The term productivity has been used in excess during this pandemic, whether it’s on social media or in our day to day conversations with people. Productivity has been hyped so much so that the vital aspect of surviving the pandemic has been long forgotten. 2020 has hit us like a hurricane, destroying our plans, dreams and purpose of living (at least that’s what people are believing). We are all facing a collective trauma which no one seems to talk about. We have been so influenced by the reel life and appearances, that it has made us forgot to validate our emotions, thoughts and behaviours of real life. It seems that we can’t catch a break. Since the lockdown started, everyone binged into their hobbies and activities as a way of coping, although the picture shown on social media was the exact opposite. It seemed that people were starting to become productive in their own way even in the middle of a pandemic. This wave of toxic productivity made everyone feel miserable and useless at the end of the day. We live in a capitalistic society where our productivity is unfortunately often tied to our safety and security, and can be seen as a direct correlation to our worth.
As true as it may outwardly seem, it’s a lie. Your worth is not tied to how productive you are. Maybe you feel down on yourself for not being able to perform at the same level of productivity as before. Maybe you are finding it hard to do anything and feeling guilty about it. Maybe you are doing way too much and being overly productive as a distraction. Regardless, you have to remember that your productivity does not equate to your worth as an individual. You will find yourself failing whenever you try to compare the two. And therefore, it is important to differentiate between what we do and who we are. You don’t have to do anything to have worth.
This certainly doesn’t mean that productivity is innately bad, either. Being productive can elevate your mood – getting your day-to-day tasks done can definitely give you a boost of energy and joy. The problem arises only when the compulsive productivity keeps us from other things we need, like relaxation, rest and me-time. Time to do things just to do them, not because we ‘have to’. Or when we feel great only when we are productive and feel guilty or sad when we aren’t. This constant struggle makes it hard for you to rest, because the time invested in resting is actually just time spent being anxious about the fact that you are not doing anything. Even though doing nothing ‘is’ something, and a rather important something.
It’s time to re-focus our lens and broaden our perspective and notion about productivity. We should normalize the concept of hobbies being productive, spending time with friends as being productive, and even resting and relaxing as productive. All this is essential to our well-being and allow us the space to function optimally.
Let’s never forget that productivity is a state of mind. We are more than our productivity. And, if our mental health is compromised at the cost of being compulsively productive, then it isn’t worth it. At the end, what matters is a mindful living. One aware of the truth that our worth is not determined by our efficiency. Period.