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Are We There Yet?  vol. 212 Thumbnail

Are We There Yet? vol. 212

“Productivity becomes toxic when you feel pressure to be productive at all times and prioritize your perpetual to-do list at the expense of your well-being.” This quote comes from an article sent to me by a good friend and client. Dr. Natalie Christine Dattilo, a clinical psychologist and instructor at Harvard Medical School, published an article on how toxic productivity can lead to burnout in successful people. She listed some behaviors of those suffering from toxic productivity and ideas on what to do about it.

“You are on the go all the time” and always in a rush, feeling that once everything is done, you’ll finally relax. Except, none of us are ever completely done with our tasks. Dr. Datillo suggests breathing exercises and trying to focus on just slowing down as ways to reduce anxiety.

“Your self-worth is determined by how productive you are.” With so many Type A personalities in the DC area, I often hear people talking about how hard they work and how many hours they are spending at work or engaged in activities that none of us would describe as relaxing or fun. Dr. Datillo suggests that you “monitor your internal dialogue and practice talking to yourself the way you would talk to a friend or loved one.” There is research showing that this process can help you see yourself more objectively.

“You find it difficult to relax or to have downtime.” The good feelings you can get from being productive “can release ‘feel good’ chemicals (like dopamine), and you can become addicted to the rush of being busy. You might want to reframe restorative time such as breathing exercises or relaxing ahead of a meeting as productive time spent on your self-care. Give yourself permission to relax.

When I started the article, I would not have thought of myself as being toxically productive, but by the end, I wasn’t so sure. I’m going to start focusing on being more intentional about how I use my time.

Take care and stay safe.


James: A Novel by Percival Everett 

When the enslaved Jim overhears that he is about to be sold to a man in New Orleans, separated from his wife and daughter forever, he decides to hide on nearby Jackson Island until he can formulate a plan. Meanwhile, Huck Finn has faked his own death to escape his violent father, recently returned to town. As all readers of American literature know, thus begins the dangerous and transcendent journey by raft down the Mississippi River toward the elusive and too-often-unreliable promise of the Free States and beyond.

While many narrative set pieces of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remain in place (floods and storms, stumbling across both unexpected death and unexpected treasure in the myriad stopping points along the river’s banks, encountering the scam artists posing as the Duke and Dauphin…), Jim’s agency, intelligence and compassion are shown in a radically new light.