Make a Plan, But Don’t Expect to Stick to It

A Year of Being Better — Day 23 of 365

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 — Approx. 7:45 A.M.

Planning is important, and being able to stick to routines is extremely helpful in reducing stress and decision fatigue.

It’s also important to be able to roll with it when a routine gets thrown off. The ability to have a routine disrupted, identify the problem, and still be able to calmly adjust the routine so that everything gets done. I’ve always had trouble with that.

For a long time I have detested routines and rituals because I would plan things out too specifically and expect the plan to work flawlessly. That leads to a lot of frustration.

I always thought that routines were set in stone and had to be carried out exactly according to the plan. They don’t.

Routines are more like an outline than a script.

You don’t have to do everything exactly the same every time, and you can add and remove items wherever it’s appropriate to the situation. They keep you from getting too far off course, but you’re still free to adjust things and adapt the outline to the current situation.

Routines provide an awesome way to guide your day and prepare your mind for certain activities. But we can’t always expect everything to be the same — that would make life pretty boring.

More than anything though, expecting routines to be an hard-and-fast set of rules for your life is unreasonable. As humans we really are pretty much incapable of living that way.

Since I have changed my view of routines I have been able to institute morning and evening rituals that put my mind in the right place for the workday or that prepare me to sleep on time. Interestingly, even though I don’t specifically plan everything out to a T and I don’t always follow the outline exactly, I still get everything done very consistently. The pressure to do it perfectly isn’t there anymore.

In the process of learning to deal with routines better, I’m becoming more reasonable with myself. Perfection isn’t something I am capable of right now, so I should not expect it. If things don’t go according to plan, oh well. Identify what made it happen and try to avoid that the next time around.

Unless we learn to be reasonable with ourselves and roll with the punches, we’ll never be able to accomplish our goals — we’ll be too busy trying to get the script just right.

<< Day 22 — Batch More, Schedule a Little, Worry Less

Day 24 — Are You the Problem or the Solution? >>

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