I’m a planner.
I love planning.
In fact, sometimes I love planning so much that I prefer to play with planning than actually doing!
Sometimes, I get stuck in planning, not because I love planning,but because I’m not quite ready to take action, or because my mind doesn’t believe I’m ready. Being stuck in planning (or even stuck at ideas-going-round-in-your-head stage), can be really frustrating, and yet, strangely reassuring at the same time. Why? Because if you’re not actually taking any action, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to fail – and that can be a very comfortable place to be.
Sadly, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to succeed either. You’re keeping yourself stuck, or small, or safe in a way that disempowers you.
As I write this, we’re deep into the Covid-19 pandemic. In the UK (where I live) we’ve just entered our third lockdown and I’m hearing a lot of people saying that they’re struggling to plan at all, because we don’t know what’s going to happen.
Is this you? Are you struggling to plan?
If the answer is yes, here’s a process to help move you forward:
Firstly, get clear on what is it that’s stopping you from creating a plan?
- Worry about the state of the world?Unsure about your job or work?
- Fear about your income?
- Illness of some sort – either yours or someone else’s?
- Too busy supporting your family?
- Something else – get clear on what this is
Using a piece of paper or your preferred computer programme note down EVERYTHING that’s on your mind. Literally, everything. From getting a new job, to making sure the kids get lunch, to making sure that you eat, to doing the shopping / should I shop online, to calling mum / dad / sister / brother, to what do I do with the car, to doing the washing.
Get it all out.
- Then ask yourself, “What else?” and write all that out. Repeat two or more times until you feel a slight relief inside. That feeling of relief is because you’re not having to carry all this in your head anymore, because you’ve captured it on paper. Your head, your mind, your memory can all relax – which leaves more mental energy for you to plan and act.
- Taking a fresh sheet of paper or computer document and quickly create two columns – or use two pages if you think you’re going to need them. Give yourself two titles such as:
- Things I can do something about vs. Things I can’t do anything about
- Things I have control over vs. Things outside of my control
- What I can influence vs. What I am concerned about (but cannot influence)
- Transfer everything (yes, everything) you’ve already written into one of the two columns or pages. If you have more to add simply put it straight under one of your headings.
- Focus on the list that you can clearly do something about and for each item, write down the first action that comes to mind that you can take. If you can’t think of any action that you can take, check in with yourself – should this item really be in this list, or could you transfer it to your other list? Often, although an item originally felt like it was within your control, it actually isn’t. Things to do with other people – such as their feelings, thoughts and actions – often get put in the wrong list, for example.
- Steadily work through your list of actions and write down the next action(s) each time you’ve completed a current action.
- Be sure to take a moment to connect with what you’re achieving along the way, as well as at the end.
I’ve suggested two sections only as being this clear makes it easier for you to separate the mass of things you had in your head, and to get you planning and, more importantly, taking action, but there are many different ways you can organise your mind dump depending on what you’d like to achieve. There are different steps if you’re looking to create a strategy or organise your time or your priorities, for example. Do contact me if you’d like any help with that.
I hope you found this useful? Sometimes we make things over-complicated and my work is all about helping you unravel the tangles so you can actively live your life. Let me know if this has helped move you forward in some way.