How to Recover From a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Workweek

how to recover from a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad workweekGot it. Apologies to my assistants and anyone else I offended.

So: I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad workweek. I was so late with Tuesday’s Coffee Break it was a Cocktail Break. My assistant accidentally posted a very rough draft of our forthcoming Outfit Challenge yesterday while I was busy, and the post stayed up there so long before I noticed it that some of you will see it hit your newsletters today. I just realized another assistant posted the incorrect image on Budget Thursday over at CorporetteMoms, so Monday’s maternity dress was featured today. Really, the problem is that I took three days off a few weeks ago to go out of town to help a family member with an outpatient surgery, combined with the problem that I’ve lost some work time on the weekends because my youngest has stopped napping — and it just seems like I can’t get caught up. I have four windows with browsers open with a thousand tabs, I’ve got to catch up on all the social media I missed from the past 3 weeks of content that I DID get up, AND I’m trying to get next week’s content done because I’ve got another trip next week (and the week after that, at the end of the month, I’m going out of town for an alumni networking thing). Ah yes, and a lot of my brain power is going to a kid problem that largely exists in my head (yay overthinking), and of COURSE I have to check the news hourly to see if anyone’s been impeached yet. I know: whine whine, bitch bitch… #bloggerproblems are a special subset of #firstworldproblems, I get it. Still: I thought it might make an interesting topic here: how do you recover from a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad workweek? Do you make a list? Pomodoro it up? Winnow your priorities? Take a nap? Close your tabs? (The answer is always to close the tabs, isn’t it?) I’d love to hear your stories and advice.


  1. 1) Don’t blame your assistant publicly for the problem. Praise publicly, blame privately (if at all).

    2) Prioritize. In your case, maybe that means two posts per day next week, since the middle post rarely gets many comments.

    3) In support of #2, make a list. Don’t let the “little rocks” take up all your time so you don’t achieve the “big rocks.”

    • Anonymous :

      +1 Not cool to blame the assistant on the internet!

      • Anonymous :


        • Marnielle :

          +1000, Kat. It’s your blog, don’t throw the assistants under the bus.

          If you feel the pace is too frenetic, no shame in pulling back or asking for more help. Forget about the social media from weeks ago, it’s ephemeral and any real insights you’ll need should be tracking already in Analytics. Like Cat with a c said, reduce posting frequency if that’s resulting in more errors over time. Keep your strengths strong and your head up over the waves!

    • +1 IMO bosses should take the blame publicly for team failures and give praise/kudos publicly to the team for successes. That’s why bosses get the $$$.

    • Anonymous :

      Also how many assistants does it take to run a blog!? Jeez.

    • +this. I winced reading this.

    • Anonymous :

      Ditto. SO not cool to blame your assistants.

    • Don’t Do That :

      Yeah, not cool. It happens, but d*mn don’t blame her publicly. At the end of the day you’re responsible for the blog- an old boss of mine said that leadership is having the courage to accept responsibility when those under you fail.

      Make a to do list of most important/less important/can be delegated/don’t need to happen now. Work on the most important first.

    • Anonymous :

      Agreed, agreed, agreed. Do not publicly blame people who work for you.

      Also, drop the social media pressure on yourself.

      Stop anxiety-refreshing news sites. The country will survive / implode just fine without you for a while.

  2. Samantha Bloom :

    I lower my standards and winnow my priorities. (Sadly.)

  3. Katherine S. :

    Definitely don’t wallow in the feeling of misery. Whatever you focus on you create more of. Spend a lot of time with children and pets. They don’t carry negativity and bring you into their blissful worlds. Exercise INTENSELY, which produces tons of feel-good chemicals. Make lists of things you’re grateful for and things to look forward to. Go out with friends who are very upbeat and positive, and enjoy a yummy cocktails. Problems gone. ;)

  4. Own whatever I screwed up, forgive myself and others for our collective screw ups, and plan something for the weekend. That something will really depend on my mood: if I need more fun and a distraction, then Friday night out or dinner or something with DH; if I need to recharge and/or wallow, then movies, leggings, wine, couch, puppies.

    Do 1 or 2 things to proactively make next week better, even as little as making sure the laundry gets put away or I have a lunch planned and ready to go on Monday.

    • I read “movies, legos, wine, couch, puppies” which also sounds awesome.

      • Legos are awesome, even when they are on every.flat.surface in your house!

        • Y’all, now I want some legos…I already regressed a little by buying all the Where’s Waldo puzzles in one regular sized book (for pre-bed, non-word reading, sans device!)…why not legos?!

      • KS IT Chick :

        My DH has gotten into building Lego sets. The Big Bang Theory Set set, the Doctor Who Tardis Interior Set set, the Saturn V Rocket set, the Yellow Submarine Set (complete with Beatles). They’re really cool to look at, but once they are built, they have to be displayed somehow…. I had to reluctantly veto the Death Star set, as it is ungodly expensive & huge, but I was almost as excited as he was at the thought of building it.

        • Senior Attorney :

          OMG I totally want to do that.

          Maybe you can take photos when you’re done and then donate the actual sets to a daycare or hospital or something?

          • Senior Attorney :

            Also: I was in Athens a couple of weeks ago and they have a Lego version of the Parthenon in the museum! So fun!

  5. When I have a terrible week, I acknowledge that that is what is going on and that it will be over eventually. I try to go to sleep early, with the help of sleep aids if needed to make my brain shut up. Rather than trying to tackle all the things, I ask myself, “What ACTUALLY needs to be done today?” and work on that. Then I run home to my dear SO and get all the hugs.

  6. It sounds as if you are close to the limit of your time/energy/emotional end-of-rope in your work in the day-to-day schedule that you have put yourself into, therefore when something extra happens there is no slack to deal with it. And you are working for yourself, you are your own boss, all your work is arranged by you…does this beg the question?

  7. I was having a bad workweek too….last week through Monday. I had the opportunity to take a half-day for mental health on Tuesday morning….that combined with Lady Gaga’s documentary on Netflix helped!!

  8. Home maintenance :

    TJ: First time homeowner here and I want to be organized about home maintenance and repairs going forward. Does anyone have a suggestion for how to keep track of home maintenance (what’s been done, when, by whom, etc.) so I have a good record to refer to in the future?

    • I tend to track stuff like this in a Google Sheets that is shared with my husband. You can have one big list with columns for categories, etc. or use different tabs to categorize costs. I find spreadsheets to be very flexible for stuff like this and I like how easy it is to collaborate with Google products.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Same, and to add on to this we keep our Google Sheets doc in a shared Google Drive folder where PDFs of any important receipts, warranties, manuals, etc. get saved.

  9. I try to keep things in perspective. You had some wonky blog posts. It’s embarrassing but NBD. I wrote some software where bugs will literally keep trains from running. Probably a bigger deal than wonky blog posts and yet I know that other people have jobs where their mistakes cost people their lives. So I try to be grateful that my mistakes aren’t that serious in the grand scheme of things, figure out how to prevent them in the future, and move on.

  10. Shopaholic :

    When I’m stressed and at the end of my rope, I just sit on my couch with a glass of wine and watch reruns of a TV show I love (currently it’s the first couple seasons of greys anatomy). It doesn’t require any additional mental energy but feels very soothing.

  11. Maudie Atkinson :

    I try to attack this on two fronts. In the short term, (1) I make weekend plans I can look forward to–a massage, a blow-out, sitting on my couch reading a book, whatever it is–to help me get through. (2) In the midst of the week, I maintain my workout schedule because I’ve learned (after longer than it should haven taken) that I’m a better person if I burn off some energy. Last, I find a friend who will listen and unload.
    In the longer term, with a little distance from things that I know were ultimately my fault, I look at it as a systems engineering project: What processes can I put in place to avoid the same kinds of mistakes from happening again?

  12. Don’t Do THAT Either :

    For g-d’s sake Kat, just apologize without the excuses. You screwed up. Acknowledge it. Without further excuses.
    Asking someone you supervise if you can throw them under the bus isn’t better. That’s not really a situation where they can say no. Spend half a second thinking about why.

    • +100

    • Can't dig out of a hole :

      Yeah, I think the update makes it worse. It sounds like you are now blaming the assistants for screwing up in the first AND for giving you permission to yell at them on the blog.

    • Thirded. Update is a non-apology and what assistant is going to say “no in fact it is not OK to throw me under the bus, boss lady!”???
      Own it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      “Fine, fine, you have a point?” Really?

      If you suspect you’re being unkind, you probably are. Getting permission from the people you are being unkind to (you know, the people who depend on you for their paychecks) doesn’t make it okay.

      • This. Allllll this.

        Gently, Kat, it sounds like you have a lot going on. Don’t complicate it with this kind of easy-to-avoid issue. You probably wouldn’t have done this in your old jobs; this isn’t so different, right? We like your work and want you to succeed, but this ain’t helping with your rough week.

    • Yes. Allllll the plus 1s to this.

  13. When I have a bad day, I go for a long walk outside with my dog. Dog loves me. Walking is good for endorphins. Nature — even urban nature — helps give me perspective.

    When I have a bad week, I go for a long hike somewhere not urban. All of the above benefits, plus. Then I try to have dinner somewhere funky and local, like a diner or a pub, and chat with the waiter/bartender/locals. (All this can be adapted to be done with partners and kids.) By the end of the weekend, I’ve had exercise, fresh air, bonding with beloved creatures, and stories to tell at work on Monday.