The idea of productivity

We are all stressed and have “no-time”. Everyone has the equivalent amount of time. We don’t know how to package it or prioritise it. I was initially surprised to learn that there are “mental models of learning” and that a whole cottage industry on taking notes to be “efficient” is being sold as a wholesale retail. Therefore, I had immediate confirmation bias with this author writing about the “note-taking” industry:

The Tyranny of the Note Taking Industrial Complex, and Other Notes on Notes – Herbert Lui

This is the absurdity of the internet now. It really wasn’t about note-taking; it was about the marketing, the positioning, and the beautifully-crafted promise—of speed, effortlessness, and all your problems solved with this one simple course. Note-taking just happens to be the topic feasible enough to get someone to believe, “Hey, this might actually work!” 

This is similar to “leadership courses” popping up in the campuses and amongst my fraternity. Each one to their own. Leaders are foraged in practice, and not through “feel-good” bubbly pop-psychology in “people management”. They are mostly templates on “equity, diversity” and in practice, nothing changes, because keeping the status quo is more rewarding than disruption. I have learned more from specific “leadership-styles” on how not to do things, rather than doing them. There are cultural issues around “managing people”; especially in a team huddle or specific groups; though it is fascinating to see people react differently to same set of circumstances.

Coming back to notes. I subscribe to Readwise and prefer to highlight specific passages and context of articles to keep track of what I am consuming. Readwise surfaces content from the past and is a great way to learn. It can pipe everything to Obsidian, and that’s where the ideation takes place. However, this workflow is unique and highly specific for my needs. There’s nothing on the planet that can make you efficient overnight if you are out here to build up personal knowledge management. You will have to figure out by trial and error.

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