Everyone has a “down day.” I had one yesterday. I wasn’t really feeling sad or depressed, I just couldn’t get focused on what I had planned and written down in my calendar for the day. I was definitely distracted. I allowed that to set my mood for the day but I shouldn’t have.

The day started out normally. We took our Bouvier des Flandres puppy, Alli, for her morning walk. But when I settled in to my morning mindset routine with my cup of coffee after that, everything seemed “off.” I just couldn’t concentrate.

I could play the blame game. Blame the new home construction work that started on the lot next to us and right outside my office window. Blame the neighbors who were calling to let me know (in case I couldn’t see and hear the heavy equipment 10 feet from my window) that construction had started. Blame my husband for interrupting my thoughts to give me a blow by blow. Blame my sister for dialing me up on FaceTime.

So, it was a morning filled with distractions. My ability to concentrate on anything I had on my calendar for the day was doomed. I definitely lacked focus and momentum. All my time management skills flew right out the window.

Here’s how bad it got. I started working on our income taxes. That is a surefire way to set my mood. Trust me, it’s not a good mood either. And, it wasn’t.

But, today is a new day and a time for reflection. What went wrong. Or, better yet, what went right. Just about everything I thought had gone wrong, in reality, was a lesson in what had actually gone right.

1.   Mindset

There’s nothing like having pets to get you out and moving. We start our days walking Alli. It’s good exercise for all of us. We talk. We plan. We have some quiet time. It’s the perfect first step in a morning mindset routine and I look forward to it every day. But mindset doesn’t just happen first thing in the morning. It’s important to pay attention to it throughout the day. Instead of trying to control every minute of every day, spend time — in the moment — to reflect on what is happening and why. You may be pleasantly surprised.

2.  Blame Game

Stop it! It isn’t productive. It allows you to stay in a negative mindset and you’ll miss the blessings coming your way. The new home construction work? We knew it would happen this year, so why was it a surprise yesterday? After living on 12 acres and feeling rather isolated, we’re thankful we have neighbors and we live among interesting, awesome people who are not just neighbors, but friends. And, those friends (neighbors) who called to tell me about the construction? One said she wasn’t sure I was home (we had been traveling for a couple of days), and she didn’t want us to be surprised. The other one? Just wanted to get together one last time before there was a house in between us. Blame them for interrupting me? I think not. And, my husband giving me a blow by blow? I’m thankful he’s here and we have an opportunity to interact and talk about life.

I left my sister’s FaceTime call for last because it was the biggest lesson of the day. She runs a very successful kitchen and bath business and is also a computer programmer. We started talking about tax programs and she made a few suggestions on how I could be more organized so when tax season rolled around I wasn’t so frantic. She also suggested it might help my mood. She’s younger, but often times also wiser. Our conversation put me on a path that wasn’t on my calendar but put me light years ahead in managing tax season.

3.  Practice Gratitude

Nothing puts me back on track like gratitude. I am grateful for family, Alli and friends. They care about me or they wouldn’t take the time to have conversations and interact with me. I cannot imagine life without them.

Sometimes the distractions are God’s way of guiding you for the day. I know that was the case yesterday. It’s often hard for me to see his guidance when I’m stuck in the blame game or feeling like I’m having an unproductive or down day. Thankfully, I woke up today being able to reflect on what happened yesterday and I was able to realize that everything happened according to God’s plan and it was all good. Now to work on being able to recognize that in the moment instead of the next day.