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Social Media and Productivity: A Pandemic Perspective
15 Jan 2022
Social Media and Productivity: A Pandemic Perspective image

A productivity contest. Mostly that is what social media and the influencer culture have made the pandemic look like. Baked goodies, finished paintings, revived skills, many other happy and success-scented snaps or write-ups have occupied a common part of our social media consumption. 

While at the same time our anxieties, fears, and frustration out of the pandemic have shrunk to one locked room with us, creating a cloud of uncertainty above our heads which many of us refuse to publicize. And that is completely okay!

Because the aim is not to publicize sadness, doubts, worries, and other unpleasant things, but the goal is to build the ability to discern the difference between a whole reality filled with all sorts of emotions and experiences from a carefully curated virtual world which is mostly overshadowed by happiness and success alone.

“Lockdown = More Time” Myth

An argument on social media these days goes on to assert that a pandemic lockdown gives people more time. It further goes on to imply that those who don’t use this said “increased free time” fruitfully to enhance their skills or work on their dreams are time-wasters and must not complain of a lack of time later in life.

What one fails to realize at the first glance here is that “increased free time” during a pandemic lockdown depends purely on one’s privilege. A healthcare worker or frontline worker might be puzzled by this argument with extended working hours at their hands. Those who experienced no loss (personal/financial) and those who did not have to grieve certainly had an advantage over those who did and could focus on other things like hobby building, leisure time, and the like.

To question and compare one’s productivity during a lockdown based on social media posts without comparing the level of privilege of both parties could be an absurd activity and one that brings uncalled-for anxiety. 

Healthier Social Media Practices

The healthiest social media practice is to realize that it is a virtually curated world, mostly only filled with the bright side and that everyone goes through the ups and downs in life. And hence, not compare one’s life to that of other social media personalities. Easy to say but it is genuinely difficult to implement this practice all at once!

As one slowly tries to get there, some easier-to-do social media practices that constitute healthier social media consumption are simply unfollowing and muting. 

  • An account constantly questioning your self-worth, making you overthink or be unhappy with your situations even for the slightest of matters, deserves an unfollow. One may follow those accounts back later if they were able to get over those troubling thoughts and if the information contributed by that page is valuable.
  • If an account is too important for one to unfollow, apps now allow the muting of stories or posts. 

It is advisable to regularly keep filtering what you consume digitally. When something makes you uncomfortable, stop to think why it is doing so and what could you do best to get rid of that inconvenience. Take breaks as and when needed. Even a 24 hours break does so much help in a time of desperate need!

Realistic Goals and Productivity

Respecting one’s capacity, one can always be productive and set realistic goals. The key is to not look at what everybody else is achieving or has achieved but to find out what you can and wish to achieve with the means you have. This could lead to fulfillment and gratitude rather than a constant feeling of “I haven’t done enough” despite burning yourself out.

To be productive is many times falsely interpreted as working strenuously without breaks and outdoing your capacity. Getting your prioritized tasks for the day done without compromising on your rest, health, and leisure time is the desired shift that is expected to happen from the existing notions of productivity.

One can, through the following suggestions, healthily tap productivity,

  • Organize tasks for the day based on priority (make a to-do list).
  • Keep workstation tidy and if one likes,  then aestheticised with colours, plants or lights.
  • Keep sipping water/detox drinks. Stay hydrated, cut caffeine and aerated drinks.
  • Apply POMODORO Technique for focus (set a timer for 25 minutes and start with a task. When the timer rings, one can take a break for 5 minutes. After 3 more such breaks, the 4th break would be a long one lasting 15-30 minutes and the cycle repeats).
  • Reward yourself in your unique ways for task completion. For example, watch 1 more episode of a show guilt-free if your finish a major task.
  • Implement a sleep schedule. Keep gadgets out of bed. Take to reading before bed and first thing in the morning instead of social media scrolling
  • Journal – pen down thoughts, figure out why they occurred. Even if not, get them off mind through journaling.

Riya Susan, Mount Carmel College Bengaluru

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