Productivity porn

Productivity porn

In an age dominated by social media and constant digital distractions, maintaining focus and concentration has become an increasingly tricky challenge. There are already plenty of articles, podcasts and extensive discussions exploring this topic in depth, that’s why I won’t delve into it today.

However, in this article, I aim to discuss a hidden danger beneath the surface of our social media addiction — a phenomenon known as productivity porn.


In her new book Happiness At Work (Wiley-Blackwell), Jessica Pryce-Jones calculates that workers will spend an average of 90,000 hours at work in their lifetimes. To put this figure into perspective, that’s about ten consecutive years of work. So it’s no wonder productivity advice is so popular: from elaborate morning routines to meticulously color-coded to-do lists, the pursuit of hyper-efficiency has spawned.

Just like its more explicit counterpart, productivity porn promises fulfillment and satisfaction, but instead of tantalizing images, it presents an endless stream of strategies, hacks, and tools aimed at optimizing our every waking moment. However, our desire to be more productive can turn into a harmful addiction to productivity content.

Myths of Effortless Success

Short videos on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube have gained a huge popularity for their ability to quickly captivate and engage users. Within, there is a significant presence of motivational and productivity-related videos that aim to inspire viewers to become more productive versions of themselves.

These videos often promote charismatic influencers or self-proclaimed productivity gurus, delivering advice, tips, and quick fixes for enhancing productivity. It is not a coincidence theses videos are short, with flashy editing, catchy background music, and captivating visuals, they reinforce the promise of instant results without much effort or hard work. These strategies often market themselves as quick fixes or secret shortcuts that will transform you into a superhuman productivity machine overnight. They prey on our desire for immediate gratification and appeal to our laziness by offering an easy way out.

Another red flag is the emphasis on quantity over quality. Productivity porn often focuses on accomplishing a massive number of tasks or completing an amazing amount of work in a short period. While being efficient and managing your time effectively is important, constantly chasing arbitrary targets without considering the value or impact of your work can lead to burnout and a decline in the quality of your output.

Some of these videos may indeed offer valuable insights and helpful strategies, but it is important to approach them with a critical mind.

Transformed into procrastination

While positive thinking can have a positive impact on productivity (known as the Pygmalion effect), wishful thinking leads us to base our decisions on what is pleasant to imagine rather than rationality. Christopher Booker stated this phenomenon as the “fantasy cycle”, a common pattern where wishful thinking drives us to pursue goals that can never be reconciled with reality.

Essentially, it serves as a form of procrastination. When we find ourselves unmotivated to work, we turn to planning and consuming productivity-related content as illusory substitutes. We convince ourselves that we are being productive by purchasing the perfect bullet-point journal, researching the best Pomodoro apps, or watching videos promising that one productivity trick that will magically transform our lives. In reality, these activities inhibit us from actually accomplishing our work.

Procrastination can also be a manifestation of underlying stress, anxiety, or impostor syndrome. Hearing claims that a magic formula guarantees effortless success provides temporary relief and reassurance. But the promised results are more likely to fail because what works for one person may not work for another, and blindly following these generic strategies can lead to frustration and disappointment.

Be your-self-motivated content

Well, it’s time you put away that box of colorful to-do lists. It is worth investing in developing a personalized system that works for you.

It is important to recognize that there is no only one-package-solution for every situation. To determine the most effective strategy, take the time to reflect on your individual challenges and goals.

Here are some ways to transition from seeking productivity porn to practicing mindful productivity:

  1. Set Clear Goals: Clearly define your short-term and long-term goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals provide a clear roadmap for your tasks and help maintain focus.

  2. Prioritize Tasks: Identify the most important and urgent tasks and prioritize them. Focus on high-value activities that align with your goals and have a significant impact.

  3. Practice the Two-Minute Rule: If a task takes less than two minutes to complete, do it immediately rather than postponing it. This helps prevent small tasks from becoming a source of mental clutter.

  4. Break Tasks into Smaller Steps: Large tasks can be overwhelming, so break them down into smaller, manageable steps. This approach makes the task more approachable and provides a sense of progress as you complete each step.

  5. Clean your information diet: Just as the food you consume, maintain a balanced information diet by curating your inbox and only exposing yourself to useful and enjoyable content.

  6. Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities like getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in regular exercise. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being enhances your energy levels, focus, and overall productivity.

Finally, the most important thing is to avoid overthinking and instead, concentrate on the process itself. Taking action and learning through experience is the most effective way to grow.

And keep in mind ! You won’t be productive just by reading this post :)

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