I love to plan. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone. Along with that comes my strong dislike of having to change plans. Flexible is definitely not my middle name. Being a business owner and mother, however, has forced me to become a bit more comfortable with the idea of having a Plan B…at all times. I was reminded of the importance of this “skill” last week, when my son had both a snow day and a sick day in the same week. That, my friends, does not typically make for a highly productive work week by my standards. I’m happy to report, however, that I was able to make the most of the unplanned time at home, and still stay relatively on-track with my overall goals for the week. Here’s my take on the habits and tools that helped me stay on track:
1. Task Management Tool: I am pretty consistent about dumping out all of the to-do’s running through my mind into my task management tool, which is currently a low-tech paper-based tool called Planner Pad™. So regardless of where I am, how much time I have, and what resources are/not available to me, I can look at my project & task lists and identify something that I can conquer and cross-off. Since my office is at home, I caught up on paper filing, cleaned up my digital files, and worked ahead on some social media content while my little man was sleeping and watching shows.
2. Urgent versus Important: Another habit I’ve developed is confidently deciding what is urgent, what is important, and accepting that some things just need to wait…and that is OK. It has taken me a long time to get here though!
3. Work-Life Integration: We live in a world of constant accessibility. Work is accessible to us 24/7, thanks to email and the cloud. We are accessible 24/7 to everyone (family, friends, co-workers, clients) thanks to Facebook, texting, video chat, etc. There is no longer a clear line between when we are working and when we are doing LIFE. There are a lot of negatives to this fact, but one of the positives is that work can be done during off-hours, and taking care of our family can happen between 9-5. So I gave myself permission to play some board games, postponed writing this blog, and enjoyed some “Mom and Eli” time.
When I started my business 11 years ago, I had a really hard time giving myself permission to integrate the personal and professional parts of my life without feeling guilty about it. Most of us come from an experience where “the boss” didn’t want us making personal calls and running personal errands during our time on-the-clock, right? But being my own boss means I have the luxury to do just that, and with the self-discipline I have developed, I trust that I will get the work done even if it is late at night or on the weekend. Plan B turned out to be just as good as Plan A; in fact, it was even better. My “Champy” will be grown up before I know it, and I’ll be wishing I’d had more “Plan B” days doing LIFE with my son. Work will always be there to pick back up the next day.
To Your Productivity-