The Cult of Productivity Loves to HumblebragS

Sheryl Sandberg didn't need to write an updated version of Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism about leaning in to the end of weekends. Tech workers have already internalized that message that there should be no distinction between work and life. Rather, spiritual fulfillment lies in "peak productivity."

Take Fast Company's battle hymn to efficiency, which encourages would-be acolytes to begin by thinking of themselves as machines:

We suggest staring with identifying what kind of creative machine you are.

Shades of the Singularity can be found throughout, like LearnVest CEO Alexa Von Tobel, who gets up at 5.45am each day:

Since the beginning of LearnVest, I've never left the office for food. I eat the same thing every single day [an apple, almonds, yogurt, a salad...], and I never sit still to eat a meal. My ultimate goal is to create operating systems for myself that allow me to think as little as possible about the silly decisions you can make all day long—like what to eat or where we should meet—so I can focus on making real decisions.

It's not so much what they do, as the self-aggrandizing terms they use to describe it. Contemporary office life privileges an IM over a phone call, but Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian thinks it calls for a war metaphor:

"I hate phone calls so I believe in a telephone armistice. To me, the idea of calling someone unprompted is basically saying, 'Hey, stop whatever you're doing and talk to me right now.' If you find yourself in the middle of something, getting an unprompted annoyance is incredibly frustrating.

According to Steve Yankovich, eBay's vice president of innovation and new ventures dealing, over-time work can even be an energy boost:

It's about supertiny bursts to keep everything going the right way, having a constant pulse on everything happening. When people email me, it's like a text. They know I'm looking at it and responding right when I get it. And I like for my inner circle to do the same. If I have a quick dialogue with someone at a weird hour and we solve a problem, I get a charge out of that.

It's almost as though you're obligated to turn over any unmonetized time with a smiley face emoticon.

Then there's Box CEO Aaron Levie, Silicon Valley's walking Zen koan, who tells Fast Company the same thing he told Businessweek about what he likes to do with his free time:

LAST THING HE DOES EACH NIGHT: Read. "I like business nonfiction."

Levie even built them a customized a bumper-sticker:

PHILOSOPHY:

"I don't use many apps. I use naps."

Just remember when you're cutting out superfluous activities to maximize efficiency, it's not always the healthier option.

[Image via Shutterstock.com]