Unpredictable Days

Life happens. Plans get disrupted. Things we don’t expect (or we do expect) happen to sabotage our writing intentions.

Least that’s been my situation for the last month.

Everyone faces times where no matter how well we plan, we cannot stop unpredictable days from occurring.

You probably ran into at least a couple of days with unexpected roadblocks last week. I’m sure we’ll all have at least a couple of unpredictable days this week.

And every week for the rest of our lives. That’s how life works.

So how do you to stick to a daily plan when unpredictable things happen?

You can’t.

Unpredictable stuff can’t be avoided.

If bad stuff happens two days out of the week, it’s OK. Three off days isn’t a tragedy either. In fact, statistically, three unpredictable days out of seven is about normal for most of us.

What I’ve discovered is that I can usually count on having at least one extremely productive day a week. In one excellent day when life cooperates, I’m always surprised how much of my week’s work gets done.

Problem is I never know in advance which day will be excellent, and I can’t let that stop me from planning what I’d like to accomplish daily and weekly. If you missed my blog about how I plan, here’s the link: http://judythewriter.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/failure-to-plan-is-planning-to-fail-a-plan-for-success/

But I digress, we’re discussing unpredictable days.

Days when something goes wrong are always going to happen, however those rare days when everything does go well can make up for all the rest.

I find I can whip through my daily list at light speed when everything goes right, and that means I can check things off my weekly list.

In fact, I’ve learned if I have TWO or more great days in a week, I complete just about everything off my weekly list.

Impossible? No. And there’s a way you can test my theory.

Tryout this experiment from Randy Ingermanson’s The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine.

  • For the rest of this week decide what you want to accomplish for the week then make daily lists. (Writers that means a writing goal for the week then daily ways you’ll reach that weekly goal.)
  • Keep the daily lists for five days and, at the end of each day—even the unpredictable days, count how many things you accomplished.
  • On the fifth day, check those daily lists against your weekly goals.

I’m predicting, even if you didn’t have a single “successful” day where you accomplished everything on your whole daily list, you’ll find you have at least one or two highly productive days in which you made huge progress toward your weekly goals.

You might discover that even if every day is “unsuccessful” the week as a whole is a SUCCESS just like I do.

“What,” you say, “how can five bad days add up to one good week?”

According to Randy, the reason is that we tend to overestimate what we can do in a day, but underestimate what we can do in a week.

Now test Randy’s theory and my results by doing the experiment yourself, and I think you’ll see Randy and I are correct.

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