Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Mental Health

This is Not a Productivity Contest

“This is a pandemic – not a productivity contest”. I saw this quote while scrolling through twitter, and I could not retweet fast enough. I fully support this statement and believe that this is not the time to compete with others. On Instagram, there was also another story post that went around saying, “if you don’t come out of this quarantine with: a new skill, your side hustle started, more knowledge; you never lacked time, you lacked discipline”. This quote also circulated twitter and gathered several hundred likes and retweets. I’m not quite sure who the author of this post is, but I remember seeing it in someone’s story and sort of panicking.

girl sleeping in black and white
Kinga Cichewicz

Truthfully, I have not been that productive during this whole quarantine. I have spouts of productivity, where I feel like I can accomplish everything on my to-do list in one sitting, and then days where I have to reschedule all of my tasks because I simply can’t get up from bed. I want to acknowledge that it’s okay to feel disoriented and unmotivated, especially given our nation’s current situation. We are living through a pandemic, with thousands of people dying and becoming unemployed. Schools have moved online, students have suddenly returned home, and many seniors (both high school and college) have lost many of their traditions. Many people are mourning the loss of what could have been while others are literally mourning the loss of loved ones. This is not a simple vacation. We are in quarantine not by choice, but out of necessity. I think it comes from a place of privilege for someone to simply say “you lacked discipline” during this supposed time off when in reality people are struggling financially and mentally to get through this never ending situation. 


Just because we suddenly have more time on our hands now does not mean we don’t have other things to worry about. There also comes a new set of problems to deal with: filing for unemployment, securing essential technology for online schooling, still paying rent while not occupying housing units, and simply adjusting to a new environment. Instead of shaming others for not being productive enough during this time, we need to acknowledge that it is okay to take things slow and prioritize our mental well being first. 


An edited version of the Instagram post mentioned early has surfaced my feed recently, and I really appreciate its tone and reassurance. User donte.colley crossed out “you never lacked time, you lacked discipline” in red and wrote his own thoughts underneath it: “You are doing just fine. We are going through a collective traumatic experience. Not everyone has the privilege of turning a pandemic into something fun or productive.” 


\"you got this\" on a letter board

It’s okay to not be okay during this time. Instead of trying to outdo each other  in terms of productivity, our energy should be spent on taking care of ourselves and tackling  each day one step at a time. 



Shirley is a fourth year at the University of Virginia. She loves coffee, books, and plants. She also hopes that you'll enjoy her articles!
Similar Reads👯‍♀️