Planning for the Unplannable

Another year has flown by and here we are at the end of 2015. I hope that the year met or exceeded your expectations and you can look back with satisfaction on your accomplishments.

But now is the season to think of the year ahead….your resolutions….your aspirations….your goals. If you’re a planner, you’ve probably already mapped out 2016 to guide your way. Even if planning isn’t your style, you’ve probably thought about what you want to accomplish.

I want to take a moment on the subject of how to plan for the unplannable. Many clients and friends finished 2015 punctuated by unexpected activities. If you’re not prepared, you can spend considerable time stumbling while you figure out how to manage these situations.

First and foremost, we tend to underestimate how much time and energy these unexpected activities take. We plow forward, business as usual, not paying attention to how much bandwidth the unplanned needs and sucks out of our regular routine.

Part of this is because we think that the interrupting activity is temporary and will be gone soon.

Or not.

My recommendation is to accept the unplanned event/activity/obstacle for what it is and do your best to estimate how much time it will occupy. Then double that amount, because we tend to underestimate.

Decide what you’re willing to forego in order to fit it in. Some interruptions will be short-term, others longer. What you don’t want to do is think that you can forge ahead business as usual, because you’ll end up squeezed somewhere. Before you know it, life will spin out of control.

When you give your best guestimate of how you’ll reallocate your ongoing commitments, you’ll be in a much better position to be in control rather than be controlled.

Unplanned events can be exciting, joyous, and stimulating as easily as they can be depressing, sad, and enervating. Accept them for what they are, and do your best. Before you know it you’ll be managing your activities as well as you ever did.

I wish you the best for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

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