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How to Be Productive in Your Own Way

Over the years, hustle culture has become a key value among our generation. Students strive to get high GPAs while participating in multiple extracurricular activities, while professionals aim to achieve career goals by consistently working and seeking self-improvement. And since productivity is often associated with hustle culture, people who value hustle culture also seek to maximize their productivity. The COVID-19 pandemic has only put more pressure on people to optimize productivity. Ever since the pandemic started, the world has shut down entirely. People had to adjust to staying at home, from practicing social distancing to changing daily routines. Not being able to go to school or work in person, people are more likely to become unmotivated and unproductive, especially when it is challenging to find a work-life balance when working at home. And for that reason, people value productivity now more than ever.

Computer desktop and laptop on wooden stands on desk
Photo by Ken Tomita from Pexels

The world of social media heavily reflects the significance of hustle culture and productivity. Currently, there are thousands of YouTube videos titled “How to be Productive”, thousands of Instagram posts about productivity tips, and thousands of articles on ways to increase productivity. Moreover, Discord users create study groups to provide platforms for users to give advice and support to others, who all share the common goal of becoming more productive. Our generation is obsessed with maximizing productivity and hustling nonstop. Although working on personal development is a positive thing, these values can also boost the likelihood of being burnt out. Reaching a point of burnout means being in a mental state of emotional and mental exhaustion, in addition to experiencing physical fatigue, leaving the individual who is experiencing burnout unmotivated, emotionally drained, and unable to complete tasks efficiently. To maximize productivity without burning out, we need to learn how to become productive in our own ways.

With an overwhelming amount of online information comes many misconceptions. Social media depicts that an individual has to do certain things to be productive when, in reality, productivity is different for everyone. Many social media influencers claim that people should start their days early in the morning or work for at least 6 hours to optimize their productivity. However, this does not necessarily apply to everyone. Not everyone works best during mornings, and not everyone wants to work for exactly 6 hours a day. Just like how preferences and personalities differ, everyone has different ways to help them achieve productivity. The social media community is excellent for providing resources and support from others, but it does not mean that following these exact tips or methods will benefit you. Instead, use this information as a guide to help you find the ideal way to increase productivity that is the most suitable for you, considering your personal or professional goals, preferences of where, when, or how to work, daily habits and routines, and more. Instead of wasting time watching or reading a thousand ways to improve your productivity, it is more important to identify your goals and ultimately what works best for you. It is also essential to include time to rest and relax. Without giving yourself time to take a break, you would only be able to maintain a high level of productivity for a short time. Finding your way to be productive would not only prevent burnouts; it will also increase your level of satisfaction and happiness in addition to having more time to do other things.

Woman smiling in front of laptop
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

As a society where hustle culture and high productivity are prominent, we need to understand that productivity does not look the same for everyone while recognizing that we all have our own ways to be productive. It is also important to normalize the idea of resting and taking breaks, as there will be days where we feel unmotivated or exhausted. We need to learn that we don’t need to be accomplishing many things every day to be considered productive. After all, we are only human. So let’s place less emphasis on hustle culture and productivity, and stop putting so much pressure on ourselves and others to be productive; but rather find what fits best for you and your life.

Iris Au

UCD '22

Iris is studying Communications and Economics at the University of California, Davis. She is currently a junior and is a big fan of cheesy rom-coms and cooking shows. She hopes to pursue a future career in publishing or marketing after graduating college.
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