What Is Toxic Productivity?

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Is there such a thing as being overly productive? and isn’t it a good thing? Thinking about being productive all the time may actually backfire and no it is not burning out or overworking.

While working hard is necessary be it in your jobs or your side hustles, maintaining a balance between life and work is important for your health and wellbeing too.

Toxic productivity is the idea that we need to be working hard and continuously all the time, even at times when it may not be necessary. There are several reasons why toxicity can be a problem.

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Symptoms Of Toxic Productivity

Before we talk about why you should address toxic productivity and how it can lead you to become less productive and might even hurt your mental health, let’s look at the different symptoms.

I found myself going through this phase of “Toxic Productivity” where I’ve attached my self-worth to the amount of work I put in everyday.

I’ve always felt that no matter how much work I did, it never seemed enough and work is constantly on my mind no matter what I was doing, where I go or who I am with. In my case of “work”, I am referring to my side hustles such as this blog, Forex trading and other ventures.

Sometimes I do not feel like taking breaks because “they’re a waste of time” and I should be working instead.

Looking back at the things I have achieved, I have actually come a long way, however, I still feel guilty about the things I haven’t accomplished.

This led me to create more tasks and adding more work to my to-do lists and eventually my goal becomes unrealistic, a little far-fetched, it feels like as though I am craving for immediate gratification but deep down I know that results takes time and what I need to do is to be consistent.

But that wasn’t the case as I cram up all my time into “focusing” on doing my work which led to a poor establishment of boundaries between my personal and work life.

If this is you on repeat, everyday, you are facing toxic productivity.

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Why Productivity Becomes Toxic?

Understanding the thin line between healthy productivity and toxic productivity can help you grasp the actual reasons on why you are feeling and reacting this way.

Some of the reasons why productivity becomes toxic is because you are craving for immediate gratification on the things you are working on and this is the case for me.

As much as I understood the power of delayed gratification, I am human too and may fall into the depths of wanting something in return for my work immediately. This has led me to a tunnel vision where I insist on focusing on my work and work only, expecting the returns to come faster.

Another reason could be not having a hobby for you to divert your attention to and all you can think about is your work and since I do not have anything else to do, let’s just put my full attention onto my work and making the work as perfect as it can be. This will eventually lead you to having high expectations of your own work since it has your fullest attention but you have to understand, nothing is perfect and it will only lead to toxicity.

Aiming To Meet Society’s Standards

The last reason I can think of is what I feel many people are facing.

The need to meet society’s standards. With social media being a bridge to understanding what’s going on in the world, this accessibility is one of the top reasons why many people are depressed as they see flashy cars and jewelries from many people their age.

This has caused many people to pin unrealistic goals and expectations to themselves and they think to themselves, “the only way to be like those people is to work as hard as I can”.

Eventually, when they find out they are unable to accomplish such goals in an absurdly short amount of time, they feel useless and unaccomplished.

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Why You Should Address Toxic Productivity

So how and why you should address toxic productivity?

If this behavior is not taken care of, it might lead to chronic stress and eventually burning you out for a long time. It can cause mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and even exhaustion as you work your days away.

Crucially, this will cause poorer focus and will lead to lower quality of work being done which is the last thing you’d want to do.

Even if this does not harm you, what you are doing is promoting a harmful hustle culture where achievements and results are everything which is definitely not true.

How To Work Productively And Healthily

Some solutions I’ve managed to implement into my own life to ensure I maintain a healthy balance between work and my own personal time is to take some time off to exercise at least 3 – 4 times a week.

By exercising, it has not only help me to stay physically active but it has also helped me to stay more alert and less fatigued from my work.

Aside from those benefits, exercising also gives me the time to reflect on the things I am working on and whether if I am taking it slowly or am I falling into the range of toxicity. The latter plays a big part on why you should start exercising because it keeps you sane and gives you the time to think about the smaller things in life.

The next method can help ensure your consistency in your work and also prevent yourself from going through toxic productivity.

This method is being used by many entrepreneurs from around the world and notably, the founder of NomadWatchWorks, where he single-handedly built an E-commerce store from scratch in his bedroom and till date, has opened 2 retail stores selling watch straps.

By assigning 1 big task and a few small tasks for the day, it prevents you from overworking and ensures that you maintain a healthy work life balance.

The key thing is to work on the big task for the day first and the small tasks, depending on the difficulty of the big task, may or may not be completed on that day.

This ensures that you are doing work that will move the needle (actually being productive) while staying sane. And with the understanding of compounding and playing the long game, you will actually achieve the results that you want in the future.

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We’ve come to the end of this article and I hope you’ve learned something new or better still, understood what toxic productivity is and how you can prevent it.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, do give it a share on your social media and spread the awareness of toxic productivity, you never know it might actually help someone who is going through a tough time.

With that said, thanks for reading and see you in the next one!