We have all experienced it – a bad day! Many times, it starts before or on our way to work. Our spouse says something or we get cutoff in traffic, and our minds are set – we are having a bad day. Things go downhill from there. Everything becomes an issue, and by the time we get home, it has become a terrible day.
What if I could show you there are ways to have a good day, even when bad stuff happens?
You want to ask yourself three fundamental questions when it comes to your workday: 1) Do you feel you have spent your time and directed your attention to things that matter? 2) Do you feel you did a good job and enjoyed yourself? 3) Do you feel you have enough energy at the end of the day to wake up the next day and do it all over again?
Our brains only have the ability to have limited focus. Neuroscience has found we can only process a part of reality at any given time. We have limited focus and only so much of a finite ability to focus. We waste lots of time jumping from technology to technology and wasting our focus. So, a critical process in having a good day means understanding where you want to focus your attention. If you understand what the critical things are in your work that need to get done, that is where your focus should be. Selective attention is critical to having a good day.
A simple step before you start your day is to ask yourself these basic questions. You can reflect on these questions the night before or when you get started in the morning. Here are four things to ask yourself before you start your day and where to bring your focus:
① What matters to me today? Having a clear understanding of what is essential for you to get done today sets the direction for the day. By starting your day with what you want to get done, you start with the end in mind, which is critical to success.
② What’s my real aim? Is your aim to build relationships and build trust? Is your aim to build a collaborative team effort? You can set your mind up to look for those cues from people by asking this critical question. You can preset your mind to “selective attention.” You can see people wanting to build trust and to collaborate.
③ What attitude do I want to have? A simple approach is “setting intentions.” Before you walk into a meeting or jump on a Zoom call, tell yourself that you will focus on being positive and look for opportunities to work together. You set your intentions, which changes how you think and respond.
④ What assumption do I want to have going into today? When we wake up in a bad mood or start the day off on the wrong foot, we start to make “attribution errors.” We think this person is unpleasant or highly difficult or inefficient. Change your mindset or assumption about a person to see a good person, but bad circumstance. The person is not bad, just the wrong situation.
If you want to have a good day, start preparing your mind before your day starts. It can make all the difference in the world.