Performance productivity culture: the depression-anxiety trigger? w/ host Melissa D.Barry
Updated: Oct 4
I probably touched upon this topic in the flow of previous episodes but recent personal events made me want to make an entire episode dedicated to this subject. It’s probably going to be a shorter talk as this is an impromptu episode. Let’s talk about a specific modern reality that most of the time hinders our best self. Yes, I’m talking about the one and only star of capitalism (right after money): performance productivity! The one which is often the cause of depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome, self-sabotage, and many more mental and physical health issues. Some that I personally experienced in the past and thought I was done with but I guess some things like to creep in from time to time. Fun times!
Glorified productivity can be defined as where the value put on excessive performance is present. When being busy is worn like an honour badge. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being busy, I’d even encourage it but here I’m talking about the kind of busi-ness that becomes extremely unhealthy yet the kind that is praised by our society. The one that not only gets you stuck in the rat race but also deters your mental health. Even when detaching from the hustle culture, it has still been programmed inside of us since we were a kid, from being praised when getting good grades and shunned when getting bad ones, competition with your peers to get into the best schools and securing the most prestigious internship, then the not so often justified hierarchy in the work force when you see that’s you’re more skilled than the person supposedly above you. Being promoted when you’re giving more than you’re all 24/7 and eventually getting demoted when you have just a few down days.
Even as an entrepreneur, like myself, which requires a certain freedom mindset, we are still wired as students, interns, employees which means we expect of ourselves to bring in results ALL the time, and if not - it won’t be a bad grade or loosing your internship or being demoted in your position but the risk of loosing your income or business. The stakes are high which trigger a lot of big fears. Ask any entrepreneur even in the wellness field who know so much about health, they’ll tell you that they feel like crap (or at least down) when they’re not productive and not bringing in results. Thank you capitalist society and school systems. Instant gratification with recognition, money or a good grade is at the root of “fake productivity”. The type of performance productivity that requires of you to spend 8 hours a day supposedly working when in fact we’ve only been focusing for 3 or 4, filling up the rest of the time with distractions, shallow work (even if sometimes necessary) like replying to email, posting on social media for your business, re-organizing your desk, scrolling on your phone, literally any task that is filling your days up that is neither urgent nor important. If you look closely at your workday, you’d find that a lot of the tasks you’re rushing around to get done are not all that productive. Except if you’ve already mastered the art of true and healthy productivity, then kudos to you! We are so trained to act busy, to do something that I think we are being confused between work to fill the hours, and actual deep work, the one that transports you in your zone and supports you in creating. We end up working more but getting less done. It doesn’t make sense nevertheless it’s the reality of the majority of working people, myself included. Why is productivity even a core value we have as a society? Who truly does benefit from it? When men function on a 24-H cycle, and women 28-Day cycle.
Glorified performance productivity is what I want to talk about today. Why as humans, especially the millennial generation, are we crippled with fears that lead us to incarnate a version of ourselves that is far from the reality we want to create and which messes with our mental health?
Listen up to this gem,