The Shift #35

Productivity Propaganda – Hustle & Float; Do More, Work Less; Mr Let Go; #workingfrombed 

Thinking Big 💡

How to grow your following
How to turn one digital product into 10k-50k a month
Transitioning from corporate to entrepreneur 
High-performance secrets
Using multiple devices to be in multiple Clubhouse rooms
And that’s just a quick scroll through my hallway. Productivity porn! It’s become a skill and a sport - do more, be more, have more, say more. But I’m enough! The little voice on my shoulder pipes up. And I value my health.
I was burned out last week – the darkness, endless rain, and being online so much - screen time alert! The energy on CH is manic – rooms are going on for hours, days, people aren’t sleeping - doing back-to-back and multiple rooms. It’s solving a problem and helping us feel connected during lockdown, but it also requires mental energy.
So, I took refuge in a Productivity Propaganda room hosted by Rahaf Harfoush, NYT bestselling author of Hustle & Float: Reclaim Your Creativity and Thrive in a World Obsessed with Work.
Rahaf gave a brief history of productivity as a throwback from the Industrial Revolution. Our understanding of what it means to be productive is based on continuous output – a factory assembly line, the 8-hour shift/40-hour week, which doesn’t fit the knowledge model of work and creativity, and creates tension between the two.
The American dream – you can have it all if you work hard enough. The flip side of that is the shadow dream – if you’re not successful it’s because you’ve not worked hard enough, never mind socio-economic factors.
And the majority of invisible labour still falls primarily to the woman – all those extra hours to account for in your day. And we have the added pressure of building the personal brand. Here’s the economist Linda Scott on the Double-X economy and how liberating women’s thwarted economic potential could change the world.

Productive creatives: I don’t have time to think

The irony is in our attempt to do more and fill our days, we’re losing our capacity to be creative. What we end up doing is damaging the precious resource we’re trying to protect. Deep creative labour is messy and disjointed. It requires unstructured time - we need to walk, daydream, let our minds wander and rest. Often the best way to solve a problem is to take your mind off it and do something else rather than sitting at your desk and trying to force it.
So, how do we find balance and challenge hustle culture? So, we feel good about where we’re at in our lives and enjoying the journey rather than constantly feeling like we’re falling behind and have too much on our plate.
There is no balance until you ground yourself and see yourself as a worthy person separate from your inbox. You as a human are enough – you’re not on the planet to produce. If you’re always looking for a new system/app to organise yourself, then maybe you need to figure yourself out first. The moment you let go of all that work baggage, you can do more, but work less. See what you can delegate, let go of work devotion and things will shift.
The same applies to inappropriate men in your life, says Mr Let Go (Why You Keep Attracting Men You Don’t Want). Ye’all don’t want a good man, that’s your problem! You gotta DM me and I’ll sort ye out!
Research shows we’re having MORE meetings to compensate for remote working, so it’s good to see companies are starting to have meeting-free days—other suggestions: Co-ordinate lunch breaks/holidays, so everyone’s off at the same time. Have a statement of work to set boundaries with your clients and manage expectations – i.e. You don’t expect people to answer emails outside of business hours. Know your productivity cycle/flow then build a system around it.
Tip: if you need to de-stimulate try staring at the wall for 15 minutes with your eyes open and no noise. It’s cathartic, surface stuff comes up, and you’re left with clear ideas and positive thoughts.

Hustle & Float

The book takes a holistic approach to work spanning psychology, anthropology, history, sociology, philosophy, theology, media theory, art history & more. It explores where our obsession with productivity comes from, the cult of creativity, the myth of the self-made man and entrepreneur, & how the systems we’re using are relics from a bygone era, the industrial age. We’re trying to fit knowledge work into old systems, and it doesn’t work. There’s a tension between creativity and productivity, and it’s causing stress.
It’s an engaging read and has given me lots to think about in terms of my relationship with work. Questions to ask yourself…Rahaf shares some of the things she’s done to help herself like getting rid of hyper motivational quotes from her social media feed and blocking people who make you feel like you’re not doing enough. Compete with yourself, not others.
Hustle less and reclaim some of the float (a term from white-water rafting). Bucket off chunks of time to sit and reflect. Taking time out is essential for growth mindset, creativity and adaptability. Work with your body clock and eat seasonal and local foods.
There’s a massive shift coming with technological change, AI & automation, and we need to prepare for that - but it’s not a depressing read. She is hopeful and optimistic for a more human future and post-work society. We haven’t reached the end of human creativity, but it won’t happen within the context of work in the future.
We don’t expect a partner to meet all of our needs, so why do we expect the same from our work?
I’m not feeling productive and that’s ok. I’m struggling with the daily routine and lack of sunshine. I know I shouldn’t work from bed, but I’m doing it anyway. Wedge pillows and lap desks are flying off the shelves. Seeing how there are over 5k posts for #workingfrombed on the gram, I’m in good company.

The Advice 💬

People generally have the misconception that in order to be successful, they have to postpone their happiness. Ironically, what research is showing is that happiness is the fast track to success. If instead of overworking and burning out, you take time to relax, to cultivate calmness, to stay present, and to be more compassionate to yourself and others, you will be more productive, resilient to stress, charismatic and influential, and more creative and innovative.
Emma Seppälä - Author of The Happiness Track, speaker & research scientist: Yale School of Management, Stanford Center For Compassion And Altruism Research And Education.

Toolkit 🛠

🎧  BBC Radio 4: The Spark – Linda Scott on the Double-X Economy.
📹 Rahaf Harfoush’s talk on Hustle & Float.
📱 The Red Thread Institute of Digital Culture – ANTI-Grift Thurs on CH: calling out scams one room at a time.
📚  The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying by Bronnie Ware – “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
💻  Joe Biden’s memo to his staff in 2014 about the importance of family time.

Welcome to my bookshop! 📚

I’ll be sharing books in my bag and recommended reads on Bookshop.org here. They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to local bookstores, an integral part of our culture and communities. Please spread the word and help support the high street.

Work with me 🙋🏻‍♀️

Leopard print, always. Worry less and rock a red lip. Internet person, global citizen, flâneuse, problem solver.
💡 Thoughts, ideas, feedback? Leave a comment or email nicci@niccitalbot.com
☕️  Tip me! - Ko-fi page
📩  Subscribe to The Shift