Best laid plans

I like a plan. All Craggs do. This mode of operating is both a strength and a weakness.

I’m one of those people who plan their meals, plan their free time… even plan their fun! And, as you might have guessed, the result is that I’m not particularly good when something happens and the plans I’ve made have to change.

I am learning, however, and I’d like to share with you some of the key lessons I try to keep in mind.

The first is a lesson in zooming out. It’s the idea of planning for what you want to do over the whole week, rather than a given day. I picked it up from an interview with the writer and director Christopher Nolan. What I found when I planned just for the day ahead of me was that I often go to the end of it feeling frustrated and that I hadn’t accomplished anything. Now I find that planning for the week as a whole allows for off days. Usually this means I actually get more done over the week and feel like I’m not rushing or putting undue pressure on myself.

Related to this, the next lesson is about sketching the outline of a plan and not filling in the detail. Where possible, I prefer to have a schedule that follows a “this then that” approach, not one where everything happens at a specific time. This lowers my expectations for the plan and provides the ability for me to adapt if something doesn’t go quite right.

The final lesson is about letting go. I chose today’s parting thought in relation to this one. It helped me to acknowledge that the more I hold on to the idea of my plan once it’s clearly gone off course the harder it becomes to get over and move forward. So now I give myself a choice, I can hold onto my old plans, dwell on what might have been, and watch my mood decline or, I can let go of it and choose a different path from the position I now find myself in.

What is your relationship with making plans?

How do you respond when something throws your plan off course?

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This post originally appeared in my newsletter, Gathered Thoughts.

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about emma

I am a coach and facilitator helping people to pause, reflect and make conscious choices about what comes next. In my writing I explore themes of personal development, reflective practice and what it means to live well.