The first lockdown was a blur of banana bread baking, state approved walking and trying to become the next TikTok star. The second time around, University is on everyone’s mind. And it hardly ever leaves. Given this, your inner productivity freak may jump out and convince you to spend every second of your lockdown life doing work. Or procrastination could take over and cause the exact opposite. If you’re anything like me, all the extra time alone will result in urges to overachieve and bring about feelings of guilt for not doing enough. Here is everything you need to know about striking the perfect productivity balance and not losing your mind during lockdown 2.0.
Getting things done and crossing them off a check list brings an unbelievable sense of satisfaction but you need to be mindful of how long that list is getting. Constantly working or thinking about working can have serious consequences. Burnout and over-exhaustion can hinder your actual progress and do more harm than good. Speaking from experience, this mindset is great for your grades but it isn’t so good mentally. I would push myself to do the most, and still be dissatisfied with my progress. I’d compare myself to everybody and constantly question why I wasn’t doing more.
The misconception that we have to direct every moment towards improvement and productivity, is in itself counterproductive.
Putting this much pressure on yourself is just making an already stressful situation worse and realistically, in the end, you’d barely get anything done.
A more efficient way of working involves giving yourself breaks. Whether its watching Netflix, taking a nap, going for a walk or just listening to music, it is really rewarding and will probably lead you to do more quality work. Giving time to activities that are pleasurable and not necessarily productive boosts motivation and puts you in a better state to get work done. Coffee won’t need to be your best friend and you won’t need to schedule time for a cry in between Recaps. In the long run, being unproductive can sometimes lead to more efficient productivity.
You’re not wasting time- some of the best ideas come up when you’re doing nothing.
However, University (very rudely) still exists and there still are deadlines to meet. As boring as it may sound, planning everything out is the only way to avoid the all-nighters you know you’re going to pull. Be mindful about how you spread everything out, as the goal is to consciously account for free time off. It is also important to prioritise things you have to do and accept that you probably cannot do everything you want to. You aren’t a machine and forcing yourself into a toxic cycle of productivity is damaging. You will malfunction. Invest time in activities that put you in a better mental state, as this will reflect in the work you do and will ensure you feel better doing it.
Being productive looks different for everyone, and if the first lockdown taught us anything, it’s that there is no step by step guide to perfecting it.
Finding productivity in pleasure is a learning process and coming to terms with the fact that you can do well and take time to relax will take effort. I most definitely don’t always practice what I preach but I can be certain when I say: you really don’t need to be productive ALL the time. Your life isn’t going to derail if you watch that next episode.