I took the week off. No going into the office. No answering emails. I didn’t even let myself think about work. Instead of earning money, I planned to spend seven days concentrating solely on writing a twenty-page paper for school.
Unfortunately, by Tuesday I’d done little more than drink coffee and eat donuts. Not because I was distracted or lazy, which is normally the case, but because I’d changed my mind about the topic and had to wait for the arrival of new research materials.
I felt like a failure. I felt like I’d wasted time and money. I felt like I should call my boss and try to reschedule my vacation. I felt like giving up. But I didn’t. Instead, I asked myself a few key questions:
- What CAN You Do? I knew I couldn’t work on the paper without the research materials, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t prepare. I could free-write, continue my research, write an outline.
- What Else is on Your Agenda? I am a planner. My notebook planner and my digital calendar, both stocked with to-do lists, are always within reach. I always know, at a glance, everything I have to do at any given time. I could have easily picked another task on my list.
- What Are You Behind On? Truthfully, I’m always lacking in some area. Usually, I haven’t done something, and that something is normally whatever it is I don’t want to do. And as we all know, not wanting to do a thing, doesn’t mean we can get out of it.
After wasting time on a ton of anxiety and worry, what I learned is, if I’m going to be intentional, effective and impactful this year, I have to be able to adjust my schedule. Things will happen. I’ll change my mind. I’ll make mistakes and I can’t stop working because of that. I can’t get bogged down with regret. I have to keep going in spite of. I have to learn how to readjust at a moments notice. I can’t waste my energy.