Productivity Anxiety

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I am obsessed with getting things done. Well, mostly because I want to clear it off my mind. However, once I complete the task, something else creeps in. I am never still. I constantly have this feeling that everyone in the world is working harder than me, better than me, and faster than me. Sometimes I feel anxious because I am convinced that I’m going to be left behind.

My brain 24/7, “Hey, your age-mates are out there busting their asses off to be business owners by the age of 20. What are you doing with your life? Lying on the couch almost finishing the 18 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy eh?

I suddenly can’t sit to enjoy Netflix, I can’t sit to have lunch and I don’t have time to visit my parents. I have to hit the ground running, remember? I mean, I can’t sleep for 8 hours as if I am the only rightful heir of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. I need to make more money. I need a job.  I need to finish my degree. Start my Masters’s Degree. But wait, getting more certificates will give me an upper hand right? So I do tonnes of courses. Why is Njeri calling me now? I have work to do. Small talk isn’t my forte, besides it will take too long to listen to her relationship problems. Time is money abeg.

I put off people and everything that doesn’t seem like a value addition. God gave me 24 hours and I intend to use them wisely. That translates to optimizing every single hour of my day. I can’t waste time. Not if I want to be successful. I am therefore making to-do lists so that I am not idling around. I schedule when to sleep, when to do self-care and when to call my mom. Every minute is accounted for. It is 10:45 am –time to breathe in and breathe out.

We are in June and everyone seems to have something going on. Sometimes I don’t have something to do. It’s driving me crazy. I am digging through my bones trying to find out what I can do so that I stop feeling useless. I put all sorts of things on my to-do lists just so that I don’t look or feel like I am lazy for sleeping till 8 a.m.

Today though, it hit me. It hit me that capitalism is engraved in me. This hustle culture and being a busy body have caught me by the groin. The ability to juggle 176 things or tasks at once is the dream, or so it seems. If I am an engineer-wow! But if I am an engineer who is a fashion stylist, landlady of an apartment, and a musician- wow your highness. Step on us. We are your servants. Forbes should be calling me any time for an interview because I think I made it.

So now I am left knowing that I am only of worth if I produce a lot for people to consume. I am of worth if and only if I am working. As I work, I am frustrated, anxious, and unsatisfied. I am constantly asking myself, when will I ever be a billionaire? It doesn’t matter that I saved sh10, 000 more this month. To hell with the process. I want results now! The end-point is the true achievement even KCPE AND KCSE prove that.

Capitalism is rooted so deep down inside me and I don’t know how I can excavate it. I don’t want to feel guilty for taking the time to do nothing. But I can’t help but feel like trash for doing nothing. It’s insane I can’t relax the way I want to. Capitalism (or societal expectations or whatever it is) has fixated in me that there is a way I should relax. Think about it. While at an interview if asked what you do in your free time what would you say? Hiking, reading auto-biographies, coding, watching TED Talks even though what you actually do is spend the entire weekend binging re-runs of ‘The Office’. Sounds lazy right? It’s crazy that there is a stigma on how to spend your resting time productively.

I am with the Italians here. Bel far Niente which means “the beauty of doing nothing”. There is beauty in doing nothing. That pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness allows for your subconscious to expand and be more creative. For your well-being, it goes a long way if you spare time to do nothing. By the way, I don’t mean sitting and binging movies or scrolling through TikTok. I mean sitting and doing absolutely nothing. Simply being.

I know it’s easier said than done. In my pursuit of doing nothing or even seeking pleasure, I have this bag of guilt that always weighs me down. I feel like I have not yet earned relaxation/pleasure. I am convinced it is reserved for a certain day of the week. I don’t feel like I deserve breaks if I haven’t exerted myself. It’s absurd because we are all entitled to enjoyment/relaxation in this life. You are entitled to breaks not because you have earned them, but because it is an inherent part of being a human being.

You have come a long way baby. You will still go a long way if you slow down. Easy…usikanyange accelerator sana. Mafuta ilipanda bei.

Simply be dear human being.


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  1. Why is Njeri calling me? 😂😂That one felt personal! Anyway, I really enjoyed this, especially because it’s something a lot of us struggle with.