Toxic Productivity is an unhealthy need to always be productive, no matter what the cost. It is the desire to do something at all times and feeling guilty for all the things that one hasn’t done yet.
The pandemic made those still having a job a virtual work martyr, working extra hard just because having a job in these uncertain times was so precious in itself. Work becomes a reason to feel worthy, in control and fulfilled.
For many people being constantly productive is a way to mask the stress and discomfort of a personal or global crisis, where we focus on our immediate environment and on the things that are in our control, not realizing that this can lead to burnout and bad relationships.
One can also become short-tempered and frustrated in general, lashing it out on their loved ones.
Look for red flags in your thinking: Work-related guilt, a feeling of not doing enough, or feeling concerned if it seems like time has been wasted and could have been made productive. Fatigue and exhaustion also make the list of things that point towards being trapped in a ‘toxic productivity’ cycle.
We normally ask ourselves what best should be done to make the present moment productive. We should make ourselves at ease and ask what can be done to reduce stress.
Productivity exists more in our heads, and not so much in our work environments.
If you are extremely productive by toiling for hours, your boss does not care, even though he or she may be impressed by your accomplishments. Bosses want you to deliver quality work on time, not caring about how many hours and missed sleep went into it.
Self-care means different things to different people. Some like to jog in the morning or have a tea break in the afternoon. Some like to binge watch Netflix shows while eating their favourite junk food.
The pandemic has made everyone more anxious, and this is not good for the body, which needs rest, care and nurturing more than ever.
Most workers, blue-collar or white, wake up every day as workers, not as free human beings.
One needs to understand that our work isn’t our sole identity, and we need to detach ourselves emotionally from our profession. We can demonstrate our competence and work hard while making sure our individuality and personal life do not suffer.
Many workers have a hard time grasping the meaning of work-life balance, especially in the US. Vacation time is non-existent and most people are overworked during the pandemic. It is impossible to log off from work and see the world with fresh eyes when most of them are busy being busy.
Toxic productivity has its tentacles on many workplace employees who believe they should be doing something productive, instead of doing what is good for them.