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What’s Wrong with
Productivity?
Part I
Tiago Forte
Powered by Small World Social
https://www.smallworldsocial.com/producti...
7 Reasons the
productivity industry
is just begging to be
DISRUPTED
Powered by Small World Social
Powered by Small World Social
• Thousands of productivity articles published allow
bored office workers to procrastinate w...
Powered by Small World Social
• Productivity can no more be achieved by collecting
productivity tips than wealth can be ac...
Powered by Small World Social
Productivity is many things — an emergent
phenomenon, an integrated system of systems, a
pra...
Powered by Small World Social
• In the most subjective of all possible situations, as
we self-assess, self-diagnose, and s...
Powered by Small World Social
We don’t want to define objective metrics for
success, because we would realize that our day...
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• Companies like Workday offer suites of tools to
track everything from average email length...
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The rationale behind these services ranges from
questionable — tracking an employee’s online...
Powered by Small World Social
• Subjecting your employees to surveillance and blanket
metrics goes against everything we k...
Powered by Small World Social
Part 1... To be continued.
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What's Wrong With Productivity?

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Here are the 7 reasons Tiago Forte believes productivity, as an institution, as an idea, and most of all as an industry, is just begging to be disrupted.

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What's Wrong With Productivity?

  1. 1. What’s Wrong with Productivity? Part I Tiago Forte Powered by Small World Social https://www.smallworldsocial.com/productivitylink/
  2. 2. 7 Reasons the productivity industry is just begging to be DISRUPTED Powered by Small World Social
  3. 3. Powered by Small World Social • Thousands of productivity articles published allow bored office workers to procrastinate without feeling too guilty about it • This time they believe they really will learn the Ultimate 5 Productivity Hacks that will instantaneously and magically transform everything they hate about their job. • I’m constantly berating my audience to not think about productivity in terms of “tips and tricks.” Ugh. Which brings me to my second point… 1. It is driven by CLICKBAIT productivitylink.smallworldsocial.com It counts as work if you’re reading about work, right?
  4. 4. Powered by Small World Social • Productivity can no more be achieved by collecting productivity tips than wealth can be achieved by collecting money-saving tips. 2. It reduces productivity to “tips and tricks” Productivity “tips and tricks,” by their very nature, are reductive and linear. productivitylink.smallworldsocial.com
  5. 5. Powered by Small World Social Productivity is many things — an emergent phenomenon, an integrated system of systems, a praxeology (theory of practical action) — but it is certainly not merely a collection of wise sayings. Reducing its immense scope and fractal complexity to a series of bite-sized one-liners is great for click- through rates, but terrible for our appreciation of how profound the topic can be. These tips and tricks and hacks and shortcuts, even when they contain an ounce of truth, are interpreted subjectively, implemented without context, measured subjectively if at all, and passed along at the water cooler as pearls of divinely-revealed truth. But actually, it’s not our fault.productivitylink.smallworldsocial.com
  6. 6. Powered by Small World Social • In the most subjective of all possible situations, as we self-assess, self-diagnose, and self-prescribe productivity remedies, we neglect to follow any sort of systematic process to measure results. • We as a society, employers and employees alike, have made a collective pact not to ask too many questions when it comes to measuring productivity. 3. It is not systematically applied or quantified Human intuition is often very wrong when it comes to predicting human behavior productivitylink.smallworldsocial.com
  7. 7. Powered by Small World Social We don’t want to define objective metrics for success, because we would realize that our day-to- day responsibilities barely resemble the job description we were hired for. We don’t want to quantify the time we spend, as this may reveal the ungodly number of hours we work every week, at the office and on our digital tethers. And most of all, we are afraid to understand the real factors that affect our productivity, lest we discover how deeply dysfunctional the modern workplace has become. Until the productivity industry develops a more systematic approach that works at the level of a single individual, it will remain in the realm of speculation, conjecture, urban legend,productivitylink.smallworldsocial.com
  8. 8. Powered by Small World Social • Companies like Workday offer suites of tools to track everything from average email length to social media activity to time spent in the bathroom. • This may seem a direct contradiction of my previous point, but virtually all the services I’ve come across have one disturbing thing in common — they are designed to be used by management as essentially surveillance mechanisms, microanalyzing and micromanaging the most minute behaviors of 4. It is top-down and authoritarian productivitylink.smallworldsocial.com
  9. 9. Powered by Small World Social The rationale behind these services ranges from questionable — tracking an employee’s online activity to determine how likely they are to quit — to downright dystopian — predicting which employees are likely to exceed their budgets, fall short of performance targets, or do something unspeakably heinous like take paid maternity leave. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to trust that upper management’s definition of productivity is in line with that of individuals. Even corporate wellness programs, which have grown to a $6 billion business serving over 50% of large companies, are a little scary. productivitylink.smallworldsocial.com
  10. 10. Powered by Small World Social • Subjecting your employees to surveillance and blanket metrics goes against everything we know about employee satisfaction and motivation, and I predict a backlash from top-performing employees against management-by-metric. • The alternative is a bottom-up approach, one relying on education, training, and peer-to-peer support to help employees both define and measure their own progress. But that is a subject for another post… productivitylink.smallworldsocial.com
  11. 11. Powered by Small World Social Part 1... To be continued. Don't feel like waiting? Sign up for our complimentary mailing list. Visit: productivitylink.smallworldsocial.com for everything you need to know about productivity in one place productivitylink.smallworldsocial.com

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