Embracing the “New Normal” Are you
Many people are being urged to secure themselves while maintaining their productivity at home during the pandemic. But is it necessary to be productive during lockdown?

The virus outbreak has affected all aspects of life resulting a tremendous fear, and now it’s leading to a breakdown in knowledge and certainty.

We don’t know much about the virus or the best way of handling it, but for sure it’s killing a lot of us. Everyone is coping with the reality of an uncertain future. During stressful times like these, there’s nothing I could do better but to try to make perfect sense of the situation and everything around me. 

The pressure is real. The struggle is compelling. I’ve been asked how I am dealing with the situation. The texts, calls and emails I’ve received have possessed me to comprehend a “new language”, in a sense forcing me to sign up for productivity porn – from maintaining strict journalistic schedules, hustling to register online courses and seminars and/or taking a business course to more productively monetize my writing skills while managing 
the household chores and rushing to exercise and meditate as frequently as I possibly can for the sake of sanity. I feel like every second that I don’t push myself towards this productivity porn or comprehend “the language of the hustle” in some way, a second wasted. 

But then I stopped and wondered, is this a common response to the surviving of the pandemic? Is it really the best way to kill my spare time in lockdown? What I see behind this scramble for productivity porn is just a perilous reckoning.

Embracing the “New Normal” Are you

The hustle culture endured long before the Covid-19 crisis. Its functionality exists in relation to the sense of self and social environment. It has since become a prominent lifestyle for global citizens, thus making it a dominant culture. The shared workspace company WeWork suggests “Don’t stop when you’re tired” – it is indeed as impressive as it is troubling.

I don’t necessarily blame the people sprinting through the hustle culture, but worshipping the hustle is part and parcel of late capitalism where our sense of self-worth is often reduced to our productivity. What I’m trying to say is that just stop forcing yourself from peddling all the productivity porn and the hustle culture.

In tough times like these – with the current financial insecurity – the concept of the hustle can bring out the worst in you, a commotion that in some way can be weaponised to justify income inequality in nearly any context, promising nothing but an illusion that if you hustle hard enough, you’ll get equal value in the playing field, too.

I’m not alien to this hustle, but here I am just trying to make perfect sense that being more productive has been made harder by the disruption in daily schedules, or having no way to escape from productivity porn. Here’s what I must remind myself that maintaining your sanity and mental health condition is way more crucial than buckling down for a short stint until things get back to normal.

Don’t be afraid to find joy by doing absolutely nothing! Enjoying certain moments does not deny that you’re also sad, scared, or worried. It’s making you more human. Right now, work towards establishing your serenity, capacity and wellness and making ethical decisions. Find the new normal in your terms. Encouraging that we’re all living in an impossible world with little, if any, extra spare time is a vital first move to break free of hustle culture, especially if you can laugh at the abnormality of it all.

Asyariefah R.A.

Asyariefah R.A.

Born into a nature-loving family, Asyariefah enjoys the outdoors. Now! Jakarta provides her favourite collection of narratives with a sense of helping establish her identity. Some of her key areas of expertise include human interest, arts & culture, travel and features.