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Sixth Blog: The Productivity Slump.

We have come to the end of our first half term of the year and whilst the time spent away from school has been different for all, it has been a well deserved break for all of us launching or relaunching ourselves back into the swing of the IB. Before we broke up from school to enjoy this week of peace and solitude, I tried to make several goals and aims for myself, to complete by the end of the week. I am sure many people, especially the hyper academics among us have also had this same conscious thought floating around their heads before half term break. I, however, have failed.

My aim was, apart from catching up on hours of sleep I have lost over the last half term, to work on coursework, write up notes and keep on top of the work we had been set over half term. I had my work laid out neatly on my desk on Saturday morning, pens and pencils ready and my laptop crying for some kind of academic attention, and there it sat, aimlessly for about three days. In the corner of my eye it sat, sad and unloved, and every time I thought about it, I wondered why I just couldn’t sit down and crack on? I wondered why I insisted on spending five hours watching meaningless videos of comedians, cats and cake making. Then it came to me, the reason why I had thoroughly neglected my duties and wasted my days on scrolling through my phone. The dreaded productivity slump.

I’m sure that whoever is reading this knows what this feels like. That feeling of lack of motivation and procrastination. The knowledge that there is work to be done but there is simply no way on earth that you could pick yourself up and do anything. My productivity slump however was downright embarrassing however. I would spend approximately five minutes on any given project and always found myself doing something else, and usually extremely unimportant like reorganising my bookshelf or seeing how many highlighters I could stack until they would topple over and consequently nick me in the eye. 

However, I am not going to lecture you on how bad productivity slumps are, and how you are a bad person for not doing your homework as soon as it's set. Whilst ideally, we could be all perfect students and keep on top of our work, that simply just isn’t realistic. We as humans, particularly we as teenagers, are exhausted from life's struggles, the small yet heavy inconveniences that grace our day to day lives. Perhaps it is walking home from school with seven folders and your school bag. Perhaps it's the long wait for the bus which causes you to be late for school and get that late detention. The overwhelming feeling of everything getting too much is all too familiar to all of us, and so when a productivity slump comes, deep down you cannot blame your body for needing a rest. 

I am a definite advocate for not working when you are tired. I find that there is no point working when you are tired as you are already at low productivity and cannot perform as well. I cannot seem to stress enough the importance of rest, and if you have spent this entire holiday resting, it should be completely and entirely understandable. The world may not understand how as growing, stressed teenagers, our minds and bodies need a break and this half term I believe has been beneficial to all who are in need of some time to themselves and relaxation. However, of course, I am not promoting completely skiving off your work and living a carpe-diem lifestyle. That is unrealistic and not good in any way, and regardless of our mental health, the importance of working hard is still completely prevalent and should be done. However if you needed a break this half term, and you rested well and feel ready to come back to school with a new mindset, I implore you to feel no guilt over that (that is if you have done all your work and are ready for going back!).

As I end this, having done all my week's homework over these last three days, I would like to leave you with this message. Taking time for yourself, performing self care, spending time with others and doing what you enjoy, should never be something you feel guilty about. I am not a bad student, who will fail if she hasn’t completed all her homework right away, I am simply just a tired student who was in need of a break.

Maya Bhogal, year 12.