As we all sit around indoors and stew amid constant frightening news, you may feel a lot of pressure to be productive. There are people in your social feeds pushing you to utilize your time. This has led to some justifiable backlash, including from Taylor Lorenz in the New York Times, who wrote an article called Stop Trying to Be Productive, and Sunny Fitzgerald in the Washington Post who chimed in with It’s okay not to be productive during a pandemic.
But allow me to spark a backlash to the backlash.
Being productive can feel really, really good! Turning all that agitation and fear into a work you feel proud of is self-care! You won’t ever regret using this time well!
Now, absolutely: do what you need to do. Take care of your must-dos first. Many people are facing all kinds of financial and health precariousness and all kinds of horrific stressors. And let’s face it: basically no creative person is particularly productive at the moment.
If you need a break, take it. If your self-care involves staring at the ceiling under a weighted blanket eating Doritos I will be the last person on Earth to judge you. Whatever you need to do these days: do it.
But I personally feel at my best when I’m productive. Work is a form of self-care for me. Maybe I’m insane, but I suspect there are a lot more people like me out there.
Put me in the camp that urges you to push yourself. If you have the means, block out the distractions. Get that thing done that you’ve always wanted to get done.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel much better for it. So try to push yourself.
Just don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. We all need to be patient and kind to ourselves right now.
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Art: Maimåne by Nikolai Astrup