Signs You're Suffering from Toxic Productivity


Productivity is highly celebrated and valued in our culture. We are taught that there is a strong positive correlation between productivity and success. However, when productivity becomes toxic, it can be harmful to our physical and mental health. In this blog post, we will explore what toxic productivity is, the signs of toxic productivity, and how to stop it.

What is Toxic Productivity?

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Toxic productivity is when you’re too focussed on simply being productive, neglecting everything else that matters – like mental and physical wellbeing. It involves placing productivity above all else, including our own well-being. Toxic productivity culture teaches us that our worth is tied to our productivity, and we should always be striving to do more, even at the expense of our health.

Signs of Toxic Productivity

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  1. Feeling Guilty for Relaxing

If you feel guilty or anxious when you take time to relax, it may be a sign of toxic productivity. Constantly feeling like you need to be doing something productive can bring you down a spiral of focussing only on work, and neglecting needed rest and relaxation time. 

  1. Always Being "Busy"

If you find yourself constantly saying that you're "too busy" to do things, it may be a sign of toxic productivity. Being busy all the time can also affect your relationships and social life.

  1. Never Feeling Like You're Doing Enough

If you feel like you're never doing enough, even when you're accomplishing a lot, it may be a sign of toxic productivity. Constantly feeling like you need to do more can lead to fatigue and a feeling of being overwhelmed. This may also lead to a spiral effect, where you’ll constantly feel the need to do more as you’ve not done “enough”, never really hitting that satisfactory level. 

  1. Sacrificing Sleep and Self-Care

If you're sacrificing sleep and self-care to be more productive, it's a sign of toxic productivity. While it's important to be productive, it's equally important to take care of your physical and mental health, this means, taking appropriate breaks, balancing your time between work and personal life, as well as setting aside time purely dedicated to looking after yourself. 

  1. Feeling Burnt Out

If you're feeling burnt out, it's a sign that you may be engaging in toxic productivity. Burnout is a result of constantly pushing yourself to do more and not giving yourself a break, causing immense tiredness and fatigue. 

How to Quit Toxic Productivity

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Photo by Tonik on Unsplash

  1. Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and prevent burnout. Breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones to make progress without feeling like you have to do it all at once. It’s much simpler to complete smaller tasks as it not only makes you feel good, but also allows you ample time to rest and take breaks. 

  1. Prioritise Self-Care

Prioritising self-care is essential for avoiding burnout and maintaining good mental and physical health. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy food, exercise regularly, and take breaks when you need them.

  1. Learn to Say "No"

Saying "no" is essential for avoiding overcommitment and preventing burnout. It's okay to say "no" to projects or activities that you don't have the time or energy for. 

You should not feel “obliged” to take on everything at once, especially when you’re fully aware you are overworking. More often than not, simply voicing out that you have too much on your plate at the moment will allow your managers or co-workers to better understand and sympathise with you too. 

  1. Re-evaluate Your Values

If productivity is becoming too important in your life, it may be time to reevaluate your values. While it is good and important to be productive, make sure to balance your priorities and ensure that you’re spending equal amounts of time doing work and taking care of yourself. Consider what's really important to you, and focus on activities and goals that align with those values.

Toxic productivity is a harmful culture that can lead to burnout, anxiety, and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. By recognizing the signs of toxic productivity and learning to prioritise self-care, set realistic goals, and take breaks, we can achieve a healthy productivity that promotes our well-being. Remember, it's not about doing more; it's about doing what's right for you. If you have any queries, feel free to reach out to our team over at INTERLUNAR to schedule a call for some guidance!

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