Why Productivity Isn’t Everything

woman relaxing

Photo by Kasuma from Pexels

We’re artists. We’re hustlers. We’re business people. We’re our own social media and marketing teams.

When you’re trying to get your work out there, it feels like there is always something more to do, something else you can research, one more email or message you could send.

And many of us have jobs in addition to our actual creative passions.

So it’s easy to worry about being productive. Multi-tasking. Optimizing our time.

But what if our obsession with productivity is actually getting in the way of what we want?

What is toxic productivity?

“Toxic productivity,” a new concept spreading across the internet and social media, may apply.

“Toxic productivity doesn’t even let up once the task is complete. Once you’re technically done with a project at work, you might feel guilty for not having done more. For the afflicted, too much is never enough, business coach and author Simone Milasas, tells The Huffington Post.

“Toxic productivity can make us feel like a failure if we’re not constantly ‘doing,’” she continues. “When toxic productivity is leading your life, you judge yourself every day for what you haven’t done, rather than looking at what you have accomplished.”

The covid-19 pandemic and working from home has also exacerbated our need to feel productive. If work is at home, and you’re always home, then you’re always at work. It’s easy to feel like you might as well pick up your laptop to get even more done.

There’s also a sense that with extra time you aren’t using because of social distancing, you should be using that time to do more work or finish other projects/side-hustles. But you don’t have to “win” the pandemic. Go easy on yourself.

What you can do

Slowing down and learning how to relax – even when there’s more work you could do – are a crucial part of finding peace and happiness.

Set boundaries so that you’re not always working.  Turn your computer off by a certain time, for example, or mark days on your calendar that are specified “fun” or “relax” days.

Remind yourself of what you’ve gotten done, not just what you’ve yet to complete. Think about how your past self would feel – they’d probably be impressed by what’s finished!

Make time for some hobbies (or even TV-watching) that are not work-related. Not everything has to be “monetized” or “for the gram” or part of your “brand.” This time is truly just for you – not anyone else, not your career. And it’s not anything to feel guilty about. It’s important! And honestly, if you have time to invest in things besides work, you’ll probably end up a better writer or filmmaker. 

Finally, don’t be hard on yourself if it takes a while to settle into a mindset that’s less focused on productivity.  It’s all part of the process.

Lessons and Tips