November 29, 2022

3 Ways To Combat Toxic Productivity

By: Erin Tooley

The Covid-19 pandemic has redefined productivity. When your home is not only where you rest and play, but is also your office, productivity becomes blurred. This can cause working around the clock. Toxic productivity is another word for workaholism. Simone Milasas, a business coach and author of “Joy of Business,” states, “‘Toxic productivity can make us feel like a failure if we’re not constantly doing,’ she told HuffPost. ‘When toxic productivity is leading your life, you judge yourself every day for what you haven’t done, rather than looking at what you have accomplished.”’ When the pandemic hit, we felt a loss of security and uncertainty. The people who were fortunate to still have a job put every waking hour into their work in order to feel a sense of control. Psychologist, Doctor Julie Smith, talks about ways in which we can improve our outlook on this idea of radical self improvement because of productivity. Despite this idea, we will still have guilt at the end of the day that we could have done more. So, how do you avoid this feeling?

You Are Enough

Dr. Smith talks about how no matter if we have a PHD, a designer bag, or a luxury sports car, you are enough. Your success and productivity do not define you and your worth. We often put more pressure on ourselves than is asked for. Americans tend to look at it as a competition or a race, but it is not that. HuffPost states, “Work culture in the United States valorizes the grind ― and in moments of crisis, we grind all the harder.” You are enough regardless.

This tweet is an example of the unrealistic and unhealthy standards people put on themselves during a stressful time like a pandemic.

Self Care Is Key

We often look at self-care as a luxury or treat. It is not an indulgence! Human beings need to rest in order to have the energy to keep going and not get burnt out. Without breaks from your work, productivity can turn toxic. Why do you think kids have spring break? Rest is crucial; it is not weak or unproductive. Many feel that they have to be so productive that they can’t even switch off. If you feel like this, it’s important to find something that helps you forget about your work responsibilities. This could be a long, hot bubble bath with a cup of strong tea, or you could click here if something like weed is more your thing. However, if you decide to give it a shot, make sure to ask around first. You never know what works best for your body. Having said that, if you’re going to check out one of those cannabis products, you might as well look for some weed discounts so that you can get these products for a less rate.

Have Non-Negotiables

Having a few things that are not work related that are non-negotiable will help your mental health. This can be exercise, afternoon tea, or reading in the mornings. It is important to have a work life balance in order to stay sane, especially in a pandemic.

It is important to be kind to yourself in uncertain times like these. Talk to yourself like you would support a friend. If we find a healthy balance of work and play, we can redefine a healthier idea of productivity.

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Twitter: @TooleyErin


9 thoughts on “3 Ways To Combat Toxic Productivity

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post and it made me realize the toxic productivity that I do in my everyday life since the pandemic began. I will definitely be using some these tips in order gain some balance back in my life. I think it should be taken even further and even be talked about in schools or something. Everyone needs a break from time to time and it would be good to implement in our everyday lives.

  2. Wow, that tweet by Jeremy Haynes that you included is a really good example of the kind of mindset that our culture’s glorification of productivity produces in people. I know at certain points over the past year, especially in the first few months of the pandemic, I was hard on myself for being tired all the time and not feeling motivated. I had to remind myself that even though from the outside it didn’t look like I was doing much, on the inside my mind and body were navigating a complete upheaval of everything I was used to, in addition to the fear of living through a global pandemic with thousands of people dying every day. No wonder I was tired and didn’t feel like learning how to play the ukulele! Learning how to value rest just as much as working hard is a skill I think everyone should cultivate.

  3. Hi Erin,
    I am really happy I read your blog post! I think it’s important to have these reminders on how to take care of yourself during an incredibly stressful time. I will definitely put these tips to use from now on. At the start of the pandemic, I was doing school work in my bedroom. And anytime I wasn’t working or taking a break, I felt the pressure to do something.

  4. Erin,
    I really liked the topic you chose for your blog post. Being in college and a lot of us being seniors, it is easy to forget that there is more to life than school, homework, internships and finding a job. Taking time for yourself to rest and recharge is vital in finding success in school, work and life. The tips you talk about in your post are extremely important, easy to do and helpful! I will definitely be paying more attention to my mental health and how I am taking care of myself as I approach graduation and post-grad life.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this Erin! I read so much nowadays how less and less people are taking the time to really take care of themselves when consumed with work. While I talk a big game about self care, your blog is an excellent reminder to make little things like 5 mins of meditation, a walk or decompressing with a cup of tea non-negotiable. I’ve finally started incorporating walks into my schedule every day and I can say it’s definitely helped improve my workflow.

  6. Erin, I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I thought organizationally it was set up super well and aesthetically interesting but also overall the content is so pertinent as we all navigate online school. The little tips at the end of the blog were especially fun and helpful!

  7. This reminds me of my days working in small market news as the only digital news producer. I would eat, sleep that news cycle until I burned out. It took me a while to learn to balance work and personal life. These tips are a great reminder that mental health is important and we should learn that its okay to take time out for ourselves.

  8. Thank you so much for this Erin! Honestly as a person with ADHD the pandemic has been absolutely horrible. The tweet you shared from Jeremy Haynes is the perfect example of toxic productivity and unfortunately a lot of people’s mindsets about the pandemic. That mindset has made me feel so bad about myself and my inability to have self care and non-negotiables. But your tips were super helpful and inspire me to not let toxic productivity get me down! 🙂

  9. Great post Erin! I think it is very important to value others things in life then just school, a job, or success. So many times I see people get lost in a almost completion like mindset of having to succeed and be the best. Its imports to do things that get your mind of those things. For me its fishing and skiing! Thank you for the tips on toxic productivity.

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