So, the thought occurs that having to cope with the unexpected is what throws me most. I am a planner by nature. Some may say an over-planner, but actually I like it that way. I enjoy knowing what is going to happen, I enjoy the anticipation.
I have just had a couple of working days which have been filled with what can only be called the unexpected. It does not matter to me if the unexpected is a large event or a smaller one. Even something trivial can push me off my tracks.
Nevertheless, I am very good in emergencies, at least I like to think so. I love thinking on my feet and generally respond well. But that is not the whole story.
One part of me wants to run my life within a well-planned routine; ticking off the to do list, attending scheduled meetings and appointments; keeping all habits in the same way and the same time every day.
But the odd thing is that I do not believe that even as I write it. It sounds boring actually. Both realities are totally true. I love planning, I love having varied and challenging days. Maybe my solution is to plan for the unexpected.
There are a few ways to do that I think:
- Block out parts of my day and week for the unexpected, I am not sure I can do that practically, but I may give that a go next month (this month’s diary is now full – mainly with annual leave though).
- Leave a few spaces on the daily to-do list to fill. I try and have a limited list for each day, recognising that in order to prioritise my brain finds it easier to have a short do-able list in front of me every day, rather than a huge long list from which I then have to pick a small number of things every day.
- Actually write down on the list: “react to the unexpected”.
- As soon as the unexpected hits, then my next action is to triage the to-do list and move other things off it.
- Spend two minutes every day jotting down what went well in the unexpected, not just noticing what did not get done on the list.
And maybe I need to spend a bit of time being grateful for challenges which exercise my brain, stop me from getting bored, but do not turn my world upside down. And equally grateful for the weeks where the routine is less stimulating, but allows for some time to reflect, to rest and to enjoy the process. I have experienced the illness of a child, turning my world upside down, stopping all usual routine and imposing a way of life that was very unexpected and even more unwelcome. God forbid that level of challenge ever returns. I am strangely grateful for the manageable unexpected and the boring routines.