This was one of my days recently: I worked on my list of tasks but just a couple of them got done, I attended meetings where I did not make the kind of contribution I wanted to make and I enjoyed some nice company but couldn’t come up with the best questions to ask to bring the conversation to a higher level. A shitty day.

What to do? It is really hard to turn one of those days into an awesome day. Sometimes, that is the case and there is nothing you can do to fix it. In general though, it works to be able to go back to a routine when you’re in a tough place. This always works and I wrote this as a reminder to make sure the next time this happens I have my plan in place.

Return to your routines:

  • When I’m distracted, I know I can return to the “Today” section in OmniFocus because it contains only the important stuff.
  • When I have too much email, I know I have to start with the starred emails first, and after that emails that are labelled with “Important” automatically: it filters out the less important messages for me.
  • When I’m disturbed, I know I can regain focus by starting my Pomodoro timer and putting up one of the tracks from my favorite playlist. Combine that with noise-cancelling headphones and I’m almost always back on track.
  • When my energy is low, I can start processing the non-important emails because I don’t need much thinking power and still get some stuff done.
  • When I feel overwhelmed, I always have a place to store to do items at hand and I know for sure I’ll return to them.

Just as I’m writing this, I get energized, because when days like this happen, it is an opportunity to learn how to improve and grow.