Have You Accidentally Joined a Cult? Me Too!

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I’m pretty convinced these days that productivity often functions as a cult. Do you ever feel like you are committing a cardinal sin if you aren’t constantly trying to maximize your output and produce as much as possible? Do you feel guilty about not doing something productive? Do you fetishize being busy as a way of feeling important?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might be in the productivity cult. And once in, it’s so hard to get out. So hard!

Here’s an article I wrote about how to know if you are in the cult or not. It’s very subtly titled Productivity Is a Cult: It’s Time to Deprogram Yourself and Exit.

When your productivity practice becomes the goal — and you are no longer thinking about what you produce, how you produce it, and whether or not you should produce anything at all — you might have become a productivity cult member.

Don’t feel bad if you are card-carrying member because you are not alone. Let’s practice un-brainwashing together.

Tell me how you will resist the productivity cult.


5 thoughts on “Have You Accidentally Joined a Cult? Me Too!

  1. OK I’ll bite.
    My first line of resistance is a strong vocabulary. Knowing the difference between work, labor and toil and how to explain it to someone who thinks their bank balance makes them smarter than me is extremely important.
    North Carolina is a right to hire/right to fire state so I have never had any illusions of job security. A lot of people find themselves hamstrung in their own lives because of this. When I was working, I was an aerospace machinist for several years. Most of the people I worked with had been with the company for decades and bitched about it practically every single day. They went to high school and then trade school, then it was off to the shop where they did whatever they were told until they retired or died. They were bamboozled into thinking that was their only chance at a good life. This brings me to my second cult avoidance stratagem: I stand up for myself.
    The sales and marketing people at this particular company are paid a commission. If they have to promise a customer something to get their piece of that check, they’re going to do it and not care about what the people out in the shop have to do to keep their promise. In the months leading up to my retirement the shop was running non-stop and the machinists were working sixty to seventy hours every week. The bitching was continuous, except when it became risky, like when someone might tell on you for doing it. This, fortunately (I guess), wasn’t a problem for me. Unlike most of my colleagues, I had moved to five different cities and had about twenty different jobs, counting a few stop-gap jobs to keep the ball rolling until I could find something better. The threat of my life going down the tubes if I didn’t toe the line had no teeth. The president respected that. Of course, when the company was sold, he was the first problem they solved.
    So my life belongs to me and I get to decide who gets how much and whose needs come first. HINT: It’s not you. Now that I have established that, I need to determine the best way to get the most out of the time I have reserved for myself and the money I have earned from my time at work/labor/toil. I’ll finish this in a little while. This is a good point to take a break and knowing that is crucial.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All right, here’s the rest. Since I retired I have a lot of spare time but there’s still lots to do. I don’t always have it that tightly together but this is what I try for:
    First thing, prioritize. It seems obvious but I’ve known lots of people who had lots of do-overs because they didn’t do first things first. Getting done quickly doesn’t mean anything if you didn’t do a good job.
    Next, you need to have a plan. Say you’re going to build something, maybe something pretty big. You’re going to want to know everything you are going to need, including help, before you get started. When I say help, I mean muscle AND expertise. It’s hard to do good work if you don’t know what you’re doing, so a bit of humility can take you a long way.
    Last,, and possibly most important, don’t get all hung up on perfection, especially if you’re doing something complicated. If you’ve been in an aircraft in the last seventeen years that was powered by a General Electric engine, there’s a fair chance that something I worked on was up there with you. Every shaving that comes off of every part is documented by the machinist who performed that particular operation. These inspection records are kept by GE for the life of the engine and if a part fails, their engineers will find out what went wrong and who is responsible for it. For all that, there are no perfect parts. Every dimension has a tolerance and often more than one. Some are wide open and some are extremely close. I’ve cut a lot of metal and I’ve never seen a zero tolerance. So, if you’re not building a Swiss watch or something, don’t forget you’re not. In most matters, good is as good as it gets so learn to be satisfied with it. You’ll live longer as long as you don’t walk out in front of a garbage truck.
    OK, sermon’s over. Good post, Christine.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a great compliment, thank you. Isaac Newton once said that if he sees farther than other men, it is because he stands on the shoulders of giants. We’re learning from each other, Professor.

        Liked by 1 person

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