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Manage Your Expectations

man with fist in the air sitting on top of mountain

If you want to be successful at anything in life you have to be able to manage your expectations. Now what exactly does that mean?

Life is dynamic. It changes day to day to day (in case you weren’t aware of that). Which means that every day is different. Sure, the framework of your day is the same (you wake up, eat breakfast, get yourself/kids ready for work/school, etc.) But what you accomplish in a day will vary and how successful you are depends on how you manage your expectations. Remember: if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.


Take for instance my morning today. What did I have on my list to do? Laundry. Workout. Groceries. Website work. Get lunch ready. Eat lunch. Get dinner prepared. Before I have to leave for work, I have about 3.5 hours in the morning to address this list. I would love to get everything on this list done, however, what is the likelihood of succeeding in doing so? Pretty close to zero. I could try to get everything done but I know I won’t. I know I will fail and feeling like that does not give you a sense of accomplishment. I would have bitten off more than I could chew.

Part of managing expectations is allocating your time. First, look at your list and see what items are non-negotiable. Non-negotiables this morning include: workout, prepare and eat lunch, prepare dinner, get ready for work. The remainder are negotiables, that is, if I can get to them that’s great, if not, they’ll have to go on a list for another day. In addition, in your plan, you have to leave time for unplanned things (my computer malfunctions, I cut myself shaving and need to stop the bleeding, I get an unexpected phone call, a child needs something delivered to them at school, etc.). In doing so you’re managing your expectations. “I expect to be able to get these 4 tasks done. I may not get to the other tasks on my list, but if I do then that’s a bonus.” And if you don’t end up having any unplanned events occur then congratulations! You get a few moments to relax!

clock held in hand

Let’s look at my time. I have 3.5 hours to get what I want done. Non-negotiables: workout 30 minutes active plus 15 minutes to get ready before and cooldown and stretches after. 45 minutes gone. Lunch preparation and eating takes 20 minutes to make lunch and cleanup and 30 minutes to eat (I take 30 minutes to allow for proper digestion). Another 50 minutes gone. Dinner preparations: 30 minutes (dinner is prepped so my wife has less to do when she comes home from work and is running around driving the kids. This is non-negotiable because my life is much more pleasant if I’m in the good books with my wife!). 10 minutes to cleanup. Another 40 minutes gone. Down to 45 minutes remaining.

With 45 minutes remaining I have to allocate getting ready for work which is about 30 minutes for showering, shaving, getting dressed, getting snacks together, putting the dog in the crate with her treat before leaving (getting her kong with peanut butter takes 2 minutes, I need to account for even that). This means I only have 15 minutes left for miscellaneous items and today that falls under my contingency time for unexpected things. 15 minutes is not a lot of time but it’s better than none.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, what did I not get accomplished? Laundry, groceries, and website work. But that’s ok because these were all negotiable items. Sometimes you may see where you can cut some time off to do these negotiable tasks. If I had time for them that’s great, if not, it can be done another day. But depending on their importance on another day, some of those tasks might become non-negotiable items.

This may seem complex and calculated and, trust me, I don’t have an excel spreadsheet that I whip out everyday to plan my day to the second. However, if you don’t think of your day by breaking it down by time, you will fail. The beauty about breaking this down between negotiable and non-negotiable tasks is that you can plan your day properly AND allow it to go relatively smoothly without trying to do too much.

superman figurine

When you try to fit too much into a small period of time, you set yourself up for failure and burnout. You won’t have the energy to dedicate to the rest of your day and you will feel like a failure because you didn’t get everything done on your list.

When you manage expectations, you plan for success!

Please feel free to visit our Facebook page at! Drs. Jacqueline Boyd and Paul Bajor are the only husband and wife chiropractic team in Airdrie, Alberta. Their practice, Access Chiropractic and Wellness, is located at #120, 52 Gateway Drive NE in the north of Airdrie. They have been in practice in Airdrie since 2004 and in practice since 2001. They have two kids named Liam and Julia and have one of the largest family practices in Airdrie. They have a vested interest in keeping Airdrie and surrounding communities healthy because Airdrie is also their home.

Drs. Jacqueline Boyd and Paul Bajor are also both registered and active members of the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association).