Home Lifestyle Don’t fall into the trap: ‘Productivity can become a toxic cult’

Don’t fall into the trap: ‘Productivity can become a toxic cult’


Too much of a good thing can become twisted and toxic.

Some of the signs of toxic productivity include feeling guilty for taking rest or even sleeping. Picture: Pexels

EVERYWHERE you go online, productivity and optimising it are all the rage.

All over the internet, including social media, there are dozens of people offering productivity tips for workers, students and others.

In the many examples of tips given, people are advised to have morning and evening routines to maximise productivity and output.

There are plenty of phrases and words that are used in “productivity culture” and include: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

While this does help individuals who may be feeling demotivated, it also has its detractors.

Netizens often say that it is easy for one to seek productivity tips online and then find themselves sliding down the “toxic positivity” rabbit hole.

Philosophy YouTuber Sisyphus55 is one of those who say that excessive productivity is toxic and may even be a myth.

He said that those who suffer from procrastination and look for hacks to increase their performance, they may quickly fall into the “efficiency trap.”

The term was coined by Oliver Burkeman and describes the phenomenon when one takes on and completes tasks, only to be bogged down by a seemingly endless list of other things to do.

Subsequently, such a person may overwork themselves as there is always something to do, and they may equate not getting tasks done with failure.

“Just because you make yourself more efficient does not guarantee that you’ll eventually feel like you’re on top of things. By getting things done, you’re most likely just creating new things to do. It’s almost like you’ll never be on top of things. Life is just a series of problems,” said Sisyphus55.

Another YouTube channel titled How Money Works shares the same sentiment as Sisysphus55.

Its creator went as far as to say that “productivity is a cult that can only make you lazier, stressed, and poorer than when you started to implement a productivity system. Us humans are not meant to be this switched on all the time.”

Some of the signs of toxic productivity include feeling guilty for taking rest or even sleeping.

Constantly feeling like you are behind on tasks or dreading those that are to come may indicate burnout.

However, to others, this mindset is the most proficient for achieving goals, hence the countless productivity gurus and advice.

Those outside of these enclaves can view those who believe in these systems as being in a productivity cult.

Burdening oneself is a sure-fire way to develop burnout and fatigue.

In 2019, the World Health Organization(WHO) included burnout in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon.


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