Wednesday 23 November 2022

Why Being Counterproductive Can Affect your Health

When someone’s in a job they dislike, if they’re too busy or even not busy enough, it’s common to become distracted with habits or behaviours that are often counterproductive to the task at hand. For instance, you might have a hefty project to complete but rather than focusing on what you should be doing, you distract yourself with irrelevant things that hinder your progress in the long term.

How am I being counterproductive?

Being counterproductive takes on various forms, which can, perhaps surprisingly, affect your mental health in lots of ways. 


One of the most common things that we do when we’re unhappy at work is complain, whether it’s about our work colleagues, management, the work environment or the job itself. And more often than not, they are insignificant things that we complain about, such as a broken coffee machine or if someone’s arrived back late from their lunch break. But constant complaining serves no purpose and instead, it causes you to feel angry or resentful. As well as affecting your own mood with these negative thoughts, it also impacts those around you, and may cause people to avoid you.


Similarly, gossiping is not only pointless and an unattractive personality trait, but it can also create friction between work colleagues. In turn, this might make you unpopular in the workplace, making you feel isolated and unhappy and less motivated to do your job.

Social media 

Many of us are guilty of getting distracted on social media but the time you spend scrolling through posts or messaging friends, could be spent finishing that hefty project that seems to be never ending. Although you might feel like you need some light relief from your work from time to time, using social media as a distraction can be unhelpful. In the long run, it will only cause you more anxiety and stress when you miss that final deadline and maybe even the opportunity of a future promotion.

Excessive overtime 

At the other end of the spectrum are those who constantly work late to complete their work. While you might think it’s going to impress the boss or get you ahead with your workload, what it’s doing in actual fact is leading you to mental burnout and physical exhaustion. While you might believe your job is really important, ultimately, it’s your mental and physical health that matters the most. Research has shown that working excessively long hours can have the following negative effects on your health:

  • Increased chance of cardiovascular disease
  • Increased intake of alcohol or other substance abuse
  • Risk of depression 
  • Higher injury rate
  • Fatigue
  • Stress and symptoms related such as a lack of sleep, raised blood pressure, low mood and poor memory.

Further information

If you feel you are procrastinating and not getting things done, you can download our free booklet "Understanding And Beating Procrastination - A Workbook And Guide' to help you overcome it.