Toxic productivity means you have a mindset of being occupied and getting things done around the clock. This urge to always hustle at something and upgrade your life is becoming a norm nowadays.
We accomplish small milestones, yet we want to do more. Work no longer stays work, but it becomes an addiction. In such circumstances, it is no surprise that whenever someone fails, he becomes disappointed and questions all his honest efforts.
This is the point where the dark side of workaholism starts to unveil itself and makes you think about whether you are actually being productive or not.
So, let’s dive deeper and see how this negative productivity pans out in the long term and how you can deal with it.
What is Toxic Productivity?
Whenever your cross the line of realism, Toxic Productivity enters your life. It will tie your hands and force you into a lifestyle with zero breaks and uncountable working hours. It will fill your mind with greed and despair with no free time to think of what’s productive.
Toxic productivity, in simple words, is the opposite of productivity. A productive life rewards you with more time to spend with yourself. It allows you to explore the meaning of your life and decipher what’s beyond your imagination.
However, hyper-productivity just puts you in shackles, surrounded by the notion of endless struggle. Your life becomes dull and useless, with no rest in between. This leads to a head full of negative thoughts, depression, and frustration.
But even in this mess, there is always a way to escape.
Signs of Toxic Productivity
To understand this escape plan, you need to know about the signs of this fallacy. Are you trapped in such a vicious cycle? Let’s find out.
1. Taking on Too Much Work
If you work more than 12-15 hours daily, it’s a massive sign that you are a victim of toxic productivity. Such a lifestyle consumes your inner soul.
If you feel that you need to be productive all the time, even when you don’t need to be, you must reconsider your habits.
Your lifestyle becomes all work and no play; in the end, you have no time for your family, friends, or even yourself. You are constantly working on something or reading more and more personal development books to improve yourself.
But in reality, you are paying half the attention that is required.
Keeping this up won’t allow you to have a proper restful routine, resulting in poor health, weak relationships, and unsatisfied life.
2. Cutting off Friends and Family
You don’t want it, but such a lifestyle slowly drives you rudely away from your friends. Ask yourself, how many times have you used a sentence like:
“Sorry, I won’t be able to meet you this weekend.”
“I’m too busy to have lunch with you guys.”
Even when you don’t mean it, you still portray an image that you don’t need your friends and family constantly push them off—proving that you are trapped in the loop of toxic productivity.
3. Getting Zero Rest
Whenever you want some leisure time, you become restless quickly, forcing you back into work again. You might start your next day’s work or start something else, thinking you might get an edge over other employees.
The thought of wasting time comes into your mind, and you are constantly driven back to work.
Whenever you think you deserve a little rest, you want to work more until you feel enervated. And this cycle goes on and on.
4. Feeling Guilty For Not Working
No matter how hard you work and how much effort you put into your job, there will always be a pang of guilt that it’s never enough. Work-life balance starts to mean nothing to you.
You are always on the go instead of calming down after a good day’s work. And if you don’t, you start to feel guilty about yourself. This feeling of being at constant fault is what is called toxic productivity.
While It’s always good to have some additional room for improvement, always blaming yourself, even for taking out time for your self-care, is not sustainable in the long term.
5. Compromising Your Health
One of the most common signs of toxic productivity is neglecting your health. From skipping meals to being overburdened mentally with work, it all comes under stretching yourself beyond your limit.
What kind of a life is where a person doesn’t have time to enjoy a good meal after an honest day’s work? If you find yourself in a similar situation, you might be munching on junk or fast food or maybe even consider skipping your meals.
Not only does this disturb your physical health, but you also become more prone to mental health problems. Compromising your well-being due to your work commitment is detrimental to you long term.
10 Effective ways to escape Toxic Productivity
If you find these signs in yourself, then I am sure you are affected by the hypergrowth fallacy.
But what to do now? Don’t worry, as I will tell you the ten most effective ways to drag you out of such a life and be productive in a positive way.
1. Treat Your Health as Wealth
The first and most important task is to give priority to your health. People enmeshed in hyper-productivity are just like fuel to fire. Regardless of how weak or enormous the fire is, they will always light it brighter due to their actions.
It doesn’t matter how hard you exert yourself. There will always be another uncompleted task at your doorstep.
Start with shedding unnecessary workload. I know it can be hard for you to leave work right in front of you. But if you prioritize your health over additional commitments, you’ll see remarkable improvements in productivity.
Even stats show that 88 percent of people claim that good health positively impacts their mental state, adding more value and structure to their life.
2. Don’t be Influenced by Everybody.
One of the rising issues in our society is social media. Yes, we can’t deny the pros of social media, but we see a lot of posts and videos about how burning the candles at both ends is the only way to success.
You might be scrolling through your Instagram feed, and suddenly, Dave is staring right into your eyes with his latest new whip. Forcing you to say sentences like:
“Oh God, he gets everything he wishes for. I need to work harder to get the same car.”
So you work even harder the next day, and then Dave gets something else.
This cycle goes on and on; instead of making sustainable progress, you burn yourself out.
Stalking into other people’s lives will make it harder to exit toxic productivity. Don’t attach your self-worth to someone’s garage or net worth. Always look at your life first and then at other people.
3. Learn to Say No
While it’s easy to say NO, many people still struggle to say this word, thinking it will damage their progress or reputation as diligent workers in the eyes of others.
Just because you don’t want to lose a business proposal or the expectation of promotion in the back of your mind, you shouldn’t refrain from refusing where it is needed.
Make an easy schedule and handle what’s necessary. If you think a project is way too complex for you to take, politely refuse the clients. There is no need to burden yourself with dozens of projects.
Schedule what’s essential and deny what isn’t needed. Just like Stephen Covey says in his book seven habits of highly effective people:
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”Stephen Covey
4. Work When Needed
Don’t try to be extra in everything. Sadly, it has become a norm to work to the point of physical deterioration. Thinking your boss will be thrilled with you going the extra mile is just a false expectation. It is just another day for your boss when an employee is working hard.
Realize this fact and work only in your circle of influence. The quality of your work is what helps you get promoted and noticed. If your company has a requirement to exert yourself each day fully, you’re better off with jobs where you feel more in tune with yourself.
5. Avoid Burnout
Give yourself some time where you do nothing but rest. Yes, you heard it right! Nothing but you and yourself.
That’s the key. Instead of reading countless books about personal development or listening to podcasts about career progression, the best thing is to sit down on your couch and relax—both mentally and physically.
Leave aside your financial life for 20-30 minutes; trust me, it won’t hurt. Many people might confuse this with time-wasting, but it’s not.
Just like Nikki Rowe said:
“Solitude is where I place my chaos to rest and awaken my inner peace.”Nikki Rowe
However, if you think it is tough for you to implement such a lifestyle. Try on setting timers on your smartphone. Set a timer of 10 minutes, keep your device on the table where you cannot reach it, and just relax while sitting on the couch.
If you can, take a stroll in a park and spend time there staring at nature. You’ll be calmer after experiencing that life is everything but work.
6. Stick to Goals
This might look like another Stakhanovite life example, but it’s not. It’s one of the most effective methods of quitting toxic productivity. Make smarter goals about your life and stick to them no matter what happens. If you have decided to work for 6 hours a day, stay within that.
Even if you get a call from your office at odd times, pardon yourself politely and prioritize me-time over anything.
This won’t only help you escape toxic productivity but will also help in building a life full of discipline and dedication. You will start to work more efficiently and complete tasks quicker than you used to think.
7. Have Breaks in Your Schedule
Making strict schedules will never help you become a productive personality. To achieve productivity, one needs to give himself some leisure time to relax and think of what the world offers.
Make schedules with proper breaks, especially when you just feel like dragging yourself instead of actually enjoying your work.
Fit in healthy activities like morning walks, jogs, or gym time in your schedule. If needed, watch a light, funny show that can help you unwind a little bit. But don’t go overboard.
With such activities, it will become easier for you to think outside the box and become more creative.
8. Talk it Out
If your workplace, business clients, boss, or anyone in charge needs more hard work from you and requires more dedication, talk to him about your limitations.
They will surely understand the problem and help you out in any possible way. You aren’t the last person for the job; there is always someone else who can do it.
If you think that undue responsibilities aren’t that dangerous, research proved that employees who often stress out turn to unhealthy behaviors leading to depression and other toxic traits.
However, if your company fails to understand your situation even after the explanation, try to find suitable alternatives that match your schedule and time limits.
9. Control What You Can
Anxiety is never the solution. You can only have control over your life and not over the things out of your influence.
Constant worrying won’t create a way out. However, it can force you to run amok depressed and work your heart out even on Sundays!
Instead of stressing out micro-managing every single minute of your day, just let some things slide. You just need to set your trajectory on the right path. Things will eventually fall into place.
If your goals are defined, and your intentions are pure, then rest assured that you’ll surely get to your destination. It’s only a matter of time before your goals are realized.
10. Stay Positive
Always have a positive image of everything. If you are tense, relax and consider the positive aspect of your predicament.
If you need help with positive thinking. Create more fun activities, appreciate your colleagues, recognize your little efforts and try to find the good in every little thing you see.
Viewing things from a positive lens and an abundance mindset does wonder for your mental health. Only then can you understand the secret of escaping toxic productivity.
Final Words on Escaping Toxic Productivity
By reading all this information, you can be confident to work efficiently without sabotaging your inner zen.
Adopting a balanced approach helps you build endurance for the long-term games that put you ahead of others.
So, the next time you think of grinding your way out of difficult situations, sit back and try to implement the strategies mentioned earlier. Only then can you thrive and escape the vicious cycle of toxic productivity.