Akin to ASMR trend, these videos often feature no background music or entertainment, just someone training their Big Brain energy to the crispy crackling sounds of a textbook page turning, the squeaks from a highlighter, and the metaphorical clicking sound of a pen.
But, quite frankly, while these videos are meant to help motivate you to keep studying, they’re actually doing more harm than good. In fact, they’re a part of toxic productivity.
What Is Toxic Productivity?
WATCH: Psychologist Dr. Julie Smith explains toxic productivity
As Dr. Julie Smith told the BBC, “toxic productivity is this obsession with radical self-improvement above all else, and the result is no matter how productive you are, you’re always left with that guilty feeling of not having done more.”
Basically, if you’re doing your homework and studying an hour or two a night and then going to bed feeling like you haven’t done enough, you’re experiencing toxic productivity.
If you find that studying is harming your well-being, that you’re giving yourself unrealistic expectations or finding it difficult to relax, then please, remind yourself that not only are you enough today but that not everyone can study for 12 hours straight - it’s just unrealistic.
Study With Me Videos Are Making People More Stressed Than Motivated
Soony Sun is a 23-year-old medical student in England. Last month, he tweeted about this new trend on YouTube and raised awareness of the negative effects these videos have on us in a video titled, Study YouTube Is Ruining Your Life.
“No one on YouTube is talking about how if you do this, you could get burned out, you could get depressed, you could lose all of your friends because you’re just sitting in your room studying,” Sun said in the video.
“I do understand that these videos can be a really good source of motivation and inspiration for some people, but I do think that they probably make more people feel inadequate and bad than they do inspire or motivate.”
So, If You Are Feeling Victim To Toxic Productivity, What Can You Do?
First, remind yourself that there’s only so much you can do in a day and a week. It really is not realistic to study 100 hours in a week, especially after eight hours of school.
Give yourself healthy and realistic expectations — maybe four 30 minute blocks scheduled throughout the night on a school night and the same on a weekend. Don’t bulk up your weekend with studying and enjoy the sunshine.
Don’t believe us? Here’s what psychologist Dr. Julie Smith recommends: “One thing you could do right now to feel better is choose joy. Pick one thing to do for no other reason than you might enjoy it.”
“When you make your to-do list, add things that just bring you pleasure.”
As Sun puts it best, “There is nothing wrong with if you’re tired, you come home, and just want to sit in front of the TV. That is fine. You don’t need to come home and do five hours of studying, and do five hours of a side business, and completely neglect your own well-being.”