Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 04, 2016, 04:22:12 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time  (Read 10716 times)

app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,666
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« on: September 20, 2010, 04:37:11 AM »
Quote
Most of the time, trying to be productive is pointless. In fact, it’s a big, fat waste of time. It’s kind of lame when time management (productivity techniques & hacks) ends up killing your time, huh? Here’s why this happens…

For a long time I’ve thought about why people are so crazy about productivity. I’ve wondered why I am so concerned with accomplishing and completing. I mean, when you get to the point of looking for more time-efficient ways to fold underwear, you might have a problem.

So why does productivity matter, anyway? What’s so important about achieving?

The answer… not much.

The feeling of needing to accomplish something stems from dissatisfaction with the present. With this mindset, the whole idea of achieving is to become something. On the surface, it may seem like you’re doing something positive, but there’s a subtle undercurrent of rejection of what is. Rejection of yourself.


app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,666
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 05:24:01 AM »
He is right about it being easy to have a productivity meltdown when one becomes too preoccupied with being more productive.

And if he is right about rejection of ones self, then it really explains the one I had. Rejection of myself isn't exactly what I need in my life...what I need is quite the opposite.

I was trying to fix something that wasn't broken, and we all know what happens when you try to do that.  :-[

I didn't need todo lists and faster more efficient ways to get things done. Drudging through daily lists of things you really don't want to do is no way to live life and be happy.

I am most productive when I am inspired, and that only seems to come from doing things that most people would call unproductive and a complete waste of time. Sure, it might look like I am wasting my time when you see me playing games, but since you don't live inside my head, you really could not possibly know what is going on in there. I am constantly brainstorming something, and if left alone to do what it is I feel like doing at any given moment, the chances of brainstorming up some great idea that leads to me getting some actual work done is more likely to happen.

I am an explorer, a wanderer that hops from task to task, I start a lot of things that never end up finished, and there is a good reason for that. I get a vision in my head of what it is I want to accomplish and unless I can see it clearly, I can not fully accomplish it. I'll go as far as I can go, then shelf it for later, in case I can see clearly enough to finish it. Sometimes I do, but more often I don't. And that clear vision that I need in order to finish isn't something that I can force. You can't put that on a todo list. I can not turn creativity on & off like a faucet. I can not find answers to questions I can't even ask.

Using someone else's time management methods just does not work for me. I really don't need to manage my time. I just need to spend it doing what I do best, which is whatever I please. So I might start 500 projects and only finish 1, but that's 1 more than I'll get done if I am forced to complete the other 499, first.

I am at my best when I have no goal, no plan, just living in the moment, doing whatever it is that I feel like doing at that moment. I accomplish more this way, and I am happier while doing it. Yes, I do get all the important stuff done, and a whole lot more. And if it doesn't get done, it really wasn't that important to me. And that's ok. (believing that it's ok is part of accepting, rather than rejecting myself)



The most time efficient way to fold underwear is to not fold them at all. It doesn't matter if they are folded or not, so why bother wasting any time folding them? It makes more sense to me to just toss them all in a box in a drawer and consider it done.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 05:30:18 AM by app103 »

AndyM

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 616
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 08:50:46 AM »
Another drain on one's "productivity" is explaining to anyone else the nature of one's "productivity".

(and stay out of my head Scary Taskbar Girl  ;D)

Gothi[c]

  • DC Server Admin
  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 858
    • View Profile
    • linkerror
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2010, 11:54:46 AM »
Couldn't have said it any better myself, app :)
That's how I always felt about the entire 'productivity' gtd mumbojumbo too :D

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 12:06:27 PM »
Loved the article, thank you.

Trying to plan every second of your day is a great way to create stress. The only thing I plan on is that something will go wrong - I don't know what it will be, or when it will happen, I just plan on rolling with it when it arrives (e.g. Shit does not Happen on a time table).

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,713
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 12:59:16 PM »
(e.g. Shit does not Happen on a time table).

Sounds like you need to get more fiber in your diet. ;)


rxantos

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 116
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2010, 01:56:51 PM »
I kind of agree, if the job or project is something creative. Creativity is something that needs inspiration. And, emotional activities cannot be scheduled. Same thing applies to things you want to do, no one needs a reminder.

But, in defense of the to-do list, there are things that need to be done, and you don't want to do and thus postpone forever. Doing your taxes, cleaning your house, writing a report that no one will read.

This is the purpose of to-do list. To remind you to do something that you don't want to do, but must be done anyway.

If it has a deadline, write it down so you don't miss it. If it does not have a deadline write it so you don't forget it.

As of time wasting. Unless you have terrible memory, you only need to check your to do list 2 times a day.

In the morning, to remind you whats yet to be done.
In the evening to take out what was done and add any new things to do.

As of planning every minute of your day: Unless you are a total control freak, you wont be happy with that.

The purpose of life is living it, not slaving yourself for someone else.


housetier

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 1,321
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2010, 12:41:24 PM »
When I need to be more productive I sleep more and work less. Of course this only works because my direct supervisor thinks alike :)

For me productivity is not only about Getting Things Done as in writing lines of code but also about the (subjective) quality of the work: is it nicely formatted, is the in-code documentation adequate, did I really remove all debug and test code? I spend a great deal of my working hours formatting code and writing documentation. I even do this for code from my colleagues. However, I still get features implemented myself :) It's not like am just mopping up after the others.

Our management once tried Fear Driven Development as a means to improve performance. For about a day: by then almost all developers had threatened to quit. Now we have several buffers between management and us; in turn we can work quietly and concentrated. So far we have met any deadline although we loathe them. The more "they" let us, the better (read more productive) we become.

Which brings me to the next topic: I think it is so very much easier to increase productivity by building a good team than by any other means. All other means tend to wear off after some time and the increase in productivity vanishes.

In short, I don't want to be productive, I just want to do good work :)

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2010, 02:56:44 PM »
In short, I don't want to be productive, I just want to do good work
+1  :Thmbsup:

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2011, 02:20:50 PM »
Addendum to the TS link: Productivity Paradox: How Sony Gets more out of People by Demanding Less

I think the comments underneath the article, while vague (at least to me), is more notable than the actual article but only if you agreed with the article.

At least I think everyone reading this thread hopefully gets that time management is passe even when GTD was written. It was all about energy management and both links hopefully show that this too, is just an old bandwagon that's already waning.

App's link showing this more because I feel strongly that the writer was wrong and this link hopefully shown by the comments on how the idea of energy management is a loop back to just getting managers to act more like councilors rather than fake acting politicians.

In my opinion, productivity shouldn't be secondary. Good luck getting that to work with to-do lists. Productivity should be imaginary and to-do lists should be primary and primary to-do lists often are not involved with dealing with everything. It would be like letting the federal government legislate on drugs or gay marriage. Yes, there should be laws and not everything necessarily have to be left to the state but to-do lists shouldn't be boggled down with things that don't belong to it or it would stop becoming a primary tool and become a secondary tool with the responsibility of being a stressful primary tool in our head.

Anyway, I apologize for interjecting my post now. Really this was a topic I avoided because I could literally rant forever about this but I just happened to read the above link today and I felt GOE section lacks a definitive topic dealing away with both time, focus and energy management as being what personal productivity is supposed to represent.

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2011, 02:45:24 PM »
Coincidentally someone just posted this on subjot: http://annaholmes.tu...der-warfare-its-math

Not directly related but some highlights are:

Quote
Let’s say I was designing a new piece of software to make my life as a writer a little easier. First, I’d program it count how many characters I’d typed out and in what amount of time, in order to document my productivity on any given day. Then I’d ask it to compare words, phrases, sentences and entire paragraphs from one draft to the next, in order to calculate how much of what I’d written had changed…or stayed the same.

This software, which I’ll call Grammar School, would allow me to record, and discover, patterns in my lifestyle choices and compare them to the quantity and quality of my output: What I’d eaten (and when) before I started writing; how many hours of sleep I’d enjoyed the night before; how much caffeine and alcohol I’d imbibed in the 24-48 hours prior. Did I work better with contacts out or glasses on? Had I showered that day? How many emails had come in during my most (and least) productive periods? How many times had I toggled over to Twitter, and how many instant messages had popped up on my screen while I wrote?

If I was feeling really ambitious, I’d incorporate a webcam component into my creation that would be able to monitor and record data as to the size of my pupils (big = excited and stimulated; small = anxious and immobilized) and how many times I had gazed plaintively at my monitor or rolled my eyes at my own inertia.

Would this software help make me a better, more productive writer? I doubt it; as far as I know, the process and craft of writing is not something you can improve on with data collection and analysis. But I’ll probably never find out, because, like so many millions of American women, I have no idea how to program a computer.

...and that's 99% of the battle there I think. Systems give the illusion of being data driven and fuel the desire to analyze.

Even in over-simplified productivity concepts, you got these guys shilling up big rocks and circles and quadrants. They are clues and albeit better clues than normal, rarely "planning in-depth" people get but they are not gifts rained in by God the Santa Claus. Productive people who are already productive can get them to work and it can look and feel wonderful as a trinket but it makes productivity seem and feel more like a religion instead of something that can barely fit in the psuedoscientific category.

To compound this dilemma:

Quote
“Coming from a feminist viewpoint, the people who are developing technology are the ones with the power,” says Jennifer Skaggs, a University of Kentucky education researcher and author of the June 2011 paper Making the Blind to See: Balancing STEM Identity With Gender Identity. Skaggs points to the part that female automobile engineers played in designing airbags that did not seriously injure or kill female drivers and passengers, who, along with children, were disproportionately affected by exploding airbags after they were first introduced in the 1970s. As documented in the 2003 book Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing, it turns out that automobile development teams, which were usually more than 90% male, were not only overlooking women’s interests, they were using only male crash test dummies.

Most people are what the OutlinerSoftware forum members call CRIMPers. We are in search and get introduced to productivity concepts mostly from a technology trial while pretending there's little wrong with our understanding of the systems when in fact, even books, get the dream wrong or as the Salty Droid blog commentors would say "most of these are selling the unicorn". Unicorns are half real as a horse and a narwal actually exists but they are not supposed to be close to 50% right much less being "dependent" 100% correct concepts. People don't have productivity melt downs, most people have false hope meltdowns. Sugar coating it as productivity is only giving strength to the excuse that flawed methods are not flawed but you are the ones flawed or nobody is flawed and we all live in this happy rainbow waiting for the next Santa Claus to drop down the next God-like and infallible system that feels like raw hell when it severely destroys our inner identity and adds little to our external lives and surrounding.

We have to go back and look into ourselves and see if things like the above two links are really talking about productivity or they are talking management, software redundancy, false hopes, flawed pedagogy, etc. These are the things that not only often break down our systems or tools, they are the ones that often make us be unproductive to begin with.

For example, what drives quotas? The productivity system? The to-do lists? No, it's the philosophy of capturing everything and then trying to make a system fix it when it neither scales or fixes things that well to begin with. Doing it like this is akin to saying you can fill your browsers with bookmarks and it will relieve you of stress and by virtue of that, you will be productive. You won't if those bookmarks are a mess. Especially if you're like me who came from an IE culture where I was mostly ignorant of bookmarks until delicious.

We should stop asking (or believing people who think they are answering them) - why trying to be productive is a huge waste of time and start going back to gathering revelations of why the things we are doing is not only less of a waste of time to us but could also be less of a waste of time for others. At least that's what productivity should get back to. The repackaging of advises and false productivity related problems have sailed. The salesmen may have mostly left elsewhere. Now is a ripe opportunity for the rest of us survivors to fix the pieces.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 02:54:50 PM by Paul Keith »

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2011, 03:36:24 PM »
People don't have productivity melt downs, most people have false hope meltdowns. Sugar coating it as productivity is only giving strength to the excuse that flawed methods are not flawed but you are the ones flawed or nobody is flawed and we all live in this happy rainbow waiting for the next Santa Claus to drop down the next God-like and infallible system that feels like raw hell when it severely destroys our inner identity and adds little to our external lives and surrounding.

Damnit man, that was positively beautiful! ...Hell I'm thinking about framing it.

There was a discussion in one of Heinlein's books about the quickest way to getting something done was to slow down. It involved an analogy of chasing someone by cutting through a planets atmosphere instead of all the way around the planet. I've always just added that to my grandfathers pick a pace you can maintain and stick with it philosophy and let the rest just be.

Uber productivity, and a case of 5-hour energy drinks a day ... is a dull ass-ed way to ensure an early grave.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2011, 04:03:59 PM »
Productivity systems are dandy if you have the sort of job where you spend most of your day at your desk, on the phone, or in meetings. Great if that's your life. (I have a friend who has a worklife like that. She pushes an Outlook/OneNote combo to the limit of their capabilities and gets more done in a week than most people do in a month.) But it's not how my life plays out.

My work life has more in common with an acute psychotic episode than a day at the office, I've since given up on most high tech and 'überpsych' systems and implemented a very simple manual process. Combined with my three point triage filter, it works quite well for what I need it for.

I know it works well because I get things done on a timely basis; show up on time where I need to be; and, and enjoy greatly reduced levels of stress in my life doing it the way I do.

That's enough to make it "good enuff" for me.

------

Thought:

From what I've experienced and seen, most productivity systems are great if you're in a total morass and need to dredge yourself out of it. So in that respect they're most useful in clearing up a mess in order for you to get going again. But once you've exited the Slough of Despond, they seem far less useful for day to day use - unless what you're doing falls within the scope of what they're best designed to handle.

My friend works in the publishing industry as an editor. For that occupational role, the basic GTD paradigm works extremely well. And she's a past master with that system. Interestingly, I've noticed how often productivity experts are authors by trade. Which in turn makes me wonder if most productivity systems are intrinsically better (or possibly best) adapted to the tasks surrounding a professional writer (deadlines, milestones, meetings, submissions, tracking, etc.) or related "wordsmith" careers than most other occupations.

Hmm...something to think about. Gonna have to add it to my 'deep think' list.  8)

JavaJones

  • Review 2.0 Designer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,717
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2011, 04:12:52 PM »
Interestingly, I've noticed how often productivity experts are authors by trade. Which in turn makes me wonder if most productivity systems are intrinsically better (or possibly best) adapted to the tasks surrounding a professional writer (deadlines, milestones, meetings, submissions, tracking, etc.) or related "wordsmith" careers than most other occupations.

Or maybe it's more like those people who write "get rich quick" schemes - the only one that actually works is writing and selling the schemes. ;)

- Oshyan

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2011, 04:49:55 PM »
Interestingly, I've noticed how often productivity experts are authors by trade. Which in turn makes me wonder if most productivity systems are intrinsically better (or possibly best) adapted to the tasks surrounding a professional writer (deadlines, milestones, meetings, submissions, tracking, etc.) or related "wordsmith" careers than most other occupations.

Or maybe it's more like those people who write "get rich quick" schemes - the only one that actually works is writing and selling the schemes. ;)

- Oshyan

That one gets my vote!  :Thmbsup: