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I Beat Myself Up For Failing To Complete My To-Do List And Why It Is A Bad Idea | HealthMoneySuccess.com | Personal Development

I Beat Myself Up For Failing To Complete My To-Do List And Why It Is A Bad Idea

12 Comments Posted in Personal Development


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I believe every one of us has those moments where we beat ourselves up when things doesn’t seems to go the way that we want them to. We may say words that make us feel bad and this happens whenever we make any mistakes.

When this cycle continues, it causes us to have a lower self esteem and it also will slowly change our beliefs that we are prone to mistakes and we just can’t get anything done properly. When it gets to this stage, we start to doubt our ability and every problem that we try to tackle just to seem much harder.

My Story

I believe everyone have that perfectionist in ourselves and do not allow mistakes to happen. This perfectionist syndrome helps us to do things better but when this syndrome is not keep in check, it usually affect all the areas of our life.

Maintaining a high level of productivity means that we have a higher chance of success in whatever we are doing. Because a higher productivity level equals to taking more action and action is the key to success.

I always keep a close watch on my productivity level to ensure that I am getting the important things done. However I find that my productivity level is not constant and there will be high and low moments. There will be good days where I got lot of things completed and there will be days when I could hardly complete even a single important task.

Every time when I take a look at my to-do list and when a majority of those tasks are not completed, I will beat myself up by talking negatively to myself saying how much I suck at doing things and how badly I am performing. This usually invokes negative emotions in me and causes me to feel worse.

This is where the problem begins. When I start to feel worse, I tend to continue my unproductive streak for the next few days. I noticed this pattern happening over and over again and this pattern results in a huge loss of time.

This leads me to conclude that beating ourselves up and allowing us to feel bad will create negative emotions that will drag us down further and make the problems we face get bigger and bigger.

Changing My Approach

When I discovered how disastrous this pattern is, I immediately change my approach to stop this pattern from occurring again.

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let things be ok.
  2. Revaluate
  3. Praise instead of Criticizing.

1. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

I am halfway through the book Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. I got to say that this book shares with me lots of wisdom on how to deal with problems in life. In the book it mentions that we tend to dramatize our life problems and make things appear bigger as it is.

I used this approach in dealing with my problem on productivity and try not to make a mountain out of a molehill. Instead of beating myself up when I fail to complete my tasks, I let it be ok. I choose to believe my to-do list isn’t everything in life. A to-do list will always refill itself up on the very next day and there will definitely be times when we fail to complete some of the tasks.

Thinking in this way doesn’t cause me to make a big fuss out of not completing my task and I feel calmer and more in peace with myself. I also feel that I have control of the situation and this prepares me to deal with my tasks on the next day.

2. Revaluate

There are a few reasons why I don’t complete some of my tasks on that day. Most of time is because I don’t enjoying doing a particular task, motivation problem or I was just too packed with things on a particular day.

I will re evaluate the situation and ask myself some questions on why I fail to complete the task and seek a solution to fix it. Here is the thought process I will go through.


I highly recommend you to outsource your work which is important but you just don’t enjoy doing. It will help you to get things done much faster so that you can move forward.

Types of task that you should out source:
1. Tasks that requires skill that you do not have.
2. Tasks that others can do it better and faster than you.
3. Tasks of low value. Example: Checking your email is a low value task as compared to gathering leads for sales.

(Recommended: Read more on 80/20 principle)

3. Praise Instead Of Criticize

In How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, there is a chapter that teaches us to praise others instead of criticize others. This principle does not apply to treating others only, you will need to apply this principle on yourself too.

Imagine if your boss is always criticizing you, how will you feel? Will you feel good and want to do better for him? Most probably you will feel bad and try to work to avoid being criticized (driven by fear) by him again.

What if your boss is someone who is kind, shower praises on you and make sure that you will get the credit for your work well done? Will you go the extra mile to ensure that you did your best work for him? Absolutely!

You will need to treat yourself well instead of criticizing yourself whenever you screw things up. Doing this will help you to feel good and people performs better when they feel good instead of being depressed.

Parting Words

Beating ourselves up is the sure way to fail in the long run. It doesn’t help in any way and all it does is to make you feel miserable. Have any of you beaten yourselves up for failing to complete your to-do list or any other reasons? If so, have you stop doing it? I would love to hear from you and I will talk to you in the comment section below.


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I have a name so do you. Please use your name in the comment section and I hope to connect with you soon. My name is Vincent, so what is your name?

12 Responses to “I Beat Myself Up For Failing To Complete My To-Do List And Why It Is A Bad Idea”

  1. Nitpicking on the tiny stuff can gloss over the bigger picture, where important things might be getting neglected because one is focusing on and getting lost in the petty and insignificant stuff. Self-flaggellation is a personal challenge I face all the time too, and it definitely doesn’t help productivity or self-image in my instance.

  2. Travis says:

    It’s pretty easy to become so insanely overwhelmed that we sweat every little minor detail… and I find that with myself personally, all that really does is put me in a sour mood and lead to negativity. While it’s not always EASY to do, having a sort of rest period is a nice and effective way to clean up our day when it hasn’t gone the way we’ve wanted.

  3. Another great post Vincent. It is easy to get down on ourselves when things aren’t going well. That is not very productive though. If you want to stay motivated and hard work, you need to also manage your own motivation level. Keep yourself optimistic and happy and it becomes much easier to get work done.

  4. Hi Vinc,

    This post rings a bell. I think we have to take things less seriously, often times I keep looping a question, “Is this really important? I dunno. Am I forgetting something? I dunno.” This can drive you nuts and push you to uncertainty and confusion. Yesterday I completed a 100+ goals list, got a lot o goals on there including one to be a very wealthy man in ten years or less(has a specific number to) and everything I want to do like learn to surf and go for a vacation in Fiji…

    The problem for me, is that I’d change goals and tweak things constantly, which was in a way a mistake, because it can drive you insane. I seriously don’t want to touch my goals list for another 3-6 months. There are two good questions to ask yourself when setting a goal:

    1. Is this what I really want and will it allow me balance for my other goals?
    2. Am I expecting life to be perfect by these goals?

    My answers were Yes and the second one was NO. And once I set up all the plans and daily disciplines I asked

    “Now! If I followed this plan and continued after these goals, would my life be in dire need of anything?” My answer being no.

    And from there I just started taking baby steps. You need to think big but start small, so belief builds.

    I know how hard it can be when you don’t go to sleep feeling like you completed something. We all hate leaving things hanging. But I think the key is setting lower(but slightly out of our comfort zone) goals that will slowly help you to grow instead of setting a massive goal that has an unrealistic time limit(and we wonder why we didn’t achieve it). Don’t set goals like I’m going from $1500/mo to 10 MIllion in a year, unless you know something everyone else doesn’t. The more goals you hit, the more of a winner you feel like and the larger your capacity becomes.


  5. Credit Girl says:

    What helps me organize my workload is an agenda. The agenda keeps me on task and on certain days I have more time and on other days I have less time so whichever task I am unable to complete, I transfer to the next day that way I’m not totally throwing the task out the window but I’m simply saving it for another day when I have more time and that for sure makes me feel better.

  6. Hey Vincent!
    I know about this, I have done it, and still do it pretty harshly sometimes when I do something stupid that I know I should not do. Learning to forgive yourself is one of the harder things to do.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself, just try harder to achieve your goals next time 🙂
    Have a great week!

    • Vincent says:

      Hey Diggy,

      I see that you are doing well for your 1000 readers challenge. 🙂 Try, try and try harder again is the way to get our results that we want.

      Learning to forgive myself is one of the skill that I need to master in order to get more out of life. I got to take note of that. 🙂


  7. Alex Hudish says:

    Hi Vincent.

    Coming for a Master in Beating-Yourself-Up :

    If the task you set in the first place in the first place is important,
    You haven’t completed it in time / at all
    You keep repeating to yourself that by not doing it you suck,

    I suggest to take your time to let go, go out, have fun, find interest in something else, and if it was important, you’ll get to complete that task eventually, perhaps even better than when you left it.

    Loved this post. Thanks!

    • Vincent says:

      Hey Alex,

      Great, great advice. Usually doing pleasurable tasks or just relaxing are great ways to reset ourselves. Thanks for your comment. 🙂


  8. Walter says:

    I did have an experience but I was quick to realize that it will give me no benefit, so I release it. There is no such thing as perfection in this world, there are no absolutes, only change. 🙂

    • Vincent says:

      Hey walter,

      I definitely agree with you that change is the only thing that is absolute. There is always room for improvement, that is why being a perfectionist is like abusing ourselves.