• Sophia-Joelle Oswald

How to Approach Toxic Productivity



Have you ever caught yourself feeling guilty because you chose to watch a show or play a game instead of doing something society deems more valuable? Unfortunately, this is a feeling we are set up for in our culture. With the rise of social media, digital content is constantly being produced. Tens of thousands of videos are posted to YouTube every day. There are always blogs being updated and books being written. Even those working nine to five jobs may find themselves bringing work home. It’s hard to take time for yourself when you see others succeeding in ways that you would like to.


There are many accounts on Instagram dedicated to hustling. These posts tend to promote unhealthy mindsets. It can be difficult to depict when these are toxic especially when the people behind them don’t realize how they are affecting their audience. They don’t always have negative intentions, they may sincerely want to encourage you to reach for the stars. These pages are full of motivational quotes about working yourself to the point of suffering so you can reach your goals. You need to be producing constantly or you are setting yourself up for failure. If you put yourself first you’re not willing to make the sacrifices needed to achieve greatness.



Hustling is Overrated


Hustle culture, workaholism, and productivity are glamorized in our society. Instead of placing value in rest and working towards goals gradually, we place value in hustle and exertion. Money is considered to be everything. If this is not balanced with other aspects of life, you will run into issues. You may get burnt out or stop performing well due to exhaustion.


It is common to push yourself to your limits when pursuing goals. Even so, many constantly feel like they are not doing enough. We feel like failures unless we are constantly working. While I was in college I filled my semesters with 21 hours and off-campus I was working two jobs. Being so overworked lowered my performance. Turning opportunities down and saying no never felt like an option for me. I was considered to be someone who could handle anything so my plate was always full. By the time I finished college I was burnt out and really struggling with my mental health, which I am still dealing with to this day.


Working hard is undeniably important. We should put time into improving ourselves and strive for the life we want, but this should never be done at the cost of health. Toxic productivity can look different to everyone. For you, it might mean working to the extent that your health is suffering, sacrificing sleep and relationships in order to achieve more, or constantly comparing your accomplishments to others. If you attach your self-worth to how productive you are it’s time to rethink the way you work.



How to Put Hustling In Its Place


Learn How to Chill

You can take time in your day to just relax or do something you enjoy without feeling the need to produce something. It is okay to rest and in the end, doing so will help you produce better work. Not everything you do needs to be turned into money. Hobbies are equally important in life and lead to just as much, if not more, personal growth.


Be Flexible

One big thing that can lead to a better relationship with work is setting goals that are realistic. Being flexible with these goals is important. Life happens and you should allow yourself to truly feel your emotions when it does. Take time off for life events that are incredibly stressful.


Celebrate Your Wins

Allow yourself to enjoy each thing you accomplish and be present. Being obsessed with the concept of productivity can lead to not celebrating your wins. It’s common to move on to the next thing right away but this isn’t always the best path. You can pause and enjoy your successes without moving on so quickly to the next project. Meeting deadlines is important but knowing when to put yourself first is too.


Don't Compare Yourself to Others

It is easy to start comparing your life to those you see on social media, but a lot goes on behind closed doors. No matter how open some people are online, you will never fully know their struggles and what they have sacrificed to get where they are. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s and be kind to yourself. You are more valuable than your creations and endeavors.

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