How to develop a rhythm and still allow for the unexpected

by Carol Williams

In my first blog this month we looked at routine and structure and how incorporating the two into your life gives you much more freedom. And this is true, but as with many things, it’s often easier said than done.

Creating new habits and getting them to stick can be hard and requires “discipline.” Now, I am not a big fan of this word, Discipline. However, many like it. For example, my son has a note on his mirror “Discipline or Regret.” Wow. So I think it works for some, and likely more often for MEN. I run a group for men with AD/HD called the BetterMan club and they keep coming up with this word. So please use it, if it suits you.  Now, when you’re in the process of creating freedom via routine, there are some things you need to take into consideration…

Such as: What happens when the unexpected occurs?

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘expect the unexpected’, and as contradictory as that may sound, the principle is clear – always have a contingency.

When you start the process of structuring your days and weeks, it’s tempting to add far too much to your task list, especially at times when we’re feeling super productive. Remember, we often get less done in a day than we anticipate but we often get more done in one week than we expect.

Always allow space on your task list for those unforeseen circumstances. Something urgent may crop up, you may have a personal emergency, a task may take twice as long as you originally planned for.  Allow space for this. If you don’t take these unexpected things into consideration, you’ll end up having to reassess your entire plan which may set you back so far that you become overwhelmed and anxious, leading to stress and procrastination which just set you back further.

Fortunately, there’s a great way to make sure you get the important (but sometimes less than exciting stuff) out of the way before you get on with everything else.

Eat that frog!

I’ve talked about this before in my blog post 3 ways to create focus part 2

“What’s your frog? I’d define your “frog” as that thing you are not doing. That thing you keep putting on your list but you avoid. Eat it. Get it over and done. Is it a confusing frog? Nail down one clear and do-able frog leg, then. Eat that. Your reward can be doing the little stuff. The reactive “atta-boy or atta-girl” stuff. The emails where people are saying, “wow you are so helpful and responsive!” Believe me, you can still be helpful and responsive. And you will be accountable and kind to YOU by eating the frog. Even if it’s only the frog leg.”

Eating that frog enables you to work on the thing you’ve been putting off. Get it out of the way – no excuses. Train yourself to focus on that one thing first, before anything else, and you’ll see progress in no time. That way, all the truly important stuff will be done by your second cup of coffee.

One more word. Don’t do too much at once. Go really easy on yourself. Start your structure with a morning routine. You will fall in love with this concept and it will change your life.

In closing….remember this. Develop your rhythm and routine, create structure for yourself that allows for the unexpected and eat that darn frog!

For more great Time Management Tools see our Management Course.

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