If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I often post my daily schedules as a way of showing how I make them and how helpful they are. I don’t actually make written schedules that often anymore. I’ve internalized the process to a large extent. But there is usually one day or so a month where I don’t have much on the calendar but need to get a ton done, when I do take the time to write out the schedule. I did exactly that on Tuesday. So when I post my schedules I tend to post ones that have gone according to plan. The goal isn’t to toot my own horn, but to demonstrate the power of consistently doing the schedule over time. You can get really, really good at it. But it has occured to me that always posting a schedule where I nail it may seem like an unattainable goal for some. Perhaps it might be equally as helpful to post one where things did not go as planned and talk about how I handled that. Because, yes, I’ve gotten really good at this. But the vast, vast majority of schedules I’ve made in my life have not gone according to plan. Half the battle in terms of progress is accepting that fact, but also recognizing that you’re still more productive with the schedule than you are without it.
So, check out my schedule for Tuesday. It was 95’ish degrees and humid that day. And, unfortunately, most of what I wanted to do needed to be done outside. That is one of the main reasons that I made a schedule for Tuesday on Monday night. I new that I had to get outside and get some stuff done before the day got even hotter. I had to wake up with purpose and with a plan.
Basically, I needed to weed my garden beds. The last time that I had done that it took me about 45 minutes. But the weeds were more out of control this time, so I budgeted one hour and 15 minutes. After that I planned to clean out the garage at rental property and install a MacGyver’ed bike rack for the new tenants. The most important thing I needed to do was call my friend and contractor to see if he or one of his guys could help me swap out an above the stove microwave and vent fan in the rental. Other than that, I had some office work to do, lifting at the gym, practicing the drums, and I really wanted to try to get back to working on my book on executive functioning that has been on the back burner for several months.
Here’s what happened. My buddy, Rob said that he could actually come over and do the microwave that day around 2:30. So as of 8:30 a.m., my schedule was already shot. But that was fine. That was a high priority item that would be awesome to have done that day. You’ll note that I didn’t bother to rewrite the list.
The second thing that happened was that weeding the garden turned out to be a herculean task. I only did about 50% of the beds, walkways, and “yard” and it took me one hour and 45 minues. And, I was exhausted by the heat by the time I was done. So, again, the schedule is totally shot. Or is it? Mentally, what I did was simply recognize that I wasn’t going to get the garage and the bike rack done. Neither were live or die items and I didn’t want to do them in the heat of the day anyway. So, if you ignore those items… I was basically on schedule. Rob ended up coming over earlier than expected, but I still got 30 minutes of drum practice, a hour at the gym, all the work stuff I needed to get done, and worked on my book for about 45 minutes.
My point is that you could look at this day objectively as a failure. I didn’t get many things done that were on the schedule and I hardly did anything in the projected order. Many of my clients fall into this trap. I would suggest that this day was a stunning success. I got something done that was a high priority that wasn’t even on my schedule; I got half the weeding done and gathered valuable data about how long that task actually takes at this time of year; I accomplished my self care goals; I listened to a webinar about ADHD and anxiety in kids while weeding; and I finally got back into writing my book.
One of my favorite saying is an old military truism: No plan survives contact with the enemy. My schedule did not survive contact with Tuesday the 30th of July intact. But it was a manageable framework from which a solid day was executed. I’m hoping that your takeaway is the same as mine, that having a plan/schedule is always better than not having one… even if things go awry.
Standard Disclaimer: In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.