How do you plan when everything is up in the air?
What do you do when the universe throws a wrench in your best-laid life plans? (I’m looking at YOU, coronavirus!)
One thing is certain: Life has to go on. Flipping a switch and going into hibernation mode until the crisis passes is not a viable option. Imposing a shut-down on your dreams and plans is not the answer.
Especially when everything is up in the air, it’s vital to stay focused on your life goals and keep your plans moving forward, however gradually that may be.
Like a lot of things, this is easier said than done.
That’s why I’m sharing the following 3 strategies to help you successfully navigate uncertain times.
Have a plan to keep your momentum going – and your spirits up.
Etching your plans in stone when everything is up in the air does not make much sense. However, it’s important to keep in mind that things will settle down at some point and to be ready to act when it does.
Doing what you can in the interim to keep your plans moving forward not only helps you stay sane through the chaos; it ensures that you’ll be ahead of the game once the dust settles.
Take, for example, our plans to move from Iowa to Eugene, Oregon in early 2020.
The original plan was to put our house on the market and move in April or May. Because of the coronavirus, our moving date was postponed.
Planning around a moving date that’s a moving target is a bit tricky, but not impossible.
We finished the most daunting step in our moving plan before all hell broke loose. The original plumbing in the main bathroom of our 120-year-old house was totally wrecked and needed to be updated to help sell the house faster.
It was unfortunate that we couldn’t put our house on the market and move as soon as we’d hoped. But, by getting an early start on our plans, we now have a new, fully-functioning bathroom and won’t have to deal with major renovations down the road. Glass half full!
Fortunately, there are plenty of steps we can take now to keep our plans moving forward – without even leaving the house! These include: continuing to declutter, get organized and pack away any non-essentials.
In the midst of so much uncertainty, it’s vital not to give into despair. Identifying and following the steps you can take now toward your goal can help you stay focused and feeling purposeful, which gives your spirits a boost as well. Double win!
Keep one eye on the forest and one eye on the trees.
It’s tempting during times of crisis and uncertainty to want to crawl into a hole and hide until the storm blows over. But, bringing your life to a screeching halt for the foreseeable future is not realistic – or healthy.
Now more than ever, it’s crucial to keep your plans, hopes and dreams alive and to be on the alert for when and how to act when the time comes.
Tunnel vision is not your friend here. Instead, focus one eye on your goal and one eye on what’s going on around you, so that you’re able to catch and respond accordingly to opportunities and challenges as they arise.
It’s impossible to predict the repercussions of the coronavirus and shut-down. Because things are happening and changing so fast, it’s essential to remain vigilant.
For example, the way I’ll know how best to proceed with our move is to closely monitor what’s going on with the economy and housing markets. By fixing one eye on what we can do now to advance our moving plans and the other on the economic and housing climate, we’ll have a better sense of what actions to take when the time comes.
Try to maintain your Zen in the face of mayhem.
Not knowing how things are going to turn out can drive you bonkers. It can be paralyzing when the path ahead is murky – when you can’t see what’s lying in wait around the next bend.
But it’s best to keep on keeping on despite the uncertainty and trust that things are going to work out. Seriously, when do we ever know how things are going to turn out?!
Life is filled to the brim with uncertainty!
Focus on what you can change rather than freak out about what you can’t. Try to stay calm and embrace the unknown. Think about what makes you feel Zen. Seek out healthy ways to combat stress and get centered.
I’ve spent the last few years trying to stay Zen while living in a place I can’t stand. This has given me more experience with this particular strategy than I care to admit.
One way I stay calm is by keeping our plans to move to the West Coast front and center in my mind. Activities that support our future move, like decluttering, organizing and packing non-essentials, have a very therapeutic effect.
What other activities help? Chilling out with our four cats, especially our therapy cat Pretty. Getting lots of hugs and being goofy with my husband – because what’s the use if you can’t laugh when everything around you is going to hell in a handbasket?
Cooking, baking, listening to music and walking outside are always calming. Other stress relievers include watching movies (both streaming and from our vast DVD library), Food Network shows like Chopped and Cooks vs. Cons, and high-cheese paranormal shows like Ghost Adventures and Paranormal Lockdown.
Beach scenes accompanied by calming music on Sharecare Windows also work great. If I can’t be living close to the ocean now as originally planned, at least I can watch it on TV!
Reading is another Zen-inducing pastime. The book I’m reading now – Love to Love You Bradys, the bizarre story of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour – is the perfect escape from the madness. Somehow, nothing is more relaxing than pure, unadulterated cheese!
What are the common threads?
One common thread between these three strategies is the need for flexibility. When the shit is hitting the fan, you need to get out of the line of fire! Stay alert to what’s going on around you and be prepared to adapt your plans as the situation changes. And, whatever you do, keep the flames of your dreams, hopes and plans alive – because that’s what will get you through the darkest times.
How do you plan when everything is up in the air?
I’d love to hear from you. Please share your strategies in the comments below!
I sometimes plan for the worst, and when the sun shines, it feels like you just won. Think outside and well beyond the box, and “IF” something not so good happens -at least you might”ve had a plan for that too. If IT never happens (the plan ahead for all what ifs), then you used some time and effort and all is still good. It all seems to work itself out eventually.
Hi TG, Thanks so much for your comment. It sounds like you have an excellent strategy for being ready for whatever comes your way! I really appreciate you sharing! Margaret