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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

With all of us working together to flatten the curve of the corona virus and coping through the anxiety a global pandemic naturally induces, alongside mourning lives lost, cancelled trips, and every stable aspect of life abruptly becoming uncertain; it is highly recommended and encouraged we do our part by staying inside. 

With an extended spring break, I have encountered the same struggle I have developed even on days throughout the school year where I simply don’t have any work I have to do or class to attend: the struggle of allowing myself to rest without feeling “unproductive”.  

I often struggle to give myself rest days from schoolwork (even when I can & should!) because I feel guilty for not taking advantage of the opportunity to work ahead. However, throughout my academic career I’ve come to learn and subsequently accept through trial and error that the work I get done when I don’t allow myself to rest (& often drive myself to complete burn-out??) typically just becomes counterproductive.

 It always backfires as my body and mind’s need to rest will *very* abrUptly catch up to me, and I will then have no choice but to put down what I’m doing and listen to my body’s cry for help. (which I really should listen to her more often, she’s looking out for me!!)

Especially with the rise of influencers in our generation, I believe the “hustle culture” has us feeling pressured, and often guilty for not “hustling” and working every single second that we possibly can be, and validating sacrificing rest and sleep to do it (otherwise you don’t want it ‘bad’ enough–which is nOt true). 


I’ve come to recognize this as clearly being unhealthy (since rest and sleep is in fact necessary to your success in every aspect of your life & your simple functioning as a human being, which btw does NOT make you weak!), and have also been re-learning what productivity really means, and have found my misconception of there only being one way to be productive to be simply untrue. 


I discovered I was wrong because taking breaks IS productive, as long as we do everything with intention. 

Which is why stumbling upon the definition of “mindful productivity” has begun to help me understand what productivity REALLY means. 


I actually hadn’t heard or learned of “mindful productivity”  until about a month ago when a friend of mine reposted an an @shinetext post on her Instagram story, with a cute graphic reading Your Productivity Isn’t Tied to Your Worth which I instantly clicked on to read more about because *as we’ve discussed*, I struggle with this quite often and would like to get better!!

The post’s caption gave me the perspective I had been lacking and allowed me to approach accomplishing productivity in a whole new light. 


It first suggested measuring a day’s success with “What does being productive look like for ME today?”, which I found extremely helpful as doing so accommodates for every “productive” day looking different, and not comparing how much you got done with how much your friend or classmate did (because that doesn’t make you mindfully productive, also it is nOt a competition?).


In encouraging readers to create their own unique definition of productivity, the caption shares Google’s in-house productivity trainer, Laura Mae Martin’s own definition;


“According to [her], productivity really comes down to intent. She calls it ‘mindful productivity’, and she shared her mantra in an interview with Quartz: Productivity is about ‘knowing what you want to do, intending to do it, and doing what you wanted to do.” 

(Also, If you want to check out more of @shinetext’s self-care community, check them out on Instagram here! ;)


In reading this, it clicked for me because I realized I had been measuring my productivity all wrong. 

It isn’t how MUCH I got done, it’s about setting an intention, being mindful, and evaluating what I want to get done TODAY (whether it be schoolwork, errands, resting, seeing friends, etc.), and accomplishing exactly that. 


This encouraged me to to make a list of different things productivity looks like for me, depending on the day:


    • Taking care of myself & accomplishing my self-care goals of the day

      • Sometimes this could also just be deciding to turn a free day into a me day (aka a deema day:,)

    • Doing chores or errands I’ve been putting off (oopsy hehe)

    • Cleaning my space

      • Making it less cluttered, and maybe even listening to music or a podcast while doing it!

    • Making a List (yes, sometimes just MAKING it.)

    • Having/planning a fun Saturday w/ little to no tasks! (Saturday’s are my rest days :,) -I highly recommend designating a day of the week to be your rest day!)

    • *If during school* work-related tasks or @hercampus.ku tasks ;)

    • Allotting time to spend w/ friends & family


( → because in order to *keep* achieving productivity,  oftentimes it may entail taking a *necessary* day off !)

    • Practicing my set intention of the day (setting an intention for how you want to carry yourself throughout the day & your personal life is just as important & productive!)

    • Starting small 

      • (if I have a big assignment to complete, test to study for, or a task to accomplish by the end of the week, to make it less overwhelming & stressful I allott a small amount of time each day towards the task at hand! This may be breaking up a reading assignment and reading a chapter each day, studying a certain section for a test each day, cleaning shelf by shelf in my closet instead of all at once, etc.)


The list really could go on and on, and that’s exactly the beauty of it, as I find myself re-teaching myself everything I *thought* I knew about productivity. There isn’t just one way to be productive, and you don’t need to overwork your body *in fact you shouldn’t* to do it!

Making this list, really helped me put things into perspective, and I highly recommend doing the same, whatever that list looks like for you!


Finally, in re-learning what productivity REALLY means, and approaching it mindfully, the most important thing to remember is that our worth is not measured by our productivity. 

You are worthy REGARDLESS of how much or how little you accomplished today. Some days, just getting out of bed, just getting through the day, and putting your all into it is more than enough. You are always enough and worthy of love, praise, and being celebrated no matter how many things you crossed off your to-do list, I pinky promise. :,)


Hi, I'm Deema! I'm a senior at the University of Kansas majoring in Marketing with a minor in Psychology! I enjoy all things fashion, makeup, mental health, and music related -especially my queen, @arianagrande.