Self-criticism kills productivity

“There is one thing we all can do to have a healthier relationship with work: don’t be too hard on yourself. Self-criticism is terrible for your productivity. Compassion is way better than self-judgement.”

José Luis Peñarredonda

Starting this article with a quote that actually is from an article at BBC about time management systems, José Luis Peñarredonda describes in the article that time management tools are often used with the misbelief that they will help us to accomplish more tasks within the same amount of time whereas the reality is that they keep stressing us or making us feel frustrated when something is not working out as scheduled in these tools. 

Time Management can only be one factor for self criticism, compared to 60 years back where workers had fixed schedules and times, fixed amount of tasks to finish on a daily basis we have the freedom and flexibility to do what we want to do, become who we want to be and but as much effort in tasks as we want to. Even if there is a massive to do list we receive from our managers, it is in most jobs our freedom to prioritize these and  to finish them within the deadline or not. If the tasks are not finished within the deadline, in most positions the company will not take a big suffering from it but rather the individual who did not finish it. That individual will be frustrated and criticize his work effort for what happened or maybe even did not see the importance of it.

What I try to show with this example is that, even that we have more flexibility and freedom with scheduling our daily life than a few years back, we also received more responsibility to use this accordingly.

This accountability can build up pressure, pressure about career goals, about private life goals, about a bar in life that we set ourselves to achieve based on what our surroundings are, our parents have teached us, our self-picture of what we have to look like/ who we have to become to be successful.

If we don’t achieve this, we start to get worried which can result in frustration and self-criticism and in hunting for a plan with so much anger that the productivity and actual beliefs are suffering from it.

In this cases a strong reminder is needed and this is why I wrote the article today, a reminder of who did set this targets and aims in the first  place, the answer in most cases it is very simple: YOU.

What does that mean? It means that:

  • we have the power to change our plan
  • we can make the decision to criticize ourselves for missed deadlines and opportunities
  • we can decide in which way experiences can impact us
  • we can decide to punish ourselves for something for days our build a strategic plan how to change it for the next time
  • we define our own schedule, the time for sport, family, friends, work

In summary we define what is really important to us, if you criticize yourself cause  you did not follow your training plan this week because you met up with friends you haven’t seen for a while, it was your decision and instead of criticize or feel bad about it, enjoy the time together and make the training again next week, nobody else other than you will notice.

If you set yourself a job you want to have by a certain age and did not reach it yet, rethink the timeline and see what you have that others who are in this job might not have. It does not mean that you can not be even more successful in this job two years after.

The most important thing is not letting changes, to do lists and self schedules stressing us and resulting in mental punishments on ourselves which results in not being productive at all.

Be aware of what you really want and embrace that, if you have an opportunity to break out of your schedule to something bigger, don’t hesitate to take it and never forget what you already accomplished.

I would like to finish this article with a very motivational quote from Jay Shetty:

“You’re not behind in life. There’s no schedule or timetable that we all must follow. It’s all made up. Wherever you are right now is exactly where you need to be. Seven billion people can’t do everything in exactly the same schedules order. We are all different with a variety of needs and goals. Some get married early, some get married late, while others don’t get married at all. What is early? What is late? Compared with whom? Compared with what? Your life is not on anyone else’s schedule. Don’t beat yourself up for where you are right now. It’s YOUR timeline, not anyone else’s, and nothing is off schedule.”

Jay Shetty- 

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