When the Guilt Creeps In
I’ve recently realized that I feel guilty more often now than I probably ever have.
It’s not that I feel guilty for doing things in the past that I regret, because I have very few regrets. It’s more like I feel guilty when I don’t do things that I know I should be doing.
For instance, I just was not motivated to work the other day. I was tired, hadn’t exercised in a while (which makes me feel like crap), and just couldn’t get myself to attack important tasks. I completed a few little tasks that took minimal brainpower, but just couldn’t get myself to get the bigger, more important things done.
And I felt completely guilty about it.
I have a ton of projects for work. I have a laundry list of tasks to do around the house (which many times includes laundry), there are everyday things to do to take care of Maya, and a bunch of other general life events going on. And I feel guilty when I’m not taking care of these tasks.
I feel guilty when I check social media instead of working on mockups for my startup. I feel guilty when I sit down to watch TV, which doesn’t happen all that often anymore, instead of searching for ceiling fans to buy for the house. I feel guilty when I read and respond to email when I should be writing that blog post or eBook. And I feel guilty when I read all of these blog posts from entrepreneurs about how productive they are EVERY…SINGLE…SECOND.
I didn’t feel this way in the past, at least not to this extent. Maya didn’t exist 22 months ago, so that was never an issue in the past. But I didn’t feel guilty checking my personal email during my prior jobs. I didn’t mind taking a long break to socialize with my coworkers. I didn’t feel sorry for going to the gym in the middle of the day.
Maybe becoming an entrepreneur changed all that. And getting married. And having a kid. Maybe I care more about these things that are part of my life now, than what was part of my life back then. I’m not sure.
A possible solution would be to not do the things I shouldn’t be doing, and do all of those things that I should be doing, all the time. Then I won’t feel guilty, right?
Yeah, I suppose. But eventually that will lead to burnout.
I think the problem for me is accepting that not all of my time needs to spent on getting things done. Taking some time to do something brainless every once in a while is OK. Actually, it’s probably a good thing.
It’s tough to disconnect from work when you’re trying to get a startup off the ground. But doing so every so often is much better in the long run, for your physical and mental health. Still, it’s a difficult thing to do.
Do you feel guilty when you’re not being as productive as you can be? If so, how do you deal with it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.