents are changing the rules without really setting any rules for themselves! Sure, they are pushing for stuff like self-discipline and are against procrastination but they aren't really adding or maintaining the philosophies of guys like David Allen, Stephen Covey, Scott H. Young, Steve Pavlina, Cal Newport and to a lesser extent early Gina Trapani and the writers of ReadWriteWeb as far as approaching a passion for not only improving these productivity systems but improving on the actual message of what productivity is about and what are the original as well as the evolving mindsets that allowed our "Founding Fathers" of productivity systems to improve these systems in such a way that it has allowed these modern day writers to better deliver productivity advises to us rather than "productivity noise"
My point here is that if productivity has matured enough, critics of productivity shouldn't be left with the core criticism of "these productivity blogs are all the same" but a "Constitution", a standard by which to criticize these actual productivity articles in such a way that if you read these criticisms, you don't just get "what's wrong" about these systems but you get "what's passionate" "what's growing" "what's improving" "what's polishing" "what's to look out for" in these systems out of reading these articles and don't have to constantly gamble and waste your time hoping that the next "advise" would help you become more productive. I don't believe it's just a disciplinary issue if readers get caught trying to procrastinate on productivity articles and books. I think it's a general flaw of many of these writings.
Think about it. Despite their flaws, do you really feel like you have to dig through these niche writers' blogs to feel fulfilled by what they wrote beyond reading one or two articles if they appeal to you? (or do you end up actually wanting
to read more of these people's writings)
Pamela Jones: Groklaw
Brian Clark: Copyblogger
Jeff Atwood: CodingHorrors
Kathy Sierra: Creating Passionate Users
(no longer updated)
Joel Spolsky: Joel on Software
Paul Graham: Essays
Malcolm Gladwell: New Yorker Archive
Now why is it that these writers if they click with you
can often fulfill you with just one article and yet make you want to read more while many productivity sites often disappoint you and yet make you want to search the site more in the hopes that maybe the next article or the next software recommendations or the next tweak can fulfill you?
Is it because these are better writers? Is it because these are the ultimate experts (not just general experts) in their fields? Is it because these people are the top dog? In my opinion, I don't think so.
I mean take Lifehacker for example. They're an internet brand. They have lots of writers. They're the productivity go to guide. BUT! They waste your time with articles such as this: Hive Five Winner for Best System Tray Application: Digsby
Now how exactly does knowing Digsby is the best system tray application help you become more productive? Note that even prior to this, Lifehacker dropped the ball by insulting all the user contributions and only adding 5 systray app recommendations (even though the structure of the system tray does not and shouldn't be limited to 5 apps) because it was "Hive Five" time but they go out of their way and name an Instant Messenger
as the best app because it's hip and cool and maybe lots of people voted for it and that was the criteria without even caring if it really help YOU the Reader become a better lifehacker or more productive (Come on, how much of a lifehack is it to change your instant messenger? Puh-lease)
The core flaw with current productivity mindset is that it's so full of junkfood articles such as these that you actually agree with the anti-productivity article who thinks these productivity systems are flawed and aren't really being helpful because there are only a few passionate writers who make you feel passionate about productivity again because they're often times productivity "hoarders" or productivity "Digg" in blog form than productivity "trailblazers" and that's what many of these niche writers above are. They're so much into trailblazing their cause that they don't need to be close to the cream of the crop or close to become the expert, that everytime they write their articles, even though it isn't the world encompassing article that it is that when your internet connection is going to end tomorrow you can read this one article to know what the blog is about, it's so much more "signal than noise enough" that you can be frugal in reading these blogs and still feel like they have improved your life.
3) Community. Yes, there are lots of productivity communities. Yes, there are lots of nice productive and supportive people. BUT is there a DonationCoder forums for productivity?
Not to my knowledge, there isn't. Why do I say that?
Because unlike technology and software, there isn't enough passionate for productivity improvement people to make up a forum. Much less visiting the internet.
Instead, what we have is early birds who while passionate about productivity are also passionate about technologies and have the capabilities and productivity enough already to create interesting blogs and share their stuff and market them enough to gain notoriety.
Where does this leave the incapable but passionate for productivity people though? Nowhere.
We become critters in the sense that we don't have a place where we know if we type our thoughts out a community would legitimately be interested in improving all our thoughts and contributions that when the dust settles, it isn't the resident guru alone or the veteran hive's opinions that get considered but everyone's opinions was taken so much into account that you would even find people helping you organize it into one printer-friendly article to hand over to a poor classmate or to our poor "on a computer rental shop" selves to absorb and help us become more productive. We need our software and database and medium to incentivize a "Citizen Journalism for productivity" community but we don't have it in a large enough scale that all passionate productive people literally flock there without signing up for several forums because it has become a standard.
Why? Because internet contributors are still mostly influenced by capable technical people or incapable but willing to contribute people rather than a person who is a legitimate test dummy for what works and what doesn't in a productivity system. Then you mix it with people who aren't into improving on the kinks of productivity when it fails them and we're back to a pseudo-topic/technical forum where you're really just social networking rather than social conversing.