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What Is Toxic Productivity (And How To Overcome It)

December 16, 2022 2:10 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

It’s good to be productive, but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. When people are focused on constantly doing more, spreading themselves too thin and neglecting their overall health, they’ve fallen into a pattern of toxic productivity. This can lead to burnout, which impacts nearly half of all professionals today, according to recent research from Microsoft.

If you’re wondering what toxic productivity looks like and how you can break out of unhealthy patterns, read on. We share insight from writer Danielle Doolen in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

What It Looks Like
If you or someone you work with feels the need to constantly be doing or learning, toxic productivity may be at play. For example, instead of unwinding at the end of the day with a TV show you enjoy, you may read a business book instead of truly unplugging. Or, you may feel guilty for taking time away from work. Instead of enjoying the company of friends and family, you may bring your laptop with you to check in and stay productive.

Doolen says it’s important to remember that we can all get everything important done while also protecting our health and resting along the way. Here’s how to do this:

Establish boundaries. This is a crucial step in avoiding toxic productivity. Doolen recommends planning for zero productivity time during the week. You might use this time to take a walk, watch a movie or read a book simply for fun. You owe it to yourself to have sacred time where nothing needs to be accomplished, she says.

Plan for rest — and then stick to it. Does this sound like you: You make plans to spend the evening relaxing, but instead you fret over everything you need to do the next day and you end up feeling exhausted. To break out of this pattern, plan for rest and then take time to actually do nothing. Doolen says that to maintain healthy productivity levels, you need to find a balance between doing and being.

Stay mindful. There will always be tasks to do, people to see and conversations to be had, Doolen says. But before you try to get through everything at once, stop and think about what you actually need to get done. For example, maybe you’d benefit more from a 30-minute break at lunch instead of working at your desk to try to get more done. Be thoughtful about what’s productive for your stress levels and mental health, she says.

Powering through in the name of productivity won’t serve you well in the long run. Set boundaries on how you spend your time and give yourself opportunities to recharge and reset. It’s all about balance, so allow yourself to be productive while also finding time to relax.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Danielle Doolen is a writer and communications professional whose writing and expertise have appeared in Career Contessa, Insider, Motherly, PopSugar, PRSA Strategies & Tactics, The Financial Diet, Thrive Global and more.

Published with Permission from PPAI

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