Just how flexible are you?

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Life does not always go as planned. We may have our day’s events all panned out and then one minor incident can change everything.

Yesterday was a busy day; a morning appointment and then a wedding in the afternoon. My appointment ended at midday and I was due to arrive home within 45 minutes. Unfortunately, there had been a traffic accident on the motorway. My heart sank as I drew nearer to the pile up. I called my husband and asked him to get the children ready, pack snacks and drinks.

I felt frustrated and knew I had to wait patiently. I told myself far worse happens to people – how dare I get upset over this. Eventually I arrived home after 2pm and we were one hour late for the wedding which was a wonderful occasion.

Once our emotions are in check we are able to think about the situation and decide which step to take. When I am stressed and flustered I do not think straight at all. It can be challenging when I know I have absolutely no control as above.

I can be rather stringent with my time and I like events and meetings going ahead as planned. Unfortunately, I have had to reschedule meetings in and outside of work for various reasons. I have had to reschedule evenings out (which are very rare), however I much prefer being told in advance.  

I am slowly learning not to overload my schedule as this makes it all the more difficult to move appointments around. I have this habit of trying to kill two birds with one stone giving little room for flexibility. My husband has a good laugh at me when I have squeezed a number of events into one day. By the end of the day I am exhausted!

Holidays and short breaks provide the “down time” I need – an opportunity to leave my projects, meetings, to do lists and the mundane tasks of life behind – even if just for a week or two. When abroad we book one or two excursions to see the “real country” but not too many that we get burned out. 

How flexible are you when doing business, at your place of employment or running your home? 

What lessons have you learnt which may be of use to others?

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22 thoughts on “Just how flexible are you?”

  1. I am another person who lives life in a very scheduled and orderly way, and it does upset me somewhat when my routine is disrupted, so I guess I’m not very “flexible”. Perhaps the “lesson” I should be learning from this is that I shouldn’t take life quite so seriously, but that’s a lot easier said than done, isn’t it?

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  2. Oh, this is one of my biggest peeves. I like to plan things down to the last detail, and invariably, something will go awry. Like somebody once said, you make plans and the universe laughs. When the unexpected throws a monkey wrench into things, I try to roll with it and have even managed to turn it into an opportunity, ie stuck in traffic? Listen to some music I haven’t listened to in ages and simmer down!

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    1. I like your way of thinking Krystyna. There are times when you can do absolutely nothing about a situation ie being stuck in traffic. Best to sit back and enjoy the music!

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  3. Being flexible is as important as being prompt. I was part of a group that was going to be in a parade, I was waiting for the parade alone, and got a text message saying they were not coming because it might rain.
    That is horrible, they are not in charge of the parade, and when they said they would march, it meant they would march and were committed to the parade.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

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  4. Gosh, lots of good comments to this post. I’ve certainly become more flexible the older I get. I, too, am an early person and will keep my word to attend events if it’s in my power to do so. I have some friends I no longer invite to do things because they have stood me up too many times. 😦
    The more I travel, the easier it has become to be flexible about it. 9/11 also changed that for me (and many others)…as long as I get there, anything else is no big deal.

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    1. Yes, there are some great comments on here!

      Being “stood up” does your self esteem no good at all.

      Do you know I was in America at the time of 9/11? We were in Florida.

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  5. I’m pretty flexible but like most people I have my hot buttons. One of them is people arriving late for meetings. I’m not a big fan of meetings anyway so if someone asks to meet with me and then shows up late unless there is a REALLY good reason for the tardiness (and not being really into the meeting does not qualify) there’s a good chance there won’t be a 2nd meeting. I do think you’re really smart to not overload your schedule Phoenicia, that can save a lot of stress and frustration.

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  6. Personally agree with Potemkin that being really flexible allows you to let circumstances work for you. And they do if you have a flexible and open mind. What looks like a problem because it upsets your plans can be a blessing in disguise. Mind you having a schedule with too many appointments is not a great idea:-)

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  7. Appreciate your conscientiousness. I’m always a little annoyed at some people who I have encountered who cancel meetings, appointments and social engagements as often as they make them.

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  8. Phoenicia being flexible is the necessity of the time, but sometimes like you said it becomes frustrating and irritating. I too don’t like it if due to random reasons people make to reshuffle your schedule. If the reasons are genuine it can considered or if its a situation like the one you described above we need to manage it out.

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  9. I am as flexible as I have to be. No more.

    I think I have Asperger’s, flexibility takes a lot out of me. I *need* things to go as expected, or it causes me major stress.

    As a teacher I had to deal with ever-changing events in the classroom, but timings were fixed. As a driver, I deal with the ever-changing road pattern around me by assuming that all other drivers are only driving with 30% of their attention.

    My daily routine does vary, but it is pretty inflexible once the day starts.

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    1. Phil – interesting that you think you have Aspergers. You have obviously looked at the traits.

      It is not amusing watching your day go in a different direction than what you had planned.

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  10. Great reminders for everyone. My tip is to know when to let the kids do some tasks to ease the task load. As parents, we get into the habit of doing it ourselves. Remember that the kids need to learn how to manage it all too. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I am a culprit of this. It is easier to do household tasks than ask the children to but how will they learn? At least if you work with them at a young age, there is room for them to make mistakes and learn from them.

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  11. I personally get very stressed when I’m going to be late somewhere. I was brought up in a household where punctuality was super important. But sometimes life just happens. When something happens that sets me back and I get stressed, I remind myself that I’m doing the best I can to be on time. There’s nothing more I can do because there are factors outside of my control. And that somehow calms me so I can make the best of the situation.

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