“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” ~Lao Tzu
There is something about my mind, and many people’s minds, that is overly optimistic. Especially when you had a relaxing weekend behind you. As Monday arrives I start making lists and plans of all the things I want to do and accomplish the week. I think that I can do so much each day, and so I overplan. I fill my plans with so much, confident I can do it all, ignoring the evidence of the past when most plans didn’t get done and most things didn’t get crossed off as hoped.
We believe that, sure, we might have failed to meet our expectations in the past, but this time will be different! This time, we will do better. This time, we will be disciplined and productive and get more done. Yes, that’s an excellent plan. Let me know how that works out. And of course…
I overplanned. I was overly optimistic. And had lots of goals and expectations.
Not Overplanning in Real Life
In our daily personal and work lives, we overload ourselves and overplan. We are overly optimistic about what we can do, despite past evidence. We set too many goals and have too high expectations. Here’s what I’ve am learning and trying to remind myself too:
Leave plans to a minimum.
That’s not to say you won’t do anything, but plan as little as possible — most of what you might plan won’t get done anyway. Why create a fiction? Leave wide open blocks with few scheduled appointments when possible. And make a list with the things you want to do, starting with the most urgent but let it have an open time frame.
Learn to act fluidly.
If your day is mostly wide open, how do you fill it? Flexibly. You don’t have plans or goals, but know how to pick your priorities fluidly, in the moment. At this moment, what is the thing you’re most excited about? What is the most important thing you can do? What can you do that will change your life the most? This is a skill that you learn by practice, but planning ahead what you should do makes no sense when the landscape is changing constantly.
We are not walking a path, but surfing a sea.
Most people look at goal setting as picking a destination, then figuring out a path to get there. That assumes you’re walking on land that will change very little, and that while you will have unforeseen obstacles, you’ll be on stable ground and the destination won’t move. That’s not at all true — life is more like the sea, ever changing with no fixed paths or destinations, with swells and waves that change everything at every moment. The ultimate skill, to start surfing on the waves that come and making the most of the ones here. Not waiting for the perfect one.
Your plans might fall apart, but life will be greater for it.
Life changes things, and it’s when we cling to our goals and plans that we are unhappy or stressed — when we learn to surf the wave as it comes, we can be very happy, no matter what comes. This requires you to take yourself or your life sometimes not too seriously. Rather acknowledge it as it comes and take a positive step forward.
Do you also overplan constantly? Or how do you deal with your tasklist and things you want to accomplish?
“Overplanning kills magic.”
“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard