Some say I love productivity more than my mother.
On some days they’re probably right. But it’s taken me 8 years of daily research and writing about the topic to realize that too much productivity is bad for your health. It actually murders opportunities.
This popular advice should scare the pants off you
“Keep your Zoom calls short.”
Just saying those words makes the veins in my head pop out. I read it as part of a viral piece of content written about productivity. The cliche advice is that we’re all busy so keep meetings short.
Meetings can easily go over time if you don’t remind people. So tell people often how busy you are and how you need to leave asap. Nooooooooo.
All this does is signal to them that they’re not important. And that you think you’re a superior human being.
Obviously keep your meetings short.
But don’t forget to interact with other human beings — one of the best parts of living. Otherwise you come across as a productivity psychopath. Not even Tony Robbins can save your ass then.
Avoid small talk
Small talk is how relationships with strangers are built. It’s how you know what they like to do and can find commonalities. It’s where you learn what country they come from and can share stories.
Overly productive people look like cyclopses on Zoom calls.
Eat, make money, sexy time, sleep.
Opportunities come from humans. If you can’t interact with them you’re never going to make any serious cash or do life-changing sh*t that makes people go “damn gal, you had a nasty time over dinner with Oprah.”
Relationships first. Productivity second.
Banter is where you crack a few jokes. Fart a few times maybe for fun. Tease each other a bit. Maybe chuck in some sarcasm for good measure.
Overly productive people don’t want you to banter with anyone. They’re so damn serious they can’t dislodge the pole shoved up their own ass.
When you come across as too serious you sound boring. Boring is how the door gets closed on good opportunities.
Banter is another component of relationship-building.
Don’t talk about the weather, stupid!
Asking about the weather apparently wastes precious seconds on the clock, too. Overly productive people want to rob you of that.
I’m not even sure they’ll let you wear underwear. No time for that either. Just go freeborn. Let it all hang out.
The idea is that people already know if it’s hot or cold. They don’t need you talking about it. The problem is you come across as a know-it-all. Like no topic is worthy of your greatness because everything is so obvious.
It’s okay to talk about obvious things. Actually, people love it when you do.
My experience with an overly productive (and awesome) human being
There’s a guy I love to chat to.
He’s so damn smart. He has the same beliefs as me. We run similar businesses. We both like the same vegan food and dislike alcohol.
We’re supposed to chat every few months, because that’s what friends do. It’s never easy.
- First I have to get passed his virtual assistant.
- Then he always tells me all the things that are happening which prevent us from doing a Zoom call.
The process normally takes between 7–14 days to get a chat in the diary.
I recently saw him publicly mention that if he doesn’t get value from calls, he stops talking with people and cuts all communication.
I feel like we’re friends but I’m petrified of getting cut off if I don’t add-enough-value (whatever the f*ck that means).
So on every call I have this fake-nice-guy pressure to try and add heaps of value. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard.
I sound like the graduate that just got their first job and wants to smash the lights out with performance. It’s a horrible feeling.
It creates enormous anxiety.
I feel sick sometimes before our calls, like I gotta go poo.
The whole time you get the feeling he hates meetings. He’s physically there but not in spirit. It’s no way to live, I tell ya.
And this whole song and dance is so he can be overly productive. But for what? To have no friends and live in a cave with a blank calendar?
The 25-minute meeting trend
I saw this one pop up recently too.
Productivity gurus are now saying “who the heck decided meetings should be either 30 minutes or 60 minutes?”
To solve the problem they say we should have 25-minute meetings only. They can’t justify their logic. It sounds like it’s contrarian advice for the sake of being the contrarian.
The world isn’t so perfect. Not every event in a calendar can be timed with a stopwatch. Like my wife can’t give birth to our daughter in a few weeks and say to the doctor, “Alright, we need to be outta here on the hour.”
Our baby will come when she’s ready and she ain’t gonna listen to no damn productivity guru, who wants it all to be over in 25 minutes, so he or she can get a hard-on and go “look I got these suckers to follow my rule!”
Productivity rules for the sake of rules are stupid.
Less rules, more being human.
Waste a day like you just don’t care
One of the people I like the most is named Mark.
We met while I worked in banking. We didn’t have much business stuff to talk about. One afternoon we had coffee. We both couldn’t stop talking.
So we just let the 30-minute catch-up turn into 6 hours of non-stop conversation. I was supposed to sell him banking stuff but never did. I probably could have but we always got side-tracked.
And I didn’t need his money.
Now I don’t work in banking, although we’re still mates. There’s no schedule. We let the conversation flow. He started a charity. I help give him ideas.
He thinks I should join the board. So I might. I need an office to work from. He has a spare one I could use. It’s a tax deduction so he doesn’t want my money. The point is there is no goal.
Our friendship breaks all the productivity rules.
I have the same rule with my two best friends. Whenever we catch up for lunch there is no time limit. It could go for an hour or end at midnight at a quiet restaurant over non-alcoholic wine.
It’s always fun when it happens. Each of us has to ring our bosses or wives to tell them why we’re going to be unavailable. These are the best moments of my life.
Time restraints kill joy.
The hard bottom line
The problem with overly productive people is their philosophy isn’t in line with reality.
The meaning of life comes from making human relationships. If every moment of the day is scheduled and you become an obnoxious a-hole to hoard minutes for no reason, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
Choose relationships over productivity.