Productivity in a Pandemic: Let’s go Easy on Ourselves

Plaque reading "self care isn't selfish"

If you’ve been anywhere near social media since the Coronavirus lockdown began, you will have seen it. It’s hidden in the pictures of your fave influencer #grinding in the garden of their multi-million pound home. It’s plastered all over Facebook in the form of guilt-inducing ‘productivity’ quotes:

“If you didn’t do all the things you’ve been meaning to during lockdown, you can never blame lack of time again”.

“You can come out of this lockdown 5lbs down and an improved version of yourself, or just the same as ever.”

The message is unavoidable – if you don’t use your lockdown for ‘self-improvement’ and relentless productivity, you’re doing it wrong. You’re failing as a person. Well, I’m here to tell you otherwise. Because you certainly do not need to feel guilty for being ‘unproductive’ during this strange and unprecedented time in our lives.

Now, if you’re in a position where you have some extra time and want to use it to achieve something you’ve always wanted to, or to create something amazing, or work on your productivity, that’s absolutely great and I will be your biggest supporter. Just don’t guilt others into feeling like they need to do the same.

Because let’s not forget, this is not just ‘a bit of time off’. For many of us, this is an incredibly worrying time. For some of us it is a traumatic time. People are ill and dying, and millions more are stuck in difficult situations. Many of us are struggling financially, some of us are working in high-pressure and stressful situations (or maybe have a family member who is), some people have found themselves stuck in abusive situations, and some are worried about their health or the health of a loved one. The list is endless.

This is not an ‘opportunity’. This is a pandemic. For the privileged few, it may not seem real. But for the majority of us, it is at best worrying, and at worst absolutely terrifying. And it is more than OK if your goal right now is simply to get through.

It’s OK if you need to take extra time to rest, to be present with your family, to take in and process the situation. Right now, our first focus needs to be on maintaining our mental and physical health. Not how many ‘tasks’ we can tick off our to-do list. It’s OK if productivity is not a priority right now.

So take this as reassurance, you’re not ‘failing’ if you’re not spending this time ‘improving yourself’ or ‘learning a new skill’. If all you’re doing is keeping your head above the water, doing what needs to be done and taking care of yourself, that is more than enough. In the words of Kris Jenner, “you’re doing amazing sweetie”.


Read my other pandemic-related posts here:

  1. Coping with Health Anxiety in a Pandemic
  2. Creating a Schedule for Your Lockdown Mental Health

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