Wherever you see, people are always overwhelmed about the term “productivity” and are sometimes caught in this vicious cycle of toxic productivity unknowingly. During these times of self-quarantine, people constantly push themselves for self-improvement. Work productivity is all that matters.

We all know that email management is another word for productivity in professional life. Emails are used worldwide as the prime source of communication. But do you take it as a challenging task to increase work productivity? Emails are just a part of your work and not your entire work. Like managing inboxes when you feel an extreme obsession with productivity, it gives rise to toxic productivity.

Now let’s see why do we feel this way? Emails can increase productivity only when used effectively. But if you waste long hours continuously without a break, the output may not satisfy you. Or, when you work on unrealistic goals, they might not finish them properly, which leaves you in nothing but self-loathing. 

Finally, this obsession is never-ending, and you consider quantity over the quality of your work. It is not the number of hours you worked that counts, but the quality of your work matters. Now let’s understand a situation while writing emails. 

When you sit for a long time answering all the emails at once, you may complete the task, but have you ever wondered about the quality of emails? If you do the same work at different times with short breaks included, the emails are more productive. This is how you ignore the quality of work.

Toxic productivity is similar to workaholism which only praises productivity while attaching it with the amount of work. When you set up unhealthy goals like clearing all the emails in one go, answering all emails at once, the culture of toxic productivity grows stronger. And this reduces your work productivity.

But how do you know whether you are facing toxic productivity or not? For that, here we are with few primary signs of toxic productivity. 

Signs of toxic productivity

Toxic Productivity

Toxic productivity comes from toxic discipline at work. Your work routine and behavior adds to it. When a person works day and night, he seems to be productive. On the other hand, a person who only works for the required hours, takes proper food on time, and spends time with family is never really praised. Well, the difference might occur that the person working fewer hours is more efficient. Let’s have a look at the changes toxic productivity brings in one’s life: 

  • While managing your inbox, you forget about the outside world. But do you know how it affects your brain and life? You might forget about the time. Due to this, you might spend too much time replying, sorting the emails, and miss your dinner with family, social gatherings with people, and many more. By this- Outside your inbox, there exists no life for you! 
  • As we discussed, the obsession with productivity grows more robust, and you start making unrealistic goals. A goal like uncluttering all emails on your own without any break when the inbox has 100+ unread emails is unhealthy and non-productive. This way, you might delete/ignore some essential emails too.
  • And if you’re not able to reach your unrealistic goals, you might feel guilty or restless. Sometimes people facing toxic productivity might judge their self-worth based on the number of hours they worked. Isn’t it pointless? 

Just like toxic productivity, the signs are toxic too. Stubbornness towards your work is a good thing. But when you start ignoring basic human life like proper sleep or eating on time might affect you badly. There lie responsibilities outside your work, and when you forget about them, this isn’t a good sign. But do we stop such toxic behavior? Let’s see. 

How to stay away from toxic productivity?

If you have observed such signs of toxic productivity, here are some tips to overcome them. To lead a healthy workplace and increase your efficiency, here are a few ideas to reduce this obsession with your inbox.

  1. Work only in time slots

    As we discussed, the example of a person working for long hours was less efficient than the person working for required hours. This way, it is not necessary to work overnight and day. You can achieve your goals by living a healthy life. Rest is not for the weak! Divide your day into slots and allot hours to manage emails, including breaks.
    Strictly ensure that you don’t check your inbox before it. This way, you can also run your schedule correctly.

  2. Embrace the quality, not the quantity

    The number of hours you spend in your inbox is not significant. But the standard of your communication with your clients is more important. To raise your bar high through efficient conversation, which gives extraordinary results. It is not appreciable that you answered 100+ emails and still got no good results. However, if you think and respond with a fresh mind, you might achieve good results from answering just 50 emails.

  3. Always set realistic goals

    This is the most important tip to increase productivity at work and avoid any toxic behavior. Expecting high from yourself is good, but setting up goals on this confidence might not always work. If you failed, it might lead to disappointment. Goals like uncluttering 100+ emails at once or attending to all the emails are unrealistic for us.

  4. Establish rules while managing inbox

    To avoid toxic productivity, you should establish rules while you manage emails. Follow the rules like no emails while working or eating, never check your inbox with your family or set a time to get no notification from your inbox. This way, you draw clear boundaries between your work and personal life. Answer when you’re ready!

    You can also use email management tool like- Mailman, which offers email management services for us. It provides “Custom Delivery Tools” to get emails at your predetermined time and only when you’re ready. Also, the “Do Not Disturb Tool” provides complete silence while working so that you can work with mindfulness at your workplace.

  5. Use email management tools

    For better email management, use Mailman, which is also the best time management app to save time and effort. Mailman not only offers services like “Custom Delivery Tool” and “Do Not Disturb Tool” but also gives “VIP Alerts Tool” for getting important emails while doing work.

    With that, use the “Unlimited Blocking Tool” to save the time you waste on spam. This keeps your time, and you can increase productivity without any toxic behavior. Such automated tools reduce half of your work, so you get time for life outside your inbox.


More or less, you can realize your realistic goals and work on them. Make sure you don’t invest all of your time. A break is 100% necessary! Refreshments and rest is a must while working. Always strive to improve the quality of your work and not the number of hours. Also, you can use email management tools like- Mailman for great email management. Such tools help to improve functionality so that you can excel using effective communication.

Work smart, not hard!