How much time do you spend on making plans and decisions? And how many of those do you actually carry through to completion? On time? Really?
And how often do you beat yourself up along the lines of “I should have”, “I could have” or “why didn’t I”?
Part One: To plan or not to plan – that’s the question
If you knew me personally (and I know that some of my friends are rolling their eyes now and snorting with laughter at the notion of me writing about planning), you’d know that I used to be a sucker for making plans, and to suck at sticking to them.
Over the years I went from blaming “them”, “circumstances”, “wrong timing” or “life in general” for my almost habitual failures to feeling guilty about procrastinating. But no matter how much advice I got (including “just do it”, which used to make me furious) and how much effort I made to follow it, any noticeable improvement petered out and dissolved into nothing after a week or two at the most.
Whatever limits us we call Fate. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I had to face the bitter truth: I simply wasn’t good enough for this. Maybe I should try something easier.
Oh yeah, the not-good-enough trap…not a comfortable quagmire.
The only way out (and back to being kind to myself) was by declaring with vehemence that plans and deadlines weren’t my thing, obviously, because as soon as I set a deadline for anything, even the smallest task, it was doomed.
Abandoning all planning did indeed bring considerable relief. At least I could meet my eyes again in the mirror.
We haven’t got a plan, so nothing can go wrong! – Spike Milligan
Then amazing, miraculous synchronicities occurred – simply by allowing people, things and situations to be as they were while doing my own thing. Life was becoming easy and light, and this ease and lightness spread into all areas of my life. I started enjoying life more and more, being happy with what I had or did instead of moaning about what I hadn’t or didn’t do.
Living the life of a butterfly was so delightful! I truly followed my passion, only did what I felt like doing, and only as long as I liked, and stopping when I lost interest or when something better, more enjoyable crossed my mind.
You might be wondering by now why I’m writing in past tense – or what the life of a butterfly’s got to do with routines and habits.
Yes, I probably did finish off more projects than I would have done under the influence of my previous mindset, but my molehill of started projects had meanwhile turned into a mountain, with especially steep and slippery slopes due to its exponential growth.
And one wrong step was enough to send me down the ravine, killing Delightful Butterfly-Me…
The thing was, I still got bugger all done.
Read next: How to revive a dead butterfly