When and Why You Should Have a Back-up Plan

Here’s hoping you’re ready for a great work week ahead…. And it will be great if you have every important “Plan B” in order.

What’s a Plan B? It’s the backup to Plan A, of course…. It’s your contingency, your lifeline, your sanity when the going gets rough and Plan A falls through. The thing is, we’re all so busy these days getting our first priorities squared away, we barely have time to consider the “what if” scenarios that are lurking out there. For example:

  • You’ve scheduled a flight from Baltimore to New York at a specific time so you can make a critical meeting later in the day. But the plane is delayed indefinitely. What’s your Plan B?
  • That report you completed yesterday has suddenly “vanished.” There’s no way to know what happened to it, and your boss needs it ASAP. What’s your Plan B?
  • Your eldest child is sick at school, but you’re expected to give a presentation in 10 minutes. What’s your Plan B?

The list goes on and on. I’m sure you can think of a number of times when having a Plan B would’ve been quite handy. (Of course, hindsight is 20/20.)

Bottom line: The skill you need to develop if you want to live a happier, more satisfying professional and personal life is the ability to ask the “what ifs” that can see you through a blip in your day or a catastrophe. Indeed, this is one of the key characteristics shared by the best known and most successful professionals out there.

That said, please understand that not every Plan A warrants a Plan B. (Your top priorities, responsibilities, job tasks and so on are worthy of Plan B reflection.) Further, sometimes having a general idea of how you’d handle a problem with Plan A is enough of a Plan B to act quickly – with decisiveness – so you remain effective.

So, this week, challenge yourself to find a little time to pause and reflect on your plans – and then flex your brain muscle and prepare for success in spite of life – in all its messy, unpredictable and exciting glory!

Joan Burge

“Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans.” ~ John Lennon

How do you implement back-up plans in your work? We would love to hear your best methods in the comments below.


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