It's summer and we're all scrambling for those extracurriculars, or extra classes to add to our resume. In an extremely competitive society such as ours, while surrounded by successful peers, one feels the pressure to be just as competitive and successful. Even though I have an array of goals and commitments planned for the summer, I still suffer from what I call "productivity guilt." Whatever I do never seems enough to get me to where I aim to be. The stress and paranoia over wasting time can overcome you before you've even had the chance to enjoy summer. Here are some tips on how to not feel guilty about being "unproductive," so that you can enjoy every moment of life... productive or not.
1. Seek out experiences with real people
When you spend time with people sharing experiences together, the feeling of having experienced something is relative to the feeling of having accomplished something. Being productive satisfies you and leaves you feeling fulfilled, and you know you've produced something that will have use in the future. Similarly, experiences leave you with positive memories that will last a lifetime. Investing in experiences is equivalent to creating a pool of amazing anecdotes and references that one can pull out in an interview, share on a platform, or write about. Experiences develop character, something that goes beyond what is on the resume.
2. Spend time doing things you love
It's cliche, I know. Yet there is some truth in this cliche saying: when you do what you love, you never regret it. Or at least it is better to regret having done something, than to have never done anything at all. Spending time doing things you love nourishes the soul, especially if it involves perfecting a skill or just activities for fun. Hobbies that are not used for profit or for your resume can still leave you feeling happy.
3. Learn a new skill
Whether it's a language, cooking, gardening, or even just reading, feeding your brain with new information keeps the mind productive. It does not matter how you achieve this. For example, you can learn Turkish while watching a Turkish drama with the subtitles on. Cooking dinner with your mom or dad every night will force you to be observant and pick up recipes. New information can prevent the feeling of being unproductive by keeping your mind active. You don't have to join a class or be an intern to pick up useful skills in life.
Being productive has become tied to making constant steps toward academic and professional success, but it is in fact just an active mind. By defining productivity as only stressful, mandatory activities anything enjoyable becomes a waste of time. The truth is that the things you enjoy are productive, and are an investment in the long-term. No one should feel guilty about things that make them happy.