Toxic productivity: The dark side of productivity and here’s how you can fix it

What is toxic productivity. Why is it so many workers right now?
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After a significant spike in productivity levels in 2020, there came the new normal of 2022, where we all began to re-fit ourselves in society and saw a major drop in productivity, interest, and motivation. Finally, in 2023, we are starting to see a new struggle as people are not performing half of what they used to do in their work.

Every motivational speaker, life coach, self-help event, and Instagram feed is fixated on the concept of productivity, and they always will be. And while it’s important to put in effort at work, there’s a difference between that and the “productivity” that’s sometimes portrayed as “the ugly twin” of “productivity” in conference lectures, brochures, and films featuring hunky business owners. Once you fall down the rabbit hole of toxic production, there is no escape. It’s a surefire path to exhaustion, and the end result is never good.

Let’s talk about it then.

Hazards of Toxic Productivity

Toxic productivity isn’t just a bad habit; it’s a severe problem that can take a toll on your health, relationships, and business.

Productivity Overdrive

The workaholic and achievement-obsessed attitudes celebrated by the hyper-productivity mentality are harmful. Musk has lauded his employees for working 80 hours per week, and this philosophy seems to revolve around working as much as possible and resting as little as possible.

Even though we know that not getting enough sleep is bad for our health, there is a strong link between success and working long hours at the office at the expense of rest and relaxation.

Hence, we come to assume that, particularly in highly competitive work cultures, a good day is defined solely by how much we do. When toxic productivity becomes habitual, it affects how you act and makes you feel about your productivity.

Generally speaking, being locked in a cycle of toxic productivity adds mental and physical stress that isn’t essential. Behaviors like this are characterized by:

  • Permanent stress
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Digestive problems

Below you will find 5 actionable steps on how to stop toxic productivity, break a vicious cycle, and start improving your life.

How to Stop Toxic Productivity 

1️⃣ Learn to say no  

When to Refuse:

  • Avoid taking on extra work that could take you away from your main duties.
  • Do not take on someone else’s or some other group’s responsibilities.
  • Knowing what you’re getting into before agreeing to more labour is crucial.

Effective refusal techniques:

  • Keep a good attitude about it.
  • Create a sense of familiarity in your response.

To avoid an outright negative response, explain how your stance is financially unfavorable. Say you say something like, “If I take these extra jobs today, it will break everybody’s deadline and badly influence team workflow.”

2️⃣ Minimize your time on social media

Ignoring seemingly insignificant actions, like taking a break, is typically the first step into a trap of toxic production. Instead, we lose track of the time we spend working as we bounce back and forth between our computers and social media.

Also, everyone knows that social media can make it harder to live a healthy life.

The obvious solution is to not see social media time as a break; doing so is counterproductive and can have negative effects on your health.

3️⃣ Invest in maintaining work-life balance

Set aside regular free time and use it to do things you enjoy. This is important for recharging.

In addition, try to break the habit of doing things too frequently, like checking your email every five minutes. It’s a great tool for avoiding burnout.

An efficient defense against burnout is the use of a time tracker that may be seamlessly integrated into your daily routine. In addition to meticulous timekeeping, you also maintain reasonable work hours.

4️⃣Optimize your communication

Poor communication often results in overwork and task failure. To optimize it, you can try these easy-to-follow tips:

✅ Eliminate unnecessary, multi-tiered conversations and you can avoid busyness, one of the factors of digital fatigue.

✅: Balance your roles as an active listener and an efficient speaker.

✅: Keep communication effective by making one point at a time and prioritizing clarity in speech delivery.  

✅Do not walk on eggshells and keep it within a professional workflow. Avoid sensitive topics.

5️⃣Set realistic goals

Don’t go crazy trying to fulfill every expectation of the hustle culture. If you let it, aiming too high can get in the way and make it hard to see, which can lead to unmet expectations and feelings of guilt.

If you feel like the job’s expectations are shifting and you’re not making progress towards your goals, it’s necessary to take a step back and assess whether or not the goals themselves need to be revised.

Rather than feeling depleted or overwhelmed, you have a variety of goal-setting strategies from which to choose.

If you are interested on how to set better goals, please visit our blog: Tackle Blogs


In today’s society, where our phones are permanently attached to our hands, we have less and less time for leisure, and we’re expected to be available at all times, so toxic productivity can be a serious issue.

The term “toxic productivity” refers to what happens when workers let stress from too much work time undermine their output. Due dates missed, performance suffers, production drops, and eventually, burnout sets in.

It’s a harmful practice that can jeopardize health and cause imbalance permanently, in addition to keeping individuals working long hours and disregarding their after-work and sleep routines.

Thankfully, there are simple, effective, and quick methods for halting toxic productivity.

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