Gunk of Low-Energy Living: taskmaster

Hey, I have someone I’d like you to meet!

She’s a demanding kill-joy who will make you feel lousy about yourself and is never any fun. Certainly doesn’t sound like your first choice for company, does it?

And yet you very likely hang out with her all the time.

It’s your inner taskmaster. And she’s hell-bent on making sure you’re overextended and stressed out.

Do any of these sound like your inner taskmaster?

  1. It’s never enough. You can never do enough to please your inner taskmaster. For every item marked off your To Do list, there are dozens more to follow. If you got five things done, it should have been ten. If you did ten, why did it take you so long? Just accept that whatever you get done and however you did it, you could have done more and could have done it better.
  2. Celebrating wastes time. The taskmaster doesn’t celebrate your accomplishments. OK, maybe for a nanosecond, if that. But then it’s simply time to get on to the next task that needs doing. Your inner taskmaster thinks celebrating leads directly to a loss of motivation and drive, which then leads to you sitting around eating bonbons in your sweatpants.
  3. Everything has to be perfect. The taskmaster wants you to keep striving, striving, striving to attain perfection. Forget that perfection doesn’t exist. That’s not the point. Keeping you in pursuit of perfection keeps the pressure on: You can’t make mistakes. Failing is unacceptable. You have to be perfect.
  4. Self-esteem is overrated. Your inner taskmaster would have you believe your worth and productivity are one and the same. Which means if you’re not busy busy busy, what good are you? This point of view might get stuff done, but it’s not so great for feeling good about yourself.
  5. Work comes before play. What would it be like to curl up with a great book or take a walk in the park—even though there’s that report to finish for work and dirty dishes in the sink? Your taskmaster would rather you never find out. You need to get all work done before you play (which, of course, is an impossibility because there will always be more to do).

What would it take to tell your inner taskmaster goodbye? To let her know she’s been a lousy companion and you’re no longer willing to hang out with her.

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