Episode 138 – Change of Plans

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You may be the spontaneous type. Always available to go try out something new and looking forward to the interruption.

This isn’t me. I’m a planner. I love to plan and feel like I’m moving forward toward my aspirations.

Yet, even with the greatest of plans things don’t go the way I thought they would.

In fact, most of life involves interruptions to plans.

Does this mean you shouldn’t plan? No. It’s still important. Planning requires using the focused, decision-making part of the brain.

But, just as important as planning may be the ability to know when to step away from the plan.

Be open to the opportunities that disrupt the plan. And, notice what you can experience and learn in these moments.

If you are spontaneous, you may benefit from more planning practice.

If you aren’t, this can be a time for allowing more spontaneity. Allowing changes of plans can often result in further insights and experiences that… help you find and offer up your best work.

Episode 138 Transcript

This is Rebecca Clark Episode 138 Change of plans. Mm hmm. This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? Mm hmm. Hello my friends. I hope that you had a wonderful thanksgiving if you are in the United States and that you carry forward some of the gratitude that you may have focused on this last week or two. I know I’m making a goal to show my gratitude more on social media. And so I’m trying to post every few days now about things I am grateful for and some of those are big things and some of those are little things. But one of the things I am grateful for is my ability and desire to plan and the opportunity to get more accustomed to changing my plans if the opportunity arises now I’m not a particularly spontaneous person and perhaps that is why I’m a good planner. Right? I like to plan and I like to follow that plan and right now I review hundreds of assignments each week from students that are learning how to plan and I’m also leading a pilot for my own business with a few people and in that I’m sharing with them some principles that I use as I plan and I’m someone who decides on where I want to go in life, I have some defined life priorities from those priorities I kind of have loose goals around those priorities And from those loose goals I make habits and the habits are what I put into my weekly planning sessions. I put them on my calendar and then it’s my job in the moment to follow the habit that I planned to do right. So you can kind of see how that goes and then I review what I did every week, I review that and I adjust accordingly. So I’m pretty good at following my plan on any given day. I do a lot of what I planned until those moments where the unexpected arises and if I try to follow the plan, I get overwhelmed and anxious and perhaps miss out on some of the opportunities that come from veering from the plan. So this week with the holidays I had to veer from my plan, visitors that I was expecting did not come, but other visitors did. And so I was able to have some great conversations and insights in that process. I also made the choice on thanksgiving to set up a couple of conference calls with my students there around the world and most of them were not celebrating thanksgiving. And so I thought what a perfect day to do this. So I got on a couple of times that day on video with people in different parts of the world and talked about the course, answered questions, gave insights, got questions from them that I need to pursue answers on and I felt like it was a very good use of time, but there was a consequence to that and to the visitors. I did not finish grading some assignments within the typical time frame that’s required and it felt like it was out of the blue. But I got an email saying the systems alerting you that you did not comply with a requirement to get all your assignments corrected by a certain day for week number 11 of the course. Now as I’m sharing this, I’m like, wow, I gotta give myself a pat on the back. I don’t remember seeing any of these messages for week one through 10. Right? So I must have been doing something right? But in the two or three hours, well it’s probably more like four that I spent time preparing and interacting with the students. I was not correcting assignments and I could have easily gotten all of those assignments corrected in those four hours. But instead I chose an activity that I thought would be valuable and demonstrate that I was being available for students and in the process, the system that measures everything very electronically and mechanically pinned me saying basically your performance is lower this week. Be careful during this time my son also felt sick. He wouldn’t admit to it until he realized that he could get a day off of school from it. But he had some congestion and a lot of coughing and so I kept him home for two days and that matters when you’re coming off of a holiday weekend, right? Because essentially he’s been home a week and so there are things that don’t happen on my plan when he’s home. And I got really frustrated on the first day of his home because I said, I have planned to create videos and I am going to do these videos no matter what. So I try to record these videos and every minute I had to stop because there’d be a cough or a sniffle and of course the tiny person cannot stay out of my space, right? He could be so many places far away from me where I couldn’t hear a thing, But he kept migrating back to within four or 5 ft of the computer where I was recording, I thought this is crazy. I spent an hour starting and stopping and starting over For a five minute video and I finally realized, you know what this was on your plan. But it’s time to pivot, You can go wash the dishes, you can go vacuum a room, you can go take the garbage out, you can do other chores right now and there will be no issue. Right? Who cares if someone’s coughing in the house, if you’re taking out the garbage, I mean you’re not even in the house half the time so you won’t even hear it. But if you’re trying to record a video that’s important to you and that’s happening. It’s creating undue stress for no reason because there’s plenty of other things to do. I could also create the video in the middle of the night if I wanted to and I did try that method, There are so many other options. And so sometimes when we’re in planning, we focus on working on our mindset to say, do the plan, do what you promised yourself when you were thinking through what the best use of your time was. But other times I think we need to pull back and go, you know, what, is there another way? Is there something else I can get done right now? That’s highly valuable. That doesn’t create extra pain for me or for the other people involved. This is a creative process. This is a willing process where we say, okay, let me adjust my plan. And when we adjust our plans, sometimes it will create delays. Sometimes we will get an email saying you did not do what you planned, you are an error and we have to accept the consequences of that at times. But I just wanted to share it with you today that we’re getting through it. My son is at school today. I’m recording my podcast. I’m going to record some other videos. I’m going to go down my to do list and that we’re all going to be able to follow our plan for this week. But I wanted to offer you today some final thoughts about Plans and being willing to change plans. No one, it is important to plan, right? The process of planning uses that analytical decision making part of our brain. It’s where we are demonstrating that we are in charge of ourselves and that we are thinking through the process of how to move forward to get something done in our life. So I encourage you to always have a plan knowing that it’s an estimate. It’s a desired approach. But number two, it’s also important to be able to pivot if the child is sick and doesn’t think they’re sick, but they’re coughing and you’re like, okay, this coughing matters to me because I was going to record videos. This is a time to go, Okay. I’m going to honor the fact that I plan to do this. I’m also going to honor the fact that this moment in time is different than I thought it would be. So what else can I do right now? And what other options do I have to complete? Everything I need to do and in that moment you can look at what you planned and go, look, there’s something later in the plan that I wanted to do. Maybe I can do that other thing now and I can figure out how to work on what I know I need to work on at a later time. Number three embrace opportunities. I had visitors that were not part of my plan. What if I had said, nope, can’t do this right now? I want to see you later, that might have been fine. But I also know that people I saw weren’t from around here. Right? So there’s a level of effort involved. If I had to then create a trip and go visit somewhere and here they had been brought right to me and there’s a perfect chance to see people that I had wanted to see and be able to improve our relationship. So I was able to embrace those moments where I had with them and realized it came at a cost in some areas, but the cost wasn’t high and it was okay. There is much greater reward to spend time with people. I love number four apply what you learn from embracing the opportunities. There’s a reason your plan didn’t go as you thought it would. It helps to reflect and wonder why, why didn’t my plan go as I thought it would. Okay. There were visitors hadn’t intended that. Okay, so now I know that if I have some things that are really important, maybe I get those things done first. If I think there’s a chance for uncertainty coming for example, with the holidays, right? There’s a chance for uncertainty. People are traveling around doing different things, not following their typical schedule, knowing that means that prior to the holiday, I could have gotten all of those high value activities done versus scheduling them in time where there could have been some uncertainty that I would have to deal with. What else did I learn. I learned that if your child is sick, you have to adjust things but you can adjust them in a way that helps the child and you reduce your pain as well. Do some of the other things on the list or maybe you take a nap right in front of them because you know, you could be up late one night, embrace the moments you have to talk with people that you haven’t seen in a while. There’s always new insights that come from those conversations. People have different lives and experiences, embrace what you learn. I wrote down in my notes on my phone, four or five new books to take a look at as a result of the conversations I had this weekend, I was re inspired to move forward on certain goals as a result of my discussions this weekend, how grateful I am for those interruptions and disruptions to my plan. I’m even grateful for the train that came through this town as I tried to start this podcast because I had to restart it five times and I have shared with you slightly different thoughts than I had originally intended and I’m going to assume that’s okay because maybe there was an opportunity in that to share something that will help one of you and when I re listened to this to edit it, there will be something that helps me keep planning, but also keep pivoting as opportunities arise, embrace those opportunities and as you are going through those opportunities and experiences, Remember to take whatever you can from them, learn from them and apply that. Learning to your next steps. I hope you have a great week. Talk to you soon. Thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it, I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends, sign up for a weekly nudge at move your desk dot com.

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