Sometimes your day doesn’t go as planned. It happens. The challenge, however, is to not allow the downward trajectory to continue and allow those negative feelings to leech into a new day. While I don’t think days that go haywire are necessarily mistakes, this quote by L.M. Montgomery (in Anne of Green Gables), sums it up nicely: “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it… Yet.”

It’s often challenging the next morning to sit down with motivation and focus after a bad day. Here are three tips I use drive away the monsters that threaten to chase me away from work.

Tip one: Tidy the desk.

Tidied deskI try to keep my workspace tidy and work on it each morning, but sometimes I skip a day or two if I feel rushed or overwhelmed. The chaos of my desk will often reflect what didn’t go right the day before. Sorting the piles and returning my workspace to normal helps my mindset. Instead of seeing physical reminders of what went wrong, it’s possible to move toward solutions.

Tip two: Work elsewhere.

Working at the librarySometimes, however, even with a tidy desk there’s dread and despair about sitting there. When the frustrations at my seat get to be too much, I take a laptop and notebook and go. It doesn’t need to be very far, often just another table or desk in the house works. When I worked in an office I’d borrow an empty desk or sit in the library for half an hour. The new location is different from where I’ve had recent negative feelings. Without that mental clutter, it’s possible to begin to focus on work and move forward.

Tip three: Task treat.

Doodle of planting potatoes in my gardenI like to start my day with my highest priority tasks. I know I’ll often be interrupted or that something even more pressing may come up. The day after a bad day I mix it up and give myself express permission to work on something that isn’t required, but is a task I enjoy. Some days it’s as simple as watercoloring the doodles I make in my planner. Not necessary at all, but it makes me happy.

I hope these three tips help you return to a productive day!