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The weird thing about productivity

This morning I was browsing reddit on my iPad, and because I wanted to feel a bit more productive I was also listening to a podcast about innovation, … or better said I was trying to listen to a podcast. Apparently paying attention to someone else talking while you browse pictures of funny cats is harder than I imagined.

After doing that for a few minutes, I realized that the podcast listening activity is going nowhere. So I was facing a choice, either stop browsing reddit and listen to the podcast, or stop listening and continue browsing. And here comes the weird part, at that moment, intuitively it felt more productive to browse reddit. That made me stop and think: why is that?

Why doing something not productive feels more productive than it is?

Here is my theory. I think that I am wired to think that passive activities are less productive than active activities, and I bet I am not the only one.

Example: so for me listening an informative podcast and doing nothing felt less productive than tapping on my screen and watching cats. I believe it has something to do with the nature of the action. I believe that active activities feel more productive than passive activities simply because it’s simpler to quantify or see the results.

Can this be true? Do you have a better explanation? Also, I wonder how this connection influences our daily life and choices we make. I will take different decisions now that I’m aware of this.

Does this make sense to you? Have you ever noticed this?

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