Priority Scheduling in a Time Crisis

Ever had complete control of your schedule, then something happens that causes you to redirect? Sometimes these schedule killers are moments of crisis, but I am referring more to normal times when we continue to try to force ourselves into a schedule that just does not work.

My recent loss of control is a puppy conflict. Yes, we acquired a Siberian Husky named Luna. Odd thing about puppies – they tend not to sleep through the night.

 

 

When we brought her home, I knew that the boys would take care of her. But, somehow I forgot that I was not really going to let the boys head outside in the middle of the night. So of course, Lea and I deal with the puppy at night. While the timing is getting better, it took me 3  weeks to realize I was causing myself frustration by trying to hold my current schedule while living with a new puppy. I tried to hold to my schedule of waking up early, working out, getting key actions done, and then getting to work. But Luna has caused me chaos! Now I find myself recovering from being up two to three times a night to let the Luna out. While she is getting better, I am still in shock.

So today, I am creating a new “puppy schedule.”  Instead of being to the office by 8:30, now it is 10. And worst of all, my workouts have moved to end of the day instead of the start of the day.  Activities are being moved around so I can do things at other hours – mostly nighttime. While the solution is temporary, today in the first time in a while, I have a bit of sanity.

Like Michael Hyatts’s “more margins” blog post, I have to work around what my ideal week is while dealing with reality. Like budgeting money, you can only spend what you get (unless you are Congress), so now I have adjusted for Luna time. She is so properly named!

Scheduling Priorities in a Crisis 

A time crisis, like a budget crisis, forces you to focus on the key things. Dave Ramsey often counsels people that when a money crisis hits, you focus on food, shelter, basic clothing, transportation, and utilities. (OK – not 100% sure of the order or the list – but you get the idea.) The same thing goes with a time crisis. Here is a guide to focusing on priorities.

  1. Your Core – By CORE for most people I mean the spiritual element. To me, that is Christ. This is an area we often skimp on when time gets tight, and the result is a massive amount of stress. I have to keep focused on Christ, because that alone helps me to focus on the rest of the priorities.
  2. Yourself – This may sound selfish, but I have learned that when I do not take care of me, everyone and everything else suffers. For me this means exercise and eating the best I can. We often sacrifice ourselves in the short term, but if we try to maintain that for any time, even a week, everything else suffers.
  3. Family and Relationships – While I might not be able to serve all of these well at this time, I can at least communicate to others why I cannot. For instance, I can let them know I am in a crisis mode and ask for their help. This is better than just ignoring people. This is particularly evident when people hit a work crisis – they punish friends and family. Instead, let them know of your crisis and ask for help.
  4. Your Team – While these are relationships, I point them out separately since they are in a unique positions to help you. They can cover for you where your work is concerned. Again, lean on them and let them know your situation. So often I see people who ignore this group of people. In IEM we form accountability teams, and our clients quite often forget to lean on this group of people. Instead, have them work for you like you would work for them in s similar situation.
  5. Basics – By basics, I mean those simple things you must do to keep things working. For me my team is critical in helping me know what are the basics.
Benefits of a Scheduling Crisis
There are benefits of a time crisis.
  1. Friends - Yes, now is where you see who the friends are and who was just using you. While you were there for them, they cannot do for you. Good thing to know.
  2. Clarity – Like a money crisis, when you get a time crisis you realize some things just do not matter. Perhaps you should eliminate them forever.
  3. Delegation – I tend to be a terrible delegator. I try to do it all. When time struggle hit, I delegate. And, often I have been told I should have delegated way before the crisis hit. The result, I never have to mess with this activity again since someone else is doing it better than I was. See more on delegation here.
Question: What have I left out? Please, I need help.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cassidy-G-Callahan-Cash/58902141 Cassidy G. Callahan Cash

    For me, working from home with a toddler, setting deadlines—especially when it came to projects for my clients–was something I had to learn. It became important–vital– to schedule “toddler moments” into the expectations I place on myself. Allowing for, and consequently planning for, the unexpected helped me to not only be more professional, but also to have more control. The “crazy moments” were no longer knocking me off my game, since I had incorporated dealing with them into my plans up front. Another great plus side is that when the crazy moments don’t happen–you come in ahead of schedule. :)

    You’re right–managing your time is a very much like an emergency fund when budgeting your money.

    It’s also useful to have a list of “the essentials”–the things. This helps me to know what can be knocked off the “to do” first (vs what has to happen no matter what) whenever a crisis occurs that knocks me off my ideal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cassidy-G-Callahan-Cash/58902141 Cassidy G. Callahan Cash

    For me, working from home with a toddler, setting deadlines—especially when it came to projects for my clients–was something I had to learn. It became important–vital– to schedule “toddler moments” into the expectations I place on myself. Allowing for, and consequently planning for, the unexpected helped me to not only be more professional, but also to have more control. The “crazy moments” were no longer knocking me off my game, since I had incorporated dealing with them into my plans up front. Another great plus side is that when the crazy moments don’t happen–you come in ahead of schedule. :)

    You’re right–managing your time is a very much like an emergency fund when budgeting your money.

    It’s also useful to have a list of “the essentials”–the things. This helps me to know what can be knocked off the “to do” first (vs what has to happen no matter what) whenever a crisis occurs that knocks me off my ideal.

  • http://www.dalecallahan.com Dale Callahan

    I like Michael’s view of the “ideal week” That is something I have worked on before to help me. Even taking into account when your energy level is high and low is critical to actually getting something done.