Is planning making me unhappy?

Come Blog With Me – Day 16.

I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to planning. I’m always pondering different options and sketching out timelines and tasks. Which is great for projects that need to be planned (and is one of my natural talents), but isn’t necessarily good for my sanity the rest of the time.

Someone will mention a possibility of a project they’d like help with, or I’ll have an idea of my own. And suddenly my mind is off in the future, thinking about scenarios and “if this happens, I can do that…” or “that would fit nicely alongside….” or “and then I can ask so-and-so about…” But none of it’s certain, it’s all based on possibilities that may or may not come to fruition.

And before I know it I’ve spent an hour thinking about it in great detail, imagining how it will be when it happens. And I’ve not spent any time in the present moment enjoying what I have now, appreciating the people I’m interacting with that day, or focusing on the work I’m doing.

I recently re-read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. And while I don’t buy into all of it, and I haven’t found meditation very useful or easy to do, I do agree that we spend far too much time in the past and the future, and not enough time appreciating what is around us right now.

I know why I drift off into imagining future scenarios and projects – because whatever I’m doing at that moment isn’t engaging me and I welcome the distraction. And I know that many gurus of mindfulness would point out that I should fully concentrate on what I’m doing and then I’ll get more out of it.

So I’ve decided to see whether I can get into the habit of noting down ideas and project possibilities but without dwelling on them. And then come back to them at a certain time of the week. I already do a weekly plan on a Friday, just sorting out my priorities for the week ahead. But perhaps I should add in some medium-term planning, and allow myself to map out a few scenarios and options for the ideas that present themselves to me during the week.

I don’t like the thought of not having plans to think through in my head during boring days, that seems bleak. But then I wonder – if I change my thought patterns, could I find myself truly enjoying what I’m doing?

And if not, will I be able to find something else I do really enjoy and that I don’t want to mentally escape from?

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