It’s 3PM on a Thursday, the kids are getting edgy, there is no normal food in the house, you need to reschedule a client for tomorrow and you still haven’t found the time to finalize your flyer for your upcoming workshop.
You might have made a weekly plan, with items like “plan meals, do grocery shopping, adjust availability on schedule, choose final images for flyer”. But it might be just sitting on your desk, untouched. You know when everything is flowing you’re focused and you feel so much more at ease. And yet, you keep circling back to these chaotic times -plan or no plan. I know how it feels. I’ve had my fair share of chaotic years, despite taking the time to plan things out.
When plans fail
For a long time, I’d tell myself I was a master planner. I’ve been obsessed with learning about and experimenting with planning and productivity systems. For several years, I researched this area and was my own guinea pig for finding what works and what doesn’t. Where this obsession came from? Well, I just struggled a lot planning and staying organized.
After years of experiments, I did get better in a few things though. I got pretty good in looking at my time and calculating in time for possible different outcomes, possible troubles etc. I’d consider everything, really EVERYTHING before making a plan.
It took me a fair amount of time to actually make the plans themselves sometimes… And still, life would get in the way, I’d get sidetracked and it was just not working well for me on the long term. Until I realized that starting with the actions and outcomes in planning is the wrong way to go about it (I wrote about the why here).
One step towards sustainable planning
So I started to approach my planning from the more aligned space of who I needed to be, how I wanted to feel, how I wanted to act, and only after that getting to the actual action part. It all went better. I felt better about my plans. But after some time, I got stuck in the same kind of trouble as before. What the hell was going on? I was frustrated beyond measure.
Giving up was still not an option, as when I’m not planning, things get real chaotic real quick in our little family (think about quick and far from healthy meals, last minute laundry drying with a hair dryer, a constant feeling of rushing, exhaustion and overwhelm… there’s more, but you get the point).
One step forward, one step…? Up?
Something had to change. It wasn’t until I went through an utterly exhausting period, and really just shut down physical, mentally, emotionally, that I finally found the answer. I was approaching planning from a “once it’s done, it’s done” point of view.
Now, with my spiritual practice and several other -mildly irritating- areas of my life (laundry or dishes anyone?), I not only accepted, but was quite at peace with the fact that it’s an ongoing practice. After you worked through that pile of dirty dishes, you won’t need to wait too long before you’ll have a few extra ones sitting in the sink. I accepted these as just being part of the human experience. But I still operated from an outdated belief when it came to planning.
Following the nature of Life while planning for it
Life is a living, shifting, changing, transforming being. So you can’t expect to make the perfect plan for today and for it to be still perfect tomorrow. I expected that. Or maybe I wished it was like that, but that really didn’t help me much. Just like Life, the plan needs tending to, so it can shift, change and transform with whatever is happening in your life. But!
Just like in Life, there’s a constant underneath this whirlwind of change. Just like underneath it all, there’s the whole unity -Oneness-, underneath all the to-do’s and how you show up in the world, is your core essence, the core qualities of what you bring to this world. The clearer and more connected you are to these core qualities, the better you’ll be able to handle change with grace and ease.
Small steps towards big changes
So whenever you feel like you resist planning, because you failed at it before, or you plan, but you still feel like your life is chaotic, take a moment.
Sit with what’s underneath it all.
Sit with your essence.
Sit with the qualities that want to be embodied through you.
And sit with how you want to show up in your life.
If you’d like to be guided through this process in meditation, join me here.
Here’s to your conscious productivity!