Planning In The Time of A Pandemic

Plan A, Plan B, Plan C

I’m a planner. If I’m going on a trip, I want the hotel or B&B booked well ahead of time. If I’m giving a talk or workshop, I want my prep done early. I don’t understand how people build their presentations while on the plane to deliver it.

I plan my weeks and I plan my days. Like David Allen (GTD guy) and Brendon Burchard, I find that when I plan, I end up with more time to have fun without worrying about what I’m not getting done.

As a planner, the past week has been a challenge. When I got back to work after the days I spent in Winnipeg giving a keynote and then in Ottawa enjoying basketball and the sights with my family, I was informed that I needed to set aside what I thought I was going to work on. Our team needed to work together to support instructors at the university transition their courses for remote delivery. 

First, let me just express how grateful I am that A) my mental health is so much better than it was a year ago and B) that I work with amazing people. If either wasn’t true I would be in rough shape right now.  Still, as a planner this has caused me to have to make a shift. 

Just as everyone else is facing uncertainty on a daily basis because of the evolving situation, it’s difficult to plan my days, let alone a whole week. Either I can become stressed out about this or I can try to roll with it.

I’m not an alcoholic, but it seems that The Serenity Prayer is something we should all think about right now:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Of course, I’m also thinking of an altered version given the current circumstances:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot plan, courage to plan the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

While I can’t plan what specifically I may be working on today or even this week for the university, but there are some things that I can: 

  • Self-care (sleep, eating, hydrating, exercise)
  • Caring for others (who will I virtually reach out to today, what can I do to support my wife and daughter)
  • What projects do I want to get done while we’re spending all of this time at home?
  • What blog posts do I want to write and who do I want to interview for the podcast (it seems that some people seem to suddenly have a lot more time on their hands)?

Planning what I can and accepting the things I can’t, knowing that the whole world is facing this, is the best that I can do right now.

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