Productivity, being a #girlboss and its toxicity to my mental health
Our world is undeniably in a capitalist haven right now. We're all encouraged to buy the latest thing, follow the latest trend, and pile anything that is marginally old onto our waste piles. And us bloggers are definitely not ones that manage to avoid that on the whole. Now, this post isn't a rant about recycling, but really a chat about the other side of this capitalist ideal: productivity. We're expected to work hard all of our lives, producing test scores as children, products, amenities or services as adults, and then a future for our next of kin when we get to an elderly age. Anyone who's worked in any kind of office or sales environment will have been forced into competition over stats. Either you get in trouble for not completing enough items of work off of your list, or for not creating as many sales as other people. It really is a cut-throat world out there.
Working part-time should in theory allow me to escape from all of this, leading a peace-filled life culminating in relaxation and happiness. But that is not the case. You see, I've got this productivity bug. And I think a lot of you guys have it too. I mean, have you seen how many people own list pads? And how many of them own more than one?! I for one am obsessed. Working partly from home means I need to remember to get tasks done and keep up to date, so having a list pad is a good idea in itself. It's not such a good idea to use it as the holy grail for your life. I've even gotten to a point now where I write down 'fun' activities on my to-do list so that I feel productive even when I'm taking time out. Yep.
From a young age, I've always been taught that I should be doing something productive, and if I'm not then I'm basically just wasting my time. Added to this notion, is as an adult, the media telling me that I need to be a #girlboss. To do this it seems that I need to drink 8 cups of coffee a day, sleep for only six hours and work for all of my waking hours. I think my problems start with the fact that I don't like coffee ...
The real problem is though, that I want to be a #girlboss. I want to be in charge of my own life, making a business working from home, but everything tells me that every ounce of my life needs to be productive in order to do that. And my mental health says no. I have days when I wake up and think 'nope, I simply can not face today, I just can't get out of bed'. The thought of showering and then getting up to work from home is way beyond me. But everything I see is telling me that I'm failing by doing this. I can see (and almost hear) my list pad calling to me, telling me to get my lazy ass out of bed and into actually doing things. Yet I really need to take time out to focus on my mental health.
It's this dilemma that really gets me: can't I be a sassy #girlboss who's going to be successful and has bad days? I'm starting to realise that yes, yes I can. Part of this awareness has come from the fact that I thought I had to make a choice: give up my dreams, or sacrifice my mental health and force myself to do everything on those bad days (which would definitely result in a breakdown, if I could even manage it in itself). I didn't want to do either of those things. So, I set to thinking: maybe my idea of being productive, being a #girlboss, that I've created from snippets all over social media isn't what it ought to be for me. Maybe mine involves taking time out to get my head together, or taking breathers between completing bits of work. Maybe that is perfectly okay.
There are some girls (and guys) out there who can do it - who can hack the 14 hour days and immense amounts of caffeine. But I can't. And slowly (very slowly) I'm learning that that's okay. I need my down time, I need my self care routine, and ultimately, I need to be happy. The whole point of this productivity thing is that it's supposed to make me happy, right? I'm meant to make more money, meet more people and do more things to increase my happiness. What then is the point of grinding myself down into misery? So, from now on, I'm going to keep my list pad, but not beat myself up if things don't go to plan, and celebrate all of my little victories, even if they don't seem to compare to other peoples'!
I hope this post helps any of you out there who feel the way I do!