Productivity Hacks Are Wasting Your Time

Multi-layered calendars
Calendars cover the entire spectrum of time. Past, present and future. They are the closest thing we have to a time machine. Calendars allow us to travel forward in time and see the future. More importantly, they allow us to change the future.

I enjoyed this article by Julian Lehr, on digital calendars and how to improve them. The writing is crisp, illustrations are beautiful, and takeaways are clear.

But I fundamentally disagree with Julian's argument for multi-layered calendars. Sure, digital calendars, note-taking apps, email, and task managers indeed do similar things. But if integrating these tools is messy and complicated, why do it? We don't use every bowl as a cup just because the platform can satisfy similar needs.

This raises my broader objection with productivity hackers. This community—dominated by programmers and MBAs—is so obsessed with efficiency that they spend days or weeks optimizing systems for which optimization sheds only minutes or hours of time.

My recommendation is simple: make to-do lists and complete them. Your calendar doesn't need to become a "memory palace of the past." It can just be a calendar.