I used to think, “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth planning to do.” Though the phrase is sticky, it’s not quite right.
I was thinking about this in reference to Julie’s Mindmapping Different Kinds of Time, wherein she wrote about her experience of combining mindmaps with ideas similar to the ones presented in Create, Connect, and Consume. Integrating the ideas from the 3C post was a game-changer for me, and Julie’s work really took those ideas to another level.
For me, the biggest benefit of switching to thinking about ToDo lists in more open ways is that it’s led to a much more holistic, intuitive understanding of what I “need” to be doing. Rather than thinking “I must read this particular chapter,” I can instead focus on reading something that’s a) worth reading, b) useful, and c) interesting. If “this particular chapter” doesn’t pass that test, then I don’t read it – or, even better, I can focus on the consumption opportunities that are more valuable at this time. At the end of the day, I spend more time focusing on the process instead of particular outcomes; in that sense, every fully harnessed opportunity is a stress-free win.
You’ll see something similar in Julie’s post when she says
I’ve been doing yoga and meditation for many years and reiki for the past several, both of which have helped me develop my intuition. I would like to spend more time than I do now exploring my intuition. So instead of thinking: I have to do yoga, I have to meditate, what about saying, I want to spend time with my intuition ”” Intuition Time ”” and that expanse of Time could include some yoga poses, some meditation, some daydreaming, some journaling, etc.
If she tried to make herself do yoga when she felt like doing reiki, then she’s set herself up to miss out on an opportunity to do something she wanted to do that served the same purpose as the activity she didn’t quite feel like doing. Why not be fully engaged in the activity you want to do instead of making yourself do something you don’t want to do for no other reason than it being on a list? A list, I should add, that you made when you were disconnected from this present moment.
Aside: Julie had a goal of “Develop Intuition Time.” It’s possible that in that chunk of time, she feels like doing some creative stuff. If she were to honor her desire to do some creative stuff, then she has, in fact, listened to her intuition. Rather than forcing her intuition into a time, would she be better off to let listening to her intuition be a natural, integrated part of her day? I think so.
There’s planning, and then there’s over-planning. Planning, done correctly, is an awareness-generating exercise. Overplanning is a stress-generating exercise and is generally counterproductive. Sometimes there really are deadlines that need to be met to keep things on track, and planning helps us keep sight of that. But there are plenty of meaningful things to do that would benefit from us learning to trust our intuitions about when when we should do them.
So it turns out that there are some things that’s just not worth planning to do, not because they’re not worth it, but because sticking to a plan sometimes makes us miss out on better opportunities.