Is Personal Productivity the new Dieting?

By Francisco Sáez • February 27, 2012

Today I want to share a thought that I read last week at Daniel H. Pink’s blog. In this article, the author compares the current phenomenon of Personal Productivity with the Dieting one, which has been installed in our society for a few decades.

Mr. Pink argues that both phenomena have had a similar origin and history. A century ago there was no concept of dieting. Food was scarce and expensive, so people used to eat only the necessary and overweight was not quite common. But decades later, due to major advances in the food industry and distribution channels, food became abundant and cheap. As a result, the number of overweight people gradually grew and gave rise to a whole industry that sought solutions for their problems (diets, low-calorie products, gyms, books, health organizations, slimming centers, etc.).

Similarly, a century ago life was much simpler. Tasks were routine and repetitive. There were not too many options. One got up every morning and plowed the fields, milked the cows, woven fabrics or executed a specific task within an assembly line until the end of the day. The choices were few and access to information was very limited.

Today, the knowledge worker has a multitude of choices to do the work, plus a few obstacles along the way. Interruptions are abundant and constant: calls, meetings, talkative colleagues, messages… Information is now also abundant, cheap and accessible: news, advertising, blogs, social networks, feeds… Under these conditions it is difficult to stay focused and devote effectively to important issues, both at work and in personal life.

All these things generate many problems (inefficiency at work, financial costs, bad relationships, anxiety and depression, etc.). And where there are problems, solutions must be sought. Indeed, it seems that a whole industry of Personal Productivity is rising strongly: methods, courses, books, consulting, coaching, software…

How about the analogy? Do you think is accurate to say that Personal Productivity is the new Dieting?

About the author

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Francisco Sáez (@franciscojsaez) is the founder and CEO of FacileThings. He is also a web developer specializing in Ruby on Rails who is passionate about personal productivity and GTD as a means to a better life.

3 comments so far

Thanh Pham
Commented over 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing that article Francisco. That's some interesting food for thought and I really like Dan's analogy.

He makes a good point - there is an abundance of information and things to do. We're flooded every day with so much stuff that it sometimes paralyzes people from taking action. You really need to "protect" yourself from this bombardment to get ahead.

I have a lot more thoughts on this but these are my quick thoughts I wanted to share here. Thanks again for sharing!

John Leahy
Commented over 2 years ago

.. and like dieting sometimes the cure is worse than the disease

Francisco Sáez
Commented over 2 years ago

@Thanh @John, I'm glad you found interesting this analogy and the deeper thoughts that it can lead.

Thanks for your comments.

This post is closed to new comments.

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