Why it’s OK if you aren’t being productive right now

While you may have more time at home right now, it doesn’t mean you need to find productive ways to fill that time

April 7 2020
why it's OK if you aren't being productive right now

If you’re on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen many people sharing images stating that a global lockdown is the perfect time to be productive. All this extra time that you now have at home is the optimum time to cross a few things off of your life to-do list.

If you’ve ever harboured the desire to learn a new language, start a podcast, read loads of books, spring clean your space, start cross-stitching – well apparently now is the time to do all of those things.

But constantly seeing messages like these can feel overwhelming. As a university student right now your main concern is trying to figure out how to write an essay without being able to go to the library or how to get to grips with learning online. To then be told that you should also be working on your side hustle can feel like you aren’t doing this lockdown properly.


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While it’s true that the world is currently having to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is not the same as having weeks of lazy Sundays in front of you. It is not a simple, carefree time for many people. The world feels uncertain, and university students are unsure of many things right now.

Perhaps you aren’t sure how you will take your exams or whether you are still going to be able to study abroad next year. Given how shaky the situation is at the moment, it’s OK if simply getting out of bed and doing a few hours of studying is all you can manage right now.

It could be that each day feels different to you. Some days you could wake up feeling amazing and ready to take on the world. But other days it’s an achievement if you manage to get dressed and get out of bed. Take each day as it comes and do what feels right for you on that day.

Ensure that you do the studying that you need to do to keep on top of your degree and consider anything else that you manage to do that day a bonus.

When the world feels so heavy it can feel even heavier when you put pressure on yourself to do things that you don’t feel ready or able to do.

Sometimes putting too much stress and pressure on yourself can actually make you feel less fulfilled, because it’s pretty counterproductive to do things when your heart simply isn’t in it. Pushing yourself too much could lead to lethargy and a different level of burnout that you might find harder to recognise.

Instead, as clichéd as it sounds, try to find small things throughout your day that can make you happy. Spend a little longer making a breakfast that you really enjoy, or call a friend who always makes you laugh. Now is the time to indulge in all the things that you enjoy without feeling guilty or like you should be building your business empire. The time for that will come soon.

Redefine what productivity means to you – outside your degree. Consider it productive if you managed to find matching socks today. Consider it productive if you combed your hair. Focus on finding the energy to keep learning and the rest will come when you feel like it.

Things are hard without putting too much pressure on yourself. Be gentle on yourself and stay safe.

Read more: Coronavirus: will students get compensation for losing out on learning?

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