Reevaluate your expectations - Deepstash

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Reducing Your Guilt About Not Being Productive

Reevaluate your expectations

Are your expectations actually attainable or more like unattainable ideals? If your expectations are more realistic, you will have more energy to be productive.

We must alternate between times of action and times of reflection and rest. It’s just the way organisms work.

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Productivity guilt

Productivity guilt is a mindset of feeling bad about not creating, achieving or working hard.

The Zeigarnik effect

This is the tendency to have “intrusive thoughts” about a task that we once started but didn’t finish. 

It is in our human nature to finish off things that we start and we often hate having to leave a project unfinished. 

Some people are very good at maintaining a detachment between their work and their outside life. For others (especially those indoctrinated in ‘life hacks’ and productivity tips), the guilt to be constantly doing something can be a real energy sucker.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Before comparing yourself to that guy over there, realize what he’s sacrificing.

If you’re feeling guilty about your lack of “productivity”, then you’re not going to be truly productive at all. 

Working Harder isn’t the Answer

We do it because it's the most visible form of productivity.

It is a way to prove to others that you are doing stuff and checking things off the list.

The Dose-Response Theory

Hard work is necessary in order to be productive, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

At some point, you start to be negatively productive.

Prioritize Tasks by Energy Level

It means scheduling your time according to your natural rhythms:

  • Do your most important work at the beginning of the day if you are a morning person.
  • Don't feel bad about sleeping in because you stayed up late at night to work if you are a night owl.
Guilt is an informative emotion
Guilt is an informative emotion

It’s often a sign we’re not acting in accordance with our values.

The guilt of not working stems from two places: 

  • From the fact that we value working har...
Counter guilt around break time

Reflect on how you need to recharge—and, more than that, how doing good work depends on it:

  • How much you value resting your mind so you can do better, more creative work later.
  • How your focus will benefit from this attention break.
  • How many great ideas come while your mind is wandering (when you’re not working or focused).
  • How often your mind considers and plans for the future while you’re stepping back.