The traditional definition of productivity emphasizes the amount of work done within a certain time frame. Productivity is a measure of efficiency, and it has become an important metric that is deeply ingrained in American culture. Unfortunately, this traditional definition of productivity often causes people immense amounts of stress, anxiety, and even feelings of shame.
The continuous drive for productivity and efficiency often results in people taking on more than they can handle. This is caused by the pressure to perform in a competitive environment, leading to the “hustle culture” that is often associated with the modern workplace. People are made to feel that if they aren't productive enough, then they are not successful or valuable enough. This mentality can lead to burnout, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed. As a therapist, I believe this view of productivity is unsustainable and often leads to a decrease in overall mental and physical health.
To reduce stressors and the pressure people put on themselves, we need to redefine the traditional definition of productivity. Redefining productivity will emphasize balance, wellness, and work-life integration. We should prioritize quality over quantity and focus on goals that align with our values and interests rather than tasks that society deems as “productive.”