Photo credits: Ian Dooley via Unsplash
It’s easy to lose track of responsibilities during times like this. A lot of us want to make an impact on this world, no matter how big or small. But sometimes that same goal leads us to feel pressure and not do anything to further ourselves. Having productivity every day is a privilege when being in college. Things can distract or intimidate you every day and throw you off your course. Many students are In unique situations whether that’s being a parent, having a minor, taking summer or winter classes or being on academic probation, etc.
So how do you stay productive without falling under the pressure of reaching your goal? Well, my fix is doing things in increments that fit you; slow down! The world moves too fast sometimes and you probably do too. It starts with your mindset, reminding yourself you have a whole life to live and accomplish plenty of things. What you’re not productive on now you can do another time, just make sure you’re being productive in some type of capacity because you want to improve yourself.
The New Yorkers Cal Newport wrote about this slow productivity mindset. “The central goal of Slow Productivity is to keep an individual worker’s volume at a sustainable level. A natural fear is that by reducing the amount of work each employee tackles at any given time, it might reduce the total amount of work an organization is able to complete, making it less competitive. This fear is unfounded. As argued, when an individual’s work volume increases, so does the accompanying overhead and stress, reducing both the time remaining to actually execute the tasks and the quality of the results. If you instead enable the individual to work more sequentially, focussing on a small number of things at a time, waiting until she is done before bringing on new obligations, the rate at which she completes tasks might actually increase.”
Now fast productivity is looked at in high regard, but at what cost? Remind yourself to, look at the positives and negatives and what it’s doing to you. If it’s more positive than negative then by all means keep doing what you’re doing. The pressure of it is something a lot of people go through and I want you to know you’re not alone in that. Gabrielle Collard of The Coach Space had this to add to the topic. “..sometimes we give too much power to our need to achieve, defining our self-worth by our ability to succeed or fail. And if your self-esteem is completely predicated on “doing” and “achieving” you may find yourself slumping into self-loathing, shame, or anger every time you fail to work “productively.” Those who have the need to be super-productive are often also wrestling with the need to be “perfect.”
But productivity is not about working yourself into the ground or being perfect in all that you do.” She also adds “The pressure to be productive is often fear-based. This can be particularly true in times like the recent pandemic. Many of us worked longer, harder hours than we ever did before in the belief and hope that doing so would help us keep our jobs, our businesses and our families afloat. And of course, while this may have given us solid comfort knowing that we could control some part of our lives, constant ‘doing’ can also be a way of avoiding reality. After all, if we’re too exhausted or unavailable to engage with the rest of life happening around us, we can avoid the truth of what’s around us too.”
Now I can go on and on about this and will hopefully make a part two of this top next semester. But remember to be kind to yourself and live your life to the fullest, however that looks to you.
Isaiah Ireland is a first-year Media & Culture major. II978280@wcupa.edu