I’ve always had a talent for planning & organizing
As a kid, I would even create a timetable for my free days and fill it up with activities: homework, playtime, family time …
‘Time Blocking’ wasn’t even a hype yet, and I was already time blocking my days, inspired by my own natural talent for planning and organizing.
As a student, I had no problem with planning out my learning content over the whole year so that I didn’t have to do any last-minute late-night studying before the exams. 500 words of French vocabulary? Ok, let me study 30 words per week for the next 17 weeks and plan 3 moments of full revision of what I’ve learned so far. Easy peasy.
When I got my first job as a volunteer coordinator in Cusco, Peru, I had no schedule, no office, and my boss was on the other side of the world. I didn’t even have to count my hours, as long as the work got done. Again, for me: easy peasy.
2 years ago I started my own business, I quit my part-time job and decided to lower my expenses drastically so that I wouldn’t need a job and I could spend all my time and energy on building my business. I bought myself a nice desk, I woke up every day at the same time, and I was fully committed to my working hours (at home) just like you would in an actual office. Easy peasy.
But right now, I just can’t …
I started struggling a couple of months ago.
I’m a stubborn Taurus, and I just continued using the methods that always worked well for me: wake up early, work from 7 am to 1 pm fully on my business, and then focus on friendships, networking, rehearsals, …
First of all, I just couldn’t wake up. My body simply didn’t want to.
And then, I worked for an hour and my mind already got distracted.
What was HAPPENING to me???
My body was longing for sleeping in, my mind kept wandering, my working hours got blurry ...
Then, the changes started happening:
Change 01 - My Instagram
It wasn’t my weekly planner, but my Instagram that received a transformation first.
As an online business owner, you constantly get taught that you need to have a content calendar, write all your content for the month in one day and use a scheduler, be consistent with when and how often you’re posting, show your whole life on Instagram Stories all the time, offer your services, end each post with a CTA (Call To Action), DM (or stalk) random people you don’t know who could become clients, etc etc …
I told a friend of mine, who’s also a certified coach in Functional Medicine, that I was feeling fed up with content calendars and showing my breakfast on Instagram.
She said: “Ooh, I don’t use Instagram, but I never thought you’d need a content calendar. I thought it was just a place for those moments of: “Ooh, I have this great inspiration, let me go and share it on Instagram!” …
I sat there, speechless …
OF COURSE Instagram is a place to share moments of inspiration! What had I been thinking?? Planning out my very spontaneous inspiration?
Two days after our call, I read in a business book: “Instagram is for showing people who you are. Don’t try to sell anything. They’ll go to your website to learn about your services, and to your Instagram to learn about YOU.”
So I ditched my content calendar, I haven’t shared anything in 10 days now, and that is totally fine.
Change 02 - My Alarm
I know this is a luxury I have as an entrepreneur that not all of us can start doing, but I ditched my alarm.
Every morning, I was struggling. Trying to wake up early as always, but my body started protesting.
The alarm became a part of my dream, I would turn it off without realizing it, and woke up 2 hours later than usual, frustrated as hell.
Yes, I did. I am a Certified Astrologer myself, but never had I gifted myself a session from another Astrologer. So a month before my birthday, I decided to give myself an early birthday gift.
In summary: she helped me accept what had been going on inside of me for a while: a wave of spontaneity where planning and scheduling just weren’t welcome.
I must admit I screamed when she said: “This wave will continue until April 2023.” The Virgo Ascendant in me went like: a whole YEAAAR!!???
She said: “This is a time for inspiration, new ideas, shifts. Don’t set any alarms. Don’t try to schedule your work. Don’t look at the time. Pay close attention to your dreams, keep an ideas journal close by, watch movies that don’t make any sense like Alice In Wonderland. This year might seem like a very non-productive year, but in a year you’ll look back and see that the changes you’ve made were of big impact and importance.”
And so I finally allowed myself to sleep in, to dream, to embrace inspiration instead of fighting against it in my decisiveness to stay productive.
Change 03 - My weekly planner
Sometimes you just need another person to say what you already know deep down but you just couldn’t embrace it. Often it’s a therapist or a coach. In my case, it was my Astrology teacher Wendy Stacy.
Normally, I would plan my week beforehand in my weekly planner, and update it every day filling up the time slots and checking off my priority list for the week.
Lately, I had been filling out my weekly planner AFTER the week was over just because I didn’t want it to be empty and I didn’t want to fall behind …
When you think about it … I was being ridiculous.
About 6 months ago, I switched from my weekly planner to my Trello board. And still, I couldn’t let go of my old method. So I found myself using my iCal for appointments, my Trello for to-do’s for every day, and my weekly planner for … I don’t know, doing what I was already doing in iCal and Trello, really.
So I thanked my weekly planner for all it had given me so far, and kindly put it away. Away from my desk.
This is how I am going about my days right now:
I am creating space for inspiration
I sleep until whatever time I want to sleep (unless I have an early meeting, of course)
I stopped watching the time
I do whatever I want to prioritize that day, using my Trello board of priorities
I found a way to speed up my Pinterest planning
I only use Instagram when I feel inspired
And I watched Alice In Wonderland, in four-fold actually: a theater play, the two movies with Johnny Depp, and the Disney movie.
After watching the Netflix series Self-Made and the day after the movie about Steve Jobs, I got the most exciting inspiration for Healthy High Achievers and I couldn’t stop writing it out until 2 am.
Those are the moments I missed. Those moments of pure inspiration and creativity that just don’t let you go to sleep until you’ve written it down somewhere.
And that’s what my wave of inspiration and spontaneity is about.
Spontaneity or Planning? Think In Waves
I am not saying you should ditch your weekly planner forever.
I am not saying you should become lazy, sleep until noon, and watch movies all the time.
What I am saying, is that there are times for spontaneity, and times for planning. And the way to juggle the two is to think in waves.
We are not made for 24/7 whole-year-round go-go-go productivity. We are humans, not superhumans.
As much as we’d like to be productive all the time, just to feel like we’re being ‘useful’ with our time, this is an expectation of ourselves that is so far away from reality.
Everything in nature lives in seasons, in waves, in cycles. Nature is not linear. We are not linear.
Your energy levels go up and down.
Your day goes from sunlight to nighttime.
Your mood feels different every day.
Your mind, your body, your soul … They need waves of full-on activity and productivity, and waves of downtime, self-reflection, inspiration.
There are three kinds of waves:
Daily waves: Every day you decide when you will be productive (aka working hours) and when you will stop working and rest. In my mini-course The Empty Schedule, I call this your productivity window and your relaxation window.
Weekly waves: This is a classic. Most people work during the week, and rest and have fun on the weekends.
Long-term waves: These waves are the hardest ones for us to accept. As you’ve read in this blog post, I needed to have an Astrology session to finally accept my big wave of spontaneity. You’ll have times in your life when you can get up and go, be super productive, and get loads done. But there will be times in your life when you need a break, you need more rest, you get distracted easily. And those times are here for a reason, too.
When you’re in a wave of spontaneity:
You might be going through some emotional trauma that you’re processing on a subconscious level. Give it the space to process.
You might be recovering from a health issue and your body just needs more rest right now. Give it the space to rest.
You might be brainstorming about a new business, a new idea, a new way of life, and that one perfect idea is wanting to come to the surface. Give it the space to make itself known to you.
It’s your turn: is it better to plan or go with the flow right now?
Look at your own life and ask yourself: what wave am I in right now?
What do I need more of? Spontaneity or planning?
How can you honor both sides of the spectrum and truly listen to your body and your intuition to figure out what it is you truly need right now?
If you’re in a wave of planning: definitely use the mini-course The Empty Schedule to learn a new approach to weekly planning with a template I created for you that allows you to create space for both productivity and relaxation.
If you’re in a wave of spontaneity: download this FREE cheat sheet I created for you with 20 Affirmations & Journal Prompts To Go With The Flow & Embrace Spontaneity
If you’re in a little bit of both: join the Healthy High Achievers Membership where you get weekly resources for both self-reflection AND goal-setting. We’re also having a slow-paced book club, we’d be happy to have you there!
And with that, my dear Chievers, I hope you got inspired by my story and you’re ready to accept not only your need for productivity, but also your deeper need for relaxation, inspiration, and spontaneity.
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