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Last Updated on January 18, 2021

5 Ways to Turn Around a Bad Day at Work

5 Ways to Turn Around a Bad Day at Work
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It’s estimated that the average person spends 90,000 hours of their life working.[1] A huge portion of our life is spent on the job. No matter how you slice it, that means we’re all bound to have a bad day at work every once in a while.

Between tight deadlines, challenging customers, and conflicting personalities at work, there’s no shortage of potential problems to dampen our day. But how we choose to navigate those inevitable bad days can define our productivity, success, and fulfillment at work.

In fact, according to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, “studies show that when you’re positive, you’re 31% more productive, you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion, you have 23% fewer health-related effects from stress, and your creativity rates triple.”[2]

So, how do you turn a bad workday around and reap all of these amazing benefits? Try these five tips.

1. Stop What You’re Doing and Take a Walk

No matter how stressed or pressed for time you are, you won’t solve the bad day problem in your current mindset. So, take even five minutes to shake things up by changing your location and moving your body. This will help you overcome a bad day at work.

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When you remove yourself from the pressure of the moment and give yourself a new setting, it often creates just enough psychological space to gain a new perspective on the situation. Plus, exercise increases our brain’s production of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which helps us to feel motivated and happy and can shift your mood entirely.[3]

2. Figure Out What’s Really Bothering You

The trouble with bad days is it can feel like everything is going wrong and, therefore, be impossible to take specific action to improve it. So, rather than get caught up in your emotional spiral, get right to the root of the problem: What’s really bothering you?

Are you upset about something at home that’s transferring over to your work life? Are you annoyed with a colleague or client? Are you frustrated with your work? Are you anxious about a deadline?

Answering these questions allows you to turn around a bad day at work. When you can disentangle the emotional web and pinpoint exactly what the most pressing underlying problem is, you’re empowered to take clear, specific action on that problem.

It’s worth taking just a few minutes to pause and think critically or journal about what’s getting to you so that you can solve it once and for all.

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3. Put Things Into Perspective

Bad days come and go, but if you’re staying at a job, there must be a reason. To connect back in with the deeper why.

Do you love helping your clients and customers? Do you love your income to support your family? Can you identify any place where you’ve made someone’s life better through your work?

The truth is, no matter how much we love our jobs, there are just going to be some less glamorous aspects and—quite frankly—bad days. But it’s a lot easier to navigate those periodic hiccups when we can put them back into perspective and remember our bigger why for doing this work.

4. Talk It Out and Get Support

The only thing worse than a bad day is feeling like you’re all alone in the misery. To shift out of it, you’ve got to get some support.

If it’s appropriate, chat about your situation with colleagues. If not, step outside for a quick text or phone call with a friend or loved one to vent about your day. It’s helpful to speak your feelings out loud and get some outside perspective. The trick, though, is to make sure that you don’t fall down the rabbit hole of commiseration and making yourself more upset.[4]

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So, to keep it a healthy venting session, make sure to keep things focused on your feelings (as opposed to what others did to you) and what actionable steps you can take in the future. And that support doesn’t need to be limited to the bad day. If it’s a long-standing issue, it can be invaluable to get support from a mental health professional or, if appropriate, human resources at work to prevent further bad days.

5. Listen to Some Background Music

Music has a profound impact on our emotional state.[5] Upbeat music can make us happier, sad music can make us sadder—and everything in between. In fact, research finds that upbeat music can call back happy memories, which can take you out of this bad day and back to those moments.[6]

So, if you’re feeling a little down at work, put on some of your favorite music to quickly shift your mood and snap out of it.

There is a caveat, though. If you’re wanting to think critically, it’s best to stick to music you’re already familiar with or music without lyrics, so you aren’t getting too caught up in it. But if you’re doing repetitive work like data entry, any music can make you more efficient.[7]

So, the next time you’re feeling a bit down on work, take a moment to pump the jams.

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The Bottom Line

With all of the time we spend working, bad days are inevitable. Even the most prepared of us can’t prevent every challenge we’ll face. So, we need tools to pull us out of the misery and back into happiness, fulfillment, and productivity.

With a few bad day “first-aid tips” up our sleeves, we can take on anything the workday throws at us.

More Tips to Overcome a Bad Day at Work

Featured photo credit: Avel Chuklanov via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mike Iamele

Mike Iamele is a Purpose + Brand Strategist who figures out what makes you naturally successful. Then helps you do it on purpose.

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up
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It’s Monday morning. The alarm goes off. Do you know how to get motivated at that moment? What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you open your eyes? 

Are you excited to get up and go to work, or are you dreading the day and week ahead?

Whatever your response may be, ask yourself this question:

“What is it that makes you feel unmotivated?” What’s driving you to feel negative or positive about your Monday ahead? If you want to know how to get motivated, keep reading.

The Two Types of People

You likely know of people who have been doing the same thing for years and seem to not have any problem staying stagnant. Whether it be in their marriage, job, or personal endeavors, they seem to be getting along just fine without progressing towards anything “better.”

On the other hand, I’m sure you also know of individuals who focus on the positive, goals setting and are constantly pushing themselves to greater heights. Be it promotions at work, building a family, celebrating marriage milestones, traveling more, or going to school again, these individuals seem to constantly progress towards something that improves or enhances their life.

So what’s the difference between these two types of individuals?

What you feel capable of doing comes down to one thing: motivation. It’s the force, or lack of, that keeps driving you forward to overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve your goals.

Without motivation, you’ll give up after a few failed attempts, or even on the first tough challenge that comes your way. Or you’ll just remain where you are: unhappy yet not doing anything to progress ahead.

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What Is Motivation, Really?

Whether you realize it or not, motivation is a huge force in your life, and it needs to be harnessed in order to excel and actually enjoy whatever it is that you’re doing on a daily basis. If you find yourself thinking, “I need motivation,” there are specific steps you can take.

Unfortunately, many overgeneralize the word motivation. We think of being either motivated or unmotivated as a simple “yes” or “no” state of being.

But motivation is not a switch. As discussed in the Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation, motivation is a flow. To feel motivated, you need to dive beyond the surface. Just reading a motivational quote, being encouraged by your friends or mentor, or writing out a short to-do list won’t help you build sustainable motivation in the long run.

You can think of the motivation that we want to achieve like the Sun (self-sustaining and long-lasting), which supplies a constant influx of energy to all life on Earth. Just like the Sun, your “motivation engine” has different layers, starting from the core and spreading out to the surface. The surface is what you see, but the real process is driven from the core (your internal motivation); and that’s the most important part.

If you can create a self-sustaining motivation engine, you’ll be able to find more meaning in your life and enjoy every minute of what you’re doing, which will make your roles and responsibilities less of a chore. 

Let me help you understand this motivation flow better by breaking down the motivation engine into 3 parts:

  1. Core – Purpose
  2. Support – Enablers
  3. Surface – Acknowledgement

The Third Layer: Surface

The outermost layer, also known as Acknowledgement, encompasses any type of external recognition that might give you motivation. It may come in the form of respect or recognition, such as compliments and praise.

Or it could be emotional support through encouragement, feedback, and constructive criticism. It could also be affiliation, where you have mutual companions or buddies sharing the same goal or burden with you.

One recent study pointed out that “rewards had a positive impact on work motivation but no significant relationship existed between reward and job satisfaction”[1].

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Therefore, it’s important to recognize that rewards will motivate you, but they won’t necessarily make you happier in an undesirable situation.

This is generally what you see on the surface when you look at other people. You see the external acknowledgement, respect, and recognition they’re getting.

The Second Layer: Support

In essence, the second layer of the motivation engine (also known as Enablers) is what supports your goals. They can magnify the motivation core you have, or speed up the momentum that you build. Basically, they create favorable circumstances for things to go smoothly.  

If you want to know how to find motivation, positive enablers are key. This could include friends and family, or any support network you’ve created in life.

The Innermost Layer: Core

But what’s most important, and the true driving force behind your motivation flow, is the innermost core, your Purpose. Your purpose is what differentiates the motivated from the unmotivated, the achievers from the underachievers, the happy from the unhappy.

Your motivational core is your Purpose, and it is sustained by two things: having meaning, and forward movement. With these two as a foundation, you’ll have a power source that will feed you motivational energy indefinitely.

If you want to learn more about the Motivation Flow, join our Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation for free now!

How to Sustain Your Purpose

Having meaning is simple. If you want to learn how to find motivation, just ask yourself a question: Why?

Why are you pursuing a certain goal? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. While motivation provides you energy to do something, that energy needs to be focused somewhere. So without meaning, there is no direction for your energy to focus.

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Yet, having a meaningful objective doesn’t mean you have to change the world or have a huge impact on society. The secret to meaningful work is simple: it should contribute value to something or someone that matters to you.

One study suggested creativity as one possible path to meaning, saying: “Many of the core concepts in work on the meaning of life, such as the needs for coherence, significance, and purpose or the desire for symbolic immortality, can be reached through creative activity”[2].

Next up is gaining forward movement. In short, this means to just keep moving. Like a snowball, motivation from having progress creates momentum. So to keep this up, you have to keep moving.

The good news is, your progress doesn’t have to be huge for you to recognize it. Small amounts of progress can be just as motivating, as long as they keep coming. Like driving a car, you may be really impatient if you’re at a complete halt. But, it lessens if you’re moving forward, even if you’re moving slowly.

Creating a simple progress indicator, like checklists or milestones, is a great way to visualize your small (and big) wins. They trigger your brain to recognize and acknowledge them, giving you small boosts of motivational energy.

This is why video games are so addictive! They’re full of progress indicators everywhere. Even though the progress is completely virtual, they’re still able to trigger the motivation centers in your brain.

Find out What Drives You Today

Why not take some time today and do a quick reflection of where you’re at now? Take one aspect of your life that you’d like to progress further in.

For example, it may be your current job. Start with your why. Write down your reasons for why you’re in the job that you’re in.

Then, think about your Motivation Core: your Purpose. Write down what it is within your job that gives you meaning, and what are some things that will help push you forward in life.

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Once you have those points, it’s time to do a comparison. Does your current job help you make progress towards that purpose that you’ve written?

If it does, you’re on the right track. If it doesn’t, or if you’ve realized your life isn’t going where you want it to, don’t panic. There’re tools that can help you get through this. The Actionable Motivation On Demand Handbook is one of those effective tools that can help you always stay motivated. Get your own handbook and never lose motivation again!

Do your best to not focus on the negative. Review your goals and aim yourself in a positive direction, even if it means that you start small.

Final Thoughts on Staying Motivated

Happiness doesn’t need to be a vague term or illusion that you’re constantly chasing after with no end in sight. By finding your true motivation, you’ll be one step closer to realizing your happiness and finding meaning in everything you do.

You may have tried many solutions to help you stay motivated and found that none of them really have any impact. That’s because they bring about incremental changes only, and permanent change requires a holistic approach. It requires more than just focusing on one area of your life or changing one part of your routine or actions.

You want to make a fundamental change, but it feels like big, unknown territory that you can’t afford to venture into at this point in your life.

The truth is, taking your life to the next stage doesn’t have to be this complicated. So, if you’d like to take the first step to achieving your life purpose, the time to learn how to find motivation is now!

More on How to Find Motivation

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] European Journal of Business and Management: Impact of Reward and Recognition on Job Satisfaction and Motivation
[2] Perspectives on Psychological Science: Finding Meaning With Creativity in the Past, Present, and Future

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