The guilt loop and how to avoid it

Often, we get stuck in a guilt loop in life.

When we are supposed to be relaxing, we are feeling guilty about the stuff we didn’t do, when we were working. Therefore, we do not relax, we are not in the moment and we are stressed and feel guilty about all the things we could have done.

When we get back to work, instead of being productive, we feel resentful toward work because we did not get to relax. Thus we start putting things off again and feel unmotivated to do our work.

Then, we get to relaxation time again, and no surprise, we do not relax as the guilt comes back about not working and all things we should have done while we were meant to be working.

There are some simple ways to get out of this.

Firstly, when we are working, organise our time effectively to prioritise things that really matter, thus avoiding low-hanging easy and repetitive tasks, focusing using our very best deep work on the high-value task that makes a difference. As a consequence of our more focused deep work on high stuff, we do less, but get a greater return for that focused effort as we are doing the most important stuff.

We actually end up with more time to relax and we get quality relaxation time as we do not feel guilty, we have done the important stuff, the stuff that enables us to have relaxation time to enjoy.

Secondly, our worth as a person is never determined by anything, it is unconditional. Therefore, if we do not get something done, there is no reason to feel guilt.

Thirdly, if we do the most important stuff and stop feeling guilty and worthy instead no matter what, we not only get better at our work, but we get even better at enjoying relaxation time. This leads us to do even better work and then we are able to have even more relaxation time.

We swap a guilt loop with a joy loop.