Planning vs flowing

A Journey into Balance

Planning vs Flowing

The events of 2020 have proven one thing to me. No matter how many plans you make, you can’t plan for everything.

And, it’s got me thinking if I should have the rest of my life figured out? The thing is, I’ve always been a planner. One of those people whose life needed a plan in place for every hour of every day. I told myself that having things planned out years in advance would let me get everything accomplished that I want to. I’d make to-do lists all the time and live with post-it notes covering my computer screen. I’d plot my path forward to the minutest detail and I drive myself crazy doing it! I’ve always believed that – without a plan – I’d feel as though I was getting nowhere in life. Having a strict plan never felt restrictive or suffocating to me. Until now that is.
When it comes to Planning vs Flowing. I’d planned out 2020 for myself. Minutely documented small steps reaching towards the bigger goal. And, to be honest, I was looking forward to following the plan. But then, like a lot of people in the world I had to change everything. I had to change my goals entirely.
planning vs flowing

Planning vs Flowing

So with everyone talking about how the 2020 script got flipped and that all bets were off. My plan was thrown out. I couldn’t even make a new plan! The entire world was thrown into turmoil and the light at the end of the tunnel got turned off indefinitely. The future became fluid with fa too many moving parts to plan anything beyond what I was going to eat that evening. Everyone (me included) had to just hold on and learn how to go with the flow. So, flow I did.
After 12 months of taking one day at a time I started to wonder which one was better: planning vs flowing? What if going with the flow delivered amazing results we never could have planned? On the other hand, what if more planning could allow us to cover more ground with peace of mind?
Listen to Jess Lively’s podcast, if you want to get familiar with the concept of flowing. Flowing is basically a decision to let things flow to you without trying to force certain outcomes.
Planning and flowing has different pros and cons.  Flowing, allows you get to let your values and intuition lead the way but you also risk missing opportunities. Planning give you guidelines to follow that can make decisions easier but if things don’t go to plan, it can be extremely disappointing and frustrating.

"All we are is dust in the wind, dude." - Bill S Preston Esq.

"Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?"

 – Katy Perry

The best-laid plans

The best-laid plans refers to something that has gone awry, something that has not turned out as well as one had hoped. The expression the best-laid plans carries the connotation that one should not expect for things to always turn out to plan. Like many proverbs, the best-laid plans is usually quoted by itself, though it is not the full proverb.
The full proverb is, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. This is a passage from the poem To a Mouse, written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1786.
The verse was translated into English, the original Scottish quotation is: The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley, / An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, / For promised joy.
Note that best-laid plans is spelled with a hyphen, as best-laid functions as an adjective before a noun. Laid is sometimes misspelled as layed, though layed is not a word. Laid is is the past tense and past participle tense of lay.

Flexibility lover or a planner fanatic?

The key is to Strike a balance between the two. Here are my tips for finding the right balance between planning and going with the flow:

3 Tips for Striking A Balance. Planning vs Flowing

1. If you’re into flowing

Consider what has worked for you in the past. Before you read all of the planning and goal-setting blog posts, what have you done that worked well?
If you’re not a planner but want to try it as an alternative try planning one month at a time.  Also recognise that success is totally possible if you choose to go with the flow. Passion is a whole lot more important than a detailed plan.
It’s beneficial to introduce some structure into your life, even if you’re not one for planning. Maybe it’s putting aside half an hour a day to work on a passion project? Light up your mind and get your creative juices flowing.
If the idea of routine bores you, take a long hard look at your everyday life. Find the things you haven’t become bored of yet. Look closely enough and you’ll realise that we all have routines. Sometimes without even realising it.

2. If you’re into planning

Are you making plans that don’t necessarily need to be made? Are you overwhelming yourself by cramming your schedule with tasks?
I’ve realised this year that sometimes my planning was simply procrastination. Instead of actually taking action I wrote a list of things to do before I did the thing I needed to do. I was trying to make everything perfect so I planned out every detail. But, at some point you have to actually do the work.
Take a look at your schedule/to-do list/post-it jungle etc. Do all these things need to be scheduled? Is it possible that you can free up some space in your planner for flowing? Maybe the solution is even to schedule in time for flowing!

3. Accept change. Shift and adjust

2020 has proven to me that life can easily throw way too many obstacles at us. Making it impossible for things to always go to plan.
We have to let go of some of our stubbornness and face the fact that we will need to be flexible sometimes. Learn to shift and adjust. Change your plans on the fly. It can really help you avoid getting anxious and frustrated later.
Most importantly be willing to let go of control. Make plans with the mindset that not everything is going to work out perfectly.

planning vs flowing. How do you strike a balance between the two?