Refracted Issue #2 - Productivity Above All
In this piece, I’m giving my take on the productivity boom in the field of tech. I focus on the expectations of consuming and generating content for others and the consequences of staying and feeding into this extremely-productive work culture.
Refracted On - Productivity Above All
I feel that nowadays, wherever I turn my head around, I’m surrounded by productive people. CEOs, founders, investors, entrepreneurs, hackers, bootstrappers, marketing-gurus and influencers pop out left and right, promoting a culture of long workdays, passive income and constant content generation. We see it in our social media feeds, TVs, and phones whilst listening to podcasts and reading books - the productivity boom is at its peak, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Productivity is being promoted as the “go-to” way of becoming a better individual. To the most part, I agree, yet with the time spent in an over-productive community, I discovered a darker side that’s rarely brought up.
The pressure of an extremely productive culture is especially prominent in the fields of tech. I’m sharing my personal view as a part of this field for the past eight years. In tech, it’s often seen people working full-time at a company, regularly freelancing or building products on the side. Nowadays, it’s rarer to meet a designer who doesn’t work on a side project than ones that do - it’s a cultural thing - producing more content will allow one to land better jobs, learn more, earn more and so on. And truth be told, I’m an avid supporter of that - I’ve freelanced on the side for most of my early career, have built a bunch of side-projects, and I keep aiming to learn new things with every new day, but as with everything in life, there is a healthy limit.
I’ve noticed a reoccurring pattern in myself, most of my friends and colleagues - this drive for constant content output is a dual-edged sword, and it requires an excellent, intricate balance to stay sane. With our current work culture, persistent, creative output is always expected and is considered as something that’s almost mandatory. Proving that we’re doing work for our peers is practically required. Trying to re-wire ourselves that 70 hour work weeks at times feel mandatory. We consume our peers’ products through our social channels, and we share our works for them to see. Still, both parties rarely discuss the immense weight of our stress, anxiety and tiredness generated by our borderline workaholism.
Edvard Munch - Melancholy (1891)
And while I’ve been observing a more positive notion in my social channels, where colleagues of ours open up about the damaging effects of overworking and the toxic productivity movement, many still prefer to live the “hustle culture” lifestyle.
The rising global burnout rate is alarming, and most of us are probably destined to suffer from it. I believe discovering the equilibrium between overworking and blatantly slacking is through repetition, failure and learning from the errors we previously made.
I’ll refract my history with burnout in the following two pieces, what caused it and how I managed to bounce back. Later, I’ll touch upon the systems that allow me to evaluate my tasks better and help me evaluate and create a better product downtime.
The personal website of Gordon Brander
The professionalism of my therapist
The coffee farmers, who planted, grew, hand-picked and sorted the beans I’m mindlessly consuming every morning.
The health of my body that allows me to train and enhance my athletic performance
The smell of the Freesia flowers in our living room
The wisdom and immense knowledge of my grandfather
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