If you’re like me, you love budgeting your time. You make lists of your lists, and maybe even spreadsheets of your spreadsheets. You have a personal deadline for most tasks, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to hit those marks.

As a businessperson, that’s an admirable trait. We’re all human. So we usually understand when unforeseen circumstances arise with our clients.

We’re not as forgiving of ourselves, though. And that’s a problem.

Uncomfortable Fact #1: Not everything is in your control.

A golden hen is perched precariously on a car steering wheel and appears to be driving the car in traffic

On a logical level, I’m sure you know this.

Unfortunately, knowing it in your head and actually living it are two different things. If you’re a planner, you have probably convinced yourself that you have more control than you actually do. (I know this because I’m that person, too.)

Uncomfortable Fact #2: We’re all about the benefit of the doubt with other people.

Marge Simpson saying "It's okay, I know you did your best"

Say you have an important meeting set up today. You show up a few minutes early.

The start time for the meeting arrives–then passes.

Five minutes later, you get a frantic call telling you someone’s car broke down and they have to reschedule. 

You’re a reasonable person. Assuming it’s the first time this has happened with that person, you probably offer sympathy, say it’s no problem, and shrug it off. Case closed.

Uncomfortable fact #3: When unforeseen things disrupt your schedule, you aren’t as willing to let it go

Detective Art Bell is in a car and tells Beth to forgive herself. From an episode of Orphan Black.

Contrast how understanding you are about other people’s lives with how you treat yourself. If you beat yourself up even a little because you had to move a deadline, stop.

For a start, it’s counterproductive. The time you spend giving yourself a mental tongue-lashing is time you could instead spend by coming up with new strategies for that project. What’s the point in getting angry that you’re a human being, and are therefore not perfect?

Uncomfortable fact #4: You’re mad because you think you’ve unwittingly slipped into procrastination.

A stick figure looks very pleased at itself as "PROCRASTINATION" floats overhead


Spoiler alert: You haven’t.

True, you may not control what gave you that flat tire. But you can take charge of the tasks you have to accomplish once you’ve dealt with it.

Remember the soothing feeling that overcame you when you fully plotted out all the steps you needed to take to complete your project? Or how good setting deadlines for each task made you feel?

Uncertainty is the reason that you’re upset. Planners haaaaaate uncertainty. Simply assign a new deadline and you’ll feel around 99% better.

(For that other 1%, there’s ice cream.)

What work-related situations do you find panic-inducing, and how do you combat them? Let me know in the comments!


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