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How to Cure Toxic Productivity

Toxic productivity, yes there is such thing.

It refers to the ” obsession with radical self-improvement and is an unachievable goal which causes us to set high standards for ourselves”

It’s that feeling of “not doing  enough”. I suffer from it.  I think that explains the constant need to be doing something even on my “days off” and feeling guilty whenever I decide to just relax and do nothing. 

Hustle Culture

We often glamorize doing 40-80 hour work weeks especially in health care field. It propagates a 12-16 hour day with every hour being spend on “doing something productive”. Personally, I would feel very proud juggling A MILLION things at one time. This leads to sacrificing sleep, even meals and feeling constantly anxious of not “being enough”. 

Signs of Toxic Productivity

Having unrealistic expectations for yourself. Working under stressful conditions, especially during the pandemic and expecting the same outcomes is unreasonable, I often forget to give myself some grace having to juggle being a new mother, working a full-time job, and starting a new business this past year. 

Forgetting self-care, harming personal relationships. (me saying this after signing up to work this coming Saturday for over time) instead of spending time at home with my family. (SMH). I know, I know. I should do better.

Difficulty giving yourself a break. Weekends, in my case are supposed to be my days off work, yet it’s often a struggle whether I should be working on something else or just not doing anything at all. 

On the verge of burnout. Feeling less motivated, energetic and focused. 

Rx for Toxic Productivity

Adjust goals and set realistic goals.  Some days, I’d plan for a million to-do list. I have to keep in mind that there’s only so much  I can actually do in one day. I have to be honest with myself about the things I can realistically accomplish.

Take breaks. Heard of “Sleep is for the weak” or “Taking a break is for the lazy”. It is not. REST is very vital to  feel rejuvenated and fresh to take on tasks during the day. So if you feel like taking a nap, or spending the weekend playing videogames, do it. 

Avoid comparing yourself to others. Social media, while beneficial to so many aspects in our life ~ could also be detrimental for our mental health.  These platforms promote a kind of competition among peers or even among strangers. I find myself looking at “successful people” doing so many things and can’t help but compare how productive they are with me. Sometimes, a little social media break is needed. 

Practice positive self-talk.  I define my sense of self-worth by how productive I am. By doing this, I find myself in a cycle of chasing accomplishments that gives me a temporary sense of  worth. Then, that feeling dies off and I have to accomplish a new goal. I need to tell myself that I am worth based on ME, myself as a person.

Lastly, take your time.

This blog post took a few days to write. Normally, I’d set a schedule to film a video,  edit videos, write a blog post in 2-6 hour time frames but this time, I allowed myself some time to step back and have a relaxing weekend instead. Sometimes that’s all we need. TIME. Learning not to beat yourself up over putting yourself first is something everyone could do with learning.

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