How to Schedule for the Unexpected

Calendar  |

There is only so much an individual can do in a day. We've all heard it a zillion times. There are only so many hours in a day -- and we all have the same amount. For this reason alone -- you must have a calendar -- and for this reason alone -- you must schedule for the unexpected.

There will always be the unexpected.

Go ahead, tell me I'm racist and sexist.

The first time I made the statement below, I was told I was a sexist and then a racist. That was until the person pronouncing the label upon me actually saw me. The statement is this:

"One reason many businesses won't hire a women over a man is because a woman -- any woman -- no matter their race, culture or education will help their child in distress.

Later I added:

Next -- the same statement is doubly true -- if it is a mother or a wanna-be-mother. Next -- the same statement is not true -- if it is a man."

Society and business.

That being said -- in a generalized swing in societal consciousness as a whole -- at this moment in time we are beginning to allow this same attribute to develop in men. The tendency may have always been there in men -- but somehow these feeling were not really "allowed by society as a whole."

Years ago -- all businesses knew this.

Businesses "knew" (as they supposed), if you hire a woman -- more days would be taken off in the calendar year. Times, of course, have changed. There are now laws that mandate that women (and other minorities) be hired.

There is even a new (California) law, that companies have women on their boards. This is especially true if the résumés line-up. But should laws have had to be made for this contingency of "days off" to be had in the first place?

What only "smart" businesses knew at the time.

Calendaring -- writing lists -- and the entire suite of business essentials, has always been a woman's forté.

Without judging anyone but yourself: consider, the grocery list, the laundry and clothing list, the "get everything ready for school" list, and the "get docs written for the partners' work list." Many women will remember the, "read this book on marketing and tell me what it says," list. These "tasks," often fell to the female partner in a relationship.

When did it become popular to calendar your time?

My working mother told me that these "lists" were almost taboo to talk about in the 70's-80's.

For the "stay at home worker-mom's," a "list" could be interpreted as someone with less intelligence. This flawed thought process was there -- even if the woman garnered many degrees in her arsenal. Gratefully, times have changed and are changing -- and there has been a "come-back" for the needed and essential, "list."

What are the questions to be asked?

1. How can we calendar all jobs that must be done -- and all that we can and will do in one day?

2. How will we hold of all the meetings -- complete work, reports, and the code to be written?

3. How do we schedule all the writing and editing?

4. How will we keep the schedule really tight -- not waste time and get to all events?

Added to this -- make sure that everyone that we manage also gets their work done. Then, there are those pesky items that the boss has added to our lists -- today -- almost added as a non sequitur.

There is no question -- the final nail in your calendar coffin will be the last one. The unexpected -- or the "ill timed" emergency.

The non sequitur tasks.

These are all of the tasks that are not really yours. These are the broken wheels that you, personally, know how to fix. However, these wheels are not actually your job. Sadly, these are often the wheels we rush to fix first -- why?

One: A big reason we rush to fix these needed fixes -- is because we need to be needed and wanted.

Second: Could this task or emergency be the exciting change you were looking for in the first place?

Third: This particular broken wheel may be your excuse to finally take a break.

Fourth: You get the idea.

Is this "extra job" an incentive?

Maybe this "extra job" is your favorite task.

Maybe you are the product designer or writer. They are not on your list today -- but, oh you love to complete the extra task that is offered to you.

Did the job comes from your favorite company -- that is your client? You love to help out with this charity. Please, ask me to write about them -- since it wasn't done correctly and I really love them and their work.

When is the scheduling calendar broken?

You just need to watch for ideas to use or have a mentor to ask what they would do in an emergency.

You are not broken and the machine that is you isn't broken. Your calendar need not be broken -- you merely need a couple ideas how you'll proceed in an emergency.

How and where can you tuck little snippets of time -- so you can be the hero to someone -- today? How will you help save a coworker and still get your own work done?

You want and need to be a hero -- even if that hero is only to yourself.

For yourself -- you will plan your calendar and stick to your plan. You will schedule your meetings and work directly from your calendar. You'll read little tips about work and scheduling. You'll create and focus so you will become a pro at this calendar-scheduling.

You will keep your schedule tight so your work can all be done during the day -- or week. You will focus and produce high quality work day after day after day. Then -- when an emergency comes -- it won't be looking like another sad excuse.

The sad excuse.

The most important thing anyone can do for themselves as a freelancer, entrepreneur, or a business founder is to run a tight ship. Never use the "sad excuse."

The office peeps -- some ideas.

I decided to ask people in the office -- "How do you calendar for the unexpected." Whoa....I received several unexpected bonus's just for asking about unexpected events in other people's lives.

"I swim 60 laps," Joe Scott.

One man explained that he absolutely had to swim 60 laps everyday to stay in shape. The way he planned for the unexpected was to plan for an exactness in personal health. Then -- if an emergency came up -- his swimming is where he had some time he could cut-in-to.

I was mesmerized by that answer. Not so much how the "unexpected" was accomplished -- but that the unexpected was expected. "When we plan for the inevitable emergency, we are prepared," Joe told me.

"Know what an actual emergency entails," Mr. Wing.

I asked our post-person, Mr Wing, to explain the way he plans for the unexpected. All contingencies are taken care of by making a priority list.

His family is always first, he told me. "But," he told me, "you must teach the kids what an emergency is. Getting up late is not an emergency for a ride. Not finishing work or leaving something at home is not an emergency."

Does an injury count?

Mr. Wing looked down at his leg. He asked me if I had noticed that he was limping. I answered that indeed I had noticed. He told me to note that he was at work and that his leg hurt. He said, "this also teaches the children that you don't just take off work or school for something small. If you can work, you work -- and the same goes for school."

If there is any "true" emergency, he will be there -- and his children know this.

Preparation is needed in some concrete way.

When asked over the phone, "How do you prepare for the unexpected?" John Hall (Top of Mind), mentioned that the way he prepares for the unexpected is to:

"build and keep resources in your work teams. Keep your brain in the flexibility mode so that you can react quickly to fill in for someone who needs it. In this way -- if you are in trouble -- someone on your team will fill in for you -- and you can fill in for them." John Hall, book author, Top of Mind.

The "how-to" of the unexpected scheduling dilemma?

Keep looking for the perfect solution to "the unexpected scheduling dilemma." The main reason to keep looking is because there just isn't a perfect solution. Know this, however, the more you look for the perfect -- solution -- the more solutions you will find. What fits today -- may not fit tomorrow's problem.

Keep your eye's and ears open.

As you look and find ideas -- write this information on your calendar -- or in a calendar notebook. DO keep these thoughts in your mind. When you have an emergency that isn't "scheduled" -- you will have an answer.

DISCLOSURE: None


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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