Productivity, honesty, and accountability structures

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In this ~40 minute walk I comment on the broad theme of productivity from the perspective of philosophy. The main idea is that we cannot factor out the human involved: every method and tool we use has to work for us.

What I covered in outline:

  • There is no one-size-fits-all that works for all of us. It is important to factor in the subjectivity of the person who will be applying the method and using the tools.
  • Explanation of my bad experience with “Getting Things Done” (GTD), specifically how it was triggering my completionist mode and made me feel intimidated by the sheer size of corpus of tasks I had accumulated.
  • I made the mistake of rationalising my inability to work with GTD as me being defective. Eventually I realised that I was assuming away my subjectivity. I was not inherently broken. I simply had to find methods and tools that work for me.
  • One has to be honest about their strengths and weaknesses. Don’t try to mimic another person. Instead experiment until you find what is appropriate for you.
  • For me the cost of productivity is what I call “austerity”. Namely, the recognition that my intellectual curiosity has to be strictly moderated so that I do not yield to the temptation of seeking more information than I can actually process.
  • Accountability structures are arrangements that we design to amplify our strengths while minimising our weaknesses. I have several such structures, which I describe in the video.