I believe in structure.  I also believe the amount of structure each person needs varies according to the person and the situation.  I’ve found I’m most successful when I create a plan for my day that has scheduled time for my priorities – and open spots to react to emerging priorities.

A client once called this “structured flexibility”.

But – life is fluid!  What seems important at 6 pm the evening before may no longer be important at 1 pm the next day.

[Tweet “Life happens! (In a good way!)”]

Here’s my example – and why I chose to toss my to-do list!

Marketing is always a high priority activity for me.  Connecting face-to-face with a group of like minded individuals is often very close to the top of my priority list.  So, I had identified attending an evening networking event as one of my top priorities for the day.

I picked out my outfit.

I practiced my introduction speech.

I downloaded directions.

I scheduled plenty of downtime at the end of my day to ensure I was prepared and not rushed.

And then the phone rang.  It was a request to be a guest on the Kim Pagano Show for the following morning.  (They had a cancellation and would I mind filling in?)

What a great opportunity!

Plus, I didn’t have any appointments scheduled for the following morning – so at first glance – it seemed like everything worked out.

However, I wasn’t as familiar with Kim’s show as I would have liked, which meant I wanted to listen to some archived shows.  They also needed some background material from me.   Which meant I needed to prepare.

(FYI – if YOU aren’t familar with the Kim Pagano Show – I highly encourage you to check it out!  The Kim Pagano Show focuses on the positive side of life.   Kim brings you “Experts and Reality” in an effort to educate moms, dads, children, and the entire community in useful daily knowledge. She talks about how to cope and meet everyday demands with a positive, yet realistic point of view in today’s world.)

It was time for some prioritizing and a conversation with myself!  (Yes, I often hold conversations with myself!)

  • What’s my #1 priority?  Marketing
  • Can I attend the networking meeting and still prepare for the show?  Maybe

What is leading to the “maybe”?  This was the kicker.  I need sleep to be effective.  Theoretically, I could send the background info, attend the networking event, and then stay up later at night preparing (or get up early in the morning).

However, the reality is that I need sleep to be effective.   I certainly don’t want to be grasping for words during the interview!!!

So – I tossed my to-do list aside.  Specifically in this case, I chose not to attend the networking event.

Doing one thing well trumps doing two things “kind of well”!  And, really, being a guest on a radio show is marketing!!!

Did I make the right choice?  You decide!  Here’s a link to the show!

I’d love to know your thoughts!  When have you “tossed aside your to-do list”?