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Productivity Guilt — What Is It and How to Deal with It?

Almost all of us are already used to productivity addiction. For a modern person, not getting everything done often equates to complete failure. The fear of being ineffective, imposed on us by the cult of perfectionism, does not help in achieving goals. On the contrary, it reduces motivation and brings anxiety to the fore.

What Is Productivity Guilt?

It is a constant feeling of not creating, achieving or working hard enough. Even when you see the results, you continue to think “there are more things to get done!” It also shows up as a sense of shame while trying to relax.

In most cases, such thoughts are coming from the inside, and no real circumstances are proving it’s true. Others can perceive you as a highly productive person who drives awesome results and does a lot for the team or company.

Actually, there is a way to solve this problem — for that, you need to re-frame your thinking. Sounds simple, yet false attitudes lie so deep in our consciousness that we have to work hard to get them out of there. The good news is that it is possible, and the Collabio Spaces team will tell you how! ;)

How to Deal with It?

Imagine that someone else is facing the same problem: what would you recommend this person? Sometimes, it’s enough to take a look at an issue from another perspective, and everything will seem clearer.

Often, people advise their friends or colleagues to take a break. Why not give this piece of advice to yourself?

Permitting yourself to pause, nurture and play is productive. To realise the benefit of rest, honour time for it. Schedule time slots for doing nothing or something that pleases you.

Listen to music, dance, sing, watch funny videos, scroll social feeds, text to your friends. Do it without a goal attached. When it becomes your habit, you’ll see that these activities are not non-productive. They contribute to your well-being, motivation and good mood.

The pressure to be 100% productive is linked to anxiety, sleep disorders and stress. You can be highly effective for several days in a row, however, our energy is not endless. Even the most creative, smart and successful people have their limits.

Reserve 30% of your energy exclusively for rest and see that nothing bad happens in terms of productivity. We bet people at work won’t even notice that change, as commonly people who feel productivity guilt are doing much more than required.

The feeling of productivity guilt, as well as the understanding of productivity itself, originates from our minds. What you consider to be efficient, others can perceive as an almost unattainable amount of work. What you think is not productive, others will consider average for a day’s work.

Once you start thinking that you should do more, ask your teammates to evaluate your job. We are sure that most of our readers will be extremely surprised when receiving positive feedback from colleagues.

If no one insists that you should do more, let yourself believe that you are working to a great standard.

There are no ideals in this world, and there’s always room for growth. You can attend courses, webinars, conferences and learn from mentors and more experienced specialists. Even the most successful entrepreneurs have mentors and are always improving their skills and enlarging their knowledge base. They have acknowledged their imperfectness, appreciating it is completely normal.

Even if you’re not sure you’ve done your best, you can always address the previous technique and ask others what they think. With a high degree of probability, everyone will be happy with the work. And this is not because they do not understand anything about it. This is because your focus is already on the details that you think are weak. Nevertheless, the picture as a whole can look absolutely gorgeous!

It states that after a certain point adding more effort will not result in achieving more. Have you ever been in a situation when you seem to have finished the task, but your mind keeps adding to it? Thoughts like “if I change this part or add something there it will surely be better” continue to pop up. The process of revising can be literally endless.

The solution is to recognise when you’ve reached that point. Sometimes, endeavours on improving something make us frustrated and exhausted, instead of enhancing the work.

Productivity guilt often appears when you start comparing your own results with those of your colleagues. Does it make sense? Definitely not! Nobody in the world had your exact gifts and capabilities. Value your effort and growth.

It’s a tragedy when a programmer starts to compare how many lines of code they have written to the number of visuals completed by designers. These are different areas, though comparisons can harm even to those who work in similar areas. For example, creative writers should never compare themselves to SEO writers, as despite the writing activity, they use different methods, tools, and pursue different goals.

If your to-do list includes ongoing tasks lasting several days, break the task into subtasks and set smaller deadlines for each step. This helps to quieten any sense of productivity guilt. This simple trick of consciousness, will help you do the same amount of work that you might have done without it. You’ll feel better and calmer.

To sum it up, we’d like to highlight that productivity guilt can lead to serious problems and harm your well-being. If you notice it chasing you, use our 8 simple techniques from this article. These techniques will allow you to escape the vicious cycle, feel motivated and productive, and be happy with the amount of work you do every day.



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