We’ve all had horrible, no good, very bad days. Days when nothing is going according to plan. Activities or meetings you anticipated taking a few minutes eat up hours. Your to-do list keeps growing, but nothing’s getting checked off the list.
The works part about these kinds of days is you can easily find yourself in a shame spiral. Overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, and mad at yourself for not being able to turn things around. All you want to do is give up and take a nap.
Let me start by saying, sometimes you need to take the nap. That’s perfectly acceptable. There should be no guilt in allowing yourself to rest and regroup tomorrow. But if you find yourself in this situation and you can’t or don’t want to simply regroup tomorrow, let’s talk about some strategies to turn your day around!
These are strategies to pull yourself out of the rut and actions you can take to turn things around!
Acknowledge and accept your frustration.
It’s ok to be frustrated. It’s ok to be upset. It’s ok to be mad at yourself, at the universe, at the guy who cut you off in traffic. Take a few deep breaths. The first step is to stop fighting against the frustration and acknowledge it. Trust me, accepting the annoyance helps you move forward.
Change your state of mind.
Take a 5-minute break to interrupt your negative thinking. Go for a walk. Talk to a friend. Jump up and down. Meditate. Sing at the top of your lungs. Dance it out. Break up your negative thinking by changing the state of your body and your mind. Stop yourself from dwelling on the negative by physically changing your state.
Simplify your to-do list.
What must get done today? What are the one or two things that absolutely have to get done? Include work activities along with family responsibilities and narrow your list down to the top two. Are there things you can take off your list for today? By simplifying your to the absolute essentials, you might gain the momentum you need to re-focus and get it all done. If you’re still overwhelmed, that’s ok! You now have a clear picture of the day’s priorities and that’s a step in the right direction.
Tackle something on your list.
Now that the day’s priorities are clear, take action by tackling something on your list. There are two theories about where to start with your essential to-do list. The first is to start with the hardest thing first. Get the big, scary thing off your list and be done with it. The second theory is to start with the easiest thing first to gain momentum. Do what works for you. Pick one thing and check it off the list. Progress begets progress. You build momentum by physically checking something off your list. Even if that thing is to take a shower, make the bed, drink a glass of water, go for a walk.
Make a plan for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is a fresh opportunity. Channel today’s frustrations into setting yourself up for success tomorrow. Create tomorrow’s to-do list now. Tidy your workspace. Gather materials for a meeting or an appointment you have tomorrow. What are things could you do now to make tomorrow run smoothly? It sounds counterintuitive but you are actively making life easier for your future yourself. The current you will feel helpful and hopeful, while the future you is grateful for the forethought.
What do you do to turn your day around when things get off track? Share your strategies below!