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When Your Schedule Throws You A Curve, Bounce Back and Just Roll With It

You CAN have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.” – Oprah Winfrey

Our house is very much what you would expect with four children, two dogs and two fish — extremely productive. Those of you who have followed my musings or read my books know that I rarely use the word ‘busy.’ It is an exhaustive word and many women are already in overwhelm. Adding ‘busy’ to the mix only serves to create more pressure. Thus, I prefer the word ‘productive’ as it seems to have a much more liberating feeling.

Is being able to bounce back and be effective when your schedule becomes too overwhelming the key to a happy life?

Maybe not, but it sure helps!

As a woman who teaches organization, scheduling, and the creation of a balanced, have-it-all life, one would surmise my household runs like a tight ship and that there are never any deviations to our well-laid plans. This could not be further from the truth.

The reality is we often have unexpected events that undermine the schedule. In the past, it would have thrown me off my game.  However, after dealing with numerous life events, I have learned to just roll with it and bounce back!

A prime example was a Saturday awhile back. The ‘plan’ was that I would get up early, meditate, go for a short run in the dark, and then head to Bikram so I could be back to take the girls to horseback riding lessons, Chris could take AJ for his haircut, and then I could make dinner for my in-laws and my dad. In theory, it was all perfectly planned.

In the pre-dawn hours, commencing precisely at 1:30 a.m., our youngest daughter started crying and ended up in bed with us. Next, she proceeded to wake me up every thirty minutes with a swift kick. By six a.m., I hadn’t slept and neither had Chris. I hauled myself out of bed and began my morning prayers and meditation while my beloved coffee maker brewed a single cup of ‘liquid gold’. I went into my office to take care of some online banking before going out for the run. I checked my watch and I was still on schedule.

Then lightning and thunder struck….literally. I will run in almost any weather but risking my life in a lightning storm wasn’t the most logical thing. By the time the weather had started to clear, it was almost seven and I would have to leave for yoga. Chris got up and I could see he was itching to get his own workout in.

We reshaped our plans so I would run as soon as the storm stopped and then Chris would go. I would go pick up Avery from her sleepover, bring her home, and head to the 10:00 a.m. yoga. Chris would take the girls to riding lessons, and we would reschedule AJ’s haircut.

That was all good in theory until Avery didn’t respond to her phone. As the clock ticked, we called to see if we could change AJ’s hair appointment which we were informed was not a possibility.

By the time we heard from Avery, we also found out that riding was canceled, although we had not been informed. Now, we had to change the plans again which now meant missing the 10:00 a.m. class.

Chris’ parents and my father were coming for dinner. They had requested that we eat early so they did not have to drive in the dark. My next hope for Bikram was the 3:30 p.m. class and my body was in desperate need.

As a runner and formerly long-time group exercise and yoga instructor, I have tried many, many forms of workouts. Bikram is the one thing that really ‘does’ it for me, giving me a feeling of accomplishment, calorie burn, and the same kind of post-workout bliss I would feel after a two or three hour run. I pop into my local studio three times per week for this kind of class, and Chris often kicks me out the door knowing that I am much happier when I get in my regular Bikram.

A strategy I use when my day is not going as planned is to ask myself, ‘What can I do? What are the options? Do I need to ask for help?’

Instead of deciding that everything is lost, as a have-it-all woman, I know that there are ways to get done all the things that I want; however, it may require flexibility and asking others for permission. In this case it was important that we eat early. I prepared and pre-cooked my entire meal by three o’clock and asked Chris to put things in the oven at 5:00 p.m. so it would ready as soon as our family got there.

I asked Avery to assist with laying out the h’or deuvres and setting the table. Lastly, I pre-chopped all of the vegetables for the salads so all I would have to do was toss everything together as everyone was enjoying a pre-dinner glass of wine.

I ended up having a great Bikram. A few of the other regulars were also there so it made for a solid class. I walked in the door of my house at [5:25] and we ate right on time. I am sure that I ended up actually having a better class, because instead of spending ninety minutes thinking about all of the things I had to do, I was able to surrender knowing that I had already prepared it all.

The majority of women I speak to ask me how to deal with overwhelm. They want to know what my secret is for accomplishing so much. The answer is really simple – I just roll with it. Although I pre-plan my day in advance, I also know that life happens. I completely embrace the notion that when things start to unravel, God often has something better in store.

In the past, I used to be so married to the plan that when things went awry, I became stressed out, overwhelmed and unproductive. That was never a good feeling. By learning to accept whatever comes about and being open to the notion that there could be a reason for the delay, detour, or complete upheaval of whatever is planned, I have found a lot more peace.

I encourage you to surrender. Sometimes your plans will go astray. Do not be seduced into overwhelm, frustration or panic…just roll with it. Lastly, as always, please know that I believe in you.


Susan’s Balanced Living Tips for Rolling With It


  1. When plans go astray – ask yourself – what can I do?
  2. Ask yourself – is there another way to have the same outcome?
  3. Who can assist me so I can still do what I want?
  4. Surrender to God – there is usually something better in store when we do not resist.


Susan Sly is a best selling author, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of five children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona





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