Flexibility: Bend without Breaking

flexibility

It was about 2 in the morning when I realized the power had gone off. It was early Monday morning…the day that usually the busiest for HOPE Unlimited. The steady, sometimes heavy, rain continued, and by 5:00, when my day would normally start, the power was still off.

The power came on at 9:35, a full 4.5 hours later than my day would have started. I essentially lost a third of my day already, and on a day that already tended to have a large list.

I could do nothing but be flexible. I admit I wasn’t thrilled, but I survived. Here are a few flexibility tools I drew from.

  • I took advantage of the opportunity for extra rest. I lazed in the warm bed for longer than I normally would. Maybe I needed the rest.
  • I used some remaining Internet access. Due to a battery backup on our WiFi, I did have access to the Internet and could engage a bit, check something for a client, contact two other clients, etc.  I wasn’t fully functional, but by being prepared with that backup, I wasn’t completely off the grid on a work day.
  • I finished a book. I have a practice of finishing one book per month (not start and finish, but finish.) I had about 30 minutes left on this month’s book, so I was able to finish it. This was nice, as it was already the last week of the month and I hadn’t finished it yet.

When the power came on, I modified my routine. I decided to still go through some of the “morning motions” that are important foundations for my days. I did shorten or skip some, as appropriate though.

The key to the day was adapting. There are going to be things that happen out of your control. I’m all for making a reasonable plan for the day, using schedules and having lists. But unless we accept that our plans are mainly guidelines, we are going to live in a frustrated state most of the time. Maybe it’s better to start the day with an attitude of holding our plans loosely enough that if we need to adapt, we won’t over-stress about it.

 

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Beth Beutler is the Executive Director of H.O.P.E. Unlimited, a small business offering collaborative virtual assistance and business soft skill education to Help Overwhelmed Professionals Excel. She has over 25 years experience in administrative assistance and office management, soft skills training, and writing.