Toxic Productivity Blog

07 - May - 2021

Toxic productivity explained

Did you manage to get a summer ready body, paint a masterpiece, learn a new language, finish an online course and become a great cook during the first lockdown? 

You may have been feeling pressure to do something meaningful with your time spent in isolation instead of using this time to do less. The need to be productive can often become toxic when it becomes an unhealthy habit or relationship with you and the people that surround you. 

You may be suffering from Toxic Productivity if you don't acknowledge how much you have done for yourself or others, if you are constantly trying to be better and more productive.

It's important to realise that It's okay that you didn’t manage to get a summer ready body, paint a masterpiece, learn a new language, finish an online course and become a great cook. 

If overdoing it is draining your energy, making you feel ill or affecting your relationships then it might be time to consider doing something about it (or just doing less!). 

We are all just human. Everyone is different. Some people can deal with more stress than others. Comparing yourself to others  often increases stress and anxiety. And it's important to pay attention to the messages your body and mind give you about how you are feeling.

Do I have toxic productivity?

Do you overwork to the point that your relationships and wellbeing suffer?

If work is consuming the basic human needs, such as eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom, this may be a sign of toxic productivity. It's possible that your friends or family members are upset with you because they miss you for these reasons.

Remember we know ourselves through our relationships and so it is important to pay attention to what we experience from our interactions. 

Do you find it difficult to take a break?

If you feel guilty about taking a break or relaxing, if you struggle to be alone with your thoughts anytime you are not busy or if you feel like you are always not productive enough then these could also be a sign that you are experiencing toxic productivity. 

Remember our feelings give us really important information but what is important is to know what to do with it. If you feel guilty about taking a break you might think that means you need to work harder or you are getting behind with things you need to do for example that tax return? Whereas it is also possible that the feeling of guilt is actually coming from holding unrealistic expectations you have around what you should be doing? 

Do you have unreasonable aspirations of yourself?

If you put extra pressure on yourself during stressful situations or periods it could make these already difficult situations into traumatic ones. 

How to eliminate toxic productivity from your life?

When you feel guilty or stressed and wonder whether you should be doing more then always ask yourself whether it is possible you might be holding unrealistic expectations? 

Learn to set achievable goals for yourself. 

Can you reward yourself for managing to achieve things under pressure and remember that it is also okay to yourself off the hook when times become too challenging? Your health is more important than the superficialities of life. 

Can you make rest part of your daily routine?

It's important to give yourself time to recharge your batteries if you want to make sure you will be the most productive version of yourself. An employee's work life balance is an important aspect of a business or organisation's productivity and success. Many studies have shown that working shorter hours or focussing on wellness within the workplace can actually increase productivity.

Can you deepen your awareness of your surroundings and take time to appreciate the smaller things in life?

Learn to be mindful, take time off to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the garden. Put down your phone and enjoy the simple things that surround you whether that's nature, the urban landscape or the people that surround you. Learning to disconnect with the stresses of daily life can help you see the demands in a more balanced and healthy light. 

Do you pay attention to what others have to say and follow their advice?

It's important to listen and take advice from those you trust. Sometimes your closest friends, family or therapist know you better than yourself and can help guide you through trying times and convince you to cut yourself some slack.  

Are you good at setting limits for yourself.

With the coronavirus pandemic, lockdowns and work at home have become the new normal of today. It's, therefore, extremely important to set yourself some boundaries. These could include: separate your leisure and working spaces, no technology after a certain time, or set a number of hours of sleep you will give yourself each night.

Are you your own harshest critic? 

It's so important to be kind to yourself, learn to be confident in yourself and stop comparing yourself to others.