The word ‘Productivity’ is weaponized
Especially in the workplace.
Yeah, I said it and here’s why. Year after year stories are told of workers, a good number of them women in the workplace, feeling like they need to “get it all done” with few resources to do so. The “few resources” part tracks; queue increasing childcare costs, inflation in general, lack of access to healthcare and other resources for women in historically marginalized communities, truly I can go on. But it’s the “getting it all done part” that we need to perk up on.
That uncontrollable need to be doing something, advancing an agenda, busy busy all the time is coined as Toxic Productivity and may not always be an inside job. Simply put, that guilt you feel in your stomach when you’re, seemingly, not doing anything may be cosigned by the environment(s) you find yourself in for work. Now by no means should you walk away from this read with the idea that hard work, diligence, and discipline to accomplish a day’s job isn’t important — It is! However when your hard-work value is out of alignment or misused (*cough cough* taken advantage of) and you’re overworking, missing self-care opportunties, and habitually putting your needs at the bottom of the list, your value of hard-work and diligence is no longer serving you. Here’s the gotcha, your job knows that too. So what can you do if your internal need to be “productive” pairs well with a work environment that will assist you in performing inequitably?
Take inventory on your time week to week.
Most of our Your Big Debut Coaching clients have had the opportunity for me to facilitate a 168 Hour mini class and/or 168 Audit. 168 is the number of hours in a calendar week (Sunday to Saturday). Where do you spend the most time? At work? When you’re at home are you doing more work? How long do chores like laundry and cleaning take in a week? How much time out of the 168 hours goes to rest, sleep, and exercise? Get an idea of how much of your time belongs to someone else, somewhere else and something else. Schedule a discovery call and I’ll be happy to walk through this exercise with you.
Decide if you want to take action.
Once you’ve seen what you’re wrapped up in week to week, you’re at choice: Do you want to develop some systems and habits to create better balance and get off the productivity wheel or continue as-is? If the answer is no, okay! What are the upsides and downsides of your choice? Be honest with yourself when deciding if intervention is in order.
Have a talk with yourself first, then approach your employer.
It takes courage to recognize a need for change. It takes courage to take steps toward change and more courage to follow through. Remind your inner voice that you weren’t built to “do it all at once” and sometimes the inbox is just never going to empty. That’s quite alright— your worth is not an outcome of what you can produce, in fact in this moment right now you are MORE THAN ENOUGH. Now, let your boss know that too and it might sound like this:
“I’d like to approach the upcoming week with fewer administrative tasks on my to-do list, can we talk about ways I can delegate a few items?”
“In my last performance review, we talked about I can train a few others on the team. I’d like to work up a timeline for that soon. Is that something you can help me with?”
“Thank you so much for considering me for that big project, you know how much I love to work with our sales department. However I’m taking inventory on how much I say ‘yes’ to right now, so I am not raising my hand for any additional initiatives. I’ll let you know when I’m ready for more.”
“I’ve had the honor of coordinating this volunteer event for the last three years, this year I’ll be passing the torch to someone else and providing them with the playbook on how to run the event to ensure their success.”
“What are some other ways we can showcase my performance without me being present for this event? I’m happy to record of a video of my findings or meet with out key stakeholders later in the month.”
*a few call-outs
Not everyone works in an environment where work type, tasks or schedule are self-controlled. Queue first responders, essential workers, etc. Despite your rest and well-being are still necessary for your longevity in whatever you do.
It might sound real euro-centric, dominant culture to suggest that one takes inventory on their time and make changes to care for self better/more. Women who come from historically marginalized communities have rarely been given the luxury of self-reflection and an opportunity to pause, change directions — I’ll add, or ask for help. If this is you, this is your sign to start today from where you are with what you have.
If you've not heard it today, you're doing a great job and not just for what you do, but we're happy that you're here with us...just as you are!
You've got this -- 🧡