Sometimes you flood the bathroom

You can make all the plans you like for your day or your week. You can put your best foot forward and make a lot of progress, uninterrupted by unforeseen obstacles. But sometimes, you flood the bathroom.

You can get out of bed early, feed and dress your kids, and check in with work as you do your own morning routine. But sometimes, right at the end of that routine, you flood the bathroom.

If you’re lucky, it’s not the upstairs bathroom. If you’re quick enough, you deal with the flooding before it leaks through the ceiling and floods the bathroom below it. But then again, sometimes it is, and sometimes you don’t.

When you’re setting your goals and you’re planning your day, it pays to be flexible. Even a day that starts off well can quickly descend into chaos the minute your wife sees what you’ve done to not just one bathroom, but two. At least you can count on her to sugar-coat her language in front the kids in a way that you, regrettably, do not.

In a situation like this, you’ve got to adapt. Maybe your wife will take the kids to school instead of you. Maybe you’ll email the folks at work to tell them you’re going to be late because of a plumbing emergency. Maybe you’ll grab a mop and several towels and deal with the mess you’ve made.

And when you’re on your way out the door, you might notice that the lights in the basement are flickering. You’ll do the math and realize that the water’s leaked down through the walls and into the wiring. You’ll realize that you need to tell the team you’re working from home today, because you need to make sure your home doesn’t catch fire.

None of what I just wrote is hypothetical, by the way. All of this happened to me yesterday, and it threw me completely off my game. I made up for much of it today, but I also had to acknowledge that a lot of what I’d hoped to do wasn’t going to get done.

When you flood the bathroom, literally or metaphorically, you have to deal with it. You have to recognize that the day you’d planned is not the day you’ll have. You need to adjust and do the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt.

The better your systems, and the more flexible you are, the easier it is to adapt. It also doesn’t hurt to take care of yourself, so you’ll be more alert and less irritable when things inevitably do go south. The less you beat yourself up, the quicker you’ll get back on track.