Opinion

Be authentic in your public persona, avoid ‘productivity porn’ when promoting yourself

Eating burgers and Netlix binges are just as normal as getting up at 5.30am to do yoga and virtue signalling, so when promoting yourself in a public forum why not give over some of the real you, rather than the sanitised public relations version of yourself – says Neal Moore

Kudos to my fellow scribe Nat Eliason for calling out ‘struggle porn’ i.e. the glorification of the hustle over the win – leading hustlers to believe they’re winning even when, clearly, they’re not.

I would like to offer this up as a companion piece on what I call ‘productivity porn’ best exemplified by this Business Insider article about a day in the life of a pod person who has given herself the human name of Melania Edwards.

Melania, a HSBC executive, claims to get up at 5.30am, meditate, catch up with friends and family, make a disgusting looking smoothie and play a game of tennis – all before going to work. What she does there remains a mystery but whatever it is, it pays for her to take her ‘certificate in innovation and entrepreneurship’ from Stanford University. Because the best way to prove you’re an innovative entrepreneur is to get a certificate that says you are.

After all that, she gets on to her charity work (I’m sure she doesn’t normally talk about it, but for the purposes of this article she made an exception), then she does yoga before finally going home to cook a meal, from scratch, with her pod person boyfriend.

Afterwards, they walk around the neighbourhood bumping into lampposts because they’re so busy gazing lovingly into each other’s – presumably, bloodshot and tired – eyes. God, just reading that makes me exhausted.

Now, I am sure Melania is, in reality, much more likeable – sorry, normal – but this schedule does not reflect normality, nor do the virtue signalling likes of some of Mumbrella’s ’24 hours with’… columns, wherein no one ever wakes up late or with a hangover; but everyone keeps a gratitude journal and grows their own wheatgrass on the windowsill. Where no one bemoans pointless meetings, although delights in every opportunity to ‘check in’, ‘catch up’ or – god help us – ‘touch base’.

Where no one ever has a cheeky Maccy D’s for lunch, instead they religiously suck down a nutritionally balanced kale and quinoa smoothie with extra chia seeds because ‘yum’. And where no one goes for a quick after-work drink, although they immediately rush for the gym/yoga mat/flotation pod (delete as applicable), before cooking a gourmet meal from scratch for their family of pod people. All so they can grow strong, multiply and finally take over the earth as the prophecy foretold.

Come on folks, get real. This is every bit as bad as those over-curated Instagram accounts that set a standard no sane person could possibly live up to. In striving to present an ‘authentic’ self to the internet, these influencers are in fact contributing to the mental health crisis by depriving hard-working people of the right to relax when their job is done – without feeling anxious that they should be doing more. More what? No one knows, just more you lazy bastard.

This is not all Melania’s fault of course, she is just the most recent and ridiculous example. It’s also those so-called gurus, who claim to #hack the routines of actual gurus to convince you that if you only got up at the same time as Bill Gates, read the same books as Jeff Bezos or wore the same cologne as Bill Clinton you’d be a gazillionaire and/or president of the United States too – you useless fat lump.

Look, I’m not saying we can’t learn from our betters but we can only learn from their actual habits not these public relations exercises in productivity shaming. Yeah I said it. Like a lie-in? Scum. Spend your lunchtime online shopping? Loser. Enjoy a glass a wine after work? Cretin.

I’ve had a 20-year career in television, publishing, advertising and film in the United Kingdom, the United States and Asia – where I am currently based. I have been the CEO of my own company, which I boot strapped from scratch and sold seven years later.

I get to produce films and TV shows for work and for fun. I am married to the love my life with whom I have a happy healthy little kid. I consider myself very lucky and very successful and you know what, I get up at a normal hour.

I eat salad as often as I eat burgers. I have a drink most nights and I love a Netlix binge at the weekend. Don’t judge me, I’m human and so is Melania and her kin. I just wish they weren’t so bloody afraid to admit it.

Moore thinks ‘productivity porn’ can damage your health

Neal Moore is the Singapore-based head of content and business development at Beach House Pictures, but writes here in a personal capacity – a version of this article was first published on his blog

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