Do you ever have one of those days? One of those days where you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, lose your keys, run late for your appointment and just end up in a black hole of a mood?
There are a million reasons why one might end up in a crap mood, but there is just one truth…powering through will not make it better.
If you try to power through a bad mood, whatever its cause, things will likely get worse or just follow the same trajectory.
In my experience, talking about it makes it worse. It just seems to amplify whatever feelings of anger and frustration I am experiencing.
Ignoring it doesn’t work. People can feel it coming off me in waves and they respond to that.
Pretending doesn’t work for me either. There is cognitive dissonance when you are faking a good mood when you really hate the world. You know you are lying and so does everyone else!
Over the years I have developed a three step process that works every time! The only time it doesn’t work is when I am too stubborn to try!
Break the pattern
Reach for small wins
Ride the momentum
Let’s walk through it together:
BREAK THE PATTERN
When I’m angry at the world, my instinct is to keep driving. I have learned that even though it feels like “I don’t have time” to break the pattern, I have to in order to move forward. Breaking the pattern can mean changing locations, thinking about something completely unrelated, finding a distraction of any kind to get my mind off of me.
Recently I was having a bad day and I just couldn’t shake it. After hours of struggling against it, I stopped what I was doing and went to play with my Chihuahua. After about 3 minutes of focusing on him, I was laughing and playing along with him.
REACH FOR SMALL WINS
When I have successfully broken the pattern, I am usually still suffering some sort of angst about lost time. I can’t jump right into the biggest, most challenging task, I have to find something that requires very little discipline or creative thinking.
On the day in question, I turned to a common “small win” for me. I opened my email box and started clearing it out. I recorded the number I started with and then spent 15 minutes going from 100 down to seven. I felt a sense of accomplishment in knowing that at least I got that done and it reduced my anxiety about being behind.
RIDE THE MOMENTUM
Once I have a small win under my belt, I can usually ride the momentum on to something grander in scale. By this time, my bad mood is a thing of the past and I am chugging along full steam.
After clearing my inbox and reducing my anxiety, I was able to sit down and do a complex pension analysis for a client. I got on a call an hour later fully prepared and with an answer for my client. My clear head and improved mood allowed me to focus and the numbers told a completely different story than either of us expected.
Once I had moved on from my bad mood, I ended up working later than usual. I was back in the zone and was able to draft a document that will be the basis for a future TIA training. I didn’t close my laptop until almost 9pm, but I felt amazing!
We are taught to time block and work from prioritized lists. That all sounds dandy until our humanity gets in the way. Pretending that we aren’t subject to the vicissitudes of life will only leave us burned out and frustrated because nothing goes your way.
We are not machines. We come to our work with baggage that we cannot ignore.
When you throw the productivity book out the window and give yourself the space and time to work through your bad mood, you will end up far more productive than if you just tried to power though.
And that, my friend, is how you bust a bad mood so that you can get back to work!
I hope this serves you on your next bad day!
PS: Sometimes when things go wrong, we feel like we are all alone. We feel like we are the only one struggling.
One of the things you could do to break the pattern is to jump into the TIA Mastermind Group on Facebook. In our private, advisor-only, community, you can ask questions, share your wins or event vent about a day gone wrong!