Tips for unplanning for the planner

For as long as I can remember, it has been in my nature to be a planner. Anytime I have an appointment or a meeting when I was working, I think time is valuable and should be respected. I try to always be at least ten minutes early for everything, which is why lateness is one of my biggest pet peeves. Everyone knows when they have something scheduled, so when people are late, I think it is disrespectful because that impedes someone else’s time.

The pandemic has created many complications with planning and maintaining a “normal” schedule. For over two years we have encountered numerous twists and turns but have learned to master going with the flow. If you are anything like me and keep your calendar updated to the minute, going with the flow is not easy to accomplish!

As human beings, we prefer some type of certainty and normalcy in our lives, but the past few years of the pandemic have made planning difficult and certainty and normalcy impossible. The constant changes to our schedules, returning to an in-person environment or not, and shifting guidance from government and community feels like we are always on unstable territories.

For anyone that has a hard time letting go of plans of doing tasks without a checklist or schedule, you are not alone. I am going to share a few tips to help ease expectations and promote your confidence in your abilities to manage change.

1. Ensure you have a backup plan in place

No one appreciates it when plans fall through because we were looking forward to our plans. When we have a backup plan, it can focus on positive reactions and avoid disappointments and frustrations. Before getting our hopes up for dinner out with friends, think ahead and see all possible outcomes. Think about what else you will enjoy doing if your friends cancel dinner plans. Add something that would make you happy to add to your schedule, so you are not disappointed and can still do something enjoyable if plans change.

2. Slowly expose yourself to uncertainty

Unfortunately, the world is full of uncertainty, and we all know how terrifying this can be. Instead of running away from things we fear, it may be better to face things we fear head-on. When we are choosing a restaurant or a movie to go see, try not looking at the menu or movie trailer before going out. Wait until you are at the restaurant to view the menu or at the movie theater before deciding which movie to watch. You might discover a new food or restaurant or a new type of movie you enjoy! Plus, this is one way to ease yourself into uncertainty and baby steps to get past them.

3. Contemplate past experiences

In the past, there were times we were not able to live by our day planner and we made it through those times. Focus more on our abilities to adapt and accept changes. Remember times when our mind and composure got us through the most challenging times that we faced.

4. Recognize the constants

During times we feel like everything is out of control and chaotic, take a few moments to think about things you can control and will remain the same no matter what. Identify the silver linings that help pull you away from your negative thoughts spiraling out of control and remind you of the constants in life that keep you grounded. We may not have control of when and if the return to in-person work threat will come to fruition, but we can control other aspects of our life.

I hope this information helps you with unplanning your plans. If you have any other helpful ways of dealing with these challenges, I hope you will share them. This has been difficult for me because I have always lived by my day planner, but with the constant changes due to the pandemic and looking for a job I have not been using my planner as much. I do still keep all important dates updated, but I have not had many plans lately. I will be starting work again on March 21st, so I will have my days planned as much as possible again!

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope your weekend has started great and you are able to enjoy it safely. I do look forward to reading your comments and I will respond to all comments as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

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