For the past several weeks, my Mondays have been typical “Mondays,” when one thing or another derails what should have been a perfectly laid out day. My calendars are organized, correspondence drafted and ready to send, automatic workflows set to push out the appropriate emails, and Zoom calls or presentations lined up and ready.
This past Monday, when noon came around, I really thought my “Monday” streak had been broken. It was smooth sailing all morning, and then my phone rang. On the other end all I heard was distraught sobbing, and my daughter trying to speak. After somewhat calming down, she blurted out, “I ran over one of the cats.” And then the crying ensued once again. When she finally answered my question of, “So now what, what are you going to do?” she let me know that returning to work was her only option, and could I go check on this injured cat.
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With an inaudible sigh, I answered, “Yes, I will take care of it.” So, I jump in my car and head to the country, but cannot find the injured cat. In the barn I go, moving pallets and junk all the while inhaling old hay dust and the smell of oil. Suddenly, in a dark corner, I caught sight of two beady eyes blinking at me. Not seeing any obvious physical damage, I managed to wrap it up in a blanket, get it situated in my car and race to the veterinarian’s office (I had called ahead, so they knew I was on my way in with an emergency case).
Although calm about the cat situation, I was in a near panic about the workload I had up and dropped. How was I going to regroup? Would I have clients needing me and impatiently waiting for responses or something to be completed? Crap. And, double crap.
While I sat in my car waiting to hear Fluffy’s prognosis, I had a chance to refocus my frustrations. Rather than be held captive by knowing what I should have been doing, it was time to rethink and replan.
Let’s face it, the unexpected is always going to happen. The odds are against most people who think they are going to have a perfect workday without any speed bumps (or in this case, cat bumps).
When schedules or workdays get derailed, remember that it will get back on track, but reacting in a panic won’t help the situation. What might feel like a major delay or issue, can most likely be solved with some quick thinking or a pivot in motion, and then the day can go on as intended.
Asking yourself, “What should I do next?” is the best next step when problems arise. Once you answer that, ask it again. Lay steps out in front of you to reorganize and regroup. Do not ignore, do not panic, and do not give up. Take a deep breath, do not shame yourself for letting interruptions getting the best of you for a moment, and then react in a productive manner.
Your entire day does not need to be ruined by one problem that if reacted to appropriately, you can solve.
Lucky for us, the Root River Veterinary Center had Fluffy sedated, x-rayed, and ready to come home by the end of the day. Amanda was excellent in relaying how to care for our injured cat, and Fluffy came home. He is convalescing, relaxing and healing. All is well with Fluffy, and my day ended as planned – albeit a little later than planned, but nonetheless work was completed.
Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.