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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.