You Are Worth More than Your Productivity

I live for the ‘good days’, where I’m getting up early, working out, eating healthy, and making my to-do lists. But then, one morning I wake up- and innate drive is no where to be found.

There’s a terrible heaviness. I’m way too tired to be repeating all of that again.

I don’t see any results. I’m not any smarter, my 1500-page book is still not over, and my grades have not gone up.

On one of these down days, when I was deep in the YouTube rabbit hole, stuffing my face with chocolate orange, I came across this video.

It introduced to me the roller coaster of extremely productive days, and the days of being down in the dumps.

While the video goes off into a different trajectory, going on about how to completely eliminate the variations. Yet, we are going to have good and bad days. The only thing we can do is learn how to deal with the bad ones without going down the deep dark hole of self-sabotage.

Productivity needs to be sustainable in the long run, not only a manoeuvre we pull 2 days a week.

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

As long as our self-worth is tied to how productive we are, there’s nothing that can do with the feelings of absolute worthlessness a bad day brings.

Here’s what you can do to have a great bad day.

  1. Acceptance

This might be the hardest bit of all- accept that today is just not it. Not the day you’re going to finish that book or submit your project report. Ask for, or give yourself any necessary extensions. Learning to live without counting the costs of every action, without assurances that nothing will be lost- is 100% worth it.

2. Moderation

It’s hard not to, but extremely important to not undo any progress you’ve made until now. You may not want to work out today, but you could stretch in bed. Move your limbs around. Limit your frivolous screen time to how much you would allow yourself on a workday. That’s another success for today!

3. De-catastrophizing

Your worries are like quicksand- the more you struggle to get rid of them, the deeper they will pull you in. Luckily, quicksand isn’t even that dangerous. Once you stop forcing yourself out of that mindset and sit with it, it’s likely to pass by quicker. Label your thoughts and emotions. Don’t judge yourself.

Learning to live without counting the costs of every action, without assurances that nothing will be lost- is 100% worth it.

4. The 5-minute rule

If you have something that needs your attention and cannot be put off, set a timer for 5 minutes. Give yourself a little countdown and get to work. There’s a chance that you will continue to work, depending on how you feel. Also use this to complete essential tasks- washing your face, getting something to eat, etc.

5. The progress lists

Having a visual list of little wins, to show you how far you’ve come can be essential to make you feel like you’re actually making some sort of progress. When a lot of our goals are long term, it can feel like we are not moving forward. This is why it can be helpful to maintain a log of little success every day. This can be revisited on the not-so-good days, to get that boost of inspiration.

As long as our self-worth is tied to how productive we are, there’s nothing that can do with the feelings of absolute worthlessness a bad day brings.

Putting it all together-

There is a slew of methods that will help you be more productive, more efficient, more something. Take a day to be less- less anxious, less stressed, less caught up.

There’s more to you than the level of your productivity.

Accept the day to revitalize, moderate the damage, let go and climb out of the quicksand. Work on anything essential and don’t forget to celebrate the successful day you had.

The aim is to not get off the roller coaster- but to enjoy it while we’re here.

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