We live in a time where information is at our fingertips and technology can bring work to new levels with tremendous speed and ease. Never before has there been a time where there can be an excuse for lack of productivity —and everyone on social media is sure to remind you of all that they are doing in their picture perfect, impeccably curated way.
This could be motivating or inspiring at times. Other times such as say, a pandemic where the world feels like its been set ablaze and all of the foundations are collapsing around us, it can be the dry tinder that ignites a firestorm of self destruction and hatred.
During the time of lockdown and quarantine, people have found themselves holed up in their homes. For some, that means a lot more time on their hands. We have all seen the various posts:
“If you aren’t learning something new then what are you doing with your life? “
“If you don’t do what you always wanted to now, the problem wasn’t lack of time – it was lack of motivation.”
“Look what I did! I learned to play guitar…. I made sourdough bread…. I knit a sweater from the alpaca wool I personally sheered, turned into yarn and then knit for the first time ever….. I cured Cancer.”
I have a secret for you…. some of them have painstakingly plotted and crafted those social media posts days on end, others are just exaggerating and some are even *gasp* lying. Yes, some have much time on their hands to accomplish such feats either out of boredom, fun or as a coping skill – these are a rare breed that we
plot to kill admire for what they can achieve.
But even so, regardless of the validty of these claims, it can still shatter our already fragile emotional state or pride. And if that wasn’t enough, it gets worse.
We are treated to anecdotes about how Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantined during a plague, how, Sir Isaac Newton was in isolation when he came up with his theory of gravity. Victor Hugo wrote the bulk and finished Les Misérables when he went into exile to avoid punishment for being a vocal critic of Napoleon III. Frida Kahlo painted her first self portrait while in bed recovering from serious injuries, including a fractured spine and pelvis. Edvard Munch painted a work called Self-Portrait with the Spanish Flu, of his sickly self and a few other pieces while ill. And how Giovanni Boccaccio produced his best-known work, a novella called The Decameron, about the Plague—the Black Death itself.
Are you feeling the pressure now?!
I’m guessing that these famed geniuses weren’t also trying to juggle housework, cooking, homeschooling, working from home or balancing mounting debts and financial woes at the same time. I hear and see you mothers around the world. Bless.
Even if its not the case and you have much less on your plate to accomplish on a daily basis, the sheer gravity of it all —being innondated nonstop with news flooding us about mortality rates, horrific symptoms, the bleak future and the changes we are likely to see or experience when (at whatever point that actually is) it is all over is enough to send the anxiety and depression soaring through the roof.
Some days it is an accomplishment just to get up and out of bed. I personally was able to change from my nighttime pjs to my daytime pjs before sitting down to write a few sentences today. Huzzah!
I’m here to tell you, it is enough to just survive the day. Do what you can to get through the necessities and obligations. On the good days when you can get to that long awaited project or sit down and start learning a new hobby, celebrate it! Enjoy it! But don’t beat yourself up if the next day brings more of the chaos and your laundry has piled up or your knitting needles start collecting dust.
You’ll eventually find a rhythm that works for you. As you mentally shift through priorities and discard previous expectations, you will find a way to gain in the most valuable way for YOU.
You always do, I know. I’m figuring it out day by day too. But we’ll get there, and our productivity won’t be just a performance, it will be the secret tonic to true, ongoing success.