Always Feel Bad When Not Working? Here Are 3 Steps to Get You Comfortable With Doing Nothing.

If every break you take away from work sends chilly guilt emotion to your heart, then your idea of work is broken.

You work better when you work because you need to, and you can, not because you can’t stand being idle.

The latter stems from guilt. The Gita says there is action in inaction and vice versa.

Meet me.

It was supposed to be the happiest weekend ever. Because that week, I recorded my biggest breakthroughs yet.

Luck was on my side, and it was all smiling:

I got the email that confirmed me as a contributor on a popular blog in my niche.

Big deal, right?

Wait, luck wasn’t done with me, yet.

That same week, I sealed the biggest deal ever. A client offered me 10x what I was earning as a freelancer. A job I will spend less time producing.

All these didn’t come cheap, I earned them. I had spent countless hours working my butt to rag.

Now the weekend is here. It looks like I have earned for myself the right to few hours to do nothing.

Only that I couldn’t take the well-deserved time of doing nothing. In my head, I could be spending this time sending an email; work on an outline for an article; an article could’ve gone live but didn’t.

No one should spite you for wanting to get more done or push yourself, but it is also safe to set the record straight: there is a thin line between working too little and overworking yourself.

Successful people know when to draw the curtain on work to engage in mundane activities like spending time with family, catching up with friends, and so on.

In case, you also find yourself here most time, you following nuggets helpful:


I get it, it’s okay to feel bad because you’re unable to do one or two things on your to-do list. The goal is to look at the impact of the “little” victories on productivity over time.

Earlier, I said I spent the week attending to stuff that prevented me from doing what I intended to do, and I felt bad.

But here is a consolation for you: while I couldn’t do what I intended, I got an opportunity to contribute to a platform with a far larger audience than mine.

Now tell me this isn’t a consolation, even a better one. Another thing is, I’m going to be writing for far bigger pay.


We sometimes forget that we’re not machines yet. We wake up drawing a long list of things to get done. We stuff it as much as we could. The aim is to work ourselves to rag.

Well, I don’t think working till you almost drop dead is a virtue. The reality is we don’t control everything in our life.

The computer will break down and you won’t be able to help it. There is nothing you can do about the car that refused to start. These are part of life.

You rely on these things to get the job done. If all those actually happened, how dare you beat yourself because you couldn’t finish what you set to do?

Leo Babauta is one of the most productive people you will find, yet he doesn’t set goals for himself.

Stuffing your day will give you unnecessary anxiety, and of course, guilt, no matter how much you get done. You will struggle as a result sometimes.

Find a middle ground, and that starts with facing the reality that you’re a man, and getting tired is just normal.


I have this bad habit. On a day I’m lucky to find the muse by my side, and I managed to finish work earlier than I had projected, I look more work to do.

Our culture praises you for working yourself to rag. Skipping night sleep to work boosts some people’s ego. There are also some who are not proud of themselves because they can’t or don’t.

Burning yourself out is not is a sign of hard work, it’s the reverse. It shows you lack control over your life.

Here is what Ryan Holiday have to say about that: “If you’re working all the time—that is, if you don’t get to leave the office until midnight and got there at 5am—you’re doing something wrong. You’re either working for an idiot who is going to burn you out, or you’re the idiot, and you haven’t figured out the short cuts.”

You have nothing to prove to anyone, including yourself. Work is for man, not man for work.

Treating yourself well today has its own reward, which is you’re able to show up to do the work which you care about for a long time.

What about you? What do you also suffer from work-related guilt? How do you deal with it?

Let me know.



Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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