• Crunch by Nuffnang

How To Stay Focused At Work When You’re Having A Bad Day

by Crystal Ng. |


There are days where the rain pitters and patters down the leaves outside your window, and there are also days where rainbows shine through your windows. While every one of us prefers the latter, there will be days where the pitter-patter of the rain gets the better of us; resulting in us having a bad day and struggling to manage work dues. But that does not necessarily mean it’s the end of the day. More often than not, you have what it takes to turn your bad day around through these few tips on how to stay focused at work even while having a less-than-perfect day:


1. Try Lo-fi music while you work

Lo-fi is a great way to wind back and relax to the sound of music. Unfamiliar with the word? “Lo-fi” stands for “Low-Fidelity”; music that is considered to be imperfect in the recording studio. But when listened to, it is actually soft and soothing, ever so tender to your ears as it takes you away from the bad day you are experiencing. The groove of the music creates an aura around you that convinces you anything is possible at the end of the day. Give it a go; Lo-fi helps to keep the brain relaxed and focused too! A few recommendations I suggest when it comes to Lo-fi music on Youtube are channels such as ChilledCow or The Jazz Hop Café. Channels such as ChilledCow often have live videos where viewers can listen to lo-fi music live or you can even opt for the Spotify playlist called Lo-Fi Beats!



2. Make yourself a cup of coffee to destress or decaffeinate your stress away!

Ah, yes, coffee. The most lovable beverage of all and it is just easily within our reach! It is never too harmful to make yourself a nice cup of hot coffee or a cold Americano when you’re having a bad day. Drinking a cup of coffee while at work can help you to control your emotional or physical stress. As coffee contains caffeine, it helps the body to stay alert, keeping us focused on the work that needs to be done. You deserve that cup of coffee as a reward! However, fret not as there is an alternative option for non-caffeine drinkers to help you stay focused when you’re having a bad day at work! Something that may sound obvious but will definitely help is to drink enough water. According to a study done by UC Davis, drinking enough water helps to increase concentration and mental alertness, thus ensuring that you can work better!


Another alternative that is not beverage-based is to chew gum. Chewing gum while working has been proven by Morgan, Johnson, and Miles from Cardiff University to keep the mind alert as your mouth is kept busy, pulling your attention away from the main problem. So, give it a go!



3. Write your feelings down

Bad days can be like a sudden gust of wind that swoops you off your feet and makes you drown in your own whirlpool of emotions. But it is always important to remember that, these feelings are only temporary and can be fought back to reorient your day. Try writing or journaling down your feelings on a piece of paper or a book to see with your own eyes what is really bothering you. Sometimes, taking a look at things from a different perspective or accessing the immensity of the issue to you makes you reflect on the root cause of the bad day that bothered you so much in the first place. Here are some examples of journaling prompts you can try on a bad day:

  • What kind of emotions am I feeling right now?

  • What is causing me to feel this way?

  • What can I do to make sure I can cope with my feelings better next time?

  • Is there a way I can cope with these feelings right now?



4. Sticky notes are your friends

When you’re at work, sticky notes work wonders in making sure you are able to meet project deadlines, writing reminders on the to-do list, listing meetings to follow up on and more. Not only that, on your bad days you can take the initiative to find motivational or inspiring quotes to keep you going and to motivate you to hustle through your day. Stick these notes on your journals, notebooks, computers, or even your mirror! You can also try out sticky notes on Microsoft Windows 10, where you can play around with adding motivational pictures to your notes and adding words of inspiration to your list whenever you boot up your computer.


On a separate note, if you’re tech-savvy and prefer to go digital, OneNote or Asana are also great options to try out to keep track of your to-do list! Not only are they portable, but they also help you keep track of your thoughts everywhere, anywhere. Sticky up, stick your chest out and smile!



5. Reward your small wins

Bad days can be inevitable sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your work done. Try to keep your head in the game to finish a part of a report or an assigned task to completion. When you’re done, you will feel so accomplished that a little bit of your bad day may go away on its own. Pat yourself on the back and treat yourself to something delightful, such as a day at the spa after work, a favourite treat such as candy or cookies, or maybe a good dinner at your local diner. The possibilities are endless when it comes to rewarding yourself!



It really is unfortunate when you’re having a bad day at work. However, we have the power in us to change that bad day into a productive one so that we feel proud and happy about it at the end of the day. It’s the matter of whether we want to or not. But, remember to take these baby steps to keep your chin up and to conquer the day like a warrior as everything will turn back to normal, and before you know it, you will be back on track again!

You can find out more about the author on Instagram.

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle
Copyright © 2007-2021 Nuffnang Sdn. Bhd. (762669-K) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia