What I am Moving On From After Corona: Productivity Guilt

Before lockdown hit, I was still at university and completing daily reading and essay plans. I had a timetabled schedule which involved me working from 9am each day and going to bed early. On a spare weekend, I would travel to see my friend in Winchester or travel home to do things.

Once lockdown hit, though, all of this was thrown away. The schedule I had so meticulously planned was no longer relevant and I no longer had a reason to leave the house. But, despite the lack of in-person lectures and seminars, I still tried to work through university assignments and reading.

I can confidently say that around 80% of my time spent in the first month of lockdown was doing uni work. Whether it be compulsory reading, extra reading, or research on a particularly interesting topic, I was sat at my desk all day, every day. This was fine, until my assignments got cancelled and I felt like I had wasted an entire month working towards nothing.

From then on, I’ve had an internal battle in my mind on what to be spending my time doing. Since losing a summer internship, I need to do something to occupy my time, but I’ve had to tell myself that it’s okay if that something isn’t “productive”. Because, what does that word even mean?

Productivity is entirely subjective. You can have a productive day doing work and hitting deadlines, and an equally productive one reading, drawing or playing an instrument. Both are forms of productivity, they just differ in the aspects which they benefit.

I had originally believed that the only form of productivity I could complete had to be academic. But lockdown has taught me that productivity comes in many forms – you can be productive for your education and career (which would be based in academic achievements), or you can be productive for your mind through creative means.

After lockdown and when the world is allowed to continue at a more normal pace, I am leaving behind this unrealistic standard of productivity, and accept that productivity can come from more than just academic achievements.

Photo by Krisna Iv

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