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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?

Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Empowerment Coach

I’m Hélène, the Midlife Empowerment Coach. I help women who are struggling in midlife—who wonder if their best years are behind them and what’s next for them. I show them how to put themselves first, reclaim their identity, figure out what’s next, and feel excited about their future.

Want to know how to optimize your energy?

Grab your FREE Midlife Re-Energizer so you can discover what energizes you and what drains you and learn how to create a life that optimizes your energy.

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