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I Didn't Do The Thing Today: On letting go of productivity guilt

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The guilt is so much worse than the actual not-doing-of-the-thing, and Madeleine Dore breaks down the issue with empathy. That is a perpetual struggle- but I would have appreciated more from the author herself on the subjects rather than every man and his dog! We are imperfect and bound to waste time: we put things off, become distracted, chit-chat too long with colleagues. Even on days where we get a lot done, the thing left undone can leave us feeling guilty, anxious, or disappointed.

in fact, i always have 3 or 4 books i'm reading at a time and i felt tickled that she quoted brandon sanderson, since i just finished rhythm of war - a serious fantasy book and so different from this one. So many of these let go and let breathe pieces of advice are just kept in the abstract when what would also be useful is “here’s how you set the boundary even if you haven’t done it before start now…” glad I borrowed it from the library. Author Madeleine Fire talks about a lot of the "productivity hacks" people have embraced in the push to always be doing more, taking on more, and gives a lot of great reasons why it might be time to let those go and find rhythms and paces that work for us and allow us to build a full life instead of just a busy one. We don’t have to view every moment we don’t spend the way we expected to as a waste—we can simply appreciate the part it played in our life.

If you're feeling overwhelmed and like all the balls dropping no matter how you juggle, I Didn't Do the Thing Today might also resonate with you. writing books is about offering perspective, news ways of seeing things and expanding our worldviews. It’s a spin on the “Eat the Frog” method popularized by author Brian Tracy, which suggests doing our most dreaded task first to get it out of the way.

Hi I’m Steph, and each week I share the three big ideas from the best non-fiction books I’ve been reading. Madeleine regularly conducts life experiments and hosts events to explore how creativity isn’t just something we do, but how we approach our lives.

It’s in tensions, problems, and mistakes that we learn; it’s one of the most important things about being alive. The wonderful thing about learning is that it expands—interest begets interest—and it doesn’t have to cost us a thing. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being productive—we all need to get things done—but when we conflate productivity with self-worth, we never measure up. We’re quick to label preparation as procrastination, and easily overlook that things take the time they take.

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