I had really thought that I had shared all of my thoughts with you about getting back in charge of your business and your life.

I wrote about what I thought were the 3 key strategies for getting out of overwhelm and into happy productivity.

  1. Do a Brain Dump by writing down absolutely every little and big task in one gargantuan list.
  2. Go through my Two-Part Priority Assessment System to clarify what jobs take top priority, as well as which ones you do well.
  3. And the piece that I thought was the last step in the process: Designing Your Time Bucket Puzzle in order to effectively schedule your days.

But I recently realized that creating an ideal schedule is really just that, an ideal. Real life has a way of disrupting even the best laid plans.

So when your lovely plans for the day get all messed up, how can you respond without beating yourself up and possibly giving up in despair of ever gaining control of your schedule and your life?

Here are some more positive ways of dealing with the inevitable interruptions in life:

  1. Set aside specific times for email and social media (preferably later in the day) so that you don’t fall into their bottomless time pits.
  2. Accept that even if you can’t get everything done that you want to do in a given day, you can always get at least some things done.
  3. You will feel much better about the things you do get done, if you focus on doing the most important things at the beginning of your day, before other stuff gets in your way.
  4. Come to terms with the fact that most jobs tend to take longer than we think they will. My husband Saul is well known in our family for preaching about always leaving yourself what he calls a cushion of time.
  5. If you have taken on a great and worthy cause that you know that you cannot complete yourself, or that perhaps won’t even be completed in your lifetime, console yourself with the wisdom of Rabbi Tarfon, as quoted in The Ethics of the Fathers: It is not your duty to complete the task, nor are you free to desist from it. We can all take pride in doing what we are able to do each day to repair our part of the world, as long as we realize that each little piece we accomplish is an important part of the larger whole.

As an additional suggestion, My late husband particularly liked to use the cushion of time strategy when he had an appointment somewhere. It reduced his stress level tremendously to know he had plenty of time to get to his destination.

I personally have found that when I don’t allow myself a cushion of time to drive somewhere, one or more of the following factors seem to come into play:

  • All the drivers ahead of me are driving 5-10 mph under the speed limit,
  • Most or all of the lights turn red in front of me
  • I get stuck behind a school bus,
  • There’s a road construction delay; or
  • I get stuck in a traffic jam.

If you would like to read or reread any of my prior tips about getting back in charge of your business and your life, you can find the first one in this series here.