The need to feel productive is a normal part of the human condition. You might not experience it the way that other people do, but you’ll feel it in one way or another.
Human beings want to make the world a better place. That might mean they want to improve their own lives, or those of their families, or of their friends. It might mean they want to make the world better for everyone.
People feel suffocated if they don’t feel productive. They feel like they’re wasting what little time they have on this earth with things that are pointless. People want to create. They want to contribute. They want to feel like what they’re doing is important.
They want to feel like what they’re doing matters.
Like they matter.
But productivity, as a feeling, is painfully elusive. It slips away from you when you most crave it.
Sometimes, when you’ve decided that you’re not doing enough, no matter much you do to chase it away, that belief can haunt you. It can convince that you’re not good enough – that you might never be good enough. That you can never do enough to feel like a constructive, worthwhile part of society.
And the fact is that that is never true.
By existing, you matter.
But feeling like you don’t do anything important can suck that feeling out of you.
Sometimes, you need to remind yourself of how much you really do, of all the time you spend doing things that make the world a better place. Even if it’s only you who notices.
Especially if it’s only you who notices.
Write yourself a list of everything you do in a day. You can write it at the end of the day. Or you can add to it as the day goes on, so you make sure you get everything down without forgetting.
And anything you do can go on there.
I did the washing up as soon as I was finished cooking.
It’s not something that, at the time, will feel very much like an achievement. But it is important. You didn’t leave your dirty dishes to go crusty or mouldy, or to get in someone else’s way later on. You dealt with them, when they needed to be dealt with.
And you should be proud of that.
I went to the bank.
I brushed my teeth.
I made my bed.
They’re all important things that people don’t realise are contributing to making the world around you – even if it’s only the world in your immediate vicinity – a better and more pleasant place to be.
Remember that you did that and that you should be proud of that. Watch all the little things add up.
Look at that long list of things that you’ve done. Let it remind you that you can do this. When you see an opportunity to add something to it, do it.
I picked up some litter in the park.
I helped someone carry their shopping to their car.
I comforted a stranger who was upset.
Every little thing is important. Every little thing makes the world better.
Soon enough, you won’t need to make a list at all. You’ll be naturally inclined to do the things that you want to remember that you did, the things that make you proud to be you.
Everyone has to start somewhere. It makes sense to start small.
But as long as you start, you’re on the right path to changing the world.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.