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Can We Stop Glamorising Constant Productivity?

Can We Stop Glamorising Constant Productivity?

Róisín Lynch

Constant productivity has become so normal that we are starting to feel guilty when we feel relaxed.

The idea that you have to be constantly busy is fed to us usually from the moment we start secondary school.  Even though this level of productivity is doing more harm to our mental and physical health than good. This makes it “normal” to be busy and not have time to relax and give yourself a break.

One of the things that this past year in and out of lockdown has proved is that there is more to life than the constant pressure of being busy. We have learnt the importance of family time, going on walks and doing things you enjoy to relax. When it takes a global pandemic to realise this however, it makes it very clear how much constant productivity is glamorised in our world today.

Productivity doesn’t equal success

Just because you have this long list of things to do it doesn’t necessarily mean you are successful. A good way of measuring success is how happy and fulfilled the work you are doing is making you.

Now we all have things on our to do list that doesn’t exactly make us jump up and down with excitement. We don’t blame you if you aren’t ecstatic about the concept of doing three hours of homework, but ask yourself if all the stuff that you are piling on on-top of your homework and studies is making you truly happy.

If it’s not bringing you joy, it is perfectly fine to take a break from things for a while or spread out your schedule a little bit more.

Cut the people pleasing and put yourself first

While feeling busy and working hard can feel rewarding, we do need to ask ourselves am I doing this for me or to keep up with everyone else? As we become more busy, people feel the need to match that busy-ness. We are all setting a standard of productivity that quite frankly no-one can keep up with. This only makes us  feel bad when we can’t.

Take a look at your life and your schedule and think about where you could take out a thing or two that you are doing for someone else and instead use that time to take a break or focus on something for yourself.

Over productivity leads to stress and that ain’t fun

Stress has become such a normal feeling that we don’t even realise how stressed most of us our on a daily basis. It is good to be productive, don’t get us wrong, but your productivity needs to be rewarding and move you closer to your goals. When you are just being productive because everyone else is or you feel like you should be, it is only going to make you stressed. It ain’t worth it sweetie!

Some amount of stress is necessary as it works as a motivator but when you are stressed more times than not, take a moment to think about what is leading to that stress.  Think about how necessary the things that are making you stressed are in your life.

Of course there are going to be things that are stressing you out that you have to get done, but take a look at your “to-do” list and have a think about what really deserves a spot on that list or not.

Balance out the stress of the things you have to get done such as homework and college assignments by ensuring you take time to do something you enjoy and relax.

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Look at the bigger picture

We have been fed this idea that in order to be successful and make our life worthwhile we have to be constantly achieving goals and working on different projects. While it is important to have goals and aspirations to work towards, you have to look at the bigger picture and think what is it you want from life?

So many people are working so hard and it looks great on the surface and on their C.V. but the reality is they are unhappy and over worked. Life is so much more than how hard and productive you can prove yourself to be. Dinners out with family and friends, going on hikes, watching sunsets, even binging Netflix for a day are just as important and are what make up a life well lived!

It is hard not to feel guilty for taking some time off when you are surrounded by people who are constantly achieving, and seeing everyones success on social media.  At the end of the day  it is your life and you need to work towards the life you want. So days at the beach and taking an extra elective in college are all equal measures of success in the end.

Do you feel the pressure to be constantly productive?

Perfectionism is productivity’s best friend. Have a read on why we need to stop our obsession with “perfection.” 

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