In general I think of myself as well organised and hard working. Today I woke up too late, because the night before, I worked until 2AM. I skipped my morning spinning, because I didn’t manage to squeeze any workout in before my 10AM meeting. Then I was supposed to work on a creative project, but I felt this awkward numbness. Empty head. Everything felt distant. I couldn’t focus on any piece of writing. I was looking at my computer screen – mindlessly scrolling through social media. And so it went for hours. I wasn’t OK with that. Huge guilt kept arising inside my head. This annoying feeling that is pushing me to do something productive. But being creative under pressure? That’s almost impossible.
So how to deal with those feelings of “time wasting” & “low productivity”. My conclusions are:
1. Prevent those days from happening by protecting your inner balance.
Sleep is more important than any other “to-do”. Setting a deadline for going to bed is as important as setting your alarm clock in the morning. If not more so. You can literally mark it in your calendar. Personally I feel at my best when sleeping for around 7 hours. After I realised that, I immediately set myself an evening deadline (e.g. at 11PM).
2. Don’t panic if you feel it’s been an unproductive day.
Accepting the feeling of having a worse day is the beginning of turning it into a better day. Pressurizing yourself too much brings no good. It’s this spiral of thoughts and self-blame. You feel unable to move and guilty of not moving at the same time. The only way is to admit: “I don’t feel like working right now, I’d better read something or go for a walk”. The worst that can happen is this idle state in-between when you’re neither working nor relaxing.
3. When it’s over – search for golden nuggets.
At the end of a day like that look thoroughly at what you’ve done. This “waste of time” or “nothing” you have achieved may actually include some valuable and important findings. If not from your work tasks, then from personal ones. As an example – today, besides constantly feeling unproductive, I managed to: speak about unexpected future projects with 3 acquaintances, revised 2 speeches I’ve been working on, searched and discovered the foundation I’ll support, spent some quality time talking with my fiancee. Plus, and not less important, I got into conclusions I’ve just described in this post. 🙂
So, there is no one right way to spend time. Not only tasks matter, but anything that can enrich you. Don’t be so judgmental and hard on yourself. We, entrepreneurs, tend to feel guilty while not running like a cheetah after our business goals. All round the clock. Sometimes it’s better to slow down, because it may turn out that some tasty deal is within our reach the whole time, and if we run too fast, we might miss it.