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Feeling unproductive? Read this.

goals joy less stress motivation productivity Jan 16, 2021

I was having a conversation with a friend this week and she said one of my least favorite things to hear…

“I didn’t do anything today/this week/this month/this year.”

What. A. Dirty. Lie.

Every time I hear this from anyone, I think, “that’s not true.” And I hear it pretty often, especially from the ladies in my life… my friends, my family, my coaching clients.

How do I know this is a lie?

Because I know you and I know how productive you are. Even if you’re not working on a specific goal, I know you’re working.

  • I know you’re caring for people and pets in your life.
  • I know you’re caring for yourself, at least enough to get by.
  • I know you’re successfully navigating your life.
  • You are “doing things” every single day.

So if I know that and you know that, I think the question is:

Why do we say, “I didn’t do anything?”

I have some theories…

  • You know you did something, but it wasn’t what you think you were “supposed to do.”
  • You took a break, which you desperately needed, and now you feel guilty about it.
  • You literally can’t remember what you did today/this week/this month/this year… you just know you have a feeling that it wasn’t enough.
  • You didn’t accomplish a specific goal and so now you’re throwing out everything else you did do, including a few goals you checked off the list.

So if we know “I didn’t do anything” isn’t true AND it makes us feel bad to say it, how do we fix it?

Give yourself some dang credit.

Are you going to work? Eating food? Caring for the people in your life? Washing your clothes? Bathing?

Great! You get credit for all of those things. And you get extra super bonus points if the people you’re caring for are A) young B) old or C) sick.

If you’re going above and beyond in any way, like say working towards one of your goals or dreams, you get credit for that too. Even if, and especially if, you’re doing less than you think you “should.”

How do you “give yourself credit?”

Make a list of everything you accomplish on a regular basis, plus everything extra you accomplished in the last week. Be sure to include the healthy habits you’re doing on autopilot. If you’re struggling, imagine having a conversation with me. It might look something like:

Me: What did you do today?

You: Nothing.

Me: …

You: I mean I exercised and wrote X number of words and walked the dogs, but those things don’t count because I do them every day.

Me: Since they don’t count, I guess if you just stopped writing and exercising, everything would be fine right?

You: ….

Me: That’s what I thought. Add it to the list.

Once you finish your list, give yourself a big ole’ pat on the back, look in the mirror and say, “Great job, Self.”

(Seriously, you should actually do this. At first it feels weird, but then it feels great.)

Thank Past You for making a choice and stop throwing Past You under the bus for making that choice.

You might need to do this if you took a break, or a nap, or a day off and now you’re regretting it. Or if Past You chose to spend time with the family, or get outside, or doing some other form of self-care and now you’re all, “what did I even do with my weekend!?”

Past You was likely making the best available choice and attempting to live up to your values and priorities.

If you find yourself in this category, try to remember exactly what it was you did and WHY you made that choice. If you can see it was the best choice at the time, take a deep breath and say, “Good choice, Past Me.”

If it wasn’t a great choice and you actually do regret it, make a mental note (or an actual note in your calendar) that says, “Don’t spend next Saturday binging Netflix.” Or whatever the thing is.

Got it?

You are awesome. You are working hard. You are doing the best you can.

Keep pushing yourself to grow, but remember the most important part of chasing your dreams and goals is enjoying the journey along the way.




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