A Surprising Discovery About My Toxic Productivity And How I Plan To Avoid It

It’s actually pretty simple

Last week, I wrote about deleting my to-do list. I’ve had a running to-do list for many years and whilst its purpose is to increase my productivity, more often than not, it has the opposite effect. After discussing this in my therapy session last week, I realised that my obsession with having a to-do list is down to one thing.


If I feel like I’m losing control in some area of my life, I try to regain it by having a detailed to-do list. The longer and more detailed it is, the more sense of control I feel I have. Except, I don’t. All I have is a really long list of things that I have given myself to do and if I don’t get them done, I feel like I have failed.

This never-ending cycle has been going round and round for years and I have unwittingly been riding this merry-go-round of madness, thinking I was being “productive”

Everywhere we turn, there is a social media post or article talking about productivity. I’ve written them myself! “Get up at 5 am” “Meditate” “take a cold shower” and when we are not doing these things, we feel like we aren’t getting “life” right.

I’m not saying they don’t have benefits for some people and I have certainly benefited from some of these things at certain times, but there is no one size fits all on how to get it right.

I personally enjoy early mornings, whereas if I suggested to the husband to get up at 5 am for a morning walk, I know he would rather gouge his own eyes out. Instead, it is about finding balance and tweaking things to find something we do enjoy.

For example, a couple of months ago, I was trying to exercise regularly. I was trying to mix it up by doing strength training, cardio and yoga. I absolutely HATE cardio, I’ve become rather unfit so it’s difficult and I dread cardio day.

Rather than do what I usually do and give up altogether, I have brought back the morning walks. Something I do enjoy. I have been gradually crying to increase my pace and therefore my fitness and I am going to reintroduce a strength training and a yoga session each week.

The problem I have is that I try and do everything all at once. Take weight loss for example. In the past, I have decided that I need to lose weight, decided to start the next Monday, plan my meals for the next week, ban all high-calorie foods and diarise my exercise.

I will then spend the days leading up to that magical Monday eating all of the things that I have banned myself from eating going forward as if I am never going to eat them again. The meticulous planning gives me a false sense of control and I start the week off well, getting up early and exercising, meal prepping my lunches and cooking healthy dinners.

Then one day I wake up late, forget my lunch or am too tired to cook dinner and give up. It’s too hard. I’ve not even given myself a chance, I’ve put too many rules and parameters in place in order to feel that control but I haven’t given myself time to get used to these radical changes as have made and all I am left with is another feeling of failure.

Shit happens, Life happens and instead of trying to control it all the time, I’m going to try being patient with myself and give myself a chance.

It’s only failure if you stop trying. ❤️

Photo by Kevin Luke on Unsplash
2022-10-11 12:38:00

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