Productivity guilt

I’m in the middle of the book ‘I didn’t do the thing today’ by Madeleine Dore. It’s a kind of anti self-help book ‘on letting go of productivity guilt’, something that I clearly suffer from. My life is governed by my super-spreadsheet which is filled with tasks that define my days and weeks ahead. The sheet is underpinned by a set of made up rules and if I don’t do the things it tells me, I am overcome with a feeling of failure. Only I set the rules and enter the tasks and so if I am letting anyone down it is only me.

My spreadsheet is a form of self-flagellation.

The book isn’t telling me anything that I don’t already know, most self-help books are like that, yet I am finding it useful to rethink the way I approach my life. This is particularly relevant as I think about how to retire. I am supposedly part way there already, yet making the final leap is a hurdle in front of me. Working for yourself means that you set the rules for your one departure. I have my pensions lined up but there is always a temptation to do just that one month more, especially if the money keeps coming.

My focus throughout COVID has been primarily on CyberNorth, trying to turn a passion project into something more sustainable and this is always in the back of my mind when thinking about the future. I am not interested in leaving a legacy as such yet feel it would be a shame to see CyberNorth slip away, especially as it has really started to take shape over the last 18 months or so. 

The book has made me think about what I really want to do and that is less than I am doing at the moment. I have started my exit plan and over the coming months I need to cut back on those things that don’t work towards the plan and focus on those things that do. To achieve this I need to have people who are able to do the things that I am no longer going to do. Again, I have made a start with this.

Soon I will be able to say that I didn’t do the thing today, rather that someone else did it. I won’t be feeling guilty either. No doubt I will find other things to occupy my time.

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