You're Not Being Productive Enough by Shoshana P.
I was supposed to write this article by the weekend. But I’m sitting here on Monday night because no matter how much time we have in quarantine, it feels impossible to get anything done. You probably haven’t done all your schoolwork, and instead, you’re procrastinating by reading the school newspaper. But I’m not calling you out. I’m just wondering, why is that? We’re middle schoolers, procrastination is nothing new. Yet when it’s 11:59 PM on a Friday, I know almost everyone is frantically hitting a submit button.
It used to be that when we were at school, we did work. When we got home, we did our homework and then the rest of the time was ours. We used to have a schedule, but the school bell doesn’t ring at 8:15 AM anymore, telling us to get to work. In the first email from MCPS about Continuity of Learning one of the goals for students was to “Establish home schedules that outline when a student will be engaged in lessons.” That seems laughable now. We all wrote out schedules at the beginning of quarantine, but we quickly forgot about them, despite the daily reminders from parents and teachers that creating and maintaining a schedule was important and would help us be productive.
We live in a society that praises work and accomplishment. If you take a nap, those twenty minutes were a waste. You could have folded your laundry. Or washed the dishes. Or finished your homework. But as that list of things you could have done instead of taking a break pile up, so does the stress. In a global pandemic, everyone is already stressed out. The expectations you set for yourself could be doing more harm than good, creating so much stress that you feel like you can never finish everything. So you don’t start until that due date hits you smack in the face.
Even if you’ve somehow managed to finish your work early, you still feel that nagging itch in the back of your head. There’s something you’re forgetting. Was it that time a month ago when you considered clearing out your email but didn’t? You’re supposed to do that. Is it that book sitting on your shelf that’s next on the reading list? You’re supposed to read it. Or is it that you told yourself you’d organize your closet? You have to do all those things. But you don’t have to do them all right now. And telling yourself to is just inviting more stress. The list is never-ending, and if you were to always be productive, you’d never get a break.
So no, you’re not being productive enough. And that’s okay. Just by getting through this crazy time you’ve accomplished plenty. I’m not saying you should forget about your schoolwork and watch TV all day. But set realistic goals, and don’t beat yourself up for not being as productive as you think you should be.