Do Over: How to Restart Your Day

Do Over: How to Restart Your Day

It was one of those days.

I had been struggling with a tech issue all morning…and I was getting nowhere fast. I like to think that I know my way around a computer, but sometimes I’m reminded of how little I really know.

And the worst part is that I’m sure some 16-year-old nerd could have solved my problem in 5 minutes. Being my age (mid-30s) means I’m less likely to know the latest computer-techy-coding-whatchamacallits.

I can, however, sing all the songs from every episode of Jem and the Holograms. Sadly, this bit of knowledge is rarely useful. (But it’s truly outrageous!)

Anyhoo, rather than throwing my laptop off the balcony and risk hitting a squirrel, I decided to restart my day.

Did you know you could do that?

Anyone can restart their day at any time. All it takes is you making the decision to do so. No need to call tech support or stick a paperclip in a tiny hole.

When everything is going wrong…

When your bad mood is turning volcanic…

When your world is caving in on you…

Restart your day!

Here are my favorite ways to restart my day. Sometimes one way might work right away, and sometimes I do a combination of things.

Call a Do-Over

Remember playing games as a kid and when you messed up you would shout “Do over!”? Well, you don’t have to shout it, but take a moment to pause and then redo whatever you did last.

If you’re frustrated that you didn’t speak up in a meeting, go find whoever you need to talk to (your boss or coworkers) and say what you need to say in a calm and collected way. (“About that new conference, I think there’s an important factor we forgot to consider…”)

If your shoes are pinching you, change into a more comfortable pair. When I worked in a corporate office, I always kept extra shoes (and sometimes extra clothes) in my desk. You never know when you might break a heel or spill coffee on your blouse.

Redo Your To-Do List

Maybe your day is off to a bad start because your to-do list is 3 pages long. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do, it’s time to zero-in on what’s most important in the grand scheme of things.

First, do a brain dump to get everything out of your head and onto paper. If you have a to-do list in your hand, it might already look like a jumbled brain dump. Next, circle the 5 items that you want to get done today (I know you want to get everything done, but let’s be realistic). Finally, put a star next to the absolutely most-important task or project.

Let’s say you have to return books to the library, go grocery shopping, pick up the dry cleaning, get the car washed, and mail a package. Consider what else is going on in your life. If you’re going to a wedding tomorrow and the dress you plan to wear is at the dry cleaners, make that your top priority. If there’s not a scrap of food in your house and you’re hosting a dinner party tonight, make grocery shopping your top priority.

Reset Your Intention

Don’t have a clue where to begin? Restart your day by writing down your intention. What is your desired outcome? What do you want to do or feel when the day is over? Write down your 1-sentence intention and re-read it every hour to refocus your efforts. Naming what you want to happen is often enough to get you moving in a more positive direction.

Take a Zen Break

Sometimes you just need to take 5. A change of scenery can be a big help. I used to take a walk around my office building whenever I needed a break from the day’s craziness. Get out of your normal location and go someplace else for a few minutes: the park, your car, a coffee shop, or even the restroom.

Take a few deep breaths or do a quick meditation exercise. Drink a glass of water and have a small snack. If you’re feeling extra tense, try a few yoga poses or some simple stretches.

Gratitude Stream of Consciousness

For those times when you’re about to punch someone or flip over a table, hit the brakes on your anger by filling your thoughts with gratitude. Get out your gratitude journal or just a sheet of paper and write down as many things as you can think of that you are thankful for. Sure, you might be in a bad place right now, but what makes you happy?

Keep writing until you feel your stress subside. Hold onto this gratitude list for the next time you’re having a bad day. Focusing on gratitude is by far the most effective technique I’ve used for restarting my day and focusing on what matters in my life.

We all have bad days, but if you’re having more than one bad day per month, sign up for a call with me and let’s figure out what’s really going on (it’s free).

Have you ever had to restart your day? What did you do?

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  1. Tinfoil Tiaras on January 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    My Mum is a huge advocate of stream of consciousness writing, she does it every morning. I love the concept of re-doing your to-do list (as mine is always unrealistically long!) Thank you for your positive outlook, you always help to put things into perspective!

    • Sage Grayson on January 31, 2013 at 7:51 am

      Thanks, Emily! Sometimes I have to re-do my to-do list a couple times a day. I don’t want to forget about what’s most important or be distracted by all the little things.

  2. Molly on January 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I’ve got to keep this in mind when I’m having a bad day because I tend to just give up on the day when things get that bad. Calling a do over is perfect! 🙂

    • Sage Grayson on January 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      I know, it’s too easy to think that the day is over after a few bad things happen. I have to remind myself that I can still turn it around and do something good and productive.

  3. xvavaveganx on January 30, 2013 at 5:47 am

    It’s funny, I’ve never considered restarting my day, but it makes so much sense! There’s no reason not to do it! I think people would be a lot more happy, productive and successful if they took a second to collect themselves and call a do over. Love this!

    • Sage Grayson on January 30, 2013 at 7:34 am

      There have been times when I’ve restarted my day at 5:00 in the evening. Sometime you just gotta regroup and start again.