When The Unexpected Happens
Last week I told you to “plan for chaos” and if you were reading that thinking, sure Helen, but how about in real life? I wouldn’t blame you. Because it’s one thing to plan and a whole other thing to put that plan into action.
Luckily, that’s my sweet spot: moving big ideas into the real world. Helping you make the extraordinary happen.
The thing about chaos is that it’s always unexpected. Rather, I’m using the word chaos here to refer to the unpredictability of life. Chaos in this case can be global (pandemic, climate crisis), systemic (racial & gender inequality), or personal (sick kiddo, loss of employment, mental health).
The fact is, most of us are not able to stop everything to focus solely on the unexpected. You still need to go to your job, pay your bills, and show up for your loved ones. So it can feel as if the chaos compounds everything else. Now not only are your hands full with your usual responsibilities but you have to deal with this as well?! Not cool, Universe.
Even if you’ve planned for it.
The thing about planning for chaos is that it can give you a bit of a buffer. This buffer allows you a titch more capacity, the flexibility to delegate, and the opportunity to step away from some of those responsibilities.
But even with all the preparation, real life is still real life. At some point, you need to check your emails, sit down and deliver the project, redefine normal. That can feel as if your already long list of things to do got wayyyyy longer. The backlog.
A family emergency pulled me away from the office recently. On my first day back in the office, I experienced a familiar pang of anxiety: so much to do! So much to catch up on! I wanted to simultaneously run away and do allthethingsrightnow. #adhdlife
And friend, this is not the regenerative way.
So from me to you, here’s my personal practice:
Oh wow, look at me doing that thing I have a tendency to do. That’s okay. I’m a human having a very human experience.
Write everything down. Every. Little. Thing. Need to wash the sheets? Write it down. Need to email that client? Write it down. Need to post to IG? Write that down too.
What really really needs to get done sooner and what’s falsely urgent? What needs to be done by you and what can you delegate? Reprioritize so that you can face a task list that won’t lead you straight into the mouth of paralysis.
4. Be realistic.
You’re human. You can only do one thing at a time. Do one thing. Then do one more thing.
As Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry, says “rest is resistance”. If we’re going to change the system, we need to make sure we’re rested and ready.
Nothing will stop the unexpected. But planning for chaos can build your capacity, resilience, and grace in the face of difficult times.
Let me know down below.
How do you plan for chaos?