A few weeks ago, it was World Productivity Day. Although I’ve never heard about it until about a week before, I immediately made a plan to write an article reflecting productivity from a procrastinator perspective. I planned to post about it all over Instagram and Pinterest, and I imagined, since it was a freaking productivity day, I’m going to have the most productive day of my life.
Can you guess how I spent that day? I spent it doing nothing. NOTHING. Viva la procrastination.
My failed attempt to be productive made me realize how obsessive we are over the idea of productivity and never-ending hustle.
The hustle culture
We’re living in times where everything is about working hard, about being productive, constantly busy, working early mornings and late nights, starting side hustles, and building empires. Go hard or go harder, right? Let’s get this bread!
You can’t really open social media without thinking that 99% of people there are either influencers, celebrities, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business owners, preferably everything at once. We live in a time when everyone is either starting a business, running a business, or dreaming of starting one. Just google “day in the life of an entrepreneur,” and you’ll get over 12 million videos of entrepreneurs showing you their day-to-day lives.
They all seem to be working 24/7 because you know, success never sleeps, providing more content, more products, becoming more and more successful, traveling the world (at least until 2020 came), all while juggling their personal and social life. Until you fall into bed completely exhausted yet still not being nearly halfway through your packed to-do list, then there must be something very wrong with you, right?
Everyone seems to be so successful that it made me think if I’m none of that, does that make me a loser? And I don’t mean that in a self-pity way.
Having the once-typical 9-5 job no longer seems like the good enough option (and honestly, I can relate).
Being procrastinator in the hustle culture
If you ever had problems with procrastination, you know that sometimes it feels impossible to make yourself do a simple, minor task. And it’s super easy to feel like a complete failure when we’re overcome by such simple things like washing the dishes or responding to long-postponed messages? When you can’t conquer yourself, how are you going to conquer the world?
As a procrastinator, I feel ashamed by my “lack of willpower.” It’s all fun and games lying in bed watching Netflix while you should be working on a work project until your boss asks the next day why you still haven’t finished it yet. And the worst part is facing yourself and your own dreams that are slowly but surely falling apart because you’ve been postponing them for too long.
I’m happy for all those people, much younger than me, buying humongous houses, having perspective careers, and enough finances to be free to do what they love. But I’m a little jealous admit. But more than that, I’m angry with myself for not working hard. And I’m even angrier for thinking that.
I even got to a point where I thought, “If I can’t work hard, what’s the point of trying?” I convinced myself that I’d need to quit my job, take at least one year of holidays, and learn how to stop the time to be able to accomplish everything I think I need in order to be successful. And yet, it still probably wouldn’t be enough.
Last year, I was desperately trying to force myself to work on my master thesis after months of postponing it. I was complaining, anxious, and mad how stupid I am to procrastinate rather than get things done in time. During one of my procrastination spree, I’ve come across an influencer who studied at the top world university, while starting her own business, while building her influencer platform. If that doesn’t make one feel like a loser, I don’t know what does.
The problem with the hustle culture
The “constantly hustling, getting that bread” mindset is not healthy. Putting too much of our energy in one part of our lives must inevitably imbalance the other parts – time spent with our loved ones, with our family, time spent on our hobbies, time dedicated to our health, and even time spent with ourselves and our thoughts.
We’ve learned that everything we do must have some valuable outcome. We no longer do things just for fun. I haven’t read a fiction book in ages because I convinced myself it had no value for me. I stopped singing and making music because if I’m not good enough to turn it into a living, what’s the point of it?
Social media portray (we portray) constant and unstoppable hard work and legit workaholism, as something admirable and something desirable.
We’re so focused on the end goal – the success; however, you define it – that we don’t see what we have right now. Someone’s success doesn’t make you a failure. And someone’s failure doesn’t make you successful.
Balance is the key?
Constantly overworking is bad, so is procrastinating. Like always, balance, the golden mean is the way to go. It’s not easy to find it, but there are a few things we can do to navigate it:
- focus on quality over quantity – checking 10 tasks rather than 1 of your to-do lists doesn’t necessarily make you more successful. Dedicating time and energy into one thing can sometimes be more beneficial than jumping from one thing onto another.
- do not compare your journey to someone else’s. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, but who’s not guilty of doing that?
- do some things just for fun. Not everything has to have a deeper meaning, and not everything has to make you money. Reading a random book with seemingly no value, taking a photo of a place because you actually like it and not because it looks great in picture, or eating lunch in a park and just being rather than staying in the office and catching up on news and social media can be refreshing.