You’re not alone! But these emotions are neither useful nor healthy. What can you do about them? Practice self-compassion. Recognize negative ruminations for what they are: a story you’re telling yourself.
Instead of beating yourself up, you might think: “I did my best today and I hope to get more done tomorrow. My colleagues probably understand because they’re busy, too.”
It’s also helpful to think about the factors that keep you from accomplishing items on your list and to recognize that oftentimes, circumstances can’t be helped. Getting pragmatic about your to-do list is also important.
Be realistic about what you can reasonably accomplish over the course of your day. Try making peace with the notion that you’ll never be caught up, and you’ll always have things that you really wish you’d gotten to. If you can accept the constant state of non-completion, the guilt will hopefully fade.
Adapted Harvard Business Review from “Stop Feeling Guilty About Your To-Do List,” by Rebecca Knight