A male CEO with six kids tried to teach everyone about productivity — and got it wrong

Business audit productivity

Got kids or other caring responsibilities, and trying to earn an income and possibly even have a career?

After all these years of searching for how to achieve a balance between family and work life, we’ve finally heard the solution.

The answer arrived overnight, from a productivity guru who runs a business showing you how to perform at your peak.

As @PeakTobi informed us in his Twitter thread, his secret to completing a PhD and getting promoted to a CEO role while having six kids, came down to one small but “not sexy” habit.

It’s called “The Weekly Review Habit”, and involves sitting down every week and checking that you have everything under control — your to-dos, projects, calendar as well as your “goal and vision alignment”. From there, you plan out the next week. He then shared a number of strategies and apps he uses to make this trick work.

Simple. Why didn’t the rest of us think of this?

Mr Productivity’s initial thread (which has since been deleted) didn’t acknowledge a partner or someone else who might be caring for the six children at home. He also didn’t initially indicate if they’d grown up or actually left home (they appear to be under the age of 10).

Perhaps he has children who’re able to do their own cooking and washing and mostly look after and entertain themselves.

Or perhaps he has a wife?

He does.

The productivity tweeter later updated the thread, mentioning his wife, as “the rock of my family” and that nothing would be possible without her.

The tweets received a lot of feedback on Twitter.

A number of responses asked if he’s a single father, and what kind of domestic help he has. Others have highlighted the fact that in having six children over the past 10 years, his wife has spent a good portion of those years pregnant. Some celebrated his accomplishments, but also noted that having a wife at home has made them easier to achieve.

He has since apologised for the offence the tweet thread created and noted that it wasn’t his intention to downplay his wife’s “support, care and devotion to our family.” He acknowledged that his wording was terrible.

But the problem with this thread and this type of advice is about more than failing to acknowledge a loving wife at home.

The tweet speaks to a certain type of productivity message we hear over and over again, particularly in business books and across the numerous podcasts out there from entrepreneurs and leaders discussing how they go about their days.

More often than not, these authors and podcasters are male. And more often than not again, they like to interview male guests and glean insights from other male researchers and authors.

A quick look at the key productivity books currently being celebrated across various lists and they’re typically 90% written by men, if not all written by men.

And so often again, this advice is speaking to a certain type of individual. One who has the ability to actually take control of their time and energy — time to take on the perfect morning routine, the gym routine, the special tea-drinking routine, the journaling and cold shower routine — the elements that supposedly position you as your best self to prepare for a perfectly, productive, high achieving day.

Try being at your best for a morning presentation or to achieve two hours of “deep work” if you’ve been up six times the night before breastfeeding a baby, soothing a three year old, and then being unable to sleep in the only uninterrupted two hour window that you had available.

Individuals who can take the time to participate in the “simple tricks” of winning the week ahead are not worried or bothered by the unapaid labor that needs to get done elsewhere — because someone else has it covered for them.

The productivity porn is hustling back onto social media, after taking a semi-hiatus during COVID-related lockdowns. It’s long overdue that those with the secrets for keeping everything under control acknowledge the biggest secret of them all: the person at home who is just as if not more productive than they are, by doing everything that needs to get done domestically.

This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.

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