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We tend to think of a day as that single block of time, a finite time in which you can either triumph or fail. But you may find that you have fewer bad days – and more good ones – if you think of a single day as something that can be broken down into smaller periods of time.
If you tend to get discouraged when perceived failures pile up against the clock, think of your day as four distinct quarters, each of which is full of opportunities for success.
Visualize your day like a basketball game
If you’ve seen the NBA playoffs, you’ll understand that plenty of ground can be made up in a short timeeven if it looks like you’ve already lost. And while sports analogies may seem too simple, thinking of your day as four distinct quarters can help you stay on track over time.
The concept was so illustrated by the Author Gretchen Rubinwho, as The last Reddit post points this out, described it this way:
Instead of feeling like you’ve faded away the day and think, “I’ll be back on track tomorrow,” try to think of each day as a series of four quarters: morning, noon, afternoon, evening. If you blow a quarter, you’ll get back on track for the next quarter. Errors small, not big.
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The idea here is to accept that failure is a given. Nobody goes through life (or pursues a career path) without stumbling unexpectedly. Looking at the day in quarters normalizes the inevitability of failure and the notion that there is still a chance to recover – because there is again and again a quarter to make up for lost ground.
Obviously, reorienting your thinking like this takes some care, because to be truly successful you need to get used to spreading and investing your efforts over the four quarters of your day – morning, noon, afternoon, and evening. However, this also gives a sense of empowerment, as it is up to you to decide which neighborhood is the most momentous or the least significant and rank it accordingly. Today, even if you’ve spent a quarter of the day scrolling aimlessly on the Internet while important work was left unattended, the whole day isn’t wasted.