My husband and I spent this past New Year’s Eve running errands, cleaning the house and doing a quiet, mini-celebration at home. I was feeling particularly ambitious that day and advocated for these somewhat lame, but productive household activities despite some reluctance on his end.
As we clinked our toasting flutes a few seconds past midnight, my husband grudgingly admitted it was nice to start the new year in a clean home.
This got me thinking about balancing planning and inspiration—what we often experience day-to-day in our lives.
I used to be a major planner.
I’d plan out my day by the hour along with a checklist of things I needed to get done. Some days went smoothly, but other days I’d fall behind by a couple hours and several to-dos and feel like a partial failure.
Nowadays, my days are more fluid. I still have a to-do list; it just morphs and shifts. Some of the items are must-do-today items—those are at the top of the list. Others are simply suggestions, that I may or may not take depending on how I’m feeling that day.
This allows me the flexibility that comes with balancing planning and inspiration.
Because sometimes you feel the inspiration for some cleaning, organizing or grocery shopping. Sometimes you just don’t feel like it. There are plenty of days when I don’t feel like doing laundry when I’m down to my last pair of undies or vacuuming when masses of dust bunnies appear. I can think of countless of moments when I don’t feel like putting in the hours for bigger projects such as the annual tax preparation for good ol’ Uncle Sam.
As much as I’d like to conveniently postpone and wait for inspiration to strike for certain tasks, I’ve learned inspiration cannot be relied on. So there needs to be some equilibrium between planning and flow.
The key is to aim for effortlessness while still getting time-sensitive things done.
Certain things may never get done if we wait around for inspiration. At the same time, constantly going against what we’re inclined to do in a particular moment isn’t the most effective or preferred choice either.
This is why I blend my to-do list, and why some less important items continue to float on my list over the weeks. This is why some items get done unexpectedly, like how we ended up cleaning on New Year’s Eve day.
Ride the momentum of enthusiasm when you’re able to, but roll up your sleeves when necessity calls.
This may not work for everyone, but for me, I’m enjoying the balancing of planning and inspiration in my daily life. How do you manage? What balance works best for you?