When Nothing Goes As Planned, Can You Stay On Track?

When Nothing Goes As Planned, Can You Stay On Track?
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Have you ever had a day where nothing goes as planned? We all have! Computers break down, cell phones fall in toilets, and children get sick. Life happens. Because you’re determined to be successful (otherwise you’re reading the wrong blog), you’re likely to stress out when you’re unable to be productive. Don’t allow yourself to become frustrated to the point where you lose sight of your goals for the day. You have to stay on track.

Are you familiar with the adage, “Anything that can go wrong will”? Most people can paraphrase Murphy’s law because life is full of unwelcome surprises that people struggle through and live to tell about. Well, it’s important not to get sidetracked when Murphy comes knocking. He’s just an unwelcome visitor that you can’t let ruin your day and all the tasks you have planned for it.

When The Unexpected Occurs And Threatens Your Productivity, Follow These Steps To Stay On Track

  • Stay calm and handle whatever obstacle falls into your path. Then return to your work.
  • Quickly re-evaluate where you are and identify which tasks are still priorities. The temptation to multitask will increase when you realize how much you still need to do. Don’t! Multitasking is never the answer.
  • Focus on accomplishing one activity at a time in order of priority for the duration of the day. As long as you work toward accomplishing your top priority, the entire day is not wasted.Stay positive and focused. Tomorrow is a new day to start fresh.

One of the unwelcome surprises I’ve had to deal with on several occasions over the years is having my computer crash. It usually happens on a day where I have a huge presentation I need to work on, a project that demands finishing, or an uncompromising deadline for material. Every time it happens, I feel like my ability to stay on track is being tested by the productivity gods. I’ve learned that you can’t avoid the inevitable computer crash or other inconveniences of the unexpected from happening. You just need to know how to use your time wisely when they occur. Here’s a helpful strategy:

How To Spend Your (Inevitable Computer Crash) Day

Once you realize there is nothing else you can do but wait for your computer to get fixed, you need to refocus your attention to activities that you can complete. Most often, the wasted time is simply lost to being frustrated and not being able to recalibrate quickly. The faster you can switch gears and focus the better off you will be.

I recommend creating a backup task list of tasks you can do and maybe even should do if your computer stops working. By the way, this list is not only for computer crash days, this list can be used whenever you find yourself with idle time. Such as, waiting at a doctor’s office, showing up early for a meeting, or finding yourself with “dead” time between appointments while out of the office.

The tasks don’t have to be high priorities. They can even be busywork, just as long as they’re tasks you intended to do anyway. Could you make the best use of your time by reading those trade magazines? Or, could you finally write those thank-you cards you keep putting off? That file cabinet sure could use purging. Or how about making a call to connect with a past or current client?

If you take the time to create such a list now, you’ll be prepared for what could otherwise be a wasted day. Stay on track by sticking to your plan, then referring to your backup plan as needed.

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Amber De La Garza

About the author

Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber helps small business owners maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most by improving their time management and elevating their productivity! Amber is a sought after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Small Business Straight Talk Podcast, and creator of Leverage Lab®.

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