Yesterday was a great day.
But yesterday did not go as planned.
It all started with a 7:30 a.m. car appointment–a bit brutal for the Monday after a holiday and appointments before 10 a.m. generally throw off my morning routine.
I got home around 9:45 a.m. and started working on projects. But since I’m home with my family for the holidays, it was a bit hard to tune out the conversations and commotions, including the sump pump switch failing. (Thank God my dad and brother are ingenious!)
My normal work flow was also interspersed with unexpected calls, including one from the fabulous Adam Carroll who is an expert on “Winning the Money Game” and calls to Tina’s Italian Bake Shop to make sure they had cannoli reserved for our dinner party.
Then my brother, sisters, and I had the pleasure of whipping up an Italian feast for our dad’s guests, Mark Pufundt, Chicago chairman of The Institute for Management Studies, and his lovely wife, Barb.
All of this was fabulous, and I especially enjoyed Mark’s stories about working with top notch trainers like Dr. Russell Ackoff.
But at the end of the day, I realized I had only scratched half of the items off my list. Sad. As someone who gets really excited about getting things done, I was disappointed.
So how did I make the most of the fact that my day did not go as planned?
Here are my top three strategies.
1. Plan Your Day First Thing: At the car place, I did all of my morning processing (answered all my work e-mail, went through my calendar, reviewed my to-do list, returned voicemails, looked at my Palm, and went through the day’s paper file) so I didn’t have any mental anxiety that I might be missing something important. I also came up with a clear to do list and set my priorities so I completed the most important, time-sensitive tasks first.
2. Set Your Expectations: If I had followed my own advice in E Tip-How do I wrap up for the holidays?, I would not have planned to accomplish much my first day back in the office after five days off. Also, I need to realize that I can’t be as productive when I’m home with my family. The key to feeling satisfied with what you accomplish in a day is setting realistic expectations and then achieving them instead of constantly beating yourself up when you can’t reach impossible ones.
3. Give Yourself a Break: No, I didn’t complete everything on my list, but I did turn in all assignments that had to be done Monday, my car is all set to go to Kansas City this afternoon, and my family and I enjoyed a wonderful evening with the Pufundts. I could have gotten myself all in a tizzy last night and tried to stay up late and then stressed myself out today. But I didn’t. I just forgave myself for any sense of guilt that I hadn’t completed everything on my list. Went to bed on time, got up at my normal 6 a.m., and planned the day as usual.
Life happens. You and I can’t control everything and everyone around us. But we can control ourselves, plan to succeed, and then encourage ourselves to move forward instead of condemn ourselves for any regrets in the past.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
To a Brilliant 2009!
Coach. Trainer. Speaker.