Against The Gospel of Productivity in the time of Pandemic

We’ve all heard it. Whether it be YouTube Invidio.us channels, your fitness app, or even your friends. That we have an obligation to come out better, stronger than we went in. Now that we’re all isolating at home, we have an obligation to be productive. We’ve all got nothing better to do anyway, right? Why not learn that instrument/language you’ve been meaning to, or start eating healthy, or-or-or… You get the idea.

Hustle culture had firmly sunk it’s teeth into our collective conciousness before the pandemic, but now the myopic viewpoint is all-pervasive. The idea that every moment of our lives must be filled by productivity or self-improvement, on the surface seems like a reasonable notion. Faced with unprecedented challenges, pondering how one can come out stronger is generally a mark of resiliency. A desirable, perhaps even aspirational trait.

But in the face of global fucking pandemic, to mandate that being productive is the primary focus of those of us locked in the comfort of our homes is at best missing the point, and at worst a hallmark of a terrible sort of privilige – blind to it’s own power and assumed of everyone else.

Maybe you do have the energy to focus on self-improvement. If that’s the case, full steam ahead for you, human. Become the deity you aspire to be. But please, miss me with that preachy bullshit about how now is the best time to get a leg up. I don’t want to hear it. There are tens of thousands of people dying out there, at the very least show some respect by not insisting that we all gotta be better. Fuck.

If you feel called out by this, maybe take all that time you’re putting into being productive and take this moment to self-reflect on the nebulous tentacles of the ideology of productivity. Get in touch with your emotions, and maybe some loved ones. It’s okay to not be productive, especially right now.