Maybe the title is exaggerating things just a bit but the idea is floating out there that the Golden Era of lifehacks is in the past and we are left with nothing more than productivity porn. And who is out front in saying this? None other than the productivity porn king himself Merlin Mann!
On September 10th of this year Merlin wrote in a post titled “43 Folders: Time, Attention, and Creative Work”:
Friends, I’m done with “productivity” as a personal fetish or hobby. There are countless sites that are all too happy to vend stroke material for your joyless addiction to puns about procrastination and systems for generating more taxonomically satisfying meta-work. But, presently, you won’t find so much of that here.
Except inasmuch as it can help move aside barriers to finishing the projects that you claim matter to you, “productivity” is often a sprawling ghetto of well-marketed nonsense for people who really just need a ritalin and a hug. So, for myself, random tips and lists that aren’t anchored to solving a real-world problem for a smart but flawed adult with a mind are dead to me. Pour a forty on ‘em.
The first time I read this I laughed. After all Merlin Mann pioneered productivity porn. To hear him complaining about how many sites are now out there peddling the stuff of his making was laughable. At the same time the guy has a point. In that article he describes, quite correctly, the problems with the productivity blogosphere today. Too much noise and not enough signal and I found myself agreeing with him to the point that I cut all of it out of my life.
Well, that and a big chunk of other time-wasting material. I trimmed about 2/3rd of the subscriptions I had going in FeedDemon/NetNewWire. I’ve all but given up political blogs which have been my other, massive, black hole of time. I’ve got a lot to do and not enough time to do it all. The cognitive dissonance being created by all of that reading without any real purpose behind it was becoming deafening so no more.
And honestly the best part of his post was the discussion of “conversation” and “community” :
Stupid, venal, ignorant, self-linking comments from people who couldn’t be troubled to actually read the article. Angry forum posts full of personal attacks, giant avatars of Manga characters, and 4-vertical-inch signatures about which Golden Girl you are. Nonsense tagging, meta-commenting, ass-kissing, trolling, and…oooo!…video responses….neato! Please. It’s nuts and it’s pointless and it’s really cynical on the part of almost every publisher that allows that crap to go on.
Right on. My blog hasn’t hit the popularity curve the same way 43 Folders has Not yet anyhow but this is my blog. I’ll say what I want, when I want to say it. If you have something to say to me email me but I got sick of tools like this on my own site. If you like what I have to say please keep reading. If you don’t keep reading or leave. The decision is yours but I’m not going to justify myself to anyone else let alone turds pretending to be people like I mentioned above.
Thanks for the whining Merlin. I feel a bit lighter now myself