Working ourselves to exhaustion has become the norm. Sleep is for the lazy, and any minute spent sitting and relaxing is deemed time wasted. It has become a competition, almost, as we battle amongst our peers and colleagues, subtly comparing who stayed up later to work or who skipped the most meals. We seem to subconsciously (or sometimes, outwardly) judge those that take time for themselves and choose to relax when they have a list of things they could be getting done instead.
Of course, social media isn’t helping the problem any. As I often preach, it’s simply a highlight reel. People love to document their most productive, do-everything days. The “Get Ready With Me” and “Day In My Life” tags are fun trends to partake in, but can be misleading for those watching. Impressionable viewers (like myself) may lose sight of the fact that nobody has this cookie-cutter, wake up at six, make your bed, workout, drink a fruit smoothie, and do a face mask routine everyday. While these types of days are killer and can make you feel like a superstar, they stray far from reality.
That being said, with the need for productivity constantly shoved in people’s faces, I have found myself feeling guilty whenever I spend an hour scrolling mindlessly on my phone or watching a show on Netflix. I see these successful girls my age starting their own businesses, working a side gig, or getting closer towards nailing their dream jobs. Meanwhile, I can’t even keep up with a simple blog.
This, inevitably, results in a nasty self-hating cycle; I revert to going on social media as a distraction away from this guilt, but am yet again faced with everyone’s perfect, productive morning routine taunting me.
Most days, I have a running mental list of all of the things that I want to get done. However, more times than not, as the hours tick on, the list never gets shorter. On the contrary, I fill my day with meaningless tasks, such as organizing my sock drawer, just to feel the satisfaction of having at least accomplished something. All the while, I am avoiding my more pressing tasks in fear of failure. It feels better to say “I cleaned my bathroom, walked my dogs, and washed the dishes” rather than “I was writing all day.” Somehow, the idea of quantity vs. quality has altered my perspective of productivity (but, not in a good way).
What I am now coming to realize is that there is no meaning behind being productive– at least, not in the way society puts it. We shouldn’t have to be working ourselves tirelessly into the early hours of the morning in order to be successful. We can leave to-do lists unchecked and still have purposeful days.
It’s okay to lay in bed all day. It’s good to rest. We need to take time for ourselves in order to function at all– despite what anyone tries to tell you.
So, don’t set your alarm for 5am if you’re not a morning person. Instead, remind yourself that things will get done. Some days will end up being busy and chaotic all on their own, but that doesn’t make them any more important than those where you don’t feel like doing anything at all.
As the fabulous Hannah Montana once said, nobody’s perfect. In a similar fashion, no one is perfectly productive either.