Tips for Navigating Unpredictable Seasons
November 15, 2023

Tips for Navigating Unpredictable Seasons

Some seasons, callings, and professions simply do not allow you to create a steady, predictable rhythm that you might want to fuel your goals. But all is not lost!

The concept of leveraging your limits to tailor your goals to your lifestyle is especially helpful if you’re in this boat (listen to podcast episode 21 from our Rooted podcast season for more information about this).

It is still possible to make progress on your goals even if habit stacking based on consistent cues is not possible (we talk about this in the ROOTED Goals Workbook). 

First, prayerfully examine your situation and ask if new boundaries are needed. If you aren’t sure, Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud is an excellent read.

If you're needing help with work boundaries, read Deep Work, A World Without Email, and So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport. Here are some quick resources from Newport that can give you great ideas to get started right away:

With these caveats, we’ll move forward into a strategy for making sure your goals are tailored to your lifestyle. 

  • If this is just a season, clarify what will mark the end of the season, and make sure to use your planner often throughout. For example, while crafting the physical edition of the ROOTED Goals Workbook, I had to go far beyond my typical deep work morning time for about 2–3 weeks. My planner helped me carve out intentional family moments in the margins and sink into deep focus, knowing that no urgent responsibilities were going to sneak up on me. Since working on my business for so many hours throughout the week is not sustainable long-term in this season of life, drawing boundaries and knowing when my schedule would be relaxing again was also very helpful to keep me persevering until the project was complete. 
  • You should also ask if the goals you’re setting are compatible with the most essential parts of your current lifestyle. Listen to the ROOTED Season of the podcast (here's the overview episode) to craft a more realistic starting point for any seemingly incompatible goals. Don’t look let social media highlight reels set your standards or priorities. Intentionally focus on the irreplaceable value you bring to the table, and embrace your season. 
  • Craft your week rhythms (we have an entire module on this in our Renew ecourse exerpience!) but instead of trying to design a rhythm, simply mark down anything that is rock solid in your week. Does your spouse get home from work at the same time daily? Are you usually asleep by 1am? These are your anchors, and you can attach habits stacks to them. It doesn’t matter if the skeleton of your schedule is wiry. If there’s anything that almost always happens at the exact same time, write it down and leverage it. 
  • Now ask if you have any wiggle room for agency. Some stability and predictability can be a blessed reprieve, even if most of your schedule is unpredictable. Do you have the liberty to create predictability, even if it’s only once per week? Can you consolidate and group tasks, reducing the frequency with which you must change gears and juggle everything? Can you take an off day as a “nothing” day—or even carve out a “nothing” morning or evening? Can you steal away to a coffee shop for just one evening a week? Even having this permission to simply relax once per week can give you a strong anchor for the implementation of the rest of your new strategy. 
  • Instead of focusing on devoting a set number of hours to your goals, focus on projects and tasks. This is the game-changer that actually helped a friend find new hope for the sustainability of her business during a very intense season of ministry. She was fixated on needing to work at least 15 hours per week, but when she pivoted to a project-oriented approach, everything changed. Instead of skimping on sleep in order to avoid missing potential work hours, she started focusing on keeping a clear, running action-list prepared and prioritized. As soon as the opportunity to make progress on her business opened up throughout the week, she was able to pull out her list and start knocking out tasks. This might mean that your time-frame for completion is longer—but it will help replace the tension between competing priorities with a sense of peace. To do this, listen to the Outlined for Clarity episode and make sure your goals are thoroughly fleshed out with actionable task lists. Then pay special attention to the Etched in Your Memory ideas so you can learn how to use your planner to keep your goals and task lists top-of-mind.