Productivity, Toxic

productive (with sticky notes!)
Photo by Thirdman on

Productivity induces anxiety, like,

you are a machine,

so you are worth something when you produce,

you are a train,

chugging for the change,

you’re a factory, a battery, an engine,

when you produce more, you make more, you are more,

if you’re idling

you’re wasting gasoline,

if you’re not creating,

you’re a canvas without a cause,

if you’re not working faster,

your matter takes up space

that could contribute better to society,

you’re a cost-benefit analysis

of utilities and fuel and product,

if you’re below a positive net income

you should figure that out,


eat less,

track bigger to-do lists,

you’re changing the WORLD

but unless you always do more

you’re not making it any better,

if you’re just existing

you’re dragging humankind down

by your lack of productiveness–

I would like to talk about

working through the poison,

finding that the machine has something human,

a beating heart within filled by compassion,

I’d like to tell a truth like “taking slow days are okay!”

and dance with all that jazz,

but when I get done with one chore

my brain comes up with three more,

or the times it can’t, it feeds me with needling pressure

that I must be forgetting a task terribly important

and it needed checked off three hours ago;

needling need anxiety’s greed

doesn’t go to bed until after midnight

(but at least it goes to bed, I say, in the dark before a brand new day),

at 2 I crash and burn

at 3 I don’t want to sleep

at 7 I rinse and repeat,

at 8 I wonder again why I keep doing this to myself,

functioning in the modern factory on four hours of collapsed-head-on-a-pillow,

from 9-5 I march with a muddled mind and morbid mood

carrying something like competence to prove

I don’t need motivational speeches,

I’ve got anxiety’s energy-efficient engine

careening me onward,

careening me green

into higher, happier numbers.

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