The cult of productivity

The cult of productivity

This brilliant article by Steven Poole on the Cult of Productivity really hit the nail on the head for me.

I’ve reached my productivity theory tipping point. I stumbled upon another productivity-esque blog and a wave of dread went over me. Not another thing to add to my ever growing list of “productive habits!”

Not another thing that’s recommended! Not another thing I’ll feel guilty about not doing!


As Steven says it’s everywhere. Everyones talking about it, governments, businesses, adults, kids….

“People boast of being busy and exhausted and eagerly consume advice from the business-entertainment complex on how to “de-fry your burnt brain,” or engineer a more productive day by assenting to the horror of breakfast meetings.”

Think of all the 10 effective strategies for (insert productivity here) that are out there.

Productivity ++++

We are constantly working, preparing to get work done, having productive down time or reading about how to be more productive.

Work hard now so you can relax when you retire.

“Exercise,” advises one business magazine feature. “It makes you more productive.” In a perfect world, you would be getting exercise while you work—standing desks and even treadmill desks are sold as magical productivity enhancers.”

My friend had some great advice. She said we need to realise that there are no absolutes, just other peoples projections.

Finding and sensing what works for you is key. We’re all different, all have different lives. Some days you just feel like doing nothing. And that’s alright!

I love all these productivity things, find them quite interesting. But if I did them all I would have no time. As Steven writes-

“All that time saved by knowing the exact location of the baseball cap you want to wear will surely add up, earning you hours more freedom to hunt and hoard ever more productivity tips, until you are a purely theoretical master at doing nothing of value in the most efficient way imaginable.”

It’s time we rethink this cult of productivity and start taking proper time to ourselves…. and not for the sake of being more productive (check out my post on making time).

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