By Emily Suess
Ever have one of those days where everything goes wrong? Or one of those days where it seems like everyone needs you to do everything for them all at once? Of course you have! We all have. The trick to getting yourself back on track when things go wrong is to change your focus. Forget about all the things you can’t do, and start to focus on what you can do instead.
Make a List of Priorities
Are there some things you just can’t get done today? Tell your brain to let them go. Write a list of three or four things you can accomplish instead, and put your energy toward those things. One item on your list could even be to make sure you reschedule the items you are unable to complete today. Get in the habit of checking items off your list. Staring at long lists of things beyond your control can freeze you in your tracks.
Take a Deep Breath
Whether you lost an important file or had a horrible interaction with a customer, you should immediately concentrate on taking deep, relaxing breaths. This will help you get rid of your stress and put the negativity behind you. Counting while you breathe tricks your brain into focusing on something mundane instead of continuing to obsess over the problem at hand. After you’ve taken a few breaths, you’ll be ready to salvage the rest of your day and focus on what’s next instead of what just happened.
Put on Some Inspiring Music
An up-tempo beat with a positive or empowering message can work wonders as well. If you work alone (or you just don’t care what other people think) get out of your chair, set your mobile devices down for five minutes and dance. Yep, you read that right. Throw your hands up and sing along and remember that the world is still spinning. Take the fun stuff as seriously as you take the bad stuff!
Laugh it Off
Speaking of the fun stuff, bookmark a few of those YouTube videos that always make you laugh. (That one compilation video of cats being jerks gets me every time.) Just be careful not to sucked in. If you don’t have the autoplay setting turned off, you might discover it’s time for dinner and you haven’t done a productive thing all day.
Clean your desk or clean off your computer’s desktop. When you reduce visual distractions, you make it easier to get back on track. As Gretchen Rubin says, “”Outer order contributes to inner calm.”
As I write this, the trees and flowers outside are budding. But it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, take a step outside for a little fresh air and a new perspective. Do some people watching. Walk around the block. Create some physical space between you and the problem and you’ll be back to your usual, productive self in no time.