With the rise of social media apps such as LinkedIn and Instagram, we’re more prone to procrastination. These apps are geared to show you all the more successful people and the things they’re doing. So, it can make you feel like you’re not doing enough. With that, it’s not surprising that there’s a rise in a new form of mindset: toxic productivity.
Toxic productivity happens when you’re constantly trying to achieve things without success, which leaves you empty and feeling like a failure. If you suffer from toxic productivity, you are often plagued with work-related guilt and hence view leisure time as a waste.
As terrible as it sounds, this sort of behavior is most often rewarded and praised these days. Our society focuses on praising people who don’t have a healthy work-life balance. It’s dangerous, yet we still do it to climb the corporate world’s ladder.
But the fact remains that toxic productivity is terrible in all possible ways.
We are constantly told to never give up on ‘the grind’ and keep going no matter how burnt out we may feel. We’re encouraged to outwork our coworkers and personal exhaustion to improve our careers. Not only is that unhealthy on its own, but adding social media to the mix makes things much worse. Then, we get entangled in a web of toxic productivity.
Luckily, there are some ways you can ensure that you are not swept up by toxic productivity:
1. Check if you exhibit any signs of toxic productivity.
There are several tell-tale signs that indicate a person is struggling with toxic productivity. To figure out if they apply to you, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you constantly work yourself to exhaustion?
- Are you always restless, especially if you are not busy?
- Do you take pride in the number of hours spent working?
- Are you constantly overwhelmed by work?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to most of these questions, you might suffer from toxic productivity.
2. Remember that your health is more important than your career.
Excessive work is harmful to everyone’s mental health. If you find yourself getting fewer than six hours of sleep, working all day with just a few breaks, staring at the screen at all times, and always feeling pressured, then it’s time to begin prioritizing your health. Too much pressure hurts both your mind and body. So, it should be your top priority to free yourself from the weight of toxic productivity.
3. Take some time off social media.
If scrolling through social media makes you feel that you’re not working hard enough, then it is time to delete some apps from your phone.
Now, I am not saying that you should completely deactivate your accounts. But taking some time off social media to get some mental clarity might be just what you need.
4. Actively work on restoring your work-life balance.
Toxic productivity and work-life balance are not usually very compatible. It’s hard to have a full and vibrant life when your mind is constantly focused on achieving more goals. Because of that, you must actively take out the time to understand that your family and life after work are the things that create lasting memories. If you never let yourself invest your time in that because all you care about is being productive, you will harm your relationships and may even end up living a very dissatisfied life.
5. Ensure that your sense of self-worth is not tied to your career.
A high percentage of those that struggle with toxic productivity are those who equal their self-worth with their careers. As a result, any moment spent outside of work fills them with crippling anxiety and feelings of emptiness and uselessness. So, to escape those feelings, they bury themselves in work, using professional achievements to keep their sense of self-worth afloat.
But your sense of self-worth should come from within — from your spirituality, family, and personal achievements.
If you are really struggling with having your sense of worth tied to how much time and energy you put into work, you should take a step back and seek out help, even therapy, if needed.
Always remember that no matter how many motivational books preach toxic productivity, this mindset robs you of so many things, including the time that should be spent living a more fulfilling life. So, never let societal pressures push you into going down the rabbit hole of toxic productivity.
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