The planning process

Or how to get caught in false productivity, when really you’re just wasting time.

You could spend forever planning if you really wanted to. You could write lists, create mind maps and make a 12 month plan. You can do all of those things and make no progress on the project you are planning for.

Sometimes, we hide behind planning because we don’t feel ready to begin.

And it’s not to say that planning is bad, it’s a good thing.

However, a big reason for over planning is because you don’t want anything to go wrong. But eventually you have to get the point where you realise that you just can’t plan for everything.

As much as you can try to plan, It turns out that most of the time we’re better off starting and then tweaking and making things better as we go.

Getting ahead and falling behind

The trick to getting ahead is to increase your work rate and never go below your usual work rate.

If you want to get ahead long-term then you have to make time to regularly increase your work rate, this gives you the ability to know that you’re always ahead even when you back to your usual work rate.

However, if you want to get ahead as a temporary thing, you can increase your work rate for a period of time and then you can take time time off from working. But before long that time will run out and you have to get back to work again otherwise you fall behind.

The way I work follows the second option, getting ahead temporarily. Every month or so I’ll have a period of time where my work rate increases. This gives me the chance to take time off completely or space to work without focusing on the end result.

Responding and reacting

The way you would react when you’re angry, upset, frustrated or annoyed is not the same way you’d respond when you’re calm and relaxed.

Of course this is fairly obvious, yet how many times have you allowed your feelings to get the better of you instead of simply taking some time.

What ends up happening is you regret it later because now you’re calm, now you can see that actually this other person was trying to be helpful, in fact you agree with them. Maybe you look back and feel like the way you reacted didn’t even make sense.

Now that you’re calmer you can play out in your mind, the way you wish you had responded.

And then you can hold onto that and remember it for next time.

Hard to imagine

There are many things in life that are hard to imagine however, it’s worth remembering that this has no impact on the possibility of these things becoming a reality.

This time two years ago you had no idea of what 2020 would bring and almost a year since the first lockdown we’re still in the midst of it.

Of course the pandemic isn’t a particularly pleasant or positive thing that we want to think about when it comes to the things we imagine coming to life but you can apply the concept to other things.

Right now it might feel like a goal, dream or plan that you have is totally impossible. However, if you decide to be brave and choose to pursue it, six months, a year or maybe even two years from now you could completely bring that to life. All of a sudden months have gone by and you’ll find yourself living a life doing something you love but were once afraid to pursue incase it didn’t work out.

As much as it’s a cliche, you really never know unless you actually try because as much as something might seem impossible it doesn’t really determine it’s possibility.

Most things that we want to do in life are often things that have already been done (even if it was in a slightly different way) and that should be enough proof or evidence that you need.

If it’s been done, it can be done again and what’s to say that it can’t be you that does it .

Least time, most value

If you could only listen to 3 artists for the rest of your life, who would they be?

I was thinking about this recently and I found myself surprised that the artists I’d choose are the ones I listen to the least. There was once a time that I listened to them the most but these days I listen to them only every now and then.

But they hold so much value that given the choice, I’d pick them everytime.

I think this is the case for many things in life, not just music.

It’s often the things that we spend the least time on, that we care about and value the most.

Updating your comfort zone

Every once in a while you may be forced to come out of your comfort zone.

The idea that what you resist persists is true, some things just can’t be avoided.

You’ve probably been resistant and stuck in your comfort zone because you’re scared, the uncertainty is overwhelming and you’ve become comfortable with what you know.

Sometimes those are good enough reasons to stick with what you know. You don’t need to force yourself to do things that you don’t want to do.

But maybe you feel like you’re holding yourself back or feel are unhappy with the limitations you have placed on yourself.

If that’s the case, embrace the new and get out of your comfort zone.

Of course things that are new and unfamiliar might feel uncomfortable to begin with but over time that feeling will reduce. And maybe in a few weeks, months or even a year those things that once felt uncomfortable will become part of your comfort zone (or at least much less uncomfortable).

Reasons to log out

Every so often I log out of social media.

I do it to remind myself that I don’t need to use it as much as I think I do.

I do it to free up space in my mind for my own thoughts and opinions.

I do it so that I can spend my free time doing other things that will be more fulfilling.

And when sometime passes and I choose to log back in, I am always reminded that if I’m not mindful I can end up wasting a lot of time and energy.

Change takes time

You can go from making grand plans one day to forgetting why you wanted to change your life the next.

It can be hard to shake the unhelpful habits that bind you to your past self. Even though you know they don’t benefit you and that you should change them, you can’t.

And it’s not that you haven’t tried, you just haven’t been able to make any real long term change.

Maybe somedays you find yourself questioning whether you should even bother trying to change at all.

But change takes time and if you really want it, the effort it takes will always be worth it.

Why learning something new is a great idea

Last year there were lots of discussions, tweets and conversations about how we’re in a pandemic, you don’t need to do xyz it’s totally okay if all you did was survive.

The thing is, of course you don’t need to do anything new or different with your time. That statement has always been true. But if you want to and if you feel like you can, why not choose to do something new?

And even if you don’t feel like it, even if you’re anxious and overwhelmed maybe trying 10 minutes of aerobics or a breath work exercise might actually help.

I think learning or doing something new during a period where you have more free time than usual is a great idea.

The reason for this is whether you sit around passively watching YouTube all day or try out a couple of new recipes every week, the same amount of time has still gone by.

You don’t need to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, pick something that you will enjoy.

And you don’t need to use up all your free time, it could be 20 minutes of meditation each day or a few hours a week doing an online course.

You don’t need to post about it online and it doesn’t make you better than others because you’ve now started a successful business or have perfected the crème brûlée.

The focus should be on how you feel about the way that you’re choosing to live and the way that you’re spending your time.

2 reasons to do something you wouldn’t usually do

No matter the kind of life that you live, I think it is important to regularly switch up your routine.

Spend a day or even just a few hours doing something you wouldn’t usually do.

The first reason is just to keep things fresh. It’s good to switch things up and experiment with how you spend your time and structure your days.

But the second reason is to check in with how you’re currently living.

Sometimes it takes time away from your usual routine for you to realise that you are unsatisfied with your present life circumstances.