Spend your money, time, & energy on purpose.

Living your life on purpose starts with knowing what REALLY makes you happy. Get started by downloading my FREE audiobook + workbook below!

Start learning now! Click an option below.

Brand new masterclass

5 Reasons Your Good Habits Don’t Stick

Downloadable free workbook

How To Stop Buying Sh*t You Don’t Need

Free ebook

How To Figure Out What Makes You Happy

Oh hey there,

I’m Sarah Von Bargen.

Want to look at your calendar and your bank statement and think “Yup, I made awesome choices”? I’ll show you how to spend your time, money, and energy on purpose.

5 Ways To Deal When Your Day Gets Off Course

I wish my day got off course for a cool, sexy reason but the truth is this:

My 19-year-old cat started coughing in a “doesn’t sound like a hairball OH GOD IS THIS THE END” way and I had to panic / soothe him / soothe myself / fall down a Google hole about cat laryngitis. (Which is totally a thing!) 

(how the entire experience felt)

It turned out to be a random, one-off coughing fit probably because he insists on laying under our bed, amongst all the dust bunnies. 

But it felt like my day was shot.

I was emotionally drained, distracted, and didn’t particularly feel like answering emails or prepping for a coaching call. But I needed to prepare for that coaching call and I needed to answer those emails.

If your day has ever gotten off course – because of cat coughing fits or otherwise – I wrote this for us. Because I literally needed to round up these tips so I can reference them in the future!

It’s totally possible to rescue bad days, to refocus after a distraction, and to course correct a day that gets off course. Here’s how: 

5 Ways To Deal When A Day Gets Off Course


If you’re spiraling, create a “pattern interrupt”

A pattern interrupt is a fancy term psychologists use for activities that, well, interrupt habitual thought and behavior patterns.

We’ve all got well-worn patterns that we return to – we shop when we’re bored, we scroll when we’re putting things off, we gossip about other people when we’re feeling insecure about ourselves.

Noticing these patterns and interrupting them is hard! But it’s absolutely possible.

Trigger Usual pattern Pattern interrupt
See a photo of your ex on Instagram  Spend 45 minutes scrolling through their feed + tagged photos Put your phone in another room and do a paper sudoku puzzle so your mind is too busy to think about your ex
Your kid asks for a snack while you’re working on your passion project You make them a snack … and then clean the kitchen … and then start meal planning Tell them where the Clif bars are and keep working
You’re at a party and your friend’s partner shares an innocuous opinion you don’t agree with (like which Star Wars movie is best)  Spend 30 minutes arguing with them about why they’re wrong + fall into an internet hole trying to prove you’re right Walk across the room to the snack table, get some chips,  and go find the host’s dog

If you’re stressed, break a sweat to move the stress hormones out of your body

As someone who deeply hates cardio and views walking the dog as her daily workout, I regret to inform all of us that one of the best ways to move adrenaline and cortisol out of our bodies is through cardiovascular exercise. 😭😭

If your day has gone off course because your boss snipped at you, your kid had a melt down, or your dog puked all over the rug, one of the best ways to refocus and get those stress-y, negative, unproductive thoughts out of your brain is to exercise to the point of sweating.

Of course, if you’re stuck in an office wearing Real Pants and dress shoes, this is easier said than done.

But if you do have the option, just 10 minutes of frantically dancing to music from your adolescence can do wonders. (Youtube is full of playlists like Top 100 Songs From 2002 and they are a delight.)

Physically move to work in a new space

A change of scenery – even if it’s just working from the couch instead of the dining room table! – can do wonders for refocusing and redirecting your brain.

Other things I do to trick my body + brain into refocusing:

  • Take a shower
  • Brush my teeth 
  • Make myself a fresh cup of tea in a different mug
  • Work on writing project on paper instead of on my laptop
  • Take a nap and when I get up, put on a different outfit
  • Take a walk around the block 
  • Complete a concrete, easy task (empty the dishwasher, make a phone call) to give my brain a dopamine boost

Work on a less-demanding task

If things have really gone pear-shaped but you can’t quit for the day, dramatically lower your expectations for yourself and work on something that’s not too demanding.

Do some laundry, schedule some social media posts, catch up on business expenses, or clear off your desktop. You get the idea!

If you’re feeling incredibly proactive, you can keep a running list of these low-pressure tasks that you can reference for times like these. (My personal favorite is designing pins + filling my Tailwind queue.) 

Afterwards, look at WHY the day got off course and see if you can prevent to similar issues in the future

There will always be interruptions and distractions we can’t plan for – current events, a boss’s “emergencies,” a sick partner or kid. But I’d venture that at least half of our distractions are avoidable.

I can block myself from Instagram and all its enticing drama during my workday. I can fill the freezer with frozen entrees so my stepsons don’t ask me what’s for lunch. I can look at the weather forecast and know that if it’s overcast + rainy I’ll be riding the Struggle Bus and plan accordingly. 

Welcome to Yes & Yes!

Want to spend your time, money, and energy on purpose? I'll show you how.

Stop Doing Things That Aren’t Working

Stop Doing Things That Aren’t Working

Picture this: we’re sitting around a campfire in Yosemite on a crisp September night. We’re wearing cute flannel shirts, artfully scuffed jeans, and drinking out of those blue and white metal mugs that L.L. Bean sells. We’re taking turns swapping stories of wonder and woe. I shift on my camping stool, lean in, and terrify you with the tale of how my ego and self-absorption stymied my career for,...

read more
The Trap Of The ‘Overly Virtuous Lunch’ + How To Avoid It

The Trap Of The ‘Overly Virtuous Lunch’ + How To Avoid It

It is a truth universally acknowledged that bringing lunch to work is one of the best, smartest, most healthy choices a person can make. (snoooooore) Who among us hasn’t pledged to ‘do better’ and schlepped a Tupperware full of under-dressed lettuce across town, truly believing that come noon we’re going to eat that plastic box of leaves and enjoy it? When I was a classroom teacher, I’d do this...

read more
How To Use Envy As A Tool (Yes, For Real)

How To Use Envy As A Tool (Yes, For Real)

  I’m scrolling through Instagram as I wait for my coffee to brew when I’m hit by a wave of envy - mouth twisting, eye-narrowing, I-should-click-away envy. I stare at my screen, fantasizing about the day I can do what this woman does. I feel weak just imagining it. I give myself over to daydreaming about what life would be like if I could do this, too. What was it that filled me with envy,...

read more
The ‘I Deserve It’ Loophole + The Trick I Use To Beat It

The ‘I Deserve It’ Loophole + The Trick I Use To Beat It

Picture this: It’s 8 pm on a rainy Friday night and you’re just now leaving work. The week has been a mess of unexpected expenses, grumpy coworkers, boring obligations, and yesterday the cat puked on your white sofa. Your mind is fried and your spirit is crumpled. Clearly, the answer is Target. Two throw pillows, three t-shirts, some face masks, and two art prints? You deserve them. When you get...

read more
The Totally Unsexy Skill That Makes It Easier To Go After What You Want

The Totally Unsexy Skill That Makes It Easier To Go After What You Want

When I was 32, I celebrated one of the biggest accomplishments of my life with a plate of nachos, a vodka gimlet, and gathering of friends at my favorite neighborhood bar. Over a plate of melted cheese, we cheers-ed my upcoming 11-month, nine-country trip. As the night wore on and more cocktails were consumed, one of my friends leaned across the table and said “Okay, I’m just gonna say what...

read more
Can you put a price tag on a habit?

Can you put a price tag on a habit?

Seven years ago, I found a cockroach floating in my coffee cup. At the time, I was working as an ESL teacher in a crumbling building in a not-particularly-great neighborhood. Our receptionist’s computer was stolen off her desk in the middle of a work day. Once, our grammar lesson was interrupted by a man urinating against the glass door of our street-level classroom. I earned $34,000 a year at...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest