It depends what your goals are and what your definition of “productive” is.
I link everything I do to my ultimate goals in life – financial freedom, health, happiness, karate. If I can’t find a way to link my actions to these goals, I’ll change my ways. If you lose sight of this, you will be stuck in the productivity loop you spoke about.
A lot of these productivity articles on Medium are summaries and what works for other people. I don’t use them as guides and I hardly ever implement them myself. But sometimes one or two things will click with me and help me to become more “productive”.
To me productivity is just making the most of my time so that I can achieve my goals quicker. The quicker I achieve my goals, the happier I will be.
In the end, everyone wants to be happy and satisfied, but different things make different people happy. That is why not every article on Medium will help you to be more productive.