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3 Ways to Overcome Productivity Shame

We don’t feel enough guilt and shame from how our bodies look, what is or isn’t in our wallet, and what we haven’t yet accomplished in life ; now we have to feel shame for what and how much we didn’t get done?

When my daughter made an offhand statement that she thought I might be suffering from “productivity shame” after listening to several minutes of my complaining about not getting all I wanted done (yes, it happens to me too from time to time), I had to “google” it!

I couldn’t believe it — it’s a thing — Productivity Shame.

Productivity Shame is defined by Google as: “the act of setting utterly unrealistic goals or schedules for yourself and then beating yourself up when you fail to meet them. Productivity shame stops you from ever feeling like you’ve done “enough”.”

Sound familiar?

If not, celebrate! (No need to go looking for trouble)  🙂

If so, let’s get busy and get to the bottom of this right here and now.

Spark Meet Gasoline

The stage is set for Productivity Shame by an expectation in the form of a belief about what you “should” be doing and accomplishing, and how long it “should” take. The expectation is like slowly spreading gasoline, which is just a liquid…until a match is thrown.

Time Fantasy which is “underestimating the amount of time necessary to complete a task while overestimating your ability to complete a task in that amount of time”, is like striking a match.

Apply the spark of Time Fantasy to the gasoline of our belief of what “should” be expected and a fire begins to rage that robs us the ability to celebrate our actual accomplishments. Productivity Shame is the “burn”, the pain resulting from burning down our “house” with our self-blame and punishment. 

gas fire

Time Fantasy and erroneous expectations set us up for “failure” while Productivity Shame seeks to solve the mistake by offering “punishment” (in the form of the pain of shame) as if that will restore balance.

Logically, we may understand that “making ourselves feel bad” can’t possibly “fix” the current situation or help improve future situations and yet we do it anyway.

You may be asking yourself “why”? Why am I doing this if logically I see it won’t help?


I could tell you the reason, straight out of the latest brain research, but it wouldn’t help you change “what isn’t working”.

Here are three tips to help move beyond Productivity Shame and into celebrating what you can accomplish!

1. Pause, take a moment to get clear (writing it down can really help) about what your priority is. What absolutely must get done? 

Coach Marianne Jeff speaks about focusing on the “One Thing”, just one thing. Doesn’t mean you don’t accomplish more, but you stay focused on one do-able thing for the day.

2. Listen to your body — you can’t accomplish easily if your body isn’t adequately rested, rehydrated, moved and stretched, and given quality nutritious fuel.

Pushing ourselves when we’re exhausted is only going to guarantee loss of focus, drifting attention, slowdowns, difficulties in decision making, and lack of motivation. Coming to tasks rested, relaxed and ready insures focus, creativity and incentive.

3. Anchor your accomplishments. Write down what you have gotten done. Celebrate what you have done. Stay focused on your priorities. And give yourself credit — for what you are doing, have done, are getting! This sharpens your focus for what you do want, not what you do not want, engaging your vibrational magnet to bring more of productivity.

Sounds simple… too simple? Well it is simple. But not always easy.

The day I complained to my daughter I was tired, had been thwarted by technology and circumstances and an old pattern (belief) of “not enough” had kicked in. I had entertained old thoughts of “I can’t do enough”, “It’s never enough”, “I’m not enough” and with fewer inner reserves to manage those old ideas and get myself back on track I fell into that pothole of manifesting what I did not want. 

It happens. So…

4. Let’s be gentle with ourselves. Let’s be a support and bolster for one another when we forget or become lost? (Thanks to my daughter for being that for me).

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with me. I want to hear from you! Do you ever suffer from Productivity Shame? How do you overcome it’s “undermining ways”? Comment below 🙂

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