Life is a dynamic, breathing, moving, expanding thing. Which is a fancy way of saying plans change. All the time. Distractions come into play, the computer quits, your mom unexpectedly drops by, or a kid gets sick and life goes from feeling like a quiet walk around the block to bouncing around like a super ball, ricocheting in the hard-to-reach corners.
I’m not so great at handling the super-ball bounce, but I’m practicing and getting better at it. When my daughter had a snow-day last week, it didn’t bother me a bit — it was soo much fun — until the second day’s two-hour delay. See? I’m getting there.
Here are four tips I use when plans have changed and I’ve got to get a handle on the super-ball schedule:
Acknowledge. First thing I do is get real about the change AND I acknowledge my discomfort. I take a good look at the things I still have to make work and evaluate which I can let go. Pretending that you can fit all the same work duties in on the day your child is home sick, for example, is super stressful and probably not realistic. Acknowledge the schedule change, notice what it requires and make an honest list about what you can still do and what you need to let go.
Manage. Then get to it. Send emails to reschedule meetings, or make a call to let the manager know you’ll be late. This can be quick and dirty. If you start juggling, figuring, hemming and hawing over what you “might” be able to do instead of what you really can do, you’ll get stuck in the super-ball stress. Take 10 minutes to tie up the things you must tie up, and move on.
Accept. So, this is the deal. Your plans have changed. Wishing they hadn’t is like wishing you could lose 20 pounds while snacking on Snickers and red wine – not gonna happen. Deal with what is now and you’ll feel less stressed.
Have fun. Now do the day — whatever it looks like NOW. Make the most of the moments you have. A snow day is SO MUCH FUN! (if you live in Oregon where you only get a couple a year.) A corrupt computer, means you can log off and do something else worthwhile: read a book, talk to real people over coffee, paint, create, develop. During a sick day last year, that required mega-adjustments on my end and had me complaining for a bit — my daughter and I snuggled on the couch and watched Sound of Music (her first time) together. It turned out to be a great afternoon and it is now a favorite memory for both of us.
When plans change it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you adapt, go with the flow, and stay aware you’re apt to find possibilities that you otherwise would have missed.