Feel like you’re worthless if you’re not working 24/7? That you won’t succeed unless you’re hustling to the point of exhaustion? Spoiler alert: you’re probably a victim of toxic productivity culture. The cure? Keep reading.

How Entrepreneurs Handled Productivity in 2020

Entrepreneur working late from bed
Entrepreneur working late from bed

Well, we’ve made it to the start of another new year. After the cacophony of chaos that was 2020, it’s no surprise that most of us are sitting with fingers tightly crossed in hopes of a smooth, successful 2021.

So, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably come up with a few ways you can guarantee this year is better than the last (much better…hopefully). How did I, and the majority of the population, do that? We made a New Year’s Resolutions List. What is always at the top of our New Year’s Resolutions Lists? Being productive.

For some, productivity may look like hitting the gym and eating healthy, for others it may be putting a stop to procrastination or paying off a student loan. No matter what it looks like, people tend to become utterly obsessed with being the most perfect, productive version of themselves when a new year rolls around. 

Especially for entrepreneurs, who are told they have to work tirelessly to build a business from the ground up, this pressure to be a productivity machine is one that was greatly felt in 2020 and is likely still prevalent as we enter 2021. 

So, if you find your New Year’s Resolution list is filled with aspirations to work relentlessly until you achieve your goals because you weren’t a gleaming image of efficiency in 2020, I have some unfortunate news. You may be a victim of toxic productivity culture.

Toxic Productivity Culture

Tired entrepreneur sitting in front of computer at desk
Tired entrepreneur sitting in front of computer at desk

Don’t panic, you’re definitely not the only one. After 2020 kept us locked up at home, we all had to adapt to the hustle and bustle of daily life being taken away from us. In the blink of an eye, you went from being an entrepreneur who’s used to being so busy you barely have time to breathe to being quarantined at home, only allowed to work with business partners and team members through Zoom calls (often with connection issues or lagging responses). 

Suddenly, you realize as days stuck at home turn to weeks, and eventually months, that you feel less passionate, less focused, and ultimately less productive. What is the result? You’re left feeling absolutely terrible about yourself.

What if I told you that this response to feeling unproductive wasn’t normal? In fact, what if I told you it was completely unhealthy? Why should you feel lazy or worthless just because you aren’t running on three hours of sleep or can’t physically feel the stress in your shoulders? Spoiler alert: toxic productivity culture.

For those who aren’t entirely sure what I’m referring to, toxic productivity culture is a recent trend that takes workaholism to a new level. In simple terms, it’s an obsession, or addiction, to being productive.

Born out of society telling us that procrastination is the ultimate enemy and that, if you’re not hustling 24/7, you’re not working hard enough, toxic productivity culture whispers a variety of harmful thoughts into our heads. For example, if you’ve ever felt like rest is for the weak, that weekends are only for fun if you’ve finished absolutely every task on your to-do list, or if you’re not exhausted, you’re not working hard enough. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these things are not things you should be telling yourself. 

How to Overcome this Mindset in 2021

Happy entrepreneur talking on headset
Happy entrepreneur talking on headset

Though, I do have some good news for my entrepreneurs who have been engulfed by this malicious mindset. 2021 is the year we’re going to escape it. When we do, you’ll find yourself happier, more motivated, and far more equipped for being a successful entrepreneur.  

The first step: admitting you have a problem. So, if you’ve made it this far and identify with the toxic productivity symptoms I’ve listed thus far, you’re already one step closer to getting rid of that tiny voice in your head saying you’re not enough if you’re not exerting all of your energy into your work. 

The second step: realizing you’re going to need more than one article to tell you how to completely rewire your mind and ditch a cultural trend that’s likely been taking over your life for years. However, don’t stress. Every week I’ll be giving you a variety of tips and tricks to teach you more about what toxic productivity culture is, why it’s so prevalent in our society, and how you can escape it for good. 

The result? Strengthening your relationships with yourself and your loved ones, rediscovering the value of rest and play, and becoming the most passionate, motivated, and successful entrepreneur you can be. 

So, if you’re ready to throw away your New Year’s Resolutions list in exchange for a happier you, I’ll see you next week.

What tips do you have for overcoming toxic productivity culture? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.