I try to reject rigidity in my life and work. By leaving things open, I get to leave room for all the stuff reality will throw my way. I can’t predict the emergency a friend will have or the crisis a client will face. Those will come despite my best laid plans.
In any given week, I have an action list to tackle based on my goals. But I also know that those plans are loose. I have to stay flexible and continually shuffle my priorities and expectations. Life is a moving picture, not a still shot.
And I like that life works that way. Those white spaces get filled and new opportunities and journeys can start or be entertained. Serendipity does have a large role in opening doors that we would not otherwise have anticipated.
It can be a tricky balance, but I look at what ahead through a framework. There’s enough structure to help me focus, but also enough room for the unexpected to fill the space.
Some ways that might help you keep the doors open for the unexpected and be ready for anything:
- Schedule the bare minimum in your calendar next week. Keep a lot of open slots for those unexpected meetings.
- Keep a ZeroInbox. Respond, make decisions and set yourself up for action.
- Laugh with good friends. They help you take in life and smell the roses.
- Keep simple lists and remove things that are not relevant any longer.
- Use the trash can … a lot
- If you have outgrown something – a tool, process, etc. – then get rid of it. There’s a cost to keeping it around.
- Say No a lot. It leaves space for saying Yes later.
You can’t control the world. It moves fast, but you can be ready for anything and keep open to opportunities. The key is to have a bit of design and a mindset that allows for the unexpected. I like Gustave Flaubert’s thought,
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
That mindset keeps you from wasting cycles on things that keep you from moving the ball forward in a productive way.
This week is going to pass quickly.
Are you just reacting or do you have enough room built in to be ready for anything?