Naturally, you hear the word “productivity” and ultimately associate it with “positivity”. Put productivity in a sentence and you seem like the one person that has their life put together. You are crushing your to-do list and making the most of your time.
This makes you wonder at what time something so positive becomes toxic. The answer is an obsession. The obsession to get everything done and you fall into toxic productivity.
What is Toxic Productivity?
Toxic productivity occurs when productivity declines. That is, it happens when you stick to constant productivity far beyond your realistic expectations.
You believe that every waking moment should be used for meaningful action and results. It’s well beyond the realm of the Energizer Bunny on the productivity spectrum.
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with getting things done. A neurotransmitter called dopamine helps us get things done. But toxic productivity can be thought of as an addiction to productivity. Mental health, physical health, time with family, time with friends, and free time spent on hobbies you love take precedence over everything else in your life.
What’s the worst news? This constant pace and “always on” attitude is unsustainable and leads to increased anxiety, personal and relationship damage, and workplace burnout.
A lot of freelancers relate so much to this.
Not all freelancing pain points are easy to fix, but there are many things you can do positively to be happy and successful in this field. These are some toxic productivity signs that freelancers go through and how to deal with them:
1. You Set Unrealistic Expectations
Freelancers are one of the most hard-working people. Yet they are most likely capable of crossing that thin line from productivity to toxic productivity because of their sometimes obsessive nature to get so much done.
2. Deteriorating Relationships
Are your friends and family complaining that you never spend time with them? It could be a sign that work is taking over your life. Take time to nurture relationships and show people that you care.
3. Poor Physical Condition
Personal well-being and health are often the first things neglected when working from home. To impress clients and meet deadlines, you may delay self-care time.
One day I saw a post on her social media accounts talking to me.”If you don’t rest when your body needs it, your body will rest before you know it, and it won’t be at a convenient time.” This was a warning to me to get enough sleep and practice cleanliness. I eat in my daily life. Remember that health is wealth! Without health, we cannot do our best work.
4. Lack of Energy
If you don’t take care of your body’s basic needs, you will succumb to unpleasant consequences. One of the biggest is low energy and an inability to focus on tasks. If you’re feeling tired all the time, it may be time to set new boundaries or re-evaluate your existing ones.
5. You Can’t Turn It Off
The ability to work from anywhere gives you unprecedented freedom. We get up in the morning and decide when we go to bed at night. It’s great until you realize you can’t relax at work. Was the article submitted well enough? Do you need to go back and revise it again? What’s on your to-do list for tomorrow? How can I become a better freelance writer? The list of recurring thoughts continues! You begin to feel like you are wasting your time.
Overwork is a problem for many freelance writers, especially new writers. Pausing can feel “lazy” when transitioning from corporate work to freelancing. The reality is that balanced freelancers do the best work. So rest without feeling guilty. Remember, your productivity level does not determine your worth.
Ways To Deal With Toxic Productivity
Experiencing toxic productivity symptoms but at a loss as to how to beat them? Here is how you deal with that. Here are some practices that have helped the seasoned freelance writer to stay on track with their personal life.
1. Focus on what is realistic
Sure, the tendency to want to work more hours in a week as a freelancer is always there. However, if it means losing sleep or spending less time with your family, it might not be worth it. Set your boundaries from the start and keep practical things in mind, not just ideals. By looking at your work this way, you can be sure that you are either overpromising your clients or not doing enough. It also helps you find possible solutions and identify specific steps required for progress and good results.
2. Set healthy boundaries
The first step in overcoming toxic productivity is setting clear boundaries between work and personal time. Don’t let your work spill over into other areas of your life. You need a break from your workplace stressors so you can focus on the tasks in progress.
3. Know When To Say No
Many new freelancers struggle with turning down projects. They fear losing or disappointing their customers. But if there’s too much to do, feel free to say no to some projects until things slow down. Set limits to manage low bandwidth, increase productivity, and work smarter. Trust me, this is better for your health and sanity in the long run!
4. Schedule Your Breaks
I can’t stress enough how important it is to schedule breaks. In her eight years as a freelance writer, she has learned to take her time on deadlines. In this way, the body’s need for rest can be met while satisfying the client.
5. Move Your Body
Studies show that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking. If that’s not enough motivation to move your body, I don’t know what is! Even on a packed day, spend 30 minutes to an hour pumping up in the gym or walking outside. The fresh air eases sluggishness, so you can return to your desk refreshed and ready for your next project.
You can have productivity without the toxic
If you’re struggling with toxic productivity, don’t worry. This is a common problem for novice and experienced freelance writers. It can be difficult to initially determine where to draw the line to ensure healthy productivity. But you can spot the red flags and intervene before things get out of control.
Toxic productivity should not rule your freelance lifestyle. Implement a few simple changes today to improve your productivity. Set healthy boundaries, take breaks, say no, move your body, and enjoy time with your loved ones. Even doing a few of these every day will help you manage your time and make you more productive.
Here are some productive habits to help your freelance writing lifestyle have more productivity.
1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
As a freelancer, repetition, and routine are essential. It doesn’t matter if you like to wake up with your coffee at 5 a.m. and flip through the daily news or sleep with your puppy until noon. It’s how you spend your waking hours.
Find the time that works best for you and set an alarm for each day. Half the battle is getting out of your lair and physically moving to a place that inspires creativity and productivity. Don’t limit this practice to working days only. Make it a daily priority and watch your productivity skyrocket.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will help you manage your schedule more efficiently and put your head on the pillow for a more restful sleep each night. Better sleep promotes:
- Less tiredness
- Reduced caffeine dependence
- Feel better
- Improved attention
2. Disable Notifications
Imagine how many times a day you hear a loud, clear ringtone or song excerpt. It happens every time a friend posts a new Facebook photo, gets a new connection to LinkedIn or gets a spam email from a site I signed up with three years ago.
Depending on how many apps you have active on your smartphone, we see an average of 85 push notifications per day. Even if he spends an average of two minutes per the notification, he’s wasting nearly three hours of his day by being unable to focus on the task at hand.
A recent study found that it takes a staggering 23 minutes to get back to work after getting your attention on a push notification. Do the math, and you’ll lose days at a time by turning on all notifications on your phone. Imagine being able to get all your work done without digital distractions. Disable notifications. Do it now.
3. Separate living and working spaces
If you are a freelancer, chances are you work from home most of the time. I know I do, and distractions are everywhere. Dishes pile up in the sink. Your dog is crying at the postman. Your neighbor rings the doorbell to greet you and start the lawnmower.
If you decide to have a home office, make sure it has a door. Doors create mental and physical barriers to the world around them. Tune yourself not to react to distractions while behind a locked door. Get some good noise-canceling headphones and a height-adjustable standing desk to block out everything around you and activate your brain cells. Another option is to join a coworking space or rent a small office in a nearby industrial area. Coworking spaces offer workspaces, WiFi, community, and often complimentary coffee and snacks.
Working smarter doesn’t have to be difficult.
Before you go…
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