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Mental Mondays: What Is Toxic Productivity + Helpful Tips To Overcome It

Mental Mondays: What Is Toxic Productivity + Helpful Tips To Overcome It



eep going. Keep going,” those are the words you tell yourself on the treadmill. No breaks, keep running, keep sweating. This sounds like great motivation, and it is. But in real life, when you keep going without stopping to catch a break, something will eventually go out of whack. The hustle culture has become a badge of honor, decorated with an expected burnout. We all feel fulfilled when we knock off our goals to the T, but the idea that every second of your life should yield productive results isn’t sustainable, and perhaps, toxic productivity.

What is toxic productivity?

Toxic productivity is the unhealthy drive to be productive at all times––against all odds. This desire to be constantly busy drives a person to set unrealistic goals. Do you feel restless when you have unprecedented free time even after working hard? Do you feel guilty for taking a short nap during break time? Are you starting to feel that free time is for lazy people? Do you keep piling things up on your to-do list? Do you focus on the unaccomplished tasks, rather than the ones you’ve aced? If you can relate to these questions, it’s time to step on the brakes before a breakdown hits you at the nearest junction.

Is toxic productivity starting to affect me?

Toxic productivity is notorious for sneaking up on you, especially as a remote worker. Since the 2020 pandemic, work boundaries blurred, and the need to “appear like you’re actually working” became the norm. This modish way of describing workaholism might affect your health and relationships. If your drive to be “productive” has a chokehold on your relationships and has you feeling fatigued, guilty, and anxious, then it’s doing you more harm than good.

Check out practical ways to curb toxic productivity before it cripples you…

#1. Take deep thoughts

deep thinking black woman
Darina Belonogova/Pexels

The first step is to acknowledge the effect toxic productivity might have on you, the root cause, and the need to revert to being productive, but in a healthy manner. This introspective moment should be truthful enough for you to embrace change, even if it means seeing a therapist.

#2. Set boundaries

Photo: Monstera/Pexels

When you work from home, it’s easy to say; “I’m about to finish this last thing, I’ll join you soon.” Of course, you add another, and when you get back in, your exasperated partner is fast asleep. If this persists, you already know how that goes. When you create a schedule that encourages work-life balance, it gives enough room for personal time and bonding with loved ones. From a healthy sleep pattern to enjoying hobbies, productivity is achieved from balance.

#3. Take a step back

Photo: Christina Morillo/Pexels

Someone caught up in the web of toxic productivity is never satisfied with achieved goals. They feel guilty for a job already done, and believe it could be better. Start by setting realistic goals, rather than piling things up and ending up with a nervous breakdown. And when those goals have been hit, take a step back to congratulate yourself for a job well done.

#4. Prioritize

Photo: Suzy Hazelwood/Pexels

No matter how much we feel we need to be on top of every matter, there are still tasks that are more important than others. They may seem urgent but are not important. How do you determine this? What task on my to-do list would suffer in a few hours if left unattended? That will guide you. You’ll realize that while some might seem pressing, they can be relegated to the background for a few days longer. Focus on the urgent and important tasks, and take action accordingly.

#5. Do nothing

black woman resting and laying down happy
Photo: Anna Shvets/Pexels

If you have to schedule quiet time, do so without an iota of guilt. Take walk breaks, a short nap, eat lunch, listen to music. Whatever healthy habit that helps you recharge should be incorporated into your schedule. This approach would make you ditch toxic productivity and see it for the energy drainer it truly is.

Featured Image: svet | iStock

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