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The business and productivity app market is worth billions of dollars. Every day, there is a new productivity tool popping up, a book about productivity being published, and millions of people reading and sharing content related to personal productivity. It started as a measure of efficiency for the production of goods and services. Somehow, along the way, many of us have become addicted to productivity.
At its core, productivity addiction is based on the same reward systems as other addictions. By providing constant reinforcement — for example, financial rewards in the form of salary increases, or social rewards in the form of work recognition — productivity can become a goal in and of itself, resulting in compulsive behaviours.
The problem is that just like all addictions, over time a person needs more and more to be satisfied and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression and fear.
At least in the Western world, our education has often taught us to tie our self-worth to how much we contribute to society. The more we contribute, the better. “I work, therefore I am.” Being productive feels like a way to improve our self-worth.
This positive reinforcement can make it hard to realise we may be falling prey to productivity addiction.
There are five tell-tale signs you may be addicted to productivity:
As a recovering productivity addict, you may need to always be careful about not falling back into old patterns whenever you start a new job, a new hobby, or set a new exciting goal. Practising self-reflection and paying attention to your mental health will ensure the way you work is more enjoyable and more sustainable.
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