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Are you ready for surprises?

By Marques • Jun 24th, 2007 • Category: Daily Planning, Personal Development, Productivity

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It’s a normal day for you. Nothing out of the ordinary, everything goes smooth and easy and suddenly… …surprise! There goes your day…

by eyeRmonkey (flickr)

Unfortunately, during the course of our days and lives, not all surprises come in a gift wrap. Some of them come by phone, email, or just pure and simply someone drops them in your face. And the surprises I’m talking about have nothing to do with your birthday. They come everyday, usually when you don’t expect them and, if you are not prepared, can truly destroy your day.


So, how ready for surprises are you?

Whether it’s an unexpected meeting, a report that needs to be made by tomorrow, a sudden trip or, on a personal level, just a detour to the supermarket to buy something that you were not expected to be in need of, this sort of surprises will introduce changes on your day plan and need to be dealt with.

Instead of fighting with yourself to find the time for them and stressing all day, the best way to deal with them is just to be prepared. Take them and embrace them in your day in a way that, although unexpected, does not need to be a source of chaos.


Be aware that surprises can happen

This is the first big step. Don’t think for one moment that your day is immutable. Surprises and not expected events are ubiquitous. Maybe they don’t happen to you on a daily basis but be sure that once in a while they are there. So, accepting this is the best way to “attack” them. Remember that old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them”? Knowing and accepting that you can’t avoid them will reduce your stress and make you more focused for the task ahead than if you start thinking that this things only happen to you.


Attack the problem: use your to-do list

You’re still not using a to-do list?! Change that.

Recently there were a couple of posts in this blog by Mellanie Brown that might help you there: Include ?Use to-do list? in your to-do list and 5 Simple ways to actually Use your to-do lists. Make sure that you read them and understand the importance of a to-do list to keep your day organized.

If you have a layout of what your day is going to be, it becomes much easier to attribute a time slot to anything unexpected. Learn how to shuffle your to-do list items in a way that allow to include new items for your day. And one very important thing (more or less important depending on the amount of unexpected events you have on your days) is to make time for them. Don’t stuff your to-do list in a way to use all your minutes of the day. Moreover, experts say that only about 60% of your day is going to be filled with things you were expecting. The other 40% are usually for things you could not have foreseen. Remember this when you create your to-do list and dealing with surprises becomes much more easy. A day has only 24 hours.


Don’t let unexpected events destroy your motivation

If you are ware that surprises happen to everyone and you can’t avoid them, then it becomes easier not to let anything unexpected destroy your motivation. But I know it is very hard not to let things that disrupt your day put you down, specially if some of them are not so enjoyable to you.

If you let yourself get less motivated, your productivity will suffer, you will need more time to strike your to-do list items and it will be harder to deal with everything. When something unexpected comes up that needs your time, just rearrange your to-do list and move on.


Learn from surprises

Finally, take something out of these unexpected events. Surprises can push your limits and provide new challenges which is a highly motivator for some people. Learn how this affects your day and pay special notice on how you react. From here, take some conclusions on how you can adjust to future events. You’ll learn how to better organize yourself and keep your productivity levels high throughout the day.


Turn this points into a part of your subconscious and you’ll see how surprises are not so bad things after all and can even be points where your daily routine deviates to bring new experiences and forms of learning. Remember:

  • Accept
  • Respond
  • Learn


How do you deal with unexpected events? It’s just a new source of stress or you are constantly learning from it? Share it with us…

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3 Responses »

  1. Come back, we miss you!
    Make us a surprise :)

  2. Hi Wake Up Early…

    Thanks for your comment.
    I’ll come back. If not with surprises, at least with posts to the best of my ability.

  3. [...] Are you ready for surprises? [...]

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