Now, previous me would have felt lacklustre for the rest of the day, would have probably ordered an indulgent Deliveroo for lunch, felt sluggish as a result, wasted time going over the perceived humiliation of the meeting and then cancelled drinks in favour of slobbing in front of Netflix, citing “I had a shit day and just don’t feel like it,” as my reason for flaking on arrangements.
Another example, you ask? Sure. I didn’t have plans one Sunday – which in theory is fine – but this was a sunny Sunday and so I spent the first few hours of the day feeling lonely, like I was missing out and wasting the day. As the second quarter hit I nudged myself back into action and decided to go out on my own, so I went to the park, downloaded an audiobook and spent several blissful hours in the sun with the buzz of life around me. I got home feeling perked up and so in the third quarter decided to do a workout in the garden and then, feeling full of endorphins, reached out to a few friends to see if anyone was around for an early alfresco dinner. They were, and so my fourth quarter was spent doing exactly what I’d felt so low about earlier that day: spending time with pals in a pub garden.
Now, I appreciate that none of these examples show me saving the planet or bagging a promotion, but they are a brilliant example of how dividing up the day stops you from catastrophising and snowballing toward bed – plus, the gains add up. Prior to the four quarters method, I might have woken up on a Sunday, felt lonely and spent the rest of the day feeling more and more sorry for myself, to the point where reaching out to a friend to see them would have felt out of my reach. Similarly, prior to the four quarters method, having a bad few hours at work would have set a paranoid, self-doubting tone for the day.
And it works in smaller ways, too. Perhaps you want to work out first thing and you don’t quite make it, no worries, you’ve got time on your side, you’ve got three more quarters to play with. And so instead of just waiting for the day to run away with itself and writing it off as a ‘no movement day’, suddenly you feel as though time is on your side, there are three more clear chances for you to fit in a workout and tick off that goals of the day.
It also works when you’re looking back on the day, it makes it easier to spot the good parts, even if three quarters of it have been bad.
Since adopting the four quarters method I’ve felt a more sustained sense of happiness and achievement, have more easily found joy in each day and managed to hold onto it for longer, more balanced periods. As well as this, I’ve felt healthier, able to nip destructive emotional eating in the bud with each fresh new start (quarter) and fit in time for movement more easily.
Plus, using the four quarters to more effectively plan out my day has made more productive. Perhaps similar to the popular Pomodoro Technique (a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have, rather than against it. Using this method, you break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros), dividing up your time makes it easier to focus for those chunks, with a clear beginning and end in sight, and means that I get more things ticked off on my to-do list than ever before.
It also helps me see where I need a break, and helps prevent burnout (which is all too common at the moment). If I can see that I’ll be working for three quarters, I know to give myself the fourth quarter as guilt-free rest – and helps me better enjoy my downtime too.
And other TikTok users seem to be equally as enamoured as I am, leaving comments praising the method under the video. “Wow this is a great idea. So simple but I never thought of it that way!” wrote one, while another added: “Perfect place to try it! 🥰Going to start doing it today great idea x.”
Basically, I’m a four quarters convert, and now – thanks to my ability to shoehorn incessant praise for the formula into any conversation – so are many of my friends.