Do you feel plagued with guilt after spending a weekend binge watching Netflix? Ever feel like an afternoon spent absorbed in a trashy romance novel is a ‘waste of time’? Do you feel anxious when you have to wait in a long queue because you’re not getting things done?
If you answered yes to the above questions, you may have been unwittingly absorbed by a modern cult known as ‘productivity.’
Other symptoms include:
- You recently read an article on how to make 2017 productive year or how to stop wasting time and get things done.
- You’re constantly watching the clock and trying to squeeze an extra few minutes out of your rushed day.
- You sacrifice your hobbies and relationships because you’re focused on checking off tasks on your to-do list.
- You keep reminding yourself that you have the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce.
But don’t despair. It is common to feel this way.
We constantly hear about people who have started lucrative side hustles while working full time and raising babies. Our friends and peers are getting promotions and hitting their sales targets. There’s so much pressure to achieve goals and we all want to be a #GIRLBOSS.
Where does this obsession with productivity come from?
Capitalist society’s obsession with infinite, unsustainable economic growth might have something to do with it.
We respect hard workers and admire a strong work ethic, but what are we working so hard for? To make money for our bosses? To climb the ladder of success? What’s the point of our sweat and toil?
Productivity in itself is not a virtue. It can be a useful tool for going after your dreams and for helping other people. But it is just a tool.
So maybe you need to let go of your obsession with being productive. Here are some other things you could be that are much more important:
1. Be kind
Being kind is more rewarding than being productive will ever be. When you treat other people with generosity and patience, it brightens your day as well as theirs.
2. Be creative
We need creative people to come up with ideas for making the world a better place. Creativity needs space to breathe – which is why we come up with our best ideas when we’re in the shower or going for a walk. Creativity needs space to play – it can’t be put under the pressure of a timeline!
3. Be bored
When I was a child, I remember spending time at the shops waiting for mum to finish getting the groceries, or waiting at the doctors’ for a check up. I used to daydream and make up stories in my head. Nowadays, we’re too busy writing emails on our phones to let our minds wander.
4. Be happy
If it makes you smile, don’t feel guilty about spending time on it. Maybe you love to play the piano, or you take simple delight in watching The Bachelorette, even though it is absolute trash. Allow yourself the time to do things for no other reason than the happiness and pleasure they bring you.
You don’t have to be constantly doing and achieving things. Just being a human being going through the experience of being alive is enough. We’re just overgrown apes hanging out on a spinning rock that’s barely even a speck in the universe.