Don’t Let ‘Guilt Scheduling’ Get The Best Of You & Your Business

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guilt scheduling

You may not know what guilt scheduling is, but I can almost bet you’re a victim of it.

Guilt scheduling is what we do to ourselves after a vacation or day off.

We cram the next available business day or days full to the brim with meetings and make-up work, zapping us to the core.

If you are a business owner or just a busy professional, here are the signs you’re guilt scheduling is getting the best of you.


Last week I took a Friday and Monday off for a vacation to Maine with my husband.

Making up the time off was no problem; I had planned two full days of back-to-back meetings and calls.

I plowed into Tuesday but by the end of the day, I had made a few errors.

One of which was sending a potential client an email that noted there was an attachment, but there was no attachment. Small enough, but not what you want when you’re courting new business.

The potential client, Faith, let me know it was missing, and I honestly replied that I wasn’t at 100%.

When we talked later in the week, Faith accepted my apology for not being on the ball and said it was due to “guilt scheduling” (which I had never heard before but made perfect sense).

Faith is an Executive Coach who sees this type of self-torture often.

In fact, I think we can all relate to scheduling ourselves into a frenzy based on guilt.

We think we’ll make up for the time we missed by over-scheduling ourselves in the following days, but often we make more errors, feel less creative, and generally perform at a lower capacity.

And by the weekend? I felt completely lethargic and exhausted; my personal life and chores suffered as a result of my guilt scheduling.

Guilt scheduling often does more harm than good to you and your business.Click To Tweet

10 Signs Your Guilt Scheduling Is Controlling You

  1. You find yourself canceling or rescheduling meetings twice or more a week
  2. Working on Saturdays and Sundays to “catch up” is normal
  3. You’re skipping meals due to a packed schedule
  4. “Approval addiction” has you saying yes more than no
  5. Personal events or hobbies are seen as “optional” — they take a back seat to work priorities
  6. You don’t check your calendar before committing or saying yes
  7. Exercising and other physical actives are only scheduled if you “have extra time”
  8. IF you decline an event or say no, you feel like you have to provide an explanation
  9. Meetings can (and do) take place any day of the week; last minute meetings are “so you”
  10. You feel accomplished saying no to personal events to get your work projects done
Guilty of one or more of these 10 scheduling issues? You're suffering from guilt scheduling.Click To Tweet

How To Prevent Guilt Scheduling (And Actually Be More Productive)

It goes without saying, there will always be weeks when work has to take precedence over personal.

Here are my personal tips for preventing guilt scheduling:

  1. Make sure your friends and family understand your work priorities. Most of my friends and family members aren’t business owners. They probably don’t understand the pressure of wearing all the hats or being responsible for several salaries. They likely don’t realize that when you lose a client or don’t meet sales quotas you may have to let someone go; that it falls to you to make sure everyone gets a paycheck. Explaining these things to your personal peeps can help ease the burden of having to say no to personal when professional just can’t take a back seat.
  2. Watch for people pleasing or approval addiction. Admittedly, I am often scared to say no. This almost always leads to guilt scheduling or taking on tasks that are not worth my time. Ask yourself: I’m I truly doing this because I want to, or is it because I want to please/gain approval from the person asking? If you’re honest with yourself, you can more easily learn when it’s appropriate to say NO.
  3. I’ve started living and dying by my Google Calendar because it is accessible on the go. Every week I try to schedule at least one personal event — sometimes I even block off an entire day, making it easier to ensure last-minute meetings aren’t taking over my creative time or the availability of personal time.
  4. If you have to squeeze it in, say noSetting hard boundaries is the only way to really start to change habits … at least for me!
    1. Use tools to help you maximize your time. At B Squared Media, our team uses Toggl [check out this great review about Toggl from the Freelance Effect] and Basecamp to document time spent on all of our tasks and efficiently communicate tasks. This helps our team be one of the most organized outsourced social media teams out there.
These 5 tips can help you prevent over-scheduling and burn out.Click To Tweet

Work-Life Balance?

Personally, I don’t believe in work-life balance.

Everyone important to me knows that B Squared comes first, but they also know that I’m trying to ease into taking more personal time.

Guilt scheduling is my biggest roadblock to enjoying life a little more.

What tips can you give for battling guilt scheduling? Or do you think over-scheduling is simply a way of life for business owners? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave me a comment below.


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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Category: Business, Business 101, Sales
Tags: business, business 101, business owners, busy professionals, guilt scheduling, over-scheduling, scheduling, small business owners
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Brooke!

    When I have an important (I get to decide what’s important) personal event and that time slot is requested, my reply is “I’m sorry I have another client scheduled then, how is…” Most clients will not try to put themselves ahead of another client, and if they do you shuld calculate the value of the client.

    • Hi, Karen! Good to “see” you here. 🙂

      That’s very good advice. I’ve started using a tool called Calendly where I can send clients or prospects to schedule their best day/time to chat with me … Calendly doesn’t have “personal event” anywhere but it does show that I’m unavailable. I’m hoping that by using it I will save myself from myself!


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