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Productivity Hinging on TOXIC: Dealing with Toxic Productivity

by TheFeelGoodMoments   ·  3 years ago   ·  

With so many productivity hacks around you could be indulging in some toxic productivity. Here’s how to spot and deal with it.


We’ve heard of toxic love, relationships, men/women, oh even toxic bosses. There also exists something just as noxious: TOXIC PRODUCTIVITY.

Wait a minute – Is it even possible that productivity is toxic? 

We are so very causally blinded by the normative premise of anything that sounds positive. We just believe that it can be good for us. 

It is important to understand how the adage too much of anything can be harmful holds true even for productivity. In this article, I’m going to break some myths about productivity.

Here are some signs that your productivity is hinging on Level: Toxic.

Be on the run

You thrive on adrenaline and the thrill it brings. The next project, the next brainstorming discussion the next successful accomplishment of a task, it all feels so exciting and encouraging. Come on, why wouldn’t it? It’s all a means to feel accomplished and a feeling of being on track to something meaningful. Haven’t we been conditioned to appreciate this in our lives? But what really is happening is that you are addicted to the thrill. 

A constant state of alertness and action doesn’t let your mind or body feel at peace. It keeps it on its toes all the time. The way one feels withdrawal symptoms regarding a substance like alcohol, smoking or even caffeine the brain finds itself reacting in the same way when one doesn’t have enough of work or a high pace of work. 

It’s all or nothing. Extreme end of the spectrum. Any form of addiction tells your brain that you cannot function if XYZ condition is not met. When there is a conditional premise for the brain to feel better, we know it’s a sign of something toxic brewing. 

It’s good to let your brain feel a slow pace too. We can’t always be 100% 100% of the time. We too need to recharge, reset and regenerate so we can perform. Glamorizing overwork, less sleep is wrong and we absolutely stand by that. It’s OK to take things easy. You actually can do much better that way, and feel great doing it too.

Self-Combust with the Overload

Trying to milk the time on hand for more than it can provide is a sign of impending burnout and consequential guilt. The more you get used to hustling, the more you run the risk of feeling the guilt of not doing enough. If you find yourself constantly looking for the next hustle, you are setting yourself up for burnout and a never-ending cycle of guilt. Take the time to consciously stop yourself from scouting for the next hustle if you’ve already reached a breaking point.

Feeling guilty for wasting time that you don’t have cannot and should not be a THING. This guilt essentially comes from one being responsible, sensitive and perceptive. It drives our unconscious need to act and lighten the load. And if we can’t contribute we feel it’s our fault.

And it most certainly isn’t. We have to recognize our limits and overcome this overwhelming need to make the most of time, all the time. And like all habits, this too can be broken through self-realization, baby steps and practice. In short, know how much of a bite you can chew.

Hello Anxiety

Breaking into a sweat, hyperventilating, rapid heartbeats. No, I am not hinting at a heart attack but it sure feels like it when you have those episodes of anxiety overthinking about your next big break. How the strategy to execute the project is not robust or isn’t challenging you enough. Are you wasting your time on an ineffectual project or are you doing enough to get the promotion or are you up-skilling yourself for the next wave of change? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against growth and success however I do believe that constantly thinking about what next is a sure shot way to put your mind and body through distress. Recognize the signs before you go down the road of stress-induced diseases like hypertension, cardiac issues, diabetes anxiety disorders and a nervous breakdown.

It’s best to identify your self-limiting thoughts and then change the narrative to a more positive tone and repeat this new story. The power of the self-narrative will move you towards self-belief. Again, it’s a matter of cultivating thought that self-construct rather than self-destruct and it is crucial to be vigilant of any negative thought and correct it immediately.

Say NO to Toxic Productivity. It’s OK

Being aware and recognizing these signs is a way to reflect and regulate our plans when required. It’s a good way to find few moments of mindfulness in our daily routine that give us the opportunity to bring a balance to our productivity. Rather than going for the popular productivity hack of the day, go for what you believe is best for you in your current situation, resources and capacities. 

It is OK. Go easy on yourself. 

It is OK.

It really is.

Radhika is an L&OD professional with over 11 years of experience working with conglomerates. She is an avid consumer of electronic music particularly deep house and loves solo traveling and cooking up a storm in the kitchen. You can follow her on her Twitter handle @radhika_ad



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