The exhaustion of doing, doing, doing without acknowledgment.

Reading my friend Alis Anagnostakis‘ blog post about our “doing” obsession stirred feelings of guilt and recognition within me. I was captivated by her clinical depiction of a condition I’ve been experiencing – Productivity dysmorphia, a term originally phrased by Anna Codrea-Rado. She defines it as a dependency on constant action, an inability to acknowledge personal success.

I understand this all too well. I spend my entire day working hard, but on what? I am clueless. The “idea fairy”, a concept from Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic”, frequently visits me with great ideas. These ideas fuel my numerous ongoing projects and inspire me. However, despite being constantly active, it feels as though I’m not accomplishing anything. There’s this lingering thought, “I should be doing more”.

Even AI tells me I can’t keep going at this pace!

It’s exhausting!  Time Magazine’s Emily Ballesteros, author of The Cure for Burnout asks “Why are we all exhausted?”  With 47 million Americans voluntarily quitting their jobs, she says it’s so widespread we are in the era of the “Great Exhaustion”.  She suggests three culprits: an unsustainable lifestyle, exposure to stress outside of our control, and financial insecurity. Well, we can’t control that which is out of our control so let’s look at what we can control. I believe that the “unsustainable lifestyle” factor that drives our fatigue is just a symptom of “Productivity Dysmorphia”.

Truth be told, I’m just an average “user” like many of you out there, expecting modern technology to help. Got a problem? There’s an app for that.

A respected friend suggested I try the Motion app, an AI-powered task and project management tool, that fills my calendar with endless tasks, leaving me with hardly any free time.

It’s a relentless cycle – as I complete tasks, they simply vanish without a trace. No celebratory fanfare, no sense of achievement, just a relentless push toward the next task. If I fail to complete a task, it also vanishes, leaving me feeling unproductive and overwhelmed. Regardless of my actions, the app remains insatiable, creating a framework wherein I feel perpetually inadequate at day’s end. To top it off, it bluntly informs me that I can’t tackle everything and will need to make sacrifices.

After Mental Masterpiece Training and
Several rREST sessions, I took back control!

The obvious solution would be for me to just abandon Motion, right?

After weeks of struggle, my inner critics becoming weapons, threatening my serenity, I decided to double down and face it head-on.

I had to get some rREST on it so I could rest. The truth is, I wasn’t being fully honest with myself or the AI – I was neglecting my own needs for relaxation, play, and creativity. I had this self-deprecating habit of viewing these essential human needs as trivial or unworthy of being put into Motion.

I had a revelation – I can’t pour from an empty vessel. Managing my energy effectively takes precedence over managing time or projects in my life.

I tell Motion what truly matters to me. Now I add me-time, women’s retreats, artist dates, reading magazines while I drink my tea, mermaid swims, and writing luxuriously in my beautifully adorned journal. No longer will I feel guilty about sneaking a peek at a friend’s blog or social media post; because, now, Motion tells me to do it!

Let your energy and creativity flow!

Dr. Cindy Sholes