Did you begin your new planning season with the Whys as well as the Whats? If not, it’s never too late! Even if you read this in July, you can evaluate your to-do list mid-stream.
In fact, about half way through last year, I realized some of my whimsical goals were loftier than my brain space and my clock tocks, so I pulled out the power of why a few months early.
When Goals Exceed Realities
I invited my rational brain to a meeting with my whimsical nature.
I really had to get those two on the same page and accommodate my body’s well-voiced needs.
Through that meeting, it became clear that my whimsies had imperceptibly become self-imposed obligations, so I took my rational side’s suggestion (with the grace and mercies of the Holy Spirit’s leading) and slowed down the brain pace.
Adjusting goals mid-stream isn’t failure. Sometimes, it’s just plain wise.
That doesn’t mean I begged off my commitments (family, church, teaching children’s church, etc), it just meant that I squeezed out a few more months of actual whimsy where whimsy allowed.
Not that I am not allowed to cease any or all of the commitments I’ve made, but looking at the big picture, I didn’t want to.
Controlling Your Planner: Choose Focus
With that whimsical vs. rational (root word: ration? as in a fixed allowance?) experience under my sash, when planning for 2015 rolled around on my 2014 planner, I knew I really had to cut back on whimsy – or go full on whimsical.
I couldn’t have it all (at least simultaneously), a lesson learned while homeschooling.
I recognized that although I loved my Year of Whimsy, I also wanted to focus.
I wanted to focus, but I didn’t know what to focus on. I mean, do I have to choose just one interest out of many?? Out of many many?
Once again …
The planning power of why helps sift through the options.
Employing the Power of Why
Employing the power of why (asking myself why I plan on doing what I plan on doing), I used Art Deco’s Rule of Three (I wrote a blog post for Bright Ideas Press on focusing interests using the Rule of Three) to narrow down my free-time project choices:
Crocheting Blogging Volunteering
Those are quite broad subjects, however.
Just right for whimsy-ing, but still too broad for focusing.
I further defined each project by asking myself not only, “What do I want to do?” but also, “Why do I want to do it?”
(Remind anyone of nailing down an essay topic?)
More Narrowing, More Threes
Since I needed a little more detail, I narrowed each element down to three sub-elements. For example:
- Pattern Use
- Pattern Development
And One More Narrowing
Each of the causes I crochet for is near to my heart for one personally-connected reason or another, so it was tough to choose just three (once again, using the Rule of Three).
So I asked myself, about each cause: Why do I want to crochet for this cause, for this organization, to meet this need?
When a Good Why Isn’t Enough
I had good reasons to crochet for each cause.
Why? Because all of the causes have good reasons. That’s why they are called “good causes.”
But when it came to focusing on just three causes, I realized: I need more than a good reason.
“Why” is powerful, but it wasn’t all I needed.
Next post, I’ll share three more questions I asked myself to narrow down my Want To Do List.
While you’re waiting …
It’s Your Turn
- What are your three main focuses for the year?
- What is the main element/activity? What are the two lesser elements, flanking either side?
- Ask yourself – and answer yourself: “Why?”
It’s the “Whys” that will help you keep your focus – and your sanity.
If you are having trouble deciding what you want to focus on this year, do this exercise:
- List everything you want to do in the new year – or in the remainder of the year, if you catch this post somewhere after January. (Yep, list everything! I used Evernote.)
- Jot Whys next to Whats.
- Group your goals into three main categories.
- Choose one category to emphasize with two lesser elements to dabble in.
- Put everything else on a If I Get to It List.
Want to know more? Read Too Many Interests? Art Deco’s Rule of Three to the Rescue on the Bright Ideas Press blog.