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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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Reducing Your Guilt About Not Being Productive

Reducing Your Guilt About Not Being Productive

https://psychcentral.com/blog/reducing-your-guilt-about-not-being-productive/

psychcentral.com

5

Key Ideas

Reasons for productivity guilt

  • We link our behavior, our performance, our productivity, with our self-worth.
  • We also mistakenly believe that there’s actually a point where we get everything done that we want to, or should, or expect.

And we start to associate relaxing with being lazy, bad or worthless, 

Beyond comparing and competing

We don’t have to rank, compare, compete.

Do not be anxiously concerned with ranking and comparisons. Instead, be concerned with doing a good job.

Recognize process over endpoint

Reframe your life as a process of growth, not of being done.

You can celebrate your growth instead of feeling guilty for things left undone or incomplete.

“Wasting time” also is productive

Here’s a powerful paradox: We are often most productive when we feel it least, when we’re taking a break or relaxing or doing absolutely nothing.

Resist the urge to fill every empty moment with something — “especially if you need to be extra productive or creative for a task.”

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. 

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Inspiration alone is not enough

Just as leaders who deliver only performance may do so at a cost that the organization is unwilling to bear, those who focus only on inspiration may find that they motivate the troops but are u...

Inspiring leaders

Are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. 

And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.

To be an inspiring leader...
  • You only need one truly “inspiring” attribute - centeredness: a state of mindfulness that enables leaders to remain calm under stress, empathize, listen deeply, and remain present. 
  • Your key strength has to match how your organization creates value.
  • You have to behave differently if you want your employees to do so.
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.