The Best Laid Plans…

Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph.  Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.  If we do our best, we are a success.- Zig Ziglar

ziglarI had big plans for last week. I wanted to work on editing my book, write a blog post or two, catch up on my office paperwork and take my 4 year old son to gymnastics and kindermusic. Not to mention my hope to actually have more than 5 minutes with my husband, sit down with a book and a glass of wine and if I was really lucky grab a massage. I have been trying to massage by own neck and feet on a regular basis but I am here to tell you it is not even close to the experience with a massage therapist.

I knew that my week was going to be busy, as I was booked solid with patients and was on call at the hospital for any eye emergencies. Still I had this fantasy that I could still get much of what I wanted to do accomplished. I started doing this weekly design process a couple of months ago and it has been revolutionary (I will write a blog about the process itself). Yet even the weekly design process could not save me from the craziness of this week.

The whole week was a blur of unexpected events, delays and obstacles. To recap just one day, on Wednesday, I scheduled some time to write and edit in the evening after putting my son down to bed. My day started off on schedule, I saw my patients, loaded up some case files and headed home.  I had just got in the door when the dreaded pager went off. I called in to the hospital and told them I’d be in as soon as possible. I spent a few minutes with my son and headed back out the door. After numerous hours in the OR, I finally returned home at midnight.

I briefly glanced at my computer and thought about the dozens of unread emails, my unedited manuscript and paperwork before deciding I really need to be well rested for my scheduled surgeries the next day.

One of the only things I was able to completely cross of my to-do list this week was taking my son to kindermusic. It would have been easier to sleep in and spend a day at home and possibly catch up on some other things but I am acutely aware that he is only going to be little for so long. He turned four last month, which I still find hard to believe.

In the end, I didn’t get to cross off much on my to-do list. In spite of all my time and energy management skills, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. It seems that any given day can be a total scramble.

While you might not be on call for surgery, there are so many things that can derail our perfectly arranged schedules and plans. Sometimes we fall ill, often times it’s a sick child or family member who needs our help or an amazing opportunity comes up that can’t be missed. Life is always unpredictable and can’t be controlled.

bookend The only time that you can really control is first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed, which are what I call the book ends of the day. Rather than beating myself up about getting off track during the day, I know that it is likely to happen and focus on keeping this bookend time sacred.

Wake early and spend some time with yourself. Exercise to kick up your metabolism and get some feel good endorphins coursing through your system. Follow this up by taking some time to think, reflect, meditate or read some wise and insightful book, post or magazine article. Inspire yourself in the early hours of the day. Then review your day and your goals.  Take the time for you to kick off the day on a positive note. No matter what else happens the rest of the day, you at least have a good foundation where you took care of yourself physically and mentally, leaving you better prepared for whatever comes at you later.

In the same way keep the last 20-30 minutes before you crash for reflecting on the day and writing in a journal at least three things you are grateful for. It is a great way to end the day.

The only activity that may trump this gratitude journal ritual is of course sex. With a 4 year old in the house if there is an opportunity for this all else must be postponed.

So control what you can control; the start and the end of your day. This will help to steer you towards what success looks like for you no matter how crazy the hours are in between.

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