How to Save a Wasted Day
How to Save a Wasted Day

The day is drawing to a close, and you still haven't had time? An algorithm in four simple steps will help you cope with this problem.

How to Save a Wasted Day
How to Save a Wasted Day

An unforeseen fire alarm, a sudden fall of a meteorite, a pipe burst in the house … One thing is clear: today everything went awry and seriously distracted you from your work. As a result, you didn’t have time for anything.

It's already 17:00 on the clock, the working day is drawing to a close, and panic begins to sneak up slowly but surely. What should I say to the boss tomorrow? How to do everything?

First, step away from your computer. If you can, leave the workplace altogether. And then follow this algorithm.

1. Set the timer

It is important to record the moment when the working day has ceased to be productive. Allison advises to take a pen, paper, grab a smartphone with a timer and set it exactly seven minutes.

Remember, you have absolutely no time to develop a well-thought-out plan of action. The only right decision right now is to just try to work as hard as you can. In these seven minutes, you should think of five things to do the next working day.

The more time you spend trying to regain your lost work fervor, the longer you will be in a state of irritation and discontent, not to mention ruined ambition. And this is completely unproductive.

It is necessary from the very beginning to let oneself understand that it will not be possible to get back on the right track, and to suppress even the most timid hopes for this. Instead of vain regrets, focus your energy on narrower tasks.

2. Plan five small tasks

So, seven minutes have passed, and you have a list of five items. These are exactly the things that you have to do in the near future. You can spend no more than 20 minutes on each of them. This is how long our brain can concentrate on a task as efficiently as possible, and attention is not scattered over trifles.

The beauty of this approach lies in the fact that a large project or goal is deliberately broken down into several stages, which include micro-actions, that is, subtasks necessary in order to achieve the desired.

Several interconnected micro-actions = one big project.

A very short period of time is allotted for micro-action, and therefore it must be completely completed by you in this 20-minute window. It is worth remembering that micro-action is of great importance, because it brings you one step closer to your goal. And this is a pretty good incentive.

Note that if you have to make a phone call, get someone's approval, or go to a meeting before starting a task, then it cannot be considered a micro-action. For example, collecting statistics for a day is a micro-action, and defending a monthly report to the boss by prior agreement is a whole project that can be broken down into sub-items.

3. Perform scheduled tasks

The most important thing to do in the morning is to resist the temptation to look through the endless stream of messages that came to your email or work chat. Instead, bring yesterday's five-point to-do list closer to you. By completing them, you will 100% provide yourself with a kind of "safety cushion" from completed cases by about 11:00.

Even if you cross off just one item from your to-do list after yesterday's horribly unproductive day, your brain will thank you and release dopamine, the pleasure hormone responsible for "feeling rewarded." This will be the impetus to bounce back and get into a working rhythm.

4. Make planning a daily habit

We have a habit of planning our time. But too often, things do not go according to the originally conceived scenario. When your plans begin to collapse and you find yourself involved in a rapid whirlwind of completely incomprehensible affairs, then this is really a big stress for the whole organism. Unfortunately, in most cases there is nothing you can do about it.

Our brain has an extremely useful property called neuroplasticity. It helps to rebuild habitual behavior based on newfound experience, as well as to restore lost connections after damage. The brain knows how to adapt to everything, even to everyday stress.

Old nerve cells can fail, but new ones will replace them. Typically, when an emergency occurs, the nervous system itself triggers this mechanism. If something bad begins to happen with enviable constancy, then the state of tension becomes habitual for our brain, and this is not good. However, there is a way to ease this pressure a little.

If you haven't done anything again, making a list of five micro-actions at the end of each work day will help you smooth things over and prevent stress. Make a 7-minute planning session a daily habit.

Every time you complete the next microtask, your brain will reward you with a dose of dopamine. On normal days, this will help increase productivity, and on stressful days, it will quickly get back on track.

It may sound strange, but sometimes stress is the best antidote. Use the situation wisely.