How to Stop Overplanning and Embrace the Chaos

J.Lynn Designery | Stop Overplanning and Embrace the Chaos

Hi, there. I’m Jenna, a type a, itinerary-making over-planner.

Or…I used to be.

While the desire for lists and notes and more lists runs deep in my bones and likely will for all eternity, sticking to those carefully crafted lists is not always an easy task — running a business has taught me that much. (And I can only imagine the level of control that must be lowered once kiddos are in the picture!)

But here’s the thing: I’m learning that it’s a lot less important to have a neat and tidy plan for everything than it is to simply learn how to live with — and hopefully, embrace! — the chaos that surrounds everyday life.

Interruptions, emergencies, and last-minute tasks will always happen: this I know without a doubt. Finding ways to deal with this midday madness, however, has helped wonders with my sanity and daily planning by working a little more flexibility and open-mindedness into my day.

Buffer time

Lists will always be my go-to for prioritizing and brain dumps — both of these usages help me clear my head and gain some focus around the most important things that week. From there, however, I find it super beneficial to simply build buffer time into my day that allows me the flexibility to meet chaos head-on and address it instead of running and hiding from the madness.

For me, this buffer time usually comes toward the end of the workday. I create working hours for myself every day; during this time, I plan to accomplish the tasks on my Daily Priorities planning pad. Any remaining time for the day is open and available for emergencies and quick turn tasks that inevitably pop up most days. Even if I have to interrupt my workflow earlier in the day for something unexpected, I know that built-in buffer time later in the day will then be used to continue working through that day’s priority list.

Gaining perspective

Another tactic that works wonders? Stepping back from the situation and gaining some perspective — if time allows. What often pops up as an emergency that must be handled RIGHT that minute sometimes seems a lot less urgent once I’ve had a chance to evaluate the task being asked of me. Does it really need to be done within the hour, or can we work with a 24-hour timeline to make it happen? Look at the worst case scenario — what would happen if we took two days to complete something being asked of us in a day? Step back, assess, and make a plan for handling the chaos.

By creating space around day-to-day interruptions and stepping back to gain some perspective on each individual situation, I feel better equipped and in a much more capable mindset to handle the thing being asked of me — resulting in a more pleasant work experience…and probably, even better work. Start finding small ways to embrace the chaos that pops up in your day-to-day life, and you’ll find yourself much less annoyed and more prepared to handle the madness.

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