What do you do when your best-laid plans go awry? Do you stress out? Rile against the injustice of it all? Or do you have backup plans, contingencies, or other strategies to deal with such a situation?
Last week, my car’s back window was smashed in. This irked me somewhat, but mostly because it messed with my schedule. But in the long run, it taught me a valuable lesson in patience, and brought some of my contingency planning to the fore.
For the last two weeks, I’ve been working on and off at the Lowry in Manchester on research and development for Slung Low‘s new show Beyond the Front Line, whilst staying in Leeds with the rest of the team to cut down on costs.
I was staying away from home… so all I had was a laptop whilst waiting for windscreen repairs to arrive; no access to the studio for me. 🙁
Thankfully, contingencies came into play. There’s always a massive list of stuff for me to do, some important, some urgent, some neither, but that might be nice to get done at some point.
I keep a notepad or notes in a filofax to scribble down ideas, and a voice recorder on shortcut on my phone. This means that no idea, however vague or irrelevant, gets lost.
A strangely zen, calm feeling came over me when I saw that smashed glass. I realised that, although my plans were screwed for the day, there was pleeeenty of other tasks for me to get on with, and, moreso, relevant to the project I should have been working on in person.
This was an opportunity to make a dent in that list; and also to sort through and organise, group and prioritise all these ideas and notions that often just get left on my phone or in the back of that little notepad.
I researched Requiem lyrics and structure for the Beyond the Front Line show, decided which bits I’d like to use; caught up on emails.
When I had to follow the windscreen repair guy through the busy streets of Leeds to the workshop, sprinkling tiny bits of glass here and there along the way, because his new van didn’t have a working power supply for the vacuum cleaner, for some reason it didn’t seem to phase me.
I sat in the little reception room scribbling blog ideas and more ideas for the next to-do list whilst waiting for the replacement screen. Not a second wasted.
Life doesn’t always go to plan. Shit happens.
But there’s always room to turn it to your advantage.
Photo: David Salafia