Updated: Mar 30
When life starts to get busy, it's easy to get swept up in the craziness of trying to get everything done. You make your looong to-do lists, plot out the day minute by minute and attempt to check off as many items as you need to before the sun goes down (or sometimes, until you can't keep your eyes open anymore). And while there's nothing wrong with a good work ethic or staying focused, I've noticed that a lot of people are starting to develop the tendency to place 'finishing tasks' over basic self-care and rest.
I think one of the biggest issues I've noticed in today's work environment is the importance of 'productivity' over everything else. And by productivity, I don't mean focusing on the big projects or daily work, I mean the need to always be doing something or seem like you're doing something at all times just so you can feel important. Feel 'productive'.
In other words; the lie that you matter more when you do more.
This isn't a new phenomenon at all, but it has become worse as technology has advanced and we can (in theory) get even more done in a shorter amount of time. But rather than view this as a way to get more done so we can have more time to spend with our loved ones or relax, it's turned into working more and accomplishing more so we can be the busiest person we know. Because being busy means you're important, that you have value and are needed.
For some reason it's become a competition of one-upping each other with how burnt-out exhausted we are. And that's not something unique to working adults- this behavior has been shown even in middle school and high school students. The game of joining as many extracurriculars, taking harder classes, planning for college all while still having a social life and keeping your grades up is a badge of honor, while anything less is seen as 'taking it easy'. And that's messed up.
It's common for people to force themselves to take breaks, and then feel guilty because 'they should be spending this free time being productive'. So they busy themselves with other tasks that aren't technically work, but are still things that aren't relaxing or allowing themselves to rest. And then at the end of this 'break', they wonder why they feel even more exhausted than before.
I've done this. My friends have done this. I'm sure whoever's reading this has done it at least once too.
It's okay to take breaks. It's okay to put your own needs before 'productivity' every once in a while. We're people, not robots. We weren't built to run and work without stopping, nothing natural is! Even God took a break when making the universe, so that right there should tell you it's not just okay-but actually encouraged- to stop and rest.
Life is not just about working. Yes, having a job and creating or doing something to benefit others is amazing, but it's not all there is. Life is also about being there for your loved ones, enjoying the moments that make you laugh and smile, and allowing yourself to be valued as you already are, not just for what you do.
So give yourself a break. Because you deserve it.