September 21, 2010 by Marci
Monday, I posted about making the importance of making plans to keep the busy out of your life and the importance of making sure planning doesn’t cause you to be more busy! One of the best ways I know to keep this from happening is to plan, but be flexible. Flexibility hasn’t always been my strong point. I like to plan and I like to see that plan carried out. I am so motivated by accomplishments and items checked off my list. That is why I often freak out when my day doesn’t go according to my plan. If something happens to interrupt, good or bad, I can go into a tailspin. I am trying to overcome this, too.
Since flexibility isn’t in my nature, how do I establish it in my life? Well, it’s not pretty. Just being real. It takes patience and determination for an accomplishment driven person to suddenly become laidback and more take-it-as-it-comes. I literally have to prepare to be flexible. Here is how I do it.
Get the big stuff out of the way – I’ll just start out with the one I like the least, but helps the most. If I get up before the kids, get myself ready and prepare for the day, I am more able to deal with any surprises. Face it. If you have your make-up on and hair done, you can handle that phone call from the hubby that you need to come pick him up on the side of the road because he blew the engine out of his vehicle (Not that this has ever happened to me…) or that call from a friend who needs you to watch her kids because she has to take one to the doctor.
Getting an early morning routine will help you get the laundry going or the dishwasher cleaned out or breakfast on the table. It can set the tone for the entire day. Check out last week’s guest post about motivation for your mornings.
Realize the To-Do list isn’t the gospel – There are things that just have to get finished in any given day. The kids have to be fed. Laundry has to be done. Important appointments have to be kept. However, there are often items on our to-do lists that get elevated to a loftier status than they deserve. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if you don’t organize your sock drawer today even though it was on the to-do list? Is researching new popcorn poppers as important as your child’s doctor’s appointment? See where I’m going? I had this nasty habit of living by the to-do list. I would totally stress out and stay up half the night trying to get it all done. And woe to the one who tried to get me to put off the list for something else! The truth is that the world won’t come to an end if I don’t get everything on my to-do list checked off. I can research popcorn poppers any day.
It’s not all about me- Ever get in that mindset where you think that your plan for the day is the only thing holding the world together and you alone hold the keys to the future of our very existence and the plans of others don’t hold nearly the meaning and responsibility as yours? No? Uh…Then, me neither, but I’ve seen other people that think that way. Some of us think that we cannot be bothered by the plans and needs of others. We have appointed ourselves as keepers of the universe. What fun is that? I need to remind myself that I’m not all that. In fact, I used to have the words “It’s not about me” taped to my steering wheel. I’m no better than anyone else and if someone needs to interrupt my plan for the day, so be it. I can be flexible.
Would you say you are flexible with your schedule? Can you handle the unexpected gracefully? What is your secret?