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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Best Made Plans Don’t Always Work Out

Here’s What You Can Do

I had great plans for the holiday period. I was going to relax and enjoy it with my friends and family, but I was also going to get a whole lot done. Being self-employed, there’s often a lot to do at year’s end. Plus, I find it is a great time to clear out the old and begin the year anew: uncluttered, unfettered, and highly motivated. It’s a great time to plan my goals, create a strategic plan for accomplishing the things that are important to me. The sort of life I want doesn’t happen accidently.

So when those plans began to go awry, I’ll admit it—it threw me. Nothing felt in synch with my plans. The relaxation I’d so looked forward to on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day didn’t happen. You see, I communicate with my mom in Florida at least once a day. She’s 94 and getting more and more frail. The 600+ miles between her in Florida and me in Tennessee sometimes makes it really difficult.

She’d caught a cold, but was doing pretty well. But by Christmas Eve morning, she was having difficulty breathing and was “thinking about calling 911.” It took several phone calls to siblings and her neighbor to finally get her to agree to do that around 1 p.m. You guessed it, she ended up in the hospital through Christmas. My sister was able to come and help out until she fell to the flu December 25th. My brother stepped into the breach, and came down from Gainesville to try to sort out what they were doing for her and how long she’d stay. She was ultimately discharged on the 27th, and had some friends who could check on her. Everybody agreed she was much better. 

December 28th was my birthday and I NEVER work on my birthday. It is the day I set aside to do whatever I want. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t work either. By the day after she came from the hospital, she was back having difficulty breathing, and I was trying to figure things out logistically from afar. I’d just had eye surgery and required frequent rechecks with the eye doctor, or I would have been in the car, driving down there to tackle what needed to be done in a more hands on way. 

She wasn’t eating. She struggled to breathe. She refused the idea of calling 911 again. Her neighbors handled the eating situation by bringing her food. (Not that she didn’t have some in the house, but she didn’t feel good enough to get up and heat it).

Finally, we got her to the doctors on the 29th and things got better. A nebulizer with medication helped with the inflammation in her bronchial tubes and lungs, and oxygen helped with the supply. It’s still a day-to-day proposition as we try to put everything she needs in place and get her to cooperate with the plan.

Needless to say, with the worry, wondering, phone calls, coordinating and communicating with siblings, neighbors, her doctor’s office, etc., a lot of my best plans went unaccomplished. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t resent that. It’s just a fact of life. You can have some great plans, but they won’t always work out.

When that happens, what can you do? The answer is born of necessity. Be flexible. Pay attention to the things that are most important and follow through with them, and pick up the rest when you can. You’ll need to figure out how to meet deadlines, especially if they are not flexible deadlines. Sometimes that will mean you’ll have to change your plans. Sometimes it means you’ll have to delegate tasks. Basically, you do what you can, when you can.

The whole idea of making plans is about making your life easier. When you can’t follow your plans in quite the way you’d hoped, you need to adapt and become flexible enough to meet the demands that are most important, and forgive yourself for the rest.

Plans can make you more productive, but only if you can figure out how to let go of them when necessary. Otherwise you’ll beat yourself up and wear yourself out trying to do too much.

What do you do when your plans get derailed? If this is something you struggle with, I’m happy to help you figure out how to manage it. After all, I’m getting to be an expert at both the planning and the recovery when those plans go astray.
Email me at Linda@InnerResourceCenter.com or call me at 865-983-7544.
"We get by with a little help from our friends." 

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