WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JUL. 27, 2014
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Overcoming a Bad Day

We all have bad days and we all have ways of dealing with the issues. Most of us are completely unaware of how much of an effect a bad day can have on our productivity and personal lives. There is no deep secret to overcoming a bad day, but there are some mental tricks to help keep them from becoming a soul crushing experience that keeps us from enjoying life.

Find the Coat Rack

One of my first jobs was far from exciting, but I had a great manager that taught me a great deal about how to survive working for a living. He explained that you have two lives. The first is your home life. The time you spend with friends and family is what makes working worth it at all. The second life is your working life. You try to keep your personal and working lives separate so that you can focus on the particular tasks at hand.

His biggest thing was that focusing on everything going wrong at work, while at home, was just going to make your home life less enjoyable. On the other hand, focusing too much on your personal life while you are at work will distract you from reaching success. I told him I did not understand. So he told me to put on a pretend jacket. I was young, and he was a large man, so I mimed putting a jacket on.

With my pretend jacket on, he told me to go outside and hang it on the pretend coat rack near the front door of our store. I, terrified of this man, again complied. I went and put the pretend jacket up and came back in. He asked me if I grabbed the other jacket on the rack. I was smiling now. This was all too funny. I told him I didn’t see another jacket. He told me to go grab it.

Finally, back out of the Texas heat, wearing an invisible jacket, he said, “Welcome to work, you are now wearing your work jacket.” I stared at him like a deer in the headlights. He went on further. He explained that the jacket I was wearing was a jacket that was simply used for work and all the pockets would be filled with my stresses, worries and concerns about work. When I left for the day, I would take off the jacket, leave it at work, and put on the other jacket – the going home jacket.

Putting it Into Practice

That jacket thing iddn’t work for a good while. It helped a little maybe, but it didn’t make everything easier. Through the years, though, I learned to put those jackets on and take them off. I learned to leave my work stresses at work and my home stresses at home. The one trick with these jackets, he explained, was that they carry the happy times.

When I had a good day at work, that feeling went ahead and transferred to the home jacket. The same was true the other way. So here is my challenge to you; learn about the jacket. Take ownership of the jackets and when your work life is driving you up a wall, leave it at work. Share your concerns with your significant other if you need, but don’t let it fully transfer over to your work life.

Bad days will happen, the key is learning how to leave those bad days at work. Once you do have a bad day, you need to understand how to bounce back.

Tomorrow is Unwritten

So, you had a bad day at work and tomorrow isn’t going to be any better. It isn’t going to be any better, at least, unless you make it better. Forget about yesterday. Take the lessons you learned and instead start the day fresh. Don’t worry about what you did, how bad the day went, or anything else. Simply smile when you walk in the door, put on your jacket, and make it a good day. If it is another bad day, try again tomorrow. Expected a bad day will make a bad day happen. Expecting a good day will more likely give you a good day. You will always have rough ones, but if you try to go into each day with hope and excitement, the likelihood of it all working out is much higher.

Image Source: 1m4ge

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