Why Being Productive Is Good- But Not Everything

Why Obsessing Over Productivity Is The Worst Thing You Can Do To Yourself

You're more than a machine, and it's time you stopped treating yourself like one.


My friends and fellow college students are some of the hardest working people I know. They labor tirelessly on complex assignments, hold down steady jobs and balance social lives with vivid online presences, all with what seems like incredible ease. Often, when I would ask them how they balanced everything, the common sentiment was that they simply didn't have any other choice.

Far too many times have witnessed people have an "I have to do everything" mindset in response to loved ones' concerns of their overactivity. Of course the phrase is an exaggeration (or we can hope that it is), but nonetheless, it echoes our society's faithful obsession with being productive, even if it means sacrificing one's own personal well being.

With my generation, it seems like "getting things done" is often just a façade for keeping oneself busy. Life can devolve into how many activities can one throw themselves into rather than prioritizing the activities that make one the happiest. Of course, we can't operate on the principle of doing only what makes us happy all the time. If that were the case, many of our significant duties and obligations would go ignored. However, what we can do is be aware of how our forced productivity is taking a toll on our mental and physical state.

Being idle is looked at so negatively in our society as if taking time to focus completely on oneself without distractions makes us lazy or unambitious people. This perception is so damaging to people of college age in particular, as it fuels people us putting ourselves second to the laborious grind. We are more than our involvements, and we need to prioritize ourselves as such. When we equate our self-worth to our production, it makes us no better than machines who simply churn things out. Whether in related to our school assignments, our shifts at work or our social media posts, we are much more than the things we produce. This "well at least I'm getting things done" attitude reinforces the dreaded day-in day-out cycle of repetitiveness that is production-focused and rather draining.

The fact of the matter is activities that cause fulfillment and satisfaction with proving to be rewarding and are what makes us happiest. Essentially, executing good quality work that comes from us being happy is not the same as merely producing. We need to spend more time prioritizing our happiness rather than increasing our outputs, for our own sakes.

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