The Importance of Planning
"True life is lived when tiny chores are made."
- Leo Tolstoy
Chores weighing you down?
Whilst what Tolstoy said is true enough, nowadays we have so many tiny and not-so-tiny chores to do daily that it seems impossible to feel the enjoyment of this 'true life'. Many of us feel that only after all is done and dusted - sometimes literally - can we start living! Of course, by that time it’s the end of yet another busy day and it's time to go to sleep, only to start it all up again in the morning!
Eventually, life seems to get on top of us and creates an uncomfortable feeling of constantly lagging behind, which often leads to anxieties and sometimes-severe depression.
If we are to try to avoid the unpleasant consequences of busy lives and to manage our professional duties and family responsibilities effectively, we won’t be able to easily find extra time, we have to make IT. Don’t worry, we are not going to turn our lives upside down to achieve it; instead, we are going to use one of the greatest tools that humanity invented: planning!
We should be able to do it in a way that lets the pressure off and gives us some leeway to enjoy what we do, i.e. follow the advice of the formidable count Leo Tolstoy!
The good news is that the skill of planning is transferable; you can apply it to various aspects of your life and enjoy the wonderful results that it can bring, making your life richer and evermore exciting.
Plan, Prioritise and be Realistic!
Start your day with identifying the most important and/or urgent things you have to do today and write them down, especially if planning is new to you. Try to be as realistic as possible, don’t expect too much or too little of yourself.
In the end of the day while ticking off all or at least some of the tasks on your list, praise yourself and enjoy the sense of achievement, no matter how small or big it is.
It’s very important to reinforce this feeling of satisfaction, since it creates a positive association that is crucial in acquiring a new habit.
Think big - monthly, or even yearly plans - what will you be proud of achieving in the long term? What must you do daily to achieve these goals?
You can follow the above by creating a monthly, even yearly plan, identifying what you want or need to achieve in the given period. By doing so, you’ll get a sense of control over your time and more chance to succeed in what matters to you most.
For those people whose children have recently flown the nest, planning might bring a new sense of a direction in life.
If you are guilty of “chronic procrastination”, planning will make it transparent. You might avoid doing essential tasks by making yourself very busy with non-essential tasks: those that don’t demand as much effort but take all your time.
20% of Us Are 'Chronic Procrastinators'
Countless studies have shown that roughly 20% of the population are guilty of chronic procrastination. This is where we have a propensity to look for distractions instead of doing something we know we should be doing!
In a big sense then fighting procrastination is a large part of conquering yourself, something which most people never manage to fully do!
Focus on the challenges of the day
One can also plan for any challenging event or situation that he has to face. If you are going to have a difficult conversation with someone, you can mentally prepare yourself, plan some thoughts you are going to put forward or even plan for potential disappointment at the outcome of the conversation. Allow some time to collect yourself before facing that situation and remember the outcome won’t matter in a year time or even much sooner.
By mentally preparing yourself to the worst outcome of the situation in question, you will avoid dwelling on it endlessly, rolling it over and over in your head!
Conclusion - plan for a better future!
So try the above suggestions out and enjoy your new life with more free time and more awareness of everyday living.