The Guilt Of Unproductive Days

feeling guilty, guilt and mental illness, unproductive, doing nothing, mental health, mental illness, pregnancy, getting your shit together, this stuff is golden,

Productivity is everywhere. Email and social media makes us so easy to reach, so readily available. We live in a society where emails are expected to be replied to within minutes or hours, depending if they know that you are online. It’s harder to get away from being available to everybody at any time, especially with our mini computers sitting by our sides almost twenty-four hours a day.

There are also a lot of articles, both online and offline, that are trying to help us become more productive. They offer advice on how to create to-do lists, what trackers to use in our Bullet Journals, what things you can do to make sure you’re maximising your free time. That’s all wonderful, but it’s also a lot of pressure.

Over the last few months I have been keeping my phone at further than arm’s length for longer periods of time, as much as I can. It’s lovely. Sure, I miss a few calls every now and again (but that’s the millennial way, right?) and sometimes have a couple of messages to reply to, however, I get uninterrupted chill-out or writing time when I leave my phone at home, or even upstairs (out of sight, out of mind).

My chill-out time is something that I love and hate. I can be happy to build a house on Sims for three hours, then immediately feel guilty afterwards for the time I have spent not being productive. This has only increased through my pregnancy – I can get very, very tired (my SO and I often refer to it as ‘drunk-tired’ as I act like I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine in quick procession), and need to zone out to something or rest on a soft sofa.

The guilt stems from the fact that I want to do lots of things, I want to make a decent income, I want to achieve all my goals, but I don’t. My mental health gets in my way a lot of the time.

Self-doubt cripples me constantly. I get the idea of doing something that I want to do, going ahead with the idea, but then within hours my self-doubt comes along and smashes that idea to pieces, along with any progress made. I just don’t trust myself when it comes to doing something properly, doing something the right way, or doing something worthwhile. There is no magic cure for that. I think the only way to get over self-doubt is to power through it, to remember that a little bit of progress it better than nothing, that it doesn’t happen overnight.

What I need to remember is this:

You don’t need to do anything with your day to feel like your life is worthwhile.

I’m trying my best not to blame myself for those unproductive afternoons, for that laundry that still hasn’t been done, for the constant worry about money. I’ve even started to keep a list in my Bullet Journal of little things I have done that still count as progress – things like; journalling, pitching, ghost-writing, entering writing competitions, updating my freelance website, etc. I might not work a solid 8 hours a day but at least I’m trying to get things done.

I only have 91 days until my daughter is born. At the start of my pregnancy, I thought that her due date was a due date for me too – a deadline for getting my shit together. I know now, on the first day of my third trimester, that that is simply not going to happen. All I can do, for myself and my daughter, is my best.

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