The Art of Managing Your Life (Or Not)

“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives.  Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.”  ~Jim Rohn

 

Do you plan out your day?  Your week?  Your month?  If so, how much do you plan?  How far do you take it?  I’ve known people who could easily have PhD’s in planning… from Harvard!, and others who wouldn’t know what a simple calendar looked like, much less how to use it, if it hit them up-side the head.

So, where do I fit in?  Post PhD — I’m the dean of the School of Planning!

Sadly, it’s true.  And another thing that’s true:  I AM NOT BRAGGING.

I had to ask myself recently, with all of my views on Trust, on Letting Go, my beliefs on how Life ‘works,‘ my vow to experience What Is, and all of the other very zen qualities I surround myself with on a daily basis, how zen is it to schedule my meditation time on my iPhone?

Seriously.

At what point does our use of calendars, day planners, iPhones, and any other tool slide over from the helpful category to the hinder our growth category?  I mean, who is managing who, here?

 

The Key Is: Balance

 

(Free tip of the day — Balance is the key to LOTS of things.  Life, for one.)

Find that balance within your life.  At this stage in the game, my guess is you know yourself well enough to know what works for you and what doesn’t.

No?  If not, then here’s what I recommend:

If you fall into Option 1 above, the PhD planning person, once you’ve finished your planning ritual, whatever it may be, sit quietly.  How does it feel?  How do you feel?  Deep inside?  Do you feel calm, knowing that all i’s have been dotted and all t’s have been crossed?  Do you feel you have the freedom to change and be flexible as things arise unexpectedly?  If so, THAT is what balance feels like.  Your planning method works for you.

However, if you feel a tight, rigidness inside, that’s a clue that you’re holding on to something (??) tightly.  So tightly that any change of schedule would shatter your world.

Which begs the question:  If you’re holding your breath, hoping upon hope that everything goes according to your plan, constantly fixated on getting through each task, where’s the enjoyment?

This reminds me of a puzzle my mother and I put together the summer my husband, boys, and I were waiting for our current house to be built.  It now hangs in our laundry room:

If this is you, one who counts the days or the tasks, and you want to change, I have two examples I’d like to share with you that can be used as your guide.

1)  Check out “Cultivating A Spirit of Wander,” written by Bill Apablasa, blogger/writer for TheOther999Rooms.com.*

This is a profound post and will likely get you out of your comfort zone in a hurry (which is a good thing here; shock your system!), encouraging you to jump in feet first.

If you like what Bill’s suggesting, but don’t really know what that looks like, then….

2)  Check out “A Day of Pleasure. WITH NO GUILT.” for a true life example of a day when I went “off the grid” earlier this year.

I believe there is an art to managing our lives.  But as we manage them to be more productive, more efficient, more MORE, let’s also make sure we’re living our lives, enjoying them to the fullest.  Balance.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day.”    ~E. B. White

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TheOther999Rooms is my new WOW go-to spot.  I highly encourage you to check out Bill’s blog.  There is a Start Here tab on top where he begins:

There is an old saying that goes, “We’re born into a house with a thousand rooms, but only live in one.”  This website is about the other 999 rooms.

Bill’s writing stimulates my mind and encourages me to see the world differently, something this very in-the-box girl welcomes as a personal challenge.  He makes me laugh out loud with his quick wit.  I am never disappointed when I visit his site.

And the good, no, wonderful news is, he has just gotten started!  If you’re like me, I like starting from square one (room one), and proceeding in an orderly fashion, building as I go.  Therein lies the beauty — because this site is so new and fresh, your eyes will be some of the first to see it!  You can be a part of this amazing journey from the ground level.

I’m very rarely in-the-know about stuff out there, usually arriving late to the party.  However, this time, I feel as if I’m sharing a secret with you.

If you enjoy Bill’s blog, please consider sharing it on Facebook or emailing it to your friends.  Let’s not keep this secret to ourselves!!

 

Comments

  1. Bill Apablasa says

    Leslie, thank you so much for your kind words about my site. As this is all still new to me, your site, as well as your relationship with your readers, has been a great source of inspiration to me. I appreciate that more than you know.

    And as a fellow wanderer, your post today was awesome! I may speak a good wandering game, but it is something I struggle with every day.

    It’s interesting but I had wanted to do The Other 999 Rooms for so long, but never got around to it. All I did was make lists of everything I needed to do to get started. I have no less than 10 “list making” apps on my Iphone. (Beat that! )

    I convinced myself that I had to finish this list before I started. That’s what’s wrong with lists. They keep you from doing what matters. They keep you from doing what scares you. For me, that was the writing.

    But, eventually, I decided the only thing I really needed to do was write. That was the only “plan” I needed. If I did that, I could figure out “how to do it” later.

    I would still have a long to do list, but now my list would serve the passion and not the other way around.

    It’s a nice way of wandering through your life. You just step out the door and start living.

    Of course, it’s a lot easier to do when there are people like yourself out there making the journey a whole lot more enjoyable.

    • says

      Wow Bill, 10 list-making apps! I’m not even going to try and touch that one! (But, while we’re here, which is your favorite? — I just couldn’t resist asking. And seriously, I want to know.)

      You made such a good point about lists — they do keep you from what you want to do. A few months ago, I stopped making lists — completely. I just flat out wouldn’t do it. All I wanted to do was write. So I wrote. And I wrote some more. And my writing improved. I noticed (you noticed)….

      Then last Tuesday night, I had a little (break-down) — in parenthesis because I whispered it, that way no one else will hear.

      I started to cry. (Btw, I cry at movies, books, lyrics to songs, NOT EVER about me or my life — I just DEAL and move on.) Yet, there I was crying.

      After I blew my nose and sat up straight (I wasn’t in the fetal position or anything, but I’m sure I had a weak posture), I made the first list I’d made in months.

      All of my to-do’s had been swirling around in my head, and they became too many for me to keep up with. They were actually sapping my energy.

      Once on paper, I was able to see just what damage was there. Not too bad…but not too good either.

      Next step — I prioritized the list. As soon as I was done, I noticed my breathing immediately shifted from my chest down to my abdomen.

      Btw, the making of the list and prioritizing took between 5-10 minutes. Not a lot of time for the peace of mind I gained.

      Now I had a list, a prioritized list, which equaled a plan. BUT… I told myself I would not become my list. I will still make time for my passions *first*, then in my spare time, I will tackle the list one item at a time.

      Easy-peasy.

      Balance.

      Oh, how I love balance.

      Love,
      Leslie

  2. says

    Blog to Facebook link is temporarily down.

    Here is a comment from AP:

    Well, I just love this post…of course. It’s a topic near and dear to my heart and to my peace of mind. Luckily, after oh so many years, I finally DO know what works for me. I love being organized, I love calendars, I love knowing what to expect…but I’m fiercely passionate about not over-scheduling me or my family. Discomfort sets in when the majority of my calendar is NOT white space. I cringe at those weeks. And sometimes they can’t be helped. I have found that if I’m organized and my calendar is up to date, then I can handle the unexpected and be quite flexible…and at times I even ENJOY the totally unexpected. It’s when my life is unorganized and chaotic that the unexpected really throws me for a loop. This is one of the few subjects in life where I can say I’ve found the balance.

  3. says

    Hi Leslie,

    I really like the spirit of your site. I’ve experienced in my own life how the “minutes of inner peace gradually became hours and then days”, and it’s nice when I come across writers reflecting that awakening.

    I find that, for me, the value of any kind of planning depends upon whether it’s inspired by limiting or expansive beliefs that I hold about myself. Sometimes I think I’m being prudent when really I’m just playing it safe. A line my uncle used to say always stuck with me: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” That’s my basic attitude these days: Do my best to cover the to-do list, and then give myself permission to be a little more reckless and take some risks.

    • says

      Thank you, Seth. I like your wording, “…the spirit of my site.” Makes me want to shout a little, Yippee!

      I often think about balance as “keeping it in the middle” — not to say that I don’t experience highs and lows — I welcome a range of emotions, but the middle is a good place for me to shoot for. Each time I experience a low, I’m reminded, “This too shall pass.” JUST LIKE each time I experience a high, I’m reminded, “This too shall pass.” ;-)

      That said, I may have to adopt your uncle’s saying. I’m really digging that!

      Everything in moderation, including moderation.

      I just had to type it myself to try it on for size.

      Fits like a glove!

      Love,
      Leslie

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