Productive woman

How to Avoid Toxic Productivity

Productivity is cool...until it messes with your mental health.

We’ve all heard the terms “hustler” and “workaholic”. You might even consider yourself part of hustle culture, which if managed well, isn’t a bad thing. What we’re talking about is this obsession with productivity and attaching ourselves to these terms, and the point it turns to toxic productivity

An interesting outcome of the global pandemic is the renewed focus on mental health and well-being. Everyone wants to feel more balance. This could look different for different people. You might have realized that you can’t be everything to everyone. You might have had an epiphany that your work habits have impacted your well-being and your relationships. Or you might be recognizing you have unrealistic expectations of yourself.

Are you having difficulty finding stillness or do you feel restless during work? Are you getting overwhelmed and unable to work? These could be signs of toxic productivity.

Not to worry, we’ve got a few tips to get you to slow down and discover a path to healthy productivity:

Give some meetings the chop

This won’t apply for everyone, but if you’re having weekly status meetings for ongoing projects, or daily check-ins with team members, consider turning these into biweekly, weekly, or team meetings. Spacing these meetings out gives everyone a little extra breathing room and time to set their own priorities.

The 2-minute rule

If small tasks are piling up and the to-do list is getting too long, knock off those quick jobs first. Clearing these little pieces from your plate first, gives you the time you need to spend on bigger jobs that demand more of your time.

Break it down

Trying to reach the finish line before taking the first steps doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Breaking down big tasks into smaller jobs makes overwhelming task loads feel way more manageable. At the start of your day, look at your priority items and simplify them. As you tick off each item, you’ll start to see progress, which for some people is super motivating.

Time blocking

When you sit down to set your priorities for the day, try setting up time blocks. Decide how much time you want to spend on one thing, and stick to it. Set your timer and when it goes off, take a break. If you need to return to the same task, set your timer and continue. Make sure you’re taking breaks in between.

Stop multitasking

Multitasking is a thing of the past. It just isn’t practical for many jobs. Take the time you need on each task individually. Doing this opens valuable real estate in your brain and makes you feel less overwhelmed. Make lists, cross things off, and focus on one thing at a time.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all method but take the time to find things that work for you. You don’t have to do it all, just find better ways of managing your own workloads so everything gets the attention it needs (including, and especially, your mental health). We’d love to help you with that.

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