My answer: I never use productivity tools like this. 🙂
Oftentimes, using them is like treating the pain instead of the disease.
A more productive (pun intended), yet less pleasant tool is asking the following: "Why am I feeling unproductive in the first place?"
Maybe I feel hungry or thirsty?
Maybe I feel tired and need a break?
Maybe the task feels pointless?
Maybe I have other things to do?
After a short but productive (pun intended again) self-enquary, I might realize that
😶 I don't take care of my basic needs
🤔 I don't like what I am producing
😠 I don't like the product I am working on
🤯 I don't know what I am doing with my life
Sure, this is not a very positive diagnosis. Who wants to learn that they are actually sick at heart rather than unproductive?
However, it is as unpositive as learning that
❤️ you need to change your diet and exercise more due to high blood pressure or cholesterol level,
🖤 unless you want to increase your chances of having a heart attack or developing diabetes.
Of course, sometimes it is totally reasonable to boost your productivity by changing the ergonomics of your workplace (e.g. switching between sitting and standing) or using co-working spaces. 👌
Oftentimes, however, lack of productivity is just the tip of the iceberg, hiding diverse psychological issues, ranging from mild deficits in grit to severe deficits in self-respect.
The good part is that these psychological challenges can be fully or partially overcome by becoming more mindful of your physical and psychological needs as well as learning more self-compassion. ☀️
At the end of the day, we are just humans, an advanced species of mammals, who are not fitted for the modern and ever-changing world.
Moral of the story: it is totally normal to feel unproductive as long as (1) you know why and (2) you know how to live a meaningful live, despite the occasional unproductivity. ✌️
Let's talk about productivity.
Some time ago I discovered an app called Focusmate (focusmate.com) (not an ad). The app essentially forces you to get things done with the help of accountability. It matches you with another person for a 50 minute session where each of you work on your tasks live (camera mandatory, mic optional). Since then, I've used it for both personal and professional activities with really good results.
What are some techniques or tools that you like to use when you want to stay focused for longer periods of time or when you don't feel like doing that thing?
Think twice before deciding which side you are on, while you are listening to other people trash-talking their managers, colleagues, or partners. ⚠️
According to a recent study, by siding with the interlocutor, we are just adding more fuel to the conflict, which discourages the interlocutor to forgive and make peace with the other party.
To be supportive, we do not have to choose a side. The most important thing is to create a safe space for the other person to vent their emotions and collect one's thoughts.
We can do it by asking open questions, such as:
✔️ What happened?
✔️ How does it make you feel?
✔️ Why is it important for you?
✔️ What is the next step?
Remember that our goal as good conversational partners is not to condemn anyone but rather be patiently present with the other person. 👌
Link to the study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31464479/
It's not the tech giants that are responsible for the negative effects of their digital products, including various hate crimes and increased suicide rates. It's the ad-driven business model that is endorsed by their investors.
I recently watched a Joe Rogan podcast where he talked to Tristan Harris, an ex-Google engineer and one of the people behind the documentary "The Social Dilemma" (2020).
They talked a lot about the problems of social networks, such as manipulative algorithms and their direct effects on the political climate, which I found really interesting.
However, what they did not really talk about are the billionaires who are the major shareholders of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., essentially providing the ground for all the problems we are facing right know.
Who are the major investors of these companies? What are they thinking about? Unless they are psychopaths, why aren't they pulling their money out of these ethically flawed ventures?
If the negative effects of social media are so big of the deal, as described in the documentary, why aren't we including the elephants in the room? ~3000 billionaires is not a lot to with whom to have an adult conversation.
As a side note, if every person just stopped for a second before scrolling one's biased feed or sending the hate-driven comment and asked oneself "Why I am really doing this?", maybe we would not be even having this conversation.
For many, "Social Dilemma" (2020) has been an eye-opening experience. For me though the most eye-opening fact was the overblown reaction to the film. 😶
It's not that we never realized our data was (ab)used for marketing purposes, social media was addictive, or engineers were not the most avid users of their products.
It's that many knew (at least deep down) they shared a bed with the devil. However, suddenly some people stumbled upon a visually pleasing (but super predictable) documentary and now the world looks different.
To me, the overrated reaction is a reminder of how persuasive a technology-driven product can be, whether it's a "world-changing" app, social media, or a dramatic flick by Netflix, guilty of the same tactics their film is attempting to criticize. 💩