Are Our Productivity Habits Toxic?

Anna Vannoy, Staff Writer

In recent years, there has been an increase of the “hustle” culture in our society. Quotes, social media posts, YouTube videos and articles popping up about how to maximize productivity and streamline efficiency. Mantras like “no excuses” are popular, and workaholism is seemingly praised. This new outlook is highly encouraging people to exhaust themselves as much as they can on the road to success. And yes, it is definitely is important to get work done, not fall behind, and be successful. But what are we sacrificing to achieve this?

We are becoming ingrained with the belief that to be busy is always the best thing. That we must pack our schedules, from the early hours of the morning until late at night. To achieve as much as we can every day and to always give 110% effort. Getting the most work done on the least amount of sleep is something of a competition. The prize? Less time with loved ones, poor mental and physical health, and ultimately burnout.

How can we recognize when our seemingly healthy productivity is getting to be toxic? These toxic behaviors can become harmful to you, your daily life, and loved ones. Here are some signs of toxic productivity, according to the Create and Cultivate website: “Working to the extent that it harms your health or personal relationships, Having unrealistic expectations for yourself, and difficulty with rest or stillness.” I’m disappointed that these behaviors are praised in many settings.

So, what can we do to combat these? How can we heal our relationship with work and productivity? Well, Create and Cultivate recommends “setting realistic goals and adjust as needed, reframe what it means to rest and take breaks, and practice mindfulness.” I would also recommend setting some sort of boundary with yourself and how much you are working. Don’t work yourself into a stressful state. Take breaks for your mental and physical health!

Remember that we are living through a pandemic. If you are having trouble getting as much work done as you were before, please don’t beat yourself up. We are all doing the best we can right now.