How to Plan When Nothing Goes to Plan! - My 'At Home' Column

I write a fortnightly column for At Home - the Premier UK celebrity and lifestyle magazine, and this one appeared on their site a month ago. Do visit their website and leave me a comment on the post there so they get to see your opinions!

“How to Plan when Nothing goes to Plan!”
Sometimes I get through the day by the skin of my teeth! It’s funny how when you generally seem ‘together’ in your outward appearance, people think that your life always runs smoothly and that you never mess up!
Sorry to shatter the illusion but yes, I fall on my ass sometimes – literally too! Last week I tripped over my shoe straps in Castleford Market and did one of those funny skipping steps as if I meant to do it! I daren’t look around in case anyone saw me which they probably did, but by me not acknowledging that -I can pretend it never happened! Don’t laugh- I bet you’ve done it too!

This morning was a case in point. We are doing the morning school run, so I have quite a lot to remember for the children, like jumpers, water bottles and book bags but I also have to forward plan my own day and ensure that I have everything I need if I’m dashing off after the school drop to a meeting. The day you are rushing is the day you have no petrol in the car, so I try to mentally run through busy days the night before so I have time to sort things like this.

Snack Attack!
Anyway, I managed to forget my daughter’s snack. Now she is in Key Stage Two, they have to bring in their own healthy snack like an apple- the school only provides fruit for Key Stage One kids. Fortunately, I had some yoghurt covered raisins in the car- I have the odd long life ‘snack in a packet’ hanging around for after school munchies and was able to make do! My daughter has no idea I forgot her snack today, because I produced the goods (or second best- a packet snack rather than fresh fruit) but at least she isn’t the only one in her class without a snack today. Home goal saved!

Every Day is a Learning Experience
When I have a day when nothing goes to plan, I don’t just write it off, I try to learn from it. So as I’ve forgotten a snack before I make sure I have a couple of packets of something suitable in my Glove Box, which won’t go out of date and can be used in an emergency! I keep a small make up kit for me in the Glove Box too, for the days when I don’t have time to get any blusher on my face before herding the kids out of the door, because I can snatch 2 minutes in the school car park to put some colour on then I look half decent. I also keep a purse of spare change in the car so I always have money for the meter! This ‘Parking Fund’ has paid for a sausage sandwich before now, when I’m in that mood and just need some comfort food, so it has a dual purpose!

Structure Sets You Free!
Being organised sounds really boring but it has set me free, meaning that I can ‘save’ a day before it gets onto a downward spiral of little things going wrong.

Get into the habit of looking over your diary for tomorrow the night before and getting out whatever you might need that day so when you are living in the moment you have your tools at hand. If you are prepared for what is to come then it’s easier to stay on top of your daily juggle when you get stuck in traffic or when someone keeps you talking as you are trying to get to your next event.

When you are present at your meeting or at work, you can be your ‘fabulous self’ to get the job done, but it’s those occurrences that happen to us that seem to take us off course. Being a Jugglista means you have learned to keep those plates spinning and dodge the curve balls that life throws at you, or at least you are trying!

If all else fails, do what I did last Friday evening. I’d been at the gym that morning and got locked in the shower! Then, as I was tugging at the door trying to free myself, I whacked the door frame onto my eye, so now I have a shiner! After that, a car almost ran me off the road with their aggressive driving, so I had a few choice words with the driver (and a few hand gestures!) at the traffic lights when we stopped there! Later that day I was emptying the dish washer when my hand slipped and I smashed a cup! I decided that someone was telling me to slow down so when my husband got home I curled up with a bottle of wine (I rarely drink- this is how bad the day was!) and let go! It made me sleepy so I got an early night and the next day was a clean slate. Sometimes, no amount of planning will stop you being locked in a shower, but at least when you are organised, you will have the headache tablets to hand the next day!!
About the Author:
Nadine Hill is a busy working mum (“Is there any other kind?!”) who has a fascination with time management which borders on the obsessive! She loves to find more effective ways of doing the daily juggle whilst enjoying the journey and has lots of practise through raising her two children, growing her small business, being a best-selling author, running her home, public speaking and inspiring others as an Enterprise UK Ambassador. Nadine’s ambition is to help busy mums claw back a bit of ‘me time’ so she shares her tips with AT HOME in these fortnightly columns and her own life stories on her blog-Juggle Mum. She also micro blogs on Twitter where she is @Businessmum. You can learn more about Nadine at

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