One of my favorite pairs of pants has been missing a button since last April. Every week, I plan to write and exercise for several hours each and never quite get around to either. Hundreds and hundreds of photographs need to be deleted from our computer, and another few hundred need to be organized somehow.
I’ve been cleaning out our basement for months and I haven’t even started on the attic. One of these days, I’ll bake that bread I bought yeast for in June. Several yards of fabric sits washed and ready on my sewing table waiting for me to get around to making placemats and napkins.
A plan from last fall.
Clearly there’s a difference between what I say I want to do – and what I actually do.
Which is why I’m done with planning.
Planning, apparently, doesn’t work for me. It’s too loosey-goosey, too vague, too lacking in structure. Each morning’s get up and go energy and best-laid plans seem forgotten as day evolves into night, and I’m more likely to sit down and take the day off from whatever it was I orignally planned to do.
I’ve tried listing. Gave bullet journaling a whirl. I’ve got a desk calendar, an academic planner, and a lovely, rose-colored week-at-a-glance. Nothing I’ve tried works.
So I’m turning to scheduling.
I’ve always thought scheduling is for doctors, dentists, and hairdressers. People on a tight – well, schedule. People who account for and detail the minutes and hours of a day. Of course, some parts of my day are accounted for too … but many minutes aren’t. They’re unbooked. I’m free. Wide open and available.
So what have I been doing with all that unscheduled time? What have I achieved? Finished? Or even started at all?
Truth is, not much.
I think I’ve approached this planning thing all wrong, and I’m ready to follow a whole new format. Waking to sleeping, what hours and minutes are already spoken for? When I plug in the working hours, the meeting minutes, and weekly appointments – what’s left?
Because that’s the time I’m interested in.
And maybe I need to see it to do something with it. If my meeting ends at four and I start dinner at six, what’s on the schedule for those two free hours? Now that I can see it’s open and available, how will I spend it?
It’s a very visual and a whole new way of thinking for me because I’ve always imagined myself to be spontaneous. Turns out, spontaneity works for a quick trip to the beach, but not that book I’ve been meaning to write.
What I’ve really just needed is a wee bit more structure to make time for what I value and what I say is important to me. I need to pencil in equal parts responsibility and possibility.
And schedule time for both.