How To Plan For The Future When Things Are Constantly Changing

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How To Plan For The Future When Things Are Constantly Changing

Do you like to plan for the future? I do. I end every day by making my plan for the next day. I make a plan for the week, the month, the quarter, and the year — with the understanding that plans can always be modified.

Even now, during these uncertain days of COVID-19, I plan. I take the time to do this because having an organized plan makes me feel in control.

Things are changing every day. It’s hard to know what to expect. The plan I create for my day lets me decide what I want to do and when I will do it within reason.

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Of course, there are still things to work around, like scheduled meetings or other virtual appointments. In this pandemic time, the longer-range plans I made before COVID-19 struck have either been altered or completely scrapped. I’m certain that this has probably happened to you, too.

Managing expectations and staying flexible is key.

Managing expectations and being flexible has long been an important part of my plans — you never know if life or circumstances will throw you a curveball.

I find that being flexible and not piling too many tasks into each day provides necessary wiggle room. When you give yourself the ability to adjust your plan it’s easier to accommodate the unexpected things that life sends your way.

This pandemic continues to keep me on my toes as things are constantly changing. Even routine appointments are handled differently now. The way I used to expect an appointment or errand to work simply doesn’t happen anymore.

I’m realizing that while planning is important, it's even more important to manage my expectations, to be flexible and understanding.

There will be different routines to follow, which you can plan and adjust for.

I recently made an appointment to take my two dogs, Miles and Josie, to the veterinarian for their annual check-up.

In the past when I took Miles and Josie to their vet appointment, I would drive to the animal hospital, park the car, and bring them inside the building to the reception area. The receptionist would greet the three of us. Then, we would wait until we were shown to an examination room.

During each dogs’ examination, I would chat with the doctor and talk about each dog’s personality. It was a warm and friendly experience.

A couple of days before our appointment, the veterinarian hospital sent me an email to let me know what to expect and how to plan for the appointment. The message explained that there's a new protocol to follow to keep everyone — animals, pet owners, and hospital staff — safe.

The new routine was very different. I stayed in the car while Miles and Josie were taken inside the hospital by the vet techs. After a little while, the veterinarian called me to talk about my dogs. She reviewed their overall health and let me know which booster shots she was going to give.

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A little while later, a receptionist called me to get payment for the visit. After a few more minutes, another vet tech brought Miles and Josie back to my car, and we went home.

It struck me that while I’m sure the medical attention was just as good, I felt somehow deprived of my time with the veterinarian. I chuckled at myself because that was sort of silly.

You'll find new ways to do familiar things.

There will be new ways to do familiar things. Restaurant experiences, air travel, hotels, and resort vacations are changing. Manage your expectations, be flexible, and understand that while parts of these experiences will be familiar, other parts will be different.

Some friends of mine have dined out. The experience is very different in some ways, and wonderfully familiar in others. The menus are disposable, the waitstaff wear gloves and masks, and every other table is seated with diners. I think it’s extraordinary to comment on eating at a restaurant.

Traveling to visit my son and his family in Seattle in late June is still in my plan for now. I’m holding out hope that I can go.

I know that my airport and airplane experience will be different and familiar. It’s a lengthy five-hour flight, so I’m hoping that the flight attendants will continue to offer water and snacks. My expectation is that the flight will not be overcrowded, and the security lines will not be as long.

Since I plan to stay at my son’s house, I haven't investigated staying in a hotel. But my friend and colleague who's traveling this week by car will be staying at a hotel. And she knows she'll be following a different routine.

Her plan has changed. So, she’s bringing some food with her to keep in the mini-fridge to avoid ordering room service.

Although many things are different now, your environment continues to evolve.

Who knows if things will go back to the way they were pre-COVID-19?

All any of us can do is take it one day at a time, whether you’re like me and you love planning and do it regularly, or you only plan a few things here and there.

Having a plan can help guide you. A plan can also provide you with some measure of comfort and control if you manage your expectations.

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Diana Quintana is a certified professional organizer and the owner of DNQ Solutions who teaches people how to become organized and maintain order in their lives. For more information on how she can help you, visit her website here.

This article was originally published at DNQ Solutions. Reprinted with permission from the author.