Too Much Is Not Always Good: Signs You Need to Stop Chasing Productivity

A quest for productivity at the workplace or towards the achievement of personal goals is not something to beat you about. It is important to take some time off when things don’t seem to add and go back to the drawing board. While there are people who deliver results under tight pressure, someone would slump into a state of low morale and even experience a complete shutdown of their creative processes.

Reviving productivity in the latter group of people thus becomes difficult especially if do not know things that fire up unmotivated employees.

How much is enough?

Sometimes you would want to work way too hard to avoid carrying assignments home by staying late at the office. But are you realizing efficiency and effectiveness as part of a team that wants to make positive impacts on organizational goals? It is a question most team players ask. One more thing; what is your contribution at a personal level?

Often times, it said that too much of something is dangerous and there is no doubt that this holds true for productivity. Having lots of work to do on your table within stipulated timelines can overstretch productive limits and that’s when it starts to feel like one is pushing against a wall.  Come to think about a situation whereby you are simply partaking in company assignments for the sake of getting things over the edge with little or no concern for the ultimate output or term results.

Further, factors like performance appraisal which begets a desire to do exceptionally well can push one over the edge and when that happens, it is an indication you are beating yourself up. It is to say, the quality of the output depends on resources that one uses to realize productivity.

Apart from exceeding limits, more impediments to productivity include the following:

  • Creative Blocks. You may want to ask, what are they? Well, regardless of the nature of tasks one performs, creativity is a necessary evil. One shouldn’t expect different results if he or she keeps doing something the same way all over again. It is important to be innovative.
  • Sometimes people complain about long days at the workplace and usually, it has everything to do with mentally draining tasks. When the brain is tired and your physical energy has waned to an all-time low, productivity becomes a mirage.
  • Lack of motivation. There are things that enhance productivity in the workplace. And when an employee makes mistakes or fails to deliver as expected, motivation can help them get back on track and stay focused. However, lack of is often counterproductive.
  • A lot of work without pay for extra time is a good way of killing productivity in employees.
  • Discrimination, prejudices, and biases in the workplace are other sure ways of putting productivity on a deathbed

Does it feel like a compulsion?

Habits are utterly compulsive.  A case in point is smoking.  It is something you will want to do no matter the consequences. Smokers find it difficult to resist an urge to light a cigarette every time the urge to puff calls. The question is; what is the correlation with productivity?   Also, are there useful work habits?

Well, employees harbor compulsive feelings. They feel their jobs are at stake should they fail to deliver. As a result, many would go to extra lengths to prove their worth even if it is taking a toll on their mental health and well-being. They want to please their bosses and hopefully earn a promotion.

These signs bear close semblances with addiction. You cannot think of anything else but productivity. You are addicted to it like a chain smoker.  But here is the catch. When a desire to produce results becomes an obsession, it is better to stop than beat yourself and end up with nothing to show for it.

People who make up this category of employees always say they are busy, spend hours on at work and end up with depression-like traits.  How else can you tell you are addicted to productivity?


More signs that you are an addict of productivity

Mental preoccupations are many. Some are good and others can ruin a good day.  For instance, if you worry a lot about your contribution levels at the workplace, it is a sure sign that you are an addict in the following ways:

  • You stay up all night because work is becoming a cause of stress
  • Guilt takes over you after striking off an item from a to-do list
  • You always say you are busy or hustling and think doing a few tasks is being lazy
  • You cannot do without your phone because it has become part of your arm
  • You won’t stop checking your email
  • You feel you must always work on a side project but feels you need to do even more when a colleague talks about the same
  • You depend on technology to manage time. Read about these tips on how to instead use Technology to reduce stress and regain focus.
  • You beat yourself up when it seems like time is not on your side

Ostensibly, when everything about input and output becomes compulsive, it is always time to take charge and rewire things.  Too much of something is definitely dangerous.

The pressure of productivity

Not everyone can work under pressure. It would be impossible to deliver results. Others love to be pushed to the limits because that is when they deliver. But what is the price of productivity? Are you being rewarded for stretching to the limit or it is having a negative impact on personal goals and aspirations?

Productivity can exert a lot of pressure on both your mental and physical being. In this regard, you need to ask; it is worth the taking? Consequences of pressure that come with it include the following:

  • Poor social life. You hardly find time to hang out with friends and you are increasingly becoming a loner or an introvert.
  • Loose family ties. The family is important and it advisable to maintain close ties.  However, the pressure of producing results can take a huge toll on close relations
  • You skip meals. If you’ve ever been in a workplace where there are productivity addicts, they rarely take tea or lunch breaks.
  • You report to work too early and leave way too late to have time for yourself
  • It is a mental preoccupation
  • You always want to do more than is necessary or beyond what work hours can accommodate

In the long run, most of these pressures can have a negative impact, and they do most of the times.  So the question is; how can one overcome pressures at the workplace and still deliver desirable results?

Well, before looking at indicators that mean one ought to stop or slow down in their obsession with productivity, below are some tips to help you overcome the addiction or compulsion:

  • Be assertive. People who are able to say NO lead happier lives as opposed to those who absorb pressure in the name of pleasing their employer. It is to say, know what contributes to personal progress and professional growth, not to mention that a company’s objectives don’t rest with an individual’s contribution. It’s a teamwork
  • Negative perception is one of the things you need to avoid at all costs. Strike a balance between personal achievements and organization’s goals. When your sixth sense says you are not good enough despite all the effort, do not let it overran your achievements thus far.
  • You don’t need any kind of validation to keep you above par. It is imperative to know when enough is enough.
  • Do one thing at a time. People who work with a to-do list achieves more compared to those who only talk big with little or nothing to show for it.
  • Understand that your downtime can be the most important moment for boosting productive potential. The human brain gets tired at times. Let it relax as you go through email receipts and avoid the feeling that you aren’t doing anything meaningful when your to-do list is not getting a blow. Relaxation helps you re-evaluate goals, rejuvenate creative neurons and come up with even more innovative ideas.
  • Exceeding a productive limit is often a manifest of multitasking. You want to accomplish a lot within a short period of time by working like a computer on your office desk. As you strike a blow by blow on to-do list items, it is advisable that you apply only relevant skills at a time instead of trying to learn more than what is necessary for every step.

Signs you need to slow down and improve yourself

Progress is always slow and it is more meaningful that way. When obsession with productivity starts to take a toll on your overall performance at the workplace, it is always a sure sign that one needs to reboot.  The question is; what are some of the indicators that slowing down so that you can focus on improvements to self is necessary?

Well, take a look below for examples:

You do not celebrate own achievements

It sounds pretty awkward but the truth is; there are people who never find reasons in celebrating milestones.  There are a number of reasons why this can happen but the main one is that such people feel they have underachieved despite using all the resources at their disposal.

If this sounds like you, then it means addiction to productivity is having a negative impact on self-efficacy. It is that time you slowed down, evaluate progress and plan better.


You check your day planner every single minute

Some would want to call it a bad work habit. However, it has a lot to do with addiction to productivity.  You want to make sure items are on the to-do list as soon as you start working on something.  It is good to meet deadlines and earn accolades for remarkable performance but that it is not a sure-fire way to efficiency.

What if one is doing shoddy work because of rushing through tasks with little regard for quality output? Slow down and rework plans.

You feel exhausted or depressed

When exhaustion sets in, there are always chances that depression is on the way if not part of it.  Ignoring critical signs like these in the cause of work performance is likely to move things from bad to worse. It is better to have a healthy workforce than one riddled with counterproductive conditions such as depression.

Do not run the risk of stretching an employee’s potential to the limits with little or no regard for their physical strength and mental energy.  You would better encourage them to stop and re-energize their zeal and commitment.

Your Mind goes blank or starts wandering

You wouldn’t want to blackout in the course of doing any task at the workplace, or worse still, feel sleepy. While it is not a serious sign of illness, there is a limit to human concentration beyond which the mind starts to wander. Take a deep, slow down and reorganize yourself.

How to relax and become more productive

Relaxation is a necessary evil, at least to regain focus, become more productive and even achieve more. Well, there are many ways of going about it such as the following:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Talk a break for a walk, coffee
  • Play a sport i.e. Tennis, Scrabble, chess. Hobbies are productivity boosters.
  • Watch a movie i.e. a documentary
  • Organize/triage mailbox
  • Take a nap
  • Go around talking/socializing with workmates

Final Thoughts

While every employee wants to meet set targets, deliver results and become among the most productive in an organization, it takes proper planning, self-organization, strong work ethics, self-appreciation and relaxation to achieve more. Do not beat yourself up when things take a nosedive. Take a little time off and rework your approach.  Things will be better.

Author Bio:

Sydney Whitman is an academic coach combining her daily job with content writing for MyHomeworkDone. Connect with her on Twitter.

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