That life is short does not mean that we live in a permanent race. Many people strive to work 24 hours a day to have more money, more knowledge, more professional, social, and personal success… or maybe more muscles. The result is constant stress and a feeling that the goal is getting further away as we get closer to it.
To stop this toxic productivity, without giving up being truly productive, it is necessary to take certain measures.
4 Recommendations to avoid falling into obsessive productivity
1. Create watertight compartments (limited places, independent and completely isolated from the rest). Telecommuting and new forms of communication, such as e-mail and instant messaging, have blurred the boundaries between work and personal life. Many people have their bosses or clients in the kitchen of their homes and feel compelled to live permanently connected and available, with the perception that it is not lawful to take time to rest.
This can cause a serious impact on those who assume that interference is something inevitable, do not set limits, and give up their right to disconnect. Leisure is essential to be productive; therefore, it is a priority to erect barriers and shields the time to do what each one wants or to do nothing, such as walking, watching the waves arrive, and watching the birds.
2. Accept that we are unique; not better or worse than others. The second step to getting out of obsession is to accept ourselves, know our limitations, and set realistic goals according to personal circumstances and our abilities, without comparing ourselves with anyone. It’s okay to give yourself one more year to finish a doctorate or start training; It doesn’t matter if our brother or our colleague is faster in carrying out a job. Each one establishes the best times for himself based on his needs, obligations, qualities, and desires.
3. Prioritize what is important. Did you know that general Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, applied a framework to distinguish between what was urgent and what was important? His method gave rise to the so-called “Eisenhower matrix”, a very useful table to be productive and manage time. It consists of evaluating what needs to be done; first, what is urgent and important, what needs to be addressed immediately; second, what is important but not urgent, will have to be done, but later; third, the urgent but not important, things that can be delegated, routine work; fourth, neither urgent nor important, all that can be suppressed. Everyone can set their goals for each day and settle for reaching the top of their top list, without forgetting that life should be diverse.
4. Detoxify. Being productive is very rewarding; the brain receives the satisfaction of achievement and releases dopamine, a reward that can be as addictive as any other drug. We feel pleasure in reaching more and more, without realizing that we may be damaging our health, our relationships, and even the education of our children or our friendships, which are so necessary for human beings.
It is important to realize in time that this obsessive productivity exists and differentiate it from healthy productivity, set limits, and stop in time. We must pay attention to those who warn us or ask us for more time, pay attention to the signals of our own body and ask for professional help if necessary.