It has been two weeks since I introduced The Habit of Planning Ahead into my own life and, while it is far too early to claim long-term success, I can unequivocally state that following this habit has provided me with a sense of being organized, in control and well prepared that I have not felt in a very long time.
I have had some help in learning to appreciate the benefits this habit provides to its followers.
My wife Gimalle has always being a consummate practitioner of planning ahead. If I am scheduled to deliver a workshop four months from now, my tendency has always been to begin planning my presentation around 11 PM the evening before and then stay up until all hours of the morning frantically preparing.
Gimalle, by contrast, with four months’ advance notice of a presentation, will have every facet of her delivery written, scripted, laid out and rehearsed with 3 ½ months to spare, allowing her ample time and opportunity to rehearse and perfect her seminar.
I have long marveled at her commitment to planning in everything she does and have been envious of the discipline required to do so.
I pointed this out to her two weeks ago after posting the first blog on The Habit of Planning Ahead. I mentioned my envy at her focussed discipline and she immediately pointed out the flaw in my thinking.
She explained that a well entrenched good habit does not require discipline but instead, provides as a reward, a powerful sense of accomplishment and the invigorating feeling of being the controller, and not, the controlled.
On the other hand, she pointed out that I was the one with extreme discipline as it takes real commitment, effort and discipline to subject oneself time and time again to the stress, anxiety and panic of leaving everything to the last minute.
She pointed out that the discipline required to repeatedly subject myself to this painful regimen does not come easily but, instead requires dedicated willingness to bring unnecessary discomfort into my life and, despite knowing clearly the cause – and also knowing how a little time spent in preparation could go a long way to help avoiding these stresses – I still regularly subject myself to the consequences that my lack of planning bring.
She explained to me that she has long wondered about my willingness to repeatedly bring chaos into my life and that seeing me do so has served to inspire her to continue her long-held practice of dedication to The Habit of Planning Ahead.
I wish I had a powerful counterargument to present back to her, but sadly I don’t. These past two weeks of faithfully using The Habit of Planning Ahead have taught me that Gimalle’s practice of always planning ahead is far superior to my long-held method of last minute cramming and scrambling.
In a moment of weakness, I admitted to Gimalle that her way is superior to mine and she immediately interpreted my comment to mean acknowledgement of this on my part to be an admission that whenever we are in disagreement, she is always right.
It may have taken me 20 years of observing Gimalle’s behaviour to acknowledge that The Habit of Planning Ahead is far superior to my scattered methodology but surely there must have been at least one occasion during those 20 years when I was right and she was wrong.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.