Now that I'm in the working world, whether I'm productive or not correlates directly to whether I'm employed affects whether I can pay my rent and eat affects whether I am able to enjoy nice things like flat whites or books or a new set of fairy lights for my room or a trip back somewhere I left my heart in.
So it comes as no surprise that productivity is a close cousin of capitalism, picking holes in our self-esteem. All I need to do is open LinkedIn to read about the latest productivity apps or tips. It makes me feel a bit like a robot. Well, what did you expect? you might say. That website is a Hunger Games-style skirmish for the advancement of careers. People go there to win, not make friends.
I can't help but wonder if the notion of productivity was as pervasive before the internet, though.
About once a week, my illustrator friend Katie and I meet up at (notorious?) St Oberholz to 'have a co-work' - we bring our laptops, grab coffee and hopefully our own table, and settle into whatever respective projects we've got going on. We nudge each other if we spot each other procrastinating. This particular time, today, I saw Katie scrolling through Facebook and I said, 'Oi! Stop slacking, get cracking'. As can be seen from the tweet below, my words resonated.
"stop slacking get cracking" wise motivational words from our local productivity guru @spookytofu— Katie Chappell (@katiedraws) January 19, 2016
Productivity is nice when it's on your own terms, when you set your own goals - which is why Katie and I do this each week. When you do not achieve those goals, you think things the fuck through because those goals and dreams are the things that make your own life worth living. They're not just what keeps you out of the red. You ask yourself why you didn't meet your expectations and you can analyse what to do next time, because it's about you.
As a New Year's Resolution (I like the German word Vorsatz because it can also mean "intention" which is a little weaker and makes you feel a little less of a failure if you don't follow it up), I have started to cook more.
Well, really, it began more out of realising the obscene amount of money I spend on restaurants/cafés each week - and I guess also because I got bored of the eateries immediately around where I work (which is when I am usually at my hungriest and therefore 200% more tempted to go pay someone to make something for me).
Cooking makes me feel like my life is more considered. Like I'm doing something for me - which I am.
I have recognised that productivity can be toxic. I've stopped trying to measure my day on how productive I've been. I make plans, I try to achieve them. If I don't achieve all of them, it's not the end of the world. If I take myself out for dinner, it's not the end of the world.
My worth is not the same thing as my productivity. Same goes for you.