Posted on 27th April 2021

Overcoming productivity guilt- a guide

For most of us, having a productive day will leave us feeling overall more content and positive. Studies show that your productivity has a significant impact on your overall mood and happiness. This is because it feels good to know that you’re achieving your goals; whether they be your daily goals or life goals!

It comes as no surprise then that being unproductive has the opposite effect. Being unproductive can make people feel like they are falling behind, especially in comparison to their peers. Even though social media has done a lot of good, one of its downfalls is seeing many live seemingly “perfect” lives, as they tend to use it to showcase their achievements rather than their failures. The comparison that we naturally make between their ‘normal lives’ and ours on this basis contributes to the feelings of guilt that we experience.

It isn’t all bad news though, as there are proven ways to get out of your unproductive spell. We’ve put together a list of some of the most effective ways to get you back on your grind!

Re-think your to-do list

It’s common to feel overwhelmed by a long to-do list. This can sometimes push you away from your daily tasks and lead to procrastination. As humans we’re all too familiar with procrastination, it can go on for days and halt your productivity.

To get out of the habit of procrastinating, we suggest re-thinking your to-do list. Create a to-do list that you know you’ll be able to manage. A good to-do list allows you to stay focused and plan your day and help prioritise your tasks. The good news is that there are Apps you can use to help you achieve this!

Some of our favourite to-do list Apps:

–       ClickUp

–       Todoist

–       Google Keep

–       TeuxDeux

Focus on one goal at a time

Working on more than one thing at any one time can leave you feeling guilty, stressed, exhausted and not knowing where to start. Effective time management will allow you to overcome that. Now that you have reset your to-do list, you should have a better idea of which deadline is approaching soon and what are the most pressing tasks.

In relation to your University work, start with your most urgent assignment and work your way through your list from there. When doing this, make sure you’re focusing on one task at a time. This will compartmentalise your tasks so they don’t feel like one big assignment. Don’t worry about the deadline that you have for next month right now if you have one that needs to be handed in next week!

Replace your FOMO with JOMO- take breaks from social media

Studies show that the average person spends 2.35 hours on social media a day. This can make up 5 years and 4 months of their entire lifetime!  However, if you are spending more than 2.35 hours a day on social media, then best believe that even more of your life is spent as a result.

Spending your time on social media can without a doubt affect your productivity. So how can you reduce the amount of time we spend scrolling through social media and use more time ticking off the tasks on your to-do list?

1 .Cap yourself by using ‘screen time’. Screen time shows you how much time you have spent on your phone daily and weekly. It even breaks this into how long you have spent on each App; so you can use this to your advantage by monitoring your usage. If you don’t want to do this manually you can set up individual screen times for each App and your phone will send you notifications when your time is up. Remember to set realistic times so you can stick to them!

2. No social media before 12 pm or after 10 pm! Many people check social media first thing in the morning and last thing before they go to bed. This innocent force of habit may not seem like much at first, but it can lead to 20-30 minutes spent scrolling at one time, which eats into your downtime (which hinders the recovery process gained in sleep) and your morning prep (which is when the brain and body have most energy). Looking at the phone screen before bed also deteriorates your sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling more sluggish. Giving yourself a ban of either no social media before 12 pm lunchtime or after 10 pm bedtime will give you more control over your social media consumption.

Don’t be so hard on yourself!

Productivity guilt is real. We all go through phases where we feel like we’re wasting time and that we could have done more with our workday. Our best advice to you would be to not be so hard on yourself. The feeling of guilt is shared by almost everyone, but you can only do what you are able in the 24 hours we have in the day.

Taking the measures mentioned in this blog and deciding to take action is proof that you are willing to put in the work needed to overcome the guilt and will place you one step closer to being a more productive you. Recognise your efforts and in time you will see progress.