Are You Suffering from Toxic Productivity? Learn These Signs Before You’re Addicted!

“Toxic productivity is the inability to do something just for the sake of doing it. All actions must always have a goal or an objective that leads to a sense of personal improvement or achievement,” said Erika Ferszt, an organizational psychologist in London with expertise in toxic productivity.

Ferszt is also the founder of Moodally, a company that offers innovative and science-backed workplace mood-management programs. She knows just how devastating it is to be a victim of this lifestyle addiction. After driving herself to the edge for 22 years as an advertising executive, Ferszt almost lost her sight.

Photo: YouTube/Calm Sage

“I had a burnout episode that put me in the hospital for stress-related vision loss,” said Ferszt. “This made me rethink everything in my life, all my priorities.”

Toxic productivity is workaholism at its extreme level, and what’s worse about this addiction is that it affects every area of a person’s life, not just work.

It’s like being in a Ferrari race non-stop. You keep on driving, faster and faster. Not satisfied with winning the race, you have an extremely powerful urge to go on and on to set a world record, to break world records — until you break yourself.

According to Dr. Elena Welsh, a licensed clinical psychologist, “Toxic productivity can be hard to identify because of the high value society places on being productive professionally, socially and culturally, and because people are often externally rewarded for productivity.”

Photo: YouTube/Calm Sage

But you can still discern the signs because you can feel that something is wrong with how you feel and how different you are from normal people who are happier than you.

According to Reader’s Digest, here are the signs of toxic productivity that you should watch out for:

  1. Taking time to relax makes you anxious. You don’t know how to stop and take a break.
  2. You always ask yourself what’s the point of doing something that’s not in your “list of goals.” When a friend invites you for a walk, you find it hard to accept unless you’re training for a mountain hike in Yosemite National Park.
  3. Photo: YouTube/Calm Sage
  4. Disheveled appearance, and, in addition to that, you may look like you honestly need some decent sleep. Toxic productivity is depriving you of time for self-care and other personal obligations in order to lead a comfortable, organized life. (How ironic, since you’re extremely productive and yet disorganized.)
  5. Unless there’s something to be gained from socializing with loved ones and friends, something you can add to your list of accomplishments, like beating them in tennis or swimming, you’re uncomfortable to sit there and chat with any of them.
  6. You’re no longer satisfied with each successful effort. Even if you have completed a goal, you feel empty. Your urge is to keep on working and being productive, with no finish line in sight. You keep on pushing yourself with no real destination other than getting burnt out in the end.
  7. When was the last time you felt joy or a sense of elation? You can’t remember. You’re so focused on your goals that you can no longer feel any pleasure in your endeavors. Some people find happiness in their journey through life. But you can’t feel any of it because your whole being is all about “working to achieve more than most people can ever do.”
  8. Photo: YouTube/Calm Sage
  9. Your kids are in a different activity seven days a week. If productivity is something you value, it makes sense that you would want your family and friends to also be productive. However, that can become toxic when you’re constantly pushing those around you to work harder and accomplish more.
  10. You cannot stand people who are having fun. You think they are wasting their time on foolish things.
  11. Your best friends are self-improvement books. You feel that you must keep on improving, getting better and better each day, or else you’re worthless.
  12. You’re pushing your loved ones to be as productive as you are. You enroll your kids in various activities to fill up their week, including those precious days when they should be at home for bonding time and rest from schoolwork.
Photo: YouTube/Calm Sage

If you recognize these signs in your life, there are ways to extricate yourself from the harmful grip of toxic productivity. You can start by becoming conscious of how you spend time so you can schedule regular breaks from your activities every day to take a breath and relax. Find time, as well, to discover what it is that’s driving you to be extremely productive, such as fear of failure, financial worries, guilt, etc.

Evaluating your core values and revising them can also help in establishing a real direction in life. Based on the right moral values, you can begin mapping your dreams and goals anew.

Make time for self-care, while limiting your time on the use of gadgets. Learn to love yourself by pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Likewise, in order to regain your peace of mind, free yourself from the clutches of the modern digital culture. Being connected with the world at all times is stressful.

Breathe. And enjoy your me-time.

People, Pets & Planet

Help where it’s needed most at GreaterGood for free!