Life is short and life is busy. Many of us know that having a schedule really helps with creating focus in our lives. I, for one, am a HUGE planner. I love planning, I love planners, I love organization, and it all just gives me happy, joyful feelings of accomplishment when I complete a day, having gotten all of my to-dos and priorities accomplished.
Then there are some days, some WEEKS, when everything just goes off the rails. NOTHING goes according to plan and all your schedule serves to do is show you how the day DIDN’T go and what you DIDN’T get done. Anyone who follows a schedule has experienced this at some point or another, and if somehow you haven’t, you will. So, how do you deal with those times when nothing goes according to plan?
As with most people of my personality type, I am task-oriented and find great fulfillment in getting things done. However, there is a fine line to be drawn between being purposeful about what you do with your time and being legalistic about how the day goes. The fact is, we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to those circumstances. How, then, should we react to those off-the-rails moments?
- Take a deep breath. Recognize that you aren’t in control, but you can choose how you handle this situation. Accept what is happening and that the day is going to be different than you thought it was going to be.
- Adjust accordingly. Choose to go with the flow. Whether you are a mom, a business person, a student, or anything else, there will always be things that come up and we can adjust our momentary focus from productivity to the people in our lives.
- Enjoy the ride. Think about what really matters and make the most of where you’re at. So, today didn’t go how you planned. So what? What was good about how the day did go? My schedule was thrown for a loop a couple months ago, when the family dog died. It wasn’t fun to go through, but I got to spend some quality time with my family and that was a huge plus. I had the option of focusing on all the responsibilities that kept calling me, or the option of making the most of the time at hand and being there for what mattered.
- And most importantly…make your schedule a guide, not a task master. It’s so important to remember that a schedule exists to help us be productive, and there isn’t a thing wrong with that. Being scheduled helps businesses met goals, students finish assignments on times, and a mom to have structure in her home. However, people will always matter more than duties, and letting there be room for life in your life is so important. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to spend time with my mom while we are blessed to live in the same area, or go out on a spontaneous date with my husband if he asks me, or take time to talk with a friend who calls me, even if I do have responsibilities at home. There will always be times to say “no”, but allow yourself time to say “yes”, too. In 50 years, will it matter that you always got everything done, or that you built and cherished the relationships you were blessed to be a part of?
One of the best ways to balance between being that focus-driven scheduler and free-to-be-me type of person who may or may get things done, depending on whether one “gets to it” or not, is to remember how much people matter. Responsibilities are there to be responsible for, and we shouldn’t be lackadaisical about that. But people, people will always matter more. Cherish where you are at, make the most of the times that are overwhelmingly unplanned, and allow yourself to learn the value of balance when your life and schedule collide.