Self Reflecting On Why I Feel Guilty When I’m Not Working?

Hi everyone, It’s 10pm and I wanted to write about my day and the feeling of guilt that came over me this evening.

It’s absolutely absurd. I shouldn’t be feeling this way at all. It just doesn’t make any sense and certainly isn’t healthy.

And it’s not even the first time I’ve felt like this.

In fact, thinking back over the past few months, every time I’ve spent the entire day with my family, I’ve felt guilty for enjoying myself and not working hard to build my blog and provide for my family.

Crazy right? Yep, I agree with you.

Whether this is a normal feeling is anyone’s guess and I’m sure there are plenty of therapists that would happily charge me to find out and fix it.

But I’m pretty sure I can work this one out on my own with a little self reflection.

So this post is a bit of an off-the-cuff, writing as I’m thinking post, to work through why I may be getting this sense of guilt and how to deal with it.

I’m not going to have the perfect answer for you, but hopefully my ramblings will provide some answers or at least a little light entertainment.

A Day Out at a Local Theme Park

Ok, let’s start with today.

I spent the entire day with my family (wife and 2 boys) at an amazing local theme park. Literally all day, we left the house at 11am and got back home at 8pm. Everyone had the most amazing time, including me. The weather was a beautiful 28 degrees celsius all day.

We went on lots of theme park rides. We found a nice spot under a huge tree to sit and have a mini picnic. We drank lots of water and even had ice lollies.

My favourite part of the day was when my wife and I watched proudly as my eldest son (4 years old) drove a mini jeep around a dirt track without crashing (formula one race car driver in making for sure!!)

Yet, even with what I can only describe as a “perfect day with my family”, on the drive back home I found myself planning to get home, help my wife to get the kids showered and to bed so I could jump in front of my computer and continue working on my blog.

I felt guilty that I hadn’t done any work today and instead spent it having fun, even if it was with my family.

Why Feel Guilty When I’m Doing What I Want To Do?

So why did I feel guilty?

I wasn’t doing anything wrong?

I love spending time with my family and would happily spend all my time with them. In fact, that’s the number one reason I work from home and am focusing all my energy on building my blog and online business. It’s so I can fit work around the lifestyle I want with my family and not try to find time for my family around work.

It’s not like I had spent the whole day watching Netflix when I should’ve been working. (oops, cat’s out the bag. Yep, I’ve definitely done that a few times. But it’s not my fault, those series on Netflix are so damn addictive…lol).

Now let me go off on a tangent briefly.

When I’ve wasted a day at my desk, pretending to be working, when really the day was spent browsing the web, downloading a course I’d just purchased, paying my credit card bills, checking emails every 20 minutes or watching an entire season of Quantico on Netflix, I’ve never experienced the same feeling of guilt that I experience today.

That’s really interesting, don’t you think?

So I felt guilty for spending the entire day with my family out at a local theme park, but not when I was sitting in front of my computer watching netflix all day.

Maybe because I was sitting at my desk and in front of my computer and doing the occasional bit of work related to my blog, I was associating that with actually doing work, when really what i was doing was anything but work!

I think we’re getting somewhere.

So let’s go back to that question. Why feel guilty when I’m doing what I want to do?

The Desire To Make Every Day Perfect For My Family

When I’m working at my desk, I feel like I’m getting somewhere. The truth is there are days when, if I had to list the tasks I’ve completed that weren’t just admin related and would actually help my online business move forward, I’d draw a complete blank.

And yet no feeling of guilt on those wasted days.

But instead the most intense feeling of guilt after an incredible day with my family, that I actually argued with my wife after getting home because I wanted to get to my office quickly and continue working on my blog.

That’s when I decided I needed to write this blog post and work out what’s going on in my head to avoid both these feelings of guilt for spending time away from work and with my family and to avoid future confrontations with my wife, who is, in my opinion, by far the most amazing wife and mother on the planet.

So as I’ve been writing I’ve realised what’s causing the guilty feelings. Amazing what a little “off-the-cuff rambling” can do.

The guilty feelings are coming from my desire to make every day perfect for my family. I want to provide for my family. I want to give my wife and kids everything they can dream of and having day’s like today, reminders me how much I want everyday to be like that. Perfect!

Now I never expected to come to this conclusion. I thought perhaps I’m just a workaholic or something.

But my feelings of guilt are coming from the fact that I want to work harder on my blog. I want to get my online business to a level where its generating the income I need to live everyday as perfect as today was.

I want to be able to spend all my time with the family, doing amazing things, and not have to worry about work or where the income is coming from. And I want all that asap!

And hence having a wonderful day like I did today, reminds me that I have a lot of work ahead of me to get to a point where everyday can be as perfect as today was, and that leads to the feeling of guilt.

Reframing Those Guilty Feelings

I’ve come up with a way to stop myself feeling guilty after spending a great day with my family.

The next time I have a day with my family, instead of feeling guilty and how I should’ve been working so that everyday could be like today, I’m going to ease up on the pressure I put on myself and change my inner conversation.

I’m going to change what I say to myself.

So up until today the inner voice in my head would say something like the following, which resulted in me feel guilty about not working….

“You’ve done no work today on your blog. You have a million things to do to get it making a full time income. Are you ever going to get this blog making money consistently. You’ve had one great day with your family and now you’re going to have to spend less time with them to catch up on work you could have done today.”

That’s not a very supportive inner voice conversation and I never realised till today that that is what was going on in my head.

Holy shit… talk about unsupportive inner chatter.

Well, no more….

From today that inner chatter is changing to this…

“You’ve had a great day with your family. More days like this is exactly what you’re working towards by building your blog. You deserve days like today. They remind you of why it’s ok to work a little bit harder. For now, let’s list 3 things you’re going to do tomorrow to help you move your blog forward, so you can enjoy more days like today with your family.”

Now that inner chatter I love.

Instead of feeling guilty, I can now use the amazing time I spend with my family to empower me to think and plan 3 things I can do the next time I’m working on my blog to help my blog move forward.

So is that it.

Is it really that simple.

Well, perhaps, I’ll have to wait and see, but for now that feels like progress to me. I’ve taken some time to listen to my feeling of guilt, acknowledge it, figure out what it’s trying to tell me and then recognise that it’s not supporting what I’m trying to do.

And finally I came up with a new inner conversation to use when I get the urge to race to my desk, to make myself feel like I’m working towards the dream lifestyle I want for my family.

All that’s left is to plan another amazing day with the family and try this strategy out.

I hope my ramblings in this blog post have helped or entertained.

We as solopreneurs, home based entrepreneurs, bloggers and online business owners, we will have a lot of things to learn and do as we build our businesses, but we should never forget the reason why we’re doing it, and if you ever experience any feelings of guilt for spending time doing things you love, you really must stop, self reflect immediately and figure out what your inner voice is saying and why.

Final Note On Where I Currently Spend My Time And Distractions.

I’m a husband and father to two little boys and currently my time is split between my family, working on my online business and routine household and admin tasks and that’s it.

You’re probably thinking, what about fitness, or me time. Well, they are slowly being added to my schedule and I’ll share more about that as they happen.

I spend a lot of time learning and implementing more and more about blogging, online marketing, all things coding and WordPress and to me it doesn’t feel like work, because I absolutely love these topics to bit.

In these early days of starting a blog, you’ll be spending more time learning and figuring out what you need to do and then actually doing it and that’s ok. Just do a little everyday, and don’t put crazy unrealistic deadlines to try to motivate you to get shit done, especially it deadlines don’t work for you, like they don’t for me.

If you have a full time job or maybe you’re not currently working and are spending your time to build a blog and online business, then I certainly recommend taking small steps everyday.

I know, how’s this tiny piece of vague and general advice going to help you make $10k each month, but let me tell you this, it will. Committing to working towards a goal everyday will have a very high probability, almost certainty of success, provided you don’t quit.

So take the first step if you haven’t already and start a blog. It could be a personal lifestyle blog, like this will be for the first 6-12months.

Just start, without worrying about what everyone’s going to think about your blog or criticising the fact you haven’t got your niche figured out exactly yet, or that 50 other blogs have written the blog post your want to write and their’s are better, you’ll be moving forward and soon you blog will be as good as all those you’re comparing yourself to right now.

If you write on your blog everyday, something, anything, then you’ll become a better writer (and you’ll be helping people with your words).

If you read every day then you’ll know more than you did yesterday, and you can use that knowledge to help educate others.

You see, doing something in your business everyday, will help your business to grow and make money online, that’s all you have to do. Take each step as it presents itself.

Don’t worry about what you’ll do 30 steps down the road. Figure out what your next step is and focus on that, and nothing else, until it’s complete.

That’s exactly what I’m doing.

Now some distraction’s that have plagued my productivity recently and another reason why I probably felt guilty about spending time with my family and not working are:

  1. joining too many 5-day challenges and Facebook groups
  2. buying too many online courses
  3. watching too much netflix during work time
  4. spending too much time making lists vs doing tasks on the lists
  5. browsing other people’s websites
  6. buying too much PLR (private label rights) materials and doing nothing with them
  7. creating multiple backups of my files without a proper system and ending up with multiple copies of files and not knowing which is the latest
  8. writing draft blog posts and never finishing them to publish

So that’s a quick list of some of my major distractions. These are things that I’ve allowed to distract me and even make me overwhelmed and confused to what my next step should be.

And if I feel like that, I can completely understand how you would feel overwhelmed too when you’re starting out online.

A final piece of advice.

Follow your own journey, not someone else’s.

Believe in yourself and that you can find your way to success.

Work hard everyday and remember why you’re working so hard.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find yourself distracted with something from the list above. Acknowledge it, accept it and ask yourself, why are you really letting yourself be distracted, when you should be starting you blog.

I’m pretty confident it’ll be because you’re overwhelmed and don’t know what next step to focus on, so realise this, figure out the next step and don’t criticise whether its right or wrong, just take it.

Action is the best way to figure out if you’re moving forward or not.

So take action my friends and I’ll see you in the next blog post.

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