I am someone who feels better about myself when I have a productive day, week, or month. When I get a lot done. This sense of achievement is what makes me feel good about myself.
But this isn’t good.
There is a difference between productivity and toxic productivity. Between aiming for your best and perfectionism.
What is toxic productivity?
Toxic productivity is when you take being productive too far. Where you never allow yourself to stop and rest (a YouTuber literally said in a video that he pees in the shower in the morning because why waste time doing those tasks separately…like WTF?!)
That every little thing you do, every space of time, needs to be taken up by something that is important, goal or habit-oriented; where you’re producing and producing and doing, doing, doing endlessly.
We all need space to rest and just be, though…
This modern age has drawn us into this toxic loop of productivity and also perfectionism for a few reasons that I won’t dive deep into with this post (but have been mentioned in more detail in other posts). But it comes from, in part:
- Social media (peering into everyone’s lives and wanting to copy)
- YouTube productivity hack videos
- Wanting to do and have it all
- Fear of Missing Out
- Options, choices and overwhelm
There’s so much to do, see, eat, be, work on, etc that we drive ourselves crazy trying to stuff it all into 24 hours, thus needing to be “productive” and switched on and “perfect” all the time…
There is no such thing as perfect. We will NEVER, EVER, be able to do it all. “Busy” and “productive” are two very different, often opposing, things.
How to fight toxic productivity and perfectionism
Write a to-do list and let things not be ticked off
This is a massive one for people obsessed with being productive, getting things done and being seen as perfect. Instead, how would it feel if you still created your to-do list but you actually allowed yourself not to tick everything off?
Would you be okay with it? Or stay up late getting everything done?
I dare you to let it go. To allow yourself to let your to-do lists be unfinished often. It’s okay! As long as you’re still ticking things off in some capacity, you’re okay! You’re being productive just enough. Give yourself some compassion and grace.
Every so often, share something that’s not been proofread
This is definitely one for those who post on social media, have a blog, or produce and share content of any kind. Why not try at least once to post and share something that’s not proofread. That’s not perfect. That has mistakes and you’re like “oh, well!“
How would that feel? Would it kill you? Probs not!
I get it, you have a reputation and don’t want to seem unprofessional. But people are imperfect, and your readers or viewers should know that, too. In fact, they’ll be happy to see you make a mistake and it subconsciously gives them the “permission” to make mistakes, too.
Set two goals: an attainable goal and a dream goal
For example, this week I’m at 40k in my story. I could set the attainable goal of reaching 45k and then the dream goal of reaching 50k.
The reason for that is because it helps you to still have goals and push yourself to do something for yourself. But it allows you to be realistic and fair, while also dreaming and pushing the limits. If you reach the dream goal, great, but if you don’t, you still achieved something that was good enough.
More of us need to strive for “good enough“. I think that this has a bad rep but we’re not looking at it literally enough. “Good enough” is good! It means that thing is enough for us; enough for us to be happy. Is there more? Sure. Would that be great? Of course. But what we have is pretty darn good, too!
This can be adopted for thinking about ourselves, too. Giving ourselves compassion and love for who we are and seeing it as enough. Instead of striving and hoping and pushing and wishing we were better all the time.
Allowing room for “good enough” ensures that we don’t fall into the perfectionist mindset, where nothing is good enough. Where we’re so afraid to make a mistake or fall short that we don’t try or we don’t put ourselves out there. That only causes paralysis.
So, these were just three ideas but there are many ways that you can push the boundaries and basically give yourself permission to make mistakes, to do less, and to be free to just be! Enjoy your life a little more and let go; you only get one, make sure you stopped to smell the roses.