SO057: Are You Trapped in Productive Procrastination?

Season 10: Planner Pep Talks

The episodes in season 10 are excerpted from a live workshop I gave in February 2018 about how to make sure your planner and planning is not a waste of time. Hint: it’s more about us than about the planner.

Get access to the whole workshop, the chat replay, and more here:

Planners That Work Workshop

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Partial Transcript: So, our planning system and our planner in particular is something that we do have to come back and revisit and reiterate, put together again. That’s not a waste of time. If we’re coming back at it regularly but not re-making the entire plan everyday (I’ve done that, it is a waste of time), it’s productive procrastination. Procrastination that feels productive: "my life is entirely falling apart, I don’t even know what to do next, I’m just going to make a new planner page (because that’ll help) and honestly, it often does feel like if I just get this planner thing right, everything will fall into place." That’s not actually the way it works.

We’ve got a road — the productivity road, the road of doing what we’re supposed to be doing when we’re supposed to be doing it. There’s a ditch on one side of the road that says “I don’t feel like I’m going as fast as I want to or I don’t know if I’m on the right road and so I’m going to re-do my planner even though I made one yesterday." That sort of re-upping, re-evaluating too soon where you haven’t actually had time to work the plan; there’s not time to have experience in the planner and figure out what’s working, what’s not working, and why. And so, the solution we come up with as our creativity outlet is coming up with a new planner page. There are better creative outlets and more refreshing ones than that. So, we don’t want to re-create our planner pages at the drop of a hat just because one thing didn’t go well today or because we actually don’t want to do the plan, making a new planner page is not going to make us want to do the plan. But, sometimes that’s the reason why we choose a planner, or we try to re-do it, or we buy a new planner. We look to the planner to change, basically to change our hearts, and it’s not going to do it. And, then the ditch on the other side of the road is to just throw off all planning altogether and say, “Well, I have wasted time, the planner didn’t work for me today, or this whole week, or this whole month, and so I must not be a planner. This doesn’t work for me so I’m not going to do any.” That is a ditch on the side of the road; being organized, being productive doesn’t mean that you have to be a driven type, a super fast, high energy kind of person.

Planning, keeping a planner, trying to be organized is just about trying to be prepared for the service and responsibilities that God has given you and it’s about thinking through what those responsibilities are because so much of the time our minds are filled with ‘ought to’s’ that aren’t necessarily ‘ought to’s’ – maybe they’re can’s, I might be able to do this, or maybe I should do this, but I think that we, too often, feel obligated to do things that we shouldn’t necessarily feel obligated to do. So, the process of planning is distilling what are my responsibilities and where should my focus be, so that when those different ideas, details, possibilities, come at you, you can legitimately and without too much decision-fatigue, or a gut-wrenching pro’s and con’s list just say, “Not room for that” or “That’s not part of my priorities right now,” and it helps make that decision on yes, I can do that, no I can’t do that.

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