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

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

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. 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. Whether it’s romance, friendships, career paths, or new interests, we never saw most of the things that give our lives meaning coming.

I understand that this book stemmed from the author's interviews with people in many different fields, but some of the quotes from TV shows and movies didn't seem necessary. she cares about the topic herself and spends a few years interviewing creatives to gain understanding on what works and how creatives find value in their days/weeks/years/lives. Even on days when we get a lot done, the thing left undone can leave us feeling guilty, anxious, or disappointed.

There's the work thing, the catch-up thing, the laundry thing, the creative thing, the exercise thing, the family thing, the thing we don't want to do, and the thing we've been putting off, despite it being the most important thing. But luckily, the antidote is delightful discipline—putting fascination, curiosity, and enjoyment in place of punishing rules. It was inspired by my conversation with a farmer who started his day with a dollop of clotted cream on his porridge. I listened to the audiobook while doing my daily “chores”, and that alone really boosted my productivity.

The book included references to some of those interviews, but focused more on her generalizations from that experience. One approach to reduce wasted-time worry is to remember that time cannot be wasted in advance—a sentiment I’ve borrowed from Arnold Bennett, who says that you can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose. Wondering how other people seemed to have it all figured out, Madeleine Dore spent five years interviewing people she admired in an attempt to uncover their secrets for being more productive, successful, and prolific.Packed full of thoughtful and thought-invoking quotes and passing on lived experiences of not having to be a Productivity Powerhouse all the time; you can just be a human too. She has contributed columns and features to Sunday Life, BBC WorkLife, ArtsHub, 99u, Womankind, Kill Your Darlings, The Design Files, ABC Life and more. She regularly conducts life experiments and hosts events to examine how creativity isn't just something we do, but how we approach our lives. It’s perfect for people like me, who are a little too driven, slightly OCD, and have some Catholic guilt! Obviously the "pro-productivity" genre contains its share of gems, doozies, and lots in between as well.

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