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Are You Suffering From Toxic Productivity?

Published on 08/02/2021

In a conversation with one of my members this past week, we shared how we both are hard-working doers, relentlessly pushing ahead on our tasks and goals, with lists galore to keep us on track.

I brought up the idea of “toxic productivity,” a term I seem to keep running across lately. It’s about a focus on doing doing doing that harms our health and relationships. Common outcomes? Burnout, anxiety, and even depression.

While I don’t think my doing is toxic (yet), I do think I tend to push the boundaries of what’s healthy for me in my quest to accomplish more and more. Somehow, my self-worth seems to be tied to my productivity.

As with everything, the first step is awareness. I am learning to ask myself: Do I NEED to do this now? How can I prioritize my tasks and let some of them slide to tomorrow or next week—or let them go entirely? Am I DOING to avoid BEING? (As they say, we are human beings not human doings.) What is so scary about taking a breath, a pause, a time out for play or peace? With no agenda and nothing to check off the list.

I am building time into my schedule for those healthy pauses, where the phone and laptop get sidelined and I enjoy real downtime. Walking my puppy Marley. Having lunch with a friend. Reading a magazine. Snuggling with hubby while watching the latest crime TV show.

YOUR TURN: How can you take time today to BE rather than DO?

HeleneTStelian Musing
I’m Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Mentor with a passion for facilitating personal development in women 40+. Through my THRIVE community, I help introspective, curious, action-oriented women 40+ deepen their journeys of self-discovery and growth—and create their next chapter with courage and intention.

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