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Leibee: Productivity shouldn’t hinder your health

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

A few weeks ago, on top of an already stressful week, I lost my wallet and house keys on campus. I’m not one for mental breakdowns, but one was looming. To counter this, I took out my laptop and began doing homework. Although I was on the verge of tears, I figured, “There is still work to be done.”


Later on, I realized it was probably unhealthy to just continue working through a stressful situation — I should’ve allowed myself to calm down. I thought, “You know, not everything always has to be productive. As a human being, I don’t always have to be productive.”

My mental break led to productivity because I came up with this column. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

We’ve been taught that any time spent doing something unproductive is ultimately a waste of time. Have you ever had a small break between classes? If you have, you likely went to some building on campus and pulled out your laptop to get some work done.

Even the slightest gaps of time in our days where we’re not in class, at work or participating in a club or activity is generally thought of as time to be spent doing homework — or at least giving off the illusion we’re doing homework by having our laptops in front of us. 

It’s unhealthy and strenuous to always be focusing on productivity or trying to turn every minute of free time into something productive. That’s not how life is going to be nor is it how it should be. 

In fact, it might actually increase your productivity to give yourself downtime. Overworking yourself can cause burnout that slows you down and makes it harder to focus.

As a society, we don’t necessarily prioritize activities that are creative, healthy and peaceful, which is likely what causes burnout among college students.”

One day, I came home to my roommates who had made a calendar where we could map out our days, detailing where we were, accounting for every hour. Living as a type B personality among type A’s, I couldn’t understand it. My schedule changes daily, and I’m not one to have every hour of my day mapped out, even if that would make me more productive.

Not everyone’s personalities allow them to be productive all the time — and that’s okay. As a society, we don’t necessarily prioritize activities that are more creative, healthy and peaceful, which is likely what causes burnout among college students. We are taught that every activity and minute of spare time should be productive work.

This might be why we join multiple clubs and organizations that we don’t necessarily have time for. Many college students likely answer the question, “What is your greatest weakness?” with “I overcommit,” or “I can’t say no to things.”


We are told that continuous and constant productivity will get us to our goals, but we don’t think about how we are also human. It’s not natural to be working and to be productive as often as we are.

Not to be the person that lectures about the past and traditions we have lost, but meals used to be hours long. People used to sit down and eat lunch and dinner for hours at a time, just talking. Now, meals are not only quick, but the meals we do sit down to eat usually include our laptops and doing homework.

It’s perfectly okay to not do anything. In fact, it’s probably good for you. It’s okay to not have every minute of your day planned out, especially if that is not your personality. 

Katrina Leibee can be reached at or on Twitter @KatrinaLeibee.

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About the Contributor
Katrina Leibee, Editor-in-Chief
Katrina Leibee is serving as The Rocky Mountain Collegian's editor in chief for the 2021-22 academic year. Leibee started at The Collegian during the fall of her freshman year writing for the opinion desk. She then moved up to assistant opinion editor and served as the opinion director for the 2020-21 academic year. Leibee is a journalism and political science double major, but her heart lies in journalism. She enjoys writing, editing and working with a team of people to create the paper more than anything. Ask anyone, Leibee loves her job at The Collegian and believes in the great privilege and opportunity that comes with holding a job like this. The biggest privilege is getting to work with a team of such smart, talented editors, writers, photographers and designers. The most important goal Leibee has for her time as editor in chief is to create change, and she hopes her and her staff will break the status quo for how The Collegian has previously done things and for what a college newspaper can be. From creating a desk dedicated entirely to cannabis coverage to transitioning the paper into an alt-weekly, Leibee hopes she can push the boundaries of The Collegian and make it a better paper for its readers and its staff. Leibee is not one to accept a broken system, sit comfortably inside the limits or repeat the words, "That's the way we've always done things." She is a forward thinker with a knack for leadership, and she has put together the best staff imaginable to bring The Collegian to new heights.

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