JANUARY 27, 2021
In the last two years of the pandemic, the one thing that we’ve thrown out of the window is BALANCE.
There is no line between our personal lives and our professional lives. We wake up and have our phones and laptops in our hands. We go to bed, and that is when we close those devices and end our work. Everything is chaos.
And that leads to toxic productivity, which is a big problem.
What?! Can productivity be toxic too? Yes! And the fact that we aren’t aware of it makes toxic productivity an even bigger problem.
Let’s demystify Toxic Productivity today!
What is Toxic Productivity?
In simple words, toxic productivity is when you prioritize doing many things at the expense of your mental health, self-care, happiness, and other priorities apart from work.
Toxic productivity did exist before the pandemic, but it was accelerated during the last two years. Why?
Before the pandemic forced us into the work-from-home culture, the simple act of going to the office and returning marked a clear distinction between our professional and personal lives.
The zones were clearly defined—office for work, home for everything else.
Now there are no different zones—home is for everything (without the else).
Our daily life has become a melting pot of everything. The only problem is that the sheer amount of stress, confusion, and anxiety that happens makes it toxic.
And with our constant efforts of trying to get the most work done and be productive, we neglect other things and focus solely on our work.
That’s toxic productivity.
Why do we indulge in toxic productivity?
As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, toxic productivity is a choice like many other things in life.
Why do we go towards toxic productivity, though?
- We compare our productivity to other people. We as humans often tend to undermine how well we’re doing. And that includes all of us!
Whenever I write a blog post or make a video, I have this lingering doubt in my head that says, “Maybe you did not do good enough. Look at that guy; he speaks so well in his videos. Oh, and remember the writer you met on Twitter? Her blog was phenomenal! Maybe yours isn’t that good.”
And that’s a huge problem! We compare ourselves to other people and eventually conclude that we are not good enough, which triggers us to choose toxic productivity. We think everyone is working a lot, so we should we even harder, even if it goes on to toxic levels.
- We compare our life with the glamorous ones we see online.
Social Media has advanced and grown tremendously in the past decade. We tend to believe everything we see online, often forgetting that many people try to put their best foot forward and show only half the picture.
That can make us feel that our life is not right and everyone else has it sorted out, but that clearly isn’t the case! And everywhere, you see posts that say, “Don’t Give Up! Keep Hustling!” which makes us feel that we are not doing enough, leading to toxic productivity.
- We have attached our identity with just our work.
The pandemic suddenly forced us into a bubble where we had not a lot of things to do.
And when we were not working, we had this nagging question, “Now what?”
We did not have an answer.
We all are always so engrossed in our work that it becomes our identity, and we think, “If not work, then what?”
Because of that, we try to keep busy in our work, trying to avoid these questions, which also leads to toxic productivity.
How to get rid of Toxic Productivity?
Now that we know why we choose toxic productivity, it is time to get rid of that!
And you can do that in just four simple steps!
- Schedule Downtime.
What happens when your car or your computer isn’t working well. You check if something is wrong and repair them, right?
If you can do that for your vehicle or gadgets, can’t you do it for yourself? You’re not a superhuman. You can’t keep working all the time.
Put your downtime on your calendar. Schedule it just like you schedule all of your back-to-back meetings. Use this downtime to do everything else but work.
- Set realistic goals.
There’s only so much that you can do as a human being. Keep goals that take that into account.
Set productivity goals that you know you can achieve. While you can constantly improve and work towards higher efficiency, you don’t have to make it toxic.
- Keep a check on your mental health and happiness.
Is your work burning you out? Do you constantly feel pressured? Do you feel unhappy and stressed out? It might be time to take a break. Do it.
Keep asking such questions in between and check your mental health and happiness because nothing else matters more.
- Set boundaries.
Even though we might go back to the office, we have to start setting boundaries around our work to make the thin line between professional and personal life more apparent.
Define specific times for checking your emails. Define particular work hours. And in that time, only focus on that and nothing else. This way, you will not only start focusing on your work better, but you’ll be able to manage everything well and remove the pressure of toxic productivity.
Toxic productivity is bad for us. Even if the world glorifies the hustle culture, it is you at the end who’s getting affected the most, right? And if it isn’t making you happy and fulfilled, it isn’t worth it.
Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.
Don’t let toxic productivity do that to you. Implement these steps, and you’ll start having productive days filled with happiness!
Partnering in your success, happiness, and growth,