Planning Ahead: Creating Habits Key To Making Most Of Innovator Mind
By Carol Gignoux
“Five Steps to Creating a Habit that will Save Your Butt”
So here you are, feeling disorganized and distracted once again, stressing over what you forgot to do or trying to start a task you’d rather avoid. “Oh, hell with it,” you say. “I’ll spend some time on the computer and forget about how miserable this all makes me feel.”
I’m guessing a version of that might sound familiar to some of you. That is indeed the trap we with Innovator Brains fall into if there are no outside structures in place. By structures, I mean plans, practices, systems and routines.
Because our Innovator Brains (nix the ADHD because it’s not true) function in the here and now, they are stimulation-seeking missiles and are highly susceptible to how we feel at any given moment, we are more likely to do what feels good and interesting than what will save our job, our marriage or our academic career. And then there is the demoralization that comes from continuing to screw up, making us feel even worse.
So what if you could do things differently and your life became less of a crap-shoot? What if you could develop a more reliable and organized way of achieving the life you’ve always wanted and you could deliver up a daily agenda that actually made you happy and proud? What would be possible for you in your life: unconditional love, pure joy, completely satisfying relationships, living your true potential and making a difference in the lives of others?
Planning ahead and anticipating is an unnatural state of affairs for your brain and that is why you don’t know how to do it. But the good news is that you can learn. If you follow the accompanying steps exactly, your life will no longer be like playing the tables in Las Vegas and more like functioning within a reliable system that allows you to be a version of your very best self. Don’t let the simplicity of this system fool you. Try it and see for yourself how not using the system is responsible for a majority of your problems.
Your life will be less stressful, more predictable and infinitely more rewarding. Each day and week will unfold more along the lines of success and less along the lines of failure. You’ll be able to look back to see what works for you and what clearly is not working because the evidence will be right there in front of your face. You’ll use the previous week(s) to do better in the week coming up.
And most importantly, each week you’ve planned is really a window into how you’re living your life and the perfect opportunity to decide how you feel about that!
Taking The Gamble Out Of Your Life
Requirement 1: Write everything down. Everything. Write it down in a weekly planner that you always have with you. You think you’ll remember, but more than likely you won’t. Practice the One Minute Rule – if you can do something in a minute, do it now.
Requirement 2: Do not use your smart technology. You’re going to train your brain to use this new planning system and your brain learns best – and will only learn this system the right way – if you use paper and pencil. Remember, it is only recently in human evolution that we began using computers and tapping keys, but we have been writing from brain to hand for much longer. If you have a problem with this, get over it. When training time is over and your system is a predictable habit, you can go back to your precious devices. If you’re not willing to follow this one, don’t bother to read on.
Step #1: Make sure that you have a planner that opens up to the whole week. Monday through Sunday must be visible at a glance. In this system you’ll need to work with – and therefore see – the whole week in order to shift things around when you need to.
Step # 2: Designate a section of your planner for writing down what comes up so you can “capture it” and return back to your planner when you’ve forgotten it (forgetting always happens and especially when you “just know” you’ll remember). As things come up and you don’t have time in that moment to write them in the correct day and time in your planner, at least you know you’ll have “captured “ them for later inclusion.
Step # 3: You will be planning your week on Sunday because that is the perfect time to plan the week ahead. Talk to you husband or wife when they are less distracted and share what ‘s coming up in the week ahead in their life, your life and the family’s life. Include the social calendar, the appointment calendar and the projects calendar.
Step # 4: Fill in the weekly calendar on Sunday so that every hour of the day in the week ahead is accounted for, using down arrows in your planner to designate things that will require longer than an hour. (Use pencil because, of course, some things will change and need to be rescheduled.) The point is not to pressure yourself into creating the perfect carved-in-stone calendar; the purpose for having this system is to produce the best ideas at the time of the planning because your planner will always be a guide and not a set of forced restrictions. Caution: when you reschedule something, find a new place for it right then or you’ll forget.
Step # 5: Now you are beginning to see the value of having a guide to the obligations, appointments, due dates, projects, self -care activities and fun times in the upcoming week. Your brain is being trained to plan ahead and remind you to continually check the weekly calendar so you don’t forget.
Carol Gignoux is a coach, trainer and motivational expert in the world of achievement and productivity with a 40-year background in educating and training people of all ages. She is well established as an expert in ADHD Coaching with more than 16 years of experience. For the past decade she has engaged in extensive research and developed powerful insights into how dynamic relationships between individual people and their organizational environments are created. Contact her at 706-955-9063 or carol@liveADHDfree.com.