The Unspoken Truth About Productivity Gurus

What if I told you that most productivity writers online are full of crap? Depending on your purview, you would either keep reading or dismiss the claim out of hand. For me, I’d rather not cast all writers (about any topic!) in any one light.

Ok, now what if I told you that most productivity experts have a secret that they don’t disclose? Now that’s something deserves some explanation.

Let me explain.

For years, I read everyone from David Allen to David Sparks to Laura Stack. I loved each of their perspectives and tried hard to implement them into my daily practice. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem.

I did my work in the context of a broken workplace. With dozens of employees in my care, I had some constrictions.

My workplace, filled with great people doing great things, was overflowing with behaviors that killed productivity. Too many meetings. Constant interruptions. Poor lighting. Insufficient technology. Inadequate agency over the projects you are assigned.

Does this sound familiar?

In short, while I could practice “personal productivity”, I simply couldn’t overcome a broken workplace. Just because I was productive, and the leader of the organization, did not translate into my workplace being more productive. This led me to realize something about most (and I mean that sincerely) productivity authors- most work alone.

Think about it for a second. I bet your top 3–4 experts online work for themselves or by themselves for a large part of their day. They have their own companies or they speak and write as consultants. What they don’t do? Manage a large organization. Their advice, as a result, is heavily influenced by solitude. They have way more control of their time than do corporate folks in broken environments.

This isn’t a bad thing. Good for them. Now that I’m a remote worker, I feel spoiled. I have time to do work that I want to do. I am one of the lucky ones.

This truth doesn’t negate the advice of productivity enthusiasts. It should however bring a bit of caution and maybe self-compassion. Don’t beat yourself up if your workplace is full of interruptions. Don’t feel as if your productivity stinks because your boss mandates that you attend another pointless meeting. You still have an obligation to be as productive as you can be.

In all of this, control what you can. Work hard. Do your best.

And finally, keep reading the experts online. Just know that you still have to find your own way. After all, that’s why they call it personal productivity.

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