How to deal with Productivity Porn

I am not against productivity. If anything, I am pro-Productivity. But you gotta admit, there is too much of good advice floating on internet and at some point you have to realise that you received all the good advice you needed to do this task, and you should now get up and just do it. But most of the time, what we do is watch another YouTube video and another after that, until the YouTube algorithm is done with suggesting you similar content or your brain just gives up. Result, we end up feeling exhausted and under more pressure to do something with our lives because all these other awesome people of YouTube are nailing it.

What is Productivity Porn

Photo by Gabby K on

Productivity Porn is any group of content aimed at arousing your interest in Productivity. The keyword here is arousal. It is generally a series of related videos suggested by YouTube or Instagram based on your likes and searches. The main property of Productivity Porn is that is captivating enough to keep you hooked but you end up spending more time watching than actually doing something about it.

My experience with Prodcutivity Porn

I have also been an addict to Productivity Porn for almost 2 years. This is how it happened. I am curious person and a learner. So naturally, when I go to YouTube, I look for advice such as, how to earn Passive income, how to improve your health, how to write better, best books to read and similar things. Then I would click on some video, watch it and before it is finished, I would go to another similar video. Then after couple of motivation and guidance filled videos, which could potentially make me millions and make my life exponentially better, I would jump to the new marvel trailer or something else to ease my mind. But then, filled with anxiety about not doing anything, I would not get up but go back to watching more helpful advice. And as I was interested in my topics, this continued till I had to shut my laptop because of some worldly concern like food or sleep or my daughter asking to play with her.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

How I coped with it, or better said, How am I coping with it right now may not apply to your situation but it is worth looking at. I realised it was a problem after 2 years because I was thinking about writing more, watching videos on it, talking about it but didn’t actually write anything. I mean, I would write something everyday but that was for my eyes only, never showed it to anyone. The Problem was – that I wanted to take all information in before starting. FOMO – Fear of missing out, held me back. So, I decided to take a step back and start again, this time, one thing at a time. I decided if I wanted to watch something, I would type it in the search bar, look for the answer and only if I did not get the right answer the first time, would I go the next video. If I did get the correct answer, I would use that information to do that step physically and would not watch another motivational or guidance video until I am on the sent step. This discipline has helped me write thousands of blogs. Just kidding. It has not but at least it took me this far that I am talking to you right now.

How to discipline yourself against Productivity Porn

I am going to be a bit ironical here and give you advice about how to not take too much advice. But Please before you move on to the next page or video, take time to implement at least one of the following steps.

Always type your query

Whenever you want to know something, you ask. Similarly, whenever you want advice on YouTube, type your query every time. And keep refining your search. Sometime you won’t have a clear idea about what is the correct keyword to look for. For example, if you wanted to know how to increase your website’s searchability, you need to type SEO in the search bar with your question but you will start with that first question and eventually learn this word and use it to refine your search.

Do more

As a general rule, what you do with the information you receive, should take more time than you spent listening the advice. If you want to learn guitar, and you spent 30 minutes listening to the advice on how to play a guitar, you should play the guitar, tune the stings or just walk around the house holding it for 31 minutes.

Be shameless

Sometimes it is our lack of courage to show our work to the world that pulls us back. But that is the thing. Everyone thinks like that and most of the time, they are not thinking about you. Everyone is at the centre of their world and whatever you do, however disastrously wrong, they will get over it in a minute. They will go back to their own world, thinking about themselves. So, use initial this time to practise, make mistakes and embarrass yourself. Show your work to your partner, your friends, share it on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube. Who cares. In fact, how to get more people to watch you will become your primary concern after sometime. So before you go from being embarrassed to show your work to excited to show your work, be like the child you once were, curious, walking funny, talking with weird made up worlds. Eventually you learned how to talk, walk and curb your curiosity like boring adults and you did fine. So just do that again and you will be fine again.

Look at the small picture

What you want to do with your choice of activity or the productivity increasing tip will change with time. So, do not get obsessed with defining your life 5 years own the line doing this thing. If you want to plan, plan your day and how to integrate this new advice into your life in that day. If that day is not today, then tomorrow. But choose a day and apply the advice on that day.

Refrain from spending money, Except on a book

If we get zealous about an activity, we tend to throw our money at it as a way to commit. Don’t do that until you have spend a month or so doing it for free. Maybe guitar was just a phase. Maybe writing is not really what you want to do. It is better to spend some time using the infinite free material on the internet before putting your hard earned money in it. Business want your money. Don’t make it easy for them.

Read a book

If you want to test your commitment, read a book on that topic. It takes much more commitment to read a book than reading a blog post or watching a video. Plus there are no distractions and suggested booklist with each page you read. And as an added advantage, you will actually learn something. Test your limits of commitment to your new habit of Exercise, Nutrition, Music or investing with this step.

au revoir

Hope you had a good day and survived with just minor bruises which can we healed by a good night sleep. Take good care of your mind and body tomorrow, and let me know if you wanna talk about something. I’ll be glad to.

Gratitude – a path to Inner Peace

We are all grieving. We are grieving the loss of our freedom, our social life and our life before 2020 Pandemic. In this time, Inner peace or the calmness of mind is the super power we all need. Between home office, lockdowns and disruption of our travel plans, we all need to stay calm and live our life without ever going on a Rampage. Inner peace is wonderful to have but how do we achieve it ?

Before we explore the actions, which take us towards inner peace, we should be aware of the other emotions, which may appear before us.

Understanding our emotions

“In order to find the new world we needed a map, and in order for us to find a calm mind we need a map of our emotions”.

Dalai Lama

Paul Eckman, a Psychologist and leading researcher on emotions, developed a catalogue of emotions and in 2016 launched a beautiful website by the same name – . It guides you through the jungle of emotions by categorising them in 5 major groups – Anger, Fear, Sadness, Disgust and Enjoyment. Then he presents all other related emotions in each group on a scale of low to high intensity. Further, he suggests what action do we take when we feel them and what can be the counter measures for each. It is quite a lovely use of infographics and I suggest you visit it for getting an overview of the range of emotions we feel.

On this website, in the group “Enjoyment”, one can find “Peace” in middle of the scale of low to high excitement. It is neither as basic as a sensory pleasure nor as exciting as Ecstasy. It is in balance and that is what we want to aim as our default mode of living in daily life.

This catalogue serves as a guide for what actions do we take when we feel certain emotions but it does not guide us on how do we achieve one of them, let us say, the emotion of peace. Of course, the website leads you to more websites where you can do some courses on managing your emotions to help you “Cultivate Emotional Balance”, but we are not going anywhere, are we? We are looking for something that we can do from the comfort of our beds, without changing the pyjamas.

So, How does Gratitude help us achieve this inner peace ?

What is Gratitude ?

Gratitude is an Action and not an emotion. Simply put, It is any act of thanking someone for their contribution in your life. Let us explore the key words here.

  • act of thanking: being grateful, thanking someone in person or even thinking about it, or thanking the right conditions and timing for your actions.
  • their contribution: acknowledging that someone else helped you along the way, physically, emotionally, financially or in any other way.
  • your life: your life story is written by your actions but what or who lead you to those actions, are also important. When you look back on your life from present, you should be able to recognise those faces.

Thinking of Gratitude as an action makes it a tool, something that you can use to build or fix something. and Gratitude is a multipurpose tool because it can help us in many ways.

Why is Gratitude good for me ?

Gratitude for us is like drinking water. You can go on with your day without drinking more than 2 glasses of water but in the long run, it is going to cause you metabolism problems. Also, if you drink too much water, you will take above average toilet breaks and in extreme cases can even drink yourself to death. Seriously. Check this out if your don’t believe me

Similarly, Gratitude is required in the right amount. Too little will cause you attitude problems and too much will wear you out. So, in between the two extremes, of being a ungrateful waste of humanity to being everyone’s punching bag, there is a sweet spot, where you can exist and have all the benefits of using Gratitude without feeling the burnout.

To the more curious, here are some benefits of Gratitude in your life:

Long Term Happiness

If you want happiness to last for more than a few moments, you need to have some control over how to generate it on demand. And I am not talking about the thrills generated by the Dopamine rush, which we get while seeking pleasure. Like when we are eating Ice cream. I am talking about the happiness, by courtesy of Serotonin, which you get when you think about the feeling of eating that Ice cream on a perfect sunny Saturday. But as eating Ice cream is limited to some perfect days and is enjoyable to think about certain number of times, we need something more perineal and deep. Hence, Gratitude. When we express Gratitude to someone or something, we generate a long lasting and replicable feeling of joy and happiness.


No matter what you have achieved in life or what you have done for others, to brag about it is like baking a beautiful muffin and licking it all over before giving it to someone. Yukk, right. It is still beautiful but no one other than a complete sucker for you would like it. And how can you be more humble ? Yes, by expressing Gratitude. Even if you generated a billion dollar empire on your own, without any mortal’s help, you can still thank your customers for putting their money in your pocket when they could have gone to your nearest competitor. They did you a favour by choosing you, not the other way around. On the other hand, if you are earning a living by doing a job, you have tons to be grateful for, starting with your parents who raised you to the partner who puts up with your weirdness to the kind lady at the supermarket who said “good day” to you even when she was tired from her day’s work.

Genuine good behaviour

If you are thinking that are you a decent human being or not, I have god news for you. You already are or are at least starting to be. And just to make sure you are, include Gratitude in your ever expanding arsenal of good actions. Gratitude is such a strong key habit that it will shape your perspective and in turn, will help you make your thoughts positive. Remember, it always starts with one small step. Just one good thought a day will move mountains of negative emotions in some time.

Solution to Anger/Jealousy

Holding anger or Jealousy in your heart against someone is like holding a burning piece of coal in your hand and thinking, that it is harming your enemy. Just like that burning coal, Jealousy will just harm you. And it is easy to hold on to it because you are hurt and you want revenge. You want closure, which we sometimes do not get. You are not alone in feeling that. Also, there are different degrees of this anger. Anger towards your boss for unnecessarily yelling at you is not the same as the anger towards someone who took enjoyment in tormenting you in school or someone who harmed your family member. It requires different degree of effort to overcome such emotions. But it is a good start nevertheless to find something in this situation to be thankful for.


If you express Gratitude towards your team members, you automatically open yourself to their ideas. You become more collaborative and appreciate each other in a group environment, which in turn, will boost the productivity of your whole team.

Sense of Purpose

For many, Gratitude is a way of life. They devote their life to help others because they feel such strong need to express gratitude that it overtakes their whole existence and guides them to help others. Their work becomes an extension to their act of expressing Gratitude. Even if that person is not you, you can still include Gratitude in your daily regime to remind you that there are people other than you and you have responsibility to serve your fellow humans.

Knowledge of limits to self

Can you do anything and everything ? If yes, how dare you not help all those in need right now? Hopefully, you said no. See, sometimes, we forget our limits and make mistakes. For example, it will be a mistake to buy a new iphone on credit because, 1 – you would have lesser to pay when you pay upfront, 2 – you would be under a debt for 1-2 years. Similarly, when you do not have any idea about what you cannot do or can do, you sometimes make mistakes such as trying to raise a child without ever reading any parenting books, or trying to take an exam without studying. You should be thanking those parents who have been though life and want to share their experience for your betterment.

And as it takes time and mistakes to learn to use any tool, it takes time and patience to learn to use Gratitude.

How to show Gratitude ?

Expressing Gratitude is a three step process.

  • Step 1: Recognise that something in your life is good.
  • Step 2: Recognise that the reason for that goodness is not just you but someone or something other than you.
  • Step 3: Thanking them in person or in your thoughts.

Let us see an example for this. I am sitting in my comfortable writing chair, writing this piece. This is step one. I realise that this is good. Next step is to recognise that to have this time to write, I must have some free time, which would not be possible if my wife and daughter did not realise that I need this time alone to write. So, the reason for this good, me having the time to write, is not just my decision to write it but my family’s understanding. And the last step, Thanking them. I just did, with a hug for both. Gratitude all over the place.

How to avoid burnout from Gratitude?

Set a minimum

Thank at least one person or one situation per day that has helped you to become the person you are today. It can be someone in the past or some one you met today who generated a feeling of thankfulness in you. Thank them in your thoughts.

Set a maximum

This is more important to avoid the burnout because if you go on to thank everyone you want to thank in person, you will have to spend a lot of time finding the right moment to say that to them and it requires much more courage to say thank you to their face than in your head. So, use this rule instead – say Thank you to your partner and children daily, Say thank to your parents once every week, say thank you to your friends twice a year, say thank you to your relatives once a year and thank strangers or new acquaintances once your lifetime.

Or make your own rules. But make an upper limit to the thanks you give in person as per your interactions to sound sincere and not flattery.

A parting word

Thank you for reading this till the end. I hope you find peace in your life and start your day with a new outlook.

Till next time.