When Everything Goes Wrong

On Friday morning, my alarm didn’t go off. As it turns out, this was technology trying to warn me of the day ahead. It’s easy to think that if we can plan well enough, have excellent time management skills and stay motivated, we can control our productivity. In reality, there is a limit to how much we can control. The rest lies with how we adapt to the speed bumps we encounter. Let me tell you about Friday…and how you too can deal with your most insane days.

Into the Storm

Friday was supposed to be a wonderful day. It was the last day of teaching for the summer. I had finished a lot of my end-of-year responsibilities early. I had plenty of time for the few things I had left, and in the evening, I was looking forward to attending an outdoor concert with some of my friends to kick off the summer.

Then, my alarm clock debacle in the morning turned into countless other things that went wrong. This included, but was not limited to, chasing a scorpion around my living room for 20 minutes, a 5 minute phone call with my bank that turned into a 3-hour customer service nightmare, a maintenance issue at our rental property, a dying cell phone, an office chair not fitting into the back seat of my tiny Corolla, and a whole slew of other things that I need not go in to.

Surely you’ve had a day like this, where you feel that despite your best planning efforts, your time is slipping through your fingers and your day is spiraling out of control. These kinds of days are frustrating to everyone, but especially to those of us who are planners at heart and don’t like to feel as though we are losing control of our time.

3 Strategies to Keep a Crazy Day on Track

1) Keep Your Cool

When things go wrong, it’s easy to start stressing, but this only exacerbates the situation. Keeping a level head is the only way to keep moving forward with your day with any sort of efficiency.

2) Adapt

You can only do so much to control outside factors that will disrupt your to-do list. Rather than lamenting the fact that your day’s productivity plan is ruined, focus your energy on adapting the plan to fit the new circumstances. This includes prioritizing what truly needs to be done and what can be delegated. (For example, I wanted to be at the rental property to deal with the maintenance issues, but circumstances prevented me from doing so. As it turns out, everything was fixed without my being there.)

3) Don’t Forget Your Desserts

When it becomes clear that we must cut a few things from our day to keep all of the wheels spinning, it’s easy to put our enjoyable Dessert activities on the chopping block first. While this is an easy, short-term solution, it does nothing to help your long-term stress level. You need your Dessert time and you owe it to yourself to try to protect it just like you would protect any other important task.

This is why I was determined to make it to the concert with my friends Friday evening. I’m proud to say that I made it, and getting through the day’s events made that Dessert all that much sweeter.

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Photo Credit: Idea Go

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