Some days, you just got nothing

From time to time, we all experience difficult days.

Maybe you slept poorly, your train was delayed, your boss made you sit through a useless morning meeting, and your friend canceled for lunch at the last minute.

All this despite your careful planning and your intention to have a great day.

When you have a day like that, what can you do?

I talk a lot about being productive. Many of us want to do work we care about and do it well. That often requires some planning and the right mindset.

But if you’re focused on being productive, and you have a bad day, you might experience some negative thoughts. Thoughts like “I should have tried harder”, “I should have planned better”, or “I should push through difficulty”.

Sometimes these thoughts are true, and sometimes they’re not. If you normally have productive work days, then having one bad day doesn’t suddenly turn you into a lazy person. If you usually work out five days a week, and you skip one day, you don’t instantly lack discipline.

In other words, when you have a difficult day and you are not as productive as you wanted to be, that does not make you a failure, a lazy person, or someone who doesn’t have “it”.

It only means that today, it’s your turn to have a shitty day. Better days are coming your way soon.

You know how when you can’t sleep, it helps to stop trying to fall asleep and instead to read a book for a while? Bad days are like that.

If you’re normally a productive person, but today you just can’t get anything done, then give yourself permission to stop trying for the day. If you like, think of it as “today I wasn’t meant to get stuff done”.

Instead, engage in some basic maintenance. Take care of yourself. Enjoy a hot bath, go for a run, watch a Bond movie, or cook something new.

Because some days, you just got nothing. When you run into a day like that, accept it as quickly as you can.


— Peter

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