Getting Back to Planning and Intentionality

So, a bit of a funny story (especially after my most recent blog post)....

I just bought a house this summer and it turns out there was a small wasp nest in the front light. I was able to remove that and bought a new fixture since the other one was broken. But I bought the wrong kind, so I returned it today and got another one that was the right kind - or so I thought.

If you've ever installed a ceiling light of any kind, you know it's a total pain in the behind. Seriously. At least it wasn't a ceiling fan though - those are a real bummer.

At any rate, as I was finishing up the installation (after it taking three times as long as I had expected ) I opened my front door and realized the light hangs down too far so I could only open the door enough to get in and out. 😂  

So, I tried again. You'd think I would have measured it to make sure it fit, learning from my previous mistake. Nope. I just moved it up as high as it would go. I mean, it fits but the door grazes the bottom of it so I will have to get a different fixture.  SMH

So why do I share this?

Well, one lesson is clearly that if something doesn't work, try again - but maybe pay attention, reflect, and learn (more) from what didn't work (i.e., measure the second time).

Another lesson is to be compassionate towards ourselves as we make mistakes (shame rarely helps us focus better and it feels lousy).

But for me, the big lesson is this.

Take time to develop a plan. I used to be good at this, but since COVID I have gotten out of practice with things having gotten more chaotic and busy as a mental health provider. The good news is, I know skills for how to develop and implement a plan effectively and can share them.  Even better, I have updated them after reading Charles Duhigg's book Smarter Faster Better (which I swear was written for Jen v. 2021).

Here's my take on what Duhigg recommends (i.e., paraphrased and combining different pieces, particularly the focus piece):

(1) Identify a "stretch goal" - an ambition that reflects my biggest aspiration.

(2) Identify the SMART goal components (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timeline)

(3) Identify what will happen first.

(4) Name the distractions that will occur

(5) Identify how you will handle those distractions (come up with other options)

(6) Identify how you will know if you have succeeded

(7) Identify what is needed for success

(8) Identify what you will do next

Then do it.

Reflecting on my porch light debacle, had I done this, I would have foreseen some of the challenges and could have addressed some of the distractions ahead of time (either by limiting them or planning how I would handle them) . Sure, it would have taken time to plan this. However, the time to plan effectively would have been a drop in the bucket compared to how much time it took since I proceeded without a plan. Perhaps more importantly, instead of feeling frustrated for having "wasted" time (i.e., used it ineffectively, though I did learn from this experience so not a total waste) I would feel productive and accomplished ready to move on instead of needing time to recover.

I've decided to start to put the above method into practice daily in hopes of feeling less overwhelmed and less like I'm spinning and instead feeling productive and grounded. I invite you to give it a try!


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