5 reasons why planning rocks – and 5 more why it sucks. And how I could make it work.

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem,
Assalam alaikum wr wb,
Who here is good at planning? Anyone out there like it?

No, I don’t want a list of tips and tricks. No, I don’t want a pep talk. Because I’ve already received one. Probably from you, your friends or your mentors. I’ve already put money, time and energy into planning merchandise.

Don’t get me wrong; I believe the hype. I know why planning is important.

Planning lets you:

  1. Get an aerial view of your life.
  2. Prioritize the most important aspects  first
  3. Make maximum use of your resources.
  4. Lay out an actionable schedule.
  5. Deal with crises effectively.

But for so many reasons, the negatives are far outweighing the positives.

Planning is making me miserable because:

  1. I can never do everything I want to.
  2. It reminds how out of control my life is rather than giving it some control.
  3. It reminds me of my failures
  4. It reminds me of all the people I’m missing.
  5. It reminds me of how far away I am from being the person I want to be.

I know this is simply a perspective issue. That if I could see the glass half-full, I would realize how blessed I am.

Blah blah blah. I already know this. I wish I could flip a switch. But I can’t.

What I mean is that it doesn’t matter how grateful I am for five minutes or ten minutes or even 15 minutes of a day. My beliefs matter. And those take time to change.

I imagine my negativity is what’s making me tired and it’s probably what made my mother so gravely ill. But that’s a subject for another blog post.

I’ve procrastinated my weekly review for two weeks now. I keep telling myself that I’ll carve out some time on a Friday afternoon, Monday morning, Tuesday night…it’s not been happening. I’ve been too terrified of the pain.
And I’m rather tired of pain, you know? I want something for work for once in my life.

I’ve been trying to plan properly for years. I started with Anthony Robbins and now I’m onto GTD. Robbins tried the inspiring tactic. GTD has been trying the tactical adult, less-play-more-work way.

Neither has worked for me yet.

I’ve just realised something. Both methods are majorly word-heavy. And I’m more visual than I realize. For a writer.
I realized this because recently I was trying to track the subplots in my screenplay. I thought I would simply write down the applicable conflicts beneath each character’s name in a boring old list.
Somehow I decided to do it differently. I decided I’d mind-map on a piece of paper. It worked much better. I was excited to get to work and excited to see how each character connected to the other in a web. That’s the way life is, isn’t it?
I’m going to get more visual to make my weekly planning sessions easier, less stressful and more enjoyable. I’m going to use some mind-mapping software, maybe make a vision board for my life, set up some inspirational mP3s or videos to watch every week Insha Allah.
I’ll try to make it different. Less about words, much more about pictures, webs, movies, visions.I’ll try not to put as much pressure on myself to get it right. It’s important to be the best person I can be, rather than do everything that I can do. Because, as I’ve found out, that’s impossible.
I’ll let you know how it goes and what tools I’m using.
Assalam and alaikum and Fee Amanillah,

The Happy Muslimah.

4 thoughts on “5 reasons why planning rocks – and 5 more why it sucks. And how I could make it work.

  1. Excellent post sabina!
    I’m a hard rock fan of planning so im going to tell you how you need to change the miserable part’s perspective! Like from the few i dont like points – you can never do everything you want coz you are not realistic about your plans (aka may be you are new to the world of planning and dont know your strength and weakness or if you are old you haven’t learnt from past mistakes) i think the other 4 comments fall in the same explanation.
    You have to be realistic and planning doesn’t always need to involve work – planning for life should involve every sphere of life – every relation – entertainment time-grooming time-pampering time.
    It all comes down striking off what doesn’t matter from your life(coz most of the time we tend to do a lot which is not really what we want to do and we are doing it just for the sake of others or without putting much thought into it) – prioritizing what really matters and then living “one day a time” 🙂
    And yes in a way i think planning can be overrated – but it does help.

    1. Salams! I think that definitely I do too much ‘work’ and not even time for myself or my family. So that leads to a lot of frustration and general burn-out. Plus, there’s always this sense of failure around planning. That I’m basically setting myself up to fail.

      Which is rather mean of myself, all things considered. LOL. Just now learning to take it more easy on myself. Maybe that’ll be the subject of my next Habibi Halaqas article 😉

  2. I sort of have a love-hate relationship with planning! everything goes as per plans at times but then at other times, it is just one huge miserable disaster.

    I think we should consider our emotionality as well while planning 😛

    1. Hmmmmm….I’m beginning to think how planning could be freeing. But also how if we fall back on the age-old views of planning, how it can be restrictive. In that we have a ‘to-do’ list and if we don’t strike off every item, we’ve failed. The to-do list cannot possibly foresee your brother’s panicked call because his car has broken down or your mother calling from overseas because she wants to discuss the best cake recipes. You can’t say no to either person. At least I don’t want to say no – that’s against my values. Hmmmm. That’s another thing. Values-based planning rather than action-based planning. Wow, talking to you guys has really opened up my mind Mashallah. I was feeling really depressed yesterday as to how little control I had!

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