I Tried To Lead A Fast-Paced-Productive Life and It Broke Me.

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This was an experiment of sorts.

I wanted to make use of every second of my day. I wanted to be productive and succeed and win at life. For the past three weeks, I worked and worked like I never have done before. This wasn’t out of necessity, but curiosity and a sense of laziness prompted me to make a conscious effort to be one of the winners in life. Image result for motivation in sport

You know who I mean. I wondered if I could be one of those people who got four hours sleep a night, who achieved more in the hours before breakfast than most people do in their entire day. I wanted to know if I could embrace this fast paced life, where I could track my day in a diary, hour by hour, and be pleased with how much I had achieved. I wondered if I could exercise, eat well and read books and articles on politics and literature and current affairs and then go to bed satisfied with my lot.

I had established a rigorous routine and I couldn’t wait to get started. As a masters’ student at university, my schedule varied but I was determined to stick to my goal and make use of each minute.

I got up at 6 am every morning, having been up until midnight the night before. I sat down with my cereal and cup of tea while I read the news online. By 6:45 I was fed, washed, dressed and ready to work. I sat at my desk and I read. I read texts for my seminars and I read academic papers that interested me. I sat there until lunch and allowing half an hour for a quick preparation and consumption of food, I soon returned to work.

I scheduled in reading on campus, I scheduled in food shopping (pre 8am is better as it’s quieter and quicker), I scheduled in the cleaning of my room and I scheduled in exercise. I set alarms on my phone which indicated that it was time for me to move on to the next thing, be it leave for a lecture or go food shopping. I would be “doing” something until midnight everyday. I always found my next task.

I did this for three weeks. I scheduled in social activities too, but I wasn’t getting much out of it-after all, what was it achieving?

I soon became extremely exhausted and unmotivated. I was being productive, but I wasn’t enjoying myself. I tried to create a sense of schedule and routine in my life but I sacrificed my own happiness.

I am now in the process of working on a life- friendly routine.

You see, it turns out that I need time to ruminate. I just do. I also need more than six hours sleep (and sometimes a nap in the day too) and lo and behold- I need time to chill out. I need to watch stupid YouTube videos and waste a few hours here and there. I wasn’t allowing myself to relax. I did schedule in the time but I had created a go-go-go lifestyle that I felt anxious, even guilty when I wasn’t working.

In looking at what I actually want and actually need as an individual, it has allowed me to be kinder to myself. The temptation to be this incredible individual who works her tail off 24/7 is there, however, to what end?

I’ve been so busy being busy.

Never again.


2 thoughts on “I Tried To Lead A Fast-Paced-Productive Life and It Broke Me.

  1. It took me a long time to realise than being busy doesn’t mean being better. I have periods where things are just mental with all the things I’ve got going on, but I know now that I can only survive that time if I make sure to stop, nap, watch Netflix, have a bath, stare out the window, spend mindless time on the internet. I’ve re-framed it as ‘self-care’ rather than ‘wasting time’. No time napping is ever wasted! One of my favourite phrases is ‘don’t glorify the busy’ – it’s a modern culture thing that places high status on being busy and we have a choice not to buy into that. Loved this piece!


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