Promonoise -- Productivity Shame

  • Apr 30, 2022

It may be our innate desire to continuously want to improve; to achieve; to move forward and progress.

And at the same time, it may be our innate desire to want to be happy.

I mean, do you want to be happy?

Do you see the paradox forming here?

That’s okay if you don’t; allow me to explain. If it’s baked into us to strive for more, then it’s a never-ending journey; meaning that at every step of the journey, we’re striving to accomplish the next goal. Yet in doing so, and focusing our attention on the next achievement, there is little room for happiness because we’re constantly chasing a never-ending and evolving goal.

One of the issues, as I see it, is that many people associate happiness with achievement as though it’s impossible to be happy until we’ve met our objectives. And if you’re only happy when you achieve something, and we’ve established that humans are wont to continuously improve, then that feeling of happiness that accompanies achievement is, at best, fleeting - or for some people, nonexistent. That’s the paradox. And this is where productivity shame is born.

Productivity shame is the feeling that one hasn’t achieved enough today, this week, or this month. “I could have done more,” “I could have done better,” and “I’m a failure” are all common refrains that are often uttered by those of us suffering from productivity shame. Whether you’re a parent, an employee, own your own business, are working on your health, or whatever the mission, many of us believe that we can do better. And as we look to the never-ending goals that we set for ourselves, of course we’re going to feel shame, because as much as we accomplish, there’s always another mountain to summit. We’re never there; wherever there is.

Let’s get personal.   

I’m writing this blog right now. The ideas are flowing from my mind, through my fingertips, and onto the screen I’m seeing at this exact moment. I LOVE what I’m doing. To be able to think and have the freedom to write what I think is intoxicating. To be able to help one soul who will read this blog, understand what I’m expressing, and use it to improve their life is an honor and feels incredible. To help hundreds is almost indescribable. Therefore, I am happy, RIGHT NOW.

Do I have goals that aren’t met? Will I fall asleep this evening knowing that I didn’t check-off everything on my “to do” list? Have I reached my financial objectives with my new businesses yet? Well then, I should push harder, shouldn’t I? I should kick myself in the ass and get there faster, shouldn’t I? Sound familiar? If so, you suffer from productivity shame.

It’s okay to push; in fact, I think you should push yourself.


Is it possible to experience two feelings at once? My opinion is that it is possible. All at once, I can feel exhilarated and feel the pull to accomplish my big goal. Happiness is only ever felt in the moment. I mean, how could it be felt at any other time? The past is gone and the future doesn’t exist. So your only shot at happiness is RIGHT NOW.

If you want to release yourself from productivity shame, enjoy the moment with the faith that you’re moving in the direction of your choice. If you don’t like the direction, the solution is simple: change it! Feel two feelings at once. Live in two places at the same time by experiencing the joy of the moment and the anticipation of where you’re going and what you’re aiming to achieve. Give yourself a little grace and forgive yourself for not accomplishing everything you possibly can. If you’re doing your best and harmonizing productivity with rest (which is the energy source for productivity, by the way), then you’re doing just fine. Love that. And love yourself. You’ve got this!

Let’s keep making beautiful noise together!!



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