How to save a wasted day

  1. 1. Set the timer
  2. 2. Plan 5 small tasks ...
  3. 3. ... and execute them
  4. 4. Make planning a daily habit.

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

The clock is already 5:00 p.m., the working day is nearing completion, and the panic begins to creep up slowly but surely. What to tell the boss tomorrow? How to do everything?


First, get away from your computer. If you can - completely leave the workplace. And then follow this algorithm.

1. Set the timer

It is important to fix the moment when the working day is no longer productive . Allison advises taking a pen, paper, grab a smartphone with a timer and set it for exactly seven minutes.

Remember: you have absolutely no time to develop a well-designed action plan. The only right decision now is to just try to work as focused as possible. In these seven minutes, you should consider five things to do on the next business day.

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

It should be understood from the very beginning that it will no longer be possible to get in the right direction, and to stop even the most timid hopes for this. Instead of vain regrets, it’s better to direct your energy toward narrower tasks.

2. Plan 5 small tasks ...

So, seven minutes have passed, and before you lies 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. It’s so much time brain can concentrate on the task as efficiently as possible, and attention is not scattered over trifles.

The whole charm of such an approach lies in the fact that a large project or goal is deliberately divided 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 to the micro-action, and therefore it must be completely completed by you precisely in this 20-minute window. It is worth remembering that micro-action is of great importance, because it brings you one step closer to the goal. And this is a pretty good incentive.

Please note that if you must make a phone call, get approval from someone, 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 protecting a monthly report to the boss by prior arrangement is a whole project that can be divided into sub-items.

3. ... and execute them

The most important thing that you have to do in the morning is to overcome the temptation to view the endless stream of messages that have come to your mail or to a working chat. Instead, move closer to your five-point to-do list yesterday. Having completed them, you will 100% provide yourself with a kind of “airbag” from completed tasks by about 11:00.


Even if you delete only one item from the to-do list after yesterday's terribly unproductive day, the brain will already be grateful to you and will release dopamine, the hormone of pleasure responsible for the “sense of reward”. This will be an impulse in order to return to normal and enter the working rhythm.

4. Make planning a daily habit.

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

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

Old nerve cells may fail, but new ones will replace them. As a rule, when an emergency occurs, the nervous system itself triggers this mechanism. If something bad begins to happen with an enviable constancy, then the state of tension becomes familiar to our brain, and there is nothing good in it. However, there is a way to slightly relieve such pressure.

If you haven’t done anything again, then compiling a list of five micro-actions at the end of each working day will help you smooth out the situation and prevent the occurrence of stress. Make a 7-minute planning session a daily habit.

Each time, completing the next microtask, the brain will reward you with a portion of dopamine. On ordinary days, this will help increase productivity, and on stressful days, quickly return to work.

It may seem strange, but sometimes stress becomes the best antidote. Take advantage of the situation wisely.

What to tell the boss tomorrow?
How to do everything?