Posted 20 hours ago

I Didn't Do The Thing Today: On letting go of productivity guilt

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I understand that this book stemmed from the author's interviews with people in many different fields, but some of the quotes from TV shows and movies didn't seem necessary. she cares about the topic herself and spends a few years interviewing creatives to gain understanding on what works and how creatives find value in their days/weeks/years/lives. i'd meander through the book like you might do when hiking outdoors, letting your attention settle on whatever captures it. That is a perpetual struggle- but I would have appreciated more from the author herself on the subjects rather than every man and his dog! Creativity is a vibrant, expansive, rewarding measure of our days compared to the rigidity of productivity.

At first, I thought it was me, I thought when I got out of quarantine I would enjoy reading it again, but nope, by the end I was skipping each chapter as soon as it became the exact same thing the previous chapter had been. The point is that if we begin by feeling the day can’t get any better than this, then we’ll likely bring a mood that proves it can. The guilt is so much worse than the actual not-doing-of-the-thing, and Madeleine Dore breaks down the issue with empathy.

Additionally (and this is probably nitpicking), the word "infallible" was used incorrectly a few times in the book when I believe she meant to talk about the fallibility of humans, and that was confusing. Packed full of thoughtful and thought-invoking quotes and passing on lived experiences of not having to be a Productivity Powerhouse all the time; you can just be a human too. in the same way, you might explore news ways of looking at how your spending your time, where you place your focus and most importantly, how you treat yourself and others. While this book wasn’t completely life-changing, it was a good read that did inspire me to shift my thinking on productivity. A remarkable combination: part broadside against our culture of frenetic busyness, part consolation for the days when things don’t go to plan, it’s also the best kind of productivity manual, filled with guidance for actually getting around to more of the things that matter.

There's the work thing, the catch-up thing, the laundry thing, the creative thing, the exercise thing, the family thing, the thing we don't want to do, and the thing we've been putting off, despite it being the most important thing. Even on days where we get a lot done, the thing left undone can leave us feeling guilty, anxious or disappointed.It made it read like an academic paper, with the appropriate quote coming after the statement to justify it. i appreciated how dore made sure not to belabor these examples and just touched on them as practical strategies instead. the author is straight about what this book is, which is why i find reading introductions immensely important.

We’re quick to label preparation as procrastination, and easily overlook that things take the time they take. Letting go of your productivity guilt and embracing the unexpected creative moments that each day brings you can broaden your definition of a day well spent, bringing deep connection and fulfillment to your daily life. Obviously the "pro-productivity" genre contains its share of gems, doozies, and lots in between as well. she's not proclaiming herself as a productivity or unproductivity expert - she's more of an explorer.

This thing is 3x as long as it needs to be, and a solid quarter of it seems to be quotes and explenations of quotes. I liked that the book wasn’t about “how to be more productive”, but rather how to prioritize a life well lived. She tried so hard to take her personal and generalize it but the intensely personal would have been more useful and interesting. It was inspired by my conversation with a farmer who started his day with a dollop of clotted cream on his porridge. writing books is about offering perspective, news ways of seeing things and expanding our worldviews.

We can learn from conversations, the problems we need to solve, the risks we take, growing older, rejection, and from discovery. Madeleine Dore has done us a huge favour in reframing age-old wisdom and setting it in a very contemporary context. It also took 10 chapters for her to acknowledge that capitalism plays a large part in why we might not have done the thing today, and only barely touched on the fact that many people with lesser means do not have the luxury of implementing a lot of the strategies that she talks about in this book, although that wasn't the kind of depth that I expected this book to get into, so perhaps that's an unfair assessment.But I missed something actionable or some kind of self-reflective practice that would help me to get this perspective to posterity.

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