When the Day Just Doesn't Go as Planned

Sometimes days just don't go our way. We start out with a plan, with the whole day outlined of what we're going to do and when, and all the things we're going to get done. It's of course possible to set yourself up for success and have a day go just as planned. But the question is, what do you do when that doesn't happen? How do you respond when something unexpected happens, or when your day gets completely thrown off by something you didn't see coming? What do you do when your entire calendar for the day blows up and you have to completely change your day?

The common reaction is to get frustrated, throw up your hands and count the day as lost; to think about all the things you needed to get done but weren't able to because of whatever came up and stole that time. It's also easy to start pointing fingers. However, none of these reactions are going to do anything to improve your results or change the situation. In fact, all it does is increase your stress and frustration. So, since we know it will happen, what can we do to be prepared for it when it does, and how should be respond?

  1. Don't Overschedule Your Day - I'm certainly not advocating giving less than your best effort, but one of the ways to minimize the possibility, or at least the impact, of something not going exactly as planned is to have some flexibility in your day. If every single minute is planned out and needs to be 100% productive on specifically set tasks, that leaves no room for the dynamics of life and business. Leave some margin in your day to deal with any necessary changes in focus or direction.
  2. When Something Does Interrupt or Change Your Day, Deal With It - Ignoring it won't make it go away. If you need to change your focus for a minute, or your schedule changed because of something out of your control (or even something in your control), accept it and deal with it.
  3. Don't Stress - Stressing out about it won't help make the situation better. It will only make you more frustrated and less effective in getting the rest of your day finished out on the right track.
  4. Learn From It - What could you do in the future to avoid a similar situation from happening? Could you be better prepared or pay more attention to detail to avoid a mistake that cost you time? Could you reprioritize your schedule to make more sense with the natural flow of your day? Figure out what changes or adjustments you can make to lower the chances of a similar interruption in the future.
We're all going to have days that don't go exactly as planned. What we do and how we respond during those times has more of an impact on the final outcome and how we feel about it at the end of the day than the actual cause of the derailment. Set yourself up for success by creating margin in your schedule, deal with issues and changes when they come up, know that it's just a part of life and business and don't stress about it and, most of all, learn from those situations so you can be better in the future.

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