Unexpected interruptions, curve balls, natural disasters, and last-minute changes are everyday occurrences. While being aware of time limitations and arranging time is a common practice, adapting to unanticipated time problems, the skill of adaptation, is an often overlooked skill. Adaptation is “monitoring time while performing activities, including adjusting to interruption or changing priorities” (1).
Even though we plan well and have the best intentions, there’s always something that can mess up our schedule. We might have a meeting run over, experience unexpected illness, run into bad traffic, wait on people who are late, or have IT that does not work. We are constantly adapting our time. Here are four idea of how to keep your time management flexible:
- If you have an appointment that was rescheduled or canceled and now there is extra time, have a backup to-do list or project ready to fill the slot (2).
- If your meetings often run over and push back other appointments or deadlines, start building in runover time so you always have a buffer.
- If you commute, budget extra time for traffic jams, weather delays, and finding a parking spot. Or if using public transportation, look ahead for commute times and plan accordingly.
- If you have kids, have a backup plan in place in case childcare falls through.
There are many benefits to adapting your time management. You will deliver better quality and punctual work, have less stress and anxiety, procrast less, experience more calm in your personal life, and enjoy greater career growth (3). When making your schedule, ease your mind by anticipating possible problems and planning for them ahead of time. Time adaption will ultimately help create extra time to enjoy your life!
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