Anticipate the Unexpected When Scheduling for Deadlines

“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive” (Jamais Cascio).

There are a lot of times when I’ve felt lazy. But there are even more times when I’ve screwed up my scheduling unintentionally with obstacles I disregarded having to encounter.

Even with good scheduling or having an accurate idea of how long a task or activity will take to complete, we oftentimes don’t anticipate the unexpected coming to make our path more difficult to stay on.

After seeing these obstacles so many times, we attribute it to getting ourselves into a bad situation by luck or other unknown factors until the time comes to face them.

I’ve come up with a few of these factors that I’ve seen happen to me a lot making a perfectly scheduled day unmanageably different from the original outcome. Although these are expected and a part of life, we can sometimes find a way to avoid encountering these scheduling errors.


We calculate end times if we were to do them as fast as possible

An instance of this would be if you have ever been in the position to tell someone you will be ready at a certain time.

You believe you know how long each remaining activity will take but disregard when small things interfere or how the feeling of going at a relaxed pace may change the actual expected time you will be done.

Because the remaining activities you have to do can be completed in a set amount of time, that minimum amount of time is used as how long it will always take.

An example would be just because I woke up at 7:45 and made it out of the house at 8:15 doesn’t mean 7:45 is the optimal time to wake up.

Completing something fast doesn’t mean that you will always be prepared to get things done that quickly and be able to always wake up at 7:45 and be on time. That is the minimal amount of time to get ready for me and choosing to follow it sets me up for being late.

Calculating something by minimal time sets us up to feel rushed just because that one time we were rushed passed and we had miraculously done what we needed to do.

Our brain forms that lenience on saying this situation isn’t that bad. And we remember a time when it was done in a shorter amount of time than expected or planned for.

We forget making a process isn’t a one time thing

When I first got a job in an office, I underestimated how long it would take to complete something. Sure I can finish a project with a set due date, but a new project may require a different process and assuming it will work under the same process every time brings failure.

We have a tendency to assume we can work our hearts out doing something until the time comes to actually do it.

Then we experience that where do I begin feeling and spend most of our time formulating how to get there.

There are multiple answers to one solution, but that doesn’t mean picking one answer will work as a solution to another similar task. Things change and the way we work changes too.

A process or plan is created to get us somewhere and assuming we have that in our minds doesn’t help us when the time comes to follow the plan.

Plans take time because there are obstacles that you can list in the plan itself, but you have to remember the plan has to be tweaked to make a way around the obstacles.


We disregard activities when we plan them with extra time

I’ve felt this many many times. It’s when I am given a whole day to do something so I go into the day relaxed feeling prepared to start working, but I never really am.

It’s laziness that holds us back but it is when we feel we have time to be lazy that getting back out of the state of mind is incredibly hard to do.

I’ve talked about it before but deadlines help us in that they get us feeling like something will need to be done soon and having our minds slowly get ready for that.

Another instance would be with sleep.

Trying to get to sleep earlier will help considering I don’t always get the best amount of sleep. But trying to go to sleep earlier is tough. I’ll give myself a set time to try and go to sleep. When that time comes, I may be lazy enough to push it back by a little and justify this by saying the new time to get to sleep is the goal that I will be working toward.

The laziness in feeling like there is no deadline for a goal gives us reason to never actually get to the goal.

It’s a terrible way of thinking wanting to get to a goal and misunderstanding the bridge to that goal has to be built by us and us alone.


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