For years I resisted the idea of detailed planning since I so highly value variety and I was convinced that planning would cost more time than it would create.
Recently I’ve been re-working everything I know about planning. I’ve been a meticulous digital calendar user, but I recently switched to writing in an actual planner with pen and paper – the Tony Robbins RPM system to be exact.
I’m deep into my journey and it appears I was right on some level – planning does take a significant amount of time. It may save me some time in the end but that’s not the real benefit to me. The REAL benefit of a high-level planning system isn’t the 15 minutes you spend doing it every day. The real benefit is the clearing out of the mental cobwebs and the reactivity that dominates our brains every day.
So many of us live with this daily sense that we’re not doing enough, or we’re doing the wrong thing, or we’re doing too much. Most of us don’t take the time to think about it in detail like this, but that nagging anxiety that plagues many exists precisely because you haven’t come up with a clear, concise vision for your life or your day (you can’t have a clear vision for your day without a clear vision for your life.
Growing up I was never much of a planner. To-do lists felt like a waste of time and planning often seemed like it added more work than it alleviated – which of course is the opposite of the goal of good planning.
On top of that, I have always been good at improvising on the fly and playing jazz in my life, so it just never seemed like much of a priority to sit down and plan everything out.
As I’ve gotten older, my responsibilities have grown and my dreams have gotten bigger, I’ve started to hit the limits of where “planning on the fly” can take me.
Like many clients I work with, when I’m not intentional about what I’m doing with my time and where my life is headed, I start floating along the river of life and just hoping that things work out.
This is obviously not the philosophy of someone who wants to accomplish anything of substance in their life, so I’ve revisited planning in a major way and have implemented amazing planning that has changed the course of my life forever. Here are some basic concepts in planning that will change your life forever:
In the Western business world, being late is a grave sin. It can lose you jobs, lose you clients, and generally tank your career and even your personal relationships.
This perspective that dominates the Western world has many benefits. It makes the trains run on time. It’s respectful to whoever your next meeting is with. It makes coordinating schedules relatively easy. It’s great for people who live in worlds with deadlines.
People who love planners, organization, and order generally thrive in our culture - especially in business.
Some people take this so seriously, that people will fire people, not hire people, and destroy relationships with people over tardiness or missed meetings.
What’s interesting is that while we here in America think that’s just the way things are, there are cultures and individuals around the world that view time differently. Here, we might consider those people lazy or call them loafers, but we should just recognize it for what it is: a difference in how we experience the world.
Having a clear vision for your life and a plan to get there are essential for the life of your dreams. After all, it’s really difficult to hit the target if you don’t know where or what the target is and you’re blindfolded.
That being said, some people love planning and others don’t. So while there are tons of commerical planners and planning systems on the market that will help you detail every moment of your day in support of your larger goals, there’s not a lot for people who value variety and uncertainty highly in their lives.
Something I like to do for people who are scared of intense structure is to create a much looser, free-flowing structure that STILL supports what you want in the bigger picture - a planning system for people who are excited by the prospect of uncertainty and variety - people who genuinely don’t want to know what tomorrow may bring.
It’s super simple and it will help move your life forward while also keeping your days fresh and filled with enough variety so that you don’t get bored.
People get stuck on the mechanics of time management which are relatively simple.
The thing that will make you feel less stressed about your time is being able to connect your day to day time usage with the bigger picture of you want to be as a person.
Does your time usage reflect your values?
Your life coach.
The Andrew Warner Podcast: