But what about when you can’t complete the work you’d planned? Perhaps a supplier didn’t show, or someone’s out sick, or you’re waiting on work from a coworker before you can get going. Two thoughts for that moment things start to go awry:
1. Do what you can. We tend to grab any chance to postpone work. And while that may seem to make sense at times, it’s not a good idea. Odds are that any work you do instead won’t be nearly as important as what you’d originally scheduled. So push on.
Let’s say you still need some figures for a report you’re drafting. Don’t let that hold you up; do everything you can without the data. Or say a Zoom meeting keeps cutting out for some reason. Just pick up the phone instead. Or see how far you can get on your own.
In short, find a workaround. Don’t give up easily, and resist the urge to instantly jump to Let’s reschedule for next week. Do what you can today.
2. Work ahead in your calendar. When plans fall through, you may be tempted to tackle urgent but unimportant tasks instead. And if you’re at all frustrated by having to change your plans, you’re not exactly in the best position to assess what matters most.
I try to get into the habit of starting another task I had scheduled for today. After all, I’d already decided that’s important. Working on something important to you also helps get you back into a positive frame of mind.