top of page

The Desire to Constantly be Productive is a Trap

In our society, being productive all the time has become a trap. We overwork ourselves constantly. People have jobs, work longer hours, then take on side hustles or second jobs.

We feel like our worth is based on our productivity or how much money we can earn. We judge success with dollar signs and nothing else. We get stuck in the rat race all the time, on a hamster wheel that it feels impossible to get off of.

Overwork has become like a badge of honor. People brag about working too hard or being on the edge of burnout. They pride themselves on working too hard or too much, and answering emails all hours of the night.

However, this isn't good for our physical or mental health.

According to Medical News Today,

One of the greatest concerns regarding overworking and burnout is stress. That is because increased stress has been linked to a variety of health concerns, from depressionTrusted Source to diabetes, high blood pressureTrusted Source, and digestive issues.

There are so many ways that overwork can hurt us physically and mentally, it is important to reduce our work hours when possible, so that you can take time for yourself and your health. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally is more important than how much you can earn.

Redefine Success

In order to help yourself stop working when you don't feel up to it, you may need to redefine success in terms of other things that can make you feel good about yourself.

You can do a journal session, and write about all the things that you like about yourself. This can help you find a basis for self-worth in other ways than just your job and how much you earn. You are more than a paycheck.

There are many other things about all of us that are good besides what we produce or how much we earn.

If you need help finding other things that are good about yourself besides your job or how hard you work, then you may want to work with a therapist or life coach to learn other coping strategies for overwork.

Find Balance

Wanting to be successful or good at your job isn't a bad thing. However, there is more to life than working all the time. Sometimes, we can feel like work is the only thing that we are good at, so we throw ourselves more heavily into our work.

When this happens, other areas of our life, like our relationships and our health, can suffer.

Making time for things that make you happy outside of work can help you to find more balance in life. Take time to devote to your relationships, and to yourself. Make time for self-care and hobbies. Some things you can do for yourself are:

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Journaling

  • Mindfulness

  • Calling friends

  • Taking time for hobbies

  • Spending time with family

  • Pampering yourself

  • Eating healthy

  • Exercising

All of these things, and more, can help you find balance between work and the rest of your life. Doing the things that help yourself to feel better about yourself and your life can help you stop feeling a need to base all of your self-worth on your job and your productivity.

Talk to your supervisor

Many times, a toxic office culture is to blame for the desire to overwork ourselves. When this is the case, and everyone is in a race to get ahead, it can feel difficult to take time for yourself.

When that happens, you may need to talk to your supervisor about creating a healthier work-life balance. It can be frightening to talk to them about creating boundaries, but you can go back to your job description. Talk to them about additional responsibilities that you have taken on, and find out if there is a way to reduce these responsibilities, or to work less hours.

Maybe you can reduce the amount of meetings that you need to attend, or find a way to let your supervisor know that you aren't going to reply to emails after hours.

If it isn't in your job description, then they can't ask you to do the extra work. However sometimes the office culture still expects this.

If having a talk with your supervisor doesn't work, then you may want to talk to your human resources office too. Or, you may want to consider changing jobs so that you can find a job with better work-life balance.

Feeling like all of your self-efficacy is tied up to your job isn't a healthy way to go through life. If, like me and so many others, you have fallen into the trap of productivity, you may want to take a step back and reevaluate your job and your priorities. I hope that you can find other good things in your life besides your job to give you a sense of validation and success.


bottom of page