Toxic Productivity and Productivity Addiction

Hello, I am Allegra and I could be an addict. Lately, I have found myself focused on productivity and it may be toxic. It’s toxic for me and my family. Before you write this off as a joke or assume it’s not possible to be ‘too productive,’ hear me out.

I am currently writing this article in the notebook I carry with me everywhere. The problem with that is that I am supposed to be taking a ‘relaxing’ bath. But, the subject came to mind and I simply had to write about it. I crave productivity and I need it. 

In the last seven days, I’ve run almost twenty miles, wrote three articles, attended church and a family cookout, devoted myself to my children and husband, wrote a chapter in my second novel, cooked or prepared at least ten meals, done six loads of laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, Vacuumed out the couches, completed a week’s worth of college coursework, wrote a special piece, and worked a full forty-hour week for my employer. All of this was done in addition to daily chores, such as dishes and sweeping. I also forgot to mention that I applied for a promotion at work.

Now, I’ve reread that paragraph and I must admit, a part of me is cheering her on. Another part of me fell asleep reading it. On paper that list of tasks looks incredible, impressive, and successful. In reality, my week was frustrating and exhausting. So, I find myself asking- Why continue to do it?

In the following paragraphs, I will answer that question. But first, let’s discuss what toxic productivity and productivity addiction are.

What Is Toxic Productivity? 

Once every action is taken in an attempt to fulfill some goal that provides you with a sense of personal achievement or improvement, your actions could be a sign of toxic productivity. Toxic productivity is the lack of ability in doing something simply to do it. Productivity becomes the main, or only goal often to the extent that it takes over other areas of your life. This could look like an obsession, competition, or addiction.

When someone is suffering from toxic productivity, they have a difficult time finding relaxation. They may feel anxious when they are not being productive. Individuals dealing with toxic productivity often seek results, improvement, and recognition. Toxic productivity often leads to chronic stress, burnout, over-exhaustion, depression, and anxiety.

What Is Productivity Addiction? 

Toxic productivity may be a sign of productivity addiction. You can become addicted to productivity, just like shopping, drugs, eating, and alcohol. Let me explain how this works.

Toxic productivity is the need for constant improvement and achievement. The feeling of achievement is addicting. Studies show that each time we achieve something our brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, often referred to as the ‘feel good’ hormone. It is also the neurotransmitter most often related to addiction. 

Similar to any other addiction, productivity addiction comes with withdrawals and consequences. The withdrawals include depressive symptoms, anxiety, and increased levels of fear. The consequences of living with productivity addiction are shallow relationships, poor mental health, and chronic stress. Chronic stress could lead to heart and other health problems throughout your life.

How Can Productivity Addiction be a Bad Thing?

We’ve just named a few of the consequences associated with productivity addiction and toxic productivity, but those consequences do not cover everything. Consider this. If your sole focus is to achieve something or become more productive, then it makes sense that your achievements may lack value. If you focus on the end result or the finish line, you lose track of the details and rush through your actions.

I’ve already told you that I am a productivity junkie. Every day, I bounce from one task to another, often multitasking and pursuing my personal goals. However, I rarely give myself even a moment to think about the next task or enjoy the feeling of completing the last one. Maybe I’m not an addict yet, but it seems to me that I am currently teetering on the edge. 

As a society, we praise productivity and are constantly upping the ante, but sometimes we need to take a step back and relax. Too often I find my engine running through my tank is empty. When this happens, one of two things occurs. One result is that the anxiety becomes too much and I cry. The other result is the frustration becomes too much and I snap. 

Future Actions

If you find yourself wondering whether you may have a productivity addiction or wondering if your pursuit of productivity has become toxic, ask yourself the following questions…

  • Do You Often Feel Like Your Tank is Empty? 
  • Is It Difficult for You to Relax or Take Breaks? 
  • Are You Willing to Sacrifice Time Spent with Family for Productivity’s Sake? 
  • How Much Time Do You Spend Relaxing Each Day?
  • Is Anxiety a Feeling You Have Become Accustomed to?

Answering these questions can provide you with a snapshot of your mental health. Toxic productivity is linked to both depression and anxiety, All three of these mental health problems are linked to stress. Each of these factors can be helped with therapy, medication, or a self-evaluation with an action plan. 

In the future, I will create specified time frames for ‘productive’ activities. This will allow me a time period to focus on one activity, as well as a specified time to stop working on the activity. I will also ensure that I have at least one hour of downtime each day. (I’m a mother of four and a full-time student with a full-time job, anything more than that is unrealistic.) By setting these limits for myself, I hope to prevent productivity addiction and convert my negative productivity into positive productivity.

Toxic Productivity and Productivity Addiction

Hello, I am Allegra and I could be an addict. Lately, I have found myself focused on productivity and it may be toxic. It’s toxic for me and my family. Before you write this off as a joke or assume it’s not possible to be ‘too productive,’ hear me out.

I am currently writing this article in the notebook I carry with me everywhere. The problem with that is that I am supposed to be taking a ‘relaxing’ bath. But, the subject came to mind and I simply had to write about it. I crave productivity and I need it. 

In the last seven days, I’ve run almost twenty miles, wrote three articles, attended church and a family cookout, devoted myself to my children and husband, wrote a chapter in my second novel, cooked or prepared at least ten meals, done six loads of laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, Vacuumed out the couches, completed a week’s worth of college coursework, wrote a special piece, and worked a full forty-hour week for my employer. All of this was done in addition to daily chores, such as dishes and sweeping. I also forgot to mention that I applied for a promotion at work.

Now, I’ve reread that paragraph and I must admit, a part of me is cheering her on. Another part of me fell asleep reading it. On paper that list of tasks looks incredible, impressive, and successful. In reality, my week was frustrating and exhausting. So, I find myself asking- Why continue to do it?

In the following paragraphs, I will answer that question. But first, let’s discuss what toxic productivity and productivity addiction are.

What Is Toxic Productivity? 

Once every action is taken in an attempt to fulfill some goal that provides you with a sense of personal achievement or improvement, your actions could be a sign of toxic productivity. Toxic productivity is the lack of ability in doing something simply to do it. Productivity becomes the main, or only goal often to the extent that it takes over other areas of your life. This could look like an obsession, competition, or addiction.

When someone is suffering from toxic productivity, they have a difficult time finding relaxation. They may feel anxious when they are not being productive. Individuals dealing with toxic productivity often seek results, improvement, and recognition. Toxic productivity often leads to chronic stress, burnout, over-exhaustion, depression, and anxiety.

What Is Productivity Addiction? 

Toxic productivity may be a sign of productivity addiction. You can become addicted to productivity, just like shopping, drugs, eating, and alcohol. Let me explain how this works.

Toxic productivity is the need for constant improvement and achievement. The feeling of achievement is addicting. Studies show that each time we achieve something our brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, often referred to as the ‘feel good’ hormone. It is also the neurotransmitter most often related to addiction. 

Similar to any other addiction, productivity addiction comes with withdrawals and consequences. The withdrawals include depressive symptoms, anxiety, and increased levels of fear. The consequences of living with productivity addiction are shallow relationships, poor mental health, and chronic stress. Chronic stress could lead to heart and other health problems throughout your life.

How Can Productivity Addiction be a Bad Thing?

We’ve just named a few of the consequences associated with productivity addiction and toxic productivity, but those consequences do not cover everything. Consider this. If your sole focus is to achieve something or become more productive, then it makes sense that your achievements may lack value. If you focus on the end result or the finish line, you lose track of the details and rush through your actions.

I’ve already told you that I am a productivity junkie. Every day, I bounce from one task to another, often multitasking and pursuing my personal goals. However, I rarely give myself even a moment to think about the next task or enjoy the feeling of completing the last one. Maybe I’m not an addict yet, but it seems to me that I am currently teetering on the edge. 

As a society, we praise productivity and are constantly upping the ante, but sometimes we need to take a step back and relax. Too often I find my engine running through my tank is empty. When this happens, one of two things occurs. One result is that the anxiety becomes too much and I cry. The other result is the frustration becomes too much and I snap. 

Future Actions

If you find yourself wondering whether you may have a productivity addiction or wondering if your pursuit of productivity has become toxic, ask yourself the following questions…

  • Do You Often Feel Like Your Tank is Empty? 
  • Is It Difficult for You to Relax or Take Breaks? 
  • Are You Willing to Sacrifice Time Spent with Family for Productivity’s Sake? 
  • How Much Time Do You Spend Relaxing Each Day?
  • Is Anxiety a Feeling You Have Become Accustomed to?

Answering these questions can provide you with a snapshot of your mental health. Toxic productivity is linked to both depression and anxiety, All three of these mental health problems are linked to stress. Each of these factors can be helped with therapy, medication, or a self-evaluation with an action plan. 

In the future, I will create specified time frames for ‘productive’ activities. This will allow me a time period to focus on one activity, as well as a specified time to stop working on the activity. I will also ensure that I have at least one hour of downtime each day. (I’m a mother of four and a full-time student with a full-time job, anything more than that is unrealistic.) By setting these limits for myself, I hope to prevent productivity addiction and convert my negative productivity into positive productivity.

Published by alswartz

I am an aspiring novelist working on my first book. I have an interest in mental health and each of my works is related to mental health in some way.

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