on checked lists

gpa, check. internship, check. attend event, check. apply for job, check. networking, check. respond to emails, check. self care, check?
the college culture of productivity often has me feeling inadequate. am i doing enough? am i involved in enough? social media has become a platform people use to boast their productivity, which indirectly breeds an atmosphere of competition. i get that this productivity culture could be motivational and push us to do our best and aim higher, but it sometimes feels like a toxic space that makes it hard to celebrate the achievements of others because of envy, and even harder to celebrate our own because nothing ever feels like enough.
i’m not sure if i wrote this for you or more of a reminder to my self, that you are not your productivity. you are enough. you are doing enough, and in fact you don’t have to be doing anything at all. waking up is productive. breathing eating sleeping is productive. spending hours in the dining hall chatting about the meanderings of life with those you love is productive. taking care of your self is productive. perhaps the most productive thing you can do.
we have to get out of this existence of always being in a state of “getting my life together”. we have to be mindful of how this lifestyle chips away at our mental health and snatches contentment from arm’s reach. we have to. dare to create your own measurement of what it means to be productive and live by that rather than ascribing to the world’s. dare to readefine what success means to you. because the prize for this world’s productivity is a checked list and a tired heart. the prize for living life on your terms is priceless.

e.

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One thought on “on checked lists

  1. Elaine. I really resonated with this post. I loved it. You touched on something really fundamental that i feel we don’t talk about enough. The checklist is something on my mind daily. Even if I don’t have it written down, there is always a running list in my head. I know where I need to be and what I should be doing at any given moment. There is something in the process of quantifying what we do. By using a check list to measure how productive I am, it almost assumes that more is better. I see a number, or see how many tasks I have finished, yet I am fixed on the ones I haven’t completed. As if it would be better if I could just eek out a couple more those. Just a couple more tasks that I could add to a number that I unnecessarily attach to my self worth. Thus, instead of seeking balance, I try to see how many tasks i can complete, how many productivity points I can add to my belt. But it really is meaningless. Productivity is nothing if not for the right purpose. And quantification makes it seem like there is always room to do more, which makes you feel as if you should do more. It pressures us to do, instead of think. The process of quantification can make contentment harder to achieve.

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