Every year like clock work winter arrives in Ontario, and with it we receive bone-chilling temperatures, increased heating bills and of course the stuff that igloos are made of. Despite the predictable nature of winter’s arrival many seem surprised and unprepared for its inception, seemingly relying on weather predictions and unusually mild temperatures as a barometer to predict winter’s arrival.
Having lived in Ontario my entire life, I invest time and finances each fall to prepare my car and myself for winter’s eventual arrival.
It would appear that all too often we approach our daily lives seemingly unprepared for the events that “happen” to us. Time is the great equalizer, and managing it effectively requires preparation and flexibility. As you begin a new year, here are five tips on how to remain prepared for virtually any change, expected or otherwise:
- Schedule free time. Never schedule events or activities back to back. Always leave additional time to accommodate delays, schedule changes and other unforeseen events. Despite the additional time scheduled between flights, many air carriers experience delays as a result of compressed flight schedules in order to generate or maintain revenue. The delays often result in disgruntled customers and ultimately a loss in revenue for the carrier. The more hectic your schedule, the greater the need for free or “buffer” time to accommodate the unexpected.
- Remain flexible. One’s schedule should never be set in stone. That is, remaining flexible allows the time to navigate changes or unforeseen events. The most productive people prioritize their day around two or three key activities, leaving the remaining time available to deal with the unexpected. Being flexible results in reduced stress, increased capacity and the ability to remain focused on that which is most important.
- Arrive early. If you plan to arrive early, you achieve two benefits. First you avoid rushing and the stress associated with such. Second, you have time to adapt to changing environments. Have you ever noticed that those who arrive first at the theatre or a sporting event get the best seats and usually have the best time?
- Respond quickly. Procrastination is the nemesis of productivity. The best example of procrastination is in making New Years resolutions. If you have a desire to make a change, why would you wait until a specific date to begin? Reduce the overwhelm of launching several changes at once by starting resolutions once you determine they are a priority.
- Build a strong network. Maintaining a strong network of friends, family, colleagues and peers allows for a vast network to draw upon in help resolving any challenge that might arise. I worked with a Vice President that had maintained a vast community of connections with previous employers, employees and peers. With every challenge that arose, he always had someone who could help him to brainstorm and seek resolution.
Try applying these five tips to your daily activities and you will rarely be caught unprepared.
© Shawn Casemore 2012. All rights reserved.