Winning the Long Game with Slow Productivity
Or how to stop grinding and learn to love the process
In a recent appearance on the Tim Ferriss podcast, Cal Newport discussed his developing concept; slow productivity. A highly-organized and prolific computer scientist, academic, author, and speaker, Newport is the best-selling writer of numerous books, including Digital Minimalism and Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. He also hosts a podcast, Deep Questions with Cal Newport, and produces a semi-regular blog.
For the better part of a decade, the hustle and grind lifestyle proselytized by Gary Vaynerchuk and many a YouTube tech-bro-wannabe influencer has preached that success only comes with consistent productivity. Nearly 45% of the workforce in the United States proudly claims to identify with hustling and grinding as an approach to work and success.
A general definition of hustle culture (often used interchangeably with grinding or grind culture) is a lifestyle where work, productivity, and financial success are the main priorities. In hustle culture, hobbies, other leisure activities, or time with family and friends are secondary to the grind. Hustle culture tells us the only way to win and be successful is never to stop producing.
If your main hustle isn’t getting you enough, start a side hustle. Start two or three side hustles. If you don’t have what you want, you simply aren’t working hard enough.
Part of getting pulled into hustle and grind culture isn’t just the drive for success but the need to feel important, special, and one of the elite. After all, Mark Wahlberg wakes up at 2:30 am to start his day, so maybe that’s what I need to do too?
Slow productivity takes a dramatically different path. It claims we will be more productive if we slow down and take an organized, intentional approach to our work and goals. We will also produce higher quality work if our pace shifts from a…