Have you noticed that there’s a whole cottage industry of folks out there whose job they think it is to tell the rest of us how to do our job—or how to get through our day. If you haven’t noticed it, as I have, then you must be too busy actually getting work done without their help. What were you thinking?!
So, let me fill you in. You just gotta love these self-appointed purveyors of productivity and merchants of mindfulness who have so much free time on their hands that they lecture the rest of us on what not to do with our precious time. No, we don’t just gotta love them. We just gotta tell them to mind their own mindfulness business.
These gurus all seem to work from the same dog-eared playbook on how to manage and minimize that bane of 21st century existence: digital diversions.
Chapter 1 says we need to not check our email or text messages as often as we do. Excuse me for a minute while I double over guffawing. Stop checking texts and emails every chance we get? Good luck with that unsage piece of advice.
You might as well tell a cat to not land on its feet.
You might as well tell a professional athlete to not say, “We played real good,” instead of “We played real well.”
You might as well tell a practicing bigot to not be intolerant of what he chooses to not understand.
In other words, you might as well save your breath.
Come to think of it, why do we check our email so often? For the same sage reason offered by mountaineer George Leigh Mallory when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest: “Because it’s there.”
We check messages so often because they always are there, anew, a continuous stream that washes over us. In the Predigitalic Age, we received mail once a day. Did we not check it once a day?
A funny thing happened on the way to where we are today. The speed of life changed. Our daily pace is at warp speed.
Telling me not to check email whenever I darn well feel like it is like telling me to not read the news online, but to wait for the next day’s paper to arrive.
It’s like telling the predigital me to go to the mailbox once or twice a week because going once a day is too disruptive to the weekly flow of life.
Ironically, the same productivity and mindfulness overlords warning us away from our digital obsessions are themselves obsessed with digits—the numerical sort—in the headlines of their articles.
“27 Productivity Hacks for Superhuman Performance” is one I recently spotted. It’s by Jari Roomer of Personal Growth Lab.
Once upon a time, aspiring keyboardists were seduced by the irresistible promise of “How to Play Piano in 10 Easy Lessons.” Today, it’s “The 3 Keys to Becoming Irresistible,” by John Gorman, published on the website Medium.
Or how about “21 Behaviors That Will Make You Brilliant at Creativity & Relationships,” by Benjamin Hardy, also on Medium.
And while we’re browsing Medium, let’s not forget “10 Habits of Unsuccessful People You Don’t Want to Copy,” by Darius Foroux. (All of these are real.)
For those who need virtual assistance to keep themselves focused, you might want to consider downloading Big Brother-like apps—RescueTime and Be Focused are two—that peer over your shoulder to monitor how much time you are spending (or wasting) on sundry tasks and on stultifying social media pages.
There is a Medium article I saw months ago whose author un-ironically exhorted readers to not spend too much time immersed in productivity blogs like his, but instead spend the time getting to work being productive. No joke.
Since I’m referring you to these self-help articles and apps, does that mean my above comments about ignoring productivity and mindfulness hacks were a joke?
I don’t know, but feel free to consult my life coach for further insight. Not to worry if you don’t hear back as quickly as you’d like: she checks her email only twice a day.
Bruce “The Blog” Apar promotes local businesses, organizations, events and people through public relations agency APAR PR. He also is an actor, a community volunteer, and a contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce The Blog on social media. Reach him at email@example.com or 914-275-6887.