Take Time to Plan

I don’t know about you, but I always hear how important it is to take time to plan and schedule. I even believe it – how could I not, being a professional organizer? I recognize how important it is to take your time and figure things out before jumping in. Taking the time to plan means that you are more effective and productive. Most of us have probably heard the saying, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”

When we re-did the room in our home, we waited until we had certain things figured out. We did not empty the room, let alone paint it, until we knew what we wanted to do with the room. This is an interesting example since I am not sure how many of us would do it any other way.

Why then do we not take the time and consideration for the smaller things in our lives? We all have busy lives, yet too often we neglect planning. This is one of the most critical times to plan. If we want to live fully today and every day – to suck the marrow out of life – we need to take the time to figure out what we want and need to do. And we need to make a routine out of it – set aside time regularly to do plan, and this also means having discipline to keep up with it.

Recently I have been struggling with what to use for planning. I have been considering lots of different options and considering what I need and want. I was using some lined paper and creating a schedule with to-do lists based on another design. I was getting fed up with re-doing my outline for it each week and sat one day and created the design on the computer. It took me less than an hour.

You know what though? I felt guilty! I was consumed with feeling like I had wasted my time. “I had better things to be doing.” “I was neglecting all those other things that need my attention.” As I was talking to my husband about it, I was struck by the illogic of it. I was creating an easier way for me to schedule and plan. I was saving myself time each week in creating the outline, by spending this one hour; I could save myself 20 minutes every week. In less than a month I will have saved myself time. Still it did not FEEL that way.

This is the problem many people face trying to set aside time for planning and scheduling. On some level it feels counterproductive. We also often manage without taking the time to plan; yet the key word is – manage. We manage to get by and get the things done we need to. This is not thriving.

There is no one easy answer to solve this struggle. We need to find ways to show ourselves that it actually helps us. If we make the time regularly to plan, it can become obvious that it is worthwhile. The way life starts to suddenly feel easier somehow. Our stress levels decrease while we are actually more productive. Our happiness increases. We feel in control, or at least more so! The goals we want to achieve are within reach.

In closing, a lovely quote from Annie Dillard,

“A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.”

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