Some days you wake up and everything goes to plan; you catch the train on time, your meetings are productive, your inbox is cleared before lunch and you even find time to fit in a run before post-work drinks with friends. Other days things don’t go so smoothly; you wake up exhausted, don’t get to your desk until thirty minutes after you were due into the office and subsequently feel like you’re chasing your tail for the rest of the day.
It’s a fact of life that some days will always go better than others, but that’s not to say there aren’t some ways in which we can improve our experience of even the worst days.
Here are some tips for improving your day:
• Be kind to yourself - When things start to go wrong it’s easy to let the situation spiral out of control – especially if you feel that you’re at fault. But getting cross with yourself isn’t going to help anyone, least of all you. If you’ve slept through your alarm and missed your train, accept it and move on. Yes, you’ll be late to work, but if you take a shorter lunch break you’ll make that time up easily.
• Be kind to others - If someone snaps at you on your morning commute take a deep breath and try to let it go. You don’t know their circumstances or what they’ve got going on in their life that’s made them behave that way, so try to give them the benefit of the doubt. Not only will it avoid unnecessary confrontation, it will also keep you in a calmer and happier state of mind to take on the day.
• Keep up the momentum - How many times have you started a task full of vim and vigour, only to give up half way because you took a break and couldn’t find the energy to re-start what you were doing? Sound familiar? Key to any successful day is the ability to maintain momentum. That’s not to say you can’t take the odd break here and there – in fact breaks are actively encouraged – but don’t let yourself get so burned out on the first task that the subsequent ones seem impossible to complete. Keep breaks short – a trip to the toilet, a drink and a quick scan of your emails – and keep moving. You’ll get through that To Do list in no time.
• Variety is the spice of life – Nobody likes to spend all day doing the same monotonous task, so why not break your To Do list down into different kinds of task, interspersing the more difficult or tedious ones with the more fun ones? If you know that once you’ve completed a twenty page report you can proof read an article you know you’ll enjoy then you’ll have more of an incentive to finish the report.
• Exercise – If you’re groaning as you read this then you’re not alone, but the undeniable truth is that exercise releases endorphins which will make you feel happier. So whilst you’d rather kick off your heels and slump on the sofa with a bar of Dairy Milk, it would be far better to put on your running shoes and go for a jog around the park. The Dairy Milk can wait until you’re back – and it’ll taste all the sweeter knowing that you’ve earned it.
• Meditate – Possibly another suggestion that will invoke groans, but if you haven’t tried it then why not find somewhere quiet, shut your eyes and focus on your breathing for five minutes? It may seem counter-intuitive when you’re having a manic day but you might just find it helps to clear your head and make things feel more manageable.