“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

~ Stephen Covey

Make space for stress? Aren’t we supposed to try to avoid it?

Yes… and, in order to avoid stress, we have to prioritize some space in our schedule to absorb the unexpected. When the proverbial sh!t hits the fan, you won’t always be able to prioritize what’s on your schedule. You’ll need to set those priorities aside to address the deadline, or emergency, or unforeseen situation that has popped up. That’s where a bit of space can come in handy.

Last week my day got hijacked by an unfortunate incident at my house. This week I’m sharing what happened (not fun) as a reminder that sometimes, no matter how busy the schedule, you just have to stop, and deal with what’s in front of you.

Luckily, I had a bit of space in my schedule that allowed me to do that without adding to my already stressful day. To hear more about this, watch the video below, or read the transcript that follows… oh, and lock up your bicycles.

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here, out for a stress relieving morning walk with my dog Islay, continuing the conversation about stress and burnout. And I didn’t send a video last week because … I was stressed. I thought I would share the story.

I had set aside Tuesday, which is usually my day for filming a video and getting everything prepped, and I had a beautiful day ahead of me that had nothing on the schedule. I know you know those days. They are wonderful.

I had all sorts of things planned that I was going to crush. And then when I woke up, I discovered that our shed had been broken into and our garage had been broken into, and two of our bikes had been stolen. And so my day was hijacked.

I’m sure you’ve all experienced some version of that kind of a day yourself. My husband was away for work, and I spent the entire day talking to police, talking to a fellow who lived across the street, and looking at video footage of the condo across the street, and of our own garage-cam. I had to file police reports, and I had to look through countless minutes of video of the perpetrator basically rooting through our personal belongings.

By the time all of that had been sorted out, half the day was gone, and I was … done.

I was physically drained because I’d been up early, I was mentally drained from having to dig up serial numbers, file reports and all that, and I was emotionally drained from the violation of the theft and having watched the thief roll away with our precious road bikes. I thought about all the work that I’d planned to do that day, but all I could do was take a nap.

In the moment, I had to take stock of all the things that I’d wanted to get done, and figure out what I needed to say no to.

I think that there’s a lesson in that for many of us, because when it comes to stress management, there are times in our day, in our week, certainly in our month, where we have to ask ourselves where the limit is. After dealing with the bike theft, I had to stop and say, “I don’t have the capacity today to do the things that I had set out to do.”

It’s frustrating because I didn’t get a video out, I was late on a couple of proposals, and prep for some other things went by the wayside, but I just simply could not push through because of what had just happened.

So think about that when you are planning your week. To better manage, and make space for the unforeseen, are there things that you need to say no to? Are there things that you need to set aside and prioritize at another date or time?

When the proverbial ‘you-know-what’ hits the fan how much leeway do you have in your schedule to allow for emergencies and challenging situations? It’s when our schedule is so jam-packed and there’s no room for adjustments, that we feel that stress creep in. And certainly if that’s a regular occurrence then stress becomes burnout, and nobody’s happy.

So that’s what I wanted to share with you today as I hang out with my dog at the beach. Stress and burnout are more common now than ever, and we need to take steps every single day to be aware of how we can mitigate… about how we can take care of ourselves and feel a little bit better as we navigate these crazy times.

Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg reminding you, you’ve got one chance to do this life. I say Dare to Live It Big, and dare to create a little space in your daily schedule to allow for things that you just have no control over, because wow, they are out there.

Hey… if you’d like to bring me in to your organization to talk about this topic or any others related to stress management, resilience and post-pandemic success, pop me an email at hello@michellecederberg.com. I’d love to chat.

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Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc


Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.


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