On productivity p*rn

oh hi! I was really interested this week in this Washington Post piece on why more people are sharing their daily to-do lists in their Instagram stories, and this earlier piece from Apartment Therapy on the same topic.

I kind of love reading these when people post them, because it gives a glimpse into their daily work lives. I also love The Cut’s “How I Get it Done” series where women talk about the tips and tricks and strategies that help them manage their busy schedules and heavy workloads, and I love the New York Times’ similar “Work Diaries” series.

I will probably never post my own to-do list on Instagram, but I love consuming all of these things from other people; I call it “productivity porn.” (Which is starred in the subject line because I know how email works and I don’t wanna Gmail filters to send me straight to your spam folders!!) Much like how some people can’t get enough of Refinery29’s Money Diaries, I can’t get enough productivity porn. I love getting a voyeuristic look into the daily habits and routines of someone who seems more successful and productive than I am, and I feel more motivated to tackle my own daunting to-do list when I see how productive other people are being (or at least pretending to be, since this is Instagram).

When I’m feeling sluggish or procrastinating or overwhelmed by the size of my to-do list and not sure where to start, I sometimes go to the Cut to read the latest How I Get It Done, to try to feel a little more inspired to then dive into my own inbox/projects/reports/spreadsheets. You might argue that reading an article on The Cut instead of tackling the next item on my list is just more procrastinating, but it works! Some people might also argue that seeing other people’s to-do lists on Instagram makes them feel like they haven’t accomplished anything by comparison — which it certainly can, but I find that feeling like I’m behind usually motivates me to try to work harder to keep up. (It’s a kind of cousin to the idea of having an online nemesis). So anyways: I’m sure there are reasons it’s bad, but I’m gonna keep reading all the productivity porn. Maybe it’s cheesy, but I like the motivation.

What I’m reading

The company that branded your millennial life is pivoting to burnout, Buzzfeed News.

The mavening of sportswriting, The Ringer.

I accidentally discovered a nationwide scam on Airbnb, Vice.

Why are to-do lists popping up on Instagram and making us feel like underachievers?, Washington Post.

The Champagne Myth, Eater. One of my strongest opinions is that sparkling wine isn’t just for special occasions: any time is a good time for bubbles.

Succession knows how to toy with your class rage. Hence the chicken, New York Times.

An advice session with AOC’s career coach, The Cut.

For many widows, mealtime is the hardest part, New York Times.

What I’m cooking

This week I made this Bon Appetit coconut curry with chicken thighs, which was incredible, and this Alison Roman spicy mushroom soup with noodles which was a great and very easy cold weather recipe! Also, for a potluck yesterday I made “the dip” from Alison Roman’s new cookbook Nothing Fancy (it’s a labneh dip with chile oil and sizzled scallions, and it was a hit!)


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