Turn a bad day into a good one

Everyone has bad days every now and then. You’re not alone. When life however, seems to be full of lacklustre days, unproductive days, or days when you feel a bit sad,  it’s time to do something about it. Small actions can make a big difference. The secret is this: it’s about actually taking those small actions and creating new habits that work better for you. I read a newspaper headline some time ago that really resonated with me Exercise is a wonder-drug but you gotta get off the couch. It’s about action and it’s actually quite straightforward when you decide you’ll do something to make your day better.

What do successful, motivated, energetic people do when they’re having a bad day to turn it into a good one? Here are 7 easy actions you can take right now.

The List of 7


1. RIGHT NOW – say “thank you”

Be grateful for three to five things in your life, that you really appreciate. You may not feel like saying ‘thank you’ for anything right now – do it anyway, find out for yourself how you feel afterwards. If you’re truly in the doldrums, your ‘thank you’ may be nothing more than the fact that you’re now enjoying a nice cup of coffee or a lovely view – it may simply be that you made it to work on time. Be specific and be thankful for something that is meaningful to you.

The act of switching your brain to something positive – anything positive, on a regular basis has been proven to improve your days.

When you make this a habit, it’s a great way to help make every day better. It costs nothing, takes very little time and it’s possible to do this right now, wherever you are. When your brain is switched to positive, you’re more productive too. Writing down what you’re grateful for reinforces those positive feelings.

2. Exercise

Whether this is a run before breakfast, walking to work, attending an exercise class – or if you’re absolutely so short on time that you can’t do any of these – or, if you’re sitting at your computer right now surfing the net instead of working (which may well be true if you’re reading this…) simply get up, walk up and down your stairs a few times or go outside, walk around the block and start your day again. If you can exercise outside for 20 minutes, your day will instantly improve. Start with an exercise option that’s easiest for you and build from there.

3. Delete something from your ‘to-do list’

Your ‘to-do list’ getting you down? Is there stuff on there that you have been meaning to do for days, weeks, months? Find a task that you can either do now, really quickly so you can cross it off. Or – delete one (or a few!) tasks that you, deep down know you don’t need to do. Discover how great this feels…

4. Smile at a colleague and be friendly.

Research shows that friendship is crucial for happiness and emotional wellbeing.

If you’re working from home, try to find time to say hello to a neighbour or phone a friend for a quick chat. When you don’t feel like doing this, it may just be the time you need it most. Turn your bad day into a better one fast.

5. Get your least favourite piece of work out of the way first.

Then you can spend the rest of your day doing stuff you like – a better day! If you’re putting off that piece of work right now – leave the desk, take a break, come back and get it over with. If you want your day to improve, try this.

6. A smart way to be more productive

So, you’re half way through your day, or perhaps your day is ending and you haven’t been as productive as you planned? Write down what you have achieved so far today – it’s often more than you think. Knowing that you have actually achieved something can be the spark that motivates you to do more. Be smart and plan for tomorrow – write down your top three priorities for the next day so you’re ready to hit the ground running.

7. Wandering brain? A straightforward way to change your focus.

If you really want to improve your day today – and every day, quieten your mind by simply noticing your breath. Close your eyes and notice your breath for a few minutes. If you would like to decrease stress, improve your creativity and productivity – be open to trying this. Meditation and mindfulness  is free, restful and requires only a decision from you to get started.

If bad days are adding up, even if you only have one off-day every month, that’s 3.3% of your year.

One ‘bad day’ every week is a staggering 14.3% of your time.

If your company manufacturing, sales, marketing or other department at work could close a productivity gap by 14% by implementing a few small (free) changes, these changes would (and should) most likely be implemented. If you’re feeling uninspired more than 5% of the time, take a look, make those changes – you’ll be the one to benefit. Not only your work will benefit, your whole life is better.

If you’d like to read more about how journaling can improve productivity, check out this blog: