How was your day?

Posted: March 15, 2014 in General, Motivation, Musings, Productivity

I owe this one to Seth Godin. I was reading ‘Tribes’ and this was a part that stuck out for me.

how was your day

“How was your day?” – Its one of those common every day questions that people ask, part polite interest and part conversational opener. Standard responses are usually expected to be positive. The conversation then moves on.

But what if your day wasn’t fine? You can have a moan and the relationship you have with the listener will depend on the level of sympathy/interest you gain. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you wet your face. Nobody really likes listening to whining. But we all have days when things don’t go so well and sometimes a good rant to a friend is a cathartic process that leaves you feeling better and as long as you can do it with sufficient wit or interest (and not too often!) means the listening party doesn’t suffer too much.

But what of your day isn’t fine and your they haven’t been for some time? How you answer this question in public does not need to be the same as you how you answer it to yourself. But if your days haven’t been fine it’s what you do next that’s the important bit. Many when asked how their day was, answer “yeah fine,” almost by rote and move on to the next piece of conversation.

I’ve met enough people who hate their jobs, hate how they look, don’t like their health or are in relationships they don’t like. Yet they keep on doing the same job, the same diet,  the same lifestyle choices and stay in the same relationship. If things aren’t going well the first thing to do is to identify it. Then decide if it is a transitory thing or whether it’s here to stay. If its transitory, how will you work through it? If it’s here to stay, what are you going to do about it? It’s up to you to sort out what you will do to turn it around. Waiting for someone else to show up and do it for you is likely to be a long wait.

As I’ve got older I’ve become less tolerant. I don’t have time for people who procrastinate and I get annoyed with myself if I find I’m doing it. I’d rather get on with things than spend hours brooding about them. Planning strategies and the time it takes up is fine. Paralysed by indecision isn’t. Life is too short (and I’ve got fewer sands in the timer than I used to have) so upwards, onwards and deal with whatever needs dealt with. That gives me time to do the good stuff, rather than just deal with the bad stuff.

When things get on top of me, there are a few strategies that I’ve found help me out.

  • Think first, react second. Be logical.
  • Break down big problems into various smaller ones and then deal with them one by one.
  • Have I had any similar issues in the past for any experience I can draw on?
  • Remind myself I’ve dealt with worse in the past and got through it.
  • Look for the positives in any situation, there are always some.
  • If a friend came to me with the same problem, what would I advise them?
  • And how pissed off would I be if they then went and did something different in the spur of the moment which made the situation worse?

So how was your day? It’s a question we should ask ourselves every day and answer it honestly. And if we don’t like the answer then time for a serious look at what we are going to do about it.

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