How an “Off-Kilter” Day Still Turned Out Okay

Beth Beutler is the founder and executive director of HOPE Unlimited.

It was a Monday. The day of the week I typically plan to be a high productivity day to power through client and personal responsibilities. However, this one was not starting out that way.

I got distracted by a quirk in my smartphone that I could not get rid of. Because, you know, I just can’t let that irritating notification stay there. An hour or so of playing around and researching–with no solution–pushed the schedule out of whack.

Add to that a couple of important but extended conversations, a television broadcast of a favorite sporting event that had been rain-delayed from Sunday, and the typical myriad of daily tasks, and I was positioned for a less-than-successful Monday.

Yet, it turned out pretty satisfying.

As I reflect on why and how, the following reasons come to mind:

  • I still made time for fundamentals. Despite starting my day later, I went ahead and did my whole morning routine, which included exercise and meditation/reading/writing time. I could have cut that short, but it was worth it to go ahead and do it.
  • I knocked out my least favorite task. For me it was a household chore because I work from home a lot, but for you it could be that daily report you have to turn in. It felt good mentally to have it off the plate early in the day
  • I invested in people. The two conversations gave me opportunity to give people I love a bit of time. Using my headset for one of the calls, I was also able to do a mindless task while keeping up the conversation, which was a win-win. Even better, some words of affirmation came to mind that I could use to encourage this person.
  • I chose to embrace moments of relaxation. Because of my flexible work, I went ahead and watched the ending of the sporting event (I’d had the bulk of it playing in the background earlier.)
  • I’d prepared some food ahead. I already had a meal in mind for dinner, with part of it prepared, so shifting to that side of life wasn’t too hard. It’s very helpful to plan ahead for the everyday needs of life (i.e. have some nutritious snacks available in your desk drawer) because no matter how stressful the day, you still have to take care of basic physical needs.

I realize now that the key to the day getting back on track, was what I decided to do when it first went off track.


The one area of disappointment was that I did not reach my “billable hours” goal for the day for my work. However, my clients were still taken care of, which is the more important thing.

I realize now that the key to the day getting back on track, was what I decided to do when it first went off track. Since I had the flexibility to do so,  it worked for me to process through most of the fundamental steps of my routine, which re-calibrated me and prepared me for the day. Loosening my grip a bit on the work goals helped too. You may not be able to do everything you normally would on an off-kilter day, but choosing to follow through on a few vital routines can help you stay centered.

As far as that smartphone quirk, I chose to live with it for that season instead of take up hours trying to figure it out. Maybe sometimes, it’s a good idea that things aren’t always going to go your way…it will help you have the flexible attitude you need for the next—inevitable—off-kilter day.

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