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Embracing Who You Are. Pursuing Passions. LIVING Life.


Addicted To Productivity: My Story

We live in such a fast paced environment where being productive is considered the norm and if you're not productive, you're lazy. For the longest time, this mentality lead me feeling stressed, anxious and frustrated. There were days where I was exhausted but kept pushing through because that's what made me feel good. I never understood people who weren't as productive and it made me feel sick. I can't believe I thought like that. Things had to change. I couldn't live my life like this anymore.

How did the addiction start?

It all started at university. My degree consisted of deadlines throughout the academic year which meant I was constantly working. I had no choice but to work hard because my life depended on it. Literally. If I didn't perform, I would have wasted my time and money. There was a lot of pressure, high expectations and standards I lived up to. My friends knew how important education was for me and if you ask them, I was that friend who completed her assignments early but still looked for extra work to do 😞

I was so used to doing work that along the way I forgot how to relax. It sounds bizarre but I promise you it's true. I couldn't sit still and even if I had no work, I would do other productive tasks. For example: clean, cook, read articles, watch Ted Talks, online courses - the list goes on. I had a problem guys.

What it developed?

Obsession with time. I had a routine for everything I did in a day. Wake up, go uni, have lunch, start work, have 'tea time' (which I still love!) work again, dinner and then bed. When I ate junk food, I would always have the burger first, chips and then the drink, no matter what. I refused to break the routine because days where I did, my anxiety would be through the roof and I'd become really frustrated. I guess this is where my self-discipline came from. 

Obsession with to-do lists. Before I knew what a to-do list actually was, I used to panic and think of the worst situation. The moment I discovered this beautiful concept in my second year - I created one every day. I would wake up, eat breakfast and write my to-do list before starting anything. Yes this kept me organised but it became an obsession to the point where I couldn't live without it. Now, I still create to-do lists but it's every once in a while or if I have a lot of tasks to complete that day. I think graduating and not having academic work to do constantly has helped me break this habit. Thank God.

Unable to enjoy myself properly. Whenever I went out, I could not enjoy myself like everybody else because deadlines and work were always on my mind. I used to think 'ok I need to do this when I go home' 'this needs completing' 'i'll read this' the list goes on. This meant I wasn't living in the present but was worried about the future. I didn't make it obvious so people never assumed anything. I now look back and wish I lived more in the moment because truth is, work will always be there. And everyone deserves to have a good time 😊

How I overcame my productivity addiction

Initially I ended up reading more about productivity than trying to overcome it. The thought of 'wasting time' kept crossing my mind and I knew I needed to stop this bad habit taking over my life. So, here are a few things i've done recently that have helped me overcome my addiction.

1. Set aside time for being productive.

Since i'm not studying anymore, I don't have to take work home so i'm really, only productive at work. Makes sense? Whatever work needs to get done will be at work. Other 'productive tasks' such as cleaning etc I don't refer to as productive anymore. They are simply tasks that need to get done. And i'll set out time to complete them without having all this pressure. So in that time, I can do all the other tasks without it affecting how the rest of my day is spent.

2. Saying No.

Saying 'no' to any new responsibility or task that doesn't actually benefit my professional or personal life. For example, a few months ago I decided to start volunteering for an organisation because I was bored and it looked good on my LinkedIn profile. Don't get me wrong - volunteering has many benefits and can bring you opportunities but if you're someone like me who has volunteered before, graduated, got a job (alhamdulillah) and doesn't really need it then RELAX. I wish someone made me understand this before. 

3. Accepting that a day of relaxation can recharge me.

It took me a long time to understand that relaxing is not bad! In fact, as human beings we are meant to relax - it's not that deep. Although it certainly felt like I was 'wasting time' cause I wasn't ticking something off my to-do list, the opposite happened. Allowing my brain to rest not only helped me refuel but some of my best ideas came in a moment where I wasn't busy or distracted. Ah I love it. 

4. Enjoying what I do.

If you know me, you know I love cooking, baking and publishing content. At first I used to consider these activities as something that kept me productive and made me feel good. But now I do it because I genuinely enjoy it. Not to keep me busy or enhance my skills - but cause it's fun. This mentality has helped me live in the moment and calmed my anxiety down a lot. 

5. Realising I won't get this time back.

I work in a college and have been on summer holidays for a month now. At first I didn't like the idea of having all this free time because the thought of not having anything to do made me frustrated obviously. But accepting that i'm lucky enough to have a job where having holidays is a thing made all the difference. Instead of complaining, I thought of fun things to do with my time such as: going on walks, cooking + baking, facetiming friends, watching new dramas and so on. 

Of course, enjoying the feeling of being productive is nothing to be ashamed off. There's so much pressure in western culture to work hard, do more, strive for more that it feels like we'll fall behind and won't be able to catch up. 

All I want to say is don't lose sight of what's really important in life. Live in the present and relish calm moments in your day - from the smell of coffee to the fresh air on your daily walk. I want to end with this "you weren't born to just work and die".


  1. I really like this paragraph: "If you know me, you know I love cooking, baking and publishing content. At first I used to consider these activities as something that kept me productive and made me feel good. But now I do it because I genuinely enjoy it. Not to keep me busy or enhance my skills - but cause it's fun. This mentality has helped me live in the moment and calmed my anxiety down a lot." My motto is not "rise and grind". I've been enjoying doing the things that make my life more fulfilling and enjoyable because they are at the heart of me and not doing what society proclaims will make me be more productive and successful.

    1. I'm glad you liked it and yes I agree with you! Doing things simply because they are enjoyable and not because it'll get you somewhere. This mentality is wrong and needs to change.

  2. This is so important to remember, thank you for sharing! I feel guilty when I take a day off, like I could be checking so many more things off my list instead of recharging. But it's absolutely necessary to avoid burnout.

    1. Yes its so important and you deserve a day off! You're human and like the quote reads "you weren't born to just work and die". Have a good day :)

  3. Preach! Thank you so much for sharing this. I think it's so important to do what you love in life, and I absolutely love that quote "you weren't born to just work and die".

  4. Girl, I feel you. The whole take a break and relax thing has been my nemesis for years. Now that I have kids and have seen what overworking can do to my health I have made it my goal in life to balance both and know that I, in fact, do not need to do it all! great read thanks for being so sharing!

    1. Aw you're welcome and i'm glad you realised! Take a break you deserve it :)

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