The Thing You Want to Leave in 2020: Hyper-productivity

Written By Mili Dhru, Contributing Writer

1/20/2021

It is hard to imagine a world before 2020 — a time time when the concept of social distancing was practically unheard of and wearing face masks in public spaces would provoke an exchange of suspicious glances from passersby. When word of the pandemic first started making international headlines and countries around the globe plunged into immediate and mandatory lockdowns, the Internet was buzzing with tips and tricks on how to stay productive during quarantine and “make the most” of our time inside. 

Many people felt the pressure to take up ambitious new projects and maximize their outputs; however, as the quarantine gradually wore on, it became apparent that some of those plans were not going to come to fruition. It is difficult enough to maintain a highly productive routine in everyday life, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic with no foreseeable end. Our societal tendency to perpetually stay “busy” is reflective of America’s overachieving culture.  If we are not striving to constantly increase profits, improve ourselves, or attain the “next big thing” regardless of the state of the world we are living in, we are perceived as being an anomaly (Lorenz, 2020). This attitude of hyper-productivity that leads us to ensure that every spare second of our lives is in some way capitalized on is particularly prevalent in millennial culture (Lorenz, 2020), many of whom are adapting to the new routine of starting and caring for families while working from home. 

Being mindful of and caring for our mental health has become especially crucial as we continue weathering through the global COVID-19 crisis. We must keep in mind that it is perfectly normal to find difficulty in maintaining our usual levels of pre-pandemic productivity and not fulfill all of the ventures we had aimed to when the lockdown began in March. Through the confusion, exhaustion, chaos, and turbulence of 2020, it is essential to remember that we are doing extraordinary well by just existing and persevering through each day, week, and month that lies before us. 

We are all collectively fighting uphill battles, but they are ones that we will  emerge from in triumph–with resilience, courage, and hope. If this year has proven one thing, it is the unrelenting tenacity of the human spirit. It is the persistence of not only living through an international health crisis, but enduring natural and man-made disasters on a domestic and international scale, witnessing history being made during one of the largest social justice movements in America, and navigating through a divisive and tense political climate. 

This year was many things, but it definitely was not easy–and after all of the pressure, loss, stress, and grief, we owe it to ourselves to take a step back from the commotion and pause for a breather. Engaging in activities that promote feelings of happiness, relaxation, peace, and positivity should be as much of a priority as our required responsibilities and tasks. Author and finance expert Nathan W. Morris once stated, “It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less.” Although the pandemic is still ongoing, we have begun a new year filled with innumerable opportunities to focus on and embrace the things that truly matter to us.  Here’s to 2021, a fresh start and a new beginning! 

References

Eliza Goren, S. (2020, December 18). ‘Exhausting,’ ‘surreal,’ ‘dumpster fire’: How our readers

described 2020. Retrieved January 04, 2021, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/lifestyle/2020-in-one-word/

Lorenz, T. (2020, April 01). Stop Trying to Be Productive. Retrieved January 04, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/01/style/productivity-coronavirus.html

Published by Counseling With Leslie

Leslie Stevens, M.Ed., LCMHC is a North Carolina and Virginia board-certified licensed professional counselor. She co-owns a successful practice in Carrboro, North Carolina. Leslie specializes in helping adults navigate stress, depression, anxiety, and perfectionism. Additionally, she is a life strategist, spiritual coach, and writer.

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