This is a guest post by Marilyn, a freelance writer, specializing in topics connected to management, careers and self-improvement from a HR perspective. You can find her on Twitter.
No matter how perfectly you have your working day planned, no matter how fine-tuned your routine, disaster can still strike in the shape of the unexpected.
Your good intentions and polished techniques do not preclude the interference of outside forces, or even inner ones – you’re only human, after all. It could be computer trouble, a sick pet, a bad night’s sleep or a nightmare assignment, but when your plans are thrown out of whack it can be tough to get your ideal-you back online.
Bad days are, however, a fact of life. Being in control of your life means learning to roll with the unexpected as much as perfecting your ideal routine.
Working out your own personal method for dealing with day-derailing occurrences can help you to maintain inner peace. What’s more, that positivity can be translated into tangible results.
We’re 31% more productive when we’re chipper, and three times as creative – which is perhaps why we’re 40% more likely to get a promotion. The benefits to your health and to your relationships are also considerable.
So what to do when your perfect plan goes awry?
The first thing to remember is to breathe.
The way we relate to our body dictates so closely what we feel in our minds. Taking deep breaths will help you find a peaceful place from where to begin rebuilding your day.
Only then should you engage your brain: take a comfortable seat, a pencil and paper, and write down in concrete terms what the problem is. Be logical. Try to trace the anger, hurt or fear you’re feeling back to the precise events so as to get a broader view on the situation. And then you should be ready to assess how serious the turn of events really is.
It’s time to re-plan your day.
Maybe you don’t need to make any major changes, or perhaps some sacrifices need to be made to resolve the situation. That’s okay, if it’s the only way forward.
If it’s a minor situation, or something that doesn’t need dealing with urgently, perhaps you can afford to take an hour off while your nerves settle down. Remember, going for a walk, a swim or a shower can be productive if they reboot your system for a more effective performance.
If you don’t have time to get away, it is still worth making the discipline of taking five minutes to reset your mood.
Think about all the good things that are going on with you right now, and the ultimate reward for the tasks that are proving troublesome. If that mood really won’t shift, trying talking to a friend or colleague about it. Rather than purely venting, a meaningful discussion can help you find a new perspective on one level, while distracting you from the raw emotions on another. Never underestimate the healing properties of human warmth!
Finally, whatever goes wrong, remember that there’s a lesson to be taken from each setback or mistake – even if that lesson is simply how to cope better next time the unexpected strikes. For more ideas on getting ahead of the game on that one, be sure to check out the infographic below by Headway Capital for a step-by-step guide to defusing a good day gone bad.