A response to Janet Lai Chang's 5-part essay on Productivity
Nice work @(Janet Lai Chang). When we first met and you shared your disciplined attempts at quantified self (for exercise, health, and general productivity), I was impressed and inspired. Glad to see these learnings consolidated into essay form. Regarding "Productivity Coaches", my limited experience points to similar gains when surrounding oneself with individuals whom one respects and who are mutually invested in similar outcomes or missions. This is amplified in environments which are thoughtfully constructed to be conducive of such outcomes (libraries, universities, workspaces). The key concepts are economy of scale (amplifying efforts through shared accountability and passion), and social pressure (a desire to avoid "procrastination" for fear of negatively impacting the work of others -- in this context, procrastination to me means participating in activities which subtract from, dilute, or subvert the goals of the space and the people in it). Typically, we have multiple goals, not just one, and its hard to find a single person or group who align on all fronts, especially with the same degrees/weights/priorities. Generally this necessitates affiliating with multiple groups. This seems like a key advantage of paying an unbiased productivity coach (less compromise of your goals, less risk for distraction / more equitable time distribution, less bias and coercion). Otherwise, the onus is still on the individual to balance their participation in these environments (so their attention isn't inequitably split, which is a risk, especially in the presence of certain strong personality types). I have found the most successful strategy for approximating a productivity coach to be building friendships around accountability, passion, and shared goals. The one risk here is, friends may sometimes accommodate each other and not present sufficiently critical feedback. Another risk is when an outcome is mutually exclusive and competition is necessary between involved parties (yikes, a difficult reality likely avoided by a productivity coach). One advantage I've found is, participation in this bidirectional accountability loop strengthens relationships. This has become one my key criteria for choosing friends: https://michaelkarpeles.com/essays/philosophy/on-friendship Looking forward to reading the rest of your work Janet! Keep up the great work and the inspiring life!