But really tho, I’m going to pull all the pressure off right now: you do not have to accomplish anything (other than staying alive) during this pandemic.
We are all being pushed out of our comfort zones and into a lot of uncertainty and we do not need society’s added pressure of productivity to come in and add even more stress to our lives. Please don’t hold yourself to a productive and unrealistic standard.
Productivity as a Concept
Productivity is a sticky concept even when we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic. Productivity tells us that we need to “go go go” and constantly generate output. Productivity feeds off our innate competitive mindset. To quote Pokémon, it makes us “want to be the very best. The best there ever was” at everything we do. Productivity has us out here believing that we are only worth what we contribute.
A pre- Covid 19 example. To no one in my life’s surprise I majored in English in college. Outside of my friend group and immediate family I was always asked what I was “going to do” with that degree if I didn’t plan on being a teacher. This is shocking for two reasons:
1) Writing and quick comprehension are key skills in the workforce
2) Why did it matter what my degree contributed to society if I paid for it?
Productivity and Social Media
Pandemic, scarcity and fear mentality only make this worse. I see parents online trying to homeschool their kids so they don’t get behind in school. I see adults trying to create or put out more content because they should and because they “have the time”. I’ve seen multiple posts float around about how pandemics in the past created things like Shakespearean plays or calculus and honestly – we don’t need another calculus out there. We don’t need a Sir Issac Newton or the next Shakespeare and you don’t need to hold yourself to their standard.
Society has us trapped in a productivity wheel. We are convinced that we are only worth what we create. While we can get fulfillment from creative activities we do not have to be productive to have value. We’ve been told that we have to always be doing more and our friend social media has made this even worse for us. It’s so easy to now compare how you spend your day against your friends’ day thanks to things like insta stories, and right now social media is our sole way of communicating with each other, putting this perfectionist & must be productive energy at an all time high. But I’m here to remind you that you are still enough – even if you don’t color code your closet over the next six weeks.
You do not have to write plays, or books, or learn underwater basket weaving. You’re allowed to marathon your favorite comfort tv while eating bonbons (assuming they are still in grocery stores near you). You can take this time to process and validate all the big scary feelings we are all having right now.
What if I want to be productive?
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t use this time to write, create, learn a new skill, dance or anything if you feel inclined. If you want to do it – I encourage you to do it and CRUSH IT at that my dude. Chase your dreams. Just make sure you are doing this because YOU want to not because society makes you think you should. But if you don’t do anything, or now isn’t the right time, YOU’RE STILL ENOUGH. and valid and important.
So, to keep the productivity monster at bay, let’s try these three affirmations:
I am enough
I am whole
I am loved
Don’t let society, social media, or anything else convince you to be extra productive. Follow what feels right for you and treat yourself with lots of love.
Questions, comments, concerns? Sound off in the comments. Sending you all lots of love.
*Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. If the stress of this situation is affecting you I implore you to get help from a certified professional.