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“Productivity is a sore subject for a lot of people,” my colleague Amanda Mull wrote last fall—and I’ll admit that just reading that line makes me feel a little stressed. Perhaps it’s because, as Amanda puts it, “Americans invest personal productivity with moral weight, as though human worth can be divined through careful examination of work product, both professional and personal.”
Today’s reading list is an attempt to contemplate productivity without experiencing the accompanying anxiety. I’ve rounded up some of our writers’ most helpful insights on getting things done and conceptualizing productivity’s role in your life.
On Getting Things Done
By Amanda Mull
Never underestimate the power of a to-do list.
By Arthur C. Brooks
Do you have an important project in mind? The 19th-century philosopher’s approach is still timely today.
By Olga Khazan
Three emotions are the secret to getting things done. (From 2018)
- The procrastination doom loop—and how to break it: Delaying hard work is all about your mood.
- How to write a book without losing your mind: expert advice on ending procrastination and finishing that manuscript, dissertation, or other big project
- What adults forget about reading
- Lab diamonds are too perfect for their own good.
- The Apple Vision Pro is spectacular and sad.
I’ll leave you with this lovely essay by Sheon Han about the Korean term that helps him reconcile moments of discipline and sloth.