Don’t worry, it really is me writing this. No one has hacked my account! 😉
I got quite a few replies to yesterdays My love / hate relationship with weekly planning post. I realised after I hit the send button, that I should have included a few caveats.
Most of the replies were themed around those caveats. Here is part of one of the replies, which pretty much sums up most of them:
but maybe there is room to sway off the path every now and then, see what happens
I absolutely agree with that. I think having a plan, and then being flexible is the most effective way to go about things. But, that’s not an excuse to not do the plan in the first place. That’s the baseline.
Before I cover how I deal with being flexible, a couple of things.
If you don’t have clarity on what’s important to you in your life, you’re hosed from the start. You will find yourself being pulled towards things that aren’t important – or important to other people. If you don’t have a detailed plan for the week and the day, the same type of thing will happen (even if you have clarity). The awareness for what’s important will help limit the damage, but it will continue to be an uphill struggle.
With that said, a plan is something to hold onto. And there are two types of flexibility I afford myself:
It’s OK to deviate from the plan
Life happens. People cancel meetings. Important, urgent issues come up. You make a plan to wake up early and get a bunch of stuff done. But, instead your daughter decides to keep you up half the night (literally me today).
When stuff like this happens, you have to go back to the plan you made and adjust it. And then you get going again. And then adjust again if you need to. This happens to me most days, and it doesn’t take much time to do it. What’s important is that it’s all intentional.
It’s OK to drop the plan entirely.
I do this super rarely. But, sometimes there’s an opportunity to get lost in something completely different.
This happens to me at work from time to time. I’ll map out a whole day and feel good about it. Do this thing, speak to that person, go to that meeting etc. And then I’ll smell a problem somewhere.
Whilst it’s rare, sometimes I will decide to wipe the day out, and start exploring it. When I do that, I usually find that it was absolutely necessary to invest a large amount of time in that one thing.
When I come to the end of the day, I recalibrate the weekly plan and get back on track. Again, the key here is that this is an intentional decision.
So, I guess what I’m saying is you should start with detailed plans. You have to be intentional about what you are going to do. But, then you have to be flexible and adjust – either in small ways (frequently) or big ways (less frequently).
The key is to do this intentionally, and recalibrate after. This gives you the best of both worlds.
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