Under the Shelter in Place Order, do you feel pressure to be productive?
I read an interesting article in the New York Times last week regarding productivity. Most Americans believe in the ethos of being productive during each of their days, and this time is no different. You may be working from home, but with no commute time and orders to stay in round the clock, there is more time in our lives to be productive. Yet, this article challenges the idea of productivity and asks Americans to stop trying to be productive.
I will admit, I have heard many stories of self-condemnation during this time from people wishing they were getting up earlier, working on their creative projects more, learning a new hobby, exercising more, cooking up gourmet food, and more. The idea of sleeping in, watching TV, reading for pleasure, napping, and/or doing absolutely nothing is not something people are aspiring to right now, but perhaps we should be.
Must this “shelter in place” time be one where we find new ways to criticize ourselves by not meeting American productivity standards? It is important during this time where we have been grounded in our homes to give credence to this strange situation. Just living under our circumstances is taking more energy and time. No it is not time that is producing anything, but it does take energy. This may be why we are sleeping more or a little slow during our days or can’t get as much done as we would like.
We are also challenged to be communicating with others constantly through technology. Although it is wonderful to live in this age with technology at our fingertips, it is tiring to be meeting others over the screen. It is not the easiest to begin with and then to have to go through meeting after meeting – both personal and professional – via the computer, it tires us in ways we are not tracking, but just assuming that it is the same as before.
The many ways our lives have changed is taking more time to process and live into each day. Before you lay on yourself productivity goals, perhaps check in and see what has changed and how you may be caring for yourself during these times. Most likely, these ways will not be about productivity, but rather slowing down and doing less. Being able to turn down the volume on our productivity is a gift we can give ourselves, especially if we can drop the judgement that we aren’t doing enough.
You are enough and are doing enough in this moment. There is a wonderful argument to be made for not being productive at this moment in time. Take up this challenge and do less and take good care.