The 6 Most Glaring Signs Of Toxic Busyness, According To Experts

Hustle culture has produced an environment of always being busy for increased productivity, but it takes a heavy toll on our well being.

Woman with dreams and head in the clouds as the weight of burnout creeps Magda Ehlers, Scopio Images, Cecilie_Arcurs, Thinkstock Images, sdominick, SasinParaksa  | Canva

Busy, busy, busy. We compare ourselves to bees. In the kingdom of insects, the bee is a hard worker for sure. However, we are human and humans need rest to recharge and rebuilt so we can show up even better the next time.

The drive to always be busy and productive seems to be a symptom of late-stage capitalism. If corporate profits must always be increasing to infinity, then the human machines set to task to achieve those infinitely increasing goals are going to be sacrificed for the monetary gain.


RELATED: 8 Signs You Should Quit Your Job To Find Something That Makes You Happy

It is no surprise a nation built on oppression allows the demands of capital gain to grind us down until the next likely candidate shows up fresh and ready. So, we need to be aware of the signs of toxic busyness so we can choose our best course of action for the future


Though the motivating source of toxic productivity lies in the standards of the corporate culture, the signs and symptoms show up in the everyday worker.

Here, Yourtango experts reveal the 6 most glaring signs of toxic busyness:

1. Burnout is only recognized after an issue develops.

Toxic productivity leads to burnout. When you get so focused on doing the work, you lose touch with your inner world. You lose touch with your body. Often you don't wake up until you have some serious physical or mental health issue.

Roland Legge, Accredited Burnout Coach

2. Negligence towards self-care

The attitude of negligence towards prioritizing basic self-care activities such as adequate sleep, personalized meditation, physical exercise, and nutritious food.


Sidhharrth S Kumaar, Chief Happiness Officer, NumroVani

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3. Impractical goal-chasing

Setting impractical and unrealistic high goals in work life and punishing oneself for not being able to achieve the same. This thought process leads to declined mental wellbeing and performance at one's workplace,

Sidhharrth S Kumaar, Chief Happiness Officer, NumroVani

4. Increasing anxiety and exhaustion

Early signs can be when an area of your life is negatively impacted or neglected due to a hyper-focus on staying busy in another area. Ultimately, there will be unhealthy mental and physical symptoms that lead to burnout such as anxiety and exhaustion. It is important to understand why you may lean toward a toxic level of productivity. Ask yourself what you may be avoiding by staying so busy; the answer to this question is the starting point to overcoming it.


Ann Papayoti, PCC

5. Overwhelmed by addiction to work

Burnout and overwhelm are often the first signs of toxic productivity. Constantly feeling drained, fatigued, or on edge can be warning signs that someone is headed for burnout. Struggling with idleness or having difficulty taking time off can be another overlooked sign of toxic busyness. In this sense, work and busyness can become addictive, and individuals may feel the need to work compulsively in order to stay emotionally regulated. Work addiction is characterized by an overwhelming compulsion to stay busy and productive, even when it's not necessary or healthy.

Blair Nicole Nastasi, AMFT & MA, Psychology

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6. Feeling caught on the hamster wheel

When you find yourself constantly caught on the hamster wheel, churning, and striving to get someplace other than you are, then you might be dealing with some toxic busyness.

This often gets set into motion when a person is avoiding some other part of their life that is causing them stress, fear, or anxiety. By ignoring the elephant in the room, they create stress in some other area of their life to ignore the real issue at hand.

The key to eliminating the toxic busyness is by confronting the real issue – looking fear in the face – and doing the inner or outer work to resolve the issue. Not always easy, yet it’s a powerful way to move towards deeper healing, happiness, and peace of mind.

Michele Molitor, CPCC, PCC, CHt Your Mind Detective Master Coach & Hypnotherapist

The next time you are faced with a decision to push yourself harder or take a break for self-care, take the break, not only do you deserve it, you absolutely require it.


Go ahead, and switch off all notifications from work for a whole day. You, your body, and your brain will be so much better and more ready to produce after a much-needed rest.

Or, maybe it is time to break up with your boss.

RELATED: I Left My Toxic Job & It's Time That You Do Too

Will Curtis is an associate editor for Yourtango.