Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: Productivity

Call me fanatical… but is it just me, or do we find value in productivity, in the busyness of each day, in the “go go go” mentality, in the ability to check things off our to do list? 

Is it just me, or do we find our value and label ourselves based off our accomplishments, off of what we can do, what we look like, the validations of others, and what we essentially have taken from society to be a yardstick of our personal value and worth to the world?

Is it just me, or would we rather be busy with tasks, inherently forgetting the value and joy in doing them, just to cross the finish line and “win” than being intentionally present, still, and fully aware of the emotions of the mind, heart, and body occurring directly in a moment? 

Although productivity is in fact important, what’s important is not always productivity. When we rush through the things we do just to be able to do more (what we in medicine know as RVU’s), we tend to overflow this mentality into our personal life. 

Our friends notice we lack presence and cut short our time with them — be it physically or emotionally. 

Our family notices we are always having to pencil in time with them. 

Our sleep suffers from the stress of trying to make time for everyone without making time for ourselves.

We become overwhelmed, and our well being as well as those around us becomes damaged. 

As we continue on our paths in medicine, in our life-long careers dedicated to caring for those around us, we need to know that productivity, like the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or the apple from the acclaimed classic fairytale Snow White, can be poisonous. 

Productivity doesn’t wait for a red light. 

Productivity doesn’t take time out of its day to sit down and talk with a friend who is struggling.

Productivity doesn’t believe in being mindful or the value of meditation. 

Productivity doesn’t care about YOU, so with one life to live- your biggest advocate is YOU.

We are MORE than our productivity and we deserve to take care of ourselves and fill our cup before we can expect to pour into others’ cups successfully, thoughtfully, and respectfully.  

There is a power in being quiet, in being still.

There is a value in pausing and not being productive.

There is a necessity in redefining success in our careers and personal life of being present and loving others, like ourselves, which will not always fit in what society labels as productive.   

Let’s empower ourselves and be encouraged to not always do what’s most productive, but to do what will make not only us, but also others around us, feel appreciated, value, and loved- no RVU will ever accomplish that. 

Put the apple of productivity down and instead of dreaming about making a change, just wake up and DO IT. 

*inspired by Jay Shetty, Shia Labeouf, and Interview Season contemplations 

Irina Geiculescu

About the Author: Irina Geiculescu

Ethnically, 100% Romanian, and nationally, 100% American, I was born in Seneca, South Carolina and have lived in the Clemson/Easley area my whole life. I graduated with a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering, Materials Emphasis, from Clemson University. Athlete, scholar and former competitive pianist, I try to maintain a balanced mind, body and soul. I am ecstatic and blessed to be attending USCSOMG and to be part of the wonderful Class of 2020, beginning the journey that propelled me into medicine: pursuing the principle of people first.

Feature photo courtesy of Raychel Simpson, Class of 2020