Your spouse isn’t speaking to you, your car broke down on the way to work, and your boss wants to meet. It’s not even lunch and you feel tired, overworked, and stressed. Days like today make you want to lie down, curl up in the fetal position, and wonder what is the point of it all?
Fear not brave soldier.
Here are 10 surefire ways you can make even a bad day maybe just a little bit better:
1. Stop drinking from your feeds.
Yes email/news/social media are fun or important and sometimes both, but when you spend time responding to emails, you’re responding to other people’s commitments. When you watch or listen to the news, you’re buying into another person’s view of the world. And when you like a social media update, you’re taking time out of your day to feel jealous about someone else’s. The only exception is cat videos. Cat videos will save the world.
2. Abandon your desk.
Eating a soggy tuna sandwich at your desk may make you feel like you’re getting more done but your eyes, your back, and your stomach will all thank you if you stand up from your desk, walk the two hundreds meters to the canteen or kitchen, or perhaps even get out of the office.
3. Empty your head.
Here’s a funny secret about the problems and ideas inside your head: they don’t belong there. When you keep them inside your head, they either reverberate off each other until you’ve got a migraine. Or they dissolve and are nowhere to be found when you need them. Get your ideas and your problems out of your head and put them down on a piece of paper where they belong.
4. Gag your apps.
Apps are constantly clamoring for your attention. Most of the time these apps only want you because you haven’t paid enough attention to them — like the needy boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s time you start to get tough and only agree to spend time with them on your terms.
5. Say “I’m sorry.”
Yes this is difficult, but you were probably in the wrong anyway. Admit it. Breathe and let those three little words come out of your mouth. You’ll feel better. They’ll feel better. And everybody can move on with their lives. If this doesn’t work, I’ll apologize to you personally.
6. Stop looking for the meaning of life online.
I love the internet as much as the next person (I spend my time writing articles for the internet), but it’s also a vast river of information that doesn’t go much higher than our waistline. The real answers to your problems are out there, and by “there” I mean in books. You can drown in them.
7. Save up for days like these.
Buy your stressed colleague a coffee. Cook dinner for your partner. Go the extra distance to please a dissatisfied customer. Helping somebody feels good, and it will release some of the tension from your day. Helping another person also means you’re depositing rather than withdrawing from the universal bank account of karma. And one day you’ll need your savings.
8. Become the cat.
Write a song. Paint. Start jotting down a short-story. Brainstorm a blog post. Come up with an idea for a product you want to sell. Make a cat video if it helps. Stop consuming everything around you and do something with what you know and have experience with. The world needs more creators; we already have enough consumers.
9. Meditate for three minutes.
It’s been around for several thousand years. Everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Tony Robbins does it. Even if you don’t want to become Governor of California or teach people how to walk on hot coals, it has still proven to increase attention, put people in better moods, and contribute to a bigger brain. The benefits of meditation are many. If you don’t have three minutes of your day to spend meditating, then you need three hours.
10. Take a page from Moby Dick.
Somedays aren’t meant to won. Don’t cling to them like Ahab and his sinking ship. Accept that the day is lost and vow to do better tomorrow. You probably need the extra hour of sleep, and it will help you become stronger, fitter, and smarter. There aren’t many problems that can’t be solved with the help of extra sleep.
These simple but effective hacks will help you improve your day and help you to figure out how to do better tomorrow. And if things are going well? Get out now. You earned it.