Productivity Anxiety: That Annoying Voice That Never Lets Up
Productivity Anxiety is that constant pressure you feel at a low hum. It sits in the back of your mind and it nudges you whilst you try to enjoy things. A voice telling you that you’re not doing enough, and that what you’re doing right now is the wrong thing to be doing.
This happens over and over, during every facet of your existence that isn’t being used to work. This is what I call productivity anxiety, and it can make relaxing and enjoying downtime almost impossible.
Productivity anxiety is that nagging sensation that you get when you’re not working, but feel like you should be working. It’s that inability to shake off the grips of that call you need to make, or that essay you need to finish (Or start!) or that work out you’re probably going to miss.
When you’re in school and college, it’s just part of everyday existence. It’s that thought that plagues you, saying that you should be studying right now, even though you’ve already done enough for one day.
This stream of anxiousness has been front and centre for me for my entire life. In one way, it’s a tell-tale signature for ambition. When you want to work and create something bigger than you, the urgency to be constantly working is visceral, and it manifests as your brain telling you to stop taking time off and get back to it.
However, life isn’t just about work, nor should it be. There has to be balance. There has to be times when you can exist without being productive, without feeling bad for this lack of productivity.
This has always been difficult for me to do, though. Despite knowing that I don’t need to work all the time, the nagging reminders that I should do some work are always present. Sometimes this voice is quiet, sometimes it’s all I can hear, and this makes any time spent ‘unproductively’ guilt-ridden and uncomfortable.
It’s a strange one to navigate. It’s the type of thing that will never go away fully. It’ll always be there in the background as a whisper. A whisper telling you to stop enjoying your time off and get back to work. However, although the work has to be done, it doesn’t have to be done right this moment, or even today.
Sometimes your brain tells you things that aren’t true. Sometimes it tells you that you should do more work even though you’ve already put in a long day of it. Other times, you’ll really want to do work but will be unable to.
It’s vital to remember that we can’t do everything, every single day. We’re not machines. We have off days. Some days it’s absolute fine to do the bare minimum. Tomorrow comes, and we can drive it on again.