Resting without Guilt | The Daily Struggle

I had sat down and tracked out my weekend. I was ready to take on a productive two days that I had mapped out so meticulously. I am the queen of time blocking and that is basically what I did for all of Saturday and Sunday.

If you have never heard of time blocking or know what it is, here is a great resource: https://doist.com/blog/time-blocking/

Here is also a wonderful blog from my friend Lulu about planning time: http://www.afri-love.com/2020/01/planning-excellence/

All that to say, I love to plan. I love to be efficient and I love to get things done in the most effective ways possible. Time blocking many days is my saving grace for staying on task and managing all the hats that I am wearing in this season of life.

But… yes, there is a big BUT.

But, Saturday happened. I woke up drained, unmotivated, hot (Mombasa hot season for you), and then, frustrated at being hot, drained and unmotivated. Overall, I was tired. I do not even think I was that physically tired, but I was a bit emotionally and mentally drained from the week.

And so, I did what I do best in these moments. I slept. I am not talking about an hour or so, I am talking about the whole day – slept.

For any of you out there who are productive, task managers, conquerors of to-do lists and overall, high capacity people then you know exactly what happened when I woke up after sleeping the whole day away. I immediately was frustrated and mentally began beating myself for wasting a day that I had meticulously planned to be productive.

Can anyone relate?

Your body and mind say, “hey, you need some sleep” and so, you listen, but then, you wake up more upset, drained and overwhelmed then before because you wanted to be productive and efficient. Your mind immediately goes into thoughts of guilt instead of grace and you beat yourself up for resting. Has that ever happened to you?

That was me and is something that I have been struggling with for almost my life.

I find it hard to rest. Yes, I will come out and say it. Truly, resting is hard for me. Being still is difficult. Being fully present without processing decisions or thinking of what is coming next in my head, is challenging.

I see a day and the 24 hours, and I want to make the most out of every minute. That might be writing up a new program or having coffee with a friend – whatever it is – I want my minutes to be full and not spent wasted sleeping. Sound ridiculous, doesn’t it?

The reality is though, I KNOW am not alone in this. I know there are plenty of you reading this and understanding exactly where I am coming from. You know that feeling, right? When you have ten things on your to do list and you only get one done? Instead of rejoicing in the one accomplished task of the day, you concentrate on the other nine unchecked boxes and beat yourself of for it.

Welcome to my life. I am daily having to learn how to give myself grace and walk in that versus drowning in the self-inflicted guilt.

I do not have answers in this as I am constantly recovering from this state on a weekly basis, but I do want to give you some quick principles you can follow:

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • Reappraise the situation. When you feel emotions of guilt, ask yourself, what is the story I am telling myself that’s producing this emotion? Is there another way to look at this?
  • Recognize that the support you provide to others is a key component of your productivity; those contributions help your organization move forward.
  • Embrace the state of non-completion. Try to accept that your to-do list will never be done, and you will always have things you really wished you’d gotten to.

Don’t: 

  • Abide by lengthy to-do lists. Trim down your list and make the goals credibly achievable.
  • Overestimate time, energy, and resources. Make a choice to disengage from certain goals because they’re not worth your investment.
  • Expect these feelings to suddenly disappear. Wrestling with guilt is an ongoing process, and you need to be prepared to work through your emotions again and again.

(source: https://hbr.org/2020/03/stop-feeling-guilty-about-your-to-do-list)

Moral of the story (theme of this blog): Do not follow my lead on this and take the advice from the Harvard Business Review Article from above. More importantly, learn how to daily offer yourself grace, love and intentional self-care.

From the one daily recovering from feeling guilty over unfinished to-do lists,

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