Productivity does not equate to self-worth
For the full experience, listen to This is Me Trying — Taylor Swift
When COVID started last year and we all got sent home with a deadline that kept creeping further and further away, I was at my peak of productivity. I was determined to ‘get something’ out of this time and write my arse off. I was still doing my job online, working on my manuscript, writing at least fifteen articles a month and taking on extra freelance work. For a while, I could keep going, and there wasn’t really an exact point where that stopped. I didn’t recognise that I needed to work less or align my focus really, it just all started to slow down and slip away. I stopped taking new assignments, I began writing fewer articles, my manuscript crept to a standstill…
It kept snowballing further and each month I’d tell myself this was the month I’d change things. I’d start with an ambitious list of goals and end the month ticking off barely any of them. I wish I knew why. I don’t know if I’m physically tired, mentally tired, in a depressed period or out of inspiration. All I know is that August was my least productive month yet, and it is so tempting to feel guilty for that.
Like many others, I translate my productivity into my self-worth, I am only as good as what I got done. If I work hard enough, then I have earned the good things in my life. If I don’t work hard enough, then I am responsible for every awful thing in my life. My entire mood is equated to how much I get done and it is exhausting. It’s not only exhausting to always push myself, but to consistently hate myself for not getting things done.
It also doesn’t help, it doesn’t make me get more done tomorrow. It just results in a pity party with one person in attendance. I often end up feeling worse and doing even less. But here is my lesson to you in the hopes that I can begin to learn it myself.
Your productivity does not equate to your self-worth. You are more than the items ticked off your to-do list. You are a whole person, with good days and bad days, with productive moments and times of rest. Sometimes you need to slow down, sometimes you need to stand completely still, and as scary as that is, you need to recognise and embrace it. There is nothing wrong with being stationary in life, as maybe your energy is needed elsewhere, or maybe you’re in a period of healing.
I am re-entering the world after my relationship of four years crashed. I am learning to be alone. I am working to be the person who loves me most. I am trying to fuel my ambitions of being a published author when it feels so far away. I am breathing, if nothing else, I am breathing and getting up each day, and sometimes that has to be enough.
“I’ve been having a hard time adjusting
I had the shiniest wheels, now they’re rusting
I didn’t know if you’d care if I came back
I have a lot of regrets about that”
Last night, I finally finished reading Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez, and it was a captivating novel! It took me some time to get into, and was definitely a leap out of my comfort zone, but I really do recommend it. I think novels like this one are so important and our best chance of diving into someone else’s perspective.
Here are some of my favourite articles recently and I feel privileged to be able to share them further!
by Violet Daniels
by Anne Smith
by Angela Phan
Here are my four entries for the Medium Writing Competition. It felt so good to dive into personal essays and forget about publication guidelines, potential earnings and the rest of the bullshit. I wrote these from a personal place and it felt so cathartic to put words to paper.
The Death of My Perfect Self
“Some days I miss how much easier everything felt during the peak of my mental illness; when I didn’t have to resist these urges, work through these negative thought cycles or choose the healthier option that feels so much harder. Some days I want to be weak and give in, to be controlled by a force that feels stronger than my own mind, like giving yourself to a religion.”
Learning to breathe in a world that doesn’t revolve around you
“I enter every relationship with arms wide open and my heart dripping on my sleeve; I give everything that I have until I am left empty-handed. I give and give and give, not understanding why nothing is given back to me. I tell myself that they didn’t ask me to give, that it isn’t their fault because I chose to do this. But they chose to let me.”
Just Finish It
“Confidence fuels your fingers as they tap away furiously, desperately trying to realise the dream in your head. Each line is witty, each metaphor is revolutionary, and each character is an opportunity for a devoted fan base. But then you reach a certain point, an invisible wall formed as you go to the next page, and it happens.”
Look too closely and you’ll see the sellotape around my heart
“But how do I even begin to explain the weight of a single laugh? How do I explain how roughly I’ve had to sellotape myself up again after you tore piece after piece apart? I am sitting here on a first date and yet you are almost sitting with me. He thinks that he’s dating me, but in reality, he is dating the me after you, someone I haven’t even met yet.”
Thank you for your time, your patience and your support.
I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful transition into autumn!