Search results for "planning"

Planning VS Unfolding

I find of late that I am an ongoing conversation, debate if you will, about this concept of planning vs. unfolding.

I have always labored under the belief that in order to get anything done, to accomplish anything of value, you must carefully plan and dutifully apply yourself to following that plan.

But sometimes I wonder. There are those who don’t carefully plan, but instead choose to do what feels right in that moment and pursue opportunities as they appear. At first blush, it sounds lazy and unmotivated, but maybe I’ve been missing something.

Has this ever happened to you? You decide what you want, make a plan, take the actions – sometimes even clinging to the plan when the pursuit no longer interest you – and then find that when you get what you want, you don’t even like it or no longer want it. Maybe I’m the only one that has felt that. Maybe not planning is irresponsible, but not allowing things to unfold blinds us to other opportunities and keeps us from being in touch with our shifting needs and wants.

There’s a certain comfort and familiarity with planning and following, but it can also be dull, dreary, and mind-numbing in its repetitiveness. Sometimes I find I have a burning desire to let my life unfold, at least to a certain extent, instead of doggedly following the plan. It feels uncomfortable, yet enticing in a way.

It’s something for me to ponder a bit more, and perhaps you as well.

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A Simple Planning Process to Get the Results You Want

Plan C

Image via Wikipedia

When I made the decision recently to do a complete re-design of my own website, I quickly realized that I would get better results if I could throttle back on my impulse to dive right in and instead stop to make a plan first. I needed to be clear on exactly what I wanted to accomplish, why I wanted or needed to achieve this goal and how much time and energy I could or should expend. The results while always a work in progress were astonishingly close to the picture I held in my head and I finished within my self-imposed deadline.

As always, I am eager to share my methods (though they may sometimes resemble madness) in the hopes that it will help you be successful in making changes in your life or business, whatever they may be.

Total view – Take a step back (or twenty) and get the overview.

How does this project, goal or outcome fit in with the total picture of your business or your life?

What do you want the final project to look like? (Can you picture it in your head or put it on paper?)

How much time can you or are you willing to devote to achieving your outcome, goal or changes?

Now is the time to think about the project scope, design, impact and end result. It is also the time to question your available resources (usually time and money) and whether it is worth tackling at all.

Detail view – Now, we get down to the nuts and bolts.

What will it take to get this project or achieve this goal from start to finish?

List all of the steps, actions or decisions necessary to get your result.

Will you need help with any steps? Either through delegation, hiring outside help or simply asking others to assist you?

Do you need more information about any aspects of your project?

Do you have a deadline or timeline in place? If not, make one.

Determine the order if any of your steps.

Action Plan – Decide what action you will take first.

Then choose what either logically or logistically comes next. Repeat.

Revision – Once you start making progress, don’t be afraid to change direction or shift course. If something doesn’t look right, doesn’t feel right or simply doesn’t work, try something different.

Good luck with your creative endeavors and please let me know what you’re working on!

Question everything, move forward, enjoy the journey.

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Happiness is…Reconnecting With Childhood

2013-07-17 10.06.53

My personal ‘Joy Coach’

Funny how something simple and innocuous as a morning at the park can lead to a completely unexpected revelation. Probably should have been a Duh! But sometimes I can be slow to see and even slower to adopt…

Childhood – a good one anyway – can be full of tiny thrilling moments of uncomplicated spontaneous happiness.

(Feel free to Tweet that)

Children experience this with no thought, no coaching, no planning and usually no decision-making.

They just instinctively gravitate to those things and experiences that make them feel happy. And maybe even more importantly, they seem to throw themselves into the experience revelling in the delight and joy of  it with none of the accompanying guilt and analysis that we adults seem to be plagued with.

So, happiness may be closer than we think. Just a smidgen of childhood delight away.

Think back to those tiny delights, moments of pure unadulterated joy.

Sliding… or swinging in the park

A drippy ice cream cone…even better a red popsicle

Throwing a frisbee…dog optional

Dig out a hula hoop or pogo stick

Lying on a blanket to watch the stars…name the constellations if you can remember any

Play one of those favorite old lawn games…I always got out in kickball, was so loud everyone could hear me coming in Kick the Can, but had a mean badminton serve…

Blow bubbles…borrow a child companion if you must


If you can’t remember that far back just watch some children play for inspiration. Or get your own personal joy coach as I did above…

But… It seems too easy… It can’t really work…It’s just silly

Well, yeah. That’s the whole point. We’ve lost the ability to be silly, to relish the moment in an unscripted way with no agenda other than pure joy.

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I’m So Sick of Rules: When It Might Be OK to Ignore Them

“To insure peace of mind ignore the rules and regulations.” – George Ade

We live by so many rules. It can become stifling and in some circumstances prohibitive of action, progress and happiness.

So, the next time you find yourself thinking… “I have to…because that just the way it’s done.” Think twice. Sometimes rules are there for a reason…because they make good sense…but sometimes you need to break them.

Your life…Your Rules

Some rules that you might think twice about…

Marriage age. Modern wisdom says don’t get married too young. Wait…but not too long. And while in general that may be sound advice, it’s not always true. Many marriages that started very young have stood the test of time- my parents are a great example. And there are many, a staggering number, that fail when married at a “good age.” Maturity and commitment do not necessarily correlate with chronological age.

Children. Mid -20’s to mid-30s seems to be the sweet spot to have children, but I had my first child at 20 and she turned out fine. I have a dear friend that waited until 40. I thought she was nuts, but mother and child have thrived. Optimal timing does not guarantee a happy and healthy child.

College. I have always been taught (and voraciously agreed) that a college degree leads to a better career, more success and more money. The statistics still tip in that direction, but not nearly as much as they once did with the soaring costs of education and the stagnate job market. Many people who started working right away, learned a trade, started a business, have been very successful.

Business planning. As long as we’re on the topic of business. Many current business insiders now feel that an extensive 30-page business plan is a waste of time. While it’s a good idea to map out business ideas and have an action plan and goals, trying to predict future direction and obstacles is ambiguous. If you need extensive financing you may be required to do this still, but otherwise consider the time and effort and return. Sometimes the specter of this undertaking can prevent people from taking action. Weigh how much time you should spend on this.

Weight. We’ve all been indoctrinated with weight tables, but they often don’t take into consideration frame, musculature, and underlying health and fitness. Unless you are morbidly obese (which is not healthy for anyone,) overall health may be a better gauge. The stress of constant dieting and berating yourself may be worse than the extra 20 pounds.

Water. Thou must get 8 glasses each day! Really? Well, not actually. It’s not bad as a guideline, but health studies show that everybody is different. Some are fine with 6, while I personally need 10. You might be better served to stop counting and pay attention to the “color” – think lemonade color people…

Exercise. There are just too many guidelines. And they differ and change constantly. If you just don’t have time (or won’t stick with) 30-45 minutes, then just do 20 or 30. If you hate weight lifting, but like push-ups or yoga…go for it. The idea of the cross trainer makes your eyes cross, but you enjoy walking…then by all means. The best fitness regimen is the one you will maintain.

TMI. Here’s a long-standing big one. One that I have personally ignored… The “Don’t volunteer personal information at a job interview.” Now, if you desperately need this job, right now and you’re afraid, then by all means follow conventional wisdom. It is my philosophy however, and it has served me well, that I don’t want to work for a company that will not hire me because of my age, marital status and how many children I have.

There are so many…many, many examples. It’s mind-boggling. Rules are a good thing. We need them. And if you have to play by the rules to get what you want, go for it. But just as often we really might be better off ignoring them.

Your life…Your rules. 

Can you think of some conventional rules that you’ve ignored that has served you well?

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Why Are We So Obsessed With Doing?

University student sleeping at home

Even when we’re not supposed to be “Doing,”…we try to “Do” our way through “Not Doing.” Confusing, I know. We are strange and perplexing creatures, us humans. Trust me, the rest of the creatures in this world do not plan their rest or leisure time…No, this obsession with busy, doing mode is purely humanoid.

I’m supposed to be lying low this week in planning and recovery mode. In fact I’m taking the day off today…Can’t you tell?

But when I got out of bed this morning, before I had even taken my first sip of precious caffeine gold, my mind was already planning my day, everything that I wanted to cram into my “Off Day” whirling through my brain. Even in rest, our brains have difficulty shutting off.

To illustrate, I thought I’d share my “Rest Day” to-do list:


Kettle bell workout

Run/walk 3 miles

Catch up on filing

Pay bills

Catch up on cemetery business – file and mail out deeds, balance accts. (I’m treasurer of local cemetery)

Buy a new purse (strap broke on current one)

Go to the library

Go to son’s track meet

Go to bank

Call my grandson

Text adult children to check in

Check up on mom – recovering from eye surgery

Journal work

Read books – Finish “Without Reservations”, start “Living Deeply” and take notes from “4 Hour Body”

BP exercises from workbook

Creative brainstorming -  Future focus, direction, projects, posts, etc.

Rest on front porch with glass of tea


Funny how much my “Rest Day” list has so much “Doing” on it…sigh. It’s a sickness that I’m afraid many of us share.

It’s time to rethink what “Not Doing” means…

Who else is with me on this?

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