A good one, this! Maquisha, a new VA, wrote to ask:

Some days I feel like I get nothing done! It’s so wasteful. I start the day with a plan, and somewhere, I find something else that catches my attention and I do that, instead, procrastinating on everything else and blowing up my whole day. And when I get to the end, I have more thoughts in my head than I started with, but nothing to SHOW for the time I sat there. I’m scared I’ll never get anywhere if I keep wasting time. I met an AssistU VA who was talking about how you get so much done, and I wanted to ask how? Do you never have an unproductive day that brings you down and makes you question everything?

Wasteful? Nah.

I’ve had plenty of lay-on-the-couch-and-binge-watch days in my life. I’ve had oodles of sleep-till-noon, play-with-the-cats, piddle-around-in-my-pjs-till-dinner, days. I’ve even had finished-that-morning appointment-start-looking-at-something-fascinating-online-and-don’t-do-another-thing-all-day ,days. And I know, very well, the have-a-plan-for-the-day-but-left-it-behind-to-have-lunch-with-a-friend, days. But none of them were about procrastination, being unproductive, or a waste of time; I patently reject those concepts in my life and work and banish them from my thoughts about what I do.

While so much of the rest of the world would look at those and then give me the side eye, saying, “Of COURSE they were, Anastacia,” I see them very differently. What they were, for me, were days I chose to spend the way I spent them. My life (and work) doesn’t tend to happen to me very often because I’m very conscious of what I want and need. And on the days when it does happen to me (like the day last year when my gall bladder finally gave up and I was whisked away from home in an ambulance for surgery and a week-long hospital stay), I surrender to what is—choosing to jump into that, rather than lamenting the unproductivity and time-wastefulness of it all. So, even there, there’s nothing unproductive going on. And there’s no drama. Or guilt. Those get banished, too.

Shift how you see things

You, too, can have a life like this, by changing how you view what’s happening. Simple, this, but often not easy and possibly requiring rewiring of years and years of mental programming, especially if you grew up in a house where “idle hands were the devil’s workshop.” But if you hate the feeling of not doing enough, not being enough, and not moving forward enough, maybe it’s time to learn to see things differently. Ask yourself whether you’d rather die having done a lot of stuff, or having done potentially less stuff, but the stuff you did do was only, and exactly, what you wanted to do? If it’s the former, you can probably stop reading this now, but if it’s the latter…there’s something here for you to consider.

Do whatcha wanna do

For instance, this morning, I’d planned to move 50 blog posts from our old blog site to our new home. When I sat down to begin, my whole body felt like it was mired in a bed of sludge, while the prospect of writing this new post felt fun and good. So I chose to write the new post. I chose.

How to Banish Procrastination, Wasting Time, and Crappy Productivity (Not to Mention Drama and Guilt!) (1)

Will the 50 get plopped into the new blog? Yep—at some point, but likely not today; we’ll see. And if not, I’ll put it on my calendar for another day. Choice is what makes things delicious. Choice is what keeps things from being boring. Choice is what allows you to have the life you want and love.

And when it has to get done?

Now, let’s shake that up a bit (because you know that life is never one-dimensional, right?). Let’s say I’ve moved the blog posting in favor of doing something else. And let’s say I do that and do that again. In my world, that’s a sign I should delegate it to someone else (In truth, I should delegate it to someone else to begin with, but this whole rebrand is a learning experience for me, and I’m being far more involved in it than I might be with something else). But let’s say that it’s mine to do, and I’ve chosen something else over getting it done as much as I can and it’s now really go time on this. And let’s say that it’s still not something I’m feeling. What to do then, when it simply has to get done or there will be problems as a result??

I get up and do something else. ;) Did you think I was going to say I pull up my big-girl panties and just do it? Ha! ♥ No—I walk away from it.

Literally, I get up out of my chair, and as I work from home, I do something here. It might be putting my coffee cup in the dishwasher, or doing a quick vacuuming, or emptying the trash, or giving the cats fresh water, or taking a dance break. It doesn’t really matter what it is, and it’s never something that takes more than about 15 minutes. And I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t truly understand what happens in my head when I go through this; maybe it’s something about engaging my body, or activating a different part of my brain for a few minutes, or getting loved on by the cats that causes the shift. All I know for sure is that when I do something different, and I return to my desk, it’s always the case that whatever I wasn’t wanting to do looks far more appealing to me and I can dive in with much-improved energy and attention.

Treasure flexibility and freedom

And I have to assume that this exercise could be applied the first time I feel like going off the rails and doing something else with my day, so if that feels good to you, try doing it that way. Or find your own version of it (maybe it’s a quick run, or some power yoga, or a laugh-filled phone call with your bestie—I think almost anything would work!). For me, I like only using it when I have no good flexibility so that it doesn’t become the norm in my life. I love my flexibility and freedom. I love choosing something else. I love my life, as is.

And I want you to love yours, too. It will help you love your business more than you imagined you could. Let me know in comments if you find the thing that helps you get out of the “I don’t wanna,” rut, and whether you’re able to shift how you see how you spend your time. I’d love to hear about it!