In our second episode, we dive into the final two rules of planning: train your subconscious and maintain a flexible mindset. These concepts are simple to implement, yet extremely effective for crafting an intentional lifestyle. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify.
Our "Four Rules of Planning" —
- Write down what you did. For several days or weeks, use your planner to record what you did. By starting with the rhythms and habits you already operate in, you can recognize patterns, and evaluate what’s working and what’s not. You can then design incremental change that serves your family, makes sense for the season you’re in, and builds into a sustainable lifestyle.
- Build your repertoire of planning skills. Think about it like becoming a skilled cook in a kitchen. You must build your planning and productivity skills over time, as you come upon new challenges. Learn as you go, practice patiently, and you’ll soon feel equipped to adapt your new skills to fit any given situation. Just as a skilled cook would not feel the pressure to use every technique they know every time they prepare a dish, you shouldn’t feel the pressure to exercise every single time-management or efficiency muscle you have every single moment of every day. You simply build your repertoire of skills for when you need them.
- Train your subconscious. The more you write down your goals and priorities, the more you are teaching your brain to focus on what is important to you. This builds a “working memory” around your priorities, enabling you to waste less energy on deciding what you need to do next in the day-to-day, so you can give more brain space to bigger goals and projects.
- Maintain a flexible mindset. Even with the best planning, life still throws punches and things play out in ways you could’ve never anticipated. Instead of mislabeling yourself as “failures” because of circumstances out of your control, you have the choice to strengthen your positive influence in any given situation. You can take a proactive approach to these challenges—whether big or small—by adopting a mindset that inspires you to pivot and handle the inevitable changes to your plans in creative and life-giving ways.
Remember, these rules are not a once-and-done process, they are a cycle that you can move through again and again. The truth about intentional living is that it has to be adaptable, because your life will change constantly. The schedule rhythms you were following in January are likely not the ones that will work well in September. These four rules will help you to constantly adapt, change and perfect your planning processes, while doing it in a way that is unique to your lifestyle, season and needs.