Leave some fat

You’ve been doing great – your calendar is well-organized, your day is thoughtfully planned, and you’ve even scheduled meetings with yourself. Your day seems to be cruising along just as you envisioned.

And then, BAM! The unexpected hits you, a crisis unfolds, and it feels like your well-planned day is going up in smoke.

Bonjour, in this video, I want to make one simple suggestion to improve how you plan your day. 

I’ve had the privilege of working with many leaders, and they often vent their frustration about the constant firefighting they face. It’s those unforeseen crises, the curveballs that life likes to throw our way. They say, “Cyril, I try to structure my day just like you recommend. I set aside time for myself, I get organized, but then, my boss drops a bomb, or an urgent client matter pops up, or a stakeholder throws a wrench in the works. Suddenly, my day is nothing like I had planned.”

Here’s my advice: Plan for the Unplanned

The reality is, you can’t predict exactly when these crises will strike or how often they’ll occur. But if you’ve been at this game for a while, you probably have a rough idea of how frequently they pop up. 

So, here’s the plan: Dedicate some time to consider how much “crisis time” you realistically need each day. Reflect on your recent days or weeks and ask yourself, “How much time should I leave open for the unexpected?” If you’re like most folks, leaving an hour open sounds reasonable.

But let’s take it up a notch. How about setting aside two hours? If you typically work a 10-hour day, aim to plan only eight hours of work. This leaves a generous two-hour buffer for dealing with the unexpected. 

Now, here’s the beauty of it all. If no crises rear their heads that day (fingers crossed), you’ve just gained two extra hours. You can use this time to delve deeper into important projects or, head home early for some well-deserved relaxation. It’s a win-win!

And if, as Murphy’s Law often dictates, a crisis does emerge, you’ve already factored in some time to handle it. It might not be a perfect solution, but it’s certainly better than having no plan in place. 

So, let me ask you this: Do you plan for the unplanned? Do you keep a buffer in your daily calendar?  

A little suggestion: you might need to protect those hours, so others don’t schedule over them. 

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip. 

Wishing you a lovely day ahead! 

A bientôt,

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