Productivity Guilt: 5 Ways to Stop Being Guilty For the Things We Failed To Do

Productivity Guilt: 5 Ways to Stop Being Guilty For the Things We Failed To Do - Paystaff

We just came from the holiday season. So many moments spent on relaxing and socializing, it's time well spent, isn't it? But you can't help sense a certain nagging feeling.

Why do I feel guilty enjoying this time? I have certain tasks to do, yet I'm frolicking right now. You are not alone. This, my friend, is productivity guilt.


Productivity Guilt?

Productivity guilt is that nagging feeling when you think you could've done more. I mean, you had that extra hour, you should've read books. You should've waked up an hour earlier. You should've exercised. You should’ve this. You should've that. And the should've-s are endless.

We feel this because of a certain expectation we have in ourselves. There are multiple self-help blogs and books that outline the things we "should've been doing" for our time.  And not doing it to the dot, can make us feel, well, guilty.

But this doesn't have to be the case. There are ways to stop being guilty of the things we failed to do.


Productivity Guilt You Are Not Perfect. Accept that - Paystaff

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You Are Not Perfect. Accept that.

First of all, you must accept that you are not perfect. It is ok to not be that perfect little person who can balance and juggle all the self-help and productivity tips all at once. And consistently for that matter. I mean, is there really such a person?

You can only do so much at a given time. And it's fine. As for me, I've written stuff that points to exercising as much as you can, to being gratuitous over everything, and to be productive as much as possible.

But do I have lapses? Heck, I do! Yesterday, I started again with my gratitude journal. After not writing on it for the past 3 months! I did not exercise the past week at all. And for productivity, I did nothing productive the past Christmas season.

And it's all right to make these "mistakes" as long as you improve and correct along the way and when needed. After all, progress is better than perfection.


Productivity Guilt Take It One Step at a Time - Paystaff

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Take It One Step at a Time

There are multiple bits of advice that can be used to progress. Although helpful, it becomes really overwhelming. You get paralyzed thinking about where to start.

As I said, you can't do everything in one go. Although good, you DON'T NEED to force yourself for everything RIGHT NOW. Japanese "Kaizen" exemplified it best 1 % improvement every day makes you 37 times better in a year. 

Better take it one step at a time. Just lift advice that is doable as of the moment. Ask yourself, what little thing can I do now? Compounding little improvements every day will produce more results than you’re sulking because you are too overwhelmed to even move.


Productivity Guilt Manage Your Expectations from Yourself - Paystaff

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Manage Your Expectations from Yourself

But the real guilty giver is not the high standards given to us. It's the expectations we give ourselves. Willpower is finite. Our discipline is finite. You WILL make mistakes.

Know yourself. Forgive yourself. Only in doing that can make you move forward.


Productivity Guilt Stop Using Guilt as a Motivational Tool - Paystaff

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Stop Using Guilt as a Motivational Tool

Guilt can be used as motivation to do even better. But I tell you, it has more disadvantages. The negativity that stems out from such feeling encourages you to resent and hate.

And this has happened to me. Back then, I was given a goal that I can't reach and some other people reached it.

I was so guilty and disappointed I worked so hard to get it. Momentarily, it might push you to do more things than usual. I was angry at myself. Remembering that guilty feeling every working task I did. But at the end of the day, I didn't make it.

How did I feel after? You guessed it. Unhappy. Zero motivation. In hindsight, I subconsciously despised the people getting what I can't get. It's good for a short while. But it will kill you inside in the long run.


Productivity Guilt Stop Comparing Yourself From Others - Paystaff

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Stop Comparing Yourself From Others

People have different standards. In our peers, we may have ultra successful friends already.

In my experience, I have friends who are multimillionaires already. Some of them are very influential in their field. Some earn 6 digit incomes while just at home.

If I compare myself to their timeline and standards, how would I feel? I will really feel guilty and little. What am I doing with my life? How are they way WAAAY more successful than me?

You should not impose the expectations and standards of others to yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Work on your goals with blinders on. It doesn't matter when you get there. What matters is that you do get there!


Productivity guilt is a real thing. Check yourself. Awareness of this case might save you from this negative state. Let's all get rid of productivity guilt this new year and be onwards to real productivity for the coming days!


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