Monday, May 24, 2010

A Trick on Bad Days

I have a trick that I use when I have a “bad day”.  A few years bad I was in a high stress time. To keep track of what I was doing each day I kept a detailed daily log, simply listing everything I did each day, down to the finite detail, in chronological order.  If you’ve never done it, I recommend it as an excellent discovery tool. 

Anyway, one of the things that I found contributed heavily to my stress was the perception that I was doing a lot of “things” but not accomplishing any single thing.  Though I no longer use the “daily log” approach to manage my work flow, since the stress of that particular series of events has fallen aside, I still use the approach when I am having a difficult day. 

Two things come out of the approach, for me. 

First, it gives me tangible evidence of the many things that are accomplished during busy times.  I can look at the list and see what I did during the day. 

Second, it often allows me to see “why” I was unable to accomplish my goal, which alleviates some of the stress by realizing that it the outcome is not due to my actions, but rather too external actions and events.

I sat here for a while and thought about whether or not today is going to be a daily log kind of day, but it doesn’t feel like it.  The negative thought stream I was in this morning was pretty internal, which I do have control over.


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