Illustration by Sieu Tran

Increasingly, we assess the value of our days through one single question: “Was I productive today?” And if the answer isn’t a resounding YES, we wonder what we could have done better.

In this mini-episode, I explore the toxic nature of a concept that I call “productivity shame” — which is the act of regularly setting unrealistic expectations for what you can accomplish, and then beating yourself up when you fall short.

Key takeaways from this meditation:

  • Why we’re driven to set unrealistic expectations for our productivity
  • The three factors that contribute to “productivity shame”
  • How to stop beating yourself up for never doing enough

Go Deeper

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RESET, a cosmic tune-up for your workday. RESET is a new course from Hurry Slowly host Jocelyn K. Glei that shows you how to take a “heart-centered” approach to productivity that’s intentional, energizing, and inspiring. Watch the 30-second trailer at

Favorite Quotes

Like battery acid, productivity shame is a toxic substance that slowly corrodes your ability to take any joy in your work.”

“We have been slowly lulled into a ‘productivity mindset’ that sets us up for shame, rather than success.”

“The productivity stories we typically hear are as unrealistic as any Disney movie.”


A few references and ideas I mention in this episode:

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