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I have always been my biggest critic. I always feel that I am falling behind or, I’m not doing enough. And this feeling has always put me under pressure. I’ve always created an environment for myself where I felt guilty if I didn’t accomplish everything on my to-do list or if I didn’t get things done by my own deadlines.

This was not helpful. It’s taken me long enough to realize that we need not unnecessarily punish ourselves for failing to meet our standards, particularly when those standards are impossibly high.

As a perfectionist, I always made lists much longer than I could ever achieve in a week, let alone a day. I kept overwhelming myself with a never-ending list of things to do. It never led to anything good. It always led to me feeling less than optimal.

It doesn’t help that I am quite a passionate person and I always have an interest in so many things in the world. I lose track of time diving into subjects and some of them, not urgent. I love learning news things and I buy books like there’s no tomorrow. But the end result is a bookshelf full of unread books.

All of this kept making me feeling enormously guilty.

Well, I’ve come to realize that we need to be kind to ourselves. Putting myself under this constant pressure never helped. It just made me feel like procrastinating and not doing things at all.

It’s odd but, it is a vicious cycle. The more you think you have to do, the more you don’t feel like doing it and you eventually end up not doing much or doing a rushed job.

There will always be hard deadlines to meet but, it’s the softer deadlines that are important. The deadlines that you set for yourself. A while back I wrote a piece about scheduling every hour of everyday. I also said that I didn’t like it because not everything happened on time and then there were just a list of overdue reminders.

Well, after reading a few time management techniques, I decided to give it a shot again. I thought perhaps, if I tried to allow more time and more breaks in between. I would be more successful. Turns out, I’m just not that kind of a person.

I need flexibility in deciding what I want to do. So, even if I schedule in writing time for the morning, it doesn’t always work out that way. Some mornings I just don’t feel like writing and forcing myself to form that discipline is no good.

Looking at back at my school days, I realize that this is exactly how I’ve always been. I may decide to study one thing one day and end up studying something completely different or not study at all. Sometimes, you need to let your mood and passion guide you.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have any to-do lists at all. I do. I have a pretty long running list of things that I need to get done. But, I look at it on a broader monthly and then weekly picture. I give myself permission miss my own deadlines. I give myself the flexibility I need while working and I above all, I’m not hard on myself if I simply can’t get everything done.