Work and life aren’t opposing forces to balance; they go hand-in-hand and are intertwined as different elements of the same person: you. – Melissa Steginus
If living through a global pandemic has taught me anything over the last 18 months, it’s that no matter how hard you try, you can’t plan everything. In fact, I’ve learned to get comfortable with uncertainty – the unknown.
In a sense, it feels like the world has been put on pause for the last 18 months, and the rise in self-care culture has taught us to enjoy the slower moments in life. When you’re stressed and worried, going inward has been proven to be the answer.
Initially, this was a little difficult for me, even though I consider myself easy-going. I relied heavily on my daily to-do lists, short-term goals and detailed plans for the future. However, as time passed, I realized the importance of balancing both going with the flow, and planning things out. There’s something freeing about being open to the possibilities of the wonderful unknown while also making necessary moves towards future goals.
Which category do you find yourself fitting into? Do you find comfort in planning out every detail? Do you enjoy the spontaneity of going with the flow? Or do you sit somewhere in between the two?
Planning vs. Flowing
The pressure to figure out every next step of our lives and constantly seem like we are moving upwards and onwards can be exhausting. The way society places value on success via productivity makes it seem like the only way to be truly successful is to have every last detail planned to perfection.
The thing about planning is, no matter how much we plan there will always be things that are out of our control. Having those initial guidelines to follow definitely makes decision making easier, and we all have responsibilities, but it can be extremely frustrating and stressful when you need to deviate from your perfectly detailed plans.
That’s when learning to go with the flow becomes essential.
Flowing to me means following your intuition and leaving enough space in your life to just let things happen. Going with the flow and letting my values lead the way has opened up new opportunities for me that might not have happened had I planned out everything. Those spontaneous moments and decisions usually end up being the most memorable and foundational parts of our lives.
How To Find The Right Balance
So how do we find the balance between planning for success whilst also being open to new, unknown possibilities? Here are a few tips I’ve come up with:
1.Take a moment to consider what is important to you, your values and your goals.
It’s time to self-reflect. What has worked for you in the past? What are your main goals, interests and values?
It’s important to have some sense of structure or direction in your life. Even when you’re going with the flow. The very definition of “flow” is to continuously and easily move in one direction. That’s where the importance of goal setting comes into the picture in order to strike that balance between flowing and planning.
Research shows that creating realistic, attainable goals (according to your personal standards) improves motivation, performance and our overall well-being. Having clear goals and intentions will help guide your flow. So Set those goals girl!
Personally, I thrive when I follow a consistent routine. Daily actions that help me to become my best self have been crucial to surviving the last 18 months. If you’ve never been one for planning, try carving out 30 minutes every day, or a few times a week, to do something that feeds your soul and lights you up.
2.Consider what you plan and why you plan. Are you procrastinating?
Having some sort of structure is important, we all have responsibilities. But we need to question the true intentions of planning every last detail. When things don’t go according to plan, do you end up feeling anxious, stressed, or frustrated? And, if something comes up that contradicts your plans, but feels more right, are you trusting your intuition to follow it?
Are you spending all your time planning but not actually following through? I’m definitely guilty of this. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, I create to-do lists and daily schedules. While this has helped me manage my time effectively, sometimes this planning was actually a form of procrastination.
Hold yourself accountable and ask: Are you actually following through with your plans? Or just procrastinating? Do all these things need to be scheduled?
3.Trust your intuition and accept change.
Accept that you simply cannot be in control of everything all the time. The past year in particular has shown us that we need to be flexible. Unstructured time allows us to foster creativity and joy. Once you take the time to sit with what’s important to you, you will naturally make the necessary moves to attain your goals. Make plans with the mindset that things may come up, and you are more than capable of going with the flow.
What type of person are you? Has this changed overtime? How do you strike that balance between planning and flowing?
Comment below! Let’s learn from one another.
Be good to YOU! You got this.
Featured Image by fotografierende via Unsplash