Recognizing Toxic Productivity and Finding Ways to Break the Cycle

A concept of toxic productivity

Most people with jobs have likely found themselves working to the point of excessive stress and physical and mental deterioration. It was back in 2019 that the World Health Organization recognized office burnout as an occupational phenomenon. Even so, little has been done to address the issue as many people continue to struggle to find a work-life balance as they perpetuate what’s known as toxic productivity.

What Is Toxic Productivity

Because of modern technology, individuals have become always reachable. It’s easy to hop online from nearly anywhere to take a Zoom meeting or respond to a few emails. Although it seems harmless to take a business call even after your shift or invest an additional few hours a week to boost results, the compulsion to remain productive and expectations to always be available have visible consequences on people.

Recognizing the Signs

Exhausted businessman with head in hand working late at creative office
When we cross the threshold into toxic productivity, it quickly leaves us emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. Not only can that cause the quality of a person’s work to plummet, but it also leaves one feeling terrible. This phenomenon is fueled by the compulsive need to be always available and constantly productive, and the unspoken competition of who can accomplish more and prove more valuable.

Potential Negative Side Effects

Among the main negative side effects of toxic productivity is burnout. This quickly leads to fatigue and can lead to anxiety, stress, and depression. Soon enough, work begins encroaching into our free time and we find ourselves getting tired more easily, suffering a negative mindset, and complaining about different aches and pains.
Work Life Balance concept

Breaking the Cycle

For healthy productivity to occur, one has to rest and devote time to self-care. Always utilize your breaks during work hours and make sure you stretch, look away from the screen, hydrate, eat, and get some fresh air. Use available days off whenever you feel burnout seeping in. Set boundaries that keep work out of your free time. Consider speaking to a mental health professional when you start to feel overwhelmed.