“Productivity” in a pandemic
My social media feeds are inundated with businesses promoting every possible way to be productive. Take an online gym class, you sloth! Learn a new language, only to recite the words back to your computer in a laughably bad attempt at an accent. Make food from scratch which requires you to go to the store for ingredients, even though that destroys the point of it being a quarantine activity!
I’ve tried each of those since quarantine began. I definitely bought into the hype, thinking the activities would cause a domino effect of efficiency each day. Sure, they were fine, but I wasn’t feeling ~fulfilled~ or ~enlightened~ like I hoped I’d be.
Then I thought that my extra free time could get some creative juices flowing. Many of my Branding of Me classmates have put out wonderfully well-written and insightful blogs. I wish I could say the same, but this week has been full of schoolwork and stress. It’s left little room for creative energy or new ideas.
I went into this blog with no real idea of what to write about. Yet as I’m sitting here, I can feel it dawning on me. What’s the point in comparing myself to what other people are doing right now? Why should I make myself feel bad because someone else is handling things well? I shouldn’t feel inferior after reading a great LinkedIn blog or seeing somebody post their 30-day workout challenges to Instagram. Whatever I’m doing, or not doing, in this time period should be fine by me.
It’s now more than ever that I have to remind myself not to get caught up in comparisons. I have my own talents and weaknesses just like every other human in this world. Some people find creative energy and prosper with some alone time. Some people struggle and begin to shut down. I’m finding myself in the latter category as the weeks go on, but I’m getting up every day. I’m calling my family. I’m going to work from 9:30 to 12 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m finding new TV shows and drawing in my mandala coloring book. I’m going on walks through new trails and winding up across the street from University Mall, only to think “whoa, I really walked that far?” And I’m proud of myself for finding out new things about myself over these past few weeks.
If you only internalize one thing I say throughout this blog, just do you. Do whatever’s going to make you feel in tune with yourself. Don’t only do the things you feel are “productive.” That word is so overrated. It implies that anything apart from cleaning your room, doing schoolwork and exercising is a waste of your time. That anything for your mind or soul is not as important. That if you’re not still a workaholic, you’re doing this whole thing wrong.
I don’t buy that, and you shouldn’t either. Many people’s mental states are taking a huge hit. It’s not enough to just push through each day, ignoring the feelings that arise. I’ve found it much more positive to self-reflect and understand the flow of emotions we feel each day. To, even if only for a moment, dissociate from the million-and-one stressors on our plates. At this point, nothing could be more valuable than being self-aware and spending our time on whatever matters to us.
So don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad for not being “productive.” True productivity is whatever makes you feel happy, accomplished and at one with yourself.