When things don’t go to plan

What do you do if things don’t go to plan? Panic? Stare at your screen blankly? Panic again? POLLYANNA LENKIC

Pollyanna Lenkic

By Pollyanna Lenkic

I have mentioned in previous blogs that it is very different for me these days; in the past I had much more freedom to respond and react to unplanned events, and therefore was generally unphased by it all.

Not so these days. Like today! I had a relaxed day planned, had my actions neatly written out and lots of time to complete each task to take me through what will be a very busy week.

I didn’t factor in a sick child who would need to go to the doctor (nothing serious), a printer jam at just the wrong moment, and then in my haste I hit the wrong button instead of save and had to rewrite this blog after almost completing it, and a minor change from one of my clients that would create some extra planning and action quickly on my part.

What amuses me is the human condition that no matter how much training I have, how many strategies I run, I always fall back into my default reaction – which is not productive.

What I am happy to share is that I only stay there for a brief moment because of all of the above. So I thought that it might be useful to share with you where I steer myself to calm the panic and move towards being productive.

I do the following:

1. Force myself to stop and breathe, walk away from my PC for a moment or away from the situation. (Movement is incredibly valuable, as you are showing yourself that you are no longer stuck in one place; try it, it works.)

2. I draw a circle on a blank page or flip chart paper and create eight sections, which I then allocate to tasks and rate using the following – 0 is the centre of the circle and represents “not important at all”. 10 is the outer edge of the circle and represents “if I do not take this action I am finished”.

I complete this for all the tasks individually then draw a line to connect all of them. I get an instant visual on what needs my attention immediately. I then create a priority task list based on this information. I also colour in each section so I have a visual on what has been completed, and it feels good. See diagram below.

3. I look at what I can delegate or ask for help on, and make the call or have a conversation quickly.

I start one task and keep going until completed. This kills me as I am still in the illusion that I can multi task. Which is an illusion! (Have a look at this article about multitasking not being a productive way of working.)

4. I get on with it!

I find it always helps to have a reward/incentive to look forward to when done. I am off to enjoy mine now, a cuddle with my children.


Pollyanna Lenkic is the founder of Perspectives Coaching, an Australian based coaching and training company. She is an experienced facilitator, certified coach and a certified practitioner of NLP. In 1990 she co-founded a specialist IT recruitment consultancy in London, which grew to employ 18 people and turnover £11 million ($27 million). This blog is about the mistakes she made and the lessons she learned building a business the first time round and how to do it better second time round. For more information go to www.perspectivescoaching.com.au

For more Second Time Around, click here.



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