How To Avoid Chucking A Trantrum In The Office

Published: July 27, 2011
By: Faye Hollands

Yesterday I had one of ‘those’ days where lots of irritating things were going wrong and as a result I was unproductive and left feeling completely frustrated!  It wasn’t one of my finest days, and I felt like my nerves were in tatters by the end of it.  We’ve all been there, but what can you do to make the unpleasantness pass more quickly when you’re ready to scream the office down?

Adios Frustration

I don’t like it when techie things go wrong and I feel out of control, so when my printer died on me on Monday and I couldn’t fix it – despite wasting a ridiculous numbers of hours trying to – I knew it wasn’t a good start to my day.  Things just snowballed from there and by Tuesday lunchtime I was unfocused, unproductive, and probably quite unpleasant to be around!  The more time I spent in this frustrating pit of irritation, the worst the day got.

That was until I decided I didn’t have the luxury of wasting anymore time on being so utterly frustrated, unless I really wanted to sabotage some good opportunities that are coming my way in the next few days.  So what did I do?  Here are the steps I go through when I want to avoid screaming my head off in frustration:-

1.  Red Light:  Stop

As much as you might feel utterly stressed by not only the situation, but the time constraints you’re up against, you MUST MUST MUST take a moment to stop when you’re in such a frustrating state.  Very rarely does any focused, clear thinking come out of an overwhelmed, frantic mind.

Yesterday I’d got nothing done by lunchtime, and that for me is very rare – the morning is my truly productive time so it can really upset the apple cart if nothings ticked off my to-do list by midday!  A knee-jerk reaction would be to keep ‘running’ in a frantic bid to get something – anything – done.  But when you’re stressed and frustrated this scatter-gun approach isn’t productive.  So instead I sat down, had lunch, and watched 15 minutes of trashy TV that took my mind of work altogether… and it worked a treat!

2.  Amber Light:  Reflect

When you’ve calmed down enough to realise that the world isn’t about to end, and screaming won’t solve anything, invest a few quality minutes into looking at the situation you’re dealing with, with a clear and lateral mind.  What can you control?  And what can’t you control?  If you’re fretting over things that you simply don’t have any say on or persuasion over then it’s time to let them go and focus on what you can take control of.

For me, after a pretty good try, I had to admit defeat and call in the printer-experts.  I was wasting time and energy trying to sort something out that I’m not qualified for, and in the process increasing my stress levels.  To reduce frustration it’s important to know when to ‘call it quits’ and move on.

3.  Green Light:  Accelerate

Now, and only now, can you get going again.  But before you push the pedal too hard, make sure you have a clear plan of attack on what you’re going to do next and how that will help you achieve your objectives.  If you’ve spent the day feeling overwhelmed you need to know exactly what you’re going to do next in order to transform the day into a productive one.

After off-loading the printer at the ‘Doctors’ I came back and picked the two most important items on my to-do list that were playing on my mind.  By focusing on the ‘mission critical’ tasks that I knew where fundamental for me to experience a productive day, I allowed myself to end the day feeling satisfied instead of beaten and overwhelmed.

We all have bad days, and we all get frustrated, but the last thing you want to do if you’re busy is let it all get on top of you.  These three steps are simple, but when you’re mind is clouded they will give you the framework you need to clear the mist, and start over again.

What works for you when you’re having a bad day? Post a comment below – I’d love to know!


Written by Faye Hollands – Director at Outshine Consulting. Faye is an accomplished Career Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success.

To receive your FREE MP3 download of Faye’s popular teleseminar ‘How To Create A Career You Love‘ and weekly articles to improve your career and time management skills click here.

Faye Hollands

About Faye Hollands

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success. To receive weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here or book your Free Focus Session here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email

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3 Responses to How To Avoid Chucking A Trantrum In The Office

  1. Jet

    Hi Faye,
    You’re right we all have these days, thanks for the reminder! One of the worst parts of feeling frustrated is that feeling that these things only happen to ‘me’!
    I’m a business dev professional who has just quit the corporate world to start my own website – steeeeep learning curve in terms of producing a website. I currently have about 8 support tickets in with various vendors (all US based and asleep right now) and it seems everything I try to do needs reading more documentation and learning by trial and error. Frustration isn’t a strong enough word!
    Thanks again for your words of wisdom – most timely and helpful (off to watch a bit of The Circle and calm down…)

  2. Lynda

    Hi Faye,

    I couldn’t agree more – being in Credit Management we have some pretty stressful days and decisions to make and then when we get over-ridden the frustration and stress roll in. It is a challenge to keep the team in an upbeat mood when they feel trodden on.
    Thanks for reminding me to walk away, compose and then deal with it.

    Happy days

  3. Joanna

    Great text Faye!
    Oh, I can recognize myself in it so much.
    For me a key challenge is to stop to torture myself by continuing to struggle with something that I am sure I will not solve. Nobody is perfect… Anyway I would love to better manage a self-control aspect to be more productive and not being sometimes stuck in a “self-frustration” state of mind and losing so precious time…
    Best regards, J.


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