What Is Toxic Productivity? How To Deal With It?

Last Update on July 6, 2022 : Published on July 6, 2022

Have you heard of toxic productivity before? We Have all heard of many toxic things like toxic positivity, toxic femininity, toxic optimism and what not. But did you ever imagine that being too productive could turn into something toxic?

Well, anything in excess can be bad and similarly excess productivity can be toxic. Productivity is good but doing too much of it is not good. Toxic productivity is something that can be described as being way too productive without knowing when and where to stop.

Toxic productivity mainly stems from productivity anxiety. Productivity anxiety is the anxiety you feel while working on something and constantly tell yourself that it’s not enough. Productivity anxiety leads to toxic productivity which leads to the thought that it is not good enough leading to productivity anxiety. You see how this vicious loop is formed?

Without us knowing, many of us are stuck in this vicious loop of toxic productivity and you need to protect yourself from the dangerous trap of toxic productivity. Let’s see what can be done…

What Is Toxic Productivity?


Toxic Productivity is a cognitive condition where you are governed by the thought that whatever that you have done is not good enough and you’ll have to continue working on it in order to make it perfect. This thought pattern is a trap because after every attempt you feel like it’s not enough and you keep digging further.

Toxic productivity is a thought process where you face a constant and uncontrollable urge to just keep going, there is no stopping. Workaholics often are seen to share this toxic productivity mindset because there is nor room for rest and recoup in their lives, they are simply running the rat race to ace it.

Toxic Productivity Psychology

Toxic Productivity has a spectrum of its own. You will begin with thinking about being productive wherein your thoughts are going to be very harsh. Then you move on to the action part where you execute your thoughts and practice health productivity.  Then you take one step further and continue being productive (here you are governed by your work).

Now, because having low self worth is where toxic productivity comes from, you will never rate your work good or even average. You are always preoccupied with the thought that the end result is never up to the mark, it’s never good enough.

Signs You Are Stuck In The Dangerous Trap Of Toxic Productivity


If someone is constantly drilling their desks day after day and beyond night, it’s going to be quite evident that they are stuck in the dangerous trap of toxic productivity. The past two years have definitely changed from working in offices to homes and more and more people are drowning in this dark deep hole of toxic productivity.

If you want to know if you or someone close to you in trapped in toxic productivity, here are some signs you need to watch out for;

  • Working beyond your capacity
  • Your workaholic behavior is affecting your health
  • You hold unrealistic and impractical goals for yourself
  • Your experience a lot of restlessness almost all the time
  • You are so overwhelmed by work that you end up procrastinating (sometimes)

How To Avoid Toxic Productivity?

By now I am sure you know how harmful toxic productivity can be for your mental and physical health. If you have found yourself trapped in toxic productivity and identify with the signs of toxic productivity, here’s what you can do to overcome toxic productivity;

  1. Know what’s important to you:while you are working, try to keep your focus on the important things. It’s not your job to be perfect, be good at what you do and that’s enough.
  2. Set boundaries for yourself:: you need to learn to set clear boundaries  for yourself and for your work. Don’t bring your professional commitments to your personal space. Detach yourself from all the thoughts about work once you leave the working station.
  3. Enhance your time management skills: toxic productivity can mess up your time management skills. Make sure you assign a time slot for different projects and work on them in their respective time.
  4. Professional detachment: you need to understand that your work is not your identity. You need to grow out of it. Detach yourself from your work and focus your energy on other things as well.
  5. Take frequent breaks:taking a break is really, really important for your mind as well as body. In fact if you take frequent breaks your work efficiency is only going to increase further.

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about toxic productivity informative, helpful and thought provoking. Do share this blog with your workaholic friends and family so that you can save them from the dangerous trap of toxic productivity.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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