How “Getting Ahead” Is Actually Setting You Further Back

These days, when every day seems to feel the same, it can be easy to yearn for something more.

It’s human, it’s natural, it’s 100% okay to need a change of scenery.

Whether your “something more” is a fun day trip outside of the city, a picnic in the park, or just a movie night at home, it’s something to look forward to.

I don’t know about you, but I always find myself trying to “get ahead” in order to be more productive, so I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself.

The reason why this can be so difficult is because, as an entrepreneur, business owner, and everything else alike, we don’t have a 9–5. We work when we want to, which can be an amazing benefit, but also be difficult to navigate with the work-life balance.

I wake up, I make a to-do list, cross things off, then what? I think, “Hmm…is there anything else I could do? Is there anything I could do to get ahead?”

I sometimes get in the mindset of, well, if I just work a little bit ahead, I can take Friday afternoon off, have a self-care night on Saturday, or whatever it may be.

This can actually be very damaging to our productivity, and I’ll tell you why.

Shhhh… here it is….

In case you didn’t realize this, you don’t need to feel guilty for taking half a day off of work.

You don’t need to spend 10 minutes every day wondering if you could’ve been more productive or done more.

You deserve to take time for yourself, family, friends, pets, etc. just because.

Resting so that you can be productive is the #1 way to ensure that you’ll have the energy, stamina and resources to knock out what you need to when it’s time.

When I try to “get ahead” by finishing those last 2 projects or tasks for the week, just so I don’t feel “guilty” taking a few hours for relaxation, it actually makes me more stressed out.

Because the list never ends. There is always more to do. Always.

You aren’t a constant wheel of productivity that just goes, and goes, and goes.

If you have ever been in this mindset (no judgement here, I’ve been there too), it can actually lead us to burnout faster, because we feel bombarded with tasks (even though we are giving ourselves the tasks to complete!!)

Instead of working yourself into the ground, so you “deserve” a day off, set real boundaries for yourself.

Don’t ever feel bad about putting away the laptop and just enjoying some time for yourself.

The work will be there when you get back.

There is no need to plow through it.

I hope this plants a seed inside around the idea that working ahead and trying to be more productive is not always the most beneficial thing for our mental or physical health.

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Kate Schroeder M.Ed, LPC, NCC

Specializing in working with adult survivors of childhood trauma, through experiential therapy, creativity, the MBTI & Enneagram.