My thinking about success was off, though. On days when unexpected tasks needed doing, I felt less successful because I didn’t erase planned tasks from the important and urgent quadrant. It got frustrating, but I really was accomplishing lots, so the measuring stick is skewed.
I’m now thinking of my to-do lists as helpful hints just in case something else does not come up. I prioritize well, but still feel good if life happens. If you’re getting things done that need it, celebrate the wins and let the rest go. People need the positive reinforcement of a job well done, and small steps on important projects may be the highest productivity possible because it helps keep us in cognitive flow. Adapting to the unexpected counts as an accomplishment, so take the day’s challenges as they come. Celebrate your wins. There’s more peace that way.