Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
×
Businesses The Almighty Buck

'Productivity Is Dangerous' (theoutline.com) 233

Vincent Bevins, writing for The Outline: So every morning, I get messages asking me to click through to articles like "How I Optimized My Morning Routine To Get More Done Than ever -- before 8 a.m.!" The people posting links like this have a sickness, and we need to stop it before it gets out of hand. Of course, if you actually click through to this trash, it's a bit shocking to see what they actually do. Some guy is proud that he set aside his social life so that he could unleash four extremely psychologically damaging apps on the world by the age of 30. Or it's like, "Congratulate Lisa on her new job as advertising director for Nestle in Africa." Here's a productivity idea: Just, fucking, don't make shitty apps, or do advertising for Nestle, or really for anything. I often see shit like, "Ten Habits I Have QUIT to Get More Done," and I think, "Maybe quit writing posts like this." If you're waking up at 4 a.m. to write 1,000 words about how you write 1,000 words every day, what are you actually getting done? Just stay in bed. Whenever I am back in the Protestant centers of modern capitalism (New York or London, basically), it's especially jarring to remember what it feels like to treat being busy as if it were a virtue.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

'Productivity Is Dangerous'

Comments Filter:
  • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @04:42PM (#55770751) Journal

    "How I Optimized My Morning Routine To Get More Done Than ever -- before 8 a.m.!"
    The people posting links like this have a sickness, and we need to stop it before it gets out of hand.

    Just swap their morning joe with decaf. Epidemic averted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dutch Gun ( 899105 )

      Maybe if the author had a hobby or something to occupy his free time, he wouldn't be worrying so much about how other people choose to spend theirs.

      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        Maybe if the author had a hobby or something to occupy his free time, he wouldn't be worrying so much about how other people choose to spend theirs.

        I don't care how you run your life. If you want live a life like that, fine. It's not OK to have a system the imposes this lifestyle on everyone because people like you prefer it. That's forced coercion.

      • by whitroth ( 9367 )

        So, do *you* answer phone calls/emails/texts from work at any hour? Do you get overtime for that (hahahahahhahaha!)? Does your boss expect a response, every time the fart, day or night, and tell you "whatever it takes", who cares if you are trying to have a life?

        Why the *fsck* do you need to be "SO PRODUCTIVE"? And it's people like you who jump on those of us who actually work to live, instead of living to work. That's why he's writing this, you freakin' Calvinist.

    • Some people are just morning people. I wake up by 4 AM and I'm just about shot by noon or 1 PM. I do my best work before most people even wake up.

      Friends don't give friends decaf coffee. That stuff is usually pretty nasty.
      • by plopez ( 54068 )

        That's too bad. It's better to come in late and leave late, even if it doesn't amount to more. Here are the scenarios:

        1) Reboot comes in at 500. has lunch about 10, then goes home at three. Result: people think he slacking even though he has put in 10 hours.

        2) Reboot comes in at 930 has lunch about noon, and then goes home and then goes home at 6pm after most managers and other coworkers start to go home. People think Reboot is diligent. Total hours worked: 8

        So don't do it. We are trapped in the Matrix, a

        • 3) Manager comes in at 8:30 and sees Reboot not starting to work until 9:30. Manager thinks Reboot is slacking. 4) Reboot goes home after everyone else does. Nobody sees Reboot do this so they don't know if Reboot waits just 1 minute or is working an additional nn hours. Manager thinks Reboot is playing the system.
    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      Just swap their morning joe with decaf. Epidemic averted.

      That won't stop the depression, anxiety and eventual health consequences such as high blood pressure and eventual heart attack that will follow from attempting to meet ridiculously unreasonable demands. We have a system whereby many people are in a constant, unnatural state of fight or flight response. As of 2016, the United States has the highest use of anti-depressant medication [businessinsider.com] of any OECD country. That's solid evidence that we have a systemic cultural problem that is leading to large scale health pro

  • Take a nap. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Major_Disorder ( 5019363 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @04:42PM (#55770755)
    It is the most productive use you will ever find for your time.
    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      It is the most productive use you will ever find for your time.

      Nay, forget napping, it is a more productive use of your time to post on slashdot

  • well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fattmatt ( 1042156 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @04:44PM (#55770773)

    well that was a waste of time!

  • If you're waking up at 4 a.m. to write 1,000 words about how you write 1,000 words every day, what are you actually getting done? Just stay in bed.

    Yet, there were movies starring real actors about fake actors making fake movies. There are stage-shows starring real actors about making fake stage shows. There are movies starring real actors about fake actors making fake shows. Same for television shows, etc. The point is, if they're being paid then who are they to not take the easy approach? Write or otherwise create content for what you know if they'll pay for for it.

    Now, it's pretty stupid for everyone else (or anyone else) to pay good money for

    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      Yet, there were movies starring real actors about fake actors making fake movies.

      This sounds stupid on the face of it, and has certainly been used badly, but there are some great films based on this premise. Bowfinger and A Serbian Film both come to mind, as vastly different as they are, and I can't really imagine either one having chosen a better trope to start from.

  • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @04:50PM (#55770829)

    I have never really thought of productivity as how many hours of work I was able to fit into the day. It has always been how much output can I get for a given amount of input. Essentially how can I get more done with less effort. I'm not saying that is a better definition, but it is always how I have thought of it.

    • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @05:53PM (#55771301)

      The author is incorrectly using "productive" (i.e. getting work done) and "busy" (i.e. doing stuff) interchangeably, when the two actually have distinct meanings. Which is somewhat ironic, since he's basically trying to argue that there's an important distinction being lost...which is exactly the distinction he seems to be unaware of.

      Once you swap out "productivity" for "busyness", you quickly realize what he's really getting at: the pursuit of busyness without productivity is a waste of time. Which is an obvious fact that most of us figured out early in our careers, but I guess kudos to him for coming to that realization?

      • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @06:24PM (#55771471) Journal

        One of the early lessons in life I learned was, it wasn't how hard you worked, it was only important to work hard when the boss was looking. If you worked hard, and finished early, and the boss came around, you didn't do enough. If you didn't work at all when the boss wasn't looking but was busy when he showed up, you were okay.

        That was 30 years ago, and it is still true today. Optics are the only thing that matters.

        • by skam240 ( 789197 )

          You know what works a million times better? Not slacking off when you're done. Go ask your boss for more work and pretty soon you'll be a favorite rather than just coasting along. That is, unless he's a terrible boss in which case you should find another job.

          Your advice seems like a solid path towards mediocrity. Take some pride in your work.

          • You seem to think of work as something that's somehow "done" at some point.

          • Take some pride in your work

            I learned that when I was fired from my very first job. The good job (pride) I was doing when the boss wasn't looking was immaterial. I was 15 when I learned that lesson. It sucked. Pride doesn't bring in a paycheck.

            There is no failure if you learn something in the process. I learned how to never get fired again.

        • Your strategy have probably worked out fine towards your bosses. However, have you considered your team mates?

          If I ask you for something, but get the fifth lousy excuse as to why you cannot and will not do anything, I'll just start working around you instead. And if I get to chance, I'll happily back-stab you to get rid of the drag on the team.

          How many jobs and teams did you say you've been with over the last 30 years?

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Your definition isn't quite correct, but it's better than that of the subject of the article. Yours is the definition of efficiency. Productivity would be the total output. The one in the article is something else... stupidity?

      • Productivity would be the total output.

        Wrong. Productivity [investopedia.com] is output per unit of input. Usually the input is labour hours.

        Funnily enough there's a word for output. Can you guess what it is?

    • Exactly. In my field of academia, the only thing that really counts is number of publications. So you have a couple of people that sit at their desk from 9-5, but many that do 99% of their best work in the middle of the night and never show up at the office. Both get good work done.

      • Exactly. In my field of academia, the only thing that really counts is number of publications.

        Which isn't fundamentally much better than counting office hours. Both are ways of appearing busy.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @04:51PM (#55770835)
    It reads like an extended /. rant that gets modded up to +3 before finally being modded back down to -1 troll. Who greenlit this?

    People are more productive because we live in an incredibly competitive world. There's 6 billion+ people out there are most are dirt poor and a good chunk of them can work 12 hr/day 7 days a week for 20 years before dying of a heart attack. That's your competition. And as productivity increases there's less work to go around and more competition for what's left.
  • I'm gone fishing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ruddk ( 5153113 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @04:52PM (#55770845) Homepage

    I'm gone fishing
    I got me a line
    Nothing I do is gonna make the difference
    So I'm taking the time

    And you ain't never gonna be happy
    Anyhow, anyway
    So I'm gone fishing
    And I'm going today

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @04:54PM (#55770859) Homepage

    "Without fail, it’s the most privileged people who feel the need to Do Something"

    Yeah, maybe that's why they're "privileged".

    How did this anti-capitalist bullshit rant make it to "news for nerds, stuff that matters"?

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      "Productivity" is probably the wrong word here. "Activity" might be better.

      People often start doing *too* many things when they don't know *what* to do. You see this with entrepreneurs who are failing at that difficult transition from tiny early startup to something too big for one person. These people are in a high status position, but they don't know what to do with it. What they should do is make the transition from hands-on idea man to corporate leader, hire someone who can do that, or sell out. W

    • How did this anti-capitalist bullshit rant make it to "news for nerds, stuff that matters"?

      From the top of the page:
      Posted by msmash

    • mostly because it's so badly written. By 'Do Something' here means to work really hard and not get anything really worth while out of it. e.g. the whole 'keeping up with the Jones'. It's like that line from Clerks (I think, you can keep me honest here if I'm wrong): "I may not live well but at least I don't have to work hard to do it".
    • Well, people who aren't privileged don't need to feel the need, they are shooed from one "do this" to the next "do that" anyway, no need to come up with things to occupy themselves with.

    • "Without fail, it’s the most privileged people who feel the need to Do Something"

      Yeah, maybe that's why they're "privileged".

      How did this anti-capitalist bullshit rant make it to "news for nerds, stuff that matters"?

      Because historically illiterate dipshit fake nerds like you simply don't get the free market fairy is a myth. Real nerds want to know what is actually true and how reality works because society is always changing, so that means constantly reassessing and challenging sacred cows. Capitalists didn't just hand working people their rights they had to fight and die literally for them.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Protectionism for the rich and big business by state intervention, radical market interference.

  • Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @04:54PM (#55770867)

    "So every morning, I get messages asking me to click through to articles like "How I Optimized My Morning Routine To Get More Done Than ever -"

    Well, just don't read these messages and you'll be amazed how much shit you can do during that time.

    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      There is some logic behind the idea that the people who are all about productivity are probably more likely to be doing things like writing articles. You'd expect maybe a 5:1 or even 10:1 ratio between articles about productivity and articles about taking it easy and enjoying yourself.

      I suspect the ratio isn't that high, because some of those compulsively productive people are probably writing articles about enjoyment (which they're either also feeling guilty about, or have planned out like a champ).

      But the

    • Well, just don't read these messages and you'll be amazed how much shit you can do during that time.

      I use the potty time to read these messages, you insensitive clod!

  • by Zorro ( 15797 )

    NT ;)

  • What, exactly, is so wrong about working for Nestle?

    200+ words to say...what, again?

    • Perhaps he says that because Nestle is known for dressing saleswoman as nurses to encourage poor Africans not to breastfeed - which has a lot of health benefits for infants - but to spend money on baby formula.
  • Productivity Is Dangerous

    That's why I spend my day reading /.

    [ And to chill from reading the news, which, more often than not nowadays, makes me angry. ]

  • Remember if you aren't using your time productively to bring about the singularity in the future the singularity may resurrect you and punish you for your frivolous waste of time (humbug advertising for Nestle indeed).

  • Your Facebook user name and data are scraped to be added to whatever a company may have on you, when clicking on these liked spam links. The information will sit forever growing, or be used to target ads at you and your friends. Never click on these links, or take an "IQ" or "trivia" test on Facebook. People that do that are unwittingly giving a little bit more of their privacy, including their thought processes, away.
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Depends on whether you lie or not. Facebook thinks I'm a senior citizen. Google is convinced I'm 13. The dissonance between ads I get is almost entertaining enough not to block them.

  • "There's a sucker born every minute" W.C. Fields

    All the Internet did is to make it easier to find an exponentially greater number of suckers. Can you blame them, really?
    • Social media fatigue
    • Information overload
    • Democracy of voice

    If you let anyone say what they want in an attention-seeking environment, you get overloaded with garbage. To paraphrase, "A thousand bloggers, given infinite time, will eventually produce a collection of worthwhile and well-considered life hacks." These articles are distracting clickbait masquerading as productivity tips... wholly counterproductive.

  • I realized this in my 20s. I decided that there was something called "the non-product" that society produces to make up for the fact that we can produce necessary goods with so few people.

    Another way I've put it here on Slashdot is that in our search for a better substitute, so far all we've come up with is "war and Facebook".

    So. As obnoxious and pointless as their blog, or app, or whatever other "productivity" is, at least it's not raining actual fire down on you... yet.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @06:42PM (#55771575)

    My problem as I'm getting older (42 now...) is that I have a life outside of IT/technology. I've got a family, house and 2 children. That doesn't mean I'm some lazy middle manager or project manager clawing my way up the ladder to a no-work position and abandoning life-long learning. The issue I have is that younger people who haven't had the benefit of a life outside of tech are pumping out thing after thing after thing...and they're just different enough from each other and what's come before that you have to spend time looking at all of it or risk falling behind. The first dotcom bubble had the 25-year-old CEO, and this time we have relentless social media and DevOps tool companies. Amazon, Microsoft, Google and name-your-startup must have their employees permanently connected to a Red Bull IV to get that much work out of them.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with hard work...I do it every day. What I don't think the Millennial crowd has had yet is a good stomping from their employers to give them some perspective. Just like the last bubble, the VC funding is going to dry up for the startups, and the established tech companies are going to pull back and wait for a recovery. The free meals, bring-your-dog-to-work environments and concierge service are going to be replaced with layoff notices. And while these people will have many accomplishments under their belt, I'll bet some of them are going to wake up, look around and realize they've been giving 90 or 100 hours a week to an employer who just threw them out on the street.

    Don't live to work...companies are not going to be loyal to you anymore. Work hard, give good value for money, but slow down and enjoy your life while you can.

    • "My problem as I'm getting older (42 now...) "

      "And while these people will have many accomplishments under their belt, I'll bet some of them are going to wake up, look around and realize they've been giving 90 or 100 hours a week to an employer who just threw them out on the street."

      that perspective or actual event happens at about 40 (I'm 41)
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        Japan had that problem. It probably still does. Along with a sky high middle aged male suicide rate.

  • by AtariEric ( 571910 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @06:45PM (#55771599)
    The most important thing about the Protestant work ethic is not that Protestants think being busy is a virtue, it's that they use that so-called ethic to put people who don't fit their idea of "busy" down. It's there to ostracize people who don't fit into their mold. If they don't like you, you can't be busy or productive enough - they will find or invent a justification and persecute you with that.
  • Next up on Slashdot, "Old Man Yells At Cloud". What happened next will astonish you!
  • And it's free too:

    Imagine that you're going to die today when you lie in bed and close your eyes, it's going to be forever. Try to be able to say "Yup. Had a good run, it's been worth it".

    If you can say that: You win.

  • Read this [wikipedia.org].

    Or watch the movie if you don't have time for a childrens book.

  • I often see shit like, "Ten Habits I Have QUIT to Get More Done," and I think, "Maybe quit writing posts like this."

    Why? How would it make the person more productive if they stopped doing their job of writing articles that get page hits and likes? Is this guy too stupid to realise that these articles exist not because someone wants to share some amazing fact about their life, but rather that they want to put food on their table?

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle. -- Steinbach

Working...