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Intentional Thinking

How Do You Separate Your Self-Worth from Productivity?

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  1. How do you know if you’re tying your SELF-WORTH to your PRODUCTIVITY?
  2. What’s the PROBLEM with tying your self-worth to what you get done?
  3. How can you begin to UNTIE your self-worth from how much you’ve checked off of your to-do list?

Let’s dive in.

I want to know if you agree with these two statements:

Number one, “being busy is not a badge of honor.”

And number two, “productivity isn’t the only thing that makes a person valuable.”

Now, I’m guessing that you agree with both of those statements However, it is so common that we tie our own self-worth to how much we get done. And that’s a problem for a lot of reasons, which I’m gonna explain to you in a minute.

But first, let’s go through a few really simple ways to tell if you may be tying your self-worth with your productivity.

  1. First one is if you have feelings of guilt when you’re not doing things. So if you’re just flopped on the couch, do you feel a little bit guilty?
  2. Number two is if you’re regularly having thoughts of “I’m not doing enough” or “I should be doing more.”
  3. Number three is if you’re calling yourself lazy when you’re not working.
  4. And number four is if you’re maybe slightly obsessed with optimizing how you spend every minute of every day.

Those can be signs that you may be tying your self-worth to how much you get done in a day.

So there’s a lot of reasons why we have this really common trait and part of it can be how you are raised. Your family’s work ethic, the message you were given as a child. Others are societal values and religious values. Both of those often have the message that hard work equals good, not getting things done equals bad. Right?

So what’s the problem with this? Why is it not great to tie your personal self-worth with your productivity?

There are four reasons that I came up with:

The first is: what if you get sick? What if you become sick and are unable to get things done? How are you gonna feel about yourself when that happens?

And maybe you already have some experience with this either from a serious illness or just from a common cold where you need to rest for a couple of days. Do you start to feel down on yourself because you can’t do things?

Right? So it’s a problem because we might not always have the physical and mental capacity to get a lot of stuff done.

The second reason why this is a problem is you don’t allow yourself to get all of the benefits of rest when you are worried about always doing more things. Right?

If your mind is constantly racing, when you could be resting your brain, which we know scientifically is so important for us. So you don’t get to benefit from rest if you’re worried about getting more done.

The third is that productivity is kind of never done. Right?

The second you cross something off of your to do list, you probably add like three more things. So you’re basically constantly moving the finish line further and further away from yourself. There is always more to do.

So if we’re tying our personal self-worth with our productivity, we’re never gonna, like, reach the finish line. We’re never going to arrive because there is always gonna be more to do. That’s just like how things work and we want there to be things to do. But we don’t want to be tying how we feel about ourselves to that.

And then the fourth reason why it’s such a problem to tie our self-worth to productivity is because we can tend to undervalue other really valuable parts of being a human.

Things like deeply connecting with others or having appreciation for silence and rest and beauty, or being able to just feel the full range of human emotions, or valuing adventure and fun and playfulness.

Those are amazingly valuable parts of being a human, but if you’re so worried about getting more done, you’re gonna undervalue those and overvalue productivity.

Okay. So you know if you may be tying yourself worth to your productivity and we know why that’s a problem.

So how do you start to separate your self-worth from Productivity?

And I’m gonna tell you right now that these thoughts that we have are really more like belief systems about productivity and ourselves, and they run deep. So this is not like a super quick fix for most people because this is like, really deep underlying things.

However, I have some really practical things that you can do to start, picking at the knot to untie it. Okay?

So the first one is to pull out your journal and write down a list of your five favorite people.

And then I want you to write down what you love about those people. and describe how you feel when you’re with those people. Okay? So as you’re thinking about your favorite people in the world, what you love about them and how they make you feel. I want you to notice the impact that these people have on you.

I’m guessing the majority of what comes up has nothing to do with how much they get done. You might value that they’re hardworking. but I’m guessing you’re also gonna value their kindness or their creativity or how much they care, how they’re always checking in with you, how they make you feel loved. Those are usually the kinds of things we value in other people.

So I want you to notice the impact that those people have on you and why, and then you kind of take a second to realize that maybe (maybe) that’s how other people see you too and that your value is not just in what you get done.

The second thing you can do to start untying this knot is to see yourself through the eyes of your favorite pet or a child who loves you. 

So if you’re flopped on the couch and your dog runs into the room, what are they gonna see? what are they gonna do? They’re going to probably jump up on your lap, start kissing your face, be so excited to see you, and just love that you exist. Right? Because that’s how it works. 

When others love us, they don’t love our productivity. They don’t love that we checked twenty things off of our to do list. So nobody else is valuing you for that, not a hundred percent for sure. And so you can find other ways to value yourself as well.

So, notice that with a child or your pet that you are wanted just because of who you are. not because of your fully checked off to do list. Right?

After those two exercises, I want you to write down what you offer to the world that has absolutely nothing to do with your productivity.

This takes some time to, like, remember the wonderful things that make up who you are that have nothing to do with your to do list or your calendar or your goals. Right?

So maybe it’s your sense of humor, your kindness, your encouragement, your creativity, all kinds of things that you offer to the world that have nothing to do with what you got done today.

Really think about those things and you might come up with a couple right off the bat, then challenge yourself to go further and come up with even more.

Now next, you know I love introducing thoughts that you can practice that will really help you cement new beliefs into your brain.

So this is my proposal for what I call your sticky note thought. That is the thought I want you to practice regularly.

And that is “my value is not in how much I get done.” And maybe you believe that right now, but maybe you don’t.

And if you don’t believe that at all, I don’t want you to practice that thought. Okay? We only ever wanna practice thoughts that are believable to us.

But maybe you can come up with another thought of “I offer the world (this)” or or we can add a qualifier to the beginning of this thought and say “it’s possible that my value is not and how much I get done.

So come up with your sticky note thought for the day. It’s what you’re gonna write on a sticky note post in your bathroom, on your refrigerator or somewhere where you’ll remember to practice it regularly so that you can start changing that belief system that you have that ties your personal self-worth with how much you get done in a day.

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