Toxic Productivity- Jason Sims

I am sure at this point during the third national lockdown that even if you are not aware of what toxic productivity is, you have felt it. Over the last few months, I am sure you have been swarmed on social media by the achievements of others, whether that is learning a language, an instrument or consuming a book every few days. It would appear, for the most part, that everyone is constantly striving to achieve the best and if you are not making the most of this time, ultimately you have wasted it. Self-development and productivity have in many ways lost its meaning during this period, and so this article aims to set out some thoughts about this. 

What is productivity? If we take this in the literal sense, productivity is getting the maximum output, with the minimum input, it is about optimising efficiency and making it a priority. In essence this boils down to making the most of your time. Surely then, what I described above is productive and not toxic? Yes, and no. On the whole I feel productivity is what we now exclusively associate with work, reading, studying and we now ignore it in its simplest sense. If you are spending your time watching Tv, scrolling through social media or simply just wasting away doing absolutely nothing then you are wasting time. You are not being productive, and you have failed. That is the toxic chain of analysis that I feel many can relate to during these times. It becomes toxic when it is presented as the fundamental to success and not doing this is failure.  But that is unrealistic, there are only so many books you can read, podcasts you can listen to and flashcards you can revise from before you just need a break. 

Is watching Netflix productive? If your goal is to revise and you watch Netflix then absolutely not, but if your goal is to rest and relax and you feel this is best achieved by watching your favourite series then yes, it is.  And so, what I suggest is productivity is a relative term about looking to use your time to focus on your individual needs. It should not be this confined term with a prescribed understanding of what is and isn’t productive. This is particularly important now as it is mental health awareness week soon. Do not stress yourself if it appears you are not making the absolute most of your time and your self development , everyone needs a rest. 

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