Opinion | More time doesn’t mean more productivity

Students have more time on their hands to work and are finding it easier to be productive but it is coming at a cost.


Grace Smith

Pictured is the Main Library at the University of Iowa on Oct. 28, 2020. Many students in the library aren’t’ following the COVID-19 rules and regulations of the University, which requires students to wear masks and only sit a certain number of students to a table.

Yassie Buchanan, Opinions Columnist

With most of school and work transferring online due to COVID, many people have reported they feel like they have seen an increase in their productivity. Although an increase in productivity at first glance appears to be a good thing, for many people it is coming at a cost. 

Many of the friends and classmates around me have marveled at how much more time we have on our hands to get work done because we do the majority of our work from home. 

According to a USA Today article, results from a survey showed productivity for 54% of people between the ages of 18 and 74 has increased since people have made the switch to working from home. In the survey majority of participants reported this increase in productivity working from home was due to less time traveling to work and less distractions from those around them.  

Although this data seems positive, there were also negative impacts of working from home reported in the USA Today article. Many participants reported feeling a lack of distance between their work and home environments. Additionally, the majority of participants said they felt increased loneliness working from home.  

There is no easy fix to the issues that have come up due to people working from home, especially considering working remotely is our safest option due to COVID. Despite there not being an easy solution to these problems it is important that we value each other’s mental health over increases in productivity. 

With the current events we are all living through studies have shown there is an increase in the need for mental health services for students. According to Inside Higher Ed, there have been more students who have seen a decline in the state of their mental health due to economic and social factors during the time of COVID.   

With there being a global pandemic and significant current events taking place daily filling our schedules with more work should not always be the top priority. 

Jordan Trost is an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa studying public health and environmental science, she is also involved in Dance Marathon on campus and works at the College of Dentistry. 

When asked about how she feels about her productivity and working online she said, “with everything being a lot more accessible doing work is a lot easier so my time management has improved but I feel like I always need to be doing something. I spend so much time in front of a screen and not enough time processing the work I am doing and the world we live in.”  

With the increased time available for students to be productive because of organizations and classes being online there may seem like a need to fill that time with more work however, it is important as ever to make sure to take time for your mental health. 

Personal growth and a person’s productivity are not always directly tied to each other. Self-care is incredibly important in self-growth and avoiding burnout, especially amidst a global pandemic, and ongoing current events.  

It is important to make room for free time in our schedules to indulge in things like our hobbies and detach from our work in order to maintain some form of balance and avoid burning out. Productivity is not a measure of self worth and should not come at the cost of anyone’s physical or mental health.