Lessons From a Week of Productivity

But I don’t want to #hustle, #slay, #grit, #werk, #riseandgrind.

My doggy

Douglas Holt’s article Branding in the Age of Social Media opened my eyes to what productivity means in today’s world. As if the skies opened up, I was now witness to a culture perpetuating admiration for those who are seen as ultra-productive and achieving the dream. Worse yet, am I contributing to this #hustleporn, as dubbed by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian?

I am resolved to not only stop the fostering of this shadow side of productivity, but to also be an advocate a healthier, smarter way of living.

With that philosophy in mind, I embarked on my yearly “jamm days.” Although “jamming” usually refers to a musical group getting together to practice and make new music, I’ve stolen the word jamm to mean a dedicated time to be productive and make headway on goals.

Learning From Last Year’s Revelation

If you know me at all, at least once a year I have jamm days. From last year, the big lesson for me was to simply have more fun and not get so stressed out with trying to accomplish everything on the to-do list.

With that in mind, below are some things I found pleasure in to balance my ambitious drive to achieve.

  • Big Brunch — Whenever possible, I do intermittent fasting and strive for 16 hours. Coming off of it around noon, I’ve been enjoying a toasted PB&J sandwich, a toasted PB, banana, and honey sandwich, cereal with blueberries, and a yogurt. My Advice: Make it a habit to have healthy ingredients that can be thrown together, and not junk snack food.
  • Commit to One Thing — What I mean is, determine before starting your productivity session, what is the one thing that needs to get done in order for you to feel satisfied. For me, upon arriving at Starbucks at 7AM to begin my jamm session, I looked at my itinerary for the day, and picked the most important thing that should get done. By focusing on that first and completing it, everything else that got done was like gravy on top! My Advice: Be honest with yourself. What can you realistically accomplish in an hour or two. Set that as the expectation to be happy.
  • Be Extra-Friendly — Whether at home or at Starbucks, be extra kind. Studies have proven that by being more optimistic, it opens you up to more (perceived) luck. For me that all starts with being friendly and smiling. My Advice: In those moments when we’re not intensely focused, look around, smile, and be extra kind to someone.

New Revelations

If I want to change the toxic portions of the productivity culture, I’ve got to get more educated. I’ve never resonated with Jocko Willink, despite his admirable story. I think that’s because his overly “go, go, go” message has an underlying feeling of, “you’re never good enough; you could’ve pushed harder.” Spoken like a boot camp instructor, you are indeed capable of more, but at what cost? Your mental health?

Starting with this jamm week, I’m becoming more conscious of our productivity culture and will be fostering solutions throughout this year.


  1. Branding in the Age of Social Media by Douglas Holt
  2. The Truth Behind What Intermittent Fasting Does to Your Body
  3. Dispositional optimism and luck attributions: Implications for philosophical theories of luck by Steven D. Hales & Jennifer Adrienne Johnson
  4. Science shows that luck is a self-fulfilling prophecy by Ephrat Livni
  5. Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) — Leader; follower. Reader; writer. Speaker; listener. Student; teacher. #DisciplineEqualsFreedom #ExtremeOwnership

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