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5 Steps to Fixing It When Life Throws You a Curveball

5 Steps to Fixing It When Life Throws You a Curveball


    You’re cruising along at work, or home hanging out. You’re having a perfectly fine day, when — whammo — something comes out of nowhere and seriously messes it up.

    I’m not talking devastating, earth-shattering events, I mean those zingers that ruin your mood and your groove.

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    The hot water heater breaks, or your puppy makes the new rug its personal commode. Your blog goes down just as your latest post goes viral on Twitter. Your boss tells you she needs that report before you go home, as you were packing up for the weekend.

    Any of this sound familiar?

    You work hard and live right, but sometimes life throws you an annoying or time-consuming curveball, despite your best efforts. It happens to everyone.

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    But it makes you mad, or anxious, and it doesn’t feel fair.

    And you’re right – it’s not. But it’s life. So before you throw up your hands and call the day a loss, here’s how to take care of it and move on with grace:

    1. Acknowledge that whatever happened is no fun. Say it out loud, with feeling: “This SUCKS.” Better yet: “This sucks.”  Feel free to flail your arms or jump up and down for emphasis. (If you’re at work, make sure you do this in private!) Here are other ways you can let out your frustration.
    2. Take a few deep breaths. Feel your blood pressure dropping. Take a few more. (Or try these de-stressors.)
    3. Ask yourself: Will this thing kill you or anyone you love? Will it bankrupt you? No? Then you’re fine. Annoyed maybe, but fine.
    4. Think about the big picture. Will this glitch matter in the long run? Probably not. It might slow you down a bit, but it’s probably not causing irreparable damage.
    5. What can you do right now to fix the problem? Do it now. (Call the plumber, run to the store for rug cleaner, contact your blog host, make a cup of coffee and finish the report.)

    Now you’ve taken care of the immediate problem, but you’re still stewing. Here are a few more tips to set yourself straight:

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    • Sit down with a notebook and write out the good things that happened in the last week or so. You’ll see that this curveball is just a blip.
    • Take care of something else that needs doing. It can be small, but something so you feel like the day wasn’t a total waste.
    • Get your mind off it. Work out, call a friend, read a magazine. Obsessing doesn’t do any good, and every time you catch yourself, redirect your mind. Think how you’ll laugh about it later. It’s a cliché, but it’s true.
    • When it comes down to it, you just have to let it go. Take a walk or a bath, have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, get a good night’s sleep, and start fresh tomorrow. That’s the beauty of life: you get a do-over, every single day.

    The truth is, the more you deal with these kinds of issues the better off you are. Not that I want anything less than unicorns and rainbows for you, but there’s power in experience.

    After you handle a few of these with efficiency and aplomb, they won’t upset you so much when they come up next time. You’ll zip right through and move on to the rest of your day. Congratulations! You’ve become a person who gets stuff done, no matter what.

    How do you deal when life throws you a curveball? Let us know in the comments!

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    Hit the share button if you found something useful!

    (Photo credit: Baseball in the Infield via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on December 2, 2018

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

      The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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      The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

      Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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      Review Your Past Flow

      Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

      Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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      Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

      Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

      Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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      Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

      Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

      We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

      Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

        Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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