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Lifehacker Guilty Hour

This is Week 6 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested the ability of Nick Jehlen’s Guilt Hour, as described on Lifehacker to help me get things done. I did not work with a team, nor did I plan to use a one-hour time slot a week, but four 15-minute guilt-attacking periods. Scroll to the end of this post for a full description of my test.

How the Guilt Hour Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Helped me realize how guilty I feel. This may have been the worst week for me to test this approach because I was playing catch-up from the week before when I had many scheduled commitments. I felt guilty about putting things off, especially when people started asking me about them. Thinking about doing what I feel most guilty about made me realize that there aren’t many things I don’t feel guilty about. That’s an important piece of my productivity pie.
  • Encouraged me to spend quality time with my kids. Maybe my kids are reading this blog, because two of them asked me to spend individual time with them this week and I couldn’t refuse. Of course, I feel guilty about not having individual time with the kids. My son asked to use a gift card he’d gotten for his birthday, so we went out for a great dinner together. I’ve already seen improvement in his attitude as a result. My daughter asked for a girl’s night which she planned so many activities for, it ended up being a girl’s DAY, too. When all is said and done, no one will remember that I got buttons stitched on, woodwork cleaned, or a blog plugin installed. But my kids will remember their time with mom.

How the Guilt Hour Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Too much I feel guilty about. I felt very overwhelmed trying to decide which guilty tasks to focus on–especially because I felt guilty enough just trying to dig my way out of last week’s backlog.
  • Vague time commitment. I hadn’t scheduled time to do this. I just knew that I would be doing four 15-minute periods. But after spending almost an entire day and night with my kids, I didn’t feel like I could afford to spend more time on the Guilt Hour. That made me feel–you guessed it!–guilty.
  • Tapped into my procrastination issues. I’ve discovered that guilt and procrastination are a vicious cycle. It really doesn’t matter which I start with (guilt or procrastination), because I’m in trouble either way. I need more than a guilt hour to get me to tackle some of these tasks, I’m afraid. The little-and-often approach of SMEMA from last week might help. Maybe I needed the support of other people tackling their guilt-producing tasks, too.

Did the Guilt Hour Help Me Get More Done?

In general, NO. I invested time in my children which is extremely important to me, but in terms of getting things–even just guilt-laden tasks–done, it did not work for me. It’s possible this was a bad week, that scheduling it as a complete hour, and getting support might help. But for now, it’s not something I plan to continue.


Unsurprisingly, I still do not use a Guilt Hour and avoid feeling guilty about tasks. Instead, I take Sundays off completely to do ONLY what I want to do (aside from family, friend, and church commitments). This works much better for me.

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 7


Jason Womack believes that envisioning your ideal day is the best way to make it happen. He spends 15 minutes a day picturing how he’d like the next 24 hours to go.

The concept. By imagining how you’d like your day to unfold, you’re reviewing your goals, your tasks, and your time in a realistic way. After all, no one’s ideal day is working at an intense pace for 24 hours with no breaks. A friend mentioned that she was going to use SMEMA in conjunction with envisioning her ideal day and I thought that was a great idea. I’m not committed to spending a full 15 minutes, but I will do this every day this week in written form using idonethis. I have my idonethis email sent to me in the morning, so I can email my ideal day to idonethis in the morning and write back in the evening with what my day was actually like.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read Jason’s description of how he envisions his ideal day. Decide if you’ll record it and follow up like I am or will just dream it. Check out idonethis if you’re interested in recording your ideal day. It’s free.

Click here to see how envisioning my ideal day worked for me.

If you’ve tried the Guilt Hour to increase your productivity, please vote in the poll below.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA