We’ve all been there. You’re trying to get work done, but you just can’t seem to focus. So you start working harder and pushing yourself harder…and then you hit a brick wall.
You’re exhausted, your head hurts, and you still haven’t accomplished what you set out to do. Sound familiar? If so, then you may be a victim of toxic productivity.
What is Toxic Productivity?
Toxic productivity is the belief that the only way to be productive is to push yourself to your limits and beyond. It’s the voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough unless you’re working 24/7. It’s the culture of burnout that has become all too common in today’s society. And it’s something that we need to learn to avoid.
You may find yourself saying things like:
“I’m sorry, I can’t go to lunch today. I’ve got too much work to do.”
” I’ll just skip my workout today. I can’t afford to take the time.”
” I know I’m exhausted, but I can’t go to bed yet. I’ve still got to finish this project.”
If this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone. In fact, you may be part of the majority. A recent study found that nearly 60% of Americans feel like they don’t have enough time to get everything done. And a staggering 24% report that they rarely or never have spare time.
The problem with this is that it’s not sustainable. Pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion is not only unhealthy, but it’s also unproductive. When you’re running on empty, your brain is not able to function at its best. You’re more likely to make mistakes, miss deadlines, and generally, just feel terrible.
15 Signs of Toxic Productivity
1. You’re working long hours with little rest
One of the most common signs of toxic productivity is working long hours with little rest. This can lead to burnout and exhaustion, which can negatively impact both your physical and mental health.
If you find yourself working more than 40 hours per week on a regular basis, it may be time to reassess your priorities.
2. You’re skipping meals or eating unhealthy foods
Another sign of toxic productivity is skipping meals or eating unhealthy foods. When you’re busy, it can be tempting to skip meals or grab something quick and easy, but this can lead to problems such as weight gain, low energy levels, and poor concentration.
If you find yourself skipping meals or eating unhealthy foods more often than not, it’s time to make some changes.
3. You’re neglecting your personal relationships
If you’re so focused on work that you’re neglecting your personal relationships, this is another sign of toxic productivity. It’s important to maintain a healthy balance between work and your personal life, or else you risk burning out and becoming isolated.
If you find yourself neglecting your friends and family in favor of work, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities.
4. You’re putting work before your health
Another sign of toxic productivity is putting work before your health. If you’re so focused on work that you’re not taking care of yourself, it’s time to make some changes. This includes things like getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet.
Neglecting your health will only lead to problems down the road, so it’s important to take care of yourself if you want to be productive.
5. You feel guilty when you take a break
If you feel guilty when you take a break from work, this is another sign that your productivity is toxic. It’s important to take breaks throughout the day in order to recharge and refresh yourself.
If you find yourself feeling guilty when you take a break, it means that you need to reevaluate your priorities and make sure that work isn’t taking over your life.
6. You’re working more hours but getting less done
If you find that you’re working longer hours but your productivity is suffering, it may be a sign that you’re trying to do too much.
When we try to take on too much, our brains become overwhelmed and we don’t work as efficiently. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to take a step back and reassess your priorities.
7. You’re constantly multitasking
While there are some benefits to multitasking, if you find that you’re doing it all the time, it could be a sign of toxic productivity. When we try to do too many things at once, our brain isn’t able to focus properly on any one task and we end up doing all of them poorly.
If you find yourself constantly trying to juggle multiple tasks, it’s important to take a step back and focus on one thing at a time.
8. You’re always “on”
If you find that you can never really relax because you’re always thinking about work or checking work-related email, it’s a sign that your work is starting to take over your life.
It’s important to have a healthy balance between work and the rest of your life, otherwise, you risk burning out.
9. You’re putting in extra hours but not getting paid for it
If you find that you’re regularly putting in extra hours but not seeing any additional compensation, it may be time to have a talk with your boss.
While it’s important to be dedicated to your job, you shouldn’t be working for free. If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, it may be time to look for another job.
10. You’ve lost interest in things you used to enjoy
If you’ve lost interest in activities or hobbies that you used to enjoy, it’s another sign of toxicity in your productivity habits. When we’re stressed and overwhelmed, we often don’t have the time or energy for the things we used to enjoy outside of work.
This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation as well as a sense that our work is taking over our lives.
11. You’re always tired
If you find that you’re always tired, even after a full night’s sleep, it’s another sign that your productivity is taking a toll on your health. When we’re constantly under stress, our bodies don’t have time to properly recover and we end up feeling exhausted all the time.
If you’re finding it hard to get through the day without feeling exhausted, it’s important to take a step back and reassess your priorities.
12. You have trouble concentrating
If you find yourself having trouble concentrating or remembering things, it’s another sign that your productivity may be suffering from toxicity. When we’re overwhelmed, our brains aren’t able to function as well as they should and we can have difficulty focusing on tasks.
13. You’re irritable all the time
If you find yourself snapping at people or getting easily annoyed, it’s another sign that your productivity is taking a toll on your mental health. When we’re stressed, we can often take our frustrations out on those around us even if they haven’t done anything to deserve it.
14. You’re constantly comparing yourself to others
If you find yourself constantly comparing your work or achievements to those of others, it’s a sign that you’re not feeling good about what you’re doing.
Comparison can be toxic because it leads us to believe that we’re not good enough or that we’ll never measure up to others. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
15. You’re never satisfied with your work
If you find that you’re never really satisfied with your work, no matter how hard you try, it’s a sign that your productivity is taking a toll on your mental health.
When we’re constantly striving for perfection, we can never really be happy with our accomplishments because we always feel like we could have done better. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and frustration.
If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to take a step back and reassess your priorities. It may be necessary to make some changes in your life in order to reduce the toxicity of your productivity habits.
Remember, your mental and physical health should always come first. When you’re taking care of yourself, you’ll be better able to achieve your goals.