Productivity systems are no bad thing – the key is that I think the way they are presented as a fix-all on the internet can be dangerous to our wellbeing and give way too high expectations.

I am aware I have a post about productivity systems and this may seem hypocritical but I hope if you read further you can understand. When I revised for exams the key ingredient was to start working. There was no system for this, and for the first time in my life I felt productive. I do want to also note that it is also important to schedule time off – to avoid the dreaded burnout – as I mentioned in ‘Productivity? Does it¬†exist?.

I hope this introduces my thought system well enough – enjoy the main post content below.

The productivity obsession

Productivity gurus make money off the large search volume around ‘procrastination’, ‘how to get work done’, and ‘why can’t I focus’. They turn the trouble we have with getting stuff done into a product they can sell to people. I’m not discrediting that some of these productivity systems can be beneficial, but it is important to realize that these people are making money by you ‘learning’ how to be productive. In effect they are making money off your ability to procrastinate.

I have fallen into the spiral of watching and reading productivity content many times, and I admit they are very well made and interesting (maybe even entertaining) to watch. However… in retrospect I do also realize that the time I am spending watching or reading this content is actually time where I could be being productive. In the moment I end up tricking myself into thinking that I am being productive by learning how to be productive. In actual fact I’m procrastinating about doing the work that needs to be done. Their tips may simplify your life and help you get productive but the main thing that you are missing, is doing the work.

I don’t think a productivity system will help you if you can’t already go and do work without it. I think that you need the drive and mental fortitude before the productivity system. Once you have the ability to do work without a productivity system, then it may be time to implement a productivity system to optimize the time you are spending working.

In my blog post ‘My Exam Study¬†Routine‘ I mention my 8 hours of revision a day. The interesting thing I have found out by doing 8 hours of revision a day was that I didn’t need a productivity system, I just needed to be driven to do the work. When I can maintain this ability and momentum then I may consider trying to implement a better productivity system and optimize my day, but I want to highlight that I just started working. There is no trick to it. It is a simple idea, but finding the mentality is hard, and will take dedication.

I’m not sure anyone can explain how they gained the mentality to work, it is just something that you have to find out for yourself.

The ability is there in all of us, we just have to find it.

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