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How I slowed down my hyper productivity

Making mental health and work morals go hand-in-hand

Kaya Olsen
6 min readApr 7, 2022

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I’m a human production machine. Not by active choice. Or because of ambitions. I’m just highly disciplined, relentlessly focused and very conscientious. As a consequence, I’m super efficient and hyper productive. I simply can’t help it.

And that’s great isn’t it? Productivity is a strongly praised virtue these days (and might always have been). Isn’t life great when I manage to get everything done in no time and I’m always ahead of my to-do list?

Sure. My professional life is easy. But my private life suffers.

Because my hyper productivity isn’t something I can switch on and off as needed. It never stops. I don’t just do what I need to do fast and well. I also need to do something all the time. I feel a constant pressure to get shit done, no matter whether there is any shit to be doing. There is no peace, there is no rest. There is only doing, doing, doing.

And that’s problematic.

So when I switched jobs at the beginning of the year, I took the opportunity to work on myself, to fight off this problematic productivity pressure. Not to kill my drive and passion. But to find more ease and peace in my life. This is the story of what I did and how that helped me slow down.

Begin with Mindset

Like in any transformational processes, I had to begin with my mindset. I’ve only ever worked in start-ups or scale-ups. And it seems to me like companies like these have an unrealistic sense of urgency. Every single task is code-red and a life or death sort of issue. Nothing can wait, and if you don’t do your part, someone is probably going to die.

Sure. But.. I write app copy. So if I don’t find the time to write the perfect subtitle in a feature within a feature, no one will get hurt. Of course, I prefer for the users to have a great experience when they interact with our products, and, in extension, have great copy to read. But it’s not the end of the world if I don’t manage to edit the copy the designers or developers write before the release. Usually I get around to doing it a week later, and even if I didn’t, it’s not going to break anything. It really doesn’t. That’s…

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