I am a planner. Make the plan and work the plan. It’s just how my brain is wired. I apply this framework to my work as well as my practice.
I start with the big objectives that I need to move forward each week and then plan how I am going to accomplish them. I pull out my planner/journal and time block the activities each day. Yes, my practice time is top of mind and gets scheduled first. I have found that I have to put my practice time in my calendar or it doesn’t happen.
Just because I am a planner it doesn’t mean that I don’t get stuck when I encounter obstacles.
It happens more that I would like to declare.
I have found that three things will generally be present when I get stuck:
- The obstacle seems larger than life
- I am not looking at the obstacle objectively
- I want to just accept the obstacle instead of applying a creatively solution to it
In all three situations, my mind has gotten in the way of moving forward! So, what do I do? Here is my go to plan.
- Stop and objectively look at the obstacle
- Break down the obstacle
- Ask myself, can I go around, over, under the obstacle or do I just need to blow it up?
I found myself in this situation this week. My mother-in-law transitioned into an assisted living facility last year. My husband and I now mange her financial and health affairs. We are believers in dividing and conquering so he manages the finances and I manage the health care related needs.
I was staring at a huge stack of insurance statements and bills that needed to be reconciled. It was overwhelming. I realized that I had a choice. Just blindly pay the bills and move on to my next task or get behind the statements to make sure she is getting the most for her health care dollars. Well, I chose the latter and applied my three-step approach.
I started by objectively looking at all of the statements and realized something was not right. Not sure of the answer, I decided to break down each statement to find out why the costs were so high. It took several rounds of analysis but I determined one prescription drug was incredibly expensive. This was the obstacle.
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius
I don’t have a medical background so I decided to get creative. I called and started asking questions of all of the health professionals in my mother-in-law care. After numerous phone calls and discussions, I found out this one prescription was in a liquid form and there are no generic substitutes on the market. Through the help of a pharmacist, I found out that the same medicine came in a pill form that is 1/25th of the cost of the liquid medicine. I hit the holy grail! All I needed to do was to ask her doctor to change the prescription from the liquid form to the tablet form and the obstacle was resolved!
Looking back, I wondered why I had let this obstacle stop me in my tracks? I had the power to deal with the obstacle the entire time. It was my mind just getting in the way.
Have you hit an obstacle recently that seems bigger than life? Try this three-step approach and see if it helps you move forward. Do you have another approach that works better? Share it with me as I am always looking for new ways to tackle obstacles.