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Why Do I Feel So Unproductive At Work?

Dear May,

I think I am among the most hardworking people in my organization, but I realized that my efforts are not always appreciated, as compared to the other ‘flashy’ performers.

I seem to do much more, I take on more responsibilities and my work gets the job done.

But it also means spending long hours, and a consistent nagging feeling that I’m not doing enough, not producing enough.

However, I sometimes wonder if I need to work smarter rather than hard, yet doing things right is so important to me such that I don’t want to compromise in favor of faking the work and taking shortcuts.

What should I do?

– Alex


Does this sound like you too ? 

In astrology, there are certain psychological astrology indications that explain why you feel this way. 

Sometimes, you may have the tendency to have a certain routine or structure at the work that you do. There may be specific procedures that you absolutely have to follow, else you’re convinced the result will be compromised.

But also, doing this for all your tasks in your work can result in certain “unproductiveness”, especially if you know that it is not the smartest way to do things. In other words, working hard and not working smart. It is common that you would end up spending long hours at your job, but also feeling that you have not achieved much or could have done more. 


The Builder (Mars-Saturn)
First, there are those with the Mars-Saturn profile (also known as The Builder in our 25- matrix psychological astrology profiles). At their worst, people in this profile may insist on personally dealing with all aspects of their work projects, often finding it challenging to delegate tasks to others, even if it means taking more of the workload themselves and having to spend more time at work. They tend to choose labor-intensive careers / tasks that may not necessarily produce results proportionate to the effort put in..

Hence, Others may perceive that they work too slowly, and that the produced outcomes do not warrant a high monetary value. As a result, The Builder’s efforts may appear to be worth less, while others seem to earn much more while working less. This undervaluation can make The Builder very resentful of having to do extra work or with unpaid over-time.


The Curator (Venus-Saturn)
For some, you might not have The Builder profile. Instead, you might belong to a category with a willingness to work hard but unknowingly being unproductive in certain work that you do.

Sally is a homebaker and sells cakes online. Her cakes are delicious and customers are always returning to buy her cakes regularly. But she feels guilty that the customer has paid “too much” for her cakes. Therefore, to make up for the amount she charges, she will spend more hours finding the perfect gold ribbon from Zimbabwe to tie and package up the cake box beautifully, just to compensate for the “overcharging”. 

The problem is, her customers have never felt overcharged by her cakes simply because they are delicious! And now, the even bigger problem is, Sally has wasted so much time and effort trying to source for the ribbon, getting stressed about it, when it is not a direct productive component of her product – in this case her cakes. Her customers also did not benefit from this additional gold ribbon, and it did not justify the time and effort she has spent, hence, making this action unnecessary and unproductive. 

This results in Sally being stuck in a cycle, continuously trying to compensate for their perceived low value by adding more ‘value’ or doing more unproductive work. 

People with the Venus-Saturn profile, also known as The Curator, will exhibit these traits of over-compensation strongly. When they pad their offerings, even to the extent of throwing in a lot of “free” items or services, not only does it take more effort, it does not provide additional value to the customers too. 

There is a third profile that I would also like to introduce. 


The Detective (Mercury-Pluto)
Have you ever stopped and wondered, why are you doing the exact same task over and over again in your work?

A simple task, such as forwarding documents from your fellow colleague to your supervisor. You open the files, check through multiple times, upload onto your email, and do the check another 3 times just to be sure it’s the right file before sending it over. 

Take for example, Mark who works as an auditor doing annual audits for companies. He spends long hours at his job, way longer than his fellow colleagues for the same amount of work. When he does auditing, he has the habit of checking  through the same data or content five times before submitting it.

This is because he fears the consequences that if the information is incorrect or inaccurate, the company will sue him or maybe even lose billions of dollars, which is an exaggeration of a crisis that plays out in his mind. 

Although he thinks that he is being extra cautious about communicating all the data and information in his work, it is the fact that he still ends up being unproductive due to his need to check everything repeatedly. His unproductiveness will cause him to work even longer hours, finishing only half the amount of work as compared to his fellow colleagues. 

This is the psychological profile of someone who has Mercury-Pluto profile, also known as The Detective. Because of their inner fears and distrust of data and information, their first reaction is to be suspicious of and protect themselves from external situations.

If you’ve resonated with the profiles and the stories of people like Alex, Sally and Mark, the common expression is that it all results in all of them being unproductive – even though the psychological root causes may be different for each individual.

If you continue to have the current mindset, acknowledging the fact that you are being unproductive in the work that you do but are not taking any action, you will continue to be stuck in a self-limiting behavior, and this produces an outcome that may have  an adverse effect on others too.

The simple solution is to first recognise how this is contributing to the person that it is meant for. When you are able to recognise that what you are doing is making a difference and contributing to others, you can then see the importance of your work and naturally find that your work is in fact, productive and providing an actual value.


Career dissatisfaction is by far the most common concern faced by many of our students. Feelings of not being recognised, being unproductive at work, just going through the motions and not having your views taken into account by decision-makers. In going through the course, students discover what the fundamental root causes are and in simple shifts of their mindsets and perspectives, are able to take the necessary course of actions then address these concerns. 

Get more information about the programme here.

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