I had everything planned out. Creating a schedule was a regular part of my routine, and I planned my day down to the minute to make sure I achieved all my goals. I even built in some cushion between tasks to allow time for any delays or hiccups that might come up. What could go wrong?
I was about halfway through my day, and suddenly I got a call from my wife. Our son had gotten in trouble at school and one of us needed to pick him up. I was about an hour away from the school, but since my wife had meetings scheduled all day, I drew the short straw. I dropped what I was doing and headed straight to the school.
Needless to say, this unanticipated trip in the middle of the day, along with the accompanying lectures most of us give our kids in situations like this, turned my schedule on its head. There wasn’t enough cushion in the world for me to build into my routine to absorb these kinds of occurrences. Some of the things on my list that day would not get done, and I was extremely frustrated.
Unfortunately, in life, stuff comes up. As the old saying goes… if you wanna make God laugh, tell Him about your plans. This shouldn’t, however, stop us from planning and making schedules.
Even if our plans get interrupted or derailed (which they will), we are still better off having a plan than functioning without one. Having our plans blown up by unforeseen events can be discouraging and tempt us to stop making plans in the first place. However, operating without a schedule causes us to manage time poorly and become inefficient.
If you want to be successful in reaching your goals, you must resist the temptation to “wing it” when things don’t go as planned. People who operate without a schedule are generally a lot less productive than those who plan out their days regularly. They become slaves to the randomness of the world, reacting to whatever happens around them rather than being centered and guided by their goals and purpose.
When “stuff” happens, open your planner and make an adjustment to your schedule. Shift times, rearrange tasks, and salvage whatever you can for the remainder of the day. If there are some items you will not get to, try to find a way to delegate them so they will still get done. If you can’t delegate them, go ahead and schedule them for another day.
Rather than thinking of planning and scheduling as a printed road map to your destination, think of it as more of a GPS. Things will rarely go perfectly as you move throughout your journey. There will be accidents, inclement weather, construction, detours, and other types of delays along the way. Like a GPS, your schedule must be able to adapt as conditions change and give you the best available route to your goals. Having this type of agility when navigating through life’s surprises will ensure you reach success regardless of any external factors.
Jonathan Clark is a life coach for adults and youth who specializes in identity, purpose, career planning, and helping people manage themselves better to achieve goals. He is also the author of Quote Quest, a guide to creating a life of purpose, fulfillment, and success. Purchase Quote Quest on Amazon and follow Jonathan on Instagram or Facebook at Cra-Z-Dreams life coaching for more powerful content to improve your life.