North Texas Daily

Constant productivity is not as great as society makes it seem

Constant productivity is not as great as society makes it seem

Constant productivity is not as great as society makes it seem
July 08
14:00 2022

Hours worked, time taken to read a book, how long it takes to finish a project — all these things are what measure the productivity people are supposed to maintain. People are not meant to sit on couches and lounge around — their time needs to be spent working, sleeping, eating and working some more.

We are made to feel as though we are nothing but parts of a machine that always need to work and move forward. Sometimes though, it is okay to not be productive. Life is full of things to do all the time — some way to show people that they have a purpose in their lives and that there is something to do.

People always have lists in some way, shape or form. Whether the lists are on a Post-it note, in our planners or in our heads — there is always something that needs to be finished. We do this because society tells us to want that. People are made to feel like if they are not always busy and on the go, then they are lost or need some sort of guidance — but they are not.

Productivity does not bring the peace people may hope for. It does not make them feel better at the end of the day if they finish everything that they need to do because the very next day they will have more.

Productivity increases unhappiness — if people can take time and do things at their own pace without being told they are not doing enough, maybe they would be more pleased with themselves and their passions.

Another reason we always feel the need to be always on top of things is because of our economic system. In the United States, we have five days of work, two days of rest and limited time off. This is because our capitalist system believes that always having your mindset to work means better work is done. In practice, all it does is leave people exhausted from overworking themselves while thinking that this so-called “productivity” will make us the next Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg.

Being constantly productive leads to both burnout and a lack of creativity. When people are pumping out piece after piece, assignment after assignment, project after project, it is easy to face exhaustion and creative block. A creative edge is what drives us over the mark of good to better. Whenever people feel the need to do more, and climb over the next hurdle, it’s strenuous.

With these constant trials and tribulations everyone must overcome, it is difficult to find creativity and the drive to make something worthwhile. It makes people just want to pump out status-quo work.

A sense of productivity also brings a sense of purpose. People do not always need to be useful, nor do they need to constantly show their work ethic and their drive. Sometimes it’s okay to just be. It is okay to do nothing.

The toxic productivity culture we are a part of makes a cycle of outdoing the next person and always being the first in line to pump out more work. Life is not about being the most productive and having the longest list.

Life is about taking time to be useful in our own way– it’s about being useful to yourself by taking care of the things that need your attention. Being healthy, relaxing, taking self-care time – these things can help us avoid just becoming cogs in a machine to go around and around. No one should be forced to find some ulterior motive to live.

Being productive means we have to have a purpose but maybe always having purpose isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Maybe we need time to rest and wander aimlessly without a specific goal in mind.

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

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Lauryn Barron

Lauryn Barron

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