There are times when frustration is inevitable, especially when you're dealing with drama or stress inside or outside of the office. Maybe your work isn't moving as quickly as you'd like, or an employee messed up in a big way. Whatever the case, don't let frustration build or harm your ability to accomplish your goals today. Channel that negativity, and target it into your work.

Work to eliminate negative moods, and keep yourself productive instead of wasting time. Always have a list at the ready of activities that help you stay feeling positive.

Here are some tangible diversions you can employ to channel your energy, get back in a positive state of mind, and stay in the flow.

Choose easier, necessary tasks and chores.

When you're not feeling great, don't start doing mentally challenging tasks. Choose quick, easy to-do items that you have to deal with anyway. Some examples include doing laundry, cleaning around the office, deleting old emails, paying your bills, and so on. Spending time on these less taxing chores when you're feeling more energetic and productive might be a waste of positive energy.

You can do these chores without thinking too much, meaning you can work on autopilot. For example, because I work at home, I'm able to wash dishes when I'm feeling too unfocused to write. Trust me -- it's a rewarding mental break.

If you want to keep learning, you can play an engaging audio book or podcast. Whether you're mentally engaged or not, knocking out simple two-minute tasks not only shortens the to-do list, but can bring back your sense of productivity.

Talking to loved ones

There are certain loved ones in my own life who give me energy and joy each time we talk. When I'm frustrated I give them a call. Using this strategy accomplishes two things at once. You get a "pick me up," and keep your relationship with a loved one strong, which is a goal you probably already wanted to accomplish anyway. Remember, you're looking for positivity, so don't call that family member who is Debbie or Dave Downer at these times.


When frustrations run high, it can be a sign you need a break, or a workout. When I am fed up situationally, I grab my walking or running shoes and go outside. This shakes off quite a bit of my annoyance or negative energy. I always feel better afterwards.

Working out is a healthy multiple-times-a-week habit to form if you've not already done so. Each time you finish a workout, you'll be filled with endorphins, which bring feelings of satisfaction and even euphoria.

Exercise is also linked with increased cognitive function in both children and adults according to 2016 research from the British Journal of Sports Medicine and the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise. This means working out not only helps you get out of a frustrated place and stay healthy, but it also sends more oxygen to your brain and helps you think.

Creative work

When you're frustrated, spending time on creative endeavors that you enjoy can pull you out of a slump. Whether it's writing, drawing, designing, or anything else -- getting lost in beauty can pluck you out of your irritations. A 2018 study in the Journal of Applied Gerontology even showed that playing music had significant positive effects on the cognitive ability of older adults. 

Artistry can be a way to take a break from negative emotions. It lets you challenge your energy into a creative outlet, which essentially gives your mind a break from what was frustrating it. When you get back to the task you were working on before, you may be able to come at it with renewed energy or a fresh approach.

Reading a book

Sitting down to read a book can ease your nerves significantly, letting you dedicate full focus to the text. You'll forget what's happening around you. The more engaging the book is the easier this can be. Even if it's just for 10 minutes, there's nothing like getting lost in a story.

Research backs up the idea that reading regularly can positively impact cognitive function. In 2013, researchers at the University of Toronto found that "reading for as little as 6 minutes is sufficient to reduce stress levels by 60 percent, slowing heart beat, easing muscle tension and altering the state of mind." That will have a positive effect on your ability to get things done once you return to work. 

So, take a moment and fill-up the bathtub. Hop in, sit back, soak, and luxuriate in a mystery, Sci-Fi, fantasy, or some other type of fiction you enjoy. This type of self-care, as well as the other ideas mentioned here, will save you, and your productivity.