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Adjusting Your Schedule on the Fly

If you have scheduled your day perfectly and are certain you have allowed yourself just enough time to get everything done, something is certain to happen. You will encounter an emergency of some sort. Or an old friend to whom you have not spoken in years. If you are at home, the dishwasher will suddenly overflow. It is the Murphy’s Law variation for time management. If something can mess up your schedule, it will.

These situations can be incredibly frustrating. You have gone through the time and effort to devise a good organizational system and have coupled that awesome plan with real dedication. You have gone beyond learning a system and have actually implemented it. This should your moment of glory–your opportunity to reach new heights of productivity. Instead, you find yourself sitting in a veterinarian’s office with your sick cat or shuffling through stacks of CD-ROMs after a mysterious software crash.

The temptation at that moment is to chuck the plan completely and to just go back to being Mr. or Ms. Disorganized. At least when you did not have a plan, nothing could ruin your plan. It is easy to start thinking of your strategies as nothing but wasted effort when events seem to conspire against you.

There are decisive moments in any endeavor, and the moment of truth for those involved with time management is when they realize some external force has taken their carefully planned activity list, wadded it up and tossed it aside. This is the point at which one either surrenders or learns to adjust his or her schedule on the fly.

Making quick adjustments can be challenging but it is possible. The first step is to conduct damage control. If unforeseen circumstances will push you off your schedule, your first thought must be directed toward those who will be adversely impacted by delay. Handle them first. Explain the situation and keep them in the loop.

That may not apply in all cases. If no one else is relying upon you to maintain your schedule, you may immediately begin the second step in the process. This involves dumping non-essential tasks down your list and even into subsequent days, if necessary. If this frees up enough time, you can stop there.

If things are still far too tight, you will have to start looking at your top priorities and decide which ones are truly the most important. These will receive the quickest treatment. Secondary tasks will be relegated to an “optional” status and will be reset for the subsequent day.

In the end, unforeseen challenges will mess up your schedule. That is unavoidable. When your perfect ten-hour day is cut down to five hours, you will need either to work twice as fast or compromise your schedule. It can certainly be a challenge, but it is a challenge you can meet. Adjusting your schedule on the fly is probably the last thing you wanted to do when you sat down to start your day, but life’s unpredictability forces even the most strict time managers to develop a high level of flexibility.

Jeff Casmer is an internet marketing consultant with career sales over $25,000,000. His “Top Ranked” Earn Money at Home Directory gives you all the information you need to start and prosper with your own Internet Home Based Business.