Never enough work hours in the day? Guilty when you toss an hour to The Witcher? It’s called “productivity shame.” It’s a whole situation, and you’re in good company. Writer Stephen Altrogge did a deep dive for RescueTime on the problem and how to fix it. If you’re already behind, here’s a recap to get you started on kissing work shame goodbye and enjoying some sweet, sweet downtime.

So, what is productivity shame?

It’s not the fun kind like you can do to your dog. (<< That site is hilarious if you love dogs) In a nutshell, productivity shame is the harmful belief system that, A) you’re never doing enough and B) you don’t deserve to enjoy “unproductive” relaxation.

Bosses might love the need to put in endless hours (even if you’re your own boss), but ultimately productivity shame leads to burnout—which is anything but productive for your health, happiness, and output. Blame the shame, which spirals and demotivates. Yep, guilt about your productivity actually reduces your productive work!

Not Awesome. Now What?

First, know the roots that create and perpetuate productivity shame. Altrogge identifies three of the major causes, and ways to end the shame spiral.

Linking Self-Worth To Your Achievements

Your value as a human and as a worker is more than the sum total of what you check off a to-do list on any given day. Days are filled with interruptions, unplanned fires, and soul-sucking meetings. Feeling that “you = your achievements” is a recipe for shame.

GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLS! (Unrealistic, Error Of)

Goals are a great way to motivate yourself. But when they’re too ambitious or fixated on the end result instead of incremental progress, it’s easy to become discouraged, demotivated, and ashamed. Set your goals SMARTly.

Kick The Comparisons

Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and when your face is carved on Mount Rushmore, you can argue with him. Too often we measure our own “output” against that of others and falsely believe they’re “better” or more productive than we are. Life isn’t junior high. Can we just not?

You aren’t your job, it’s OK if you don’t conquer the world every day, and before you envy Ron from Accounting, here’s a secret: Ron’s dog HATES him. So, in the immortal words of Sam Elliot: Take it easy, Dude.

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