|Photograph is by Colin Nicol|
See his website here
reproduced with permission
I’ve come to realise that the most important part of my weekly planning session is not so much the planning for the days to come, it’s reflecting on what has passed. Why did I clear my list so easily this week? Why did I get almost nothing done this week? It’s only when I stop and think back about why I did or didn’t do things that I can make better plans for the upcoming week/month.
For example, the last few weeks have been less than productive for me, but I know why. I can look at the plans I made with hope and enthusiasm and then look at and understand the reality that followed. Of course, reflection needs to be honest. Sometimes I know I didn’t do something I thought I would because I wasn’t well. Other times I know I didn’t get things done because I spent ages faffing about online, looking at notebooks or filofaxes or a zillion other things. Sometimes I realise I’m not doing something because I’m scared of failure, or because I don’t believe in it.
At other times I can get on and clear a to-do list before lunch and am powering through the day. Knowing why that day was productive is incredibly valuable. Was it because I was full of enthusiasm or energy? Or was it just because the Wi-Fi was off? Knowing that I will write much more (and much better) if I get my backside in the chair and start before 9 a.m. is also valuable knowledge and helps me plan when to do other things, so that my least productive writing time is when I sort the laundry or do the shopping.
I realise I have a very set ‘clock’ and if I schedule the wrong kind of thing into a time slot, I might as well not bother. Running (when I am well enough to do it – I am craving those days!!) is best in the morning, but that’s also when I’m the most creative, so I now know better than to expect creative juices to be flowing after I’ve spent half the morning running/stretching etc. Much better to run and then do chores. I also have a creative lull after lunch, but this is an excellent time to go for a walk (my current saviour as I’m not able to run) and when I come back, I’m often good at editing or making notes for writing.
It’s only because I’ve spent the time thinking about why things have gone well or not that I’ve really become in tune with my rhythm. It doesn’t work 100% of the time and life will always throw spanners (and I can always waste time browsing stationery!) but it genuinely feels like I’m making better plans as a result of taking the time to assess why things have or haven’t worked.
Does anyone else spend time reflecting? Have you found it helps?