Do you like to plan? I do. I love to plan. I end every day by making my plan for the next day. I make a plan for the week, the month, the quarter, and the year with the understanding that plans can always be modified. Even now, during these uncertain days of Covid-19, I plan. I take the time to do this because having an organized plan, free of clutter, makes me feel in control. Things outside my home are changing every day. It’s hard to know what to expect. The plan I create for my day lets me decide what I want to do and when I will do it within reason.
Of course, there are still things to work around like scheduled meetings or other virtual appointments. In this pandemic time, the longer range plans I made before Covid-19 struck, however; have either been altered or completely scrapped. I’m certain that this has probably happened to you, too.
Managing expectations and being flexible has long been an important part of my plans as you never know if life or circumstances is going to throw you a curve ball. I find that being flexible and not piling too many tasks into each day provides necessary wiggle room. When you give yourself the ability to adjust your plan it’s easier to accommodate the unexpected things that life sends your way.
This pandemic continues to keep me on my toes as things are constantly changing. Even routine appointments are handled differently now. The way I used to expect an appointment or errand to work simply doesn’t happen anymore. I’m realizing that while planning is important, it is even more important to manage my expectations, to be flexible and understanding.
I recently made an appointment to take my two dogs to the veterinarian for their annual check-up. If you follow me, you know that I adore my dogs. Miles is a gorgeous golden retriever/chow mix. He is 15 and a half years young. Josie is an 8-year-old Australian Cattle Dog. She is super smart and is constantly by my side. She often voices her opinion when I have virtual meetings.
In the past when I took Miles and Josie to their vet appointment, I would drive to the animal hospital, park the car, and bring them inside the building to the reception area. The receptionist would greet the three of us. Then, we would wait until we were shown to an examination room. I’m sure those of you with pets are familiar with this routine.
During each dogs’ examination, I would chat with the doctor and talk about each dog’s personality. It was a warm and friendly experience.
A couple of days before our appointment, the veterinarian hospital sent me an email to let me know what to expect and how to plan for the appointment. The message explained that there is a new protocol to follow to keep everyone: animals, pet owners, and hospital staff safe.
Different Routines to Follow
The routine to follow was very different. I stayed in the car while Miles and Josie were taken inside the hospital by the vet techs. After a little while, the veterinarian called me to talk about my dogs. She reviewed their overall health and let me know which booster shots she was going to give. A little while later, a receptionist called me to get payment for the visit. After a few more minutes another vet tech brought Miles and Josie back to my car and we went home. It struck me that while I’m sure the medical attention was just as good, I felt somehow deprived of my time with the veterinarian. I chuckled at myself because that was sort of silly.
New Ways to do Familiar Things
There are going to be new ways to do familiar things. Restaurant experiences, air travel, hotel and resort vacations are changing. Manage your expectations, be flexible and understand that while parts of these experiences will be familiar other parts will be different.
Some friends of mine here in Atlanta have dined out. The experience is very different in some ways and wonderfully familiar in others. The menus are disposable, the waitstaff wear gloves and masks, and every other table is seated with diners. I think it’s extraordinary to comment on eating at a restaurant. But, restaurants have been closed. I’m thrilled so many are starting to open and are accepting reservations. My friends told me that the food was delicious, and it didn’t feel as strange as they anticipated. I have not yet made eating out part of my plan. I will soon. Click here to find out about open restaurants in your neighborhood.
Traveling to visit my son and his family in Seattle in late June is still in my plan for now. I’m holding out hope that I can go. I know that my airport and airplane experience will be different and familiar. It’s a lengthy five-hour flight so I’m hoping that the flight attendants will continue to offer water and snacks. My expectation is that the flight will not be overcrowded, and the security lines will not be as long. Click here for recent information about air travel.
Resort or Hotel Stays
Since I plan to stay at my son’s house I have not investigated staying in a hotel. My friend and colleague, Jonda Beattie, is traveling this week by car and will be staying at a hotel. She knows she will be following a different routine. Her plan has changed. She’s bringing some food with her to keep in the mini-fridge to avoid ordering room service. Click here for recent information from the hotel and resort industry.
Although many things are different now our environment continues to evolve. Who knows if things will go back to the way they were pre-Covid-19? All any of us can do is take this one day at a time. Whether you’re like me, love planning, and do it regularly or you only plan a few things here and there. Having a plan can help guide you. A plan can also provide you with some measure of comfort and control if you manage your expectations. Feel free to reach out to me for guidance in creating a new plan.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives.