Would You Have Thought Your Productivity Could Potentially Be Toxic?


Alexa Gibbons

The book bento-box above pictures a planner, several pens, a to do list and other items which aid in task management.

Upon the suggestion of writing this piece I originally knew exactly where I wanted to take it. Everything was planned, mapped out, and ready to be written. A neat checklist of due dates, interviews, and thoughts. Then the night after the article was due my own procrastination began to question the true intentions that I had in writing about “toxic productivity’. What was it about this topic that had drawn me in so easily? Could others really relate to my struggles as well? 

The answer is yes. I continue to find it very interesting that in a world once upholding a leisure like American dream we now clue ourselves into the ideal of busyness equivalent to our individual happiness. Where we as a society once longed for easy days and laid back jobs, the goal now is to remain as busy as you can with little time to delay.

With all of these inquisitions circling in my head I was very tempted to question others around me as well. Surely I was not the only one who had been experiencing the pressures of filling a high school schedule with extracurriculars and outside events. Surely I was not the only one who had felt the anxiety to compete. 

Things no longer look like they used to. We as students are growing up and gaining more independence, branching out, and experiencing new opportunities. For some that looks like managing college application due dates, and for others it is problem-solving when to take driver’s ed in order to take your final license exam by a desired date. Nonetheless, our schedules are busier than ever and feeling the pressure to fill this time with activities that may or may not matter in the long run does not make the situation any less impossible.

Junior Natalee Fritz stated, “I think people feel pressured to remain busy because they don’t want to slip into the habit of not being productive enough throughout the day.”

In my own life I have struggled with this mindset that if I do not constantly have something taking up my time and attention I wasn’t doing enough. If I wasn’t involved in enough activities outside of school, if I didn’t join enough clubs, or take hard enough classes, my worth was less than my counterparts’. I later found that this statement wasn’t anywhere near the truth. 

RHS student-teacher Cristina DeFillipes stated, “…We get to the point where we are so burnt out from constantly doing things that your body and your mind is like you have to stop…I also think that there is an element of procrastination that comes from having too much pressure on you to do perfect that you don’t even want to start.”

So many of us carry planners around in our day to day lives in order to keep ourselves on track. These planners hold the details of what needs to be accomplished within a certain time frame in order to make sure we succeed. Many times what is on the list is pushed off until the very last second because we no longer hold the desire to complete the said activity. Toxic Productivity can lead to a battle of procrastination. 

Watch your limits. Enjoy every moment. Ease the pressure. Release the competition. Though the activities are helpful to keep us going in a general direction, our mental and physical health should never be thrown on the line. Begin evaluating your priorities. Know the distinction between what will help you to go where you need to go, and what has prevented you from getting there by weighing you down. Maybe then, the list of checkboxes will begin to fade away on its own.