10 Reasons Why I Hate Productivity Videos on YouTube
...And why you shouldn't take them as an example.
Being a university student, I have exams, assignments, and due dates. besides all my extra-school stuff like work, laundry, socializing, and having fun. The study community on YouTube and on the social is always proposing brand new, crazy routines that go from 5 A.M. and lead to dinner with no space for fun whatsoever. Here is why I hate this 5 A.M. standard and why I think your years in uni shouldn't be stressful ones.
1. Your brain cannot take a 20 hours day.
There is this unhealthy belief that your brain can do anything you ask it to do, as long as you eat vegan and drink fancy infused water. Wrong. Your mind is limited and needs sleep. Waking up at 5 A.M. can be good for your routine if you have to do a lot of things, but only for a limited amount of days. You can do it once if you really need to clean up or you have an upcoming exam and are really behind, but eventually, you'll have to sleep. If your lectures start at 8 A.M., there is absolutely no need to wake up three-to-four hours in advance just to read half of the book the topic the lecture is going to be about. Show up 15 minutes early in class and re-read your notes to freshen your knowledge.
Also, being vegan is not a requirement for A+ grades. Remember that when watching productivity videos.
2. Entertainment is crucial.
It's okay to take days off and watch Netflix all day long eating chips. Nobody should make you feel guilty about it. I hear the sentence "get out of bed and be productive" way too much from these content creators, and it's getting unhealthy. Learn to balance. If you don't feel like studying there absolutely no reason why you should do a to-do list of all the chores that need to be done in order to "restore your productivity." Leave your bullet journal on your desk and go back to bed, it's time to take some me-time.
3. Passing exams shouldn't be your number one priority in life.
When going to university, it's okay to wish for good grades, also failing now and then it's not an unresolvable problem. Neither you or your parents should be putting pressure for you to finish university in three exact years (or five, if you are doing a long course). Saving those money is not worth the damage stress does to your person.
Take it easy and if you fail a test, don't be hard on yourself. You are going to fail in life sometimes, the best thing you can do for your future self is learning how to manage and accept it.
4. Mental health SHOULD be your number one priority.
Grades are temporary, university is not mandatory. Finishing it with top grades and without ever failing isn't either. What is not temporary is you psychophysical health and well being. If studying for your exams is putting you in a bad spot mentally, feel free to quit or take a long break. Fewer exams are better than struggling with anxiety for the rest of your academic career.
5. You are not getting these years back.
This point is pretty straight forward. The years you spend at university are the most important for your development as a human person. Spending them in your room studying Scandinavian Literature is not going to make you figure out who you really are. Close your books for a while and explore the real world, develop your hobbies and your interpersonal relationships. Your future self will be grateful.
6. Procrastination isn't a bad thing.
Productivity videos demonize procrastination as a bad thing that will hurt you and your grades. That is just not true. Procrastination is the way your brain tells you it's time to stop and that you are not interested anymore in what you are doing. If your degree is something you love, why should you ruin it and make it become a stressful situation? Listen to your body and listen to your mind. If you start to lose interest, it will become harder to study and keep focus. Watch a movie or a documentary about that field of interest or take a break. You don't want to make your passion something you hate or that gives you anxiety.
7. At 5 A.M. it's still dark outside for most of the year.
As you know, the earth orbits around the sun and on its own vertical ax. This produces seasons and days. Your brain, especially if you don't live in the extreme north of Europe, associates dark with the night and therefore sleeping, and light with daytime. Waking up while is still dark outside for a long time will mess with your sleeping patterns the same way jet lag does. It's better to wake up an hour later but save your mind from useless stress.
8. The "studygram" aesthetic is not what makes you study better.
As students, we all spend money on school supplies like notebooks, highlighters, pens and books. Productivity videos often show the student's life with fancy and overpriced highlighters, expensive tablets instead of regular 1$ notebooks and new, perfectly kept books.
The reality is, even a regular highlighter used on a napkin will do when it comes to taking notes. The thing that really matters is how you use them.
9. Having a planner is not necessary.
All the productivity videos are forcing this idea that you NEED a planner to go to university. That is not true, especially if going to university is the only thing you do or if your work schedule is the same for the whole year. All you need is a piece of paper with you lecture schedule on it (or google calendar) and a block of ruled paper to write down something you don't want to forget and that just came to your mind. If you are into drawing and being creative, buy a black notebook and write on it between your study session and lectures. Spending half of your morning decorating your fancy Filofax is not going to make you learn anything. Remember that procrastinating is okay, but you will have to study now and then.
The same thing applies to buying three expensive planners for different things. If you have a lot of things to do outside of uni, then you might need a planner, but nobody should tell you that buying a three dollar diary from the drugstore is bad. It isn't, at least it's functional.
10. To-do lists are essentially useless.
Writing a page worth of things to study/do during the day is not going to make you feel more productive or motivated. It's going to feel miserable. Imagine having 30 tasks to do and only being able to accomplish 10. That is not going to make you feel motivated, it's going to make you feel like you are failing.