Opinions & Lessons

It’s Time to Break Free From Toxic Productivity Culture

As a successful career woman, you might always strive to be “on,” no matter what you do. You have a “rise and grind” mentality, and your hustle + productivity doesn’t ever seem to stop, even when you’re off the clock. 

While that can make you feel empowered, in some ways, obsessing over productivity can actually be hazardous to your health. Unfortunately, we’re living in a toxic productivity culture, where “the grind” seems more important than anything else. There’s a reason burnout is on the rise for American workers. 

Whether you feel like you have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously or you just want to climb the ladder faster, it’s understandable to push your productivity to the limit. However, it’s also important to know the costs and to strike a healthy work-life balance. 

Not getting enough sleep is nothing to brag about. Working twenty hours of overtime and missing out on social activities isn’t something to be proud of. Eventually, it will catch up to you, and the effects could be damaging. So, how can you break free from toxic productivity culture and find a better balance in your life? 

Understand the Effects of Over-Working

One of the best ways to get yourself from working too much is to understand what it could be doing to you. Almost everyone in the working world has heard the term “burnout,” but do you know what it really means, or how it could be impacting your health? Overworking can cause a variety of health issues, including:

  • Eye issues
  • Heart disease
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Damage to your joints
  • Reduced muscle mass

You’re also more likely to feel fatigued and less likely to take proper care of yourself. That can cause problems now and in the future. Not getting enough rest, for example, can trigger feelings of anxiety and/or depression, placing you in a vicious cycle that’s hard to get out of. You’ll also weaken your immune system with a lack of self-care, which will make it harder to stay productive. That can increase your stress levels, creating yet another negative cycle. 

Seeing a pattern? The more your health is negatively impacted by overworking, the less productive you’ll be, regardless. Taking breaks and finding a work-life balance will end up making you more productive and motivated than pushing yourself to the limit. 

Establish a Routine

If you initially find it hard to break free from toxic productivity, consider developing an easy routine to follow. You might already utilize to-do lists on a daily basis. So, create one that gives you a better work-life balance and allows you to develop healthy habits. Your routine might include starting your day early and giving yourself time to ease into your morning. Other ideas that can help you find a better balance include:

  • Meditating in the morning
  • Exercising
  • Cooking breakfast for yourself
  • Creating a to-do list for work
  • Taking breaks at certain times of day
  • Not bringing work home with you
  • Relaxing for several hours each evening
Break Free From Toxic Productivity Culture

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash.

Your routine can change slightly, depending on the day. For example, maybe you’ll make it a point to get together with your girlfriends every Thursday after work. Or, maybe you’ll have a family game night every Friday. Your routine can include productive elements that focus on your career and your personal life, keeping you organized and focused until that balance becomes more natural and you don’t have to think twice about it. 

Prioritize Yourself

If you truly want to keep yourself from getting bogged down by your career, it’s essential to prioritize your physical and mental well-being. Self-care is more than a buzzword that’s getting thrown around everywhere. 

It looks different for everyone, but self-care is about prioritizing what reduces your stress and makes you feel happy. That includes everything from getting enough sleep to exercising several times a week — even from the comfort of home. Other self-care ideas include journaling, spending time in nature, or trying yoga. Even unplugging from social media for a while can do wonders for your mental health and reduce some of the pressures you might feel from your personal life. 

There’s no reason for you to burn out while trying to move ahead in your career. If you’re feeling disconnected from your interests, you’re constantly struggling with brain fog, and you generally feel exhausted, the “hustle” isn’t worth it. You might find that the more you prioritize your health and a work-life balance, the easier it is to stay motivated and productive without spreading yourself too thin. When you don’t burn out quickly, you’ll end up doing a better job, and actually enjoying yourself along the way. 

Keep these ideas in mind as you move forward in your career. You can have it all, and you don’t have to wear yourself out or give in to toxic productivity to find success.

Ainsley Lawrence - Pandemic Helped Woman-Owned Businesses Grow | For Creative GirlsAuthor’s BIO: Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She is interested in better living through technology and education. She loves traveling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a good book. 




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