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Why You Should Stop Feeling Guilt and Shame With Respect to Your Never Ending To Do List

Why You Should Stop Feeling Guilt and Shame With Respect to Your Never Ending To Do List

I am pretty sure that most #careerlions have a never-ending to-do list. We simply cannot clone ourselves and will have to manage somehow. Prioritizing and working efficiently and effectively is simply the best you can do. However, this doesn’t mean that important to-dos are always finished swiftly. It simply means that there were even more important ones. This is a recipe to start feeling guilty and ashamed. I sure feel slightly guilty when I reply to an email that I flagged in November. Yes, I stumbled upon one today that unfortunately still seemed relevant. This week I came across a very interesting article on the Harvard Business Review website. In the article Art Markman describes the impact of shame and guilt paired with a never-ending to-do list. I write this blog to make all of us #careerlions feel better about ourselves. This is for all of us that get 10 emails for each reply sent, while everyone is supposed to be on holiday. No traffic, but there is a definite traffic jam in my mailbox! Read on if you are in the mood for a confidence booster.

What is up with guilt and shame?

Let’s start off with why we even feel guilt and shame in general. Both emotions arise when we feel that we have done something wrong. However, one is internally focused while the other is external. Guilt is an emotion that regards your personal feeling with respect to your behavior. Shame on the contrary regard your concerns with the opinions and disapproval of others in the context of your bad behavior.

Why should you throw guilt and shame out the window?

Now comes the good part, the guilt and shame are not helping! We have to stop this immediately. Here’s why:

  1. Guilt in the workplace may make you work slightly more productive, but outside office hours is a recipe for disaster. When you don’t manage to
  2. Shame is never a good thing. However, feeling ashamed about those to-dos that you did not yet get to is even more disastrous. Research even indicates that people even procrastinate more to avoid shame. Meaning that even when you finally get to it, you are more likely to work on something else instead to avoid feeling shame.
  3. Rumination will make shame and guilt feelings even worse. You will provoke anxiety by going over and over your unfinished to-dos. In the end, you have to deal with both the anxiety and the to-dos themselves and then you will go around in circles. So, stop thinking about what you did not get to yet.
  4. Unless you are a business owner, I am pretty sure that someone else is end-responsible for your workload management. If it were truly the end of the world, they would hire more resources to manage the workload.
  5. You are not superman/woman. We cannot stop time, duplicate ourselves, teleport, and so on. There is no point to obsess over this. Simply because there is no way that you can change this if anyone ever.

Some tips and tricks to stop feeling guilty and ashamed:

  • Forgive yourself
  • Celebrate your successes
  • Accept those things that need acceptance
  • Rationalize
  • Prioritize and manage your to-do lists well, so they have no ammunition to blame you!

Ready to let go of guilt and shame regarding your to-do lists? Share it with us in the comment section below like always.

 

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