Well-Laid Plans Interrupted: Handle with Grace
Blogger: Mary Keeley
I planned my daily schedule for this week last Friday because my weekend was going to be full and I had a long list of items to address this week. Feeling proud of my great organizational efforts, I breezed through a busy Saturday and semi-restful Sunday, fairly relaxed. Then came Monday. It became one of those weeks. Can you relate?
I was feeling every aspect of the human condition as my well-planned schedule was overruled by important interruptions and opportunities that needed to be addressed while the iron was hot. It doesn’t matter if the interruptions are welcome or unwanted. They are to be expected. But as this week’s events unfolded I recognized the tension rising in my neck and shoulders and my jaws tightening with concentration and determination. Then I started off yesterday morning with email problems. Nothing calamitous by any measure but enough to trigger heightened stress.
For many of you maintaining a steady beat among full- or part-time jobs, children’s schedules, and a manuscript deadline is your dance. When something interrupts that rhythm, everything shifts off balance. For me this week was already full before it began. I had several contracts in negotiation, scheduled phone calls and Skype sessions, and then five or six proposals I’d been waiting for arrived at once. A family emergency and the email problems were the tipping point.
Here are several steps I’ve found useful in handling unexpected interruptions with grace:
- Walk away from your work and do something different for a few minutes. Actually, I found myself doing this without deliberate attempt. My mind and body just seemed to know… Step outside and take in several long, deep breaths of fresh air.
- Next, pray, thanking God for his plan for your week and asking him to help you respond in a way that honors and pleases him. Okay, this might take more than a few minutes. A Scripture that helps me is Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Enjoy a healthy snack. Some of you may have taboos about having food near your computer. Not me; I’m a grazer. I try to be good about keeping fruit and nuts or fresh vegetables washed and ready in the refrigerator. In these stress-reducing moments taking good care of myself gives me a sense of well-being, refreshment, and renewed energy.
Instead of it being an additional interruption, this momentary break clears my head so I can re-prioritize quickly and get back to productive work.
What do you do to relieve stress when interruptions throw your well-laid plans into chaos? Do you have a favorite Scripture that helps you in this situation? Some of you may be experiencing long-term interruptions. What do you do to stay calm and respond with grace each day?
Interruptions happen in your best-laid plans. Handle with grace. Click to Tweet.
Stress reliever tip when you have only minutes to spare. Click to Tweet.
Maintain balance when you’re thrown a sudden curve ball. Click to Tweet.