Coming into the new year, I like most of us, had a whole list of ideas and the energy to get things going! I set goals, deadlines and targets...then I was sick as a dog for a week. Even though I am better now, I still find that I have less energy than when I started. BUT does that mean my goals and deadlines for the month weren't as achievable? In short, no. This is completely due to the fact that when I set those goals and deadlines...I took into account that I am human, life happens and sh*t happens. So even though I 'lost' four days of productivity, my overall goals weren't impacted. I love setting goals and deadlines and really do think they have a massive contribution to a business's success. But you need to plan them in a way that allows for adjustment and flexibility. I think when we make plans for our business, we forget to consider how they will look when things don't always go to plan, which in reality - they won't.
SO HOW DO WE PLAN FOR THE UNPLANNED?
1. Create a buffer: Essentially, this means planning free time within your week, no meetings, no projects. Having time set aside for unexpected work or delays gives you some breathing room that you can then use.
2. Make flexible plans: When you are setting out tasks or goals, try defining the blue sky target (best case) and the realistic target. This means that you can work towards blue sky, but if life gets in the way you can pivot to the realistic target instead and still achieve your goal.
3. Keep communication open: People are far more understanding if you communicate with them effectively. Being informed is better than being left in the dark. Make sure that your clients are kept in the loop if deliverables are going to be delayed. This is works best if you have built a trusting relationship with them.
4. Go easy on yourself: Look, as a business owner I get it, this is our livelihood. However, based on my experience, I am far better at dealing with unplanned complications when I'm kind to myself than when I beat myself up about something I couldn't control.
If you feel like you need to get better at planning and making strategic decisions in your business, I might be just the gal to help you out!