Change of Plans

Action plans are great tools. I urge you to use them.

But I also urge you to use them loosely. Stuff happens. We don’t know the future. Priorities may change, and that’s okay.

It’s fine to tweak. Truly. In fact, since you don’t know everything and you don’t rule the world, it’s pretty much required. Knowing this as you make action plans and work them out helps a great deal.

  • As you create your plan, allow for other options. Don’t think of your plan as etched in stone. You can also add in any ideas that come to mind, as you draft your plan, as a side note for any step. Or you can simply keep your brainstorming notes for reference when you have to make adjustments along the way. This is your contingency plan.
  • Continue to hold your plan loosely as you work it. Don’t let yourself think that one thing not happening as you wrote it will spoil the whole project. Practice responding to unforeseen changes with, “That’s okay. Now what will we do?” Your problem-solving skills will only get better and better each day.
  • Appreciate the path when you are done. Look back at how you arrived with a smile. It will help you as you start the next plan.

Remember, if Plan A doesn’t work out as you thought, don’t give up. Plans B and C and D are just other creative ways to move forward.

Organize Your To-Do List

Your to-do list is a key tool, and we have talked about the importance of having one and how to use it in other posts. Today we will go one step further and see how you can use your list more effectively.

You can sort your to-do list into groups that help you choose one more quickly in the moment. If your list has three boxes (or colors, or columns, etc.) — At Home, On the Road, On the Phone — you can go directly to that section when you are in that place.

For instance, when you are waiting for practice to end, you can look right at the Phone tasks and pick one phone call to make in those few minutes. You knock it off at the best time, and you don’t have to review your entire list to see what could work at that time.

Your Home tasks will be front burner when you are home with unscheduled time for taking care of that stuff. Your Travel tasks will be the group you tackle on the way somewhere or during the 2 hours of “getting out” time in the morning. Your Phone tasks can be calls or updates in an app or online orders or online research — whatever is needed and fits for that tool.

If you use tech options for your to-do list, those should have filters or labels or folders that allow you to divide up your list in these groups.

This doesn’t change your need to prioritize your tasks and activities, but it does help you know where to go when you have an opportunity that only fits some tasks.