We talk about being productive all the time, even my previous articles were about the ways you can be productive and how to manage time effectively. While its a great thing, people sometimes fail to draw the line. Those who connect their worth with how much they are productive or how many hours they work are the ones who have fallen in the trap of toxic productivity. This is when we create an obsession with productivity and work, which is not only unhealthy for ourselves but also everyone around us.
Especially during this pandemic, everyone on social media is talking about how being productive at home is important, how you can take advantage of this opportunity to build something of your own, how you can complete all your tasks. This is the culture that promotes toxic productivity. They talk so much about working that it makes you feel unworthy if you didn’t accomplish your tasks for the day, or if you take a day off for yourself.
You create an unrealistic expectation of yourself to do everything in a day, not take breaks, constantly be busy.
No human can work 24 hours or even 12+ hours, if you’re trying to achieve that, you will not be able to get something out of it except some health issues, which no one wishes to have. You are trying to push your body beyond its capacity expecting it to function completely fine. Fun Fact: It will stop functioning properly altogether.
The need to constantly be working is not going to be of any advantage to you. It will only create an unhappy feeling inside you when you’re not working. This is a very unhealthy mindset that can prove to be harmful if not changed.
How to know you’ve fallen in the trap of toxic productivity?
You feel guilty when you take a break.
You want to relax and take a break so you sit down and turn on some music or a movie to refresh your mind, but your mind doesn’t allow you to fully relax. Subconscious thoughts about not being productive, wasting time, and not doing anything efficiently are going around in your head. There is a feeling of restlessness or anxiousness. If you relate to this, you might be a victim of toxic productivity.
Being productive isn’t about being busy all the time, it’s about utilizing your time in such a way that you can complete your tasks in a shorter amount of time with the same efficiency. This also includes taking breaks to relax and reset. So, now you know that wanting to take a break is actually a good thing.
Your personal relationships are getting harmed.
People around you are always wondering where are you? why don’t you spend time with them? or what is that is so important that you cannot give them 5 minutes of your day? You are constantly busy and whenever someone tries to make plans or engage with you, you shrug them off by saying you’re busy or you don’t have enough time. Slowly, you drift away from people that matter to you and care about you. They start to feel that you don’t want them in your life. This is another sign that you’re getting trapped into the toxicity of being productive.
Your work is important but there should be a balance between your personal life and work life. Studies suggest that people who have a good work-life balance are more successful and happy in their lives than those who constantly keep working day in and out. You need to understand that the people around you, those who care about you and those who matter to you, should be valued. They are equally important, if not more.
Spending time with people you love makes you happy, it helps be more satisfied with your life, step away from the work worries, and relax.
Your health is deteriorating.
Your physical and mental health is getting worse day by day. You’re avoiding the basic human needs to function properly like eat or sleep. This is where you know that you’re thinking too much about productivity. Nothing is more important than your health. Even if you don’t think it’s affecting your life right now, you will get caught up soon. Your body will start to show signs of your unhealthy habits and routine.
Your mind and body should be healthy to work properly. Don’t avoid eating or sleeping, your body needs that. Don’t deprive yourself of something that is a necessity just because you feel you don’t deserve it. You deserve every bit of peace & rest. Also, food is fuel for your body, never run out of it. Eat healthier. You work more efficiently when you’re healthy inside out.
There is a very thin line between healthy productivity and toxic productivity. It all relates to your perception of yourself and how societal pressure affects you.
We think too much about being accepted in the society that we lose ourselves. We seek external validation by trying to fit in the idea of a perfect person. This is not something new, social media and peer pressure have been doing that for years. But during times like these, it is very important to stop spreading the wrong message and focus on the well being of each other. You are not unworthy if you take some time off to do something that makes you happy, relax, do nothing for a while.
Healthy productivity is when you set realistic goals for yourself, you know you can do. You have a balance in your life by taking the breaks that are needed. There should be an adequate work-life balance so many of the things don’t feel like a burden to you.
Being able to enjoy life as it comes and not being stuck in this toxic productivity cycle is very important. You should be able to establish a boundary between working hard and working too hard. Allocating enough time for all the essential things you need to do is a very good start towards healthy productivity.
Take as much time as you need. Sit down with yourself and acknowledge the things you need. This pandemic is not a productivity race.