“Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure”

I wasn’t planning on posting anything today, but then on Facebook a friend shared this piece—Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure—written by Aisha S. Ahmed in The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

Ahmed outlines how to deal with living in times of crises, in particular during this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

The piece is full of terrific advice for everyone, not just academics. If, like Clif and me, you have been spinning your wheels and have been feeling too much emotional turmoil to accomplish much of anything, then this piece is for you.

Ahmed writes “I have worked and lived under conditions of war, violent conflict, poverty, and disaster in many places around the world. I have experienced food shortages and disease outbreaks, as well as long periods of social isolation, restricted movement, and confinement.”

She advises us all to pace ourselves and to not expect life to return to normal anytime soon. “Understand that this is a marathon. If you sprint at the beginning, you will vomit on your shoes by the end of the month. Emotionally prepare for this crisis to continue for 12 to 18 months, followed by a slow recovery. If it ends sooner, be pleasantly surprised. Right now, work toward establishing your serenity, productivity, and wellness under sustained disaster conditions.”

Take care of yourselves, blogging friends, and allow yourself to feel distraught and disoriented. As Ahmed noted, you will recover, but you need to give yourself time to adapt to the new normal.





57 thoughts on ““Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure””

    1. Excellent article! I especially liked “If we can name it, perhaps we can manage it.” And “Acceptance, as you might imagine, is where the power lies. We find control in acceptance.”
      Might take a while, though. Sigh.

  1. Brilliant. I’ve lost a lot of reading and weeding concentration, but that means I won’t run out of books (I like books on paper) and garden projects.

  2. Thanks for pointing out this article, and thank you Eliza for pointing out the Harvard Business Review article. Both good. I’ve been feeling very unfocused myself, and it makes me feel vaguely guilty all the time! Very good to be able to put a name to it.

  3. Yes, a really good article to remind us to keep steady… I went to bounding school in my teenage years and we always disliked going back to school, but within a few weeks we adapted to it ….this is a bit the same. It’s a marathon … but it is possible to adapt.

  4. Sound thinking.
    I am definitely in my own little mini heaven of crafting, walking and gardening for the long haul. I don’t have any great goals, just carry on much as before, I have enough projects to last me more than a lifetime!
    I don’t think we will be out of lockdown until after the vaccine is readily available. Although for economic reasons governments will give the go ahead before that,
    I intend to remain as isolated as possible until I have had the virus or have been vaccinated.
    I am one of the lucky ones and feel supremely grateful.
    Stay safe, be gentle on yourself, take it easy, we have the time! xx

  5. It is a very strange time. In theory, life isn’t much different for me, but in practice I find myself unable to concentrate, disturbed by more than the usual number of phone calls and stressed about everything from my mother’s state of mind, to my elderly neighbours’ grocery needs. The advice is so wise – and I am trying to find a new normal, but it’s hard. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Same here! I’ve worked at home for years and years so my schedule really isn’t that much different. But, oh what’s happening all around us. We are all under emotional stress, even those of us who normally work from home. Best to your mother and your elderly neighbors. And hugs from across the Atlantic.

  6. Yes, I agree and I do think you have to give yourself time to adapt, and not anticipate too much. Thanks for your article and also Eliza’s one.

  7. Much good sense. I once did my best to rein in an 18 year old running his first marathon in 80+ degrees. He wouldn’t listen. He was wringing wet and walking as I passed him at 5 miles.

  8. Thank you for this. I’ve read bits and pieces about reframing and they’ve haven’t helped one bit. This feels more honest and true. When I heard John Oliver interviewed on Colbert, his always-funny persona shared openly his fear. It was reassuring. Thank you, Laurie.

  9. Some people have responsibilities no matter what: I am raising a granddaughter who is now doing school online, so I have to keep an eye on her; a husband with multiple health problems that require phone, online, pharmacy and even still some in-person doctor visits; and a dog that must be walked, fed and played with. I thought I’d get tons of knitting and reading done during this time, but I’ve ripped out more than I’ve knit, and I’m still slogging through the same book. I am truly overwhelmed and disoriented. We do a therapy session on Zoom today, so maybe that will help!

  10. I’ve been struggling this week adjusting to all the changes as we’ve quit going anywhere and realized we could be doing this all year. Maybe a few sunny days will help.🙂

  11. I have done what I always do in a crisis – head down and barge through the backlog of jobs. I think it will hit me when the garden is growing and the house spring cleaned. I am worryong about my kids and grandkids and I can’t go and see them to check up on them for myself – that is the hardest part.

    1. A great way to react to a crisis! Yes, it will hit you eventually, but at least you will have a clean house and a growing garden. Oh, I know just what you mean about worrying about children. My three are far away, and one lives in New York City, the epicenter of this terrible virus. Best, best to all our children!

  12. Very wise advice. I do notice among many in my daughter’s generation (mid-thirties) this desire and pressure to just hang on until things get better. With a few more years on me, I have the feeling that recovery is going to take a long time and the ripples are going to extend far into the future. I think we might as well learn to live graciously and peacefully while we usher in a changed world. Thanks for sharing.

  13. This is brilliant – thanks for sharing! I often must remind myself that I need to slow down!

  14. I can relate to this completely. You open social media and everybody is showing all the life changing decisions that they are making. But, when this is over, will they continue? This is the result of peer pressure and FOMO, and that pressure isn’t always healthy. Great article that you shared, thank you.

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