06 Apr

Why you don’t have to be productive during lockdown

Why you don’t have to be productive during lockdown

I went into lockdown thinking about big things. Rainer Maria Rilke came to mind:

“Do not squander the hour of your pain.”

No doubt we are in pain.

Here’s the reality
Right now you’ve probably got enough on your plate. The open cry for productivity, and the emails encouraging you to:

 Start writing your first novel
 Journal like Hemmingway
 Complete ambitious DIY projects
 Get dancers legs in 14 days
 Bake and cook like your (imagined) Michelin Stars and your Bubble Buddies lives depend on it…

And that’s before the rash of viral challenges and the constant stream of checking in and re-connecting with our people.
Let’s keep it real. This is what we’re really doing:

 We’re home schooling, unplanned and not the stuff of dreams
 Working from home, the realities are usually not as glamorous or fun as we thought. For lots of people, not only is their role not suited, the environment definitely isn’t
 Staying safe at home, and getting cabin fever interspersed with local walks and such
 Missing being with our friends, families and the people that brighten our days
 Etc…

Here’s the big idea
It’s hard enough to be productive all the time in the best of times, and right now we are in a global crisis.

The idea that we have all of this spare time on our hands to get sh*t done just isn’t always true. Stress and pressure can be the biggest factors in counter-productivity. And they’re a killer for your immunity.

Here’s the antidote
Be kind, compassion is key. Forgive yourself for not ticking off the classic to-do-one-day list. Let go of the urge to overachieve and the culture of busy, and ignore the callings towards every nanosecond of your life being devoted to self improvement, productivity and the culture of hustle.

Find joy, in small things. Reading a book, a good bottle of wine, a great conversation with a friend. Anything that gives you a shot of feel good hormones is wonderful.

Be hopeful, optimism is awesome. You don’t have to tell yourself anything that isn’t true (we’re actually terrible at doing this in a crisis). Optimism is great in small doses. Simple things like asking yourself ‘what will make today great?’ is a good way to start the day.

The bottom line
Be as productive as you want, or don’t want. What’s most important is that you do you. Make reasonable choices for yourself.