To Do
Image Description: A list written in green colored ink on a yellow piece of paper. Some items on the list have lines running through them. A green pen lies on top.

Our worth is not based upon our productivity.

This is the caveat to everything else I’m going to say (and the once-more reminder).

Our worth is not based upon our productivity.

Mastery feels good. A goal achieved feels good. The quick “down, up” stroke of a check mark on a list feels good.

There are days when we’re depressed, languishing, or lethargic, and we cannot do these. And that is valid and okay. Once more, our worth is not based upon our productivity. There are also days when we are anxious, and it’s difficult to get started. That is valid and okay too.

But I remember being in a stress reduction class, and we talked about setting goals, even small ones — how setting an intention for them and then acting upon them can provide a vital benefit to our mental health. When we’re depressed, languishing, lethargic, or anxious, small goals are immensely significant ones. They’re valid. They matter. Those small goals, either written down, or internalized bring a good and meaningful feeling when we’ve taken action on them.

I think about a wise statement from a therapist I know. “I like ask myself — not, “Do I want to do this?” — but, “Will I have wanted to do this?”

In other words, on the other side of that action, maybe even the one I don’t feel like doing, will I feel better? Will I be glad that I did it?

Renee Roederer

Sometimes, we can get too perfectionistic about our tasks and lists as well. One day when I was feeling like that, I wrote a poem, entitled, “For the Goal.”

2 thoughts on “Mastery

  1. I am getting ready to read “I didn’t do the thing today : letting go of productivity guilt” by Dore, Madeleine. I am looking forward to it. I’m tired of feeling like a failure if I don’t get a certain number of things done in a day.
    How to release productivity guilt and embrace the hidden values in our daily lives.
    Any given day brings a never-ending list of things to do. There’s the work thing, the catch-up thing, the laundry thing, the creative thing, the exercise thing, the family thing, the thing we don’t want to do, and the thing we’ve been putting off, despite it being the most important thing. Even on days when we get a lot done, the thing left undone can leave us feeling guilty, anxious, or disappointed.
    After five years of searching for the secret to productivity, Madeleine Dore discovered there isn’t one. Instead, we’re being set up to fail. I Didn’t Do the Thing Today is the inspiring call to take productivity off its pedestal–by dismantling our comparison to others, aspirational routines, and the unrealistic notions of what can be done in a day, we can finally embrace the joyful messiness and unpredictability of life.
    For anyone who has ever felt the pressure to do more, be more, achieve more, this antidote to our doing-obsession is the permission slip we all need to find our own way.

    Liked by 1 person

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