Stop Making Lists & Go With The Flow

I love making lists as you know. I make them for anything that comes up in my day or in my life. Sometimes though, I feel that with all this planning, I’m missing out on stuff. I’m so busy making sure that I follow my roadmap and then I’m no longer living in the moment.

I was probably drawn to Cass, my website designer and marketing strategist, because she experiences this same feeling! She is an efficient worker with a bit of a type A personality like me. Just like me she feels most comfortable when every second of her day is planned.

In a recent podcast interview on The Lively Show, Cass explained how her obsession with planning was stopping her from enjoying her own life. So she set about changing her ways to give herself more time to just go with the flow! I was totally inspired by this idea and I had to share it with you.

Here are some little unplanned experiments for you to try to get more out of you free time:

Do something new in your own town — When she reached a breaking point, Cass decided to have one weekend where nothing was planned. So she packed her husband, kids and dogs into the car and went to a local festival. She ended up having the best time and it made her see her town in a whole new light. When we plan all the time, we only see the things we allow ourselves to see. By leaving some room to experiment we can discover things we didn’t even know were there.

Have plans, just don’t iron out the details — Cass realized that the reason she was able to have fun at the festival was because she had planned the day out to a certain extent, but had left the rest up to chance. So you don’t have to give up your planning ways all together. This flexibility allowed her to live in the moment. She stopped worrying about crossing off specific items on her list, like taking the kids to a specific activity or having lunch at a specific time, and just let them have fun. We have so much stress in our own lives there’s no need to add to it with the pressure to stick to our own complex plans.

Work harder, not longer — Going with the flow really worked for both Cass and her family, so she concentrated on trying to give herself more ‘flow’ time. Cass realized that despite running her own business and being in charge of her schedule, she was still working long, unsociable hours. We all have this false belief that the longer we work on something the more we must care about it, but that’s not true. There’s no point in drawing something out for the sake of your own ego. Cass cut down her working hours to 28 hour weeks. Working in concentrated burst so she could have more time with her kids. We don’t all have the luxury of choosing our own hours, but we can still apply this principle in our lives.

What feels good now? — Cass asks herself this question multiple times. She may look at her to-do list and choose something or choose something that isn’t on there at all. But she gets to pick and that’s empowering. Sometimes she picks reading a book or calling a friend or sometimes she decides it’s time to go to Home Depot. But it’s all what strikes her fancy at the moment.

How do you go with the flow?

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This article was originally published on ListProducer.com, a site that brings you shortcuts and tips on productivity and time management. My new book about lists, Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed recently hit the shelves! The power of a simple list is pretty amazing. It makes you feel more in control of every aspect of your life and makes you a better version of yourself. I know, because it’s worked for me!

Oh and some really successful and organized authors like David Allen, Julie Morgenstern and Gretchen Rubin have endorsed the book too! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and get a free chapter of my book by signing up here.