COVID-19 and the Productivity Curse

These are unprecedented times. I’m sure you’ve heard those words more than a few times since COVID-19 reared its ugly head. Although it may have lost its meaning for many of us, it’s quite true. I don’t think anyone a year ago could have guessed that we would be scared when people coughed, or that we would be matching masks to our outfits, or even could have guessed what Zoom is.

These are unprecedented times. For many, including myself, productivity and motivation have been a tenuous thing. Time stretches out into unidentifiable blobs and nothing seems productive when the world is in chaos. Motivation comes in short bursts or not at all.

Bristol working from home scene Photo by Mikey Harris from Unsplash

These are unprecedented times. So why does it seem like if you’re not doing everything, you’re failing? All over social media, I’ve seen the same hyperproductive narrative being pushed: “Now is the time.” “Stop putting off your goals.” “Get on top of things.” And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little bit of motivation, it often feels shameful for those of us who haven’t used quarantine to master a new hobby or read a thousand books or learn every language in the known universe. Productivity is amazing, but why is this our number one priority when our number one priority should be staying safe and healthy?

These are unprecedented times. So I’m here to tell you right now: If you’re still moving, you’re doing great. You shouldn’t have to be operating at 100% capacity when you don't even know if school or work is still going to be open tomorrow. If your grades aren’t what they usually are, or you feel like you’re wasting your time, just know that it’s hard enough to be a human when we're not in a global pandemic. Don’t judge yourself too hard for how you react to all the insanity around you. Be kind to yourself. Be safe, be healthy. These are unprecedented times.