If there is one thing I learned the hard way, is having to be prepared for the unexpected. And let me tell you, once you learn to do that, you will be able to say that you are really a pro.
No one likes to plan for the unexpected, what does that even mean? You plan with the intention of going from A to B and you set the steps that will take you there. But what do you do when before you get to B, everything starts to happen in your life to the point that you don’t know what to do anymore? In this blog post, I share with you a few things that I learned to help me be organised and still plan my life in spite of the chaos.
2020 was quite a year, wasn’t it? Back in December 2019, I spent an afternoon writing my goals for the new year, what I wanted to achieve, how I was going to do it, and I was READY. In fact, when January 2020 started I felt like I had things under control and I was already starting the year well, taking small steps toward my big goals. Then COVID happened, and it all went out of the window. I was in isolation for so long in 2 different countries, that I didn’t even know the days of the week anymore. I had some very low moments and was almost paralysed, not knowing what to do or how to move forward. Then halfway through my quarantine in Italy, I decided that even though I couldn’t control so much of my life for a while, I was still going to do the best I could.
Let’s get things straight. We as humans love to be in control of our lives and to know what’s happening at all times. And whilst we all always knew that we can’t actually control every single thing, I guess that until the pandemic hit, many of us thought that we could kind of do that anyway. But I know for a fact that when restrictions and lockdowns started to take place, we all had to reconsider how much control we actually have.
The shocking thing (for me) is that I wasn’t even so bothered by this. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism, maybe it’s just in my nature, but I just thought “Okay, if this is how things are going to go, I will make sure to adapt and survive, no matter what”.
So during the long months of 2020, I started to change my routines, habits, and mindset, so that I could try to survive this season, no matter how long it would be for, and any other seasons that I didn’t really plan for.
5 things to do to be prepared for the unexpected
1. STAY IN CONTROL OF WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
What do I mean by that? I mean that even though you may not be able to plan for 6 months ahead, you can still plan how you will live each day. I really had a point where I was completely frozen and just thought that since I couldn’t go on with my normal life, I wasn’t going to plan for anything at all. But guess what, each day that you get to wake up is a new opportunity to do something, no matter how big or small. So even though I had to cancel trips, the conferences and events I was supposed to attend got canceled, and in fact, I couldn’t do anything at all because of lockdown, I still had control over my day to day life. So I slightly changed my morning routine, I made exercising a real commitment, and I started working on creating this blog. I thought, if that was all I was going to be able to do for a season, I was going to plan it, stick to it, and work to achieve my goals in those areas.
2. HAVE A ROUTINE
As I mention everywhere in my profiles and blog, I absolutely LOVE a good routine. I have a morning routine, an overall routine for my day, and also an evening one. They are very powerful, they help me to give a structure to my days and to feel like I do have control in some ways. Especially after having to spend so many weeks stuck in the house, a routine is what kept me sane and allowed me to feel some sort of “normality” even though a lot of craziness was happening. If you don’t know how to start with that and would like some help, make sure you check out my post on how to create and stick to a routine for your day.
3. LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
This is something that I talk about a lot and it’s a very essential part of everything I do in my life. Difficult seasons will always come along, and it’s so important to make sure you check in with yourself and see how you are actually feeling, if anything is happening inside of you, and how you can work on that. Let me tell you, brushing red flags under the carpet won’t make them go away, it will turn them into huge bombs. So while I was trying to wrap my head around all the global events, I always made sure that I planned some self-care time to not only pamper myself but also to journal, to grow, to know myself more, and be gentle with myself during some really hard times. Your mental health will affect everything you do, and especially during seasons that you didn’t “plan” for, you need to put a lot of focus on it.
4. HOPE FOR THE BEST, PREPARE FOR THE WORST
I heard this saying a while ago, and found that it really resonated with the times we live in. To be honest, I always prepared for everything in advance and always stocked up on things so they would last me a few weeks or months. I’m obviously NOT encouraging you to raid the shops as we saw back in 2020, but I just want to suggest you try and have more than enough than for just a day or two. Empty pantries have never been a thing in my house because we’ve always liked to have a backup of everything we needed instead of always buying one thing at a time. The same principle can be used for your bank account. Do you have savings? Would you be able to keep going if some other difficult times were to happen? Do you have an emergency fund? These are all very practical things you need to consider especially when it comes to your finances because if you don’t plan for it, you will really struggle. If you need some help on how to get your finances in order, check my posts on how to create a budget and how to set and achieve your financial goals.
5. ADAPT, ADAPT, ADAPT
Finally, it comes obvious to think that you need to learn to adapt, as uncomfortable as it sounds. Over a year ago I learned this lesson and it was one of the biggest changes in my life. Before then, what I planned in my calendar was set in stone for me, nothing could change or I would be SO upset about it, definitely not a nice thing to see. So eventually I decided to allow room for flexibility, and I started planning my schedules knowing that some things could change. So instead of only having a plan A, I would also have a plan B just in case things didn’t go as planned but I could still work towards my goals or do something with my days. And you know what, sometimes both plan A and B change due to external circumstances, but I’ve now learned to adapt and think of what I can do, instead of being miserable and sitting with my frustration for days.
Final thoughts on planning for the unexpected
I hope these tips will help you and inspire you for whenever we go through unplanned seasons. Of course, it would be much nicer to be in control of everything, but I think we would be fooling ourselves if we thought that was possible. So instead, let’s try and do our best to be prepared for the unexpected and always not just survive, but thrive in every season.