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Everyone wants to be more productive. We all want to do more in less time. We want to optimize our lives so that we can produce more value and experience less stress.

The internet is filled with countless pieces of productivity advice, from the obvious to the absurd. But how much of it is actually true? How much of it will actually help you to achieve your goals?

“Productivity hackers” have a lot of advice to offer, but how many are qualified to be giving advice on productivity in the first place?

Hacks and Cracks

“Productivity hacks” typically involve some form of scheduled regime, a to-do list, or some other external method for managing your time and priorities. These might make us appear productive in the short term, but it never lasts because the true problems still remain unresolved.

Our genuine problems are never addressed. Instead, we merely become better at covering them up. Scheduling a regime does not make us productive in the long run if it’s not aligned with our highest values and goals.

Shortcuts Won’t Solve the Real Problem

A lot of “Productivity hacks” focus on external factors instead of internal ones. These include such things as writing lists, tracking time, setting goals, and breaking up projects into smaller chunks. While these are all fine things to try, they require discipline and diligence to remain effective over the long term.

You can’t trick or hack your way to personal growth. Discipline is a learned practice that requires time and energy, not something you can gain in a quick fix.

“Hacks” are usually temporary measures for dealing with a problem rather than long-term solutions to the cause of the problem in question.

Ways Forward

If you want to increase your productivity, you must be honest with yourself about what the actual problem is. Personal growth requires more than just becoming better at scheduling tasks and writing lists; it demands that we address the underlying causes of those inefficiencies.

A real productivity hack starts with mastery of internal factors like values, goals, and beliefs. Without these elements in check, you can’t possibly be productive. Taking small steps on the road to achieving your goals is better than taking a grand leap when you don’t know where you’re going.

Even if you do everything right, external factors might still prevent you from reaching your goals. If this is truly what you want to achieve, then there is no other way than to persist and persevere until the demands of your values are met.