My gosh, I just realized something.
This is major. I don't think I've ever thought of it like this before. Maybe you have - kudos to you. Seriously.
You see, I was googling an image of the emotional scale, saw the word guilt, then saw the words optimim and hopefulness, and immediately a thought popped into my head:
Perhaps the guilt I've been imposing on myself with "not doing enough work" isn't helpful, proactive, or at all needed to achieve the state of "doing enough work."
Shit. It kinda makes sense now. I had been stressing out so much about not having enough stuff to do during the day that a large chunk of my day goes to feeling guilty about not having enough to do - as if guilt tripping myself into doing more stuff could ever make me do more stuff and enjoy it!
(Another thing I noticed is that boredom is right at the border between the upward spiral and the downward spiral. We'll talk about it later.)
None of the negative feelings in the downward spiral apply to me - but guilt. I feel guilty about not having more projects and not feeling able to write more every day. On some level, I've believed that if I just pushed myself and pressured myself and reminded myself that I should be working more, I'd find the energy and the inspiration.
And that, right there, seems to be the problem.
Here's the plan: from right now on, I'll try to replace any instance of feeling the guilt with some of the feelings on the upward cycle. Those come naturally to me anyway, so all I need to do is pick one and apply it. Whenever I'll feel like I work too little, I won't worry about it and instead just enjoy myself. There's only so much writing you can do in a day anyway - I can spend the rest of the day any way I like, and those other activities will be infinitely beneficial to my ability to work. So not working will be a form of working. Therefore, no guilt is needed.
This applies to you as well, regardless of your profession.
Guilt isn't the road to better things. Joy, freedom, love, enthusiasm, hopefulness, and optimism are. You're allowed to spend your days as you like. If you're a writer like me, reading books and watching movies are a part of your work just as much as writing is. Painters and musicians, too, study the works of others. You're allowed to enjoy yourself. You can take notes or just let your feelings do it. You can dictate what your day looks like.
If you want to work more, that's fine - but use positive feelings to encourage yourself. Guilt is not needed.