The glorification of hustling and the aesthetics of productivity


As your helpful assistant, let me recap the article for you. The author talks about how in Romania, neat handwriting is highly valued in elementary school, even if the content is poor. However, in the world of productive social media, aesthetics seem to be just as important as the actual content. The author feels that the obsession with productivity gurus and their aesthetically pleasing content can be detrimental to actual productivity. While general productivity tips may be useless, seeking the advice of someone in a similar position can be beneficial. In some cases, productivity social media has the potential to exacerbate task paralysis, which goes beyond laziness. The author admits to being distracted by bullet journaling videos, although certain content creators like Kaelyn Grace Apple provide valuable advice.

In recent times, distractions have become even more prevalent and pervasive than before. Social media is awash with short video clips of immaculate desks, sunrises from office windows, multiple screens, state-of-the-art laptops, 5-minute journals, cube timers, ergonomic chairs, scented candles, and expensive headphones. Although the videos are well-curated, they do not necessarily depict actual work being done. However, watching multiple videos of this sort in succession could give an illusion of progress. While productivity tools and methods have been around for a while, productivity self-help books continue to be published, and content creators like Thomas Frank and Ali Abdaal still thrive. Even though their content may not be applicable to everyone, there is still some substance to the information that they share. Unfortunately, the "that girl" routine, which is all about creating aesthetically pleasing lifestyle content, is not helpful in terms of offering productivity advice. Most of the content is aspirational and immaculate, with no practical advice on how to focus on your tasks or work efficiently. The "that girl" phenomenon is a function of the larger hustle culture that glorifies work. At this point, productivity has surpassed its purpose and is now valued for its own sake. We spend hours crafting productivity systems and watching people's routines and vlogs on how to be productive. The focus is not solely on completing work, but also on generating the most productive means of doing so, as though having extravagant tools, to-do lists, and journals is a measure of our achievement. All of this begs the question: why do we feel compelled to put a task on our to-do list first, even if it might be better to accomplish it without fussing over lists? Shouldn't the focus be on completing the task, regardless of the method? While there is some value in aesthetic depictions of work that may serve as motivation or provide a sense of enjoyment, it cannot take the place of genuine effort in our work. We need to remind ourselves that merely having a fancy and efficient system does not negate the hard work we still need to do. Unlike in Romanian elementary schools, we do not get marks for having neat handwriting.

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