I know. No one organizes their day considering unexpected events. Honestly, when you organize your day, you are simply hoping your plan works out. None of us knows for sure that nothing will interfere with what we plan. Or at least, no one I know can see into the future. We make our plan based on the information we have at the time. Since the unknown is, just that, unknown how do we successfully cope with unexpected events that occur in our day and stay organized.
What is unknown?
Let’s think about the common unexpected events. These include lengthy phone calls, a child’s temper tantrum, misplaced keys, an appliance breaking, a disagreement with a spouse, partner, or roommate, or maybe a traffic jam or car accident to name a few. We can’t know if or when these things will crop up to interrupt our plan for the day.
We also don’t know if someone with whom we have an appointment will be on-time or late.
What’s a person to do?
How do you successfully cope with unexpected events and stay organized?
There’s only so much even the most organized person can control. And you don’t want to be constantly looking over your shoulder waiting for something to interfere with your plans. So, make a plan and organize your day according to the importance of things on your to-do list and any scheduled appointments.
Then, build flexibility into your day.
Here are 10 things to consider when organizing your day
- Know what is most important (or time-sensitive) to accomplish and do that first.
- Acknowledge when you do your best work and schedule the most challenging work during that time
- Think about where you are going, consider the time of day, and allow extra time for traffic
- If you have toddlers, do not schedule important calls at the end of the day when they are likely to be short on patience
- Understand what you can let go of today and release it willingly
- Reschedule that task, if necessary, for another day and time or let it go completely
- Is there a task you can delegate to someone else?
- Recognize that life happens
- Grant yourself grace and space during the day – allow yourself time to decompress and breathe
- Accept that plans can change – things can be done at a different time and in a different way
Plans change with unexpected events
A plan is not a hard and fast rule. The best plans are organic and ever evolving. Don’t get me wrong. I am a planner. I love to make plans to get things done but the more years I spend working as a professional organizer the surer I am that plans are meant to be works in progress. Something always interferes with my plan.
The trick is to successfully move past these unexpected events and maintain the organization in the rest of your day.
You can plan all you want but life happens. Maybe you have a plan to spend the day painting a room but just as you are ready to start your project, you get a call which requires you to drop everything. What if your best friend calls and needs to talk? Perhaps the appointment you have in your plan for today is rescheduled for later in the week. Suddenly, you now have a day with nothing in your calendar in the morning.
Another scenario could be that just as you are sitting down to work, the washing machine backs up and the laundry room floor is flooded. Your plan for the day gets thrown out the window while you quickly turn off the water to the washing machine, and then make several phone calls to get the problem fixed.
Life happens, unexpected events occur which change your plans. This can make you feel off balance and out of control.
To successfully cope with unexpected events, you need to know how to juggle the things in your plan so you can accomplish the important and time-sensitive tasks. Use the 10 things to consider as you re-organize your plan for the day and take back control. Don’t let unexpected events throw you completely off balance.
For on-going support, guidance, and accountability with planning your time consider joining the Clear Space for You virtual clutter support group.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Contact Diane for a free 30-minute phone conversation.