It can be one thing to be on top of your schedule, your task list, and be working on the right things, but what about when an unexpected emergency comes up? Do you have a plan for that?
I started down this rabbit hole when I thought to myself at the grocery store that I should grab an extra gallon of milk to put in our garage refrigerator since we seem to be going through it quicker in recent months.
Sure enough this came in to play a few weeks later after consistently using one jug, and grabbing the other one while marking to buy two new ones on the grocery list. Being prepared ahead of time for the eventuality and not getting caught off guard and having to immediately run out and grab more, but instead fit it into the regular Lee scheduled grocery time, made it less of an emergency.
By having this extra refrigerator buffer not just for milk but for eggs and other freezer items, the panic of having to immediately go out to the store when something runs out has been eliminated from our household.
The cool trick is applying this to other aspects of life.
The magic of having time already set aside just like an extra gallon of milk already ready there when you need it instead of having to scramble to find it can be incredibly beneficial.
Imagine having blocked out points in time where you can sit and work on focused work or use as emergency time if needed. Imagine already having time set aside a few times a week to catch up on the stray things that you seem to always struggle to find time to fit in.
By creating these blocks sometimes in peak time and other times in off-peak time, you can use them like found time or found money in your wallet that no bill has any claim to.
Having “found time” is great! Suddenly being able to use time that was already blocked out for you to work on what you need to use it for the most is a great way to move the needle. Even better than found time is making sure you have a system in place to find that time each week, or multiple times a week. Imagine having a block of time daily that is structured enough to be there daily when you need it, but flexible enough to be used for anything: a specific project that you need to push forward, admin tasks, emergency tasks, tasks that got push back due to an earlier emergency.
Having that pre-claimed time is as good as found time if you use it for the right thing. By practicing over time to NOT claim that time for a specific task ahead of time, but learn to ask myself which task needs it most, or even just using it for a long break, I have found that more of my projects are moving forward faster, I’m less stressed about back to back time crunches, and I get to serendipitously structure enough time to function, but flexible enough time to feel like I am not micromanaging myself.
Erik Fisher is the Host and Producer of the Beyond The To-Do List Podcast