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Linked: These 7 productivity “rules” are harmful, anti-scientific myths

I enjoyed reading this article because how often have we all read about things like the morning routines of successful entrepreneurs, or the habits that make people successful, without really thinking about the fact that nothing in the articles is actually scientifically backed, it’s all just anecdotes.

“I hate to admit it because I bought into it for so long, but I genuinely believe most productivity “rules” are myths. And furthermore, people telling you about them are usually hypocrites. I don’t know a single person IRL who has a consistent morning routine. I don’t know of any real people who religiously go to bed at the same time. And yet most of us still manage to go about our days, getting stuff done.


Authors and bloggers will try to persuade you that their way is not only scientifically backed, but actually, the only right way to do things. (They also position productivity as a moral virtue which I find problematic all on its own, but that’s a separate issue.)”

It’s true when we see many a “life-hack”, or productivity and success writer talking about what makes people successful, it’s almost always looks something like this:

  • Interview a handful of super successful people
  • Compare their habits and see how some of them do similar things
  • Write an article telling people they should do these same things to be successful

But notice what is missing from all of this advice? Any actual science. Or, for that matter, any interviews with the thousands of people who actually do the same thing, and aren’t nearly as successful. Sure, maybe Jeff Bezos gets up every day at 5 AM, goes for a run, then schedules some deep-think time, all before he even checks email. Do you really think it you or I did that, that would make us as successful as Jeff Bezos? I guarantee you, his sleep schedule and morning routine is similar to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people around the world, who do not have lives that we would want to emulate. But we don’t read those stories, because no one cares.

On the other hand, in order for a lot of these productivity hacks to have any scientific fact behind them, we would have to look at those people and see how maybe it’s not the morning routine that makes Bezos worth a gazillion dollars, it was something else entirely.

But then, those articles are much harder to write and would involve a lot more work, and even admit that you can’t hack your way to a billion dollars in success. We wouldn’t want to do anything like that, would we?

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