Epidemic causes toxic productivity: how to recognize and get rid of it work

Marta Tur takes a run and immediately explains how the past nine months have been, when she decided to enroll in an intensive master’s at age 32 to resume her career as a communicator. decided. He is overwhelmed when he remembers: “I used to wake up at 06:00 to listen to the radio, I would spend an hour and a half listening to the news on public transport and didn’t remember anything. When I arrived, I was working on internships, doing more hours than necessary, dining in the noisy dining room with my colleagues, with whom I chatted about work. From there to class. Practice, Principle, works. Back home an hour and a half”. Take a breath: “By God… I’ll arrive at 10 p.m., cook dinner, and continue with shift work. watch a movie? Impossible. If I didn’t keep up with what my friend told me 10 minutes ago, it’s as if a story has sympathy. I stopped only to brush my teeth and go to bed. The downside is that the stress kept me from sleeping. And the next day, start again”.

Self-seeking, competition, work addiction, or the same, toxic productivity. Tur lost his job at the start of the pandemic. And, despite having worked since the age of 15 and having a good and comprehensive curriculum, he decided to bet on training because of the lack of job expectations. Hopefully, he thought, he’d be hired by a bigger company. But her plan was ambitious to the extreme: “I was determined to be number one in the campaign. I didn’t let myself fail. I thought that if any teacher considered hiring one of us, it would be me because I would stand on top. So I worked more than I needed in my internship and put endless hours at work. There was always something to improve, edit, add”.

But what exactly is toxic productivity? Maria Jesus Alva Reyes, general health psychologist and specialist in work and organizational psychology, explains that it is a condition that occurs when there is excessive work, when extreme situations are reached. “It happens out of fear or excessive pressure. Produce becomes toxic because that rate cannot be maintained over time and creates havoc on health. It also creates a toxic environment because there is an imbalance between work and the rest of your life”.

It’s not that toxic productivity only happens in the workplace. This also happens when you become obsessed, for example, with training for five hours a day. And how to forget imprisonment: “This world is on fire, a Christ is made, and we ride home on line, visiting museums on lineCrafting or biting your nails on our Instagram Live for 32 viewers”, As stated by author Anna Pacheco in a column. But this overproductivity happens especially at work because it is what we spend the most time on in our daily routine.

And although this condition is common in our hyper-connected societies, the pandemic has exacerbated it even more. “Telework prevents many people from completing their work at 5:00 pm, for example, as before,” explains psychologist Alva. “We do not disconnect our mobiles and computers, and all at the cost of increased working day with reduced work-life balance. Sometimes we have endless days, no limits”. As with Toor, who continued his work over the weekend. “If I had time, I would have to organize for friends to see.”

Toxic productivity affects some more than others. The three psychologists consulted for this report agree that, above all, it is common among ambitious people, but also in people who have low self-esteem. Alyssa Sanchez, a labor psychologist at the Madrid College of Psychology, explains: “People with a high level of demand feel that they are not good enough, regardless of what they do. They always need outside opinion or validation in order to feel valid. Fear is relevant to them. With Covid this concern has been heightened by the uncertainty and not being able to control what happens. What can they control? What they do. So the more they work and the more others see it, the better. That’s how they feel that they are in control of time and their lives.”

José Ramos, Professor of Work and Organizational Psychology at the University of Valencia, also points to external factors: social expectations, job instability and the environment: “Sometimes our jobs are affected by working in environments that are toxic and that make us uncomfortable. above require. Recommended”. result? We feel pressured by the fear of not living up to the expectations of others. What did the young Toor think of the teachers of his practice? “Someone told me not to go home or come back the next day because I had worked so hard. They were pleased. But the need to comply drives you crazy and beats you. Whoever sends it to you has become a succulent, and you have gone mad.” That is why Toor, who is young and already going through the crisis of 2008, when he remembers the demon Come to him: “It didn’t matter if we had a job, even if it was exploitative, there was always someone who said to you ‘Ah, you have a job? Don’t complain because you are lucky.’ And we believed”. That’s why he says that in these months of fatigue he could not stop repeating to himself: “May this not happen to me again, don’t let this happen to me again…”. That she doesn’t lose her job, that she doesn’t have to pour a drink again, that she doesn’t underestimate again.

So at this point, how do we recognize that we have toxic productivity? We have to listen to the signs. If you are told that you have no life of your own, be suspicious. If you have unusual anxiety or stress, don’t hesitate. Think about it if you are in a state of excitement or nervousness, or if you are tired or saturated. If you also feel that you are in a bad mood then do so. This is how Maria Jesus Alva explains it in her self-help book The futility of suffering (field of books).

Psychologist Leticia Sanchez, director of IDEIN, believes that we should focus on enjoying the process, not just on the result. “Instead of running out to dinner to finish one last job, I’m going to visit a friend, I’m going for a walk, I’m going to look at the ceiling, whatever. Just like I’m not healthy. The tasks I set myself to accomplish, I can do this to set healthy boundaries for myself and that is good for my relationships with others.

For expert Jose Ramos, the problem is finding it early, before it’s too late. “If we consider work as an important element, we have to stop stress. We cannot function without energy: we have to sleep, play sports, go out with friends”. He also emphasizes the commitment to companies. Recalls: “It is necessary to train managers so that they know how reasonable demanding objectives are.” Experts are also convinced that, in general, there are very valuable practices. “Five or ten minutes of relaxation training a day Or meditation will be very useful for all of us.”

In the end, three experts agree: prevention, therapy or going to a psychiatrist will help avoid the harmful effects on health: insomnia and stress, first. And then anxiety and depression.

Expert Sanchez likes to compare two types of people in this sense: “people of measured time and people of living time. The first are clock and productivity pending. The latter don’t look at him, but they enjoy the moment.” Like the typical friend who always comes late, but then stays till the last minute”.


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