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7 Quick ways to turn a bad day around

7 Quick ways to turn a bad day around

    Have you had a bad day recently? This is me raising my hand alongside you. My most recent “bad day,” like most days, wasn’t wholly bad. It just had some bad parts that I allowed to spread across my entire day and sour the entire mix.

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    That doesn’t need to happen! While I’ve yet to reach the point where I avoid bad days entirely, here are some things I’ve found help turn what could be a bad day into something better.

    1. Make a list of things you’re grateful for

    This one is so simple! If you’re having a rotten day, grab a piece of paper and start listing things you’d be grateful for if you were in a grateful mood. As expected, you’ll soon find that the growing list of things to be grateful for in your life dwarfs whatever is ruining your day and you can move on with your life. Read more about the qualities of grateful people here.

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    2. Clear out your inbox

    If you don’t work at a job that requires you to spend time around the corporate email monster, this might not resonate with you as much. But if you do, know that your perspective can be changed dramatically just by selecting all your emails and placing them into an archive folder. If it needs to be done today, move that email back into your inbox and knock the task off. Setting aside the conversations that can wait in favor of earning a productive finish to your day will always prove worthwhile.

    3. Phone a good friend

    Call a friend who won’t allow you to gripe about your problems for more than a few minutes before turning the conversation to something far more interesting than what’s making you sad. Talking to somebody you trust who cares enough to guide you toward positive thinking has tremendous value. It’s basic, sure. But so are most things that work really well yet are so often forgotten early on.

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    4. Help out a stranger

    Doing something for others has the dual benefit of making the world a better place while at the same time taking your focus off your own problems as you work to solve another’s. If you’re having what’s shaping up to be a bad day you may find it very helpful to go out of your way to help somebody you don’t know at all or might not know very well. I always do!

    5. Drop something from your schedule

    If you’re overwhelmed by a day gone awry one very quick solution is to drop something of lesser importance from your schedule and take some time for yourself. This is terribly simple and quite easy to do but the part of your brain that tries to convince you your work won’t survive without you will get in the way. Don’t listen to it!

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    6. Take some time just for you

    Most of us don’t schedule time alone and away from others. Whether its so we can listen to music, go for a walk, a run, or grab a cup of tea in a quiet corner, taking the time you may have freed up by clearing your schedule (see above) and investing it back into yourself will render dividends galore.

    7. Start laughing

    Laughter, even if you really have to work at it to begin with, truly is the best medicine to cure any ailment that threatens to wreck your day. You can find jokes online, watch silly youtube videos, hang out with a hysterical friend, or whatever gets you giggling. The big point here is that if you are aware of what makes you laugh you’re in a great position to set yourself up to laugh even when your day tries to get you down. We can learn a lot from kids about having fun and being goofballs. That sort of childlike whimsy, if carried into your day, will help you cut off the bad days before they get out of control and help maximize the days each week you look back on and say, wow, that was a great day!

    If you’d like to chime in with additional tips or a link to something that really makes you laugh, I’d love to read your thoughts!

    Stay blessed.

    Image: PhotoRita

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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