I embarked upon a writing career when I had a toddler and an infant at home. What was I thinking? How was a mother of two little ones going to find time to write?
Here's the trick: you don't find the time, you make it.
One of the things that is helpful is to have a plan, but to be flexible enough to expect the unexpected. Whether it is a sick child, a new project, or a shortened deadline, when you're trained to expect the unexpected, you can take it in stride and still accomplish your goals.
- Sit down and look at your to-do list. Anything that isn’t a priority should be assigned a new due date immediately. Don’t take these tasks off your list or you’ll find reasons to keep pushing them aside.
- Review each item that is a priority and see if you can still meet your original deadlines. If you know it will be impossible, contact your client(s) immediately and request an extension. Professionals don’t wait until the due date to inform clients they can’t hand in an assignment. Hopefully your clients are fine with a short extension so you'll have wiggle room to deal with your unexpected issues.
- Track your time. This will keep you focused on the task at hand. It also identifies areas in your schedule where time is being wasted. If you’ve just been dealt an unexpected project, now isn’t when you squander the moments you have.
- Consider timed sessions as a way to get to the end. Agree to work in 15 minute intervals. Set a timer, begin, and stop when the buzzer goes off. Breaking your task down into smaller chunks will make it easier to handle, allow you to judge your progress, and keep you focused.
Once the unexpected wrinkle in your carefully planned schedule is over, take a few moments to think about it. Was it truly unexpected? Is there a way it could have been avoided? Sometimes procrastination or allowing ourselves to get pulled away by distractions creates those unexpected moments that cause stress.
How do you handle the unexpected? Any tips you can share to make it easier?
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com