How To Have A Good Day When Your Plans Fall Through

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carefree happy woman in a field

You make a plan for the day. You know exactly what you’re doing, and then something happens.

Your plan fails. You have to throw your plan out the window.

We’ve all been there, I’m sure. 

When this happens, you have a couple of choices: You can wallow in despair, or you can shift gears and figure out how to have a good day, anyway. The choice is yours.

I had personal experience with this exact thing this week. I made a plan to get something done. I arrived at the appointment on time, but the person who was working with me arrived almost three hours late.

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I had the person’s phone number, which I called when they were about 15 minutes late. They told me they had a little delay and would be there soon.

I didn’t want to leave to do an errand, because they might arrive in the meantime. So, I waited.

But three hours late is not "a little delay." So, I had to really bear down and wonder what it would take for me to figure out how to have a good day, even though my plans went completely awry and I was majorly inconvenienced.

This is a frequent situation for many people. Maybe not so much the waiting part, but certainly having circumstances shift into a less-than-positive light.

Things you don't count on going wrong go wrong. Things get delayed, people make mistakes.

A little issue can quickly snowball into something bigger, and before you know it, you're behind schedule, off-kilter, and maybe even in a bad mood.

How can you make a bad situation into something beneficial? By following a couple of steps.

Here are 4 ways you can figure out how to have a good day, even when it feels like nothing is going right.

1. Use your time wisely.

While I was waiting, I asked myself, "What is the best use of my time right now?" This is a question you should keep in the back of your mind when you don’t know what to do next.

I always have paper and pens with me, so I used the time to make a few phone calls and then to make some lists of other things I had on my mind.

That only took me a short while, so I walked around the place where I was waiting and as I walked, I became angry. I thought to myself, I could be doing so many other things other than waiting for who knows how long.

I could have used the time to figure out some other things I needed to think through or complete, which would have made my waiting still feel productive, rather than frustrating.

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2. Don't simmer in anger.

I know from other personal experiences that getting angry was not going to solve my problem.

There was nothing I could do about the other person's lateness. Letting my angry feelings control my day was not going to make my day a success. The anger would only serve to spiral me downward

It's natural to be angry or upset when your day has been upended, but recognize that it won't help you in the long run. Address your feelings, then let them go so you can find relief.

3. Keep a good attitude.

When the person finally showed up and apologized profusely, I did the only thing possible and accepted their apology. I moved on, and carried out the first part of my plan for the day.

The rest of my day was a wash. I had another appointment later in the day which I kept, and in-between, I took my dogs out for a beautiful long walk on a spectacularly crisp and sunny fall day.

I was able to make my day a success by controlling my attitude and being flexible.

Likewise, in any situation where you have a similar problem, saying things like, "Well, my day is just ruined now," or, "Nothing ever goes right for me," will guarantee that no matter what good things may still come, you'll miss them because of your attitude.

This is where keeping your attitude in check will go a long way.

This doesn't mean be falsely cheerful — it simply means recognize that things have gone wrong, but keep an open mind for good things yet to come.

If your attitude sours your mood, you may not see opportunities and good times right in front of you.

4. Stay flexible.

Another example of this very thing happened just recently during a virtual assembly I attended online. The organizers had planned everything perfectly, but there were a couple of bumps in the road that could have derailed the day.

Everyone from the organizers to the administrative support was professional, graceful, and flexible.

They were able to make the day a success because of their positive attitude and commitment to the event. They did not complain. Everyone involved did their best, which is all any of us can do.

In these circumstances, one of the best things you can do is learn to control what you can and let go of the rest. Too often, you may let things you can’t control disrupt your day and change your attitude. This is stressful.

Acknowledge when something happens that's beyond your control, and then think about what you can control and focus on that.

Focusing on the things in your grasp will make you feel like you still have the ability to control some portion of your day.

Let go of what doesn't serve you and move on when necessary. Don't be so rigid that you can't roll with the punches.

The next time you have a plan for the day that fails, think about the things you can control and focus on them. Then let go of the rest.

It serves no purpose to let your day spiral downhill. Express your anger and disappointment, then exercise your flexibility.

Take control of the things you can, turn it around, and you'll learn how to have a good day and make it a success, no matter what happens!

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Diane N. Quintana is a certified professional organizer who focuses on chronic disorganization. She’s also a master trainer and the owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives.

This article was originally published at DNQ Solutions. Reprinted with permission from the author.