There are a hundred ways your day could go a bit sideways. Perhaps a big deadline is stressing you out. Perhaps you had a difficult conversation with a colleague. Perhaps you got some bad news. Perhaps you’re just low on energy.
However it started, these issues can compound and throw a whole day off track. Below are some simple ideas to hit reset on a day that’s gotten away from you and make the most of what remains.
1. Complete a small task
If your day is racing away from you and you don’t feel like you’re getting much done, ticking something off your to do list can help you feel in control again. Even better if you can knock out something that you have been putting off for a while. Take a look down your to do list and pick something you can complete in 5 minutes. Even with the strictest deadline breathing down your neck, you can take 5 minutes out to tick a task off your list and get a boost of dopamine to reenergise your day.
2. Walk around the block, or do some desk yoga
Some physical exercise, particularly if outside in the fresh air, can help clear your head. Moving can also provide a distraction for your brain and give you a break from loading your brain up with sustained focus or multitasking. Try to make it more than a token lap around the nearest block. If there’s a green space or other relaxing location near by, head out there and maybe even sit down for a minute. Try and take at least 5 minutes to properly reset. You can also google some desk yoga if you can’t get outside.
3. Write a to do list
Take a few minutes to write out everything that is sitting in the back of your mind that you need to get to at some point. Doing this with old-fashioned pen and paper can help bring some focus to the task and slow down the distractions. Don’t do this with the expectation that you will then be able to complete everything on the list. The purpose is to clear some space in your mind and reset your day. You may want to go through the list once you get it all down and mark the tasks that must be completed today.
4. Write down your top three tasks on a sticky note
Although similar to writing a to do list, this task is designed to bring focus to what you want to complete that day. Writing down your top three tasks can be a great reminder to let go of everything else that is vying for your attention. Writing them on a sticky note you can place on the computer monitor or the desk in front of you can keep them front of mind as you continue with your day.
5. Daydream for 5 minutes
Find a quiet space in the office, perhaps an empty meeting room. Leave your phone and laptop behind if you can. Letting yourself stare off into the distance for a few minutes can help you move into a diffuse mode of thinking. This mode of thinking is a contrast to the focused mode we try to stay in for much of our work day. It can allow the brain to make unique connections and be creative. This is why we often get great ideas while in the shower or falling asleep.
You don’t have to wait for a new day to start to restart your day. You can pick one to two of the above activities to reset your day in five minutes or less. Taking a little bit of time out can make all the difference for the remainder of the day.