The incredible burden of productivity


Everywhere on the internet, productivity and its importance have gradually become the motto of the year 2020. We can all agree that it has been a very unusual year – not only because of the pandemic but also because of the pressure it brought along.  The idea of lockdown automatically identified itself with the idea of free time – therefore, people were encouraged to read, write, practice sports, eat healthily, and pretty much put their lives together.

If you have time you can do anything

Normally, I would agree with that idea, but with the fact that the pandemic has come along with an immense amount of mental and emotional pressure, the premise is no longer valid. Time is useless when there is no energy to put into something – in order to do something, one must feel comfortable and healthy.

The pressure does not support the evolution

The previous generations have been raised following the principle that productivity and success are intrinsically linked – but this is not necessarily true. Indeed, there are moments when effort is required in order to accomplish something, but perpetual productivity is neither realistic nor necessary.

The idea that in order to become the best version of yourself you need a huge amount of external pressure has been spread widely, but tension can do no good to a person’s development. Plus, considering the actual circumstances, a person can’t be expected to entirely detach from such a situation as abnormal  – and even frightening – as the pandemic is!

Productivity comes under various forms

Perhaps the stereotypic idea that productivity manifests in the same way for everyone prevents us from noticing its multiple forms.

Some people need more time to process emotions and events than others, whereas some people need to take some time to arrange their ideas before doing something – pretty much like a mind map. These are also examples of productivity!

More than that, the internet and social media advertise the importance of productivity and how life-changing this is – and I totally agree, but I also want to stress the fact that productivity itself is a product of capitalism. I’m not saying it is entirely bad – but overworking and trying to push harder and harder isn’t always the best solution! Moreover, I don’t think anyone wants to live a life filled with stress and work and no free moments to actually enjoy life and its small pleasures!

We need to create a healthier set of values, that doesn’t separate us, but makes us stronger – because we can’t keep living as if the most important thing in life is money! I agree, money matters too – but at the end of the day, no one weighs the day considering how much money it brought or how much social recognition one got!

I believe the feeling of fulfillment we get at the end of a day doesn’t come from overworking or pushing ourselves beyond any limit, but from discovering slowly, yet steadily, how our own type of productivity looks like and how we can function better – both for ourselves and for the others! Sooner or later, that contentment regarding our own lives will come from our joyful experiences, our happy moments with our families, our snapshots while traveling abroad, and so on and so forth!

We can’t allow the diversity of productivity to become another element that separates us – such as parents that scold their children for not being as fast or skilled as some other kid in their classes, thus perpetuating a toxic competition.

Instead of that, we can start cultivating concepts and beliefs that might actually help us grow – such as tolerance, empathy, and understanding!


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